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The crown jewel of success

Govinda Dasi: In 1969, though Srila Prabhupada's manuscript for Bhagavad-gita As It Is had already been completed and had been given his final stamp of approval at that time, and even personally handed over to MacMillan for printing - for financial reasons MacMillan chose to edit it severely, removing hundreds of pages of text.

Since finances were limited, Srila Prabhupada accepted this severely chopped manuscript, saying, "A blind uncle is better than no uncle," a Bengali proverb that means, "something is better than nothing." Srila Prabhupada often quoted this proverb when he accepted something that was less desirable. But Srila Prabhupada was not at all satisfied with this severely edited Bhagavad-gita. He wanted his full manuscript printed.

MacMillan complained of repetition in the text, which meant more cost; Srila Prabhupada's argument was that repetition was necessary for teaching his students, and the world, this philosophy of Krishna consciousness. He was not very happy with their cutting edits, as he had completed his Gita as he wanted it printed in 1969, and did not want it changed. So as soon as he was financially able to do so, he printed his complete and approved edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is in 1972, along with his forward dated May of 1971.

For Srila Prabhupada, this was the crown jewel of success. And this was indeed the beginning of mass book distribution. People were attracted to the mystical message of the Gita, with Srila Prabhupada's colorful painting on the front cover, a painting of Lord Krishna, carrying his mystic conch, Panchajanya, into battle, and driving the chariot of Arjuna. This painting was designed by Srila Prabhupada, and executed by his apprentices, Jadurani and Baradvaj. This new unabridged and completely approved Bhagavad-gita As It Is was a great landmark in his preaching success!

Srila Prabhupada was very happy with it. He proudly showed it to guests whenever he could, and was often seen sitting in his room, reading it. He would comment with amazement, "Krishna has written these books! I have not written. Krishna Himself has dictated!"

Reference: A Transcendental Art - Govinda Dasi