Chakra Discussions

Response To Keli-lalita

by BBT

Posted January 26, 2006

Dear Keli-Lalita Prabhu,

Thank you for expressing your concerns about the second edition of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.

Taking your point on board, we've already added to our ads online the information that this is a revised edition, and we'll do it in our print ads in the future. We're happy to let our customers know that this is the edition they'll be getting.

You write, "Also, out of honesty, I think the BBT should note on the title page that these are revised editions. No where on the front or back of the title page is this noted. Any published book has this information prominently displayed on the title or verso page - not hidden in a footnote at the end of the Forward. How many people are going to see this?"

If you want to offer well-informed statements about what's standard practice in publishing, you could refer to the standard guide for most publishers, the venerable "Chicago Manual of Style."

Here is what it says:

"A new edition may be defined as one in which a substantial change has been made in one or more of the essential elements of the work (e.g., text, notes, appendixes, or illustrations). As a rule of thumb, at least 20 percent of a new edition should consist of new or revised material." (Chicago, Fifteenth Edition, page 10)

What you say about "any published book" is incorrect. What to speak of making a prominent display on the title page or its verso, when the new or revised material comes to less than 20 percent the publisher doesn't even have to call it a revised edition at all.

In the second edition of Caitanya-caritamrta how much of the material has been revised? Less than 1%. Yes, less than one percent.

Of course, even that's enough to make us feel bound to tell the reader what sort of revisions our editors have made, for what purpose, and to how much of the text--and the foreword is a standard place for such explanations to appear.

You write: "What's also disturbing is that it says on the title page 'with the original Bengali text, roman transliteration, English equivalents, translations and elaborate purports.' This is misleading, text has been changed by the editor's admission at the end of the Foreword."

The way we read it, the word "original" here refers to the "Bengali texts." As you know, this wording (identical to that of the first edition) first appeared in Srila Prabhupada's "Srimad-Bhagavatam." The title page of his 1962 Indian edition announced that the book included "Original Sanskrit text, its Roman transliteration, English Synonyms, English Translation and Elaborate Purport." Is it clear to you that what he means to call "original" is the Sanskrit text? It's clear to us.

And similarly with Caitanya-caritamrta.

The second edition still includes the roman transliteration, Srila Prabhupada's English equivalents, and his translations and elaborate purports.

You comment, "Interestingly enough, there is no where that I know of where you can find the changes that were made to the CC like you can with the revised BG."

We suspect that even if we were to announce every revision, down to the smallest spelling correction, some readers would still be dissatisfied.

We hope youíll be happy to know the BBT is documenting everything. We have begun an ambitious project to track the entire publishing history of each of Srila Prabhupada's books--including all the revisions--from the earliest original manuscripts up through all subsequent versions. This digital project will take many years. But it will ensure that future generations will have access not only to Srila Prabhupada's books but to the detailed editorial history of his books--yes, down to the smallest corrections in spelling.

Meanwhile, apart from the editorial note in the second edition of Caitanya-caritamrta itself, you can find some examples of the Caitanya-caritamrta editing at Click Here. Thatís aside from the CC examples given in the BBT's booklet "Responsible Publishing," available online at Click Here.

There you will find this example:

Madhya-lila 13.137, purport

1975 edition:

[nothing there; the existing purport belongs to Text 138]

1996 edition:

"The mind's activities are thinking, feeling and willing, by which the mind accepts materially favorable things and rejects the unfavorable. This is the consciousness of people in general. But when one's mind does not accept and reject but simply becomes fixed on the lotus feet of Krsna, then one's mind becomes as good as Vrndavana. Wherever Krsna is, there also are Srimati Radharani, the gopis, the cowherd boys and all the other inhabitants of Vrndavana. Thus as soon as one fixes Krsna in his mind, his mind becomes identical with Vrndavana. In other words, when one's mind is completely free from all material desires and is engaged only in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then one always lives in Vrndavana, and nowhere else."

We're sorry this purport is available only in the book you have chosen to send back.

Dravida Prabhu writes:

"Who would seriously claim that this jewellike purport should be consigned to oblivion?"

We agree. We feel confident that Srila Prabhupada would be pleased to have his great work published in an edition that more fully and faithfully represents his jewellike words.

Thanks for writing.

Your servants,