Many ISKCON members are aware of the formation of the Revisions Review Panel (RRP), but they may not be informed of how it came about and exactly what its task is. This article I hope serves to communicate more of these details.
In February 2019, the BBT/GBC Relations Committee conversed about meeting with the GBC body to discuss Srila Prabhupada’s books edits and to form a group that would review revisions.
At the BBT general meeting in June 2019, the BBT resolved to set up a review group (Revisions Review Panel) with input from the GBC at the proposed meeting mentioned above.
Independently, the SABHA (Spiritual Advisors Bhagavata Assembly) also sent a proposal to the GBC to create such a body.
At this stage, the BBT relayed their earlier resolution to the SABHA.
In September 2019, a moderated representative gathering of devotees in Washington, D.C., endorsed the idea of the BBT meeting with the GBC to form a review board.
The BBT and GBC met at the GBC midterm meeting in Tirupati, India, in October 2019. From a group of 40 prospects suggested by the BBT, GBC, and SABHA, a shortlist of possible RRP members was voted on at that joint meeting. The final resolution creating the RRP, using this shortlist for members, was made by the BBT shortly thereafter.
The aim of the RRP is to examine all proposed and previously accepted text changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books in the English language—a painstaking service being approached by panel members with commitment, time, and critical analysis. However, the emphasis will be on reviewing any posthumous editing or particularly controversial edits.
RRP decisions will be by consensus, based on a Principles and Guidelines document that is presently being prepared by the panel. According to the BBT resolution, if a consensus cannot be reached over a particular proposed change among the RRP members, then the Global BBT Trustees/Directors will be the final arbiters. However, this is now under discussion with the GBC and the BBT, since both bodies agree that the GBC should have some involvement. What shape this participation will take is currently under discussion.
If the RRP decides against a particular revision, that revision will be presented to the BBT Editorial Board for discussion and resolution. The Global BBT Trustees/Directors, as the final decision-makers, will again decide any dispute between the RRP and the BBT Editorial Board, along with input from the GBC.
The panel comprises devotee scholars, including four PhD holders, and experienced editors: Bhakti Vijnana Goswami, Bhanu Swami, Kalachandji dasa, Kesava Bharati Dasa Goswami, Krishna Kshetra Swami, Krishnarupa devi dasi, and Radhika Ramana dasa.
RRP members will serve one-year terms and will be reviewed and recertified annually by BBT Global.
Dravida dasa, an editor of Srila Prabhupada’s books for the past forty years, serves as a consultant in the RRP’s establishment of its Principles and Guidelines. As a member of the BBT Editorial Board, Dravida will interface with the RRP regarding revisions it may want to remove.
RRP panel members are also free to individually confer with other experts, outside of its body.
Pradyumna dasa, Srila Prabhupada’s long-term Sanskrit editor, has agreed to be one of the RRP’s consultants. Initially he was one of the panel members but for personal reasons he declined.
Texts to be considered (in order):
The RRP has already begun its work, following a defined process. It has formed a subcommittee to focus on Research, Principles and Guidelines. These will be ratified by the BBT.
As stated in the BBT resolution, “The Global BBT views the RRP’s service as direct personal service to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, transcendental in nature, and directly guided by Srila Prabhupada. We hope and expect that the RRP members will also take it as such.”
To this end, the panel members request the blessings and prayers of all ISKCON devotees so that they may successfully execute this essential service.
Jun 25, 2022
Radhapriya Chawla, ISKCON Toronto Communications