The Unauthorised Cantos


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 51, Spring 2016

Srila Prabhupada gave the world his translation of, and commentary on, the Srimad-Bhagavatam. However, out of its 12 Cantos, the portion after Chapter 13 of Canto 10 was left uncompleted. Srila Prabhupada had, however, earlier provided us with a full summary of the complete 10th Canto in his book KRSNA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead. After his physical departure in 1977, the GBC decided to continue Srila Prabhupada's Srimad-Bhagavatam by commissioning HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD"). HD was selected as the "Project Director, Translator, Commentator and Editor in Chief", and tasked to translate, and commentate on, the rest of the Bhagavatam after Chapter 13, Canto 10.

Bhagavatam completed in illusion

During the period that HD completed the Bhagavatam, he was also posing as one of the 11 "zonal acaryas" who had declared themselves as successor diksa gurus appointed by Srila Prabhupada, and as pure devotees on a similar level to Srila Prabhupada. Indeed, in the pages of the Bhagavatam that HD completed, HD was not only given the same exalted status of "His Divine Grace" as Srila Prabhupada, but also the additional title of "Acaryadeva". According to Srila Prabhupada, this would place HD on a level equal to his own spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, who is specifically referred to below:

"The Acaryadeva for whom we have assembled tonight to offer our humble homage is not the guru of a sectarian institution or one out of many differing exponents of the truth. On the contrary, he is the Jagad-guru, or the guru of all of us."
(The Science of Self-Realization, Ch. 2)

However, it was later admitted in ISKCON's official magazine, Back To Godhead, that HD and the other 10 "zonal acaryas" were in maya, or illusion, during this period:

"But by the influence of maya, illusion, a different idea soon evolved -- that Srila Prabhupada had appointed eleven "pure devotees" to serve as the only gurus after him. These eleven, the idea went, should each serve as the spiritual master for a specific geographical "zone" of the world. This zonal guru system, as it came to be called, prevailed in ISKCON for about ten years, until its falseness became clear [...] we express our heartfelt apologies for contributing to the hurts and wrongs devotees endured when ISKCON diverged from Srila Prabhupada's instructions."
(HH Jayadvaita Swami, Editor-in-Chief, Back To Godhead, #25-01, 1991)

Evidence of HD's illusion

HD's illusion was so deep that he even went as far as to promote some of these other supposed "pure devotees" in his Bhagavatam "purports". For example:

"we are happily resting in the New Vrindaban community, founded by His Divine Grace Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada [...] Outstanding examples of such endeavors can be presently seen in India at the Mayapur Candrodaya Mandira gardens developed by Srila Bhavananda Goswami Visnupada".
(HD, SB., 11.7.6 and 11.11.41, purports, 1st printing, emphases added)

Claiming that Kirtanananda "founded" New Vrndavana is especially nonsensical, since all ISKCON projects established before 1978 were founded by ISKCON's founder, Srila Prabhupada. Despite HD's promotion of their exalted status, both of these personalities had to leave ISKCON not long after such statements were made. Both were found to have engaged in illicit activity and were later convicted by the ISKCON Child Protection Office for child abuse. Acknowledging HD's illusion in writing such "purports", all such references, along with HD's honorific titles of "His Divine Grace" and "Acaryadeva", were removed in later printings.

Such "purports" merely epitomise the maya that HD's consciousness was in during the whole time he was completing the Bhagavatam. Such illusioned consciousness can be contrasted with the liberated consciousness that gave rise to Srila Prabhupada's error-free, spiritually pure Srimad-Bhagavatam.

The real qualification

The qualification of a person who translates and writes commentary on scriptures such as the Srimad-Bhagavatam is not defined as being ‘influenced by maya, illusion', and having actively participated in the "falseness" of a guru system which "diverged from Srila Prabhupada's instructions". Rather, the real qualification is stated by Srila Prabhupada as follows (all emphases added):

"Transcendental literature that strictly follows the Vedic principles and the conclusion of the Puranas and pancaratrika-vidhi can be written only by a pure devotee."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 8.39)

"Unless one is empowered by the higher authorities, or advanced devotees, one cannot write transcendental literature, for all such literature must be above suspicion, or, in other words, it must have none of the defects of conditioned souls, namely mistakes, illusions, cheating and imperfect sense perceptions."
(Cc., Adi-lila, 8.72)

"Unless one is tattva-darsi, in complete knowledge of the Absolute Truth, one cannot describe the activities of the Personality of Godhead. [...] But we must select only those books written by tattva-darsis (jnaninas tattva-darsinah), not the books of so-called scholars who claim knowledge only on the basis of a doctorate."
(SB., 9.10.3)

"A realized soul, must be. [...] My purports are liked by people because it is presented as practical experience. [...] They are not ordinary... One cannot become unless one is very realized. It is not A-B-C-D translation."
(Srila Prabhupada, Meeting with the GBC, 28/5/77)



This "completion" project was unauthorised as there is no record of Srila Prabhupada authorising either the GBC or HD to undertake it. And this unauthorised activity resulted in output that -- due to HD's illusion while translating and commentating on sacred scripture making him completely disqualified for the task -- was a product of maya. We may note a parallel with the "really large-scale revision" of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is, running into thousands of changes. This was carried out by HH Jayadvaita Swami whilst also in the same illusion of supporting the same erroneous zonal acarya system, as documented in our acclaimed book, The Book Changer.


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