BBTI changes books

1972 Gita Changes Exposed. Part 2: Best Understood

In these series we show various changes found in the 1972 edition of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and how they change the meaning of Srila Prabhupada’s words. It is understood that while editing, sometimes words are changed for clarity. Therefore, in these series of articles, we try to avoid spending too much time focusing on changes that alter the words with the purpose of giving the intended meaning in the original writing more force. With each change discussed we present the original spoken dictation as recorded by Srila Prabhupada on February the 19-20th 1966, the same passage in the 1972 Macmillan edition and finally our humble commentary.

INTRODUCTION

Now here is a direction that Bhagavad-gita is especially instructed to Arjuna, the devotee of the Lord, the direct student of Krsna. And not only that, he is intimately in touch with Krsna as friend. Therefore Bhagavad-gita is understood by a person who has similar qualities like Krsna. That means he must be a devotee, he must be in relation, direct relationship with the Lord.

Introduction to Gitopanisad (Earliest Recording of Srila Prabhupada in the Bhaktivednta Archives) Bhagavad-gita Introduction,  New York, February 19-20, 1966.

So we see that Bhagavad-gita is instructed to Arjuna especially because Arjuna was a devotee of the Lord, a direct student of Krsna, and His intimate friend. Therefore Bhagavad-gita is BEST understood by a person who has qualities similar to Arjuna’s. That is to say he must be a devotee in a direct relationship with the Lord.

Bg-1972: introduction

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Why Are The Original Books Changed?

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 Ś 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 Ś 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.

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