Photo: Srila Prabhupada receives the 1972 printed edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is
JUNE 23, 2018
BY: VIDURA MAHATMA DAS
The first paragraph of Srila Prabhupada’s preface to Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972 edition) reads:
“Originally I wrote Bhagavad-gītā As It Is in the form in which it is presented now. When this book was first published, the original manuscript was, unfortunately, cut short to less than 400 pages, without illustrations and without explanations for most of the original verses of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. In all of my other books—Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, Śrī Īśopaniṣad, etc.—the system is that I give the original verse, its English transliteration, word-for-word Sanskrit-English equivalents, translations and purports. This makes the book very authentic and scholarly and makes the meaning self-evident. I was not very happy, therefore, when I had to minimize my original manuscript. But later on, when the demand for Bhagavad-gītā As It Is considerably increased, I was requested by many scholars and devotees to present the book in its original form, and Messrs. Macmillan and Co. agreed to publish the complete edition. Thus the present attempt is to offer the original manuscript of this great book of knowledge with full paramparā explanation in order to establish the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement more soundly and progressively.”
To re-cap, what Srila Prabhuapda tells us about the 1972 printing of the Gita is:
- He wasn’t very happy with the 1968 printing; (He is happy with this  printing)
- It is very authentic and scholarly
- It is the complete edition
- It is the original form of the book
- It was printed from the original manuscript
- It contains full paramparā explanation
Wow, quite an endorsement from the pure devotee!
It is astonishing, therefore, when we hear claims about the 1972 Gita to the effect of:
- It wasn’t printed from the original manuscript
- Therefore, it’s not the original form of the book
- It’s not as authentic because it’s not the original form of the book
- Srila Prabhupada wasn’t happy with the 1972 printing and wanted it revised or reprinted based on an older manuscript
- It’s not as complete as it could be (it could be “improved”; “I could improve it!”)
- It doesn’t contain full parampara explanation; (“Hayagriva inserted his own ideas in the purports”).
If you hear contradictory claims like these, you can be sure the tiny person making them is an envious rascal.
Just remember Srila Prabhupada’s preface endorsement and thank Krishna for the good intelligence!