Prabhupada Ordered “No Changes!”

Dear Vaishnavas, please accept my humble respects.

I have just read this article about changes in the KRSNA Book. Although I am rarely surprised by anything anymore, still I was surprised by the article’s description about the volume of changes to the literature of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I have heard all the many excuses over the years for making changes, which from the external perspective may seem logical, but these delusions cannot replace the desire of Srila Prabhupada in this connection.

With specific regards to the KRSNA book, during his physical presence, Srila Prabhupada would not even allow so much as a picture to be changed. Why then, when our mundane eyes can no longer perceive him, are so many changes going on?

For many years, I was in close contact with Radhaballabha dasa, who was the production manager for producing Srila Prabhupada’s books. A couple of years after Srila Prabhupada’s departure, around 1980, Radhaballabha Prabhu related to me an experience he had with Srila Prabhupada regarding book changes.

Soon after the intense marathon for completing the publication of Caitanya Caritamrita, Radhaballabha prabhu approached Srila Prabhupada and mentioned that the artists are now completing the paintings in preparation for the second printing. To this, Srila Prabhupada replied “No changes”. A further attempt was made to explain, stating that there were to be no actual changes, but that the same painting would simply be completed because there was insufficient time during the marathon, and that the paintings were actually published in an unfinished state. Srila Prabhupada replied to him again, “NO changes”.

Confused by Srila Prabhupada’s previous responses, Radhaballabha again tried to explain the situation. The short time frame of the publication marathon had prevented the paintings from being completed. They were now to be finished by the artists, re-photographed and in the next printing, the same picture, same size, everything the same except for the finishing touches, would be placed in the exact same spot in the book. Srila Prabhupada now appeared angered and replied again, but this time more forcefully, “NO CHANGES!!!”.

Mithiladhisa dasa

10 thoughts on “Prabhupada Ordered “No Changes!”

  1. Any sincere devotee would not change it. If it can helps, the KRSNA Book has made me fall in love with kanha..that book has made me closest to Krsna ever. When i read it its as if I am with them. Any change will be a blunder!!!

  2. I have gotten all of His Divine Grace’s books through used book stores. I know the year he died but I do not know when people started changing his works. Did people change all of his books?

    1. Hare Krishna Shauna

      Even now some of the new books BBT are printing are still the original editions. So they have not changed all of Prabhupada’s books. They have changed Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Krsna Book, Sri Isopanisad, Perfect Questions Perfect Answers, and quite a few others also. But as far as I know they have not yet changed the Srimad-Bhagavatam and quite a lot of Prabhupada’s smaller books are still the original versions.

      Although this unauthorized changing of Srila Prabhupada’s books started even when Srila Prabhupada was still present. You can read about this in the “Rascal Editors” conversation:

      So it had started even in 1977. However it was starting then in a small way and Prabhupada was trying to stop the editors from making these unauthorized changes to his books. But of course after Prabhupada left our material vision in 1977 there was no one to keep the rascal editor in check. So practically as soon as Srila Prabhupada disappeared Jayadviata started working on a “Revised and Enlarged” edition of Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is and this was published in 1983. So that was the first really radically changed Prabhupada book. It is so changed that in many places it presents a completely different philosophy than Prabhupada’s book. It has over 5000 significant changes in it, and there is no justification whatsoever for at least 99% of these changes. It is simply change for the sake of change. As Prabhupada often stressed this is the American disease. They must always be changing things. That is a very bad disease to have when it comes to Krishna consciousness which does not change because it is the absolute truth.

      Anyhow you can get Srila Prabhupada’s original books at and read them online at

      They are not very expensive, you can easily afford them.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  3. They may not have changed the content of the Srimad Bhagavatam, but newer editions tend to be downsized and of a much poorer quality, with gauzy paper and inconsistent or faded/smeared tiny text.

  4. Prabhupāda: Where are others?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Shall I get other people? Śatadhanya Mahārāja? (long pause)
    Prabhupāda: That… Find this verse, munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo ‘ham… (SB 1.2.5).
    Devotee (1): Munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo ‘ham.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: (aside:) There’s no index. It’s not a new Bhāgavatam. There’s no index in this Bhāgavatam. Munayaḥ sādhu…? “The Effects of Kali-yuga” chapter? Is that the verse, about the effects of Kali-yuga? No. (background talking, looking for verse)
    munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo ‘haṁ
    bhavadbhir loka-maṅgalam
    yat kṛtaḥ kṛṣṇa-sampraśno
    yenātmā suprasīdati
    (SB 1.2.5)
    “munayaḥ—of the sages; sādhu—this is relevant; pṛṣṭaḥ—questioned; aham…”
    Prabhupāda: No? What is that? Sādhu? What is that? Munayaḥ?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Says, “sādhu—this is relevant.”
    Prabhupāda: Relevant?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That’s what it’s translated as, “this is relevant.” May be a mistake.
    Devotee (1): It’s a mistake.
    Prabhupāda: Munayaḥ?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Munayaḥ—of the sages; sādhu—this is relevant…”
    Prabhupāda: The nonsense, they are… They are correcting my trans… Rascal. Who has done this? Munayaḥ is addressing all these munis.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: It’s addressing the munis?
    Prabhupāda: Yes.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Sādhus, great sages.
    Prabhupāda: Yes. Sādhu means they are very pure. What can be done if it goes there and these rascals become Sanskrit scholar and do everything nonsense? One Sanskrit scholar strayed, that rascal… He take… What is his…? Śacī-suta? Śacī-sandana?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Jaya-śacīnandana?
    Prabhupāda: And they are maintaining them. Different meaning.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Bhavadbhiḥ—by all of you; loka—the world; maṅgalam—welfare; yat—because; kṛtaḥ—made; kṛṣṇa—the Personality of Godhead; sampraśnaḥ—relevant question; yena—by which; ātmā— self; suprasīdati—completely pleased.” Translation: “O sages…”
    Prabhupāda: Now here is “O sages,” and the word meaning is “of the munis.” Just see.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Which is relevant.”
    Prabhupāda: Such a rascal Sanskrit scholar. Here it is addressed, sambodhana, and they (indistinct) it—”munayaḥ—of the munis.” It is very risky to give to them for editorial direction. Little learning is dangerous. However proper Sanskrit scholar, little learning, dangerous. Immediately they become very big scholars, high salaried, and write all nonsense. Who they are? (pause) Then?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “O sages, I have been…”
    Prabhupāda: No, they cannot be reliable. They can do more harm. Just see here the (indistinct).
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah. We’re finding out in the Fifth Canto that there’re words that are so off, the meaning is completely changed, completely changed. I mean, in the three chapters that we read, Bhakti-prema Mahārāja made at least half a dozen corrections, of serious corrections. They had changed the meaning.
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: Some of the mistakes in the numbers, the figures.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Oh, yeah, they’re all…
    Prabhupāda: So how they can be reliable, so-called, this way…? (background whispering) Hmm?
    Yaśodā-nandana: In the Gurukula we were teaching Īśopaniṣad class to the children. So we took original, maybe first edition… (break) …Prabhupāda and the words which the recent edition of the Press is wrong. Many changes were brought. They were trying to make better English, but sometimes, to make better English, I think they were making philosophical mistakes also. There is no so much need of making so much better English. Your English is sufficient. It is very clear, very simple. We have caught over 125 changes. They’re changing so many things. We are wondering if this is necessary. I will show you today. I have kept the book.
    Prabhupāda: I know that these rascals are doing. What can be done? How they can be relied on?
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: It’s not the responsibility of the BBT trustees, to see these things don’t change without Prabhupāda’s sanction?
    Prabhupāda: And Rāmeśvara is indulging this. The great rascal is that Jagannātha…? He’s there in Los Angeles.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Jagannātha dāsa?
    Prabhupāda: Maybe.
    Indian devotee (2): Jagannātha-suta.
    Prabhupāda: Jagannātha-suta.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No…
    Prabhupāda: And the one rascal is gone.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Nitāi.
    Prabhupāda: Distorting. What can I do? These cannot… These rascals cannot be educated. Dangerous. Little learning, dangerous. So how to correct? The leader of these dangerous—Rādhā-vallabha.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Rādhā-vallabha?
    Prabhupāda: Hmm. He’s a dangerous, who maintains these rascal with this work. He’ll always have questions and alteration. That is his business. That is American business. They take that always. What can I do? Ultimate, it goes for editorial. They make changes, such changes.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Your original work that you’re doing now, that is edited by Jayādvaita. That’s the first editing.
    Prabhupāda: He is good.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He is good. But then, after they print the books, they’re going over. So when they reprint…
    Prabhupāda: So how to check this? How to stop this?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They should not make any changes without consulting Jayādvaita.
    Prabhupāda: But they are doing, without any authority.
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: I think we should make whole survey, all books already printed, before printing the next batch, and check any mistakes so that it should be all corrected. Otherwise, if the scholars find out that there are so many mistakes in the books, then the quality and the appreciation will be reduced.
    Girirāja(?): (indistinct)
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes. We find so far that they are appreciating so much within the scholarly circle, and we want to maintain that actually.
    Prabhupāda: Very serious feature. It is not possible for me to check, and they are doing all nonsense, freedom. (pause)
    Yaśodā-nandana: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda.
    Prabhupāda: What to do?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I think Svarūpa Dāmodara’s point, that all the books should now be checked before they’re reprinted again. And they have to be checked not by some so-called learned Sanskrit man but by a learned devotee. Just like you always favored Jayādvaita because of his Kṛṣṇa consciousness…
    Prabhupāda: Jayādvaita, Satsvarūpa…
    Yaśodā-nandana: Bhakti-prema; Satsvarūpa is there.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So Bhakti-prema… That’s a good solution.
    Prabhupāda: Yes.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: You know, the real point is that the Sanskrit is often not translated properly in the translation, what Nitāi and others have done.
    Prabhupāda: He’s a rascal. That’s… He’s finding out guru and job for filling the belly. That is the latest news.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What is he doing?
    Prabhupāda: To find out some job to fill up the belly. Otherwise he’ll starve if he doesn’t get any job. And he’s finding out guru. Job guru. Now do the needful. Otherwise everything will be spoiled. These rascal editorial… That Easy Journey, original, this (indistinct) Hayagrīva has changed so many things.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He actually took out the whole part about their going to the moon being childish. He deleted the whole section. The whole thing. He said it is (indistinct).
    Yaśodā-nandana: Also in the Bhāgavatam, where Prabhupāda was talking about Lord Buddha… You mentioned that if the followers of Lord Buddha do not close the slaughterhouse, there is no meaning to such a caricature. That word was very nice. But in new book that word is not there any more. They have pulled the word. The meaning of the word is not… So many times.
    Prabhupāda: It is very serious situation. Rāmeśvara is in direct…
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: I think they’re working too independently without consulting properly.
    Yaśodā-nandana: Sometimes they feel that “We can make better English,” so they change like that, just like in the case of Īśopaniṣad. There are over a hundred changes. So where is the need? Your words are sufficient. The potency is there. When they change, it is something else.
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: That’s actually a very dangerous mentality.
    Yaśodā-nandana: What is it going to be in five years? It’s going to be a different book.
    Prabhupāda: So you… What you are going… It is very serious situation. You write one letter that “Why you have made so many changes?” And whom to write? Who will care? All rascals are there. Write to Satsvarūpa that “This is the position. They are doing anything and everything at their whim.” The next printing should be again to the original way.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They should have a board of Satsvarūpa and Jayādvaita.
    Prabhupāda: Hmm.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Those two men are both in Los Angeles now.
    Prabhupāda: So write them immediately, that “The rascal editors, they are doing havoc, and they are being maintained by Rāmeśvara and party.”
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Sometimes there’s a fear that some word will be unpopular, and on account of a desire to gain popularity or acceptance, they lessen the strength of the word. They change the word. They choose a word which is more so-called acceptable. That’s the whole thing.
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: Same thing is with the Back to Godhead. Just publish some photo, try to change so many things in order to make it popularized. They have been doing that even with the philosophy. (pause)
    Śatadhanya: I remember when Rāmeśvara was here, he had mentioned that in one article you had denounced the Christians strongly, so he said he left one part out because he was afraid there would be a bad reaction from the Christians in America. So that kind of decision…
    Prabhupāda: That is possible. That is possible. He should be careful. Then?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I think in addition to Satsvarūpa and Jayādvaita checking the English, that Bhakti-prema Mahārāja has to check all the Sanskrit of all of the books. He’s translating now, so as he’s translating, he can check. He’s going, starting from the First Canto.
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: I think this is very appropriate, because checking English doesn’t have any meaning without checking the Sanskrit, the original.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: There was one verse in the Fifth Canto. It was impos… From the way that they translated it, there was no way that anyone could possibly have understood what the verse meant. I mean, it was made unintelligible by the translation. So we were reading. Finally Bhakti-prema says, “Wait a minute. This translation is wrong. They have added in an extra statement here that is not there, and it makes it completely not understandable.” Then suddenly, when he corrected the Sanskrit, it was easy to understand. It was very clear.
    Prabhupāda: So what to do?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So I think we just have to be slow but sure. We have to go over all of the books and make sure that they’re perfect before they’re printed again. Not be in such a rush—print, print, and print all nonsense.
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: One time I had a strong talk with Rāmeśvara Mahārāja about our article for printing in the Back to Godhead. I didn’t want them to be printed in Back to Godhead because they made so many changes…
    Prabhupāda: Oh, he has dared to change yours also?
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: Oh, yes. They change so many things in our article. And it was on the telephone. I was speaking to him in Atlanta from Los Angeles. And I told him that “This article should not be printed because they have made so many changes.” And I didn’t like that. Then they answered that “It has already been offset, and BBT policy is always to be rushing. It’s always BBT policy.” Then I told him that “If you sacrifice quality on the strength of rushing, then it is your business, but that’s not my way, so please don’t print it.” But in any case, they have printed anyway that article. And we all had a bad reaction.
    Prabhupāda: So you bring this to Satsvarūpa. They cannot change anything.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Ask Satsvarūpa (indistinct).
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: So we stopped writing article for Back to Godhead since then, because…
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Now, I think, with Satsvarūpa there, you won’t have that problem of changing like that. He wrote a letter saying that one of his first things is that he will not change what is given there unless… He will not make changes.
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: No, if they consult us, even with changing, that’s all right. But they just edit here and there and cut it out, certain things. They’re changing the whole meaning. And that makes sometimes nonsense instead of making sense.
    Prabhupāda: So on the whole, these dangerous things are going on. How to check it?
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: There has to be strong philosophical leaders who can check this, like Satsvarūpa and Jayādvaita.
    Prabhupāda: Hmm.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They have to also be included in the decisions of the BBT. It can’t simply be that managers make decisions.
    Prabhupāda: Yes. Without their sanction, there will be… Let them… These all rascals.
    Svarūpa Dāmodara: One time in that article they made a change. Saying that, the whole Vaiṣṇava philosophy became Māyāvādī in that scientific article. So I told them that “You are better than…, a better (indistinct).” It all become Māyāvādī, so it became all mad. That is why I strongly told them that “This shouldn’t be the way. If you want to change, you have to consult with those who are writers.” At least the article.
    Prabhupāda: So they are doing very freely and dangerously. And this rascal is always after change, Rādhā-vallabha. He’s a great rascal. (long pause) Read.

  5. Srila Prabhupāda: “No, that is most dishonest. Oh, yes. You cannot interpret my book in your own way. That is not allowed. No gentleman will do that. You, if you have got a different view, you put your view in your own book. Don’t drag my book. That is honesty. And because my book is popular, you take advantage of my book, and you interpret in your own way… This is most dishonest. You cannot do that.”
    Room Conversation with Dr. Copeland, Professor of Modern Indian History — May 20, 1975, Melbourne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *