U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard “Well Aware” Of Book Changes Issue With ISKCON

tulsi and bg as it is

Vidura Mahatma das

6 November, 2015

In a recent and brief exchange with U.S. congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (serving Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district) initiated through her official voting page, the congresswoman told staff from Harekrsna.org that she was “well aware” of the book change issue:

“I am well aware of the issue you are raising with regard to the pre-1978 version of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is…” (Electronic mail – November, 2015)

The issue of whether the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s books can be changed or edited after his disappearance from our vision is perhaps one of the most debated issues within the Hare Krishna movement. Today, changes continue to be made to his books although many devotees opt for the original, unchanged versions (pre-1978), which are also available.

We reached out to the congresswoman of Hawaii as a follow-up to a video she released wherein she eloquently and accurately presented the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, quoting Lord Krishna’s words to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita exclusively from Srila Prabhupada’s original, unedited pre-1978 version of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

tulsi gabbard folded hands

Tulsi Gabbard greets viewers on Janmashtami day, Lord Krishnas birthday.


In her video, Tulsi Gabbard took preference to the original translation of the Bg 4.35 verse over the revised and edited version:

tulsi gabbard bg 4.35 verse

The verse in Tulsi Gabbard’s Janmashtami video presentation


The revised and edited (changed) version reads:

“Having obtained real knowledge from a self-realized soul, you will never fall again into such illusion, for by this knowledge you will see that all living beings are but part of the Supreme, or, in other words, that they are Mine.”

When asked about her use of the original version of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the congresswoman put it simply:

“…my choice of quotes has been a conscious decision.” (Electronic mail – November, 2015)


In concluding her Janmashtami video presentation Tulsi Gabbard dedicated a sincere moment to thank His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder and acharya of the Krishna consciousness movement:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my deepest respects and gratitude to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who, 50 years ago, made the arduous journey from India to United States to share Krishna with the western world. Without him, I and millions of others would never have known about the all-attractive supremely lovable Lord Krishna. Jai Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada! Jai Sri Krishna!”

Watch the full video here.

Tulsi Gabbards chosen photo of Srila Prabhupada

Tulsi Gabbard’s chosen photo of Srila Prabhupada used in her video


Tulsi Gabbards chosen painting of Lord Krishna

Tulsi Gabbard’s chosen painting of Lord Krishna used in her video




  • So now Tulsi Gabbard is a specialist and authority on Vedic literature. You guys do grasp at straws.

    • Krsna Murari das

      I’d say she’s more of a specialist and authority on Vedic literature than most if not all GBC leaders presently running ISKCON. To simply understand that the books should not be changed holds her in sharp contrast with the level of insight of ISKCON’s “leader’s”. I think the article does a nice job presenting this point without even needing to get into full detail and philosophy.

    • Anonymous

      At least she respects our gurus words and translation without wanting to change them. Are you better then the spiritual master to authorize changing his books. ….

    • Jack Skjolde

      ??? She only holds on to the originals translations from the bona fide guru, it’s something wrong here??

  • Leon

    The changed verse lends itself more towards the impersonal viewpoint. Krsna is always personal.

  • Anonymous


  • I was born and raised in the same group as Tulsi. We were all kids of followers of Chris Butler Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa. Or Siddhaswarupa Ananda as ACB initiated him.

    The fact is Tulsi is Siddha’s project. Every staff member and all her family and husband are loyal disciples of Siddha.

    YouTube “Tulsi Gabbard Yaladuta Yatra” and at about 3:30 – 3:45 she says “my Gurudeva Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa”. This was only meant to air on India television.

    My question to Hare Krishnas is why do you take no issue with her group and her guru?

    You may not believe it but we were taught by Siddha to have nothing to do with any ISKCON devotees. Not to even listen to chanting not by him from other devotees outside our group.

    Siddha tells us not to go to India and Siddha orders excommunication of anyone who leaves his group to chant with a less insane group!

    He told my buddies mom that he was going to the hellish planets for becoming a Naraya Maharaja devotee.

    He told my family to excommunicate me for speaking out against them and they stood by for 10 years now.

    Siddhaswarupananda has zero accountability, zero oversight and has total control of Tulsi.

    Wether or not you believe me on the details just curious what all you Tulsi fans think about Siddhaswarupananda and his “Science Of Identity Foundation”

    • Very interesting, Rama Ranson Prabhu. Just curious, is Radha Mitchell also one of “Siddha’s projects?”

    • Jack Eskildsen

      I like Tulsi Gabbard, she is great. I have had Narayana Maharaja people telling me I can’t understand Prabhupada’s books without being a Narayana Maharaja devotee for years and years on internet message boards. I don’t know anything about Tulsi Gabbard’s guru but I would much rather go by Prabhupada’s books then what Narayana Maharaja’s people have to say and it is good to see Tulsi Gabbard is on the side of defending Prabhupada’s books.

      • Jack I know very little about Naraya’s group, but I would think you’d have to follow Naraya for years just to understand what he’s saying, let alone anything else!

        I just mentioned that Siddha cuts kids off born and raised in his group for following any other Guru, Naraya, ISKCON or otherwise.

        Siddha had this guy’s parents cutting him off, proving their loyalty to him over their own son.
        My buddies mom understood that he still loves to chant and serve Krishna and she felt happy for him.
        Then in true Scientology fashion my friend’s father reported his mother’s acceptance of her son to Siddha.
        They brought her in and Siddha convinced her that her son was dooming himself to hellish planets for the crime of chanting with the other group.

        I understand Tulsi is an awesome girl, very tough to see any fault in her. I just wanted to raise the point of the guru Chris Butler Siddhaswarupa Paramahamsa and his Science Of Identity Foundation.

        Do note that Tulsi only honoring the pre 1978 Gita version is a bit of a diss to ISKCON and is in line with her Guru’s teaching that ISKCON is not to be associated with or indulged in.

        We were all raised rabidly anti ISKCON by Butler, and Tulsi’s recent romance with ISKCON is surely the most recent directive of her guru using ISKCON for his own advantage and massive political gain for Tulsi.

        It’s all politics and as fake as the rest of them. Do anything, say anything to present the best facade.

        Again I’m not really trying to make Tulsi look bad, just raise this issue that is usually obscured.
        I think Tulsi should address these issues or best of all actually disavow Siddhaswarupananda and become her own person.

        I’d support the hell out of her at that point.

        • Thanks for the information. That is interesting. Anything surrounding Iskcon seems to have never ending controversies. 🙂

        • Rama Ranson Prabhu, Mother Tulsi Gabbard Prabhu recently said on a video that she is a disciple of “Srila Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa,” so I don’t think that she is going to leave his sphere of influence any time soon. BTW, what is Siddhaswarupananda’s view on the huge ritvik issue within ISKCON? (Please check out the link below, which is about Mother Tulsi Gabbard’s meeting in India with Madhu Pandit Prabhu, a ritvik.)


          • Hey Pratyatosa Dasa,
            Sorry not too sure specifically about ritviks, but from my time in the Siddha group, there was zero association with anyone outside the group.
            ISKCON was most directly forbidden, and Hinduism was not a term we ever put on ourselves, we viewed other parts of Hinduism the same as any other religion, not the true path to God or perhaps only a partial path to God.

            So to me all of Tulsi’s networking with ISKCON and Indian/Hindu culture at large is purely politics, a numbers game, she wants to appeal to as many people as possible and is generating a pretty large following amongst general Hindus.

            Tulsi at this point has a pass to politically take stances and associations otherwise not condoned by her Guru’s teachings.

            The most obvious is the rabid homophobia we were all raised under from his lectures. Tulsi’s Father was an anti gay crusader who abolished the short lived gay marriage in Hawaii in the 90’s. Tulsi herself was quoted saying homophobic quotes in her early years but to do this now, at least to Tulsi’s demographic would be political suicide.

            So Tulsi will do anything and everything to generate more followers and publicity and will not be taking any stands against anyone or anything that is not designed to be her most popular move. Tulsi is Siddha’s third or fourth political puppet from Hawaii. Rick Reed, Kathy Hoshijo, Wayne Nishiki, Mike Gabbard and now Tulsi Gabbard. He wants to make this one count.

            Also it seems a bit weird for a Hawaii Congresswoman to be taking trips to India like she is a head of state herself, shouldn’t she be focusing on her district in Hawaii?

          • Not so weird, Rama Ranson Prabhu, when you consider that she’s on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

            Thanks for your valuable insider information. You confirmed what I said on Facebook: “A true politician will say whatever it takes to get elected.”

    • Dattatreya

      Notwithstanding that this “Srila Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa,” fellow is distributing his toe nails as maha prasad , and as such , expects his followers to luvingly nibble on them …

      A rather bizarre practice … to say the least !!!

  • Why must it be that, with all the atheistic, demonic influences in this modern world civilization, devotees of one stripe or another feel compelled to attack or otherwise attempt to besmirch those devotees who have a somewhat different view and/or slightly different approaches to the Lord’s service? Yes, historically this is the same trap that most religious traditions have fallen into throughout Kali-yuga history; Buddhism has the Hinayana vs. Mahayana schools, Judaism has Reform vs. Orthodox, Christianity has Roman vs. Eastern vs. Coptic vs. Protestant (and so on ad infinitum) and Islam has the brutal Sunni vs. Shia situation. Likewise Vaisnavism has several sampradayas, although they tend not to go after each others’ throats… that’s left to the hereditary Hindus who are neither Vaishnavas nor Vedantists. Let’s just keep trying to advance in the Lord’s service by following Srila Prabhupada’s example. The caravan must continue moving past the village despite all the barking dogs.

    • It seems that the drama never ends on this planet. I am too much of a neophyte to be able to discern who is right and who is wrong with any certainty but Prabhupada’s books are great to read and I get some of the most mind blowing information about the history of the world from Prabhupada’s books.

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