The myth of “no consultation”

The GBC members were never made aware of the extent of the changes. All they received was a list of changes to the translations, and these were presented in a cryptic form, hard for anyone to understand. No one but the editor knew the magnitude of the changes.

Jayadvaita Swami made sure the GBC members were fully informed. A letter sent to every GBC man in 1982, before the book was published, explained clearly that revisions had been made to translations, purports, and word-for-word meanings.

Along with the letter came a full list of all the revisions made to the translations, showing the revisions in a clear, easily understood form.

In 2003 Balavanta Prabhu wrote about the GBC, “I don't believe anyone knew the extent to which [the editing] would be taken.” Balavanta Prabhu later retracted that statement.

After seeing again the 1982 package sent to the GBC, in March 2004 Balavanta Prabhu wrote, “I stand corrected as to whether the GBC knew the extent of the changes which were proposed. Information was circulated and made available to the GBC members, who certainly had access to it.”

Jayadvaita Swami’s letter had been sent not only to every GBC man but to every sannyasi and every ISKCON temple in the English-speaking world, and to many other senior devotees as well. Jayadvaita Swami wrote, “I want you to see the changes, to understand what’s behind them, to have a chance to raise questions or make suggestions about them—and, finally, to satisfy yourself that the changes are prudent, legitimate, and worthwhile.”

In May of 1982, Jayadvaita Swami met in Detroit with a committee of five GBC members deputed by the GBC body to review his work for the second edition. Sitting together, they examined every translation revised for the second edition (and the GBC members made various suggestions).

In India on March 19, 1983, the BBT trustees resolved:

5. Bhagavad-Gita:
a) HDG Gopal Krsna, HDG Bhagavan Goswami, and HDG Ramesvar will submit to HH Jayadvaita Swami their responses to the Detroit questionaire [sic] before leaving India.
b) HH Jayadvaita Swami will send a complete set of the edited Bhagavad-gita to all the Trustees upon arrival to the U.S.
c) The Trustees will mail him back their points by the end of April so that they can be considered for the final version.
d) HH Jayadvaita Swami will mail out the final version in early May.

Before the second edition was published, the BBT trustees and the GBC were indeed well informed and involved, and a sincere and vigorous effort was made to inform and consult the larger community of ISKCON devotees.