Reflections on “the Transcendental Proofreader”
By Giriraj Swami
One of my main services is to write, and writing involves much editing and proofreading. Through writing I hope to share my knowledge and realization of Srila Prabhupada, my teacher, and of Sri Krishna, my Lord, and please them. One of my main inspirations in this endeavor has been the description of Srila Prabhupada’s teacher, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, as “the transcendental proofreader”:
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati insisted that all published articles be free from spelling mistakes, and would reprimand the disciples responsible if he noticed any. He similarly scrutinized statements and creeds to detect and expose their minutest defects, the basis of each being the same: antagonism toward acceptance of Sri Krsna’s supreme overlordship. He pronounced, ‘I don’t read the book, I read the author. I first check whether the author is authentic. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura trained me in proofreading, so I always look for what is right or wrong. But I am not a proofreader of the press only; I am a proofreader of the world. I proofread men; I proofread religions. I dissect their faults and try to correct them.'” (Bhakti Vikasa Swami, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava, Vol. 1, Chapter 13, pp. 309-311)
In Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.15) Rsabhadeva advises, “If one is serious about going back home, back to Godhead, he must consider the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the summum bonum and chief aim of life. If he is a father instructing his sons, a spiritual master instructing his disciples, or a king instructing his citizens, he must instruct them as I have advised. Without being angry, he should continue giving instructions, even if his disciple, son, or citizen is sometimes unable to follow his order. Ignorant people who engage in pious and impious activities should be engaged in devotional service by all means. They should always avoid fruitive activity. If one puts into the bondage of karmic activity his disciple, son, or citizen who is bereft of transcendental vision, how will one profit? It is like leading a blind man to a dark well and causing him to fall in.”
Srila Prabhupada’s, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s, and all pure devotees’ clear, incisive statements are meant only for our benefit, our eternal happiness in Krsna consciousness.