The myth of the ultra-close vote

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

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 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.

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