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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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BBT Addresses the use of “Blessed Lord”
By Bhaktivedanta Book Trust   |  Jun 11, 2022

Use of “Blessed Lord” Constituted Editorial Overreach Says the ERP

In October of 2019, the BBT and GBC appointed an Editorial Review Panel (ERP) to address concerns about the editing of Srila Prabhupada’s books. This article is the first in an ongoing series of contributions to ISKCON News sharing the findings and observations of the ERP.

“The Blessed Lord” or “The Supreme Personality of Godhead”?

Followers of the Hare Krishna movement are familiar with the well-known phrase from the Bhagavad-gītā, śrī bhagavān uvāca, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said.” This phrase repeats throughout the Gītā as Kṛṣṇa patiently instructs Arjuna over the course of eighteen chapters.

However, in the first unabridged edition of the Gītā, published by Macmillan in 1972, the phrase śrī bhagavān uvāca is frequently translated as “The Blessed Lord said.” The ERP spent considerable time investigating the rationale behind both translations and why the BBT editors determined to replace “The Blessed Lord” with “The Supreme Personality of Godhead.” In a recent statement, the ERP shared their findings.

Summary of the ERP’s Findings

After thoroughly examining all available evidence, such as Śrīla Prabhupāda’s original Gītā manuscript and his recorded lectures, the ERP has determined that “the introduction of the term ‘Blessed Lord’ was a case of overreach” by the editor of the 1972 Gītā.

Some of their primary reasons for coming to this conclusion include:

  • In his handwritten corrections to the galley proofs of the 1968 Collier abridged edition of the Gītā, Śrīla Prabhupāda crossed out “Blessed Lord” in verse 10.1 and replaced it with “Personality of Godhead.”
  •  During an initiation lecture in Los Angeles on July 3, 1970, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “Bhagavan uvāca means Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes they say, ‘Blessed Lord said.’ No. Why you say? The Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa said.”
  • Śrīla Prabhupāda extensively comments on the phrase “Supreme Personality of Godhead” in his purport to verse 2.2.
  • The phrase “Blessed Lord” never appears in any of the word-for-word translations of the Gītā, even in the 1972 edition.


How Did “The Blessed Lord” Appear in the First Place?

 Hayagrīva dāsa, one of the early editors of the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, recalls in his book The Hare Krishna Explosion, that Prabhupāda gave him permission to copy the verse translations from other popular editions of the Gītā. Prabhupāda explained that his purports were more important. Based on the ERP’s research, they report it is likely that Hayagrīva borrowed the phrase “Blessed Lord” from the Gītā translation of Dr. Radhakrishnan.

Concluding Remarks

Based on these findings and an extensive discussion, the ERP has thus upheld the BBT’s decision to replace “The Blessed Lord” with “The Supreme Personality of Godhead” in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. Those interested in further information are encouraged to read the ERP’s complete statement on this matter.

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