"Improving On The Perfect"
by Rocana dasa
March 31, 2004
consider the issue of the re-editing of Srila Prabhupada's books after
his departure to be one of the most crucial issues facing the Vaisnava
community today. I can only assume that the reader has been made aware
of the justifications expounded by Jayadvaita Swami, the instigator of
this action. The issue is again making headlines due to the publication
of Madhudvisa dasa's recent report of the unfortunate experience he had
with Jayadvaita Swami in Mayapur. The issue was already at the
forefront due to the lawsuit that was filed against ISKCON, in which
the challenging parties won the case and gained permission to print the
original, unedited versions of Srila Prabhupada's books.
Personally, I stand firmly in favor
of the position of not changing the books, and I'm certainly not alone
in that position. I can't definitively say just how many people within
the community support the 'no change' position, but I have a feeling
it's a much larger group than Jayadvaita Swami and his supporters would
like to believe – even within the institution of ISKCON.
Swami only got the GBC's permission to do this editing by a single
vote, and the GBC did not establish extensive guidelines in an effort
to guide the process. Now that the editing work is considered to be
complete or near complete, the truth is being revealed that there were
extensive changes made to both the translations and the purports -- far
more than Jayadvaita Swami had made people understand his original
intention to be. Even in his justifications, he suggests that he was
simply correcting some grammatical errors. In reality, there are many
places where he significantly changed the meanings of what was
In my mind, the essential question
about this issue is one that is seemingly never asked: what is the
mentality or vision of those who engaged in the editing, and those who
voted for it and still support it? What is the vision of Srila
Prabhupada that would allow them to go ahead with this type of
I've made my position clear as to
how I see Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acarya. If others were
seeing him in that light, I don't see how they could possibly justify
bringing about changes, or think that there could be any improvement
upon such a personality's literatures. No one seems to ask this basic
question in regards to the book changing issue, or any of the other
issues that have confronted the followers of Srila Prabhupada after his
The philosophy teaches us that
there are not only philosophical roots to every situation, but there is
the whole process of thinking, feeling and willing to be considered. If
someone's doing something, one can assume they've thought about it to
the point where they were motivated to act. So what were the original
thoughts that brought about the kind of motivation that resulted in
changes to the books, and other questionable activities? If one
continues to justify their actions, then they must still be thinking
the same thoughts they originally did, before they acted.
We can only conclude that
Jayadvaita Swami is not seeing Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya
Acarya. Similarly, Satsvarupa dasa, who wrote the Lilamrta, did not see
or depict Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acarya. And the Zonal
Acaryas, who introduced their whole program after Srila Prabhupada
left, they weren't seeing Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acarya.
And anyone who was originally a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, then
takes shelter of some other guru, even for siksa... as far as I'm
concerned, they're not seeing Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya
Acarya. What to speak of those whole leave Krsna Consciousness
The changing of Srila
Prabhupada's books is, in my mind, one of the most dangerous things an
individual can do. Consider the reactions that those who supported,
promoted and printed the edited books are in store for. We witness that
those who venture into such dangerous territory have a tendency to go
crazy as a result of their offenses. My suggestion is that anyone who
is in any way sympathetic or supportive of these activities should do a
re-think, because they'll get some sort of a reaction, proportionate to
their approval or support. Srila Prabhupada once said that the problem
with Westerners is that they're just not afraid of Maya. And changing
the Sampradaya Acarya's books is the most serious influence of Maya
that one can succumb to.
Replies: 18 comments
of Jayadvaita Maharaja's changes are well-founded. Dhanurdhara Maharaja
has also documented some obvious problems with Nectar of Devotion. I
don't understand why there is such visceral fear of correcting these
mistakes. Jayadwaita Swami has, in my opinion, handled these things
responsibly and should be commended.
Posted by Jagat @ 04/26/2004 12:10 PM PST
you for your response, which is predictable. We have been discussing
this overall issue for many years now. Ultimately, it seems that our
conclusions come down to our different perceptions of Srila Prabhupada.
This is not only due to the fact that I am a disciple of Srila
Prabhupada and you're essentially an ex-disciple, but also that we
disagree as to Srila Prabhupada's spiritual position. This obviously
colors our perceptions on the issue of changing the books.
Prabhupada often emphasized a point that sums it all up: one drop of
urine spoils the whole vat of milk. As for whether or not Jayadvaita
Swami is capable of adding a drop of urine to the milk, I personally
think that he is.
that you're a writer and an intellectual, I can't imagine that you'd
approve the notion of someone editing and "improving upon" your
writings after you've left your body. It astounds me that you, of all
people, would approve of this. Not only have you been trained in the
Western academic environment, you're also well aware of how the Eastern
tradition looks upon this issue. Yet for some reason, you choose to
approve of it and give your sanction to Jayadvaita Swami's actions.
hold the opinion that Srila Prabhupada did not approve of what's being
done. There are many instances where Srila Prabhupada commented on this
type of activity. We all know the circumstances that surrounded the
writing of Srila Prabhupada's books, and that there were persons
involved in full-time editing work who were given a certain amount of
leeway by Srila Prabhupada to put his thoughts and words into
academically acceptable form. But to think that this responsibility
extends beyond the time when he is no longer here to read and approve
of this editing work is absurd.
Posted by Rocana dasa @ 04/28/2004 10:48 AM PST
find it an offensive show of faithlessness that any person would think
that they have the advancement and position to change Srila
Prabhupada's purports and translations - unless Srila Prabhupada
himself gave them direct instructions to do so.
incidents like this that make me wonder if, despite being in ISKCON
since 1995, I will ever find a guru whom I feel is bonefide and able to
give me true diksa/siksa and take me back to Godhead.
We can only pray that Gouranga Mahaprabhu will take pity and send the next Acharya soon...
Posted by Bhaktin O @ 05/05/2004 10:49 AM PST
course Jagat is going to side with Jayadvaita Swami on His editing,
Jagat has an agenda which will have him side with someone whom He would
otherwise dismiss as as unworthy of writing anything on Gaudiya
siddhanta, simply because He holds a strong view that Srila Prabhupada
is somewhat deficient in His writings and presents a neo gaudiya
siddhanta that is full of sanskrit errors and or presents a
misrepresentation of gaudiya thought that has it's roots in Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta, so from Jagat's perspective it's not so much that
Srila Prabhupadas books can gain from editing but in fact it would be
best to disregard the lot of them as they don't represent the "true"
teachings of the 6 Goswamis and the rest of the Acharyas who claim
philosophical viability as the Goswami's spiritual disciples.
Jagat is being disingenuous because really He would have the entire
canon written by Srila Prabhupada rejected, edited or not.
am not going to comment on the details of sanskritology or the
viability of certain ideologies stressed by Srila Prabhupadas
detractors or revisionists, these people believe as they do based on
faith. When attempts are made to establish a "pure" doctrine juxtaposed
next to the current popular version within a religious or faith based
thought system, ultimately anyone's ideas carry the same amount of
"authenticity" in terms of objective thought.
the subjective realm of faith and religious ideology no one can be
proven to be right or wrong, we can judge people's claims based only on
subjective reasoning based on our own faith based notions of what is
real or unreal, so I won't comment on who is or what is representing
"bonafide spiritual truth" or "bogus mundane truth", beauty is in the
eye of he beholder.
feeling is that editing the writings of Srila Prabhupada is done so due
to a lack respect for the vision of Srila Prabhupada. I hear complaints
from those who are pro editing that many scholars reject the "errors"
in translation or others feel that not enough emphasis is placed on
some point of contention that they feel is the "real" thing that needs
to be brought out of a verse or paragraph.
these same people are quick to defend their own versions as
unassailable and beyond refute or revision, essentially what we have
here is those who see themselves as superior to Srila Prabhupada or
desire to be seen as the "real deal" today with the ability to revise
what he has written due to their own perfected vision, and as we have
seen they get very agitated if anyone disagrees with them, they become
verbally abusive and tend to foam out of the mouth.
This showcase's the egotism that is at the heart of the revisionist's and higher minded "pure" representative's of
have an agenda. When I was a child we played a game called "King of the
hill", the goal was to remain the person at the top of the hill or
whatever object we had climbed, everyone would climb up and attempt to
become king by dethroning the person on top.
is the real inner dimension at the heart of these controversies, those
who believe that by establishing the "truth" of defects in what Srila
Prabhupada presented by default become the jagat guru by dint of
overthrowing the reigning king.
The King is dead...long live the King.
Posted by shiva das @ 05/09/2004 06:17 PM PST
Dear Shiva dasa,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I'd like to express how pleased I am to have you contributing to the
Blog in such an expert and erudite manner. I wonder if you are the same
Shiva das that posted the article on Chakra.org concerning Srila
Prabhupada's vision on varnasrama? I was just thinking about responding
to that article.
am quite familiar with Jagatananda's version and vision of Srila
Prabhupada. Our friendship goes back to 1970, when we were both young
bhaktas in the Toronto yatra. We remained good friends up until the
time he unceremoniously departed Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON in 1979 (or
thereabouts), and got converted over to the way of thinking that he is
now committed to. I was the Regional Sect'y in Montreal when Jagat
returned from his years of being a local sadhu in the Mayapur area. He
then went back to university to eventually get his Ph.D. in Sanskrit.
In fact, I introduced him to his present wife. So, my perspective on
Jagat tends to be more personal than academic.
agree with your assessment that in this day and age, we conditioned
souls have our own perspective which can't be presented as being
absolute. We will only know how perfect it is in our next lifetime.
From what I read here, it seems that you and I share a similar vision
in terms of Srila Prabhupada's spiritual position. My position is made
clear in my Sampradaya Acarya paper, which I would welcome your comment on.
of the chief principles of our philosophy is the uniqueness of every
individual jivatma. Krsna Consciousness really provides an opportunity
for that individuality to flourish, as is easily observed within the
Vaisnava community today. One should not get too emotional when
individuals are presenting their philosophical vision on the
intricacies of our Vaisnava philosophy, because a sincere Vaisnava is
always gradually elevating his consciousness and one never knows where
his path will take him at the time he leaves his body. Relative to all
the inconceivable living entities on this planet, just to find one who
believes in Krsna as the Supreme Personality is extremely rare, and we
should always keep that in mind.
Posted by Rocana dasa @ 05/10/2004 10:34 AM PST
Hi Rocana, yes I am the same Shiva Das who wrote that article in Chakra.
I don't know if I have ever met Jagat (is that His name from Srila
Prabhupada ?), I have had quite a few discussions with Him online on
various forums, Like Jayadvaita He is quick to take offense if
criticized yet constantly criticizes others, to me this is a sign of
the ego controlling the person, if He (they) was criticizing purely out
of the desire to express His differences based on philosophical
conclusions then He (they) would not take himself so seriously and take
offense so quickly.
egotist with an agenda will criticize others out of the desire to be
seen as superior to those He criticizes, while the non egotist may
indeed make the same exact critique but without the hidden agenda to
come out looking like the second coming.
We can tell the difference between the two types by their own reactions to criticism aimed at themselves.
non egotist will accept the critique without getting upset or feeling
attacked and He will not respond viciously or make an ad hominem
attack, He has nothing to lose by losing a debate or having His
position philosophically defeated.
egotist will react in the opposite way, He has an agenda to proselytize
himself, anyone who criticizes Him in a seemingly successful way i.e
defeats His position, will be seen as the enemy, the egotist will see
His agenda endangered, His reaction will be inspired by the
subconscious urge of fight or flight ( He feels threatened ).
these are simple discussions with no physical threat the reaction will
be to fight and attack the threat, not philosophically or detached as a
non egotist without an agenda would do, but instead they will make some
kind of vicious or ad hominem attack, they will attack the person who
they see as a threat to their agenda of seeming superior to whomever is
their target audience.
Jagat and Jayadvaita are both learned to a degree, I have read the way
Jayadvaita reacts to criticism, it's not what one would expect from a
detached non egotist.
various debates with Jagat invariably end up with Jagat getting
personal and making ad hominem attacks or trying to assume the dominant
role through subtle denigrating remarks or even outright attempts at
course He is not alone in this style of debating, almost all of the
other self promoters/Srila Prabhupada denigrators employ the same
"technique" when confronted with their own foibles or are made to
appear as less then perfect on public forums, almost all react the same
way, most much worse then Jagat.
is to be expected that those who set out on a course to establish
themselves as a guru figure (without inner qualification) will attempt
to do so the easiest way i.e dethrone the prominent guru, and woe be it
to those who stand in their way.
Reading over your article on the Sampradaya Acarya left me with some questions.
First you wrote;
historical record shows that within a few months of the Acarya’s
disappearance, the elite amongst the senior disciples conspired to form
the notorious Zonal Acarya fellowship. The first task executed under
their calculated plan was to capture the minds and hearts of ISKCON’s
grassroots followers, which were exclusively reposed in Srila
Prabhupada. In order to accomplish this goal, they went about
undermining the prevailing “myth” of Srila Prabhupada being a
nitya-siddha Sampradaya Acarya. Their diabolical plan called for
propaganda that simultaneously elevated the eleven imitator’s spiritual
image while at the same time deflating the all-pervading exalted
conception of Srila Prabhupada."
was unware of such a thing, I became a devotee in '77, I didn't move
into the ashrama until Feb '78, because of the dark mood at the temple
during the time of Prabhupadas departure I hesitated on moving in until
the depression seemingly lifted.
no time during my tenure within ISKCON (78-81) was I aware of any kind
of undermining of Srila Prabhupada's position, and I was mostly in
southern California where so many dramatic scenarios were playing out
at that time.
is no doubt that the 11 were attempting to enshrine themselves as
Uttama Vaishnavas in everyone's vision, this obsession led them to the
point of making unwise decisions on how to deal with threats to that
perception among the congregation and new recruits.
it was just my location that left me free from seeing an attempt to
diminish Srila Prabhupada, but I was never aware of such a thing and
looking back I cannot think of anything I may have missed.
you have some specific examples from that period that you observed ?
Also I haven't read the Lilamrta since it first came out, what do you
find to be disinformation in it ?
am sure it wasn't accurate in many ways, I am sure many things were
either left out or made up or changed in order to give an impression
the writer wanted to give, But I don't know what those would be, can
you cite some examples ?
your critque of the current situation among the various groups offering
diksa or ritvik initiations you make no reference to the solution, by
that I mean that most people who start on the path of Gaudiya
Vaishnvaism will desire to take diksa, they will desire to be given a
new name, the mantra , to be "part of the club", what to you suggest as
a recourse for these people ?
Posted by Shiva das @ 05/10/2004 06:24 PM PST
Dear Shiva das,
Obeisances and all glories to Srila Prabhupada.
read your Varnasrama piece and basically agree with your assessment of
what Srila Prabhupada is saying, and the fact that the disciples who
were involved in the conversation couldn't/wouldn't figure out what
Srila Prabhupada was saying. I can understand why, knowing both the
personalities and the institutional environment at that time. As far as
anything in ISKCON changing along the lines of what you were
suggesting, I don't see it ever happening. In reality, there is no
international society. There are individual gurus with their own
asramas who decide individually what they like best. I doubt varnasrama
would suit them very much.
your psychological assessment of Hiranyagarbha (Jagat) and others who
let their egos overcome their common sense and rationality, it's an
accurate appraisal from that angle of vision. Of course, we're all here
in the material world because we want to be God rather than serve God.
That same principle applies to the envy directed towards the advanced
servants of God. This tendency is more refined in the case of Jagat
than in some of crude commentators.
you for reading the Sampradaya Acarya paper. You state that you were
completely unaware of this zonal acarya takeover mentality, but also
say that you joined the movement at the very time this phenomenon took
place. It seems that you have no experience to compare what it was like
prior to Srila Prabhupada's departure compared to after the zonals took
over. My circumstances and experiences were quite different. Not only
was I in the movement for seven years prior to Srila Prabhupada's
departure, I was also in a 'middle-management' position, so I knew all
the participants personally and had worked with them in the past. I was
also well aware of the politics going on at that level. I wrote a
somewhat detailed version of those events in Srila Prabhupada's Perfect Plan, Part IV, 'The Zonal Acarya System'.
has proven the fact that the zonals got severe reactions for what they
did, and the movement suffered almost irreparably. Granted, the
situation in Los Angeles was far less hyper than it was in other parts
of the world, where different personalities held court. If you want a
detailed version of some of those experiences, you could read my paper
on Hansadutta, "Oh, I Remember You".
After the Hansadutta chapter I moved to England, and experienced the
Jayatirtha falldown. I then moved back to Canada and experienced
Bhaktipada's impact on Eastern Canada. It was a series of very
traumatic events, as I went from one frying pan to the next.
your question about what solution I'm proposing on the initiation
issue, I do present a solution in the Sampradaya Acarya paper. Granted,
it isn't likely to be seen as a solution by the institution, but if
they would adopt it, it would solve the problem. I agree that under the
present circumstances, many devotees are compelled to want to know who
their guru is and what their spiritual name is. They want to become
'part of the club'. But that's the result of the type of preaching
going on today, which is very often an exploitation of the neophyte's
advocate preaching in such a way as to allow a new participant the
chance to mature and understand the nature of the philosophy and the
Sampradaya Acarya. Gurus and institutions tend to exploit the
newcomer's desire to be included, and encourage them to think that
unless they become initiated, their spiritual advancement will be
I'm saying is that as soon as you accept the preeminent Sampradaya
Acarya as being such, then you're essentially initiated, because that
IS the sampradaya. To the degree that other gurus (diksas or siksas)
emphasize that concept, and emphasize Srila Prabhupada's position and
stick to his program -- to that degree they're serving as a guru. To
the degree they're not, they're serving as a detrimental force.
my opinion that unless one thoroughly studies Srila Prabhupada's books
and his positions on philosophical issues, than one should not
officially and formally accept someone other than Srila Prabhupada as
newcomer should be instructed and facilitated into a thorough study of
Srila Prabhupada's works with the understanding that he is the
Sampradaya Acarya. If this process is done properly, at a certain point
one will feel qualified to be able to appraise any and all teachers or
potential gurus based on what they understand to be the qualifications
for such persons, as Srila Prabhupada presented them. First and
foremost, the prospective guru has to be recognizing Srila Prabhupada
as the Sampradaya Acarya. Secondly, they have to be closely following
Srila Prabhupada's programs. Thirdly, one has to determine if anything
they're saying could be construed as being philosophically different
from what Srila Prabhupada said. If one ascertains that all three of
these things are being fulfilled by the prospective guru, then one can
decide if they want to officially accept them as either a siksa or
if in this lifetime you can't find a qualified guru, you're still in a
far better position than if you choose the wrong person just to satisfy
immature needs, which are basically material.
Posted by Rocana dasa @ 05/11/2004 01:29 PM PST
Rocana, I had read your piece "oh I remember you" a while ago and found
it very enlightening. I knew Hansadutta somewhat and I met Jayatirtha
when He first moved to California with a handful of His friends and
followers. A few of my friends and I drove up to Marin county and spent
a few days with them, they were very gracious and charming and had a
vision of preaching to New Age leaders their own brand of Krsna
consciousness. I later learned from his ex wife who was there at the
time that we visited at a time when they were at their most "together"
and happy, I was informed that later they grew into a less serene and
contentious lot, but at the time they appeared quite open hearted and
sincere although altogether I had only around a weeks worth of
association with them in marin and then again a few months later when
they visited us in southern california.
met Hansadutta several times when He was not acting as a Guru figure
and I was able to see His true personality manifest, this was many
years ago, clearly He had some health and mental related issues that He
needed to deal with, perhaps He is better now ?
in fact I have no way to compare Iskcon between Prabhupada's
association and after, I first started going to the temple while He was
very sick and didn't join until after He left, and I was not aware of
any management or internal schisms between His disciples and the zonal
acarya's and their backers until later.
Southern California the temple presidents were all big supporters of
Ramesvara, so there was no open dissension among the leaders of the
temples and the zonal guru as there appears to have been elsewhere. In
fact I can remember the temple presidents telling me repeatedly the
"glories" of Ramesvara and how He was a pure devotee and how we should
surrender to Him, they were instrumental in creating the aura of
supermen(the gurus) among us new devotees, No doubt this was all about
instilling devotion so we would go out and collect funds in order to
please our "pure devotee spiritual master". I remember being told that
how much money we collected was a sign of our devotion to our guru.
southern California Ramesvara was obsessed with being the top zone,
which of course meant being the one which collected the most money,
Bhagavatam classes regularly became transformed into bizarre sessions
on firing up the devotees for competition with other zones, especially
Jayatirtha's which was the main competitor, this didn't happen when I
first joined , but after around a year or two it became all about the
money and competition.
remember during a "christmas marathon" how Ramesvara would be waiting
for us to get back late at night in the room where we would go to drop
off our collections, He wanted to know on the spot how much we had
collected, so nightly we would all count it out in front of Him, we
would receive either a look of disgust or delight depending on how much
we collected, it is clear to me now how He knowingly abused our faith
and ignorance, using Prabhupadas teachings about serving your guru in
such a cretinous way.
"celebrity" non gurus were the people who collected the most funds,
they were our new role models, the new devotees were constantly hearing
from the reports during the morning programs of which temples collected
the most money, and whomever collected the most money were then given
status as the great devotees, and we were supposed to show him
deference as a Maha Bhagavata as He made the rounds "firing up
"sankirtan devotees" in the various zones.
remember Praghosa, Tripurari, Vaisesika etc. all became Iskcon
celebrities due to their fund collecting ability, this is what I most
remember of that time, the use of collecting money as a tool of control
over peoples minds and the negative effect over their
emotional/spiritual well being this produced if they were unable to
live up to the expectations. Many scandals came of that kind of modus
operandi, especially among the womens parties, The attitude was "use em
up and then hang them out to dry when they were no longer of monetary
left Iskcon when in 1981 I was fed up with L.A and went up to Iskcon
San Francisco, by chance Dhira Krsna and Brahma had just returned from
India and Sridhara Maharaja's math and were also staying at Atreya
Rsi's temple in the upper Haight district.
was there when a number of GBC men flew in to try and convince Dhira
Krsna to not start a Sridhar Math in the Bay area (which was His stated
listened in as they had debates in his room, My room was next door and
the walls were thin so I heard everything, Dhira Krsna is quite expert
at speaking and was able to philosphically leave the GBC men at a lack
of words to defend their position. At one point when Jayapataka was
there all of a sudden Hansadutta showed up, He accussed Jayapataka of
stealing His gold ( $1 million he said ) when He took over Hansaduttas
philippines temple, He was very upset and demanded his gold back.
Anyways, compared to these shenanigans and the money centric rasa down south Dhira Krsna seemed like an oasis of sanity.
I joined up with Him and Brahma and we went looking for a house,
eventually He settled on an impressive architectually famous house in
San Jose, this was right before "silicon valley" was born so housing
prices were quite low in San Jose compared to now.
me this was when I officially left Iskcon, although I only stayed with
the Sridhar Math for a very short time I was able to learn a lot of the
inner political realities within Iskcon, many devotees from around
Iskcon came to visit, even Acyutananda Swami!.
then I have seen the Sridhar movement grow into quite a large
phenomena, I have seen the gradual disintegration of the zonal acharya
phenomena and the rise of various Gaudiya Maths and other Babaji
centered groups, I have no affiliation with any group.
far as initiation goes, My feeling is that of live and let live, if
everyone was to respect each others views, either diksa from a guru or
ritvik or whatever, then that would serve everyone's interests, when we
make a campaign against another group and their preferred conception
then they will do the same back to us, the result is that everyone ends
up looking the fool and very un-spiritual. We need to openly let all
conceptions be acceptable, then we can all work together as one family
without having our reputations besmirched and all the attending results
of open warfare between camps.
do feel Iskcon can change though, where there is a will there is a way,
ultimately the destiny of Iskcon is already written out and really we
are all actors on Sri Gaurangas stage.
peace and love.
Posted by Shiva Das @ 05/11/2004 04:20 PM PST
Haribol, Shiva das
appreciated reading your long posting in which you describe your
experiences after joining the LA temple, and up until the time you
left. Your description of the circumstances and the mood in the LA
temple was very accurate as I remember it, also. We were all getting
the 'enth degree' from Ramesvara in terms of book distribution
pressures, and the super-hype. In hindsight, I've concluded that he was
just fulfilling his karmic destiny as a Jewish businessman, and
dovetailing it to a certain degree with Krsna's service, but not in a
full and enlightened state. I suppose there is some good amongst all
the negative ramifications. Of course, we all know he didn't last, and
has gone back to his karmic activities.
relating of the circumstances surrounding Dhira Krishna and Sridhar's
influence on him was very interesting. The description of his bringing
back his branch into America provided a lot more detail than I was
agree that your conclusion that we should all just learn to accept all
these various branches that have spawned from Srila Prabhupada has some
validity. We are all conditioned souls, and therefore cannot speak with
any absolute authority on these matters. This dilemma about who is in
the disciplic succession and who is a qualified guru has been going on
since time immemorial. Still, we all have a certain obligation to
thoroughly study the issue and arrive at our own philosophical
conclusions because, as we've heard so many times, Krsna Consciousness
is a science and that implies that there is an absolutely true
viewpoint. If one adopts a viewpoint that is not near to the perfect
one, then there are spiritual ramifications.
can live and associate with almost anyone of any viewpoint, within
reason. What agitates my mind and causes incompatibility is associating
with those who are, by definition, fanatic because they have convinced
themselves that their view is without a doubt absolutely true, and
anyone who doesn't accept it is destined to the darkest regions as a
great aparadhi, etc.
in all, it's my belief that religiosity is in full growth mode since
Srila Prabhupada's departure. At this point in time we still have the
opportunity to personally choose spiritually as opposed to religiosity.
It takes a great deal of introspection and philosophical contemplation
and study to remain aloof from the tendency to want to just take the
easy way out, which is to see Krsna Consciousness according to some
religious doctrine. You appear to be such a person, and for that reason
I appreciate your association.
Posted by Rocana dasa @ 05/13/2004 10:53 AM PST
I would like to say what has been said over and over. No one should
change Srila Prabhupada's books. How can anyone outdo or improve on
perfection. Except for som typographical errors caused at the printers
nothing should be altered.
Hare Krsna and dandavats
Posted by Girish @ 05/21/2004 01:51 AM PST
Based on my own sadhana...Sri Prabhupada's books are magic/mystical.
There is no need to polish them.
read thru the original Bhagavatams...some of the sentences seemed to be
sanskrit gramar w/English words...I could not get the meaning...but I
got the "yoga" that is available there. Some types of mentalities think
that they can improve Prabhupada's books...someone's type/level of
faith enables them to do such a thing. But..."as for me and my
family...Give me the original books...or give me death".
many types of mentalities,inteligences,egos.. therefore: "all these
things must come to pass". So... a bit of alteration of the books is a
type of test. Now you've got a choice to make. Sri Prabhupada's words
... even with "strange" grammar/word usage... if listened to
w/submissive aural reception(not thinking while listening) can be
followed right up into transcendence...Its a mystic process. From there
the yoga is established/manifests and you go on into infinity (beyond
syntax,grammar,spelling). For anyone who wants that experience... there
is no need to add and subtract to/from Sri Prabhupada's words. There
are people who are "stained"/infected by
intelectualism...scholarlship/dialectic ability achievement... They
concieve of achieving transcendence thru scholorship...which ain't
gonna happen...even after many years they sense that they are still
embodied so they wonder "what else needs to be learned? there must be
something else"...So they try to polish the words...God only knows how
much intellectual pursuit has to be gone-thru by each individual? There
is no need to polish Prabhupada's books...there is no need to become a
scholar. Another thing is... we do not need the "Goswami literatures"
to get translated into english...Transcendence is right there in front
of us...right now. Do children need to study their friends before they
can go out and play ? Do you need to study emotions and know the
sanskrit words for them before you can experience them? You can do all
that intelectualism...but ...when you get tired of it... stop using
your will to form thoughts/concepts w/the mind...and listen to a pure
devotee say something...anything.The effect is infinity beyond what
using the mind could ever do. When you get tired of playing in the
sandbox of mental conceptions... you go out and do real life. The
experiece of transcendece is so shocking that we are afraid to
surrender...we will do anything to stay away...yet ...we want to stay
near ... so we play make-believe. scholarship...changing a pure
devotees words is error due to conceptualization of the mystic yoga
process. When you change the words...you muddy the waters...you are
resisting ...more or less...the posibility of cognizing that which is
beyond the time/space reality... Krsna's feet. Someone may say
that...if we don't polish/correct the books...scholarly-type people
will reject Prabhupada's books...That shouts to me that they don't see
God lets us try to improve
everything...scholars feel the mind getting sophisticated...but that is
not what transcendence is. Its like trying to solve an equation that
goes on forever...ever seeming to get closer...yet always a bit out of
reach. It is due to a "feverish-mentality". ...Krsna consciousness is
an awakening not achieveable by studying...but by surrendering. The
enlightened guru knows that some are not ready for the shock of
infinity...so he sets them to the task of scholorship/intellectual
pursuit... it keeps them near-by transcendence...for as long as it
takes...after all...lifetimes are moments in infinity...I don't blame
devotees for "tweeking" the books a bit...But... It ain't necessary.
Posted by Kamalasan @ 06/01/2004 04:15 AM PST
changing Srila Prabhupada's books and translations, Jayadvaita Swami
considers himself more learned than his own spiritual master, and this,
of course, is extremely offensive. Srila Prabhupada never gave
permission for his books to be changed, despite the flimsy excuses
given by Jayadvaita Swami. He made it quite clear on many occasions
that this was not to happen and that any offenders should be removed
from all positions of responsibility. Why does the GBC continue to
allow Jayadvaita Swami to continue with his offenses? Srila Prabhupada
called it the American disease. The propensity to change things that
obviously don't need changing.
Perhaps if more and more devotees
speak out the GBC will finally realize that Jayadvaita Swami is nothing
more than a concocter and will remove him from doing any more damage.
Posted by Bk. Murray @ 06/01/2004 04:05 PM PST
I read with interest your article and am a bit bemused by your(?)
awarding of the title 'sampradaya acarya' to Srila Prabhupada. Isn't
Srila Rupa Goswami our sampradaya acarya??
*philosophy* of Krishna consciousness as presented by Srila Prabhupada
is not different at all from that presented by his spiritual master(s).
Certainly not enough to justify any claim to unique sampradaya status
(at least up until the recent ISKCON GBC decided that the jivas can
fall from the Lord's association...).
the bestowal of this title, with its inference that ISKCON is a unique
sampradaya, is meant to distance ISKCON from other Gaudiya Vaisnava
groups, then it is simply an expression of political correctness, and a
gross misuse of the term 'sampradaya', in which case, prabhuji, we
ought to be careful not to mislead innocent devotees with unfounded
philosophical speculations, nice weblogs notwithstanding. Srila
Prabhupada himself never mentioned anything about his having begun a
new 'sampradaya'. He
any case, as you have kindly pointed out, this endless editing and
re-editing of Srila Prabhupada's books is really, really bogus. Let his
original words speak for themselves, and let any and all editors write
their own books.
Subal Krishna das
Posted by Subal Krishna das @ 07/14/2004 02:35 AM PST
Dear Subal Krishna das,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you for visiting the site, and responding to this Blog.
a bit bemused myself about your various statements. If you actually
read my article, I don't know how you could come to the conclusions
that you apparently did. You wrote:
"Isn't Srila Rupa Goswami our sampradaya acarya??"
While the phrasing of your question is unclear, I presume you're not suggesting that Rupa Goswami should be considered our current or only Sampradaya Acarya. I assume you're asking rhetorically, 'isn't Rupa Goswami also
our Sampradaya Acarya?' My paper clearly acknowledges that Rupa Goswami
is a Sampradaya Acarya. He is included as such in the paper, in Srila
Prabhupada's list of Sampradaya Acaryas. So, I'm not sure what the
point is you're trying to make. Please clarify.
state that what Srila Prabhupada is presenting is non-different than
what was presented by his spiritual masters, which is exactly what I'm
saying. The real debate is focused on those who are now claiming to be
in the Sampradaya, and to be essentially on the same level of authority
and purity as those members of the Sampradaya who are included on Srila
Prabhupada's list of Sampradaya Acaryas. Whether such persons be siksa
or diksa gurus, whether they be in ISKCON or the Gaudiya Matha, those
who claim the same level of spiritual stature as Srila Prabhupada and
the previous Sampradaya Acaryas should come under scrutiny. Their
status is debatable, and that's the point made in my paper.
the bestowal of this title, with its inference that ISKCON is a unique
sampradaya, is meant to distance ISKCON from other Gaudiya Vaisnava
groups, then it is simply an expression of political correctness, and a
gross misuse of the term 'sampradaya', in which case, prabhuji, we
ought to be
careful not to mislead innocent devotees with unfounded philosophical speculations, nice weblogs notwithstanding."
notion that Srila Prabhupada is non-different than ISKCON and that
ISKCON is therefore some unique sampradaya is not at all supported by
what I said – in fact, it's quite the opposite. I've made it abundantly
clear that I do not consider modern day ISKCON to be in any way a pure
representative of Srila Prabhupada. First and foremost, they don't even
acknowledge that Srila Prabhupada is a Sampradaya Acarya. They have
resurrected the whole concept of the diksa lineage, which is also
contrary to the preachings and teachings of the Sampradaya Acaryas. I
could go on in detail, but basically that's what the paper discusses.
You also write:
"Certainly not enough to justify any claim to unique sampradaya status"
"Srila Prabhupada himself never mentioned anything about his having begun a new 'sampradaya'."
you could construe that what I'm advocating is that Srila Prabhupada
set a "new sampradaya" is a great mystery to me. I'm interested to
discuss these things in greater detail with you, but you'll need to be
more concise in making your assertions, or rebutting my specific
seems that the only thing we do agree on is changing Srila Prabhupada's
books. The main reason I am against this practice is because Srila
Prabhupada is a Sampradaya Acarya who's directly empowered by Krsna and
the previous Acaryas to speak all that he spoke. One has to consider
themselves equal to the Sampradaya Acarya to edit his work, and it's a
ridiculous notion that these ISKCON editors should think themselves
anywhere close to that level of spiritual realization.
Posted by Rocana dasa @ 07/16/2004 10:57 AM PST
Hare Krishna Rocana prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gaurnaga! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Thank you prabhu for not taking offense at my impudent remarks and foolish misunderstandings of your statements.
can only say that my text was based only on what I read in(to) the
posts on this page - the link to your "sampradaya" piece was dead, and
so I didn't have too clear an idea of what you were epressing.
that you've taken the trouble to clarify my misunderstandings, its
seems that I have no argument with you at all, and that's great.
can we possibly stop this movement by the editors and the BBT itself
that allows all this editing and re-editing of Srila Prabhupada's
Are all the changes documented anywhere?
Maybe a website could help...
Subal Krishna das
Fortunately Krishna Books Inc. is producing some editions of Srila
Prabhupada's originals. I have just bought two large silver volumes of
KRSNA BOOK, with original illustrations and text. They're great!
Posted by Subal Krishna @ 07/16/2004 10:03 PM PST
Hare Krsna, Subal Krishna prabhu,
you for being humble enough to admit your mistakes regarding your
earlier statements. It didn't appear to me that you'd actually read my
paper, which proved to be the case. Here is the correct link, so you
can read through it:
Sampradaya Acarya paper
welcome any comments based on what you've read. I'm inclined to think
that we'll agree on the points I'm making, and I look forward to your
Posted by Rocana dasa @ 07/19/2004 10:37 AM PST
I am glad to see that , intelligence is placed before
egoism, in this case !
souldn´t replace decending knowledge coming straight from KRISHNA, for
analitical speculation coming from imperfect senses, or do you really
believe that your knowledge can overide Prabhupada´s.
we are told to follow in the footsteps of the Acharyas.
Has any real devotee done this before? who is he?
Posted by silas barreto @ 12/04/2004 07:33 PM PST
was converted from a deep immersion in brahmavada and mayavada
philosphy to a beginning stage of devotional service in 1995 due a
downpour of Krishna's and Srila Prabhupada' mercy given in Bhagavad
Gita As It Is, 1986 printing. Hare Krishna. I take this as evidence
that Jayadvaita Swami edited Srila Prabhupada's books in a mood of
service and did nothing to obstruct the descent of mercy.
I also trust that you and others are criticizing these actions of his
in a mood of devotional service. What else can I think, considering
that all of you are so far above me in the sincerity of your devotinal
purpose? I'll take Krishna's mercy whether I can get it through and
from you or Jayadvaita Swami. Hare Krishna.
Posted by Pandu das @ 06/10/2005 08:00 AM PST