Bhagavad-gita Revisions Explained - Part 2


The texts appear in the order in which they were posted on the conference. But this Index arranges them in order of chapter and verse. (Click on any line to see the revision and discussion.)


To begin this conference, I first offer my humble and respectful obeisances to my beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of ISKCON and author of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

I next offer my respectful obeisances to all the previous acaryas in the disciplic succession through which this book has been received.

I offer my respectful obeisances to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who composed and published a rendering of Bhagavad-gita into Bengali that Srila Prabhupada surely consulted.

I offer my respectful obeisances unto Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, the author of the Gita Bhusana commentary. It is to him that Srila Prabhupada dedicates Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and Srila Prabhupada mentions his comments several times in the text.

I offer my respectful obeisances to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, author of the Sarartha Varsani Gita commentary. Srila Prabhupada has told us that a comment, in this book, about following the orders of the spiritual master guided Srila Prabhupada in his own life.

Next I offer my respects to the original editors of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. As I have written elsewhere, “the editors of the first edition are to be praised. They did a fine job of making a tough manuscript ready to print.”

My respectful obeisances, also, to all the devotees involved in publishing and distributing Bhagavad-gita As It Is in many different languages of the world.

I offer my respectful obeisances to all who read and study Bhagavad-gita As It Is. As stated in Bhagavad-gita itself, they worship Lord Krsna by their intelligence.

And finally I offer my obeisances to the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original speaker of Bhagavad-gita.

By the grace of Lord Sri Krsna and His devotees, may we all gain a deeper and clearer understanding of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Hare Krsna.

Jayadvaita Swami

About this conference and about the manuscripts

In this conference, I shall present and discuss some of the more interesting, instructive, and controversial revisions made for the Second Edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Unlike comparisons published elsewhere, these discussions will include comparisons to the original unpublished manuscripts. (You can expect to see, as in Krsna’s universal form, “many wonderful things which no one has ever seen or heard of before.”)

A few words of explanation:

“Original manuscripts” means different things, according to different Gita chapters. For the first five or six chapters, it refers to original manuscripts apparently typed by Srila Prabhupada himself. For the middle six chapters, it refers to the original transcriptions of his tapes. And for the last chapters it refers to the old retyped manuscripts from which the 1972 Macmillan edition was produced. In all cases, “original manuscripts” means the oldest and most reliable manuscripts in the BBT files.

The “retyped manuscripts” for the last six chapters were copied from original transcriptions on which much editing had already been done. The typist followed the edited version, adding what the editor had added and deleting what he had deleted. Sometime before 1972, the original transcriptions themselves were apparently lost. (This loss is why the revisions in the last six chapters of the Second Edition are particularly light.)

The text of the manuscripts for all eighteen chapters has been converted into digital form, and for convenience while traveling I am relying on the digital version. If this results in any significant errors that later come to my attention, I shall report them.

Thank you. Hare Krsna.

2.37: “Get up with determination and fight”

hato va prapsyasi svargam
jitva va bhoksyase mahim
tasmad uttistha kaunteya
yuddhaya krta-niscayah

. . . uttistha—get up; kaunteya—O son of Kunti; yuddhaya—to fight; krta—determined; niscayah—in certainty.

niscayahuncertainty in certainty.



The old version is simply wrong.

Therefore, get up and fight with determination. with determination and fight.

Therefore with determination please get up for fighting.


The new version more closely follows the meaning of both the original manuscript and the Sanskrit.

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10.31: Lord Rama, “of the Ramayana

pavanah pavatam asmi
ramah sastra-bhrtam aham
jhasanam makaras casmi
srotasam asmi jahnavi

TRANSLATION: Of purifiers I am the wind, of the wielders of weapons I am Rama, of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.

[From the purport]

Of all the aquatics the shark is one of the biggest and is certainly the most dangerous to man. Thus the shark represents Krsna. Lord Ramacandra, of the Ramayana, an incarnation of Krsna, is the mightiest of warriors.

Of all the acquatics especially fish the shark-fish is the biggest amongst them and some of the shark-fish are dangerous to humankind also, but the shark-fish is amongst the fish. [end of purport.]



The shark may be a dangerous fish, but the locution “of the Ramayana” at once alerted me that something else fishy was going on. Is Lord Ramacandra a character from a book, like Alice “of Alice in Wonderland”? Sure enough, in the original manuscript the text about Lord Ramacandra doesn’t appear; it seems to have been added by the editor.

For certain, the editor of the First Edition was trying to be helpful. But sometimes we are better off without help. The word rama may of course refer to Lord Ramacandra—or to Balarama, or even to Krsna Himself. Nonetheless, our sampradaya acaryas comment here that rama refers to—whom? Lord Parasurama.

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2.2: sri-bhagavan uvaca

2 January 99

Who Said?
(In a recently noticed quotation, Srila Prabhupada answers.)

From the Second Chapter onward in Bhagavad-gita, whenever Lord Krsna speaks we first read in the Sanskrit “sri bhagavan uvaca.” Throughout Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srila Prabhupada rendered these words into English as “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said.”

More than twenty-five Gita verses begin with “sri-bhagavan uvaca.” For the first of these—Chapter Two, verse two—Srila Prabhupada’s purport explains at length what the term “the Supreme Personality of Godhead” means and why Lord Krsna deserves to be known in this way.

Nonetheless, in the First Edition of Srila Prabhupada’s Gita, “the Supreme Personality of Godhead said” is not what appears. Instead, by the work of an early editor, throughout the book the person who speaks is “the Blessed Lord.” In the Second Edition, “the Supreme Personality of Godhead” reappears.

While working on the Second Edition, more than fifteen years ago, I was unaware of the following passage from a lecture Srila Prabhupada gave at an initiation ceremony in Los Angeles on July 3, 1970. I came across the passage only recently, in the Folio VedaBase. I am sending it along here for other readers who might find it of interest.

Hare Krsna.

Yours in Srila Prabhupada’s service,
Jayadvaita Swami

-------------Passage begins-------------

Devotee: Minimizing the authority of the scripture or...

Prabhupada: Yes. Scriptural injunction we should not minimize. We should not think contradictory. We should accept as it is. Then it will be good for us. Or interpretation. Scriptural interpretation is not required.

Therefore, we are presenting Bhagavad-gita as it is, without any false interpretation. As it is. Krsna—Krsna. Kuruksetra—Kuruksetra. Pandava—Pandava. Dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre samaveta. Krsna uvaca. Krsna, Bhagavan uvaca: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said.” And we should not add here that... What is called? Paramatma uvaca. No. Krsna uvaca. Paramatma is feature. In the Gita Press edition you will see “Paramatma.” They never say Krsna. They’re so much afraid that “If I say ‘Krsna,’ He will at once capture me.” You see? [chuckles] So in a different way. “Param Brahman,” “Caitanya,” like this, so many impersonal ways they will say. But that is not required. Bhagavan uvaca means Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.

Sometimes they say, “Blessed Lord said.” No. Why you say? The Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna said.

Then, what is that next? No interpretation of the scripture. Next?

-------------Passage ends------------

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2.2: sri-bhagavan uvaca (continued)



Dear Deepak,

Please accept my best wishes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

You write:

> I would be interested to know how Srila Prabhupada
> translated “sri-bhagavan uvaca” on the original
> dictation tapes.

Thank you for asking. I assume that here you’re speaking about Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Not all of the book originated in the form of dictation. The first five or six chapters were apparently typed by Srila Prabhupada himself, and the book was edited from the typed manuscripts, which are still in the files of the BBT. The remaining chapters come from dictation.

It seems that none of the original tapes are still extant, except for a tape of the Introduction. So for the dictated chapters the best we have are the early manuscripts.

Now, to answer your question:

I’ve scanned the manuscripts for the first twelve chapters, for which I have copies with me.

Throughout, Srila Prabhupada translates “sri-bhagavan uvaca” as “The Personality of Godhead said” or “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said.”


In 4.1: “The Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krsna said.”

In 5.2: “The Personality of Godhead replied.”

In 7.1: The transliteration, word-for-word meanings, and
translation for sri-bhagavan uvaca do not appear at all.

In 9.1: “The Supreme Lord said.” (In the word-for-word, it’s
“the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”)

In 10.1, The words are left out of the translation.

I don’t have reliable copies of the last twelve chapters with me to refer to. But as I recall, in the rest of the book Srila Prabhupada consistently translated sri-bhagavan the same way—as “the Personality of Godhead” or “the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

You can be sure that Srila Prabhupada didn’t suddenly switch gears after Chapter Twelve.

(Nor, for that matter, did His Divine Grace choose to call his Tenth Canto summary Krishna, the Blessed Lord.)

I hope this answers your question. If you have further questions, feel free to ask.

Thank you. Hare Krsna.

Hoping this finds you in good health,

Yours in Srila Prabhupada’s service,
Jayadvaita Swami

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4.34: “Nor by independent study of books. . .”

This text appears in the purport right after the Sanskrit quotation dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam.

Therefore, mental speculation or dry arguments cannot help one progress in spiritual life. lead one to the right path. Nor by independent study of books of knowledge can one progress in spiritual life. One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge.

Therefore mental speculation or dry arguments cannot lead one to the right path.Neither by self study of the book of knowledge can help one progress in spiritual life.One has to approach therefore a bonafide spiritual master for receiving the knowledge.



According to a message I received not long ago from a correspondent in Bangalore, some devotees there were pointing to this revision as evidence that Bhagavad-gita As It Is is not really “as it is.” The critics pointed out that the original 1972 edition did not contain the sentence about the inability to progress by independent study of books. The sentence had been added by the GBC (so the critics charged) to support a guru system never desired by Srila Prabhupada.

I take such criticism as a sign that restoring this sentence from Srila Prabhupada’s manuscript was worth doing.

By the way: How did the missing portion go missing? Here’s a guess. Suppose the original editor did the text this way: “Therefore, mental speculation or dry arguments cannot HELP lead one to the right path. Nor can independent study of books of knowledge HELP one progress in spiritual life.” [capitals supplied] If you jump from the first HELP to the second, leaving out everything between—a very common sort of typist’s error—you get precisely what was published in the First Edition.

The First Edition was typeset on a now-extinct “IBM Composer” on which each typeset line had to be typed twice, making this sort of error even more likely. When you notice that in the First Edition the word HELP comes at the end of a line, you can figure that you’ve pretty well solved the case: The typesetting person left out one complete line. The Second Edition restores it.

This fix illustrates the sort of work done for the Second Edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. And the response to it illustrates how an over-suspicious mind and a hyperactive imagination can turn a typist’s error into an international conspiracy.

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1.32-35: “Kill or be killed”? / “creature comforts” / missing line


O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhrtarastra?

Why should I wish to kill them, though I may survive? even though they might otherwise kill me?

why shall I wish to kill them even though I may be killed by them.


The old version means roughly the opposite of what Srila Prabhupada (and Lord Krsna) said.

O maintainer of all creatures living entities, . . .

Oh the maintainer of all living entities. . .

What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhrtarastra?



A line of Sanskrit has been left untranslated:

nihatya dhartarastra nah
ka pritih syaj janardana

It’s there in the Sanskrit and in Srila Prabhupada’s word for word. The omission clearly appears unintended. (And it’s the sort of omission that scholars and professors notice.) Supplying such missing lines was routine work for the BBT Sanskrit editors on all of Srila Prabhupada’s later books, a standard set by Pradyumna Dasa and appreciated by Srila Prabhupada. Here the supplied translation derives directly from Srila Prabhupada’s word-for-word meanings.

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5.16: Krsna consciousness drives away nescience

Therefore, one has to seek out such a bona fide spiritual master and, under him, learn what Krsna consciousness is, The spiritual master can for Krsna consciousness will certainly drive away all nescience, as the sun drives away darkness.

Therefore, one has to find out such bona fide spiritual master who is perfect Krsna consciousness and, has to learn under such benafide spiritual master what is Krsna consciousness. Such Krsna consciousness will certainly drive away all kinds o nescience, as the Sun drives away all kinds o darkness.



What we find in the First Edition is philosophically all right. What we find in the Second Edition is what Srila Prabhupada said.

This revision is hardly worth mentioning. I bring it up only because some critics have cited it, seemingly as evidence that the Second Edition whittles away the importance of the spiritual master. As you can see, what the Second Edition actually does here is restores Srila Prabhupada’s words.

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9.26: “A leaf, a flower. . .” Paragraph restored

patram puspam phalam to yam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
asnami prayatatmanah

If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.

[Purport (first paragraph)]

For the intelligent person, it is essential to be in Krsna consciousness, engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, in order to achieve a permanent, blissful abode for eternal happiness. The process of achieving such a marvelous result is very easy and can be attempted even by the poorest of the poor, without any kind of qualification. The only qualification required in this connection is to be a pure devotee of the Lord. It does not matter what one is or where one is situated. The process is so easy that even a leaf or a little water or fruit can be offered to the Supreme Lord in genuine love and the Lord will be pleased to accept it. No one, therefore, can be barred from Krsna consciousness, because it is so easy and universal. Who is such a fool that he does not want to be Krsna conscious by this simple method and thus attain the highest perfectional life of eternity, bliss and knowledge? Krsna wants only loving service and nothing more. Krsna accepts even a little flower from His pure devotee. He does not want any kind of offering from a nondevotee. He is not in need of anything from anyone, because He is self-sufficient, and yet He accepts the offering of His devotee in an exchange of love and affection. To develop Krsna consciousness is the highest perfection of life. Bhakti is mentioned twice in this verse in order to declare more emphatically that bhakti, or devotional service, is the only means to approach Krsna. No other condition, such as becoming a brahmana, a learned scholar, a very rich man or a great philosopher, can induce Krsna to accept some offering. Without the basic principle of bhakti, nothing can induce the Lord to agree to accept anything from anyone. Bhakti is never causal. The process is eternal. It is direct action in service to the absolute whole.

[I retrieved this missing paragraph from the 1968 Macmillan abridged edition.]

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10.26: “Holy fig tree!”

asvathah sarva-vrksanam: “Of all trees I am the banyan tree.”

[Word-for-word section]

asvattha—the banyan tree; sarva-vrksanam—of all trees;

Asvatthah--the beginning trees, Sarvavrksanam--of all trees;


Of all trees I am the holy fig banyan tree. . .

I am the beginning tree amongst all the trees;


The fig banyan tree (asvattha) is one of the highest and most beautiful and highest trees, and people in India often worship it as one of their daily morning rituals.

Brilliant tree is the most beautiful and the highest tree, therefore brilliant tree is the presentation of Krishna. In India people in general worship Indian tree as one of the daily morning rituals.



Botanists classify the banyan tree as a species of fig. People in India, however, do not worship fig trees in general; they worship the banyan.

Though the banyan is “the holy fig tree” and tulasi is “the holy basil,” people worship the banyan tree and the tulasi plant, not figs and basils.

Clearly, “beginning tree,” “brilliant tree,” and “Indian tree” are all mis-transcriptions of “banyan tree.”

See also Bhagavad-gita 15.1, which speaks of a banyan (not fig) tree with its roots up and branches down.

More about 10.26 in our next message.

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10.26 (continued): “The perpetually living entities”

asvatthah sarva-vrksanam
devarsinam ca naradah
gandharvanam citrarathah
siddhanam kapilo munih

Of all trees I am the banyan tree, and of the sages among the demigods I am Narada. Of the Gandharvas I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.


. . . and amongst sages and of the sages among the demigods I am Narada.

I am Narada amongst all the sages of demigods,



No big deal here, but “sage among the demigods” was Srila Prabhupada’s standard translation.


Amongst the perpetually perfect living entities, Kapila, the son of Devahuti, is a representative of Krsna. He is considered an incarnation of Krsna, and His philosophy is mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Amongst the perpetually living entities, Kapila, the son of Katumuni is the presentation of Krishna. Katumuni is considered incarnation of Krishna. And his philosophy is mentioned in the Srimad Bhagwatam.



“Perpetually living entities”? All living entities are perpetually living. The Gita text here is siddhanam kapilo munih: “Among the perfect [Srila Prabhupada would usually say “perfected”] living entities I am Kapila.” So “perpetually living entities” is clearly a mis-hearing.

Looking at the manuscript again: the Second Edition should certainly have said “son of Kardama Muni” rather than “son of Devahuti.” (I don’t know how I missed that.) But either name—that of His mother or His father—serves Srila Prabhupada’s purpose of distinguishing the genuine Lord Kapiladeva from the atheist. In the First Edition, neither parent is mentioned.

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1.11: “forced to strip”?

. . . Draupadi, in her helpless condition, had appealed to them for justice while she was being forced to strip appear naked. . .

. . . Droupadi in her helpless condition appealed to them for justice while she was being forced to become naked. . .



Draupadi was not forced to strip.

I suppose I could have edited this further—“while the attempt was being made to force her to appear naked”—but I didn’t. I’m not sure, now, whether I was being conservative or just lazy. Anyway, I chose to do the minimum: get rid of “strip.”

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7.4: Altogether the wrong word

bhumir apo ’nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—altogether all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.

Earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence and fals ego--altogether eight are My separated material energies.



A matter of English. The word “altogether” is altogether the wrong word. The Random House Dictionary explains: “The forms ALTOGETHER and ALL TOGETHER, though often indistinguishable in speech, are distinct in meaning. The adverb ALTOGETHER means ‘wholly, entirely, completely’: an altogether confused report. The phrase ALL TOGETHER means ‘in a group’: The children were all together in the kitchen.” ALL the eight elements TOGETHER constitute the Lord’s material energies.

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2.31: “Editing varnasrama-dharma out of the books?”

[Purport (last sentence)]

Discharging one’s specific duty in any field of action in accordance with varnasrama-dharma the orders of higher authorities serves to elevate one to a higher status of life.

To discharge one’s specific duty in any field of action and as ordered by higher authority is the opportunity for being elevated in higher status of life.



This revision seems to have become a topic in the “Varnasrama Development” conference on COM, under the subject heading “Editing varnasrama-dharma out of the books?” As you can see, the answer is “No. Restoring what Srila Prabhupada said.”

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4.34: Surrendering to the spiritual master

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tatt va-darsinah

tat—that knowledge of different sacrifices; viddhi—try to understand; pranipatena—by approaching a spiritual master; pariprasnena—by submissive inquiries; sevaya—by the rendering of service; upadeksyanti—they will initiate; te—you; jnanam—into knowledge; jnaninah—the self-realized; tattva—of the truth; darsinah—seers.


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 he has they have seen the truth.

Just try to know the truth of all these by approacing self realised spiritual master with all submission, enquiries and rendering service unto Him. Such learned self realised spiritual master initiates knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.



Since this verse is so important to us, this revision has generated a great deal of comment and inquiry.

As you can see, the revision has its basis in Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript. Srila Prabhupada begins in the singular and ends in the plural. So does the revised translation.

Of course, Srila Prabhupada has his singular and plural in the same sentence—his subject is singular, his verb plural—and this transgresses English grammar. So I made the first sentence singular, the second plural.

The revision also lines up with the Sanskrit. The words upadeksyanti, jnaninah, and tattva-darsinah are all grammatically plural.

But isn’t there a hidden agenda here? Am I not trying to dilute the authority of the spiritual master?

Simply: no.

For evidence, read the next verse, 4.35:

1ST EDITION: And when you have thus learned the truth,
you will know that all living beings are but part of Me—and
that they are in Me, and are Mine.

2ND EDITION: Having obtained real knowledge from a
self-realized soul, you will never fall again into such
illusion, for by this knowledge you will see that all
living beings are but part of the Supreme, or, in other
words, that they are Mine.

MANUSCRIPT: By knowing real knowledge from the self-
realised soul you would would have no more any illusion
like this. . .

In a separate text, I’ll go into greater detail about the editing of verse 35. For now, all that needs to concern us is the opening clause. In the Second Edition, the verse begins: “Having obtained real knowledge from a self-realized soul”—singular.

Seen as a whole, therefore, the revision of these two verses is free from bias as to singular or plural. In fact, the Second Edition, by including text edited out of Text 35, emphasizes the need to obtain knowledge “from a self-realized soul.”

In short: The philosophy is not being changed.

Editing is not an exact science. As an editor, you look at each word with a critical eye, and you make value judgments: Is this clear? Is this grammatical? Is this faithful to what the author wrote?

And—especially when revising an already published text: Should this word change, or should I just let it stand as it is?

This revision to 4.34 was a close choice. And the version chosen is not one I’d go to battle for. Perhaps for the choice in this verse, history will condemn me. I suspect not.

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4.35: Real knowledge from a self-realized soul

yaj jnatva na punar moham
evam yasyasi pandava
yena bhutany asesani
draksyasy atmany atho mayi

yat—which; jnatva—knowing; na—never; punah—again; moham—to illusion; evam—like this; yasyasi—you shall go; pandava—O son of Pandu; yena—by which; bhutani—living entities; asesani—all; draksyasi—you will see; atmani—in the Supreme Soul; athau—or in other words; mayi—in Me.


And when you have thus learned the truth, Having obtained real knowledge from a self-realized soul, you will never fall again into such illusion, for by this knowledge you will know that all living beings are but part of Me—and that they are in Me, and are Mine. the Supreme, or, in other words, that they are Mine.

By knowing real knowledge from the self-realised soul you would would have no more any illusion like this because by that knowldege you would know that all living entities are only parts and parcel of the Supreme - or in other words, Mine.



Obviously, in Edition One Srila Prabhupada’s mention of the self-realized soul, repeated from the previous verse, has been deleted. In the Second Edition, it has been restored.

Apart from that: In Edition One Srila Prabhupada’s translation of na punar moham evam yasyasi pandava has been dropped. The Second Edition restores it: “You will never fall again into such illusion.” The Second Edition also restores his translation for yena (“by which”)—“by this knowledge.” Similarly, the Second Edition brings the translation for atmani, meaning “in the Supreme,” closer in line with what Srila Prabhupada originally said.

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2.8: Consult Krsna through the bona fide representative

[Purport (last line of paragraph 4)]

...they can achieve real happiness only if they consult Krsna, or the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam—which constitute the science of Krsna—or through the bona fide representative of Krsna, the man in Krsna consciousness.

. . . they can achieve real happiness if they prefee to consult Krsna or the Bhaga vat Geeta or Srimad Bhagwatam which are science of Krsna from the bonafide representative of Krsna or the man in Krsna consciousness.



It’s only one word changed, but what a difference! In Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita we can understand Krsna by reading the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, after all the books are not different from Krsna!! But Jayadvaita has adjusted everything for us...[The critic ends here.]



The critic is right: That one word does make a difference.

In Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript, one is advised to consult Krsna or the scriptures from Krsna’s representative—that is, through him, or with his help. As Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport to Chapter One, text 1, “one should read Bhagavad-gita very scrutinizingly with the help of a person who is a devotee of Sri Krsna. . . “

In the First Edition one is advised to consult Krsna and the scriptures or Krsna’s representative—an either/or proposition.

I leave it to you decide which advice better matches Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript and better gets across his intended meaning.

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10.37: Who is “Vasudeva”? And who is Usana Kavi?

vrsninam vasudevo ’smi
pandavanam dhananjayah
muninam apy aham vyasah
kavinam usana kavih

Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna. Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great thinkers I am Usana.

10.37, purport (1st paragraph):

Krsna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Baladeva is Krsna’s immediate expansion. Both Lord Krsna and Baladeva appeared as sons of Vasudeva., so both of Them may be called Vasudeva. From another point of view, because Krsna never leaves Vrndavana, all the forms of Krsna that appear elsewhere are His expansions. Vasudeva is Krsna’s immediate expansion, so Vasudeva is not different from Krsna. It is to be understood that the Vasudeva referred to in this verse of Bhagavad-gita is Baladeva, or Balarama, because He is the original source of all incarnations and thus He is the sole source of Vasudeva. The immediate expansions of the Lord are called svamsa (personal expansions), and there are also expansions called vibhinnamsa (separated expansions).

Krishna being the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Valadeva he is the immediate expansion of Krishna. The son of Basudeva, both Lord Krishna and Valadeva appears as the sons of Basudeva, so Vasudeva can be said both of them that here so far as he himself is concerned, not that Krishna is different from him. Vasudeva is immediate expansion. Krishna is another sense does not leave Vrindaban, but al other Krishna’s expansions, they are very confidental subject matter, but still as it is stated in the Bhavoda it is to be understood that his Basudeva is Balarama. As he is the original Sourse of all incarnation, similarly He is sole source of Vasudeva. These expansions are called samsa, personal expansions and the different expansions are called divunansa, separated expansion.



Apart from the content restored here, in the next paragraph Srila Prabhupada speaks, in the First Edition, about the kavi named Usana. But who is that? Where you read “Usana” in the First Edition, the original transcription says “sukacharya” and “Sukarta.” A doublecheck with the commentary of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana confirmed what was obvious. So the Second Edition gets it right: Sukracarya.

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2.49: “. . . and surrender unto the Lord.”

durena hy avaram karma
buddhi-yogad dhananjaya
buddhau saranam anviccha
krpanah phala-hetavah

durena—discard it at a long distance; hi—certainly; avaram—abominable; karma—activity; buddhi-yogat—on the strength of Krsna consciousness; dhananjaya—O conqueror of wealth; buddhau—in such consciousness; saranam—full surrender; anviccha—try for; krpanah—misers; phala-hetavah—those desiring fruitive results.


O Dhananjaya, rid yourself of all fruitive keep all abominable activities far distant by devotional service, and in that consciousness surrender fully to that consciousness unto the Lord. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.

Oh Dhananjaya keep all abominable activities to far distant place by dint devotional service and in such consciousness try to surrender unto Him.Those who want to enjoy fruits of work are misers.



Note also the word-for-word meanings of durena and avaram karma.

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2.40: Tyaktva sva-dharmam means giving up—what?

tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer
bhajann apakvo ’tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim
ko vartha apto ’bhajatam sva-dharmatah

“If someone gives up self-gratificatory pursuits his occupational duties and works in Krsna consciousness and then falls down on account of not completing his work, what loss is there on his part?. . .”

Tyaktva svadharmam carana ambujam harer
Bhajan na pakkah atha patet tato yadi.
Yatra kva va abhadram abhut amusya kim
Kah va artha aptah abhajatam svadharmatah.

“If somebody gives up his occupztional duties and work in terms of Krsna c consciousness and then again fall down on accout of not being complete in such activities,still what is there loss on his part. . .”



The verse says, tyaktva sva-dharmam. Sva-dharmam means “his occupational duties,” not “self-gratificatory pursuits.” (See Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.17.)

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3.6: “The senses and organs of action”

karma-indriyani—the five working sense organs; samyamya—controlling; yah—anyone who; aste—remains; manasa—by the mind; smaran—thinking of; indriya-arthan—sense objects; vimudha—foolish; atma—soul; mithya-acarah—pretender; sah—he; ucyate—is called.

One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.

One who artificially makes a shows of controlling the senses of action, but cannot check the mind from thinking of sense objects is certainly called a pretender.



Someone seems upset that I’ve deleted the words “and organs,” found in Edition One. But, as you see, those words were nowhere in Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript. And for good reason: “senses of action”—what Srila Prabhupada originally said—fully translates the Sanskrit word karma-indriyani. Nothing more needed to be added.

The extra “and organs” offers only redundancy, confusion, or both. Are we supposed to restrain the senses and, in addition, the “organs of action”? Or the “senses of action” plus the “organs of action”?

We are supposed to control the karma-indriyas—“the senses of action.” Just as Srila Prabhupada said.

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3.7: A sincere person tries to control the senses


On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his active organs in works of devotion if a sincere person tries to control the active senses by the mind and begins karma-yoga [in Krsna consciousness], without attachment, he is by far superior.

On the other hand, if a sincere person tries to control the active sense organs and begins Karmayoga in Krsna consciousness, without being attached, he is by far the better.



No comment needed.

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2.30: You can never be slain

dehi nityam avadhyo ’yam
dehe sarvasya bharata
tasmat sarvani bhutani
na tvam socitum arhasi

[Word for word]

dehi—the owner of the material body; nityam--eternally; avadhyah—cannot be killed; ayam—this soul; dehe—in the body; sarvasya—of everyone; bharata—O descendant of Bharata; tasmat—therefore; sarvani—all; bhutani—living entities (that are born); na—never; tvam—yourself; socitum—to lament; arhasi—deserve.

The owner of the material body,Nityam=eternal, Avadhyah=unfit for being killed,Ayam=this soul,Sarvasya=of every body,Bharata=oh the descendant of Bharata, Sarvani=all, Bhutai=living entities ( that areborn) Na=never, Tvam=yourself, Socitum=for lalmetation, Arhasi=deserve.


O descendant of Bharata, he who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore you need not grieve for any creature living being.

Oh the descendant of Bharata,the owner of the body is always unfit for being in all bodies and as such you do not deserve to lament for any one of all living entities.



The word-for-word meanings in both editions are the same, except that for tvam the First Edition said “yourself.” In the Second Edition this has been changed—quite rightly—to “you.” Tvam is not a reflexive pronoun, and the English reflexive pronoun “yourself” doesn’t belong here. What fits is the simple pronoun—“you.” “You [not “yourself”] never deserve to lament.” “You [not “yourself”] need not grieve.”

The words “is eternal” (First Edition) do not appear in Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript. The word nityam here means “eternally”—or, as Srila Prabhupada gives it, “always.” It modifies avadhyah. Thus, “always unfit for being slain.” Putting that negatively, as the original editor chose to do, the “always” becomes “never”—“he can never be slain.”

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2.48: Perform your duty equipoised

[word for word]

yoga-sthahsteadfast in yoga equipoised; kuru—perform; karmani—your duty duties; sangam—attachment; tyaktvahaving abandoned giving up; dhananjaya—O Dhananjaya Arjuna; siddhi-asiddhyoh—in success and failure; samahthe same equipoised; bhutvahaving become becoming; samatvamevenness of mind equanimity; yogahyoga; i—is called.

Yogastha=in equipoised condition, Kuru=do, Karmani=your duty, Samgam=

attachment, Taktva=

Giving up, Dhananjaya =oh Arjuna, Sidhya siddhyah =success or success, Samo=

equipositioni, Bhutva=so becoming, Samatvam =equanimity, Yoga=of the name, Ucyate=is said.


Be steadfast in yoga, Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna., Perform your duty and abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such evenness of mind equanimity is called yoga.

Do your prescribed duty in equiposed condition.Do such duty without being attached to success or failure and to remain just in equipoised condition is called Yoga.



For the First Edition, the Sanskrit editor revised Srila Prabhupada’s original word-for-word meanings to fit the editor’s version of the translation. It’s a good translation and commits no philosophical errors. But here again, obviously, Edition Two sticks more closely to Srila Prabhupada’s original words.

So if you want to criticize the version in Edition Two, your criticism should go like this: The editor has revised the word meanings and translation to make them closer to what Srila Prabhupada said, but he shouldn’t have [for whatever reasons you may want to give].

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4.26: “. . . in the fire of the senses.”


Some of them [the unadulterated brahmacaris] sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of the controlled mind mental control, and others [the regulated householders] sacrifice the objects of the senses, such as sound, in the fire of the sacrifice senses.

Some of themlike the unadulterated Brahmacharins sacrifice hearing process and senses in the fire of controoing the mind,and others the regulated householders sacrifice the objects of sense gratification in the fire of senses.



Srila Prabhupada’s reference to brahmacaris and grhasthas (dropped from the First Edition) comes directly from the translations and comments of the acaryas.

When regulated householders perform acts of sense gratification in accordance with religious principles, they offer to the senses the objects of the senses, as a sacrifice. Therefore “in the fire of the senses,” as Srila Prabhupada originally had it, was correct.

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2.51: Great sages or devotees go back to Godhead


The wise, engaged in devotional service, take refuge in the Lord and By thus engaging in devotional service to the Lord, great sages or devotees free themselves from the cycle of birth and death by renouncing the fruits of action results of work in the material world. In this way they can become free from the cycle of birth and death and attain that the state beyond all miseries [by going back to Godhead].

Thus by being engaged in devotional service of the Lordgreat sages or devotees are able to get free from the resultant actions of work in the material world and thus become from the cycle of birth and death and go back to Godhead where there is no more any miseries.



Another verse where the Second Edition more closely matches Srila Prabhupada’s original words.

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10.32: The beginning, middle and end of all creations

sarganam adir antas ca
madhyam caivaham arjuna
adhyatma-vidya vidyanam
vadah pravadatam aham

Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

[Purport (paragraph 1)]

Among the created manifestations, the first is the creation of the total material elements. are first As explained before, the cosmic manifestation is created and conducted by Maha-Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu, and are then again it is annihilated by Lord Siva. Brahma is a secondary creator. All these created elements agents of creation, maintenance and annihilation are different incarnations of the material qualities of the Supreme Lord.

Amongst the created manifestation the first creation is the total material elements, so that as explained before is this created Mahatmaba is conducted by Maha Vishnu, Garbodakashayee Vishnu and Kshirodakashayee Vishnu as realized and again annihilated by Lord Shiva. Brahma is also secondary creator, so all these creative elements, they are different incarnation of the material qualities of the Supreme Lord



Brahma, Visnu, and Siva are the guna-avataras, the incarnations of the material qualities of the Supreme Lord.

The rest of this purport will come in the next installment.

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10.32 (continued): 14 books of knowledge

sarganam adir antas ca
madhyam caivaham arjuna
adhyatma-vidya vidyanam
vadah pravadatam aham

Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

[Purport (paragraph 2)]

Regarding the spiritual science of the Self, there are many literatures, such as the four Vedas, the Vedanta-sutra and the Puranas, the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Gita. These are all representatives of Krsna.

For advanced education there are various kinds of books of knowledge, such as the four Vedas, their six supplements, the Vedanta-sutra, books of logic, books of religiosity and the Puranas. So all together there are fourteen divisions of books of education. Of these, the book which presents adhyatma-vidya, spiritual knowledge—in particular, the Vedanta-sutra—represents Krsna.

About the advanced education, there are different kinds of books of knowledge just like the four Vedas and Vedanta Sutra and logic and conclusion, book on religiosity, the Puranas altogether there are fourtessn divisions of education books of which Padhagita, the book which imparts future knowledge, especially the Vedanta Sutras, that is the presentation of Krishna.



Access to the Sanskrit commentaries of the acaryas Srila Prabhupada followed made it possible for the editors of Edition Two to restore Srila Prabhupada’s purport correctly. To enumerate the fourteen books of knowledge, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana quotes:

angani vedas catvaro
mimamsa nyaya vistarah
dharma-sastra puranas ca
vidya hy etas caturdasa

That’s the list.

And Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana further says, paraphrasing Lord Krsna, vidyanam madhye ’dhyatma-vidya. . . vedanta-vidyaham: “Among all kinds of education, I am spiritual knowledge—in particular, the knowledge of Vedanta.”

The rest of this purport will come in the next installment.

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10.32 (continued): Getting into arguments

sarganam adir antas ca
madhyam caivaham arjuna
adhyatma-vidya vidyanam
vadah pravadatam aham

Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

[Purport (end)]

Among logicians there are different stages kinds of argument. The presentation of evidence is called japa. Supporting one’s argument with evidence that also supports the opposing side is called jalpa. The attempt to defeat one another Merely trying to defeat one’s opponent is called vitanda,. and the final But the actual conclusion is called vada. The conclusive truth, the end of all reasoning processes, is a representation of Krsna.

Amongst the logicians there are different kinds of stages. During arguments amongst the two parties, when they followed evidences, that is called japa, when they tried to defeat one another that is called vitanda, and when they actually come to the conclusion that is called bado. So the conclusive truth is the representation of Krishna amongst the logicians.



Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s commentary discusses and defines vada, vitanda, and jalpa (not “japa”).

Among logicians these technical terms are well known. Both in the First Edition and in the Second Edition, the editors tried to clarify what Srila Prabhupada says they are. For the Second Edition, the BBT Sanskrit editor had the advantage of being familiar with the terms, actually knowing what they mean, and being able to read Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s explanation.

Whichever edition you follow, the final conclusion represents Krsna.

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10.21: “Among the stars, I am the moon.”

[Purport ]

Among the stars, the moon is the most prominent at night, and thus the moon represents Krsna. It appears from this verse that the moon is one of the stars; therefore the stars that twinkle in the sky also reflect the light of the sun. The theory that there are many suns within the universe is not accepted by Vedic literature. The sun is one, and as by the reflection of the sun the moon illuminates, so also do the stars. Since Bhagavad-gita indicates herein that the moon is one of the stars, the twinkling stars are not suns but are similar to the moon.

among the stars the moon is the chief and therefore the moon is the presentation of Krishna. It appears however from this verse that the moon is one of the stars, therefore the stars which twinkle in the stars are also reflected by the sun. The theory that there are many suns within the universe is not accepted by Vedic literature. The sun is one and by the reflection of the sun the moon illuminates similarly the stars. The twinkling stars are not therefore suns as compared here in The Bhagavad Gita that the moon is one of the stars. Therefore the stars are as good as the moon.



In a website disparaging the Second Edition, one critic suggests (in regard to another verse) that the Second Edition twists things to try to be “more palitable [sic] for the public.” Hmmm.

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3.9: “unattached and free from bondage”

yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra
loko ’yam karma-bandhanah
tad-artham karma kaunteya
mukta-sangah samacara

yajna-arthat—done only for the sake of Yajna, or Visnu; karmanah—than work; anyatra—otherwise; lokah—world; ayam—this; karma-bandhanah—bondage by work; tat—of Him; artham—for the sake; karma—work; kaunteya—O son of Kunti; mukta-sangah—liberated from association; samacara—do perfectly.


Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.

Work for the sake of Visnu has to be performed otherwise all work become the cause bondage in this material world.Oh the son of Kunti do therefore your prescribed duties for His satisfaction so that you shall always remain immune from the bondage.



A critic challenges, “Why has Jayadvaita removed the fact one who always performs his prescribed duties for Krishna remains unattached?” Answer: Because in Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript, it wasn’t there to begin with.

The word “unattached,” we suppose, would have to be a translation of mukta-sangah. Undoubtedly some translators other than Srila Prabhupada have rendered mukta-sangah that way. Fine. But Srila Prabhupada’s translation—“immune from the bondage” (or “free from bondage”)—is entirely adequate (and, by the way, more precise). There is no need to translate the word twice.

Srila Prabhupada’s purport, by the way, says nothing about remaining unattached. It does, however, speak about bondage and about acting “in a liberated state” (in other words, “free from bondage”).

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10.29: “Among the serpents I am--” Ananta or Vasuki?

anantas casmi naganam
varuno yadasam aham
pitrnam aryama casmi
yamah samyamatam aham

“Of the many-hooded Nagas I am Ananta, and among the aquatics I am the demigod Varuna. Of departed ancestors I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, the lord of death.”


Among the many celestial many-hooded serpents, Ananta is the greatest, as is the demigod Varuna among the aquatics. They both represent Krsna. . . .

Amongst the serpents which have got m any rules the Lord is known as Ananta, amongst the aquatics the demigod Varuna is the representation of Krishna,. . . .



In Text 28 the Lord says, “Of serpents I am Vasuki.” Then why does He say in Text 29 that of serpents He is Ananta? Answer: The serpents in Text 28 have only one hood; the serpents in Text 29, many. This is indicated in the original manuscript (“m any rules” is almost certainly a mis-hearing of “many hoods”), and it is confirmed by the commentary of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana.

Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana (10.28) says, sarpanam eka-sirasam madhye vasukir aham: “Among the serpents with one hood I am Vasuki.” And (10.29), naganam aneka-sirasam madhye ’nantah-seso ’ham: “Among the many-hooded Nagas I am Ananta Sesa.”

In the First Edition, the purport to Text 29 also has the famous line about “the planet of the trees,” about which nothing further needs to be said.

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10.33: “Of creators I am Brahma.”


. . . and of creators I am Brahma., whose manifold faces turn everywhere.

. . . amongst the creators I am the Brahma.



The phrase “whose manifold faces turn everywhere” is a legitimate translation of visvatomukhah, but it’s not what Srila Prabhupada said. Here, as in many places, the editor for the first edition appears to have borrowed from some other published translation.


Among the creators and living entities who are creators, Brahma, who has four heads, is the chief. The various Brahmas exhibit four, eight, sixteen, etc., heads accordingly, and they are the chief creators in their respective universes. The Brahmas are Therefore he is a representatives of the Supreme Lord, Krsna.

Amongst the creators, living entities, there are different kinds of creators, but Brahma who has four heads, he is the chief of all creators, therefore he is the representationof the Supreme Lord Krishna.



Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura all explicitly state that visvatomukhah refers here to the four-headed Brahma.

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3.20: “Kings such as Janaka. . .”

karmanaiva hi samsiddhim
asthita janakadayah
loka-sangraham evapi
sampasyan kartum arhasi

karmana—by work; eva—even; hi—certainly; samsiddhim—in perfection; asthitah—situated; janaka-adayah—Janaka and other kings; loka-sangraham—the people in general; eva api—also; sampasyan—considering; kartum—to act; arhasi—you deserve.


Even kKings like such as Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage perfection solely by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.

Kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage only by performance of prescribed duties.Therefore, even just for the matter of educating the people in general, you should act like them.



It’s a small matter, but the First Edition puts eva with janaka-adayah: “EVEN kings like Janaka.” Srila Prabhupada, in his manuscript, however, puts eva with karmana, to give “solely by performance of prescribed duties.” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura also puts karmana eva hi all together, to mean “by prescribed duties.” And Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana begins his commentary by saying, sadacara-matra, “simply by proper activities.” The Second Edition restores Srila Prabhupada’s version.

In “kings like Janaka and others,” the words “and others” are redundant. “Kings such as Janaka” says precisely the same thing, without the redundancy.

“The perfectional stage” is equivalent to “perfection.”


Being a great devotee of the Lord, he was transcendentally situated, but because he was the king of Mithila (a subdivision of Behar Bihar province in India), he had to teach his subjects how to fight righteously in battle perform prescribed duties. He and his subjects Lord Krsna and Arjuna, the Lord’s eternal friend, had no need to fight in the Battle of Kuruksetra, but they fought to teach people in general that violence is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail.

A great devotee the Lord like King Janaka was transcendentally situated but because he was the king of Mithila( a subdivision of Behar province in India) he had to teach his subjects to follow the example. Lord Krsna and Arjuna His eternal friend had nothing to do with the battle of Kuruksetra but still they fought to te ch people in general that violence is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail



The example King Janaka had to teach his subjects was not simply how to fight righteously but how to perform prescribed duties. That’s what this verse, this purport, and this entire section of the Gita are about.

The First Edition leaves out some text, with the result that it has Janaka and his subjects, rather than Krsna and Arjuna, fighting to teach people in general that violence is necessary when good arguments fail. The Second Edition restores the missing text.

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3.22: “And yet I am engaged in prescribed duties.”


. . . and yet I am engaged in work prescribed duties.

. . . and yet I am engaged in the prescribed duties.


Srila Prabhupada, in his writings, uses many set phrases: “devotional service,” “internal energy,” “fruitive activities,” “spiritual sky,” “regulative principles,” “Supreme Personality of Godhead,” and so on. These phrases have distinct and important meanings.

One of such phrases is “prescribed duties.” Mere “work” and “prescribed duties” are not necessarily the same. The guy cooking burgers at McDonald’s is “engaged in work,” but he is not engaged in what Srila Prabhupada would call “prescribed duties.”

In the First Edition, “prescribed duties” has been dropped from verses 22, 23, 24, and 26. In the Second Edition the phrase is restored.

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3.10: “Living happily and achieving liberation.”


“Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you all desirable things everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.”

“Be thou happy by this Yajna, because performance of this will give you all desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.”



No comment needed.

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3.32: “Doomed to ignorance and bondage”

ye tv etad abhyasuyanto
nanutisthanti me matam
sarva-jnana-vimudhams tan
viddhi nastan acetasah

yethose; tu—however; etat—this; abhyasuyantah—out of envy; na—do not; anutisthanti—regularly perform; me—My; matam—injunction; sarva-jnana—in all sorts of knowledge; vimudhan—perfectly befooled; tan—they are; viddhi—know it well; nastan—all ruined; acetasah—without Krsna consciousness.


But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not practice them regularly follow them are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and doomed to ignorance and bondage ruined in their endeavors for perfection.

Those who, out of enviousness to the principle of Krsna consciousness,do not perform it regularluy, they are to be considered to be bereft of all sortas of knowledgen befooled, and ruined in the matter of perfection.



The Second Edition has left out the word “regularly,” for no apparent reason. This seems to be an editorial lapse, of the sort the BBT sets straight when they come to our attention.

The more conspicuous change here concerns “doomed to ignorance and bondage.” Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana glosses the word nastan as purusartha-vibhrastan, meaning “failing to achieve the goals of human life.” As Srila Prabhupada says in his purport, those who neglect Krsna’s teachings have “no hope for perfection of life.” In other words, they are ruined in their endeavors for perfection. In Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript, the phrase “doomed to ignorance and bondage” does not appear.

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8.17: “the creator god”

[Purport (paragraph one)]

These four yugas, rotating a thousand times, comprise one day of Brahma, the creator god, and the same number comprise one night.

. . . one thousand 4 yugas that is 40 million 300 thousand

of years into 1 thousand is equal to 12 hours that is the duration of Brahma’s one day. Similarly, he has got one night so it is 24 hours one day and night.



A website devoted to criticizing the Second Edition insinuates that by leaving out the mention of Brahma as “the creator god” the Second Edition is somehow “changing the philosophy.” Of course, the term “the creator god,” although commonly found in books of Indian philosophy, appears nowhere else in Srila Prabhupada’s writings. And, as you can see, it appears here in this purport—in the First Edition—only because the editor inserted it. I deleted it—what would you say?—perhaps under the influence of “the destroyer god.” May the preserver god forgive me.

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10.42: Srila Prabhupada’s concluding words for Chapter 10

[Purport (concluding words)]

How one can attain the highest devotional perfection of association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead has been thoroughly explained in this chapter. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, a great acarya in disciplic succession from Krsna, concludes his commentary on this chapter by saying,

yac-chakti-lesat suryadya
bhavanty aty-ugra-tejasah
yad-amsena dhrtam visva
sa krsno dasame ’rcyate

From Lord Krsna’s potent energy even the powerful sun gets its power, and by Krsna’s partial expansion the whole world is maintained. Therefore Lord Sri Krsna is worshipable.

How one can attain the highest devotional perfection of association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead has been thoroughly explained in this chapter. This cyclic succession from Krishna states: [blank space]

Lord Krishna is worshipful because by His potential energy even the sun is so powerful and so highly tempered can by his partial expansion of planetary energy He is the whole world contained.



Being able to read the original commentary enabled the editors to rescue the lost passage.

The Sanskrit says, literally (or as literally as I can come without having a Sanskrit editor by my side): “He by a mere remnant of whose energy even the sun has so much power, He by whose plenary portion the universe is maintained—that Lord Krsna, in this Tenth Chapter, is worshiped.”

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2.17: “Know that [that] which pervades the body is. . .”


Know tThat which pervades the entire body is you should know to be indestructible.

What is all spread over the body is to be known as indestructible.



This one is purely for the sake of English grammar. The structure of the old sentence can send the reader straight into a roadblock, set up by the misuse of the word “that.” To get technical for a few moments (feel free to skip this if you’d like), the problem is that the reader doesn’t know whether the word “that” is a pronoun (as in “Give me that.”) or a conjunction (as in “I know that you’ll like it.”). In fact, in this sentence it tries to do double duty—that is, to serve as both. It tries to be a conjunction (“[I want you to] know that. . . .”) and at the same time tries to serve as a pronoun (“that which pervades”). This is grammatically confusing or illegal.

Grammatically, it would be ok to say, “Know that that which pervades. . .” But the double “that” is awkward. Alternatively, one might say, “Know that which pervades the entire body to be indestructible.” But then the reader encounters “that” at the beginning of the sentence but doesn’t know how to process it—which part of speech to read it as—until he reaches “to be,” near the end.

Fortunately, following more closely the structure of Srila Prabhupada’s original sentence enables the Second Edition to sidestep the problem.

Those who believe that transcendental literature ought to disregard all laws of grammar beyond the most basic (a view that Srila Prabhupada didn’t share) are likely to scorn the above discussion.

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11.8: “Sukadeva Gosvami recites this verse.”


They take Him as a personal friend.

Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami recites this verse:

ittham satam brahma-sukhanubhutya
dasyam gatanam para-daivatena
mayasritanam nara-darakena
sakam vijahruh krta-punya-punjah

“Here is Tthe Supreme Person, who is considered as the impersonal Brahman by great sages, the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the devotees, and a product of this material nature by ordinary men. Now these boys, who have performed many, many pious activities in their past lives, are playing with that Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.12.11)

The fact is. . .

They took him as a personal friend, and were playing and the subidioshami recited one verse like this [blank space] thu he said that here is the Suprem Person who is considered a s the impersonal Brahma by great sages and is considered by the devotees as the Sup. Pers. of Godhead and by ordinary man who is considered as a product of this material nature. Now these boys who had many, many past activites in their past lifes they are now playing with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, so the fact is. . .



The mis-transcribed “subidioshami” is easy to decipher. And for those familiar with Srila Prabhupada’s favorite verses, the one intended here is obvious.

Here, neither Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura nor Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana quotes this Bhagavatam verse. As Srila Prabhupada sometimes said, the purports are his own personal ecstasies. In this purport, readers of the Second Edition can relish the ecstatic words from Srila Prabhupada that the First Edition left out.

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2.61: “. . . not the Visnu form. . .”


The so-called yogis who meditate on something which is not on the the Visnu platform simply waste their time in a vain search after some phantasmagoria.

The so called Yogis simply waste time in dmeditiating something which is not Visnu Form and therefore their time is wated in vain serch after phatasmagoria.



Here the critics have detected a genuine error. The text should read “not the Visnu form.” The First Edition has it right, the Second Edition wrong. I don’t know how the error came about. The BBT will correct it for future printings.

My mistakes are not sacred. The BBT has a consistent policy: The errors of typists and editors need not be preserved.

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10.42: “He is samata. . . no one is superior”


He is samata, asamaurdhva, which means that no one is superior to Him and that no one is equal to Him. In the Visnu-mantra Padma Purana it is said that one who considers the Supreme Lord Krsna in the same category with demigods—be they even Brahma or Siva—becomes at once an atheist.

He is the samata. Samata means that nobody is better than Him and nobody is equal to Him. In the vishnamantra it is said that anybody who calculates the Supreme Lord Krishna with the label of the demigods even after the standard of Brahma and Shiva he becomes at once atheist.




Samata is obviously wrong, asamaurdhva obviously right. (Samata means “equanimity.” See Bg. 10.5.) The verse from the Padma Purana is one that Srila Prabhupada quoted often.

More from this purport in the next message.

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10.42: The case of the missing mission

[Purport (start of the second paragraph)]

There is a Mission that regularly propounds that worship of any demigod will lead one to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or the supreme goal.

There is a regular proponent of mission to advertise that one can worship any form of demigods and that will lead one to the Supreme Personality of Godhead or the Supreme Goal.


: Hare Krsna.

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18.66: various kinds of knowledge and religion

[A member of the conference has written to me, “At some point I was hoping you could put up a comparison of the old and new 18.66 The new one cites Haribhaktivilasa and is much clearer than the old one.” So I’ll do as he asks.]

[Purport (paragraph one)]

The Lord has described various kinds of knowledge, processes of religion, knowledge of the Supreme Brahman, knowledge of the Supersoul, knowledge of the different types of orders and statuses of social life, knowledge of the renounced order of life, knowledge of nonattachment, sense and mind control, meditation, etc.

The Lord has described in The Bhagavad Gita about various kinds of knowledge and process of religiosity as a knowledge of the Supreme Brahma--knowledge of the Supersoul and knowledge of the different types of order and status of social life, the knowledge of the renounced order of life, knowledge of non-attachment, controlling the senses, controlling the mind, meditation, etc.



The only change is that the comma after “processes of religion” has been replaced by a dash.

Srila Prabhupada is commenting on what the sarva-dharma is that one has to give up. The sentence begins, “The Lord has described various kinds of knowledge and processes of religion,” and the rest of the sentence lists what they are. The Second Edition makes this clear. The First Edition does not.

The manuscript version we are looking at is half-edited. Unfortunately, for this chapter it is the oldest manuscript we have.

More on this purport in the next message.

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18.66: Anukulyasya sankalpah. . .

[Purport (paragraph two)]

In the Eighth Seventh Chapter it was said that only one who has become free from all sinful reactions can take to the worship of Lord Krsna.

In the Eighth Chapter, it has been said. . .



No such statement is made in the Eighth Chapter. The verse Srila Prabhupada is citing is clearly from the Seventh Chapter (7.28): yesam tv anta-gatam papam.

[Purport (paragraph three)]

The process of surrender to Krsna is described in the Hari-bhakti vilasa (11.676):

anukulyasya sankalpah
pratikulyasya varjanam
raksisyatiti visvaso
goptrtve varanam tatha
sad-vidha saranagatih

According to the devotional process, . . .

This surrender process is described in the [blank space] Anukulyasya asamkalpah pratikulyasya parjanam. To surrender unto Krishna is described in the B. ..... according to devotional process. . .



The Second Edition restores the missing verse. The rest of the paragraph is essentially a paraphrase of that verse, which is quoted in the commentaries of both Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.

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1.1: “What did my sons and the sons of Pandu do?”

dhrtarastra uvaca
dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre
samaveta yuyutsavah
mamakah pandavas caiva
kim akurvata sanjaya

dhrtarastrah uvaca—King Dhrtarastra said; dharma-ksetre—in the place of pilgrimage; kuru-ksetre—in the place named Kuruksetra; samavetah—assembled; yuyutsavah—desiring to fight; mamakah--my party (sons); pandavah—the sons of Pandu; ca—and; eva—certainly; kim—what; akurvata—did they do; sanjaya—O Sanjaya.


Dhrtarastra said: O Sanjaya, after assembling in the place of pilgrimage at Kuruksetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do, being desirous to fight?

Dhrtarastra said: O Sanjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pandu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kuruksetra, desiring to fight, what did they do?

Dhritarastra said O samjaya, My sons and the sons of Pandu after being assembled in the pilgrammage of Kurukshetre with the desire to fight, what did they do?



Though “desirous to” is historically defensible, to a modern reader it is likely to sound strange. The standard idiom is “desirous of.” Thus according to Theodore Bernstein, the respected authority on English usage, in The Careful Writer:

Takes preposition of

And so, with “desirous,” we would have “desirous of fighting.” Which sounds stiff and clumsy. Following the language Srila Prabhupada uses in the “word-for-word” section, the new version avoids the problem entirely.

NOTE ALSO: In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes that Dhrtarastra “inquired from his secretary Sanjaya, ‘What did they do?’ ” In the Second Edition translation, Dhrtarastra asks the question in those very words; in the old translation, they never quite appear.

By the way, the new version, like the original manuscript, more closely follows the structure of the Sanskrit, which builds up to Dhrtarastra’s question—“What did they do?”

FINALLY: To have missed the distracting echo that results from the juncture of the words “PanDU DO,” the usually astute ear of the editor must have fallen asleep. The new version rescues the book from this deep—pardon me—du do.

(Note for Austrian readers [one vocal critic of the Second Edition is Austrian]: If you don’t catch the joke, inquire from anyone who knows American baby talk.)

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1.36: Rama-rajya


For example, Lord Rama was so saintly that people were even now are anxious to live in His kingdom (Rama-rajya). . .

Such head of the state requires to be saintly and Lord Rama was so much so that people still now are anxious to have the kingdom of Lord Rama ( Rama Rajya)



The old version simply loses the intended meaning.

Modern Indian politicians have often appealed to the people’s desire for “Rama Rajya.” (And so the play on words by pundits twitting Italian-born Sonia Gandhi: “Rome Rajya.”)

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8.3: 5 kinds of offerings, 5 kinds of fire

sri-bhagavan uvaca
aksaram brahma paramam
svabhavo ’dhyatmam ucyate
visargah karma-samjnitah


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called adhyatma, the self. Action pertaining to the development of the material bodies of the living entities is called karma, or fruitive activities.

[Purport (send of paragraph 2, start of paragraph 3)]

. . . This process is called karma.

The Chandogya Upanisad describes the Vedic sacrificial process. On the sacrificial altar, five kinds of offerings are made into five kinds of fire. The five kinds of fire are conceived of as the heavenly planets, clouds, the earth, man and woman, and the five kinds of sacrificial offerings are faith, the enjoyer on the moon, rain, grains and semen.

This process is called karma and is very nicely described. By offering sacrifices by the sacrificial method in the Vedic literature the sacrificial altar is considered the heavenly planet, the cloud and the earth and the man and the woman, the 5 kinds of fire and the offering are considered faith, and then by this process the living entity is described as travelling downward from after ???????? the moon planet, and the rains and the grains, and the semina. In this way by interaction of 5 kinds of offering and 5 kinds of fire the process of karma is described in the Vedic literature.



Access to the original commentaries enabled the Sanskrit editor to properly decipher Srila Prabhupada’s original text. Srila Prabhupada will refer again to the Chandogya Upanisad and the fivefold sacrifice in the purports to 8.16 and 8.26.

Though Srila Prabhupada’s purport doesn’t explicitly say so, and the editors weren’t going to add it, the fires and offerings match like this:

The pious karmi performing sacrifice has faith, which he offers into the “fire” of the heavenly planets. There he becomes “the enjoyer on the moon.” When his pious credit is exhausted, this enjoyer descends—as the second offering—to the second “fire,” the clouds. From the clouds he descends, as Srila Prabhupada says, as rain. This rain—the third offering—is thus offered to the third “fire”—earth. From the earth, as a result, come grains, which—as the fourth offering—are offered to the fourth “fire”—man. The grains become semen, which—as the fifth offering—is offered into the fifth “fire”—woman.

In this way, as Srila Prabhupada writes, the karmi “perpetually comes and goes on the material path.”

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2.18: “not sacrifice the cause of religion”

[Purport ]

Arjuna was advised to fight and to sacrifice the material body for the cause of religion. not sacrifice the cause of religion for material, bodily considerations.

Arjuna was advised to fight without consideration of the material bodyand sacrifising the cause of religiosity.



The original manuscript speaks about “sacrificing the cause of religiosity,” not “sacrificing the material body.” The meaning intended by Srila Prabhupada’s grammar is “without [excessively] considering the material body and [thereby] sacrificing the cause of religiosity.”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, in his commentary on this verse, gives the same message. After discussing the difference between body and soul, he says, paraphrasing Lord Krsna, tasmad yujyasveti sastra-vidhitasya sva-dharmasya tyago ’nucita iti bhavah: “Therefore you should fight. In other words, it is inappropriate for you to give up the religious duty prescribed for you in sastra.

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2.20: “Having once been. . .”

na jayate mriyate va kadacin
nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah
ajo nityah sasvato ’yam purano
na hanyate hanyamane sarire

na—never; jayate—takes birth; mriyate—dies; va—either; kadacit—at any time (past, present or future); na—never; ayam—this; bhutva—having come into being; bhavita—will come to be; va—or; na—not; bhuyah—or is again coming to be; ajah—unborn; nityah—eternal; sasvatah—permanent; ayam—this; puranah—the oldest; na—never; hanyate—is killed; hanyamane—being killed; sarire—the body.

[Purport (start of the second paragraph)]

For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. . . . neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. . . .

For the soul there is no birth,death either at any time neither does he come into being,will become no has so become.



Clearly, Edition Two more closely follows Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript.

Christian philosophers, as far as I know, believe that God creates the soul, which then lives forever. Having once been, he never ceases to be. The Bhagavad-gita has a different point of view. According to Vaisnava philosophy, the soul is never created; it is a beginningless and endless part of God.

Note, also, that in Edition One the translation and the word-for-word meanings match poorly. Now you know why.

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1.2: “approaching nearby”

[word-by-word meanings]

upasangamya—approaching nearby;

upasangamya--approaching nearby;



Well, “approaching nearby” is what Srila Prabhupada said—but it’s redundant. Duryodhana did not “approach nearby his teacher.” He approached his teacher, period.

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1.2: “arranged in military formation”

sanjaya uvaca
drstva tu pandavanikam
vyudham duryodhanas tada
acaryam upasangamya
raja vacanam abravit

sanjayah uvaca—Sanjaya said; drstva—after seeing; tu—but; pandava-anikam—the soldiers of the Pandavas; vyudham—arranged in a military phalanx; duryodhanah—King Duryodhana; tada—at that time; acaryam—the teacher; upasangamya—approaching; raja—the king; vacanam—words; abravit—spoke.

[word-by-word meanings]

Sanjaya said: O King, after looking over the army gathered arranged in military formation by the sons of Pandu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and began to speak spoke the following words:

Samjaya said, “O the king, Dyryodhan, the king after looking over the military phalanx arranged by tthe sons of Pandu went to the teacher and began to speak in the following words.



In the old edition, the idea of a specific military formation (vyudham) is omitted. In the new edition, I revised “phalanx” to “military formation” because a phalanx (originally) is a particular type of formation peculiar to ancient Greek warfare. Greek columns on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra didn’t seem right. Hence the revision. In retrospect: “Phalanx” has come to refer to any military formation, so perhaps I should have been less picky. But at any rate, the new translation gets in the idea that the old one left out.

Srila Prabhupada typically said “began to speak” or “began to say” when the meaning is simply “spoke” or “said.” Such a phrase as “began to speak” is more apt when followed by something like “but was cut off” or “but changed his mind and fell silent.” In later books, the BBT editors routinely trimmed off the “began to.”

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1.3: “your intelligent disciple”


. . . your intelligent disciple, the son of Drupada.

made by your disciple the son of Drupada very intelligently.



For those who know the rules of English punctuation, the comma after “disciple” makes it seem as though Drstadyumna, who is being referred to, was the only intelligent disciple of Dronacarya. Which he wasn’t.

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1.4: “great fighters like Bhima and Arjuna”

atra sura mahesv-asa
bhimarjuna-sama yudhi
yuyudhano viratas ca
drupadas ca maha-rathah

atra—here; surah—heroes; maha-isu-asah—mighty bowmen; bhima-arjuna—to Bhima and Arjuna; samah—equal; yudhi—in the fight; yuyudhanah—Yuyudhana; viratah—Virata; ca—also; drupadah—Drupada; ca—also; maha-rathah—great fighter.


Here in this army there are many heroic bowmen equal in fighting to Bhima and Arjuna; : there are also great fighters like Yuyudhana, Virata, and Drupada.

Here is this military arrangement there are many heroic bowmen equally strong in fight like Bhima and Arjuna alsothere are great fighters like Yuyudhana, Virata, and Drupadas.



A misreading caused by a missing punctuation mark in the original manuscript. The great fighters like Yuyudhana, Virata, and Drupada are the heroes equal to Bhima and Arjuna. The proper reading is “Bhima and Arjuna also.” But the editor has mistakenly put the period after “Arjuna” and shifted the “also” to modify “there are,” thus demoting Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada to also-rans.

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1.18: “Greatly armed”?

. . . saubhadras ca maha-bahuh
sankhan dadhmuh prthak prthak

. . . saubhadrah—Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadra; ca—also; maha-bahuh—mighty-armed; sankhan—conchshells; dadhmuh—blew; prthak prthak—each separately.


. . . and others, O King, such as the mighty-armed son of Subhadra, greatly armed, all blew their respective conchshells.

and all others, Oh the King,such as the son of Subhadra who is greatly armed allblew their respective conchshells



Who is it that’s “greatly armed”? Only the son of Subhadra or all the others too? In the old version, this is unclear. In the new version, the ambiguity has disappeared. Plus we know by now that the Sanskrit word maha-bahuh (original ms for the word-for-word: “strong armed”) means that Abhimanyu had great arms—the kind made with bones and muscle—not great swords and arrows.

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1.20: “the situated sons of Dhrtarastra”

atha vyavasthitan drstva
dhartarastran kapi-dhvajah
pravrtte sastra-sampate
dhanur udyamya pandavah
hrsikesam tada vakyam
idam aha mahi-pate

atha—thereupon; vyavasthitan—situated; drstva—looking upon; dhartarastran—the sons of Dhrtarastra; kapi-dhvajah—he whose flag was marked with Hanuman; pravrtte—while about to engage; sastra-sampate—in releasing his arrows; dhanuh—bow; udyamya—taking up; pandavah—the son of Pandu (Arjuna); hrsikesam—unto Lord Krsna; tada—at that time; vakyam—words; idam—these; aha—said; mahi-pate—O King.


O King, at that time Arjuna, the son of Pandu, who was seated in his the chariot, his bearing the flag marked with Hanuman, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows,. O King, after looking at the sons of Dhrtarastra. drawn in military array, O King, Arjuna then spoke to Hrsikesa [Krsna] these words:

Oh the king,at that time Arjuna the son of Pandu who was seated on the chariot with flag marked with Hanuman and while just he was about to throw his arrows taking up the bow,he said unto Lord Krsna as follows after looking on the situated sons of Dhritarastra.



The old translation loses the word vyavasthitan. Srila Prabhupada translates it merely as “situated” (“the situated sons”). It means, more precisely, “situated in an array.” (In the word-for-word for text 21, Srila Prabhupada gives nearly the same word—avasthitan—as “arrayed on the battlefield.”)

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1.37-38: “their hearts overtaken by greed. . .”

yady apy ete na pasyanti
kula-ksaya-krtam dosam
mitra-drohe ca patakam

katham na jneyam asmabhih
papad asman nivartitum
kula-ksaya-krtam dosam
prapasyadbhir janardana

yadi—if; api—even; ete—they; na—do not; pasyanti—see; LOBHA—by greed; UPAHATA—overpowered; CETASAH—their hearts; kula-ksaya—in killing the family; krtam—done; dosam—fault; mitra-drohe—in quarreling with friends; ca—also; patakam—sinful reactions; katham—why; na—should not; jneyam—be known; asmabhih—by us; papat—from sins; asmat—these; nivartitum—to cease; KULA-KSAYA—in the destruction of a dynasty; KRTAM—done; DOSAM—crime; PRAPASYADBHIH—by those who can see; janardana—O Krsna. [CAPITALS supplied]


O Janardana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, with knowledge of the sin, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts?

All though these men do not find out the fault ,on account of being overtaken by greed at heart,of killing the family,quarreling with friends and similar acts. Oh Janardan why should we engage ourselves in this acts of sin inspite of our knowledge of crime in the destruction of family.



See lobha-upahata-cetasah and kula-ksaya-krtam dosam prapasyadbhih.

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1.40: “the women become polluted”

adharmabhibhavat krsna
pradusyanti kula-striyah
strisu dustasu varsneya
jayate varna-sankarah

adharma—irreligion; abhibhavat—having become predominant; krsna—O Krsna; pradusyanti—become polluted; kula-striyah—family ladies; strisu—by the womanhood; dustasu—being so polluted; varsneya—O descendant of Vrsni; jayate—comes into being; varna-sankarah—unwanted progeny.


. . . . the women of the family become corrupt polluted . . .

. . . the women of the family become polluted . . .



Srila Prabhupada used precisely the right word. The powerful sexual meaning of “polluted” is lost in the tame, generic “corrupt.”

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1.43: “the process of ablution before death”?


There is a system in the varnasrama institution by which before death one has to undergo the process of ablution atonement before death for his sinful activities. One who is always engaged in sinful activities must utilize the process of ablution atonement called the prayascitta.

There is the system in Varnaasrama institution that one has to undergo the process of ablusion before his death for what he had done in sinful activities.One person who is always engaged in the continued sinful acti vities must take ot the process of ablution called the Prayascitta



“Ablution” means “a cleansing with water or other liquid, especially as a religious ritual.” This is not the meaning of prayascitta. We know from Srila Prabhupada’s lectures on the First Chapter of Sixth Canto, and from his translation of that chapter, that the word he intended was not “ablution” but “atonement.”

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1.44: “intent on killing our own kinsmen”

aho bata mahat papam
kartum vyavasita vayam
yad rajya-sukha-lobhena
hantum sva-janam udyatah

aho—alas; bata—how strange it is; mahat—great; papam—sins; kartum—to perform; vyavasitah—have decided; vayam—we; yat—because; rajya-sukha-lobhena—driven by greed for royal happiness; hantum—to kill; sva-janam—kinsmen; udyatah—trying.


Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts,. dDriven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intent on killing our own kinsmen.

Alas how woderful it is that we driven by the desire of enjoying royal happiness preparing ourselves to commit great sinful acts.



The new version supplies what Srila Prabhupada left out (hantum sva-janam udyatah). Srila Prabhupada would often unintentionally leave out words this way, which his Sanskrit editors would routinely supply. The translation derives from Srila Prabhupada’s word-for-word meanings.

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1.45: “I would consider it better. . .rather than fight.”

yadi mam apratikaram
asastram sastra-panayah
dhartarastra rane hanyus
tan me ksemataram bhavet

yadi—even if; mam—me; apratikaram—without being resistant; asastram—without being fully equipped; sastra-panayah—those with weapons in hand; dhartarastrah—the sons of Dhrtarastra; rane—on the battlefield; hanyuh—may kill; tat—that; me—for me; ksema-taram—better; bhavet—would be.


I would consider it bBetter for me if the sons of Dhrtarastra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting, rather than fight with them. on the battlefield.

Even though the sons of Dhritarastra kill me in the fight isnpite of my becoming without any weapons and without any attempt for fighting,still I s shall condider it better ( than to fight with them)



The old version has a grammatical problem: On what does the clause “rather than fight with them” depend? Try to map it out: “I would consider it better. . . rather than fight with them”? Doesn’t make sense. “Better for the sons of Dhrtarastra to kill me. . . rather than fight with them”? Still less. Grammatically, the sentence as it stands is hopeless.

Apart from that: Drawing upon Srila Prabhupada’s word-for-word meanings, the Second Edition supplies the text for the omitted sastra-panayah and rane.

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2.13: “The sober person is not bewildered. . .”

dehino ’smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati

. . .dhirah--the sober; tatra—thereupon; na—never; muhyati—is deluded.


. . . the self-realized sober person is not bewildered. . .

. . .the sober does not becom deluded. . .



The Sanskrit word is dhirah.

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2.16: “Of the eternal there is no change”

nasato vidyate bhavo
nabhavo vidyate satah
ubhayor api drsto ’ntas
tv anayos tattva-darsibhih

na--never; asatah—of the nonexistent; vidyate—there is; bhavah—endurance; na—never; abhavah—changing quality; vidyate—there is; satah—of the eternal; ubhayoh—of the two; api—verily; drstah—observed; antah—conclusion; tu—indeed; anayoh—of them; tattva—of the truth; darsibhih—by the seers.


Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance, and of the eternal [the soul] there is no cessation change. This they seers have concluded by studying the nature of both.

Those who are seers of the truth such persons have concluded it that there is no edurance of the nonexistent (material body)and there is no change of the eternal soul by studying the nature of both of them up to the end.

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2.18: “The material body. . . is sure to come to an end.”

antavanta ime deha
nityasyoktah saririnah
anasino prameyasya
tasmad yudhyasva bharata

anta-vantahperishable; ime—all these; dehah—material bodies; nityasya—eternal in existence; uktah—are said; saririnah—of the embodied soul; anasinah—never to be destroyed; aprameyasya—immeasurable; tasmat—therefore; yudhyasva—fight; bharata—O descendant of Bharata.


Only tThe material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.

The material body of the industru[Bctible,immesurable and eternal living entity is subject to be ended ; therefore you fight oh the descendant of Bharata.



The argument in the two versions is subtly different. The first argues for the permanence of the soul. The second says, “The body is a lost cause anyway.” The word “only” appears neither in Srila Prabhupada’s original manuscript nor in the Sanskrit.

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2.25: “immutable and unchangeable”

avyakto ’yam acintyo ’yam
avikaryo ’yam ucyate
tasmad evam viditvainam
nanusocitum arhasi

avyaktah--invisible; ayam—this soul; acintyah—inconceivable; ayam—this soul; avikaryah—unchangeable; ayam—this soul; ucyate—is said; tasmat—therefore; evam—like this; viditva—knowing it well; enam—this soul; na—do not; anusocitum—to lament; arhasi—you deserve.


It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, and immutable and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.

It is said that the soul is nonvisible,inconceivable, immutablenonchange ableand knowing this as such you should now give this lamentation for the body.



The Sanskrit is avikaryah. Srila Prabhupada renders this as “immutable [or] nonchangeable.” Either “immutable” or “unchangeable” will do. Those who think that having only one or the other will result in some loss of meaning should consult their dictionaries.

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2.52: “O prayers, O bathing. . . .”


“O Lord, in my prayers three times a day, all glory to Yyou. O Bbathing, I offer my obeisances unto Yyou. O demigods! O forefathers! Please excuse me for my inability to offer you my respects. Now wherever I sit, I can remember the great descendant of the Yadu dynasty [Krsna], the enemy of Kamsa, and thereby I can free myself from all sinful bondage. I think this is sufficient for me.”

Oh my prayers three times a day,all glory to you,Oh bathing I offer my obeisances unto you,Oh the demigods,Oh the forefathers please excuse me for my inability to offer you my respects.Now I am able to remember the great descendant of the Yadu dynasty ( Krsna) and the enemy of Kamsa at any place where I may sit and thus I canget myself freed from all sinful bond age.I think this is sufficient for me.”



To whom, in this verse, are the glory and obeisances offered? Not to the Lord, but to the karma-kandiya religious rituals a devotee leaves aside. Edition One simply blows it, missing the point.

(Compare Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.4.3-4, purport, which quotes the same verse: “Srila Madhavendra Puri, the grand-spiritual master of Lord Caitanya, took leave of all karma-kandiya obligations in the following words:. . . ‘O my evening prayer, all good unto you. O my morning bath, I bid you good-bye. . .’)

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“Kasi within the barricade of Varanasi”

Though this example is not from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, I think it helps us understand why published books sometimes require revision.

In the edition of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead published during Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence, about eleven paragraphs into Chapter Fifty-six (“The Killing of Satrajit and Satadhanva”) we find this curious sentence:

“Once in the province of Kasi within the barricade of Varanasi there was severe drought and practically no rainfall.”

Hmmmm. What did Srila Prabhupada mean by this? What precisely is “the barricade of Varanasi”? And is it within the province of Kasi, or vice versa?

In fact, “Kasi” and “Varanasi” are both well-known names for the same holy place, also known as Benares. So what’s going on here?

Perhaps most readers never wondered. But back in 1992 or 1993 one reader did: Ekanatha Dasa, then an editor at the Northern European BBT.

To solve the puzzle, he compared the printed BBT Krishna Book with Srila Prabhupada’s recorded tapes.


On the tape, Srila Prabhupada said:”Once in the province of Kasi WITHIN BRACKETS Varanasi there was severe drought and practically no rainfall.”

The BBT later corrected the error.

Perhaps some readers will insist that “the barricade of Varanasi,” however meaningless, is how the text should eternally have stayed. The rest of us will be grateful to Ekanatha.

Hare Krsna.

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“Encircled by cannons”

Here’s the story of another revision that, although not from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, can help us better understand why and how the book was revised.

I recently heard about an error in the Krsna Book involving “the cannons of Mathura,” and I asked what it was and who had found it. The devotee who found it was Dhyanakunda Devi Dasi. Here’s the story in her own words.

“I found that one when I worked with the Polish translation of the Krsna Book, seven years ago. In Chapter 40 (Ch. 41 in the new KB), ‘Krsna enters Mathura,’ fourth paragraph, the city of Mathura is described in detail. One of the sentences reads:

“ ‘There were gorgeous orchards and gardens all around, and the whole city was encircled by cannons so that no enemy could enter very easily.’

“I had a problem translating these ‘cannons.’ No word I could think of seemed to fit. I tried to visualize the scene to see if it would help me find another solution. Then I realized that cannons just didn’t fit the scene; they were an anachronism.

“I checked the relevant passage in the 10th Canto—it’s 10.41.20-23, a long and intricate description. I did not find ‘cannons’ there. I assumed something got mistranscribed, and I checked whether any element of the original description was missing in the KB. Right before the ‘pleasant gardens and parks,’ I found ‘impregnable moats’ (parikha —with its canals; durasadam—inviolable).

“I then asked Govinda Madhava Prabhu, who had the Krsna Book tapes, to check that passage. Indeed, Srila Prabhupada said ‘canals.’

“If I remember, it was after this incident that we contacted Dravida Prabhu and he started thinking of checking the entire Krsna Book against the tapes and the Tenth Canto—not just consulting the tapes in cases of doubt.

“The cannons/canals case could be identified as an editorial mistake simply by reading and consulting the Bhagavatam. But how many more editorial mistakes might be there in the book, impossible to discover that way simply because the final wording was less absurd, it made some sense, or even made perfect sense? We wanted the book to not just make sense—we wanted to make sure we were conveying exactly the meaning Srila Prabhupada intended.”

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