Sooner Rather Than Later
BY: RASAPREMA DASA
Aug 26, 2010 AUSTRIA (SUN) Jayadvaita Swami and Dravida dasa must be moved on.
Editing is a hot topic. Editing for grammar and spelling was permitted by Srila Prabhupada, but editing style and philosophy was definitely forbidden by Srila Prabhupada.
"Our editing is to correct grammar and spelling errors only, without interpolation of philosophy or style." (Letter to Rupanuga, 1970)
Put another way, unnecessary fiddling with Srila Prabhupada "ecstasies" was condemned in no uncertain terms by Srila Prabhupada. Devotees want to hear it the way Srila Prabhupada said it. They don't want Srila Prabhupada's English syntax filtered through what Dravida dasa and Jayadvaita Swami consider to be "good English for the scholars", or whatever is the current excuse to trawl through Srila Prabhupada's brilliant elucidations. Devotees want to hear Srila Prabhupada's voice when they read his books. That means leaving Srila Prabhupada's English style the way it is. Unfortunately, the BBT(i) editors do not respect this direction of Srila Prabhupada. In fact, the evidence is that they act against it determinedly.
Yes, we know about the "planet of the trees" should be the "planet of the Pitas". Jayadvaita Swami quotes that all the time and it is a bona fide change. Yet, the correction of a bona fide mistake does not justify unnecessary changes. Surely, any reasonable person can understand. The fact is that each change has to be justified individually. Just because "planet of the trees" should definitely be changed, that particular change does not justify other obviously unnecessary changes. Each change has to be examined individually – and justified individually.
A further point is the competence of the English editors. If Srila Prabhupada's books are to be edited for grammar and spelling, then there should be basic competence in the editors. Here Jayadvaita and Dravida fall down. The changed translations of the Bhagavad-gita verses are poor English compared with the original verses used in the Macmillan Gita of Srila Prabhupada.
Here is an example:
Macmillan Gita: 2.48:
"Be steadfast in yoga, O Arjuna. Perform your duty and abandon all attachment to success or failure. Such evenness of mind is called yoga."
Revised Gita 2.48:
"Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga."
The changes to the above verse illustrate the problems created by Jayadvaita, which are seen by practically all devotees, but refused to be recognized by Jayadvaita and company. Firstly, the changes are unnecessary. The Macmillan version is clear and fine. Secondly, there are subtle changes in meaning in the revision; these serve to disturb the devotees. Thirdly, the incompetence of the editors is plainly revealed; a basic grammatical mistake is introduced by Jayadvaita. "Perform your duty equipoised" should actually be "Perform you duty equipoisedly". Thus, Jayadvaita has used an adjective when an adverb would be correct. However, this phrase that Jayadvaita has created, "Perform your duty equipoised (or equipoisedly)" is awkward English and especially when compared with the original Macmillan verse.
Litany of Editing Mistakes in Just One Verse
So the above changes to Macmillan Gita 2.48 illustrate everything that is wrong with the editing of Jayadvaita and Dravida. We have (1) unnecessary change; (2) change of English style; (3) gross and subtle changes in meaning of the verse; (4) grammatical incompetence on behalf of Jayadvaita; and (5) an overall degradation in the readability and clarity of the verse.
Therefore, in any competent editing house Jayadvaita would not be left near a computer terminal to fiddle with the writing of a great luminary such as Srila Prabhupada. This is the real contemplation. With the litany of fiddling mistakes enumerated above, there is no question that Jayadvaita would be considered a qualified person to edit manuscripts in any publishing house of note. Jayadvaita would immediately be known as unqualified to edit and moved to the mailroom in the basement. But in ISKCON, competence is not the qualification to edit Srila Prabhupada's books. Jayadvaita has "friends". Jayadvaita is a "sannyasi". Jayadvaita is "hard-headed". The end result is that Jayadvaita and Dravida are "entrenched" in their editing incompetence and the GBC lack the will to move them on to something else. So ISKCON is presently stuck with Jayadvaita and Dravida and company, instead of engaging new and competent devotee editors who would be faithful to the directions of Srila Prabhupada. Let us be quite clear on this point. Jayadvaita and Dravida are not being faithful to the directions of Srila Prabhupada in regard to the editing of his books. Nor are they competent. Therefore, they must be moved on.
The fact of Jayadvaita's disobedience to Srila Prabhupada's editing protocols has been repeatedly exposed. The fact of Jayadvaita's English incompetence has been repeatedly exposed. Thousands of devotees have registered their disapproval of Jayadvaita's behavior, but what is the response? Does Jayadvaita offer his resignation? No. Only, Jayadvaita simply refuses to recognize the disturbance he is causing and engages only in strained, and patently weak, attempts at justification. His basic tactic is to justify the unnecessary changes by quoting the valid changes. But this is illogical and disingenuous.
Incompetent Editing Continues
But most arrogantly, and frighteningly, Jayadvaita and Dravida do not stop their editorial incompetence, but as this essay is written, continue trawling through Srila Prabhupada's literary "ecstasies" looking for more to change. Presently, the writings of the great acarya, Srila Prabhupada, are under assault by disobedience and incompetence and the GBC remain oblivious and impotent. Literally thousands of devotees are disturbed to see the incomparable literary legacy of Srila Prabhupada brought into disrepute, but Jayadvaita and Dravida ignore these protests and in shameless arrogance continue their destruction of the validity of Srila Prabhupada's literary ecstasies.
The simple fact is that Jayadvaita Swami and Dravida dasa are self-evidently unqualified for the service of editing the vital books of Srila Prabhupada. They are neither obedient nor competent. They do not listen to anyone's suggestion, but simply circle the wagons in defense mode. They must be moved out of their disservice as soon as possible. If the BBT were actually run on qualification, they would have been stopped decades ago. However, ISKCON at management level is a political whirlpool where the directions of Srila Prabhupada are forgotten in a maelstrom of maneuvering and politicized votes and power cartels. Inexcusably, however, the result is that Srila Prabhupada's greatest legacy and primary service to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada, his books, are being devastated by whimsical and unqualified editors who arrogantly disregard their obvious incompetence and faithlessness.
Jayadvaita Swami and Dravida dasa, kindly tender your resignation as BBT editors.
In our next posting, we will illustrate how the philosophy of Srila Prabhupada in his books is being deliberately changed.
Aum Tat Sat