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Srila Prabhupada's Books and Purports

(based on a seminar by Ekanath Das, Radhadesh 2000)

The Source Texts
Some Srimad Bhagavatam Commentaries
Lost SB Commentaries
Tika-kara-ganera Tatparya (A hierarchy of Commenting Acaryas)
Earlier Commentaries On Other Books
What went into the books?
How did it get into the books?
How were the books produced?

Books of Srila Prabhupada contain distilled knowledge from commentaries (usually called tikas or bhasyas) of previous Vaisnava acaryas. This makes them unique source of realized knowledge. To know the history and the way how they become manifested means to better understand them. This information is provided for the books with purports: Srimad Bhagavatam (SB), Bhagavad-gita (BG), Sri Isopanisad (ISO), Nectar of Instruction (NOI), Nectar of Devotion (NOD), and Caitanya-caritamrta (CC). Other books are mainly compilations from lectures and conversations.

The Source Texts

SB: Canto 1, Murshidabad Bengali edition
Canto 2, ?
Canto 3, Gita Press edition
Canto 4, Ch. 1-27?
Canto 4, Ch. 28-31 Gaudiya Matha edition
Canto 5-10, Gaudiya Matha edition
BG: Gita Press edition?
ISO: Kanva recension, Upanisad version
NOI: Gaudiya Matha edition
NOD: Gaudiya Matha edition
CC: Gaudiya Matha edition

All verse translations from SB 4.28 to 10.13 follow Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja's Bengali verse translations.

All verse translations from SB 3.15 to 3.31 follow (and in many cases are verbatim) the English verse translations of the Gita Press edition of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. (Srimad-Bhagavata Purana, 2 vols. Ed. and trans. C.L. Goswami and M.A. Sastri. Gorakhpur: Gita Press, 1971). In some cases even materials from the footnotes in this edition have entered into Srila Prabhupada's purports.

All word-by-word sections from SB 4.28 to 10.13 follow Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja's Sanskrit anvaya (natural word order).

All Chapter Summaries in Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavatam (they begin in 5thCanto) are translated from Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja's katha-sara.

Some Srimad Bhagavatam Commentaries

* Sridhara Svami: Bhavartha-dipika 14th cent.
Vamsidhara: Bhavartha-dipika-prakasa 1820-90
Radha-ramana-dasa Gosvami: Dipika-dipani
Ganga-sahaya: Anvitartha-prakasika 1894-97
* Viraraghavacarya: Bhagavata-candrika 14th cent.
* Vijayadhvaja-tirtha: Pada-ratnavali 15th cent.
* Jiva Gosvami: Krama-Sandarbha 16th cent.
Brhad-krama-sandarbha (10th canto)
* Visvanatha Cakravarti: Sarartha-darsini 17th cent.
* Sukadeva: Siddhanta-pradipa
Giridhara-lala: Bala-prabodhini 1850-1900
Bhagavat-prasadacarya: Bhakta-mano-ranjani
* Sanatana Gosvami: Vaisnava-tosani (10th canto) 16th cent. Brhad-vaisnava-tosani (10th canto)
Vallabhacarya: Subodhini 16th cent.
* Madhvacarya: Bhagavata-tatparya-nirnaya 13th cent.
* Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati: Ananta-gopala Tathya 1923-35, Sindhu-vaibhava Vivrti 1923-35

(* explicitly quoted by Srila Prabhupada)

Sridhara Svami - line of Visnu-svami (Rudra-sampradaya)
Viraraghavacarya - line of Ramanujacarya
Sukadeva - line of Nimbarkacarya (Kumara-sampradaya)
Madhvacarya - line of Lord Brahma
Giridhara-lala - line of Vallabhacarya

Lost SB Commentaries

1. Sankaracarya, according to Vijayadhvaja-tirtha, wrote a commentary on the Bhagavatam.

2. Sridhara Svami supposedly stated that his commentary is strictly based on the earlier commentary of Cit-sukhacarya (disciple of Sankara and alleged incarnation of Varuna). According to R.N. Sharma, Citsukha lived in 1220-1284.

Tika-kara-ganera Tatparya (A hierarchy of Commenting Acaryas)

(from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's Vivrti Commentary to SB 2.9.33)

Bhagavatarka-marici-mala (Bhaktivinoda Thakura)
Amrta-pravaha-bhanya (Bhaktivinoda Thakura)
Sri Jiva

Earlier Commentaries On Other Books


1. Ramanujacarya Bhasya (Sanskrit)
2. Sarartha-varsini-tika (Sanskrit)
by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura
3. Gita-bhusana-tika (Sanskrit)
by Baladeva Vidyabhusana
4. Rasika ranjana and Vidvad ranjana (Bengali) by Bhaktivinoda Thakura


1. Madhva-bhasya (Sanskrit)
2. Baladeva-vidyabhusana-bhasya (Sanskrit)
3. Vedartha-didhiti (Sanskrit)
by Bhaktivinoda Thakura
4. Anuvada & Bhavartha (Bengali)
by Bhaktivinoda Thakura

NOI (Upadesamrta by Rupa Gosvami):

1. Upadesa-prakasika tika, (Sanskrit)
by Radha-ramana-dasa Gosvami
2. Sri-upadesamrta-bhasa, (Bengali couplets)
by Bhaktivinoda Thakura
3. Piyusa-varsini-vrtti, (Bengali prose)
by Bhaktivinoda Thakura
4. Sri-upadesamrta-bhasa, (Bengali couplets)
by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
5. Anuvrtti, (Bengali prose)
by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati

NOD (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu by Rupa Gosvami):

1. Durgama-sangamani-tika, (Sanskrit)
by Jiva Gosvami
2. Artha-ratnalpa-dipika, (Sanskrit)
by Mukunda-dasa Gosvami
3. Bhakti-sara-pradarsini-tika, (Sanskrit)
by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura

CC by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami:

1. Amrta-pravaha-bhasya, (Bengali prose)
by Bhaktivinoda Thakura
2. Anubhasya, (Bengali prose)
by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

Srila Prabhupada quotes explicitly commentaries of:

BG: Baladeva Vidyabhusana
Bhaktivinoda Thakura
ISO: -
NOI: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
NOD: Jiva Gosvami
CC: Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati

What went into the books?

1. The source material itself
2. Earlier commentaries
3. Quotes from related sastras
4. The author's own words
5. Other materials

How did it get into the books?

1. copied from the original
2. translated from the original
3. written or dictated by the author
4. quoted from memory by the author
5. inserted by the editors (verses, references etc.)

How were the books produced?

typing: Srila Prabhupada
dictating: Srila Prabhupada to tape
transcribing: various devotees, from tape to paper

editing: various devotees, mainly Hayagriva dasa and Jayadvaita dasa (later Swami)

Post-tirobhava editing of SP's books became an issue. (In case of BGAII the editor byline on the cover or inside facing page isn't mentioned, only inside the book.) Initial response came in the article Responsible Editing (Jayadvaita Svami, Dravida dasa).

My minor observation why is BGAII 1983 closer to SP than 1972: Since Hayagriva dasa was influenced by liberal humanism (to which the current ISKCON also tends), he disliked SP's criticism of the West as demoniac. This is seen from this comparison of both editions, which shows an interesting difference:
demon - 22 occurrences/1983 vs. 17/1972
demons - 47 vs. 41
demoniac - 45 vs. 42

The original manuscripts (in the BBT called OT, original transcripts) and original tapes (most recordings unfortunately did not survive because they were being reused over and over again) are archived by Bhaktivedanta Archives, NC (USA) ( Most of their copies are in care of the North European division of Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (

SP quotes on editing and translating his books

About Srila Prabhupada's Original Books (Bhakti Ananda Goswami)

You can buy the books in your local ISKCON center or order them from Amazon. Please don't buy them elsewhere as per SP's instruction.

Sudama: She wants to know actually that should they just have the chanting without reading your books or without instruction or following the program.
Prabhupada: But that chanting must be pure. Your guru is writing books. If you think, "There is no necessity of reading books," that is guror avajna. Do you means to say I am writing these books whole night for selling and making money? What, do you think like that?
(Bhagavad-gita Lecture 17.1-3 Honolulu, July 4, 1974)

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: Founder-Acharya of the Golden Age
BBT Addresses the use of “Blessed Lord”
Sri Isopanisad (not NECTAR OF INSTRUCTION) in Arabic
Srila Prabhupada Slokas - Tracing the Unknown by Hari Parshad Das
Pre-test of Survey for SB 4.25.41 comprehension
comments on controversial points
Science of Self-Realization in Skoda Kodiaq Indian commercial

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