Myths

The myth that Srila Prabhupada liked the phrase "the Blessed Lord."

Argument: 

Śrīla Prabhupāda liked the phrase “the Blessed Lord.” He therefore used it in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

Response: 

That's not what the evidence shows.

Even when we dig into the “pre-1978” books, we find that in all of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta together, Śrīla Prabhupāda used the phrase "the Blessed Lord" to refer to Lord Kṛṣṇa only twice.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.28.28, Śrīla Prabhupāda uses the term “the Blessed Lord Śiva” to translate “śivaḥ śivaḥ” (“the auspicious Lord Śiva”).

“The Blessed Lord said” also appears in four other places in the Bhāgavatam: in Gita translations quoted in the purports to 4.24.56, 4.25.24, 4.28.31, and 4.31.14. In three of these four occurrences, however, the translations were not dictated by Śrīla Prabhupāda but supplied later by an editor. Only in 4.25.24 does the translation appear in the original transcription (and even then we can’t be sure it wasn’t supplied by a typist.) Nowhere else in the Bhāgavatam does the term “the Blessed Lord” appear.

In Caitanya-caritāmṛta in the purport to Madhya-līlā 6.132, Śrīla Prabhupāda does write: “In every verse of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In every verse Vyāsadeva says, śrī-bhagavān uvāca, ‘the Supreme Personality of Godhead said,’ or ‘the Blessed Lord said.’ It is clearly stated that the Blessed Lord is the Supreme Person, but Māyāvādī atheists still try to prove that the Absolute Truth is impersonal.”

Apart from that, although “The Blessed Lord said” appears in the purports to Madhya 8.312 and Madhya 10.108, the manuscripts show that in both places “The Blessed Lord said” was not dictated by Śrīla Prabhupāda but supplied later by an editor. And nowhere else in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta does the term “the Blessed Lord” appear.

In sum: In the Bhāgavatam Śrīla Prabhupāda used the term “the Blessed Lord” to refer to Lord Krishna only once. And so too in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

In contrast, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the term “Supreme Personality of Godhead” appears 5,181 times and in Caitanya-caritāmṛta 1,658 times.

In a lecture given on July 3, 1970, in Los Angeles, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “In the Gita Press edition you will see ‘Paramātmā.’ They never say ‘Kṛṣṇa.’ They're so much afraid that ‘If I say “Kṛṣṇa,” He will at once capture me.’ You see? [chuckles] So in a different way. ‘Paraṁ Brahman,’ ‘Caitanya,’ like this, so many impersonal ways they will say. But that is not required. Bhagavān uvāca means Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes they say ‘Blessed Lord said.’ No. Why you say? The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, said.”

Given all this, one might perhaps argue that Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted the term “the Blessed Lord.” (Or, to use a word sometimes employed in such cases by textual scholars, we might say he acquiesced to it.) But we’d have a hard time showing he was enthusiastic about it.

The myth of the ultra-close vote

Argument: 

The GBC approved the second edition only by a razor-thin majority. (The usual story is “by only one vote.”)

Response: 

Though all the GBC men were well informed about the second edition, the BBT did not ask them to vote on whether they approved. Asking the GBC’s formal approval in editorial affairs had never been part of the BBT’s usual way of working.

Nonetheless, Jayadvaita Swami did inform all the GBC members of the proposed revisions and ask for comments. And at the 1982 annual GBC meeting Kirtananada Swami (rather than respond to Jayadvaita Swami directly) proposed to the GBC that the planned second edition be rejected. The proposal failed, and therefore no record was kept either of the proposal or of the number of votes for and against it. Who then could remember, years later, the number of votes?

In 2004 Balavanta Prabhu recalled, “The vote was close.” But since he’d forgotten that the GBC had even been informed, his memory of the vote (taken more than twenty years earlier) may understandably be less than dependable.

Turning to Google, the earliest version of the “one vote” myth turns up in 2002, when Govinda Devi Dasi posted a letter on Chakra.org saying “the GBC did approve by a one-vote margin Jayadvaita Maharaja’s editing proposal.” (Govinda Dasi had not, of course, attended the 1982 GBC meeting.) Gupta Dasa, in a letter posted in January of 2003, repeated the “one vote” story, citing Govinda Dasi. And the internet did the rest.
 

Video: 
See video

The myth that Srila Prabhupada's disciple Madhudvisa Dasa strongly opposes the changes

Argument: 

Srila Prabhupada's very senior and respected disciple Madhudvisa Dasa strongly opposes the revisions made to Srila Prabhupada's books.

Response: 

This is a case of mistaken identity. The Madhudvisa who is so outspoken on the internet is not Srila Prabhupada's disciple at all. He is a different man.

For the full story — including biodata and pictures — see Is this Madhudvisa that Madhudvisa?

Video: 
See video
Syndicate content