(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 24 January 2013, Radhadesh, Belgium, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.31-36)
I remember that quite some years ago, there was a seminar here which was called, ‘Unzipping Prabhupada’s purports.’ And the idea of that was comparing Prabhupada’s purports to a zip file which actually indicates that Prabhupada’s purports were full of statements of others and that, in a way, they were not Prabhupada’s purports. So the scholarly devotee was questioning, ‘Well, why are we giving so much credit to Prabhupada?’
Of course, that was a little mistake he made. We would say, that is exactly the reasons why we give credit to Prabhupada. Exactly for that reason we give credit to Prabhupada as it shows how faithful he is to the acaryas and that he was not carried away by his own brilliance and that he has some amazing insights. Yes, he has insights and he offers his insights. Certainly, but he also faithfully includes the statements of the acaryas. So that faithfulness is there throughout the Srimad Bhagavatam. Just yesterday I was remembering the statement where Prahupada said, ‘Actually, I haven’t translated the Bhagavatam. Actually, he did it.’ And he pointed at Pradyumna, his Sanskrit editor. ‘They are his translations. He did the translations.’
Because Prabhupada was not so concerned with the translation of the verses. For Prabhupada, the purports were more important than the verses. Tamal Krsna Maharaja also speaks about that and that is interesting because the verse is the original text and the purport is suppose to be the explanation of the text. ‘The purports are more important than the text’, sounds a little bit awkward. But if you think about it, in another way, then it is obvious because if we would not have these purports, we wouldn’t really capture the essence of the text!. We would get maybe 5 – 10% sometimes, if we are lucky, or sometimes nothing at all. If you go to the allegorical pastimes of Purañjana then thanks to the purports we can figure it out! Otherwise it is so symbolic that you just can’t make sense of it. So the purports are indeed more important than the verses!