1. Srila Prabhupada letter to Satsvarupa Dasa, 25 January 1970.
2. In recent years, followers of Srila Prabhupada have produced video recordings of his lectures, with subtitles to make his words easier to follow. Yet the subtitles themselves are rich with examples of mishearing–an illustration that the problem is ongoing.
3. This was how Srila Prabhupada referred to his book Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
4. For the history of The Nectar of Instruction I am grateful to Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, who himself did the bulk of this work.
5. Srila Prabhupada letter to Rayarama Dasa, 3 March 1968.
6. Srila Prabhupada letter to Satsvarupa Dasa, 9 January 1970.
7. Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.13.50.
8. Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.24, purport.
9. Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.13.45.
10. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter 22.
11. Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.14.7.
12. Srila Prabhupada letter to Hayagriva Dasa, 18 November 1968.
13. For other memories from Pradyumna about how he got started, see Siddhanta Dasa, pp. 4–5, 7, and 9–10.
14. Srila Prabhupada therefore wrote to Pradyumna (on 21 June 1970), “So your efforts in the matter of our Sanskrit editing are effectively improving our books more and more with scholarly standards.”
15. Vyasa-puja is the celebration for the “appearance day” (birthday) of the spiritual master. The lecture took place on 22 August 1973, in London.
16. The manuscript for the complete book was prepared for publication, but it was abridged at the request of the original publisher, the Macmillan Company. Brahmananda Dasa (personal interview, 5 April 2003) reports that Rayarama Dasa flew from New York to Los Angeles to abridge the manuscript in direct consultation with Srila Prabhupada.
17. At first, several devotees had a hand in editing this book. Brahmananda Dasa says, “We were all working on it. I mean, I did it, and Kirtanananda did it, Satsvarupa, Hayagriva, Rayarama, I think even Ranchor. We all had a shot at it. Anyone with any education” (personal interview, 5 May 2003). Similarly, Pradyumna Dasa reports, “A lot of people were editing Prabhupada’s books when they first came into Montreal. Kirtanananda had a copy of the Gita manuscript, Hayagriva had something else, and Rayarama had something else. These were the early days of ISKCON. 1967, ’68″ (Memories, Vol. 2, p. 7). Hayagriva and Rayarama finally became the editors for the book.
18. Satsvarupa did preliminary editing, as he did on all the books for which he is listed. Here Rayarama was the main editor.
19. Purushottama, who transcribed the book while traveling with Srila Prabhupada as secretary, did some preliminary editing.
20. Each of the first nine chapters was first published as an individual paperback book.
21. Dravida edited chapters 13, 14, 15, and 17. I oversaw and polished his work and edited the rest of the book.
22. Dravida edited chapters 17 and 25 and at least parts of 18 and 26. I oversaw and polished his work and edited the rest of the book.
23. Syamasundara did some preliminary editing and gave useful editorial suggestions.
24. The text for this book came from articles previously edited by various editors and published in Back to Godhead. I chose the articles and their sequence. Ramesvara Swami and Mukunda (later Mukunda Goswami) added one or two more articles and wrote the titles and introductions.
25. Chapter 13 was published after Srila Prabhupada passed away.
26. In 1972, Easy Journey to Other Planets and Krishna Consciousness: The Topmost Yoga System were registered with the US Copyright Office with “Revisions and additions.” But minor errors in these and other books may have been noticed and fixed in still earlier printings.
27. The example most well known to ISKCON devotees: He pointed out that in Bhagavad-gita 18.44 an editor had wrongly supplied for go-rakshya the translation “cattle-raising” instead of “cow protection.” On another occasion he pointed out that “purified rice,” in Bhagavatam 1.15.22–3, should have been “putrefied rice.”
28. Both The Chicago Manual of Style and The Oxford Style Manual seem to regard the matter as routine. While noting the difference between a new edition (in which a work is significantly revised or enlarged) and a new impression (in which a book is simply reprinted), Chicago (p. 9) matter-of-factly says, “Corrections are sometimes made in new impressions,” and Oxford (p. 6) simply notes that one meaning of reprint is “a second or new impression of any printed work, with only minor corrections.”
Expressing an uncontroversial view, one scholar goes so far as to say, “[E]mendations in reprintings. . . have often been fewer than accuracy would demand.” (Halpenny, p. 11, emphasis supplied.)
29. The revised editions of these books came under criticism in a discussion between Srila Prabhupada and some disciples in Vrindavana on 22 June 1977. With reference to a judgment by Srila Prabhupada, the discussion was later entitled “Rascal Editors.”
30. At the time, I was working with ISKCON Press in Boston, where this incident took place, and Satsvarupa related it to me soon after it occurred.
31. The revised version was published in 1976. A full comparison of the revised translations for the first two chapters is online as Bhagavatam Revisions Examined.
33. BBT resolutions, 12 March 1979. What was intended was that we were to see about necessary corrections with reference to the original manuscripts.
34. A brief history appears in Responsible Publishing (p. 29). A letter widely circulated to solicit input from ISKCON devotees before the book was published appears on pp. 29–33.
35. Rayarama personally told me this, and I personally retyped the manuscripts that bore his editing.
36. “Techniques of Hearing and Memorizing,” for example, had nothing to do with memorization.
37. For examples, see Responsible Publishing, p. 8–9.
38. For examples, see Responsible Publishing, p. 10–13.
Some readers objected to one change in the revised Caitanya-caritamrita: In the introduction to the first chapter, the word initiated has twice been replaced by new wording. Regarding this objection as reasonable, the BBT directors agreed to review it. They sought counsel from eight senior, well-educated devotees outside the BBT, who came to a split decision, four favoring the earlier version, four the later. The directors took the view that either version would be justifiable and the difference was of no great consequence. Of the two instances of initiated, one had come from Srila Prabhupada’s original text (but was arguably not what he intended), the other from me as editor where grammar had required a verb supplied. Deferring to the original text, the directors decided to restore Srila Prabhupada’s initiated but not mine. This revision will appear in the next printing.
39. Curiously, one website advertises the “pre-1978 edition” of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. What is it? The same edition the BBT has published all along.
40. For examples, see 108 Changes to Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Madhudvisa Dasa and In-Depth Examination of Book Revisions by IRG. A collection of links to articles arguing various points of view is published online by the Vaishnava News Network at http://www.vnn.org/news/bbt_revisions.html. [The VNN website is no longer actively updated, and the link to that page is now defunct.] Anonymous critics of the BBT’s editorial policies maintain a site, meant to appear populist, called Adi-vani.org.
41. Such a response may be found in the BBT booklet Responsible Publishing, mentioned above. Other responses appear in Gita Revisions Explained, available online in three parts. Of relevant interest is Bhagavatam Revisions Examined, also mentioned above. The BBT’s editorial policies are briefly explained on Krishna.com.