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"Improving On The Perfect"

by Rocana dasa
March 31, 2004

I 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.

Jayadvaita 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 originally printed.

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 activity?

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 departure.

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 altogether.

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.

Rocana dasa

Replies: 18 comments

Haribol Rochanji,

Most 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

Dear Jagat-ji,

Thank 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.

Srila 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.

Give 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.

I 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.


Rocana dasa

Posted by Rocana dasa @ 04/28/2004 10:48 AM PST

I 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.

It's 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

Of 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.

So Jagat is being disingenuous because really He would have the entire canon written by Srila Prabhupada rejected, edited or not.

I 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.

In 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.

My 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.

Yet 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
the Goswamis.

They 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.

This 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.

First 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.

I 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.

I 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.

One 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.

While 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 ).

Since 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.

While 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.

My 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 censorship.

Of 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.

It 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;

"The 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."

I 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.

At 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.

There 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.

Maybe 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.

Do 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 ?

I 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 ?

In 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.

I 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.

Regarding 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.

Thank 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'.

History 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.

Regarding 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 tendencies.

I 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 seriously impaired.

What 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.

It's 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 guru.

A 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 diksa.

Even 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

Haribol 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.

I 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 ?

Yes 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.

In 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.

In 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.

I 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.

Iskcon's "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.

I 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 value".

I 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.

I 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 intention).

I 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.

So 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.

For 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!.

Since 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.

As 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.

I 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.

shiva das

Posted by Shiva Das @ 05/11/2004 04:20 PM PST

Haribol, Shiva das

I 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.

Your 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 aware of.

I 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.

I 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.

All 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

Hare Krsna,
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.
I 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".
There are 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 profundity/yoga there.
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

In 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

Hi there,
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??

The *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...).

If 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

In 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.

humbly yours,
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.

I'm 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.

You 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.

You write:

    "If 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."

The 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'."

How 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 statements.

It 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.

your servant,
Rocana dasa

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.

I 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.

Now 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.

How 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 books?
Are all the changes documented anywhere?
Maybe a website could help...

yours insignificantly,
Subal Krishna das

P.S. 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,

Thank 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

I 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 feedback.


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 !
one 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?
no offense

Posted by silas barreto @ 12/04/2004 07:33 PM PST

I 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.

However, 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