This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Gita Revisions Explained
Here are more examples from the Gita Revisions Explained e-mail conference. When new examples appear in that conference, they’ll also show up here.
Here’s a key to what is shown by different kinds of type: Regular text = text appearing in both the first and second editions Bold text = unique to the second edition Strikethrough text = deleted in the second edition Blue courier = highlighted for quick recognition
Books to Enrich Your Life
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, publishers of timeless, transcendental classics and introductory texts on Bhakti yoga, meditation, karma, reincarnation, and vegetarianism.
Of course, “Gita Revisions Explained” also has Part 1 and Part 2. Still more examples appear in the booklet Responsible Publishing [PDF, 224KB].
The texts on this page appear in descending chronological order, the most recently posted at the top, the earliest at the bottom. But this Index arranges them in order of chapter and verse. (Click on any line to see the revision and discussion.) Bhagavatam Revisions Examined 2.39: Sankhya philosophy? 2.57: “The principle of being without attachment” 2.66: A controlled mind 3.3: Some by speculation, others by service 3.8: “Action is better than inaction” 4.10: Voidness arises from frustration 4.34: Approach a bona fide spiritual master 5.5: “The path of renunciation” and “the path of works”? 5.12: Not anxious for fruitive rewards? 6.27: “By virtue of his identity with Brahman. . .” 6.28: Srila Prabhupada’s words, style, and presentation
7.6: Krishna is “the supreme creator of all individual souls”? 7.8: “Om emanates from Krsna?” 7.24: “I was impersonal before. . .” 8.14: The destination of the unalloyed devotees 8.15: The personalist devotees of the Lord 9.2: As explained in the Seventh Chapter. . . (and more) 10.1: Parasara Muni said WHAT? 10.34: “The generating principle of all that be” 13.8-12: Humility is the beginning of knowledge 13.29: “Material existence. . . so much suffering” 14.6: Conditioning in goodness 14.10: The competition of the three modes 15.8: Quitting one body for another 15.15: “By all the Vedas. . .” 15.20: Final summary of the chapter 16.1: Simplicity and Vedic study 16.1-3: “The soft line for Ksatriyas” 18.10-12: Matching the texts and purports
18.10-12: Matching the texts and purports This time it’s not the editing of the purports that concerns us—it’s their placement. For these three verses, the first edition has them all in the wrong places. I don’t know how they got scrambled, but they did. The second edition sets things straight.
COMMENT This should be the purport to Text 11. In the original manuscript and the second edition, it is.
Those who are situated in the mode of goodness, who neither hate inauspicious work nor are attached to auspicious work, have no doubts about work.
It is said in Bhagavad-gita that one can never give up work at any time. Therefore he who works for Krsna and does not enjoy the fruitive results, who offers everything to Krsna, is actually a renouncer. There are many members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness who work very hard in their office or in the factory or some other place, and whatever they earn they
give to the Society. Such highly elevated souls are actually sannyasis and are situated in the renounced order of life. It is clearly outlined here how to renounce the fruits of work and for what purpose fruits should be renounced.
It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up all activities. Therefore it is said that he who renounces the fruits of action is one who has truly renounced.
This should be the purport to Text 12. In the original manuscript and the second edition, it is.
A person in Krsna consciousness acting in knowledge of his relationship with Krsna is always liberated. Therefore he does not have to enjoy or suffer the results of his acts after death.
This should be the purport to Text 10. In the original manuscript and the second edition, it is.
For one who is not renounced, the threefold fruits of action—desirable, undesirable and mixed—accrue after death. But those who are in the renounced order of life have no such results to suffer or enjoy.
A person in Krsna consciousness or in the mode of goodness does not hate anyone or anything which troubles his body. He does work in the proper place and at the proper time without fearing the troublesome effects of his duty. Such a person situated in transcendence should be understood to be most intelligent and beyond all doubts in his activities.
Back to the index
9.2: As explained in the Seventh Chapter. . . (and more) PUBLISHED EDITIONS
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT The Bhagavad-Gita especailly the beginning from the 2nd chapter is stressing the importance of the soul. The Lord exlplained (unti butimediba) In the very beginning He said that this body is perishable but the soul is not persishable.
The Bhagavad-gita, especially from the Second Chapter on, stresses the importance of the soul. In the very beginning, the Lord says that this body is perishable and that the soul is not perishable (antavanta ime deha nityasyoktah saririnah).
There are sins which are still in the form of a seed, and there are others which are already fructified and are giving us fruit, which we are enjoying as distress and pain , as explained in the twentieth verse of the Seventh Chapter. As explained in the twenty-eighth verse of the Seventh Chapter, A a person who has completely ended the reactions of all sinful activities and who is fully engaged in pious activities, being freed from the duality of this material world, becomes engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. In other words, those who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord are already freed from all reactions. This statement is confirmed in the Padma Purana: aprarabdha-phalam papam kutam bijam phalonmukham kramenaiva praliyeta visnu-bhakti-ratatmanam For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish.
There are other sins they are still in a from of seed and the e other sins which are already frusutifed and which are already giving us the fruit and we are enjoying the friut as distress and pains as explained in the 20th verse of the 7th chapter. (disunpatumpata) a person who has completely ended the reactions of allsinfula ctivities and fully enagaged in pious activities, such persons, being free from duality of this maertilal world becomes enagaged in devoitional service to the SPG Krishna. So, in other words, those who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, it is ti be understood that they are already freed from allreactions from sinful activities and this state,ent is confirmed in the PURpa Purana. It is said (upra aprarapdha etc. ) Those who ar e enagaged in the devotila service of the SPG for them all kinds of sinful reactions either it is fructified or in the stock or in the form of seed, everything as he makes progress as he
makes in the devotinal service in K.C. all such recations of sinful acittivies become gradually avanished;
COMMENT In citing the verse from the Seventh Chapter, the old edition makes a compound error. First, it connects that verse with the wrong sentence: the previous one instead of the next one. Second, it cites the wrong verse. Bhagavad-gita 7.20, cited in the old edition, reads as follows: “Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” If this “explains” how we experience the fruits of mature sins “as distress and pain,” I leave it to the critics of the second edition to explain how. The correct verse is 7.28, for which the next line of the purport is an exact translation: “A person who has completely ended the reactions of all sinful activities and who is fully engaged in pious activities, being freed from the duality of this material world, becomes engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.” I believe, also, that Srila Prabhupada’s quotation from the Padma Purana was worth restoring.
A practical example of this can be seen in the previous life of Narada, who in that life happened to be the son of a maidservant,. He had no education, nor was he born into a high family.
practically we see the prevoius life of Narada who happened to be the son of a maidservant. He ahd no education, he was not born in high family
Narada personally says, ucchista-lepan anumodito dvijaih sakrt sma bhunje tad-apastakilbisah evam pravrttasya visuddha-cetasas tad-dharma evatma-rucih prajayate “Once only, by their permission, I took the remnants of their food, and by so doing all my sins were at once eradicated. Thus being engaged, I became purified in heart, and at that time the very nature of
and itisisaid personally by Narada as follows (put sti di gi) THe purport of this verse is stated in the Srimad Bhagvatam 1st canto chpater 25 verse 25 Narada syas describes about the prevouis life of Narada to his disciple Vasday
the transcendentalist became attractive to me.” ( Bhag. 1.5.25) Narada tells his disciple Vyasadeva that in a previous life. . . In this verse from SrimadBhagavatam (1.5.25) Narada describes his previous life to his disciple Vyasadeva.
COMMENT The purport goes on to tell the story.
The great devotees relished the taste of unceasing devotional service of to the Lord, by hearing, and chanting, etc., and by developing the same taste, Narada wanted also to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. Narada gradually developed the same taste. Narada says further, tatranvaham krsna-kathah pragayatam anugrahenasrnavam manoharah tah sraddhaya me ’nupadam visrnvatah priyasravasy anga mamabhavad rucih Thus b By associating with the sages, Narada got the taste for hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, and he developed a great desire for devotional service. Therefore he quotes from, as described in the Vedanta-sutra, prakasas ca karmany abhyasat: if one is engaged simply in the acts of devotional service, everything is revealed to him automatically, and he can understand. This is called prakasah pratyaksa, directly perceived.
Great devotees their taste was 24 hours to the devotional service of the Lord, hearing, chanting,; so Narada gradually developed that taste. He syas further (tartrang anung krishna prodica ) So developing the taste like this sages and devotees Narada got a taste for hearing and chanting of the glororoes of the Lord and by this proecess of asscoiaicition with the sages, he developed a great desire for devotional service. Therefor the quotes describing the Vedanta Sutura (procash karmoni ) if one is enagaged simply in the acts of devotional service the whole thing becomes revealed to him automatically and he can understand. This is called (produc kah) directly percieved.
COMMENT At the end of the passage, the old edition picks up the word prakasah (literally, “manifest”) from the quotation from the Vedanta-sutra. But the right word is pratyaksa (literally, “directly perceived”), from this verse of Bhagavad-gita. This is the word illustrated by the story of Narada.
The word dharmyam means “the path of religion.” Narada was actually a son of a maidservant. He had no opportunity to go to school. He was simply assisting his mother, and fortunately his mother rendered some service to the devotees. The child Narada also got the opportunity and simply by association achieved the highest goal of all religion s, devotional service. The highest goal of all religion is devotional service, as stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam ( sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje). In the SrimadBhagavatam it is said that r Religious people generally do not know that the highest perfection of religion is the attainment of the stage of devotional service. As we have already discussed in regard to the last verse of Chapter Eight ( vedesu yajnesu tapahsu caiva), G generally Vedic knowledge is required for the understanding of the path of self-realization. The process of devotional service is a very happy one ( susukham). Why?
(damung) means the path of religiousity.Narada was actually a son of a maidservant. He had no oportunit to go to school. Hewas simply assisiting his mother. Fortunaetely his mother got some service to reender to the devotees.Asda child Narada in previous life as the son of maidservant got the opprotunity and he simply bt asscocoaition he achieved the hifghest goal of all religiousity. This devotional sercice is the highest goal of all religiousity. In the Srimad Bhabagvatam it is said that (savie ) reliogiousity people whoafter religiousity they do not know that the highest perfection of reliogiousity is to achievere the stage t of devtional service. Therfore ti is understood that even without going to school and his spiritual master or understanding Vedas as we ahve already discussed in the last verse of the 8th chapter (vedie sarse vesu) Vedic knowledge is required to understand the path of self-realization. Tehn it is said (susucum) ti is very happy mode to perform or execute devotinal service. Why?
COMMENT The verse under discussion—Bhagavad-gita 9.2—says, pratyaksavagamam dharmyam su-sukham kartum avyayam. As already mentioned, the second edition restores the word pratyaksa. Now here it restores dharmyam and susukham.
As it will be seen in Bhagavad-gita, actual devotional service begins after liberation. So in Bhagavad-gita it is said,
As it will be seen in the Bhagavad-Gita that actual devotinal service begins after
brahma-bhuta. After being one is liberated, or being when one is situated in the Brahman position ( brahmabhuta), one’s devotional service begins ( samah sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhaktim labhate param).
libration. (______) So in the B.G. iti is said (brhama buta) so after being liberated or being sitiuated in the Brahama position the devtional service begins. (soma sabrabutay _________ pura)
COMMENT “After being liberated, . . . one’s devotional service begins.” You may have noticed that in the second edition this dangling modifier, a grammatical misdemeanor, has been corrected.
Back to the index
8.15: The personalist devotees of the Lord PUBLISHED EDITIONS
[in the purport]
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT This planet is described in the vedic literature s Avakta or Kara Karaman kanteen. It is inexplicable and it is beyojd our material vision but it is the highest goal , destination for great souls who are known as Mahatma
The supreme planet is described in Vedic literature as avyakta and aksara and parama gati; in other words, that planet is beyond our material vision, and it is considered inexplicable, but it is the highest goal, the destination for the mahatmas (great souls).
COMMENT Srila Prabhupada here alludes to Bhagavad-gita 8.21: avyakto ’ksara ity uktas tam ahuh paramam gatim. (In the original transcription, “or Kara” = aksara, and “Karaman kanteen” = paramam gatim.)
They only want Krsna and Krsna’s association, and nothing else. That is the highest perfection of life. This verse specifically mentions the personalist devotees of the Supreme Lord, Krsna. Such great souls These devotees in Krsna consciousness attain achieve the highest perfection of life. In other words, they are the supreme souls.
They want ony Krsna. and Krsna’s association nothing else. That is the highest perfection of life. This verse esp specifically stressew on the personal devotees of the Suprem Lord, Krsna. Persons in Krsna consciousness achieve the highest perfection of life, in other words, they re the supem
COMMENT No comment needed. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
8.14: The destination of the unalloyed devotees
ananya-cetah satatam yo mam smarati nityasah tasyaham sulabhah partha nitya-yuktasya yoginah
PUBLISHED EDITIONS For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Prtha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT Anyone who is always without any deviation remembering me Kriahna for Him I am easy to be obtianed , O the s on of Pritha, befaus they are constantly enagaged in devoti nal service.
In this verse the bhakti-yoga of the unalloyed devotees of the Supreme Godhead is described. This verse especially describes the final destination attained by the unalloyed devotees who serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead in bhakti-yoga.
In thisverse especially about the bhakti yoga of the unalloyed devotees of the SPG described about there thier fin al destination.
The preceeding verses mention Previous verses have mentioned four different kinds of devotees—the distressed, the inquisitive, those who seek material gain, and the speculative philosophers.
Prevoisous verses there are four kinds of different devotees li,ke the distressed, the inquisitive, those who what some amterial profit and the
Different processes of liberation from material entanglement have also been described: karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and hatha-yoga. The principles of these yoga systems have some bhakti added, but here this verse particularly mentions pure bhakti-yoga, without any mixture of these, jnana, karma or hatha. is mentioned. As indicated by the word ananya-cetah, Iin pure bhakti-yoga the devotees desires nothing but Krsna.
philophers. A different p rocess of liberation from this material wprld entangelement , they have described inthe Karma Yoga anJnanana Yoga and Hatha Yoga systems, But at the same time with such yoga pricles bhalkti is also added. But in ths verse particularly pure bhakti yoga without any mixture of Jnana and knowrldle , karma, and hatha. Pure bhakti yoga is (anandachita). Thedevotee does not desire anyting except Krishna. So any pure devotee who is alwyas in devtoinal service in either of the differnt features of Krishan. Krishna emans that he ahs got different plenery expansions. And diferent incarantoins, just like Rama, etc.............. So it is the choice of the devotee to fix up his mind in serving in rendering transcendental loving service so any one of thsese transcendental forms of the Supreme Lord ca for him, for such pure devotee there is no trouble and as one has to suffer in the practice of hatha yoga, jnana and any other form of yoga.
The devotee can render A pure devotee always engages in devotional service to Krsna in one of His various personal features. Krsna has various plenary expansions and incarnations, such as Rama and Nrsimha, and a devotee can choose to fix his mind in loving service to any of these transcendental forms of the Supreme Lord, and he. Such a devotee meets with none of the problems that plague the practitioners of other yogas.
Bhakti-yoga is very simple and pure and easy to perform. One can begin by simply chanting Hare Krsna. Krsna is very merciful to those who engage in His service, and He helps in various ways that devotee who is fully surrendered to Him so he can understand Him as He is. The Lord is merciful to all, but as we have already explained, He is especially inclined toward those who always serve Him without deviation. The Lord helps such
Bkati yoga is very simple and pure. and easy to perform. The beginning i s only chanting Hare Krish etc. So the Lord is very Merciful gererally but as we have already ex lained those wh oa re without any deviaition they are always engaged in Him for hi the LOrd is very much inclined. The lord hepls him in various ways as expecailly iyt is stated in the Vedas
devotees in various ways. As stated in the Vedas ( Katha Upanisad 1.2.23), yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas/ tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam: one who is fully surrendered and engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord can understand the Supreme Lord as He is. And as stated in Bhagavad-gita (10.10), dadami buddhi-yogam tam: Tthe Lord gives such a devotee sufficient intelligence so that ultimately the devotee can attain Him in His spiritual kingdom.
now who is fully surrende and enagaged in devotianal service of the SUp. LOrd he can undedtand the Sup. Lord as He is. AS it is sisatated in the B.G.also that Dattam Yogum the Lord gives hi m sufficent intelligence so that ultimatley the devotee can achieve the SPG in his spititual kingdom and abode.
As indicated by the words satatam and nityasah, which mean “always,” “regularly,” or “every day,” A a pure devotee constantly remembers Krsna and meditates upon Him.
The words Satatung and nigdusha are always regualrly evre y day that is mentioned heee. That is the specific function of a pure devotee and rememberance, alwlays t hinking of K.
COMMENT Valuable text has been restored—more, in fact, than this; I have shown only the main restorations. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
6.27: “By virtue of his identity with Brahman. . .”
prasanta-manasam hy enam yoginam sukham uttamam upaiti santa-rajasam brahma-bhutam akalmasam
PUBLISHED EDITIONS The yogi whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest perfection of
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT Thus a person whose mind becomes fixed in the Supreme
transcendental happiness. By virtue of his identity with Brahman, he is liberated; his mind is peaceful, his passions are quieted, and he is freed from sin. He is beyond the mode of passion, he realizes his qualitative identity with the Supreme, and thus he is freed from all reactions to past deeds.
Personality of Godhead, Krishna, by practice of Yoga, attains the highest perfection of transcendental happiness. He is beyond the modes of passion, identified with the quality of the Supreme, and thus freed from all reactions to past deeds.
COMMENT The first edition speaks of the realized soul’s “identity with Brahman.” Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript—and the second edition—make clear that the soul is one with Brahman in quality, not in all respects. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
14.6: Conditioning in goodness
tatra sattvam nirmalatvat prakasakam anamayam sukha-sangena badhnati jnana-sangena canagha tatra—thereafter; sattvam—the mode of goodness; nirmalatvat—being purest in the material world; prakasakam—illuminating; anamayam—without any sinful reaction; sukha—with happiness; sangena—by association; badhnati—conditions; jnana—with knowledge; sangena—by association; ca—also; anagha—O sinless one.
[most likely partly edited]
O sinless one, the mode of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode develop knowledge, but they become conditioned by the concept a sense of happiness and knowledge.
sinless One, the modes of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode develop knowledge, and become conditioned by the sense of happiness.
COMMENT The way the first edition reads, those in goodness develop knowledge (good), but they become conditioned by happiness (bad). (Interestingly, the original Macmillan abridged edition said “. . . and they become conditioned”—and rather than but.) Now, let’s look at Srila Prabhupada’s purport: “The difficulty here is that when a living entity is situated in the mode of goodness he becomes conditioned to feel that he is advanced in knowledge and is better than others. In this way he becomes conditioned.” Srila Prabhuapda illustrates the point: “The best examples are the scientist and the philosopher. Each is very proud of his knowledge, and because they generally improve their living conditions, they feel a sort of material happiness. This sense of advanced happiness in conditioned life makes them bound by the mode of goodness of material nature.” So according to Srila Prabhupada, those in goodness become conditioned by a feeling of superior knowledge (bad) and material happiness (also bad). What Srila Prabhupada says here is consistent with the Sanskrit for the verse. As mentioned in the “Note About the Second Edition” that appears in the book, “The word-for-word Sanskrit-English equivalents now follow more closely the standard of Srila Prabhupada’s other books and are therefore more clear and precise.” In particular, nouns in Sanskrit are inflected. That is, they have case endings (nominative, accusative, instrumental, and so on) that show what role the word plays in the sentence. With Srila Prabhupada’s approval, for his other books his Sanskrit editors made sure that the English equivalents do the same thing. That is, the equivalents not only give the basic meaning of the word but also show its grammatical role: not just “Krsna,” for example, but “by Krsna,” “to Krsna,” “from Krsna,” and so on. The second edition of the Gita follows this same standard. Also, as in Srila Prabhupada’s other books, now you can make out the Sanskrit compound words. (So, for example, jnana-sangena is not just “knowledge” and “association.” It’s a compound that means “by association with knowledge.”) As a result, from the word-for-word for this verse we can clearly see what the Sanskrit says: The mode of goodness conditions the living being by association with happiness and by association with knowledge. Just as the purport says. Bottom line: That pesky little but set the translation off course. Again, the second edition is more consistent both with the Sanskrit and with Srila Prabhupada’s purport.
Also worth noting: In the second edition (as in the manuscript, and the purport, and the original Macmillan abridged), those in goodness become conditioned by “a sense of happiness” rather than “the concept of happiness.” Why concept? If you’ll pardon my saying so, that doesn’t make sense. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
3.8: “Action is better than inaction” PUBLISHED EDITIONS Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction doing so is better than not working. One cannot even maintain his physical body without work. ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT You must discharge your prescribed duty, which is better than being without any work.One cannot even maintain one’s body and soul together without any work.
This is interesting. Another little “correction.” But Srila Prabhupada heard the original verse many times and never requested that it be “corrected...”
Performing one’s prescribed duty is better than not working. But action is not always better than inaction. (For instance: Better inaction than acting viciously or foolishly.) Once again, the second edition comes closer to what Srila Prabhupada originally said. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
2.57: “The principle of being without attachment”
yah sarvatranabhisnehas tat tat prapya subhasubham nabhinandati na dvesti tasya prajna pratisthita
yah —one who; sarvatra—everywhere; anabhisnehah—without affection; tat—that; tat—that; prapya—achieving; subha—good; asubham—evil; na—never; abhinandati—prays; abhinandati—praises; na—never; dvesti—envies; tasya—his; prajna—perfect knowledge; pratisthita—fixed.
PUBLISHED EDITIONS In the material world, He one who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he obtains good, nor lament when he obtains evil, unaffected by whatever good or evil he may obtain, neither praising it nor despising it, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT ( In the material world) one who is without any affection either for the good or for the evil neither does pray or envy such things ,such per son is situated fixed consciousness.
COMMENT A critic complains: “Here the principle of being without attachment is completely removed from Jayadvaita’s translation. Of course he may say he has some secret manuscript he has got this information from or he may have studied the Sanskrit and by his great learning in the Sanskrit language decided there was no attachment in the original Sanskrit. But where did he get the authority from to retranslate this verse?” My response: I’ll answer all the critic’s points. But let’s go step by step. First: As a reader, when I look at a verse carefully I want to see how Srila Prabhupada derives his translation from the Sanskrit. And my key for this is the word-for-word meanings he provides. But with this verse—as with many others—in the first edition the translations and word meanings don’t match. Why not? Because Srila Prabhupada’s original translation has been largely discarded. Let’s look more closely. The translation in the first edition apparently renders the word abhinandati as rejoices—a valid meaning for the word, but not the one Srila Prabhupada chose. In the word-for-word meaning for abhinandati, the first edition has prays. But that’s a simple error. As the Sanskrit dictionary confirms, it should be praises. As Srila Prabhupada said in a lecture on texts 2.55-58 (April 15, 1966, New York), “Now, na—na abhinandati. Now, suppose one has done very marvelous work. So we should not be very much enthusiastic to praise for such work.”
The second edition sets this right. Again, in the first edition the word dvesti becomes laments. But as far as I know, that’s not what the word means, nor what Srila Prabhupada says it means. The word comes from the root dvish, which according to the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary means “to hate, show hatred against, be hostile or unfriendly, to be a rival or a match for.” Srila Prabhupada, in this verse and elsewhere, gives the meaning envies. Does that seem strange to you? I’ve had many devotees ask me about his use of that word. Here’s my explanation. Srila Prabhupada, it seems, uses the word envy in an older sense, a sense which matches the Sanskrit dictionary’s definition for dvesti. That sense is recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary (though marked as obsolete): “To feel a grudge against (a person); to regard (a person or an action) with dislike or disapproval.” Roughly: to hate. Here again, therefore, the second edition, which says despises rather than laments, is closer to Srila Prabhupada. Now we come to the point brought up by the critic: “Here the principle of being without attachment is completely removed. . .” In Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript for this verse, “the principle of being without attachment” never appears. Yet in the first edition, there it is—”without attachment.” And it appears to stand on its own, as if mentioned as a separate quality: “the principle of being without attachment.” What’s going on? The word in question here is anabhisneha. In Srila Prabhupada’s original, and in the Sanskrit, it’s clear that anabhisneha doesn’t stand alone. It goes with the words tat tat prapya subhasubham (the good and evil one obtains). So if “without attachment” are the words to be used, we should see something like “without attachment to the good and evil one obtains.” Which we don’t. (And which, anyway, when it comes to evil, would sound mighty strange. "Attachment to the evil one obtains"?) Instead, in the first edition, we see—wrongly—what the critic objects to having removed: “the principle of being without attachment.” Now, what does the word anabhisneha actually mean? It’s the opposite of abhi-sneha, which the Monier-Williams Dictionary defines as “affection, desire.” (The root is sneha—“tenderness, love, attachment to, fondness or affection for,” and so on.) Commenting on this verse of the Gita (in the same lecture quoted above), Srila Prabhupada speaks of affection:
“Now, our affection between ourself is due to this body. . . . One who does not identify with this body, therefore his bodily affection also diminishes.” Well, the word attachment isn’t far off. But can we get closer to what Srila Prabhupada said? Why not another form of the same word he used himself—affection? The word affected can mean “moved, influenced, or touched in the feelings; usually to sympathy, sorrow, or sadness.” So unaffected means “not affected or influenced in mind or feeling; untouched, unmoved.” And since the verse speaks of both good and evil, unaffected works reasonably well. A Krsna conscious person is “unaffected by whatever good or evil he may obtain.” In the beginning of the purport, when Srila Prabhupada originally spoke of one who is “with out any affection for the good or evil,” Hayagriva Prabhu chose the same solution: “who is unaffected by good and evil.” And later in the purport Srila Prabhupada himself says, “one who is fixed in Krsna consciousness is not affected by good and evil.” So now you know what happened to “the principle of being without attachment.” It’s not that I have “great learning in the Sanskrit language” (though I do know how to use the dictionary). Yes, it was my fidelity to the original words of Srila Prabhupada, as found in that not-so-secret manuscript, the one typed by Srila Prabhupada himself. And where did I get “the authority to retranslate this verse”? That question I’ve answered elsewhere: Srila Prabhupada personally told me, “Closer to what I have said? Then it is all right.” My apologies for the length of this text. The critic raised more questions than he knew. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
5.5: “The path of renunciation” and “the path of works”?
yat sankhyaih prapyate sthanam tad yogair api gamyate ekam sankhyam ca yogam ca yah pasyati sa pasyati yat—what; sankhyaih —by means of Sankhya philosophy; prapyate—is achieved; sthanam—place; tat—that; yogaih—by devotional service; api—also; gamyate—one can attain; ekam—one; sankhyam—analytical study; ca—and; yogam—action in devotion; ca—and; yah —one who; pasyati—sees; sah —he; pasyati—actually sees.
Back to the index
2.39: Sankhya philosophy?
esa te ’bhihita sankhye buddhir yoge tv imam srnu buddhya yukto yaya partha karma-bandham prahasyasi esa—all this; te—unto you; abhihita—described; sankhye—by analytical study; buddhih —intelligence; yoge—in work without fruitive result; tu—but; imam—this; srnu—just hear; buddhya—by intelligence; yuktah —dovetailed; yaya—by which; partha—O son of Prtha; karma-bandham—bondage of reaction; prahasyasi—you can be released from.
PUBLISHED EDITIONS Thus far I have declared this knowledge to you the analytical knowledge of sankhya philosophy through analytical study. Now listen to the knowledge of yoga whereby one works as I explain it in terms of working without fruitive results. O son of Prtha, when you act by such intelligence, in such knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of works.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT So far I have spoken to you all about this in annalytical study by knowledge.Now I shall explain the same in work without fruitive result.Oh the son of Pritha,when you do work by such intelligence of work with fruit ive result,then you can get yourself released from the reaction of work.
COMMENT Srila Prabhupada says in his purport, “Real Sankhya philosophy is described by Lord Kapila in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, but even that Sankhya has nothing to do with the current topics. Here, Sankhya means analytical description of the body and the soul.” Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
15.8: Quitting one body for another
sariram yad avapnoti yac capy utkramatisvarah grhitvaitani samyati vayur gandhan ivasayat
Back to the index
15.20: Final summary of the chapter PUBLISHED EDITIONS
[purport, last line]
The problems of material existence are due to these weaknesses of the heart. In this chapter the first five verses describe the process of freeing oneself from these weaknesses of heart, and the rest of the chapter, from the sixth verse through the end, discusses purusottama-yoga.
The problems of material existence is due to this two kinds of weakness of heart. This chapter in the 5 verses the process of discaring the weakness of heart is mentioned and from the 6th Chapter 6th verse up to the end of the chapter, discussion on purusottam yoga has taken place.
COMMENT In the second edition Srila Prabhupada’s final comment has been restored. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
4.10: Voidness arises from frustration
vita-raga-bhaya-krodha man-maya mam upasritah bahavo jnana-tapasa puta mad-bhavam agatah “Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me—and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.”
[purport, near end of first paragraph]
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT One has to get rid of all these three stages of attachment to the material world, fear of personal identity, and voidness
One has to get rid of all three stages of attachment to the material world:
negligence of spiritual life, fear of a spiritual personal identity, and the conception of void that underlies the arises from frustration of in life.
under frustration of life.
COMMENT A CRITIC SAYS: So it is not difficult to see here that the editing has COMPLETELY changed the meaning and the original point has been COMPLETY [sic] lost. The original, approved by Srila Prabhupada, says void philosophy causes frustration whereas Jayadvaita’s says void philosophy “arises from frustration”. MY COMMENTS: The critic’s right about one thing, of course: The meaning has changed. Saying that the philosophy of voidness “arises from frustration” is different—in fact, opposite—from saying that it “underlies frustration.” Both statements, of course, are justifiable. But which one did Srila Prabhupada intend? The philosophy of voidness brings one to frustration? Or frustration brings one to the philosophy of voidness? Looking at the original manuscript doesn’t really answer the question: “One has to get rid of all these three stages of attachment to the material world, fear of personal identity, and voidness under frustration of life.” Still not clear. Then let’s take a step back. When we read the purport, we see that Srila Prabhupada is describing attachment (raga), fear (bhaya), and anger (krodha). Now, to answer our question we need only read a little earlier in the purport. Describing the persons affected by krodha (anger), Srila Prabhupada writes: “Being embarassed by so many theories and by contradictions of various types of philosophical speculation, they become disgusted or angry and foolishly conclude that there is no supreme cause and that everything is ultimately void.” There it is: Being disgusted or angry—frustrated by contradictory theories—they conclude that everything is void. In other words: From frustration comes the philosophy of voidness. The philosophy arises from frustration.
Srila Prabhupada answers the question. The second edition is correct. As a doublecheck: In this purport, Srila Prabhupada closely follows the purport given to this verse by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. There—at exactly the same point in the discussion—Srila Bhaktivinoda says, krodha vistha citte sunya o nirvana kei parama tattva boliya sthir koren: “Being angry in mind, they say that voidness and impersonalism are the supreme truth.” Confirmed. The conception of void arises from frustration in life. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
4.34: Approach a bona fide spiritual master
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”
COMMENT Concerned about the integrity and fidelity of this translation? Is “self-realized souls”—in the plural—a deviation? You might be interested to see how Srila Prabhupada paraphrased this verse in an essay entitled “Interpretations of Bhagavad-gita.” The essay appears in the VedaBase, where it is dated “circa 1948.” Unlike every published edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the essay is unedited. Here’s that paraphrase: “It is therefore stated in the Bhagavad-gita that one who actually wants to have an access to the essence of Bhagavad-gita must himself engage in the service of a bona fide spiritual master by full surrender. In that position only, one can make bona fide enquiries regarding the Bhagavad-gita, and in that posture only, the self-realized spiritual masters impregnate the submissive disciple with the knowledge of Gita, because they have already seen the Truth of it.”
“Self-realized spiritual masters.” Plural. For a further examination of this verse, please see Gita Revisions Explained, Part 2. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
Bhagavatam Revisions Examined Did you know that the edition of the First Canto we read today differs dramatically from the first edition published in America? In the first two chapters, big differences in the translations. For those who have questions about the editing of Srila Prabhupada’s books, examining those First Canto revisions should be a very fruitful exercise. And here’s a relevant story. Four years after the first edition, the second edition came out, with the translations for the first two chapters extensively revised. I am the person who did the revisions. After I’d prepared the work, and before it was printed, I neatly typed all the revised translations for Srila Prabhupada to see and put them in an envelope with a letter of explanation. And when Srila Prabhupada next visited New York, I brought the envelope to his quarters to leave for him. But I found Srila Prabhupada right there before me, and he chose to deal with the matter at once. He had me sit before him and told me to start reading out loud. As he listened attentively, I began. After I had read a few verses, Srila Prabhupada stopped me. ‘So,’ he said. ‘What you have done?’ I replied, ‘I’ve revised the translations, Srila Prabhupada, mainly to bring them closer to what you originally said.’ ‘What I have said?’ ‘Yes, Srila Prabhupada.’ Srila Prabhupada made a dismissive gesture with his hand and said, ‘Then it is all right.’ Now, go ahead and check out those revisions for yourself.
Back to the index
6.28: Srila Prabhupada’s words, style, and presentation
yunjann evam sadatmanam yogi vigata-kalmasah sukhena brahma-samsparsam atyantam sukham asnute yunjan—thus engaging in yoga practice; evam—thus; sada—always; atmanam—the self; yogi—one who is in touch with the Supreme Self; vigata—is freed from; kalmasah —all material contamination; sukhena—in transcendental happiness; brahma-samsparsam—being in constant touch with the Supreme; atyantam—the highest; sukham—happiness; asnute—attains.
PUBLISHED EDITIONS Steady in the Self, being freed from all material contamination, the yogi achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in touch with the Supreme Consciousness. Thus the self-controlled yogi, constantly engaged in yoga practice, becomes free from all material contamination and achieves the highest stage of perfect happiness in transcendental loving service to the Lord.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT Thus the self-controlled Yogin, after becoming freed from all material contamination, achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in Krsna Consciousness, and thus being situated in transcendental loving service enjoys transcendental pleasure. This is the stage of devotional life.
COMMENT Some recent correspondence I had with a respected godsister sheds light on how and why the translation for this verse was revised. The correspondence also, perhaps, offers some insights into how we think about such revisions. Dear . . . . Regarding the text of the book [Teachings of Lord Caitanya], you write, “I would be even more happy to hear that Srila Prabhupada’s original words would be put back into the TLC. . .”
In this regard: Though the edition the BBT currently publishes is not the original one, this second edition was edited by Hayagriva Prabhu during Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence and published with Srila Prabhupada’s explicit approval. The editing was done in perhaps 1972 or 1973, and this edition was first published in, I believe, 1974. The BBT has not revised it since. Does that change your thoughts about it? Apart from that, you write, “I would be. . . happy to hear that Srila Prabhupada’s original words would be put back into. . . all the other books he wrote while on this planet.” With all due respect, I would humbly ask that you deeply and honestly ask yourself whether this is truly your position. For example, consider Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Chapter 6, Text 28. Here, from the original manuscript of that chapter—typed by Srila Prabhupada himself—are Srila Prabhupada’s original words, his factual “adi-vani”: Thus the self-controlled Yogin, after becoming freed from all material contamination, achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in Krsna Consciousness, and thus being situated in transcendental loving service enjoys transcendental pleasure. This is the stage of devotional life. Now, is what you want to see in his book a translation that closely approaches those words? Such as this: Thus the self-controlled yogi, constantly engaged in yoga practice, becomes free from all material contamination and achieves the highest stage of perfect happiness in transcendental loving service to the Lord. Is that really what you want? Or do the words you want to see for that verse read like this: Steady in the Self, being freed from all material contamination, the yogi achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in touch with the Supreme Consciousness. If that’s what you want, ok. But then can you honestly claim that what you want is “Srila Prabhupada’s original words”? Mataji, it seems to me you have to make a choice here. Either you want “Srila Prabhupada’s original words put back”—words like “the self-controlled yogi” and “transcendental loving service”— or you want what those words were changed to and published as during his lifetime: words like “steady in the Self” and “in touch with the Supreme Consciousness.”
Much as you might wish the facts to be otherwise, the two are not the same. You write: “His words, style, and presentation are all impeccable in the eyes of his disciples; and any change causes pain to their hearts. That is the real issue; and it cannot be avoided. It will not go away. And truly, until this correction is made, that is, the reversion to the original vani of Srila Prabhupada, I do not think peace will come. Those who, by God’s grace, have been placed in a position to make these corrections and do not do so will never be peaceful or find pleasure in their spiritual connection because everything in our spiritual life depends on the grace-filled glance of Srila Prabhupada.” I wholeheartedly agree. That’s why a person “placed in a position to make these corrections” changed “in touch with the Supreme Consciousness” back to what Srila Prabhupada originally said: “in transcendental loving service.” So, again, I think you need to ask yourself, deeply and honestly: Is what you truly want the position you so eloquently speak for? Or is your real position “What I want is the books as published during Srila Prabhupada’s lifetime, whether they’re closer to Srila Prabhupada’s original words or not.” “We may be sincere, but we make mistakes because we are fallen. . . . We should never forget how great Srila Prabhupada is and how small we are—then everything will be rectified.” Yes. I agree. Hare Krsna. Hoping this finds you in good health, Your affectionate servant, Jayadvaita Swami PS: By the way, you might also be pleased to know that, despite the recent blitz of bunkum for the “pre-1978 Bhagavatams,” as with TLC the edition of SrimadBhagavatam the BBT is now publishing, and has been all along, is the same edition published during Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
2.66: A controlled mind
nasti buddhir ayuktasya na cayuktasya bhavana na cabhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham na asti—there cannot be; buddhih—transcendental intelligence; ayuktasya—of one who is not connected (with Krsna consciousness); na—not; ca—and; ayuktasya—of one devoid of Krsna consciousness; bhavana—fixed mind (in happiness); na—not; ca—and; abhavayatah —of one who is not fixed; santih —peace; asantasya—of the unpeaceful; kutah —where is; sukham—happiness.
PUBLISHED EDITIONS One who is not in transcendental consciousness connected with the Supreme [in Krsna consciousness] can have neither a controlled mind nor a steady intelligence transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT One who is not in Krsna consciousness cannot have any fixed mind nor transcendental intelligence without which there is no possibility of peace and without peace of mind how there can be any happiness?
COMMENT A critic complains: “ ‘A controlled mind...’ In the original we can clearly see there’s no possibility of peace and happiness without a controlled mind, but in Jayadvaita’s translation the mind control has become a ‘steady mind?’ He has also made it very confusing. The meaning is no where near as clear as the original. Who said Jayadvaita was making ‘better English?’ He’s making bewildering English!” But if you look in the “original original”—the second-chapter manuscript personally typed by Srila Prabhupada—you’ll see that there was no “controlled mind.” But there was “transcendental intelligence,” and there was “Krsna consciousness”—both now restored—and there was a “fixed” mind, for which I retained the word “steady” from the first edition. Like Srila Prabhupada’s original translation, the Sanskrit says nothing about “mind control.” Still, a controlled mind is a good thing to have—especially when we feel an unhealthy urge to criticize. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
13.8-12: Humility is the beginning of knowledge amanitvam adambhitvam ahimsa ksantir arjavam acaryopasanam saucam sthairyam atma-vinigrahah [etc.] amanitvam—humility; adambhitvam—pridelessness; ahimsa—nonviolence; ksantih —tolerance; arjavam—simplicity; acarya-upasanam—approaching a bona fide spiritual master; saucam—cleanliness; sthairyam—steadfastness; atma-vinigrahah —self-control. . .
[purport, 1st paragraph]
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT This is not the interaction of the tenfold elements, as described before. This is actually the means to get out of the enganglement of these twenty-four elements. The embodied soul is entrapped by the casing of the twenty-four elements, and the process of knowledge as described here is the means to get out of it.
This is not the interaction of the tenfold twenty-four elements, as described before. This is actually the means to get out of the entanglement of those elements. The embodied soul is entrapped by the body, which is a casing made of the twenty-four elements, and the process of knowledge as described here is the means to get out of it.
COMMENT The new edition has the right number of elements (the old edition has it obviously wrong) and restores text previously omitted.
[purport, 1st paragraph]
Of all the descriptions of the process of knowledge, the most important point is described in the first line of the tenth eleventh verse: Mayi cananya-yogena bhaktir avyabhicarini: Tthe process of knowledge terminates in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord. So, if one does not approach, or is not able to approach, the transcendental service of
Of all the descriptions of the process of knowledge, the most important thing is described here: mayi ca inanyayogena bhaktir avyabhicarini, described in the first line of the 10th verse: The process of knowledge terminates in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord. So, if one does not approach , or is not able to
the Lord, then the other nineteen items are of no particular value.
approach, the transcendental service of the Lord, then the other nineteen items are of particualr value.
COMMENT The new edition restores Srila Prabhupada’s Sanskrit quotation, previously omitted, and in the process corrects an obvious error: the correct verse is eleven, not ten.
[purport, 1st paragraph]
But, if one takes to devotional service in full Krsna consciousness, the other nineteen items automatically develop within him. As stated in SrimadBhagavatam (5.18.12), yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. All the good qualities of knowledge develop in one who has attained the stage of devotional service. The principle of accepting a spiritual master, as mentioned in the seventh eighth verse, is essential.
But, if one takes to devotional service in full Krishna Consciousness, the other 19 items automatically develop within him. It is stated in the Srimad Bhagawatam: ygsay asti The purport is that anyone who has attained the stage of devotional service, all the good qualities of acquiring knowledge develops in him. The principle of accepting a spiritual master, as mentioned in the 2nd verse, is essential.
COMMENT The new edition identifies and restores Srila Prabhupada’s Sanskrit quotation, and restores his translation of it. And in regard to accepting a spiritual master, again the new edition corrects an obvious error: the correct verse is eight, not seven. Perhaps in some Sanskrit editions the verses might be numbered differently, but the number mentioned here ought to match what the reader sees before him. And in the second edition it does.
[purport, last paragraph]
. . . If anyone wants to compete with God and at the same time make advancement in spiritual knowledge, he will be frustrated. It is clearly stated that without humility understanding is harmful not truly possible. To think oneself God is most puffed up. Although the living entity is always being kicked by the stringent
If anyone wants to compete with God and at the same time wants to make advancement of spiritual knowledge, that is not accepted here, thatis simply nonsense because it is clearly stated that without this attitude any understanding is nonsense. So to think oneself that I am God is the
laws of material nature, still he thinks, "I am God" because of ignorance. The beginning of knowledge, therefore, is amanitva, humility.One should be humble and know that he is subordinate to the Supreme Lord.
most puffed up way of life. But the beginning is without any pride, the real position is always being kicked up by the stringent laws of material Nature, still if I think that I am God, it is ignorance, simply ignorance that one should think himself as God, always being kicked up by the laws of material Nature. There is no beginning, even, the beginning is amanitam. One should be humble, one should be in humility, that he is subordinate to the Supreme Lord.
COMMENT A critic condemns this last restoration—concerning humility—as an example of “the changes that appear to have been produced out of the minds of the BBT editors only.” As you can see, the changes were produced from the adi-vani—the original words—of the author, Srila Prabhupada, as found in the original transcription. What’s “clearly stated” (by Krsna in text 12) is not that knowledge without humility is harmful but that it’s ignorance (ajnanam yad ato ’nyatha). So I tried to stick closer to Krsna and Srila Prabhupada, neither of whom said anything here about harm. And the point that amanitva (humility) is the beginning of knowledge is a restoration—it’s what Srila Prabhupada said. Here we can see yet again the spirit that seems to animate much of the criticism hurled against the second edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. The critic seizes upon a revision, wrongly assumes it must have sprung from a mental concoction of the editors, and indignantly broadcasts his discovery to the world. Meanwhile, of course, he ignores (and why?) the several other revisions and restorations in the same purport, all obviously valuable and correct. And by his hasty—and nasty—personal criticism he announces to the world that he has missed the very essence of the text: For what Srila Prabhupada is talking about, we might gently remind him, is humility. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
16.1: Simplicity and Vedic study
abhayam sattva-samsuddhir jnana-yoga-vyavasthitih danam damas ca yajnas ca svadhyayas tapa arjavam
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT Then the items of avyavasthitih Vedic study and svadhyayas, austerity, and arjavam-gentleness is meant for the brahmacharyas or student life. . . . So far simplicity is concerned not only a particular order of life should follow the principle of simplicity, but all th members either he is in Brahmacharya ashram or Grihastha ashram or Varnaprastha ashram, he must be very simple. He should not make any confidential to persons who are advanced or who are in confidence.
Then svadhyaya, Vedic study, and tapas, austerity, and arjavam, gentleness or simplicity, are is meant for brahmacarya or student life. Brahmacaris should have no connection with women; they should live a life of celibacy and engage the mind in the study of Vedic literature for cultivation of spiritual knowledge. This is called svadhyaya. . . . As far as the brahminical principle of simplicity is concerned, not only should a particular order of life follow this principle, but every member, be he in the brahmacari asrama, or grhastha asrama, or vanaprastha asrama or sannyasa asrama. One must live very simply. One should be very simple and straightforward.
COMMENT Aren’t brahmacaris austere and simple?, the critic wants to know. Yes, they are. But here Srila Prabhupada—following the commentaries of the acaryas—links these and the other qualities in texts 1 through 3 to particular varnasrama orders. Jnana-yoga-vyavasthitih he has already linked to sannyasa. Dana, dama, and yajna he has already linked to householder life. He will link tapas (austerity) to vanaprastha life. And arjavam (simplicity), he says later in the purport, applies to all the orders. So for the brahmacari that leaves svadhyaya, Vedic study—the only item Srila Prabhupada’s purport explains in relation to brahmacarya. The revised version, therefore, sorts things out properly, in accordance with what Srila Prabhupada says elsewhere in the purport (which in turns accords with the
commentaries of the previous acaryas). When we come to “simplicity,” I have taken the liberty to insert that it’s a “brahminical principle.” Why? Because Srila Prabhupada, having finished describing the qualities from Text 1 in terms of asrama, now begins describing those from Texts 2 and 3 in terms of varna. But unless this is signaled to the reader, the reader won’t know it. Because the first signal—the one to say “Now here are the qualities for the brahmana”—is missing, he’ll sail right past the brahminical qualities, for which no varna is identified, and then suddenly find himself reading about the ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra. So I’ve supplied that missing signal. Have I thus offended Srila Prabhupada? You decide. And what does “simplicity” actually mean? Aren’t devotees supposed to live simply?, the critic asks. Yes, they are. But arjavam doesn’t mean simplicity in the sense of spare, rustic living—the opposite of “extravagance.” Rather, it means simplicity in the sense of “straightforwardness”—the opposite of “duplicity.” In fact, if you look at the word-for-word meanings for Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.11.8, you’ll find “arjavam—simplicity (freedom from mental duplicity).” And again in 8.20.19—same story. And in a lecture in Hyderabad, speaking on this very verse of Bhagavad-gita, Srila Prabhupada says: “Arjavam, very frank and no duplicity.” The Monier-Williams Dictionary defines arjavam as “rectitude, propriety of act or observance; honesty, frankness, sincerity” and traces it to the root rju, which means (literally and figuratively) “straight” (the opposite of “crooked”). The word arjavam has already come up in Bhagavad-gita 13.8, and there Srila Prabhupada has defined it this way: “Simplicity means that without diplomacy one should be so straightforward that he can disclose the real truth even to an enemy.” I can offer more such references, but this should be enough, no? By the way, speaking of brahminical qualities, in 16.2 there’s another one worth noting: apaisunam—“aversion to fault-finding.” Thank you. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
3.3: Some by speculation, others by service
sri-bhagavan uvaca loke ’smin dvi-vidha nistha pura prokta mayanagha jnana-yogena sankhyanam karma-yogena yoginam
sri-bhagavan uvaca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; loke—in the world; asmin—this; dvi-vidha—two kinds of; nistha—faith; pura—formerly; prokta—were said; maya—by Me; anagha—O sinless one; jnana-yogena—by the linking process of knowledge; sankhyanam—of the empiric philosophers; karma—yogena—by the linking process of devotion; yoginam—of the devotees.
PUBLISHED EDITIONS The Blessed Lord Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who try to realize the self. Some are inclined to understand Him it by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others are inclined to know Him by devotional work service.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT The Supreme Personality of Godhead said,“ Oh sinless Arjuna, I have already explained to you before that there are classes of men for realising the self.Some of them are inclined to understand it on emperic philosophical speculation and others are inclined to know by devotional service.
COMMENT Highlighting the words Supreme Personality of Godhead (replacing Blessed Lord), it (replacing Him) and the final word service (replacing work), here again a critic has protested “Jayadvaita Swami’s little ‘corrections.’ ” The words he objects to, of course, are Srila Prabhupada’s own. All right, I confess: The second time around, I elided the words “are inclined to know it”—words the reader’s mind will unmistakably supply. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
5.12: Not anxious for fruitive rewards? PUBLISHED EDITIONS
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT The person who is attached to Krsna and works for, Him only [is] certainly a liberated person, and such person has no anxiety for any result. In the Bhagavatam, the cause of anxiety for the result of some activity is due to the
The person who is attached to Krsna and works for Him only is certainly a liberated person, and he is not anxious for fruitive rewards has no anxiety over the results of his work. In the Bhagavatam, the cause of anxiety over
the result of an activity is explained as being one’s functioning in the conception of duality, that is, without knowledge of the Absolute Truth.
understanding in duality without any knowledge of the Ablsolute Truth.
COMMENT “He is not anxious for fruitive rewards” or “he has no anxiety over the results of his work”? When applied to a Krsna conscious person, both are true. But which meaning did Srila Prabhupada intend? To answer this question, one need only look at the next sentence. That sentence translates or paraphrases a text from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37), bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat, meaning that fear (or anxiety) arises when one is in duality, absorbed in something other than the Lord. As Srila Prabhupada puts it, in his original dictation, “the cause of anxiety for the result of some activity is due to the understanding in duality without any knowledge of the Absolute Truth.” The original editor understood—properly—that when Srila Prabhupada said “anxiety for the result” he meant “anxiety over the result.” What the editor missed was that in the previous sentence, when Srila Prabhupada said “anxiety for any result” it meant the same thing—“anxiety over any result.” The second edition, therefore, has it right. This is another one of those revisions that hardly deserves mention, except that some critic brought it up. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
10.34: “The generating principle of all that be”
mrtyuh sarva-haras caham udbhavas ca bhavisyatam . . . udbhavah —generation; ca—also; bhavisyatam—of the future. . .
PUBLISHED EDITIONS I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator generating principle of all things that is yet to be. . . .
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT Among all kinds of devouring principles and death of all creatures manifestations I am
called generating principle.
COMMENT Not much to talk about here. Some critic noted this small revision, which as you can see brings the second edition closer to Srila Prabhupada’s original words. (A tad closer to the Sanskrit too, since udbhava means generation, not generator.) Revisions and restorations for the rest of this verse and purport have already been discussed in “Gita Revisions Explained, Part 1.” Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
7.8: “Om emanates from Krsna?” PUBLISHED EDITIONS
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT Similarly, Pranavah or the Omkara transcendental sound in the beginning of every Vedic hymn is also addressing the Supreme Lord.
SimilarlyAnd pranava, or the omkara transcendental sound used in the beginning of every Vedic hymn, to addresses the Supreme Lord also emanates from Him.
COMMENT The critic comments, “Om emanates from Krsna?” And well he might ask. Does om “emanate” from Krsna, or is it identical with Krsna? In the Introduction to Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada quotes Lord Caitanya as saying, “Pranava [om], or the omkara in the Vedas, is the primeval hymn. This transcendental sound is identical with the form of the Lord.” And again in the Second Canto (2.1.17, purport): “As we have explained before, the Lord’s holy name is identical with the Lord Himself. So also is omkara.” Srila Prabhupada discusses this elaborately in the puport to Cc Adi 7.128. Anyway, what’s here in Bhagavad-gita As It Is—in the second edition—emanates from the original manuscript. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
7.6: Krishna is “the supreme creator of all individual souls”? PUBLISHED EDITIONS
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT A fragmental part and parcel of the Lord namely the living entity may be the cause of a big skycraper, a big factory of even a big city or big body but he cannot be the cause of a big universe. The cause of the big universe is the big soul or the super soul. And Krsna the Supreme is the cause of both the big and small souls and as such He is the Original cause of all causes as it is confirmed in Katha Upanisad"Nitya nityanam cetans cetananam."
A fragmental part and parcel of the Lord, namely the living entity, may by manipulation of material energy construct be the cause of a big skyscraper, a big factory, or even a big city, but he cannot create matter out of nothing, and he certainly cannot construct a planet or be the cause of a big universe. The cause of the big universe is the big soul, or the Supersoul,. And Krsna, the Ssupreme, creator of all individual souls is the cause of both the big and small souls. Therefore He is and the original cause of all causes, as. This is confirmed in the Katha Upanisad (2.2.13) confirms. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam.
COMMENT The point that a living entity “cannot create matter out of nothing” seems to have been created—well, out of nothing; it’s not in the original manuscript. And the point that was in the manuscript—that though the living being may create something big, only the Lord can create something cosmically big—was lost. Oddly, it’s a critic who supplied the heading for this item. Souls are created? The version which says that is the one the critic favors. In the words of the wise, “Go figure.” Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
7.24: “I was impersonal before. . .”
avyaktam vyaktim apannam manyante mam abuddhayah
param bhavam ajananto mamavyayam anuttamam avyaktam—nonmanifested; vyaktim—personality; apannam—achieved; manyante —think; mam—Me; abuddhayah —less intelligent persons; param—supreme; bhavam —existence; ajanantah —without knowing; mama—My; avyayam—imperishable; anuttamam—the finest.
PUBLISHED EDITIONS Unintelligent men, who do not know Me not perfectly, think that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, was impersonal before and have now assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless imperishable and supreme.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT The less intelligent impersonalist they also do not know the Sup. Perfectly and they think me myself, the Sup. Per, of God. Krishna I was impersonal before nad now I ahve assumed the personality. This conclussion is due too their poor fund of knowledge.
COMMENT What appears in the second edition, though perhaps less elegant, is indisputably closer to Srila Prabhupada’s original words. The first edition leaves untranslated the crucial word avyaktam. Krsna, the Mayavadis say, has “assumed a personality.” But what do the Mayavadis think was His former status? Srila Prabhupada’s translation for avyaktam makes it clear—“I was impersonal before.” In this way, Srila Prabhupada homes in on the essence of the Mayavada philosophy. In the word-for-word meanings, by the way, I’ve changed the translation for bhava—from “state of being” to “existence.” No big deal. Same meaning. Then why the change? Answer: The original transcription says “distance”—obviously a mishearing for “existence.” So we’ve gone back to Srila Prabhupada’s original word. And why has “changeless” been changed to “imperishable”? Again, to match Srila Prabhupada’s original word-for-word meaning. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
16.1-3: “The soft line for Ksatriyas”
. . . tejah ksama dhrtih saucam adroho nati-manita. . . PUBLISHED EDITIONS The word tejas used here is meant for the ksatriyas. The ksatriyas should always be very strong to be able to give protection to the weak. They should not pose themselves as nonviolent. If violence is required, they must exhibit it. If violence is required, they must exhibit it. But a person who is able to curb down his enemy may under certain conditions show forgiveness. He may excuse minor offenses. ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT The word tejah used here is meant for the Kshatriya means one who can give protection to the weak from being hurt from others. Therefore he must be very strong. He should not pose himself as nonviolent. If violence is required he must exhibit that. When forgiveness is meant for persons who can actually curb down his enemy, but for certain condition if he thinks he may not take steps on some minor thngs and excuse.
COMMENT “The soft line for Ksatriyas,” scoffs a hasty critic, who lists this among “ISKCON’s changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books.” After the word tejah in text 16.3, the next word is ksama (“forgiveness”). And Srila Prabhupada’s explanation for it, deciphered and restored here in the second edition, is what the critic would rather see left out. But I suppose we might as well take a soft line on silly critics. Hare Krsna.
Back to the index
13.29: “Material existence. . . so much suffering” PUBLISHED EDITIONS The living entity, by accepting his material existence as just so much suffering, can has become situated differently than in his spiritual existence. ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT The living entity by accepting his material existence as become differently situated from his spiritual existence.
COMMENT This is one of many instances in which the original editors, not understanding what Srila Prabhupada said, did the best they could: they supplied something which, even though not what he said, was reasonable and true. Had I been in their shoes, I might likely have done the same thing. The revised version is also reasonable and true—and has the added virtue of being what Srila Prabhupada clearly intended. In the original manuscript, “as become” should have been “has become.” Once you recognize that, the editorial problem solves itself. This revision, hardly worth mentioning, I bring up only because it has been discovered and published on the web by a critic who cites it as an example of my trying to make the text “more palitable [his spelling] for the public.”
Back to the index
15.15: “By all the Vedas. . .”
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedaih —by the Vedas; ca—also; sarvaih —all; aham—I am; eva—certainly; vedyah —knowable;
PUBLISHED EDITIONS By all the Vedas am I I am to be known;
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT By all the Vedas I am to be known.
COMMENT The change is slight—an inversion of two small words—but the difference is significant. “By all the Vedas am I to be known”—with its poetic inversion of the usual word order—has a grander sound to it. But what does it mean? This: “How am I to be known? By the Vedas.” And, in contrast, the second edition: “By all the Vedas, I am to be known.” Meaning: “What is to be known by the Vedas? Me—Krsna.” As Srila Prabhupada says in his purport, “The purpose of the Vedas is to understand Krsna.”
This latter point is the one Srila Prabhupada nearly always makes when citing this line of the verse. For example: “Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. The Lord says that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Him.” (BGAII 3.10, purport) Many similar examples could be cited. How that poetic inversion in the old Macmillan translation subtly shifts the meaning came to my attention first in 1970, when Srila Prabhupada had us publish his correspondence with Dr. J.F. Staal. (It now appears in The Science of Self-Realization.) In one letter of that correspondence, Srila Prabhupada gave several quotations and then wrote, “Similarly, in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15) the Lord says, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah.” He then summed up his argument: “In this way we find all the scriptures aiming at the Supreme Person.” And when we published that correspondence, in 1970, how (in brackets) did we translate that Gita verse? There was only one way that fit: “By all the Vedas, I am to be known.” That, by the way, is how the verse appeared in the abridged Bhagavad-gita As It Is—the 1968 Macmillan edition. That’s how it appeared in the purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.18, as far back as the original edition Srila Prabhupada published himself in India in 1964. It’s also the way we published it in Srila Prabhupada’s other books—books that came out during his physical presence. (For example, see the purports to Bhagavatam 4.31.11 and Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 7.41 and Madhya 6.139.) That, in short, is “as it is.”
Back to the index
14.10: The competition of the three modes
rajas tamas cabhibhuya sattvam bhavati bharata rajah sattvam tamas caiva tamah sattvam rajas tatha rajah —the mode of passion; tamah —the mode of ignorance; ca—also; abhibhuya —surpassing; sattvam—the mode of goodness; bhavati—becomes prominent;
bharata—O son of Bharata; rajah —the mode of passion; sattvam—the mode of goodness; tamah —the mode of ignorance; ca—also; eva—like that; tamah —the mode of ignorance; sattvam—the mode of goodness; rajah —the mode of passion; tatha—thus.
PUBLISHED EDITIONS Sometimes the mode of passion goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of goodness passion and ignorance, O son of Bharata. And sSometimes the mode of goodness defeats passion, passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times the mode of ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT [Edited] Sometimes the mode of passion becomes prominent, defeating the mode of goodness, O son of Bharata. And sometimes the mode of goodness defeats passion, and again the mode of ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is ever competition for supremacy.
COMMENT Now, let’s look at that first edition again: “Sometimes the mode of passion becomes prominent, defeating the mode of goodness, O son of Bharata. [Doesn’t it also defeat the mode of ignorance?] And sometimes the mode of goodness defeats passion [Again, not ignorance too?], and at other times the mode of ignorance defeats goodness and passion [Right!]. . . .” In the old version, goodness and passion duke it out—but ignorance seems to stand on the sidelines, unmentioned. Ignorance shows up only when it defeats the other two. But—clearly—that’s not how the Sanskrit has it. As Srila Prabhupada says in his purport: “When the mode of passion is prominent, the modes of goodness and ignorance are defeated. When the mode of goodness is prominent, passion and ignorance are defeated. And when the mode of ignorance is prominent, passion and goodness are defeated. This competition is always going on.” Exactly.
Back to the index
10.1: Parasara Muni said WHAT?
sri-bhagavan uvaca bhuya eva maha-baho srnu me paramam vacah yat te ’ham priyamanaya vaksyami hita-kamyaya
PUBLISHED EDITIONS The word paramam Bhagavan is explained thus by Parasara Muni: one who is full in six opulences, who has full strength, full fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and renunciation, is paramam, Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT The word paramam is explained by Parasamuni that one who is in six opulences namely one who has fully reached completely strong widely famous full of knowledge, full of beauty, and full of renunciation he is paramam or Supreme Personality of Godhead.
COMMENT All right, boys and girls, what’s the word Parasara Muni explains to mean “one who is full in six opulences”? Raise your hands! Paramam was obviously an error in transcription.
Back to the index | Top Back to “Gita Revisions Explained, Part 1” Back to “Gita Revisions Explained, Part 2”
© 2005-2012 BBTI Friends of the BBT Contact Us
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.