“Lost Sentence” to be Included in Future Gita Printings
Posted January 11, 2012
As you might recall, some months ago the BBT announced a new discovery: a manuscript page for Bhagavad-gita As It Is, chapter 10, text 36, with a sentence handwritten by Srila Prabhupada but never published, in any edition.
The sentence reads, “The unfortunate commentator, who wants to cheat Krsna and the public by saying that there is something greater than Krsna, is cheated by Krsna and the commentator cannot understand Krsna at any length of time.”
We asked the devotee community for their thoughts: Should we keep the book as is and leave the new discovery aside? Should we lightly edit the newly discovered sentence and include it in future printings? Should we add a footnote? And what reasons might you have for your choice?
After going through the responses, we have decided to include the sentence, without a footnote, in the future printings of the book.
We received about 40 responses, with disciples of Srila Prabhupada, other initiated devotees, and devotees not yet initiated all represented.
Of these, about 31 devotees said, “Just put it in,” whereas about seven preferred a solution involving a footnote. No one (or perhaps there was one person?) said, “Don’t change anything. Just leave it out.” One devotee, bless his heart, wrote, “I trust you to know more than I do and to make the right decision.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, none of the devotees who have campaigned on the internet for “No change!” sent us any response.
From the outset, our plan was to “get the word out there” before making any change and to give devotees an opportunity to share with us any thoughts they might have. Our thanks to all who responded.
Though the devotees we heard from preferred “Just put it in” by a wide majority, for us what was important was to get your thoughts, not to get the numbers. In an informal poll like this, the numbers cannot be relied on:
1. Given that we have thousands of devotees, forty responses (or even two or three times as many) is too small a number for a statistically representative sample.
2. Our cover letter itself, though it tried to be balanced, wasn’t as rigorously neutral as strict statistical protocols should require.
3. We know that different groups of devotees have differing views on editorial matters, and though we tried to get the word out as widely as possible, we took no steps to make sure these groups would be heard from proportionately.
4. We guess that our survey has a “friendly” bias. The devotees most likely to have responded, we suppose, are the ones with the most positive feelings towards the BBT.
So even though “Just put it in” won a wide majority, again it’s not the numbers we were after but your thoughts. And again, to all who responded, our thanks.
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