For many years we have been developing a more clear understanding in regards to the controversy that has arisen around the books of our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. This article is the result of that endeavor. Those who sincerely try to follow his instructions cultivate and fully accept the idea that his vāṇi cannot be adulterated, because the pure message descending from the ācārya on his disciples is the essence of the paramparā, disciplic succession.
Let me say a bit about my personal history. When I first heard that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books have been changed without his authorization, I was alarmed. Over the years, in my humble endeavour to preserve Śrīla Prabhupāda´s books as they are I have collected the complete set of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam printed before 1978, the complete set of 1975 Śrī Caitanya-Caritamṛta, the 1972 Bhagavad-gītā, the 1974 Kṛṣṇa trilogy, the 1970 Nectar of Devotion and many of the small books (first printings). I have also translated a few of them into my native Slovak language, including the 1972 Bhagavad-gītā, 1969 Śrī Īśopaniṣad, Beyond Birth and Death, Perfection of Yoga, Elevation to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, Rāja-vidyā, The Nectar of Instruction etc. My understanding at that time was that the editing of the original text for the sake of translation should be nil or as minimal as possible even at the risk of compromising the clarity of the text. So I fanatically stuck to the English wording and although the Slovak result was often an awkward material to read, I just couldn´t allow myself any sort of compromise, fearing the inevitable changing of the sacred text in the process of translation to another language. When I look back at these first Slovak translations, they bring smile to my face. They blend innocence on one side, which is always appreciated but naiveté on the other, which may not necessarily lead to desired progress in our undertakings. Realizations developed and in the light of research we see the shadows of, for many, unpalatable facts. The reason why I am stating this is to emphasize that the following exposé is not a mere theoretical, political, or a social media type of viewpoint. I am speaking from a position of a translator who is trying to approach this problem from a practical side.