A Note About the Second Edition
For the benefit of readers who have become familiar with the first edition of the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, a few words about this second edition seem in order.
Although in most respects the two editions are the same, the editors of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust have gone back to the oldest manuscripts in their archives to make this second edition even more faithful to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s original work.
Śrīla Prabhupāda finished Bhagavad-gītā As It Is in 1967, two years after he came from India to America. The Macmillan Company published an abridged edition in 1968 and the first unabridged edition in 1972.
The new American disciples who helped Śrīla Prabhupāda ready the manuscript for publication struggled with several difficulties. Those who transcribed his taped dictation sometimes found his heavily accented English hard to follow and his Sanskrit quotations strange to their ears. The Sanskrit editors had to do their best with a manuscript spotted with gaps and phonetic approximations. Yet their effort to publish Śrīla Prabhupāda’s work was a success, and Bhagavad-gītā As It Is has become the standard edition for scholars and devotees around the world.
For this second edition, however, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples had the benefit of having worked with his books for fifteen years. The English editors were familiar with his philosophy and language, and the Sanskrit editors were by now accomplished scholars. And now they were able to see their way through perplexities in the manuscript by consulting the same Sanskrit commentaries Śrīla Prabhupāda consulted when writing Bhagavad-gītā As It Is.
The result is a work of even greater richness and authenticity. The word-for-word Sanskrit-English equivalents now follow more closely the standard of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s other books and are therefore more clear and precise. In places the translations, though already correct, have been revised to come closer to the original Sanskrit and to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s original dictation. In the Bhaktivedanta purports, many passages lost to the original edition have been restored to their places. And Sanskrit quotations whose sources were unnamed in the first edition now appear with full references to chapter and verse.