Academic Symposium on BBT Editing

$8,380 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 19 people in 14 months

On the Challenges of Posthumous Editing: 
Focus on the Works of A.C. Bhaktivedanta 
Swami Prabhupāda

Graham M. Schweig, PhD
Symposium Organizer

Hosted by 
The Mira & Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies
At the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley

To be held in Spring 2020

This conference will bring together about fifteen scholars to examine how the posthumous editing of leading authors within religious communities has been handled and to look at how it could be or should be handled.

Specifically, the theological, ethical, social dimensions will be addressed, and also the legal and professional aspects of publishing will be considered.

The specific instance of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and the extensive posthumous editing of his work will be the major focus of this conference.

In the Hare Krishna movement, a controversy has been building for at least two decades regarding the editing of Śrila Prabhupada’s books: after Śrila Prabhupada’s departure from this world, the principal editors claim that his works need fairly extensive editing, both for style and philosophical clarity and consistency, while there are other senior disciples who object to anything more than the absolute minimal editing.

Generally speaking, how much or how little editing should any published author expect of his or her works after they have departed this world? In the case of Śrila Prabhupada’s works specifically, what compelling theological and devotional underpinnings are involved with each side of the issue? What were the various general and also personal instructions given by the author to his followers? What were the challenges for the editors who sought to present his works appropriately to the greater readership?

These and other questions will be addressed by those in the field of textual and historical scholarship on the worldwide Krishna movement and on other areas relevant to the conference theme. The presentations offered at this conference will be compiled and reviewed for publication with a fine academic press.

***This conference will be closed to the public and only those invited scholars who participate in the conference will be present.***

$8,000.00     Several Vaishnava scholars research in 
                            preparation for conference
    $400.00     Books, supplies, misc. for research
$8,400.00     Subtotal        
$7,500.00     Airline Travel (estimated)
$1,800.00     Airport-Destination Travel
$9,300.00     Subtotal
$4,500.00     Graduate Theological Union Housing 
$1,800.00     Three Vegetarian Catering Events
$1,000.00     Cost of fundraising

$25,000.00   Total funds required for a successful  
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On the Challenges of Posthumous Editing:
Focus on the Works of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

The academic symposium "On the Challenges of Posthumous Editing" is confirmed for February 2020! We have secured world-class conference facilities at the highly prestigious Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA (GTU), and firm commitments from twelve top scholars in their respective fields (and we could have as many as sixteen attending). In some cases, those attending are recognized as preeminent in their academic specialization!
All are prepared and enthusiastic to attend and participate in this significant gathering, and we can all be assured they will address this issue effectively, thoroughly, and with deep appreciation of Prabhupada's works. In order to ensure a broad scholarly perspective, the conference will include approximately one-half attendees who are initiated ISKCON devotees, and one-half "outside scholars", who are, however, learned in, appreciative of, and sensitive to the Vaishnava tradition.

One year ago I projected a total conference budget of $25k, and that figure has proven accurate. Currently, via the symposium's GoFundMe page, we have raised more than $8000, and my deep gratitude to all who have contributed thus so far. It has made our great progress to date possible. However, we now need twice that amount to meet our remaining expenses for travel, room, board, etc. for all the attending scholars. No one is receiving any payment for their participation; we are only covering the basic costs of attending.

Following the conference, I will put together an edited volume of the best presentations and related material from the symposium, which will be published by a fine academic publisher.

Please contribute generously and/or find others who will. This symposium will be an historical event. Prabhupada always pointed to scholarly recognition of his books to establish their great academic contributions. "Ours is not a sentimental movement," he would say. He prized the scholarly reviews, and greatly appreciated how university libraries were accepting standing orders. Now, for the first time, an entire world-class academic conference is dedicated to the significance of his writings! We must take full advantage of this opportunity.
I cannot predict how the posthumous editing issue will be judged by these independent-minded scholars, but whatever the outcome, I am certain this conference has the blessings of our Gurudeva Srila Prabhupada, and wholeheartedly present all our efforts to his lotus feet.

Graham M. Schweig / Garuda Das, PhD (Harvard)
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Dear Donors and Friends:

I'm pleased to announce that a definite date for the symposium on posthumous editing has been set and accepted by the Graduate Theological Union for late February 2020.

Now I am inviting scholars to the meeting, and so far, the several with whom I've spoken regarding this symposium theme, are very excited to participate and contribute.

In the meantime, I am also going to meet with at least two leading BBT representatives in the next couple of months regarding a review and consideration for raising the standards of BBT editing according to professional standards, devotional standards, and, most importantly, according to Prabhupada's instructions.

So there is much happening, and I will continue to update here. In the meantime, we have more pledges coming in to meet our budget needs for the conference. Please continue to encourage others to donate to this worthy effort.

Again, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all who have contributed and hope that you know that your contributions energize this whole project.

Graham M. Schweig, PhD
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Dear Donors,

I'm writing first, to thank you yet again, for donating to this worthy cause. And I'm also writing to let all of you know that the dollar balance on this GoFundMe page is not accurate: I have received $6,500.00 directly to The Vaishnava Ministry, Inc. that will be transferred here shortly. That brings our total collected donations to $$7,500.00! And given that the symposium is well over a year from now, there will be time to meet our goal.

In the meantime, please do solicit others to contribute to what will prove to be a historical symposium, out of which a book will come with a top academic publisher.

Thank you for all the help, and hope all of you are well and thriving.

Best wishes,
Graham M. Schweig, PhD
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Dear Donors and Prospective Donors:

I'm pleased to inform you that an anonymous donor has pledged $5,000 to this cause, but he is still trying to deal with the complications of transferring funds.

I also want to inform you that the funds reserved for comprehensive research on the conference topic will be our first expense. The areas of research are the following:

1) Comprehensive research on all of Śrila Prabhupada's instructions with regard to editing his work;

2) Comprehensive research and analysis of the editing that has been done by BBT editors;

3) Comprehensive analysis of the relationship between numbers 1 and 2 above in order to provide a conclusive theological, ethical, and literary assessment and evaluation of the posthumous editing that has been done and further, to see what improvements can be made.

I am also pleased to inform you that the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California has approved my proposal to have the symposium held there. Please note that out of all the universities Śrila Prabhupada attended to lecture, GTU was the only place that Śrila Prabhupada said, "We should be here." And while I have recently been put on the faculty as Distinguished Research and Teaching Fellow at GTU's Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies, I consider this conference as another major way to honor Śrila Prabhupada.

In the meantime, we look forward to acquiring the funds necessary for this comprehensive research and then later, the funds necessary to conduct the symposium at the Graduate Theological Union.

Thank you very much again for your generosity, and I will continue to update any progress here regarding the conference and the research leading up to it.

Graham M. Schweig, PhD
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Read a Previous Update

$8,380 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 19 people in 14 months
Funds raised will benefit:
Vaishnava Ministry Inc
Certified Charity
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Newport News, VA
EIN: 541376898
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