Major Flaws in Bhagavad Gita by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada | ISKCON

Anomalies in Bhagavad Gita by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (ISKCON) 

ISKCON has millions of followers who read Bhagavad Gita by Srila Prabhupada. There are silly mistakes in translation made by Prabhupada which show his utterly poor understanding of the Bhagavad Gita. Srila Prabhupada was oblivious to the fact the Shri Krishna did not even speak Bhagavad Gita. Because Prabhupada considered Shri Krishna as the Supreme God, he has translated the Bhagavad Gita in a way to fit his own understanding which is clearly faulty. He could not comprehend the concept of another God that Shri Krishna has been alluding to in various verses of the Bhagavad Gita. One such verse is 18.62. Prabhupada has translated it correctly but it is doubtful he understood what Shri Krishna wanted to convey through that verse. Linking to 18.62 are verses which follow it up to 18.66 where he has made a blunder.

The biggest flaw in Bhagavad Gita by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is in Chapter 18, Verse 66. It is completely apparent from the individual word translation that the author had an aim to bring the focus on Shri Krishna. Please read the verse below. 

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18, Verse 66

Synonym: sarva-dharman—all varieties of religion; parityajya—abandoning; mam—unto Me; ekam—only; saranam—surrender; vraja—go; aham—I; tvam—you; sarva—all; papebhyah—from sinful reactions; moksayisyami—deliver; ma—not; sucah—worry

Translation: Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.

In synonym meanings the word “Vraja” has been correctly translated as “go“. But in translation, the word has been given the opposite meaning of “unto” or “come“.

This has completely changed the meaning of the whole verse. The correct translation is below.

Correct Translation: Relinquishing all my religious practices in me, you go in the refuge of only that one unique i.e. Complete God. I will release you from all the sins. You do not grieve.

This verse 66 has a direct correlation with verse 62, where again Arjun is being instructed to go in to the refuge of some other Supreme God.


Flaw in translation of Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 17

Avinaashi, tu, tat,viddhi, yen, sarvam, idam,tatam,
Vinaasham, avyyasya, asya, na, kashchit, kartum, arhati ||17||

Translation: In this verse Shri Krishna is saying to Arjun that you should know Him to be immortal from whom this whole visible world has pervaded. No one is capable of destroying this Immortal.

Gist: The verse is singing the praise of Supreme God and addressing Him as immortal whom no one can destroy.

Flaw in Translation by Bhativedanta Swami Prabhupada | ISKCON

Hindi 2:17

अविनाशि – नाशरहित; तु – लेकिन; तत् – उसे; विद्धि – जानो; येन – जिससे; सर्वम् – सम्पूर्ण शरीर; इदम् – यह; ततम् – परिव्याप्त; विनाशम् – नाश; अव्ययस्य – अविनाशी का; अस्य – इस; न कश्र्चित् – कोई भी नहीं; कर्तुम् – करने के लिए; अर्हति – समर्थ है |

भावार्थ: जो सारे शरीर में व्याप्त है उसे ही अविनाशी समझो | उस अव्यय आत्मा को नष्ट करने में कोई भी समर्थ नहीं है | (येन्) जिससे (सर्व इदम् ततम्) यह सम्पूर्ण जगत् यानि दृश्य वर्ग व्याप्त है यानि विद्यमान है।

विशेष विवेचन: एस्कोन वालों ने अनुवाद गलत किया है। शब्दों के अर्थ अनुवाद से पहले लिखे हैं जिनमें ‘‘येन्’’ शब्द का अर्थ तो ठीक किया ‘‘जिससे’’, परंतु अनुवाद में कर दिया ‘‘जो’’। उनके द्वारा किया अनुवाद इस प्रकार है:- जो सारे शरीर में व्याप्त है, उसे ही तुम अविनाशी समझो।

English 2:17

avinasi—imperishable; tu—but; tat—that; viddhi—know it; yena—by whom; sarvam—all of the body; idam—this; tatam—widespread; vinasam—destruction; avyayasya—of the imperishable; asya—of it; na kascit—no one; kartum—to do; arhati—able.

Translation: Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.

Commentary: The word ‘Yena‘ has been initially translated correctly as “by whom” but during the translation of the verse, they have supplanted it with “which“. This has totally corrupted the meaning of the whole verse. The verse in reality is singing the glory of Supreme God whereas due to their incorrect translation they have attributed it to the soul.

Flaw in Translation by Swami Mukundananda

Swami Mukundananda has copied the translation verbatim from ISKCON and therefore committed the same mistake.

Readers can see it here


In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 24 and 25, there is description of God.

Everyone including ISKCON has done the translation incorrectly.

Verse 24

AchchhedhyaH, ayam, adaahyaH, ayam, akledhyaH, ashoshyaH, ev, ch,
NityaH, sarvgatH, sthaanuH, achalH, ayam, sanaatanH ||24||

There is a word ‘sarvgatH‘ whose meaning is ‘all pervading‘ which they have translated correctly. However they have described the soul to be all-pervading. This one silly mistake changes the meaning of the whole verse.

The fact is that Soul is not ‘all pervading’. God is ‘all pervading’.

Incorrect Translation by ISKCON –

This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.

In Purport of Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 24 by ISKCON, to support their incorrect translation, they have written that because “soul is all pervading”, there are living entities residing in the sun with suitable bodies otherwise the word ‘all pervading’ becomes meaningless.

Due to lack of true knowledge (tatvagyan), every translator has committed this mistake and done a wrong translation.

Correct Translation Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 24 – This is indivisible. This God is incombustible, insoluble and undoubtedly can not be dried, and this God is eternal, omnipresent, immovable, permanent and ever-existing.

Because everyone has translated verse 24 wrongly, therefore they have also translated verse 25 wrongly.

Verse 25

AvyaktH, ayam, achintyaH, ayam, avikaaryaH, ayam, uchyate,
Tasmaat, evam, viditva, enam, na, anushochitum, arhasi ||25||

Incorrect Translation by ISKCON –

It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.

Correct Translation – This God lives secretively with this soul. This God is inconceivable and this is said to be flawless. Therefore, Oh Arjun! After knowing this God in such a way, you are not worthy of grieving i.e. it is inappropriate for you to grieve. Meaning is that when God is with the living being then no harm can happen to a living being.

Conclusion

Whosoever has been reading this Gita translation by Srila Prabhupada will never understand the real meaning of Gita and therefore will remain misled. Prabhupada has done a disservice to the devotee society by doing incorrect translation. He was not any different to other translators of Bhagavad Gita who have committed similar mistakes in Gita translation.

Read Bhagavad Gita - Correct Translation

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