In reality, the editing of the books depended on Srila Prabhupada’s approval and participation and therefore it could not possibly be done in his physical absence.
On BBTedit.com, in defense of the book changes it is written:
“When Srila Prabhupada was present, he specifically approved of Jayadvaita Swami’s doing this [restoring text the first edition had lost or changed] for other books. And after Srila Prabhupada’s departure Jayadvaita Swami simply followed the same principle.”
This contains the whole point of the discussion; Srila Prabhupada was there to specifically approve of the editing. The BBT wants to have us believe that this specific approval and trust in Jayadvaita at one point, acts as some type of life-time authorization of Jayadvaita to continue editing the books. But this can’t be the case because the reality is that Srila Prabhupada was always there to supervise the editing. Srila Prabhupada invested trust in all of his editors, and if one editor was not doing a satisfactory job, Srila Prabhupada could correct the editor or even replace him. This is just not possible today.
Srila Prabhupada’s books are…his books. He is the author. They are not the BBT’s books per se, and definitely not another editor’s books. The purpose of the BBT is to publish and manage Srila Prabhupada’s books. The reason for stressing this point is to
Unless Srila Prabhupada objected to a finished work or specific edit, that work or edit may be left as it is, even if there are some grammatical errors. It is not that Srila Prabhupada authorized such grammatical errors per se, but that such errors may be and indeed should be left as is. This is the principle of arsa-prayoga.
Even accepting the argument that grammatical errors could be corrected in the physical absence of Srila Prabhupada, the question arises: How many years does it take to find and correct those errors? And do all the changes that have been made even fall into the category of technical grammatical errors?
The whole problem with the argument that the BBTi editors are “bringing the books back to the way Srila Prabhupada had intended” is that Srila Prabhupada simply never asked his editors to …
It is the unauthorized editing of Srila Prabhupada’s books that we are concerned with, not just the plain act of editing. All editing to the books was being done under Srila Prabhupada’s general supervision. Srila Prabhupada, the author, had editors working under his direction. The books were therefore presented as Srila Prabhupada had wanted. This is just not the case today, as the book changes do not have Srila Prabhupada’s approval, nor did Srila Prabhupada ever sanction that his books could be edited without his approval.
The circumstances under which editing of the books was being done were that Srila Prabhupada was physically present and was approving of changes being made.
Once regarding the changing of a title of one of his books, Srila Prabhupada conslusively instructed:
“Do not try to change anything without my permission.” (Letter to Radhavallabha, Aug 26, 1976)
In another place:
“I will have to see personally what are the mistakes in the synonyms and also how you intend to correct them. I was not satisfied with the corrections that were made before. I saw some changes which I did not approve.” (Letter to Radhavallabha, Jan 5, 1976)
In one incident when Srila Prabhupada was given the suggestion by a disciple to give purports to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s books, like Brahma-samhita, Srila Prabhupada responded:
“So even there is difficulty, let them read over and over and again. Then they will understand. Why should we change it? Let it be presented as Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī has given.”
And when Srila Prabhupada discovered that some of his editors were making whimsical changes without his approval, he said:
“It is very serious situation. You write one letter that “Why you have made so many changes?” And whom to write? Who will care? All rascals are there. Write to Satsvarupa that “This is the position. They are doing anything and everything at their whim.” The next printing should be again to the original way.” (Conversation — June 22, 1977, Vrndavana)