Published on July 23rd, 2021 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image39
VERY IMPORTANT Letter from Ramesvara Prabhu — Srila Prabhupada’s BBT Manager
Ramesvara Prabhu was the devotee who lead the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in Srila Prabhuapda’s physical presence. He was the manager of the North American BBT and oversaw and directed all of Srila Prabhupada’s book publishing activities.
Ramesvara received far more direct instructions from Prabhuapda on his desires and plans for printing his books than any other devotee. Please read his recent letter in response to ISKCON’s current plans to keep on changing Srila Prabhupada’s books forever.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Ramesvara dasa
Date: July 19, 2021 at 12:34:14 PM EDT
To: Leaders of todays BBTi
Subject: BBT ERP Editing Principles
July 19, 2021
Dear Respected Maharajas and Respected Vaisnavis and Vaisnavas
Hare Krsna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I pray this finds you all safe, healthy and blissfully engaged in your service.
Thank you for the time you spent and the work you engaged in to come up with the proposed “Editorial Principles for the Editorial Review Panel”.
I’m sorry that I didn’t have the opportunity to be interviewed. I was the BBT Trustee most responsible for publishing Srila Prabhupada’s first editions of his translations and commentaries from 1975, which included the Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita, Srimad Bhagavatam 5th – 10th Cantos, and other works such as Teachings of Lord Kapila, Teachings of Queen Kunti, etc. Prior to that I was the original BBT Secretary when Srila Prabhupada formed the BBT Trust in 1972, and the BBT Manager from late 1973-1974. As such I received many instructions about editing and publishing His Divine Grace’s books, both in letters, in numerous personal meetings, and especially when I travelled with Srila Prabhupada as his personal secretary in 1977.
Of all the varied instructions I received, what stands out the most is when Srila Prabhupada told me: “My greatest anxiety is that in the future [after his disappearance] they will make changes to my books. That will ruin the entire Krsna Consciousness Movement.” That is directly from my diary.
Of all the changes, what Srila Prabhupada expressed to me as his greatest anxiety was what I call “politically correct” changes, made by editors and trustees 50 or 100 years from now or even later, when society’s social dictates make trustees and editors think they need to add or delete or try to clarify his words to fit the times. Many times, Srila Prabhupada said how carefully he chooses every word so that his books will be timeless and be considered the lawbooks for humanity for the 10,000-year golden age within this Kali Yuga.
Your paper can be misread to leave the door open to future editing in the name of the principles you listed. Your paper is incomplete in respect to one core omission – to seal Prabhupada’s books for all time from future editing.
I am convinced that before our generation departs this world, the editing department must be permanently closed, and by GBC Resolution, endorsed by all BBT Trustees, it should be resolved that Srila Prabhupada’s books are sealed from any further change or editing, and that anyone who attempts to publish them [Prabhupada’s books] with future changes should be officially excommunicated. No other penalty will seal the books as effectively as a resolution that anyone making future changes is expelled from our ISKCON and BBT society.
Unless this is established as a core principle, we all leave the editing and change door open, to changes we cannot imagine that future BBT Trustees and editors may sincerely believe are needed.
This principle, that Srila Prabhupada’s books are sealed, is missing from your paper. While it may not have been your assignment to establish such a permanent principle, it desperately needs to be at the core of our Movement’s editing policy, by both GBC and BBT resolution. Without sealing the books from future changes, we have all failed to relieve Srila Prabhupada of his greatest anxiety.
Once it is clearly established that His Divine Grace’s books are sealed forever, and once that anxiety is removed from the minds of all devotees, you can have a deep and rational discussion about what changes have already been made, in an atmosphere that is not surcharged with fear and anxiety about the future.
I would like to share one other observation. The “rascal editors” conversations that were transcribed and sent to me and others, along with letters from Tamal Krsna Goswami further describing Srila Prabhupada’s concerns, were perhaps the biggest crisis I ever faced as a BBT Trustee. We were all praying for Srila Prabhupada to postpone his disappearance, and we were all praying for him to continue translating the 10th Canto and perhaps more, when these editing concerns were sent to me.
My response, dated July 13, 1977, was drafted after one week of meetings with the BBT editors and managers, and represented the official policy of the BBT. My letter and Srila Prabhupada’s reply (via Tamal Krsna Goswami) are the last and final instructions on editing issued by Srila Prabhupada. In my mind this always superseded much earlier instructions. For his continued work on the 10th Canto as well as the one-time only review he wanted of previously published books, editing was to be restricted to three categories (with examples) that we sent on behalf of the entire English-language BBT.
These restrictions never included some of the principles, such as making changes to clarify Srila Prabhupada’s words, that you list in your paper. I would have felt almost offensive to even suggest in July 1977, that Srila Prabhupada’s words, which he told us were given by Krsna Himself, needed to be clarified by less than fully realized Uttama Adhikari editors of English, Sanskrit or Bengali.
Please consider that I was NOT writing about editing his books beyond his disappearance, unless it was part of a one-time final review of books previously published that he requested. That review does not take decades.. The notion that anyone would tell Srila Prabhupada that 44 years after his disappearance there is still an editing department at work making changes to his books would have, I’m sure, resulted in a divine anger aspect of Srila Prabhupada that no one ever witnessed or even conceived of. I say this out of my personal experiences of suggesting changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books, having him bang his fist on his desk as he threw me out of his room while displaying the most fearsome divine anger.
So, I return to this core principle- Seal his books immediately and permanently from any editing and shut down the editing department’s work forever on Srila Prabhupada’s books.
I pray this leads to an amendment to your paper, and offer any resources I may have (letters, conversations, my diary, memories, etc. that may assist you in adopting this core principle based on my personal interactions with Srila Prabhupada as his BBT Trustee during his manifest pastimes.
I beg to remain your eternally aspiring BBT servant,
For more information please visit:
I am not claiming to be a pure devotee by any stretch of the imagination so I know that my words may not be very meaningful to you. I have been reading Srila Prabupada’s books since they started being published in English. Please remember that this was during a time when there were a lot of false profits. These teaching touched me like no other and I trust them unconditionally!! Srila Prabupada’s words ARE a direct link to Krishna and should never be touched,changed or mistakenly interpreted in any way Not a single syllable! Please 🙏
Dear Ramesvara Prabhu,
Please accept my humble and most respectful obeisances.
Thank you for publishing this letter on this most important topic.
The first, and perhaps most obvious thing that occurs to me since I can do nothing about Iskcon authorities altering Srila Prabhupada’s books as and when they wish, is can we find original copies of his works somewhere? What about the original proofs?
Of course typos and printing errors have to be corrected, that is understood, but outside of that the books should be left as Srila Prabhupade wrote them and it is supremely arrogant of people to imagine that they can make them more relevant or socially acceptable as mores and customs change with time. Even with the best will in the world it will produce a “Chinese whispers” effect – to the massive detriment of the message contained therein!
Though I have some books going back decades, I would very much like to be able to buy original, unmolested copies of the ones I don’t have – and I’m sure I won’t be the only one!
You can already purchase Srila Prabhupada’s original “unmolested” books:
Please accept my humblest obeisances . All glories to Srila Prabhupad.
I agree that the books should be sealed and not further edited, they should be restored to its original condition.
Isn’t best we just go back to the original content “spoken” and written by Srila Prabhupada.
The “copy” or punctuation editing was originally suggested to give the books a more formal presentation, basically for the discriminating future scholars and higher educated persons.
However, changing any of the copy or punctuation of the Acharyas written work is against our Vaishnava tradition. Most certainly content changing is wrong and offensive. As we all know Srila Prabhupada did not want this to take place.
Represent the original books with the original content and minimal copy editing. Include a proper and intriguing explanation of the sanctity of the Acharyas original scribing’s and people will understand and accept.
Dandavat Pranams to Rameswara Prabhu.
I stand aghast at the very thought of making changes in the holy books written by Srila Prabhupada. I am also deeply concerned whether all the original books written by His Divine Grace are duly preserved or not and whether these are available to the devotees who are genuinely interested in reading the originals books of Srila Prabhupada.
Right on! No changes EVER!
Hare Krsna dear Ramesvara,
Please accept my humblest obeisances . All glories
to Srila Prabhupad.
Indeed this is an important letter.
Having been gratefully in the movement for almost 30 years, I am in possession
of two Bhagavad Gita Versions:
the “second” edition printed in 1989
the “complete” edition printed in 1972
I have spent hours scrupulously studied the 1989 version, memorizing slokas
and gleaning from purports.
Oddly I was advised by a senior devotee that the 1972 version was unauthorized
for reading, what to speak of distributing.
So you are saying the situation is quite the opposite. What to do.
Of course a shut down is paramount.
Aspiring to serve,
Chatamayi Devi Dasi. d/o RNS
I agree that the books should be sealed and not further edited, infact they should be restored to its original condition. Any editing will only take away from the spiritual imprint that srila prabhu pada left in his writing, it is not only the words but they energy that he imbued in these words that will be lost if they are altered to satisfy the superficial correctness of the human mind. It is my heartfelt wish that Ramesvara dasa’s explanation as to WHY this is of ut most impirtance is truly heard, and not brought down to the level of ego politics.
Thank you very much for sharing this. I am very relieved to hear all of Ramesvara Prabhu’s words, and I am very grateful to him, and also to your website, both for disseminating the letter and also for continuing to sell Srila Prabhupada’s original editions. Thank you again.
prabhupadas words only – seal the books from editing immediately!!!!
Isn’t it best we just go back to the originals, with only “proof read,” aka copy editing and ABSOLUTELY NO CONTENT EDITING.
To satisfy the “future scholars,” add our standard Vaishnava disclaimer regarding the non altering of the Acharya’s written words. This would satisfy objective “observations” for superficial imperfections. Remember Srila Prabhupadas dictaphone, THE BOOKS WERE SPOKEN FIRST, then copied to book form. All the more reason to let it be.
What can be done, I feel that the changes are a gross offense at Srila Prabhupada’s feet, I am not interested in reading any others interpretations, as they are presuming them selves either on the same platform as Srila Prabhupada, or on a higher platform, either way this is just wrong, ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada’s body, the books are his life blood, changing them could seriously and fatal injure ISKCON.
PLEASE STOP CHANGING SRILA PRABHUPADA’S BOOKS!!!!
Shut down editing department,Please stop making changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books and sell only original books….. we want to read Prabhupada’s books as it is.
Please honor Srila Prabhupada’s wishes and leave his books alone. They are divinely perfect and do not require any editing now or ever. Ramesvara Prabhu is 100% correct about Srila Prabhupdad’s wishes and anxiety about his books being changed. I was in Los Angeles in those years and I’m quite certain that he would be trancendentally furious about the changes to his books that have already been made and this puffed-up mentally of editing and “improving” his books in so doing. Please cease and desist this unnecessary practice. Shut down the editing department now! Thank you.
Sharanagata devi dasi
Please shut down the editing department of the BBT. I have been reading Srila Prabhupada’s books for 49 years. Finding changes in Srila Prabhupada’s books is very disturbing. This changes the rasa from transcendental to mundane in that the connection to the authorized instruction of Guru is lost. Prayers to Srimati Radharani to please bless these miscreant editors and bring them to their senses. Radhe Radhe
Hare Krishna, AGTSP. PAMHO.
I have been a devotee since 1973. Some of the things that have happened in ISKCON since Prabhupada left this planet have shocked and surprised me. But level heads always prevail and we once again come back to his teaching.
Please do not ever edit.
I was even upset when the cover photo on The Bhagavad Gita was changed. Thank goodness it’s back to original.
Please do not Srila Prabhupada’s words, ever.
I’ve read books written in the 16th century and whereas difficult to read because of the changes in language, the meaning imparted by the author would be lost if one tried to modernize it.
Same here Mataji. AGTSP, PAMHO. I was initiated in 1973 and still have my original version of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita. I remember when I first read Prabhupada’s Gita As-It-Is, Prabhupada’s words seem to leap up off the page and glow and resonate deeply as if spoken by a Great Voice piercing through the material existence. I’ve since recovered from that condition but now I only distribute reprints of Prabhupada’s original books so that I can confidently say to all of the grateful souls that I meet and that receive Prabhupada’s books that “These Books have not been changed for over Five Thousand Years!” Their eyes grow big to know that they now hold in their hands, very potent words that can free them from material existence.
Ys, Vamsidas Denver 1973
Please seal Prabhupada’s books from any editing whatsoever, and shut the editing department forthwith. Thank you
Please stop making changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books and sell only original books….. we want to read Prabhupada only.
Hare Krishna 🙏,
I agree to Seal his divine grace’s a.c bhaktivedanta prabhupada’s books, and shut down the editing department of bbt forever! Prabhupada’s books are absolute so there are timeless. Try to understand
🌹 “I never die!”
His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Reveals that His Consciousness is spread throughout all His Books.
🌼~”I am present in My Books.”
🌼~”Just by reading My Books they are Initiated.”
🌼~”My touch is just a formality. Anyone who follows My Instructions is My Disciple.”~
“To honor the spiritual master means to carry out his instructions word for word.”
Dec 6, 1974 SB 3.25.37
“But we should always understand that granthas, or the scriptures, should be worshiped as God. That is sound incarnation of God. It should not be neglected. Don’t neglect Bhagavad-gita or Bhagavata as ordinary books. You must be very careful. As you take care of the Deities, you should take care of the Books also.”
~”Anyone anywhere who picks up one of His Books can get everything.”
“God can be realized only to whom He reveals.-
Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1.2.23.”
You cannot oblige God to become manifest before you because you are very good scholar or you are a very rich man or you are very good looking or you have got very good memorizing power. No. Yam evaiṣa vṛṇute. When He is pleased, then He reveals unto the devotee.
“I AM AT WAR WITH MAYA.”
People come to Me for many different reasons, that’s why you see so many leave.
They get what they think they wanted and then go away.
It’s very rare to find someone who wants reality.
🌹WHO IS PRABHUPADA?🌹
“Grow your own food. Make your own clothes.”
Darkness around all untraced the only Hope His Divine Grace~
Trust you are well thinking Krishna’s Names reading PrabhupadaBooks.com
I had the great fortune of doing all the shipping at the BBT Los Angeles for 10 months of 1977.
One item available at that time were a set of micro-fiche cards containing all of Prabhupada’s original Books.
As a new Book would come in from the printers Prabhupada would OK the Book then LalKrishna das prabhu would take one Book and have it copied onto micro-fiche.
If you can find an original set of these micro-fiche cards you will find all the Prabhupada Approved printing of His Books.🌼🌈🐦
I would be interested in joining a class-action lawsuit on behalf of those that want to lock down and seal Srila Prabhupada’s Books and his words AS-IT-IS.
This lawsuit would seek the following outcomes:
1. restore ALL works attributed to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness back to the Unedited Original versions, e.g. 1972 for Bhagavad-gita As-It-Is, etc. for any further printing by the BBTI.
2. demand that any further printing states clearly on the cover that this newly printed edition is the “restored version of text as authorized by His Divine Grace” something to that effect
3. file court cases seeking damages (court costs, attorney fees, damages for copyright infringement if Prabhupada’s original books were copyrighted, etc.) for our efforts and work to stop the publishing of unauthorized edited editions of Srila Prabhupada’s works under Srila Prabhupada’s name.
4. As Ramesvara Prabhu mentioned to Seal and Close the editing department for Srila Prabhupada’s books
5. Also as Ramesvara Prabhu mentioned to formally expel and excommunicate anyone or any institution that continues publishing un-authorized edited versions of Srila Prabhupada’s original works.
This is just a rough outline. However, clearly, we need to restore, resurrect and republish all of Srila Prabhupada’s books in their original text and entirety and as long as we live, fiercely guard Srila Prabhupada’s diving and timeless work so that future generations can reap the same spiritual benefits that we did so as to deliver the future generations of fallen souls. If this is the last thing we do in our lives, to protect Srila Prabhupada’s works and to secure future generations and deputize current and future devotees to carry on the most important work of our lives by protecting, tooth and nail, with all of our available resources, the authenticity and originality of Srila Prabhupada’s words and books, then we’ll see our movement flourish like anything, because we will be forever listening to and hearing the holy sound vibration of Srila Prabhupada’s words which are indeed, directly spoken to Srila Prabhupada by The Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself Lord Sri Krsna! Srila Prabhupada has told us that the way to God realization is through hearing, so we must protect the vibrations in his books that he provided to us in good faith to deliver us from Maya’s clutches and to go back home back to Godhead.
Wishing to remain your servant,
7/24/2021 Grand Rapids, Michigan
There is a special place in hell for those who dare change Prabhupad’s
Outside of some very rare and obvious printing or editing mistakes …
Srila Prabhupadas books in his words should not be changed Hare Krishna
It is the worst sin this, these egotistic rascals need to be stopped,
Ever since this body was formed they thought they are the rulers of ISCON, they even thought they had power over our Guruji,
I myself suspect them of killing him with poison so they could grab power, They must be stopped somehow, how dare they think they are more enlightened than our great Master. ,
Dear Ramesvara prabhu. I am enterally supporting the permanent closing of the editing department of Srila Prabhupada ‘s books.
It is of astronomical importance to keep Prabhupada’s personally approved editions seal forever.
In foreword of Bhagavad Gita Prabhupada explained that the need to write the Bhagavad Gita as it is surfaced from the fact that many different interpretations of Krsna’s teachings existed as a result of the innumerable individual views of the less than realized individuals.
In 1978, a year after the departure of Srila Prabhupada, I made the decision to moved from Spain to the USA to learn English and be able to read the books that Prabhupada had written and whose edition He personally approved. I didn’t want to missed any direct intention and emotion of Srila Prabhupada pure essence of Krsna conciousness mood that He transmitted in His books.
I suggest taking this case if not resolved in a amiable way to the courts.
This editing Prabhupada’s words must be stopped by any means before Kali enters in the arena of action and invades Prabhupada’s As It Is message.
Hladini shakti devi dasi
I have noted the contents and agree fully. If my humble voice means anything I do vote for disbandment of any editing.
Dear Ramesvara das Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Thank you for clarifying this issue which has been troubling a number of us- the unauthorized editing of Srila Prabhupada’s books.
I hope and pray that the GBC will take on board your advice and insistence that they seal Srila Prabhupada’s books from any meddling in the name of editing.
Eternal truths are just that and never should be watered down to fit the sense gratification of so called aspiring devotees.
The absolute truth, so expertly explained by Srila Prabhupada could only be appreciated by our sincere and deep need to understand such topics.
This says it all, clearly.
If one changes Srila Prabhupada’s words, then one is changing Lord Krsna’s words. All changes need to stop, as no one is greater tha Lord Krsna, who is All Arrractive, full in All Opulances, All Perfect. 🙇🏽♂️🙇🏽♂️🙇🏽♂️
We are not God, the Supreme Personality of God Head, and reading below, one must realise the error of changing these words, for social, political, or to make palatable!
It must remain As It Is, the way Srila Prabhupada translated it.
“Every day you have to read my books. Do you know that every day even I read my own books?
Do you know why I read my books? I read my books everyday because even I learn something new when I read them. Do you know why I learn something new when I read my books? Because these books are not my books – I do not write these books.
Every morning when I sit here to write my books Krsna comes personally and he dictates to me what to write, I simply take dictation from Krsna and I write these books. Therefore when I read them even I learn something.”
(Srila Prabhupada Room conversation with Bhagavat Das Vanachari, Bombay, 1974)
All Glories All Glories All Glories To Srila Prabhupada 🕉️🙏🏾😊
The point is he specified Not to change his words. I ordered the original version of the Bhagavad-Gita after learning that words were edited in later additions. I compared, it makes a big difference. There should be no editing, it’s insulting. That’s not honoring the founder and the guru and has expressed wishes. Let the work be that Krishna dictated and graced. Namaste.
Hare Krsna Matajis and Prabhus,
I am so grateful for Ramesvara Prabhu’s comments, on this most vital issue. I pray all the leaders listen to his advise. Ramesvara has always been an inspiration for me to engage in Krsna consciousness and distribute Prabhupadas books.
Prabhupada’s books are perfect “AS THEY ARE”.
S.B. 1-5-11. All we need is to hang on to our faith, Guru, and shastra.
Thank you Ramesvara Prabhu for coming forward!
your humble and most fallen servant,
Please leave Srila Prahbupada’s writings unchanged and as he instructed. Their Devine message and influence requires NO editorial process. Let’s not go the way of other holy documents such as the Bible! Hare Krsna!
Seal,seal,seal only “Rascals” would conceive of such blasphemy!!!
I personally believe the corruption and politics has already taken hold so deep in the leadership of ISKCON that there will be no change. Not that I care so much as I gave up pretending to be a devotee and simply try to think of Krishna as often as I can. I’m not part of the institution anymore yet have only good will towards the rank and file members of ISKCON, I have nothing to gain or prove from commenting here. I only see it as a shame that people who think they are more advanced the Srila Prabhupada would be allowed to make such changes as they already have and probably will continue to do so. Anyway, all the best with the “stop the corruption of the books” campaign, may you succeed.
Dear Ramesvara prabhu
I offer my humble obeisances unto you. All glories unto Srila Prabhupada.
As an active book distributor, I have experienced many situations whereby people were interested in the knowledge that I was distributing but they preferred to read the books online or downloaded for tablet or kindle (in order to save paper, the trees, the natural resources etc)
This defeats the purpose of book distribution.
I explained that the books were printed from sustainable resources. When I checked, I noted that only SOME of the books are print stamped with this reminder.
I hope that all future books will be printed from sustainable resources (and stamped)
This will further help Srila Prabhupada’s mission to flood the world with Krishna Conscious books but at the same time operate responsibly for the future of natural resources and the future of spiritual education of the people of this planet.
Your humble servant in The Lord’s service
there is a Bengali proverb, which translates as kill Guru, Be Guru
My obeisances to all the devotees present over here.
Very lucky are all those devotees who got the chance of serving Srila Prabhupada personally. Every time I read his nectar-like words it really calms me and helps me to advance in my spiritual goal. Srila Prabhupada’s books helped me to recover from my sinful conditions and without his books and instruction, it would have been impossible for me to come out from that condition.
It’s heartbreaking to know that there is still an editing department at work making changes to his books despite his denial.
we should all try to stop this as soon as possible until it gets too late Krishna will surely help us in this matter.