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Battlefield Fancy

Danavir Goswami I
AM CONCERNED

about a new translation and commentary of the

Bhagavad-gita advertised via email and the internet. Note this version is not produced in ISKCON or by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. The promotional materials tell of the new Gitas charming attempt to interpret Krsna and Arjunas dialogue prior to the battle of Kuruksetra in terms of Vraja bhakti. Please pardon me for not explicitly identifying the author and the title of this new book, as I prefer to address the philosophy that they espouse. Written subsequent to His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadas Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the new Vraja version dispenses with His Divine Graces translations, word meanings, and purports. For example, in chapter 10 verse 9, Lord Krsna uses the word ramanti meaning, according to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, enjoy transcendental bliss but in the Vraja translation ramanti means conjugal love. Within the Vraja Gita commentary, there seems to be an underlying implication that Srila Prabhupada did not reveal everything that Krsna wanted to say in the As It Is version of the Bhagavad-gita. The Vraja version claims itself to be within the Gaudiya line, yet there are significant reasons to doubt its authenticity. Thus, this paper discusses what I perceive, to be eight major transgressions of Vaisnavism present in the Vraja edition. We humbly submit our thoughts to the community of Krsna devotees. 1. Gita Opportunism If there was one thing that displeased Srila Prabhupada no end, it was when ambitious, unqualified persons wrote Bhagavad-gita

translations and commentaries as a cover for promoting their own philosophies. Write your own book, he charged. Who are you? If you have got any opinion, then you write your own book. Why do you touch Bhagavad-gita? Because Bhagavad-gita is very well-known book all over the world, these rascals take advantage of Bhagavad-gita and interpret it in their own way. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.19- Bombay, April 8, 1974) His Divine Grace told how when he was in America in 1966, an American woman asked him to recommend an English edition of Bhagavad-gita so she could read it. Although he estimated the number of such unauthorized commentaries to exceed 600, he could not recommend any one of them on account of their whimsical explanation. The womans question however gave him further impetus to write Bhagavad-gita As It Is, which was meant to silence all so-called scholars and swamis who misused the great Song of God by interpreting it in their own way. If someone interprets Bhagavad-gita according to his own

imagination, that is not Bhagavad-gita. The meaning must not be changed to suit the commentators whim. If he differs from the standard Vaisnava conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita, he should write his own book and give his own thesis. Why you are, I mean to say, killing others and yourself by interpreting Bhagavad-gita? You give your own thesis in a different way. But these people, they take advantage of the popularity of Bhagavad-gita and interpret in a different way according to their own whims. (Lecture on Bhagavadgita 7.1 - Hyderabad, April 27, 1974) The present new version interpreting the Gita in terms of Vraja Bhakti does indeed take advantage of Bhagavad-gitas popularity to present its opinion. His Divine grace explains that personal

realization does not mean that one should, out of vanity, attempt to show ones own learning by trying to surpass the previous acarya. He must have full confidence in the previous acarya, and at the same time he must realize the subject matter so nicely that he can present the matter for the particular circumstances in a suitable manner. The original purpose of the text must be maintained. No obscure meaning should be screwed out of it. Although no obscure meanings should be screwed out of it, Gandhi used Bhagavad-gita to preach non-violence. Dr. Radhakrishna used it to advocate Mayavada philosophy. A physician theorized that Krishna was a doctor and Arjuna a patient. Another interpreted that the five Pandavas actually meant the five senses and Kuruksetra meant the body. This Vraja version promotes raganuga bhakti for beginners, if you will. Write your own book, means do not attach your philosophy to the Bhagavad-gita as a commentary. Give your own theory in a separate book. Everyone is taking advantage of Bhagavad-gita and hes preaching in his own way, foolish way. Own way means foolish way. This is going on. Hyderabad) Srila Prabhupada compared using Bhagavad-gita for preaching ones own philosophy to smoking ganja through another mans hand to avoid the discoloration and bad smell adhering to ones own hand. At least if someone wants to do some activity, he should take the responsibility himself and not attribute it to another. In this case, Krsnas Bhagavad-gita is specifically meant to explain the basic science of bhakti and its value is not enhanced by contorting the verses with imagined interpretations from Vraja-lila. (Conversation with Indian Guests - April 12, 1975,

Although shallow preoccupation with gopi bhava appears to be the qualification of the Vraja-imagined Gita commentary, Sri Krsnas song becomes appropriated as a non-consenting accomplice. The Vraja Gita interpretation falls into the same trap as previous opportunistic attempts, which also could not resist capitalizing on the popularity of the Gita. As concealing ones purloiner appearance with the dress of a policeman does not spare the mischief, neither does using Gaudiya Vaisnava appellations conceal ones clandestine mischief. If you take Bhagavad-gita, then you must present it as it is. Dont distort it. You may have got some idea, but you explain that idea in your different book. But dont place it as the explanation of Bhagavad-gita. That is not very good. If you have got different theory, you can write in a different book. But we cannot permit or do not like that as the commentary of Bhagavad-gita you will place something different. That is not very honest. You put your own theory. Why should you try to put your theory through Bhagavadgita? That we protest. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gita As It Is. (Room Conversation with Yoga Student - March 14, 1975, Iran) Since the Gaudiya commentary has already been presented in the form of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, what need is there for another? Since there is a great need of an edition of the Gita in English, as it is received by the parampara (disciplic succession) system, an attempt is made herewith to fulfill this great want. Bhagavad-gitaaccepted as it is-is a great boon to humanity. (Bhagavad-gita 4.2 Purport)

2. Maryada-Vyatikrama (Impertinent Over-Stepping) In Sanskrit, maryada-vyatikrama means impertinently attempting to surpass a greater personality. The new Vraja Gita version seeks to

surpass the exalted acaryas of the disciplic succession by declaring its new imaginative Vraja-bhakti interpretation of Bhagavad-gita to be deeper and higher than the accepted understanding. Although in particular, Srila Prabhupada and his Bhagavad-gita As It Is are slighted, the Vraja interpretation also oversteps all the previous acaryas who never ventured into describing Bhagavad-gita in terms of Vraja bhakti. So we must follow the principle. The Subodhini-tika was made by Vallabhacarya, but because he presented himself more than Sridhara Swami to Caitanya Mahaprabhu... He requested Caitanya Mahaprabhu to read his comment on Srimad-Bhagavatam when He was at Puri. But he was little proud of his nice commentary, that he said It is better than Sridhara Swami. So that was not tolerated by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and He did not hear that Subodhini-tika. He remarked, svami jiva nahi mane (indistinct). So this is not the way. We cannot approach Krsna directly. We must go through the parampara system, vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva gopalakau . (The Nectar of Devotion - Bombay, January 8, 1973) The historical example given above is sadly appropriate because the author of Subodhini-tika wished to supersede authorized previous acaryas. His commentary was rejected however, by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and not allowed in Gaudiya Vaisnava circles. A writer should never feel himself qualified to go beyond the realization of his predecessors. Although one may be well versed in the transcendental science, one should be careful about the offense of or impertinently surpassing a greater personality. According to scriptural injunction one should be very careful of transgressing the law of maryada-vyatikrama because by so doing one loses his duration of life, his opulence, fame and piety and the blessings of all the world. To be well versed

in the transcendental science necessitates awareness of the techniques of spiritual science. (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.4.26 Purport) The Vraja version announces that besides the general meaning of the Gitas verses (supposedly for rank sadhakas), the verses also have an esoteric meaning relative to Krsnas devotees of Vraja and the gopis in particular. Oddly enough we do not hear of this realization anywhere within the teachings of Sri Krsna, Srila Vyasadeva, Srila Sukadeva Goswami, Srila Madhvacarya, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, or Srila Rupa Goswami. Surely, such elevated personalities would not deprive their followers of the Gitas so-called higher Vraja bhakti truth. Perhaps most importantly, ISKCON devotees consider that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada condemned such attempts. When one who does not understand the Bhagavad-gita writes a commentary on it, he is cheating the innocent public. Someone has a title as a scholar, so he takes advantage of the popularity of the Bhagavad-gita and writes a commentary. (The Way of Knowing God) That Vraja bhakti is the highest attainment in spiritual life is not disputed. Surely the gopiss love for Krsna is unparalleled as stated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: ramya kacid upasana vrajavadhuvargena ya kalpita-there is no better form of worship than was conceived by the damsels of Vraja. The issue of contest is whether the Bhagavad-gita is to be interpreted in terms of Vraja bhakti or not. The characteristic of maryada-vyatikrama or impertinent oneupmanship is especially prominent in the Vraja Gitas word meanings, translations, and commentary. By overestimating ones own importance and not recognizing the unparalleled importance of empowered Vaisnava acaryas, one becomes offensive.

3. Sahajiya There is a class of pseudo-devotees called sahajiyas who take devotional service very cheaply. They imagine themselves to be elevated Vaisnavas but they are actually immature devotees. The prakrta-sahajiya depict themselves as the most advanced, transcendentally blissful devotees, deeply absorbed in devotional service and mad to taste transcendental mellows. They also describe themselves as the most advanced devotees in spontaneous love, as knowers of transcendental mellows, as the topmost devotees in conjugal love of Krsna, and so on. Not actually knowing the transcendental nature of love of God, they accept their material emotions to be indicative of advancement. In this way they pollute the process of devotional service. To try to become writers of Vaisnava literature, they introduce their material conceptions of life into pure devotional service. Because of their material conceptions, they advertise themselves as knowers of transcendental mellows, but they do not understand the transcendental nature of devotional service. (Caitanya Caritamrta, Antya 20.29 Purport) The above statement summarizes the sahajiya mentality. On the surface, the Vraja Gita aligns itself with Srila Prabhupadas Bhagavad Gita As It Is even as it coyly offers the imagined higher transcendental mellows. If you accept the principles of Bhagavad-gita, that is the preliminary study, A-B-C-D of dharma, and if you accept this principle, that to surrender to Krsna, saranam saranyam...(Lecture 3.25.11 - Bombay, November 11, 1974) It is not required or desired to apologize for Krishnas philosophy of bhakti presented in the Gita. Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary study on Srimad-

of spiritual life and to endeavor to remake it into a discussion about the gopis of Vrndavana is the work of sahajiyas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that when our men, meaning the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, become sahajiyas, Oh, theyll be more dangerous. Consider the following statement from Srila Prabhupada: Therefore the sahajiyas, they do not read Bhagavad-gita. They say, We have nothing to do with Bhagavad-gita. They jump over to the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Krsnas rasa-lila, as if Krsna is connected with rasa-lila and not with this lila. They make distinction. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 1.4 - London, July 10, 1973) At first glance, it may appear that this statement describing sahajiyas does not apply to the present Vraja Gita interpretation since it indeed deals with Bhagavad-gita. However, if we look more closely we find the sahajiya mentality is fully present because the Vraja edition does not accept the Bhagavad-gita as it actually is but rather jumps right to the Tenth Cantos rasa-lila exactly as Prabhupada described. While covertly claiming to accept Bhagavadgita, the Vraja interpretation deceptively rejects the true Bhagavadgita and replaces it with a concocted interpretation of rasa-lila. Here in Los Angeles, we have found that there is a group of about 40 devotees who privately meet to discuss the intimate pastimes artificially thinking that they can enter into the understanding of the gopis prematurely. This will create havoc in our society, and the result will be that if this is allowed to go on, our preaching work will be greatly hampered. This premature desire to understand the lila of Krishna is due to mundane sex-life desire as we have seen amongst many of the babajis and sahajiyas in Vrindaban. (Letter to: Nitai Los Angeles 7 June, 1976)

Sahajiyaism should not be allowed to prosper in ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada vigilantly protected his society from its influence during his presence and he scrupulously trained us to recognize sahajiya when it appears and how to reject it. The primary symptom of sahajiyas is that they deprecate Krsnas activities outside of Vrndavana, not understanding that all of the Lords activities are on a transcendentally equal platform. By refusing to allow Bhagavadgita As It Is to stand as the accurate portrayal for all time, the Vraja interpretation reveals its sahajiya motives. So sometimes a class of devotees known as sahajiya, they say that What we have got to do with the narration of Kuruksetra battle? They immediately jump to the krsna-lila, directly with the gopis. And Krsnas activities in other field, they think it is useless. But that is not the fact. Anywhere Krsna is acting, that is transcendental-the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, historical references, description, so superficially it appears that what a devotee has got to do with this battlefield? But battlefield or no battlefield, wherever there is Krsna, that is transcendental. This has to be understood. Otherwise, Sukadeva Gosvami, why he should indulge in describing how Uttaras pregnancy was saved by Krsna, how the brahmastra was thrown by Asvatthama? So Sukadeva Gosvami is liberated person. Why he should indulge in these material things? No. Those who are advanced, they know that Krsnas dancing with the gopis, that lila and Krsnas playing as the leader of the battlefield of Kuruksetra is the same. It is all transcendental. One should not make any distinction between the two. Samstham ca pandu-putranam vaksye krsna-kathodayam. Pandu-putranam, the pandu-putras, or the Pandavas, son of Pandu, theyre all devotees. Even their political affairs, because there is connection with Krsna, it is krsna-katha. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.12 - Vrndavana, September 11, 1976)

The new Vraja Gita edition may be among the most dangerous attempts of sahajiyasism to date because it uses the authoritative and famous Vedic literature, Bhagavad-gita, to substantiate its unauthorized, notorious misconceptions. Prabhupada: These sahajiyas will come out of so many devotees. What can be done? From my Guru Maharajas disciples, so many sahajiyas came. These are called sahajiyas. (Room Conversation January 28, 1977, Bhubaneshwar) We know of one sahajiya gentleman who said that when a real devotee of Krsna hears a discussion about Krsnas pastimes not performed in Vrndavana, the real devotee politely leaves the room. According to Srila Prabhupada the contrary is true, i.e. Vaisnavas relish Krsnas bellicose activities as much as His rasa-lila dancing. Therefore those who are sahajiyas, they simply go to the pastimes of Lord Krsna with the gopis. Other things, Oh, no, no. That is not Krsnas pastimes. That is not Krsnas pastimes. That is, they differentiate the absolute activities of the Absolute. That is called sahajiya. The sahajiyas will never read Bhagavad-gita, will never read. (sarcastic:) Because they have been elevated to the mellows of conjugal love. Therefore they have no interest in Bhagavad-gita. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.20-23 - Gorakhpur, February 14, 1971) In one ironical sense, we must be grateful that the sahajiya affront has appeared in such a noticeable fashion through the new Vrajafancy Gita. Let us observe carefully that the new edition fulfills the sahajiya characteristic of never reading Bhagavad-gita by attempting to change the entire mood to Vrndavana pastimes. The Vraja edition does not hear Bhagavad-gita due to the loudness of its own mental volume.

So it is not that like sahajiyas that we are interested in Krsnas rasa dance, not with this fighting in the Battlefields of Kuruksetra. This is sahajiya-bhava. This is not wanted. ( Bhagavad-gita 1.4 - London, July 10, 1973) The sahajiyas simply create disturbances within the realm of pure devotional service because their understanding of Vraja-lila is contaminated. Sahajiyas cannot be equal to advanced devotees (paramahamsas). Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has warned not to mix with the professional so-called Vaisnavas known as sahajiyas. Their words describing Krsna-katha are compared to the poison emitted by serpents when they drink milk. One who drinks such so-called Krsna-katha becomes poisoned and loses his life of pure devotional service. Aside from this, the discussion of rasa lila and the intimate dealings between the Lord and the Vrndavana vasis is not to be publicly discussed. This has been taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Prabhupada cautions us not to accept a cheap guru. Dont try to understand Radha-Krsna very quickly. It is a very big subject. If we want to understand Radha-Krsna very quickly, then there will be so many prakrta-sahajiyas. In India there are prakrtasahajiya. Just like Radha-Krsna dancing. Radha-Krsna has become a plaything. The painting Radha-Krsna, Krsna is kissing Radha, Radha is kissing. These are all nonsense. Radha-Krsna philosophy has to be understood by the liberated person, not by the conditioned soul. So we shall await for the fortunate moment when we are liberated, then we shall understand radha-krsna-pranaya-vikrtir. (Radhastami Srimati Radharanis Appearance Day - Montreal, August 30, 1968) The Vraja version of Gita invents what Krsna is thinking and transmits this as if it were higher, esoteric realizations. It may be appropriate to make some references to the exalted position of the

residents of Vrndavana in studying Bhagavad-gita verses, however to fantasize the entire Bhagavad-gita as a treatise on Vraja bhakti is invalid. 4. Tenth Canto Opportunism The Bhagavad-gita presents the summary of primary Vedic philosophical wisdom. That is its glory and there are no indications from Lord Krsna that He intended it to be otherwise. Srila Prabhupada and the Vaisnava acaryas have all explained this principle in their teachings. Bhagavad-gita is also part of the Mahabharata, and it is full of the Lords instruction for the less intelligent class of men. Some less intelligent men say that Bhagavad-gita is not meant for householders, but such foolish men forget that Bhagavad-gita was explained to Arjuna, a grhastha (family man), and spoken by the Lord in His role as a grhastha. So Bhagavad-gita, although containing the high philosophy of the Vedic wisdom, is for the beginners in the transcendental science, and Srimad-Bhagavatam is for graduates and postgraduates in the transcendental science. (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.14 Purport) In addition to exploiting the popularity of Bhagavad-gita, the new Vraja version of the Gita also takes unfair advantage of the Srimad Bhagavatams most sacred Tenth Canto rasa lila pastimes of Krsna and the gopis. The Gita edition under discussion cleverly employs both Lord Krishnas words and His confidential rasa-lila activities for its own objectives. The First Canto or Second Canto of Bhagavad-gita are the two lotus feet of Krsna. So from the very beginning we should hear SrimadBhagavatam. Gradually, we shall come to the face. That is real understanding of Krsna.

And without understanding of the other nine cantos of Bhagavadgita, er, Srimad-Bhagavatam, if we simply jump over the Tenth Canto, and especially to the Thirty-fifth Chapter, the five chapters, Rasa-pancadhyaya, this is not very favorable. Of course, it is favorable. Krsnas lila, you hear any way, this way or that way... But if we misunderstand Krsna, then there is fall down. That is instructed by Sri..., Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, that dont try to understand Krsnas lila all of a sudden without understanding Krsna. Tattvatah. So regulative principle-to serve, as it is stated in the sastras or as it is enjoined by the spiritual master. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.30 Vrndavana, August 11, 1974) Today, it is still quite common for professional Bhagavata reciters to earn their livelihood by skipping the first nine cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam and jumping to the most confidential topics of Srimad Bhagavatams Tenth Canto. If it is incorrect for Bhagavata reciters to jump up from the First Canto to the Tenth Canto, then how much more improper it is to jump from the Bhagavad-gita up to the Tenth Canto! Consider the following mock debate between Srila Prabhupada and some of his disciples: Prabhupada: You say that. In the sastra does not say. Sastra says that after you have studied all the nine cantos of Bhagavatam, then enter into the tenth. Sahajiya means they take very easily. I am.... Everything is all right. Now I am perfect. That is sahajiya. Krsna says, To understand Me, it will take millions of years. And they understand Krsna immediately. That is their.... That is called prakrta-sahajiya.

Ramesvara: Krsnas incarnation is to attract the living entities to Krsna. So let me read about rasa-lila, because Im feeling some attraction. Prabhupada: Then why not Kuruksetra-lila? What...? Kuruksetra-lila... Krsnas lila is the same, absolute. You are attracted to rasa-lila means you have got sex desire. Thats all. Ramesvara: I may still have sex desire, but this will purify me. Prabhupada: No, no, no. This will purify. You are not purified. Tamala Krsna: Putrefied. Prabhupada: That is.... The, this rasa-lila is for the person who is completely purified. When one is impure, he should not think of. That is stated in the Bhagavatam. ( Morning Walk - June 7, 1976, Los Angeles) 5. Infidelity The Vraja version claims that Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have interpreted the Gita in terms of Vraja bhakti. If this is correct and truly one or several Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have, as advertised in the Vraja Gita, actually provided entire commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, then let that work be presented in its entirety. However, the readers of the Gita caricature are not given a Gaudiya acaryas Bhagavad-gita expounding Vraja Bhakti but rather a present-day estimation of what such a book might look like. A modern-day Vraja interpretation of the Bhagavad-gita, composed with all the frailties of Kali-yuga, is a long way from a Gaudiya acarya commentary. The Vraja Gita commentary forms a peculiar picture from pieced-together misinterpretations of fragmented outof-context comments. Although beguiling, the Vraja edition fails to present a Gaudiya acarya translation and commentary for a reason conspicuous by its absence: none exists. We learn from Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.25:

stri-sudra-dvijabandhunam trayi na sruti-gocara karma-sreyasi mudhanam sreya evam bhaved iha iti bharatam akhyanam krpaya munina krtam Out of compassion, the great sage thought it wise that this would enable men to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the great historical narration called the Mahabharata for women, laborers and friends of the twice-born. The Bhagavad-gita found within the Mahabharata, is compiled for beginners on the spiritual path. But the Vraja Gita commentary asserts that, the devotees of the Krsna of Vraja perceive him, the dhira-lalita of Radha, in the princely Krsnas words. Understanding Radha and Krsna pastimes constitutes the summum bonum conclusion taught within the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Deception alone suggests that Bhagavad-gita is other than the preliminary study to the Bhagavatam. From an abandoned asrama amid troubled waters, the new Vraja Gita version germinated its unfaithful character. And as soon as he thinks that I am beyond this chastisement, I am liberated, hes a rascal. Why Caitanya Mahaprabhu says guru more murkha dekhi karila sasan? This is sahajiya-vada. He is thinking, Oh I have become liberated. I dont require any direction of my guru. Im liberated. Then hes rascal. Why this Gaudiya Matha failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. (Room Conversation - August 16, 1976, Bombay)

Trying to become more than ones guru is the qualification of the new Vraja bhakti Gita fiasco. Having made a mockery of the Bhagavad-gita, the new Vraja commentary marketing department furtively suggests, This book has been such a pleasure to read side by side with Srila Prabhupadas. How absurd. The marketing department of the Vraja Gita has evidently lost sight of Srila Prabhupadas Bhagavad-gita As It Is long ago otherwise it could never have produced such a book blunder. The Vraja commentarys promotional material reminds the potential readers that Srila Prabhupada wanted his disciples to write books. That is agreed, but he did not desire that his disciples present Bhagavad-gita in such a fanciful and whimsical manner. You cannot go beyond the Vedic conclusion. Then it is useless writing. Vedic conclusion must be there. The guide must be there. On that conclusion, if you write something, that is right, and if you deviate from that conclusion, then it is wrong. So we want to read authorized, right books. Not by imagination. You can write so many nonsense things by imagination. That is useless. You must remember what is the Vedic conclusion. So sruti-smrti-pancaratravidhim. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.24 - Los Angeles, June 22, 1972) 6. Misinterpretation Bhagavad-gita As It Is translated and commented upon by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada accurately presents the true conversation and meaning between Lord Krsna and His friend Arjuna. There is no need for a divergent interpretation. You will see Dr. Radhakrishnan says. When this, he is making comment on it, he said, It is not to Krsna. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mam namaskuru, and Dr. Radha..., he says not to Krsna. How he is misleading people! He is a great scholar, and

he says It is not to Krsna, to the person. Just see. This dishonesty is going on. What right he has got to say like that? Did He, did He, Krsna, left His Bhagavad-gita to be interpreted by a rascal, Not to Krsna? This is rascaldom. You cannot say. You must say what Krsna says, if you take Bhagavad-gita. But if you have got a different views, then you write your own book. (Room Conversation with Srila Prabhupada speaking to Dr. Copeland, Professor of Modern Indian History - May 20, 1975, Melbourne) In the room conversation excerpt above, Srila Prabhupada

establishes that the Bhagavad-gita is forever meant to indicate what Krsna intended. That intended meaning is accurately communicated to the world in Bhagavad-gita As It Is. New translations or commentaries disagreeing with the As It Is edition are faulty and misleading. A commentary or interpretation is required only when the meaning is unclear. If you want to speak something from your side, you write your own book. Why should you take advantage of the popular book of Bhagavad-gita and misrepresent it? That is the fun. You see? There are about six hundred different types of editions commenting on Bhagavad-gita. But according to Bhagavad-gita, all these six hundred editions in different, studied from different angle of vision, they are all absurd and nonsense. It is very difficult. People have been misled by the so-called commentaries. There is no need of unnecessarily commenting on certain things. There is no necessity. Commentary or interpretation required when things are not very clear. Then you can suggest, The meaning may be like this. But when the things are clear, why should you comment? There is no necessity of comment. Just like, for example-this is also from Sanskrit scholars example-that gangayam ghosapalli. Gangayam: On the Ganges there is a neighborhood which is known as Ghosapalli. Now, this statement is in your front. So one may

question that The river Ganges is water. How there can be a neighborhood which is known as Ghosapalli? On the water how there can be a quarter or neighborhood of human habitation? You can question that. Gangayam ghosapalli. Then the interpretation should be, No, not on the Ganges. On the Ganges means on the bank of the Ganges. This interpretation is nice. When one cannot understand clearly, there is interpretation. But when the matter is clear... Just like sunlight. The sunlight, sunshine, does it require your lamp to show the sunlight? The sunlight is itself so illuminous that everyone can understand, This is sunlight. If somebody brings some lamp, I will show you the sun, sun is already visible. Why your lamp is required? So these unauthorized commentators, they bring some lamp to show the sunlight of Bhagavad-gita. That is their business.(Town Hall Lecture - Auckland, April 14, 1972) Srila Prabhupada made the meaning of Bhagavad-gita so clear that thousands and millions of people from all cultures of the world are able to understand its sublime and straightforward message. The new interpretation attempts to turn the As It Is edition upside down. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna does not speak anything about His pastimes with Radharani. That is strictly prohibited. You never find Krsna is speaking about His pastimes with the gopis or with Radharani. No. Hes officially speaking about Himself, I am this, I am that. Mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te. (Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.6 - Mayapur, March 30, 1975) In the lecture above Srila Prabhupada emphatically proclaims that within Bhagavad-gita Krsna gives preliminary knowledge about Himself and He is not speaking about His pastimes with Radharani and the gopis. That is strictly prohibited. To interpret that the Bhagavad-gita is about Krsnas preoccupation with His Vrndavana

pastimes as the Vraja Gita version does, blatantly contradicts Srila Prabhupadas warning. Hundreds of unauthorized interpretations of the Gita have wreaked havoc on the world and the Vraja version only adds to the damage. The Vraja interpretation explains: Setting foot in that holy place again, [Kuruksetra] for the purpose of instructing Arjuna, Prince Krsna was surely reminded of Vraja bhakti, the highest spiritual love that he had discussed with the gopis that day. This is an example of mere conjecture. Lord Krsna instructed the same science of Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god Vivasvan millions of years before He spoke at Kuruksetra referring neither to Vraja Bhakti nor to meeting the gopis. He said to Arjuna, puratanam yogam proktavan, that I am speaking to you same old philosophy, puratanam yogam, which I spoke to the sungod. We must stick to this, that a spiritual understanding is never changed. Now the modern days, we have to adjust things. No. That is not spiritual. There is no question of modern and old. Nitya, that is nitya, eternal. We should always remember that. The... Millions and millions of years ago, what was spoken by Krsna to the sun-god, the same thing was spoken to Arjuna. He said that I am speaking to you the same old, puratanam yogam, but because the parampara system is now broken, so I am making again the parampara system through you, beginning from you. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.8 - New Vrindaban, June 24, 1976) The Bhagavad-gita is exactly what it says it is. Lord Krsna is speaking to His friend Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra before millions of soldiers poised for war. Arjuna, overwhelmed with confusion and affection for his family members refuses to proceed in the fight. As a last resort, Arjuna accepts Krsna as his spiritual

master and requests Him to tell him what to do. Krsna tells him how the soul is different from the body and how one must tolerate the dualities of the material world such as happiness and distress, victory or defeat. Arjuna and the conditioned souls he represents, are advised to perform their work as an offering to the Lord and in that way become free from material bondage. Krsna explains that formerly He taught this science to the sun-god Vivasvan but the disciplic line had become broken. Meditational yoga techniques are discussed but Arjuna, feeling himself incompetent, declines to practice them. Krsna establishes that the goal of yoga is to remember Him at the time of death and devotional service (Krsna bhakti) is the best method to success. Upon request, Krsna displays His universal form and His four-handed Narayana feature. To help Arjuna disentangle himself from illusion, the Lord elucidates on the modes of nature, consciousness, divine and demoniac natures, and ultimately, full surrender to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Arjuna understands everything and accepts the instructions. arjuna uvaca nasto mohah smrtir labdha tvat-prasadan mayacyut sthito smi gata-sandehah karisye vacanam tava Arjuna said: My dear Krsna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions. This brings us to a crucial point. The Bhagavad-gita is to be understood in the line of Arjuna, who is the recent link in disciplic

succession. Whatever understanding Arjuna gets from hearing Bhagavad-gita is what we should get from hearing Bhagavad-gita. So one has to receive the knowledge of Bhagavad-gita by the parampara system. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna heard Bhagavad-gita. And how he understood Bhagavad-gita? He understood Krsna as a person. Param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan, purusam sasvatam adyam. That is real Bhagavad-gita understanding. And Arjuna said, sarvam etam rtam manye yan mam vadasi kesava. As Krsna says that sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, so he accepted that. That is Bhagavad-gita reading, not that It is not to person Krsna; it is to His self, and this and that. No. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gita As It Is. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 6.149-50 Gorakhpur, February 13, 1971) Arjuna never said that the Bhagavad-gita was a treatise on Krsnas Vrndavana pastimes, nor did Srila Prabhupada ever say such a thing. I am sorry, but the Vraja Gita version has misinterpreted the entire text of Bhagavad-gita and misled those unfortunate readers who accept it. Vedavyasa never indicated that Mahabharata was speaking about the gopis. Unfortunately, people want to show their scholarship, that I understand Bhagavad-gita from this angle of vision. Why should you try to understand Bhagavad-gita from a different angle of vision? The first preference should be given to the author. The author has given you some knowledge, so he has got some particular aim and objective. So why should you change that? You have no right to change that. If you want to speak something from your side, you write your own book. Why should you take advantage of the popular book of Bhagavad-gita and misrepresent it? That is the fun. You see? There are about six hundred different types of

editions

commenting

on

Bhagavad-gita.

But

according

to

Bhagavad-gita, all these six hundred editions in different, studied from different angle of vision, they are all absurd and nonsense. It is very difficult. People have been misled by the so-called commentaries. There is no need of unnecessarily commenting on certain things. There is no necessity. Commentary or interpretation required when things are not very clear. Then you can suggest, The meaning may be like this. But when the things are clear, why should you comment? There is no necessity of comment. (Town Hall Lecture - Auckland, April 14, 1972) What is unclear about Bhagavad-gita that requires such

interpretation? There is no Gaudiya Vaisnava Acarya commentary on the Bhagavad-gita stating that Krsnas paramount purpose in speaking to Arjuna was to delineate Vraja bhakti. The new commentary assigns creative definitions with so-called deeper meanings to Krsnas words. Why was Srila Prabhupada not able to understand those words in the deeper light of Krsnas Vraja lila? Or did he understand but not reveal it? Although the new commentary may not supply answers to these questions, readers must accept the new commentarys explanation of what Srila Prabhupada wasnt able to say. The commentary found in the new Vraja Gita, full of hidden, esoteric, or higher meanings is clever, no doubt, but what is the guarantee that such interpretations are not merely the concoction of the new interpretation? Consider Srila Prabhupadas translation and purport to 10.10: tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te

tesam-unto them; satata-yuktanam-always engaged; bhajatam-in rendering devotional service; priti-purvakam-in loving ecstasy; dadami-I give; buddhi-yogam-real intelligence; tam-that; yena-by which; mam-unto Me; upayanti-come; te-they. To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. PURPORT: In this verse the word buddhi-yogam is very significant. We may remember that in the Second Chapter the Lord, instructing Arjuna, said that He had spoken to him of many things and that He would instruct him in the way of buddhi-yoga. Now buddhi-yoga is explained. Buddhi-yoga itself is action in Krsna consciousness; that is the highest intelligence. Buddhi means intelligence, and yoga means mystic activities or mystic elevation. When one tries to go back home, back to Godhead, and takes fully to Krsna consciousness in devotional service, his action is called buddhi yoga. In other words, buddhi-yoga is the process by which one gets out of the entanglement of this material world. The ultimate goal of progress is Krsna. People do not know this; therefore the association of devotees and a bona fide spiritual master are important. One should know that the goal is Krsna, and when the goal is assigned, then the path is slowly but progressively traversed, and the ultimate goal is achieved. (Bhagavd-gita 10.10) Why must the gopis and Vrndavana be brought into the discussion of Bhagavad-gita? It is simply speculation. An advertisement says that the Vraja commentary calls our attention to our princely Lords preoccupation with his Vrndavana pastimes, and the true battle at Kuruksetra against the ego. That is not the purpose of Bhagavadgita at all. To declare such a misinterpretation is misleading the public and devotees.

You are studying Bhagavad-gita, talk of that. In the Bhagavad-gita the gopis saris are not mentioned. So why you are bringing gopis saris now? This is our fault. No, no. This is our fault. There is no mention of gopis saris. We are talking of Bhagavad-gita, why you are bringing gopis saris? Again because. There is no subject matter there. You have no right to bring that. That is our fault. To bring a horse before a cart. We are talking of Bhagavad-gita. There is no mention of Krsna and gopis saris there. So let us talk. Finish that. (Room Conversation - December 29, 1976, Bombay) In the room conversation above Srila Prabhupada had been explaining about the authenticity of Mahabharata and the Bhagavad-gita within it. The Battle of Kuruksetra was real, he said, and the place Kuruksetra is not to be taken figuratively as a socalled scholar had done in his commentary on Bhagavad-gita. There is no need to interpret the Bhagavad-gita unless one has a motive and if one has a motive it spoils the entire Bhagavad-gita just as rotten, decomposed food gives no benefit. No sane man should read such interpretations. Then a guest asked Srila Prabhupada about the direct meaning of Krsnas stealing the saris of the gopis while they were bathing. The question was inappropriate, of course, because the guest was belittling the Lords pastimes, thinking them to be immoral. Putting that impropriety aside, however, His Divine Grace chose to emphasize the lesson that one should not bring the topics of Krsnas Vrndavana pastimes into the battlefield discussion of Bhagavad-gita. We are talking of Bhagavad-gita. There is no mention of Krsna and gopis saris there. That instruction remains exceedingly appropriate today with regard to the new Vraja bhakti Gita commentary.

7. Rasabhasa Srila Prabhupada translated into English and commented on every verse of Bhagavad-gita and spoke on many verses numerous times. Yet he never, ever, interpreted that the Lord Krsnas immortal Gita was actually discussing Vraja lila. Krishnas words are meant to be taken literally. Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated May 25, 1976, along with samples of the Gitar-gan and the cover in for the Bhagavat-darsana. No, the printing of the Gitar-gan cover this fashion is not at all approved by me. You have done most nonsensically. Why change the cover? When people look to see the Bhagavad-gita they expect to see Krishna and Arjuna, not the picture of Krishna with cow. You have done a great mistake by changing the front picture and it will hamper the sale. In future you dont do any changes without asking me first. Simply because there is no stock of books, we can do anything whimsically??? Is this logic? Gita is not spoken in Vrindaban, it is spoken on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, but this is Vrindaban picture. That chariot drive by 4 horses, that is the real Kuruksetra picture. It is not that because there is no stock we can do whimsically as we like and lose the idea, that is rasa-bhasa. Because there is no bread, you take stone to eat? There is no stock of bread so you will take stone??? The front picture is most important thing and you have changed it. It must remain standard, and not change. Also, the lettering is not nice on the cover. You could have taken a color picture of Krishna and Arjuna and used it black and white (one color) on the front cover. Just as you did with the inside back cover of the Bhagavat darsana, the original picture of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in color but you have printed it in black and white. You could have done this on the front cover with Krishna and Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, but the cover must not be changed. Do not do anything whimsically in future, and you can write me if you have questions concerning the printing. (Letter to:

Bhargava - Honolulu 29 May, 1976) The important letter above is most pertinent to our discussion. Gitar-gan is Srila Prabhupadas own Bengali Poetic Edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. He said, Introduce the recitation of Gitar-gan in every school. Here is a sample of the Gitar-gan: dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre haiya ekatra yuddhakami mamaputra pandava sarvatra ki karila tarpar kahata sanjay dhrtarastra jijnasaye sandigdha hrday Chapter 1 Text 1: 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? deha dehi bhed dui nityanitya sei kaumar youvan jara parivartan yei deher svakarya hay dehi nitya rahe tatha dehantar-prapti panditera kahe Chapter 2 Text 13: As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change. Gitar-gan verses are translated exactly the same as those found in Bhagavad-gita As It Is because Gitar-gan is an exact translation of the Bhagavad-gita. In Gitar-gan every verse of the Bhagavad-gita is perfectly translated into Bengali by our beloved kaviraja Srila Prabhupada so that the couplets rhyme-making it easy to sing. In short, Gitar-gan is the Bhagavad-gita. Therefore it is significant that Srila Prabhupada disapproved when his disciples had whimsically

replaced the traditional cover picture of Krsna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra with a picture showing a Vrndavana scene of Krishna with a cow. This is described as rasabhasa by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: bhakti-siddhanta-viruddha, ara rasabhasa sunite na haya prabhura cittera ullasa SYNONYMS: bhakti-siddhanta-conclusive statements about the

science of devotional service; viruddha-opposing; ara-and; rasaabhasa-overlapping of transcendental mellows; sunite-to hear; nanot; haya-becomes; prabhura-of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu;