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Why Do We Want The Original Books Of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada?

It is of utmost importance to preserve the teachings of disciplic succesion intact, so that the spiritual medicine of Krsna consciousness remains concentrated and potent to be capable of curing the bhava-roga, material disease of the souls embodied in material nature.

Krsna consciousness, the system of bhakti-yoga, the supermost process and state of spiritual realization was confined in the Vedas, written in Sanskrit language for thousands of years and after the appearance of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when His disciples, the Goswamis of Vrindavana and other Vaisnavas expounded on His teachings, in Bengali language for hundreds of years. One had to be very fortunate to take his birth in India to be able to take advantage of this divine messages, or he had to learn Sanskrit and Bengali to study the original writings. The first pioneer to change this for the benefit of the whole world was Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who first started to write on the topics of Krsna consciousness in English language and was the first to send a book on Lord Caitanya´s life and precepts to the Western educational institution, namely the McGill University in Montreal, Canada. His son, the great acarya Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura continued in his effort to expose the proper conclusions of Vedanta to the English-speaking populace of the world and on the order of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to the West, to unlock this long sought after “fountain of youth” of spiritual knowledge, to inundate the whole world with ocean of transcendental nectar that brings about life of eternal knowledge and bliss. He accomplished this great task through the medium of his transcendental books and recorded sound in forms of lectures, conversations, song purports etc. which will circulate around the planet on and on for the next ten thousand years as a crystal-clear guide for those who aspire to make their way back home, back to Godhead.

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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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