M O V I N G F O R W A R D
Sri Vyasa-puja Lecture, Hamburg, September 5, 1969:
“Spiritual master is not a new invention. It is simply following the orders of the spiritual master. So, all my students present here who are feeling so much obliged... I am also obliged to them because they are helping me in this missionary work. At the same time, I shall request them all to become spiritual master. Every one of you should be spiritual master next. And what is their duty? Whatever you are hearing from me, whatever you are learning from me, you have to distribute the same in total without any addition or alteration. Then all of you become the spiritual master. That is the science of becoming spiritual master. … To become a spiritual master is not very wonderful thing. Simply one has to become sincere soul. That is all.
[Bhagavad-gita 4.2]. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said,
‘By disciplic succession this yoga process of Bhagavad-gita was handed down from disciple to disciple. But in course of time that disciplic succession is now lost. Therefore, Arjuna, I am teaching you again the same philosophy.’
So, this is the process. Simply if we… Therefore, Vedic knowledge is called sruti. One has to hear it properly, assimilate it, and then practice it in life and preach the same thing. Then everyone becomes spiritual master. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says,
‘O My dear disciples, I tell you that you, all of you, become spiritual master. Simply you carry out My order. That is all.’
And what is Your order? The order is the same: [Caitanya-caritamrita-Madhya-lila 7.128].
‘Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.’
Just like Krishna gave instruction in the Bhagavad-gita, and if you simply place the instruction received from Bhagavad-gita As It Is.”
Let us look at the first part of this quote by Srila Prabhupada,
“So, all my students present here who are feeling much obliged. . . I shall request them all to become guru. Every one of you should be guru. . .”
This is simple and straight forward and to the point. If you have an appreciation for what has been taught to you by your Spiritual Master, and if you are feeling “obliged”. you should also become a guru.
It is very clear that he is not demanding his disciples to become Guru, he is requesting them all, to become guru if they feel obliged. However, being “obliged” is just the first step. Next you would have to be “sincere”, and next you would have to become “qualified”.
The meaning of Srila Prabhupada’s words in this 1969 lecture.
The meaning of “request” is,
“To express a desire for, ask for; to ask a person to do something”.
Thus, Srila Prabhupada had this desire and he asks for it to be fulfilled and by a specific set of women and men; his disciples.
If you know something; then you can teach it. You cannot give something you do not have. Similarly, you cannot teach something if you do not possess that knowledge. This is the meaning of the next part,
“Whatever you are hearing from me, whatever you are learning from me, you have to distribute the same in total without any addition or alteration.”
Srila Prabhupada says that the knowledge one has learned from him, from his books or from his spoken words, should be distributed. That part is clear. In this connection, he once said,
“Whatever you have taken in; simply just vomit it.”
Garden Conversation—September 6, 1976, Vrindavan:
“Go and preach. Do not be afraid. Simply present [Caitanya-caritamrita-Madhya-lila 7.128]. Whatever you have learned from Krishna, from your guru, just vomit it, that’s all. There is no need of becoming very expert. Simply whatever you learned. That is all.”
The next part, which needs a more careful analysis is,
“… You have to distribute the same in total without any addition or alteration.”
Clearly, he says,
“Do not add to what you have learned”.
Then he says,
“Do not alter it as well”.
However, he did not specifically say subtraction. Subtraction is adulteration just as much as addition.
The word ‘alteration’ means,
‘To change or make different; modify’.
Therefore, this also means that we should not subtract or remove anything. Nevertheless, Srila Prabhupada did not specifically mentioned ‘subtraction’, as he did with ‘addition’. Why did he say ‘addition’ only, where the word ‘alteration’ covers both addition and subtraction?
In regards to his books, it is well known that Srila Prabhupada said,
“Do not change anything.”
The word “change” means,
“Make or become different.”
Hence, the conclusion is that the word “change” includes addition, modification, and subtraction.
The greatest anxiety Srila Prabhupada expressed, is that after he’s gone, we will make changes in his books, and the whole works, the plan Prabhupada was working on, it will all be spoiled by us because of our tendency to change things.
Srimad-bhagavatam 4.20.17 Purport:
“One should accept the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by bowing down at the lotus feet of the Lord. This means that anything spoken by the Personality of Godhead should be taken as it is, with great care and attention and with great respect. It is not our business to amend the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or make additions or alterations, as it has become a custom for many so-called scholars and swamis who comment on the words of Bhagavad-gita. Here the practical example of how to accept the instruction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is shown by Prthu Maharaja. This is the way to receive knowledge through the parampara system.”
Letter to Kirtananda, Feb 10, 1967:
“Regarding your editing, I would very much like it. I am sending my lecture copies to you. I think my other copies are lying on the left side of my seat in a cardboard box which please find out. Please be careful not to change the ideas.”
Letter to Jayadvaita-Mar 17, 1971:
“I have dictated the missing purports from Chapter IX and they are set enclosed herewith. So far changing the working of verse or purport of 12:12 discussed before, it may remain as it is.”
[This order from Srila Prabhupada was ignored and the purport was changed.]
Letter to Frederico, Oct 24, 1974:
“I am very glad to learn that you are translating the Bhagavad-gita As It Is into Portuguese. Be careful not to change anything, but present it, exactly as it is. This is how we receive Bhagavad-gita through the disciplic succession as stated in the Fourth Chapter. By this translating work you will learn our philosophy very nicely. It is very important to broadcast Krishna consciousness all over the world. This is the great need of modern civilization.”
Letter: Bhargava-May 29, 1976:
“No, the printing of the Gita 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 do not 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 Vrindavana, it is spoken on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, but this is Vrindavana picture. That chariot driven 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.”
Letter to Radhavallabha, Aug 26, 1976:
You may title this book, Teachings of Lord Kapila, but it must be subtitled, “The Son of Devahuti”. That will remain, do not try to change it. The Americans may like it or not like it, but we must make the distinction between devahuti putra kapila, and the atheistic Kapila. Do not try to change anything without my permission.”
Letter to Radhavallabha, Oct 7, 1976:
“Titling of the Ninth Canto as Liberation is good, and the Tenth Canto should be called ‘The Summum Bonum’. As far as the 11th and 12th Cantos are concerned, they shall be named when they are presented. The title which you have given to the Eighth Canto was a little hard to understand at first but if it refers to pralaya, then it is alright. You must consult with me on such matters. Do not manufacture anything.”
Letter to Gopiparanadhana, Sep 28, 1976:
“Please accept my blessings. With reference to your letter to Harikesa dated 21st inst., regarding the purport, 2nd paragraph to Bhagavatam 2.2.38, it is clear. Do not try to change anything.”
Unfortunately, for whatever nefarious reasons, Srila Prabhupada works are currently being “edited”, or “changed”. This is well documented by some devotees in Internet Web-Sites.
 Kuruksetra—a holy place due to the penances of King Kuru. It was here that the great Mahabharata war was fought; situated about ninety miles north of New Delhi where Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna, five thousand years ago. It is a place of pilgrimage.