This is a very nice article written by Sriman Rupanuga Prabhu, that I found on the Sampradaya Sun this morning. It gives us some more information of the history of the Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1972 Macmillan Edition, and the changes that have transpired since. Very informative!
…That new Gita was to prove big and heavy and only so many could be crammed into a bookbag, but people were to become immediately attracted to the gorgeous, colorful paintings; besides, where could they find such a book with so many color illustrations, and for how much? It was Srila Prabhupada’s transcendent genius to conceive of such a way to reveal to people the deepest philosophy and the highest truths comprehensible to human beings. No other volume of supposed philosophical content could compare to that Gita, decorated as it was with paintings allowing a view of the Spiritual Sky. Along with Prasadam, those paintings were Srila Prabhupada’s secret weapons.
…To reiterate, after examining and rejecting new paintings for the Krsna Book, Srila Prabhupada formulated the following instructions for paintings in his books:
“If a painting is to be replaced it must be the exact same pastime, same scene, but better technically; to take out an approved painting and replace it with a different one was not allowed; and a painting may be added but there is no question of removing anything.”
In other words, Srila Prabhupada was explaining that if he were to replace a painting as they were proposing, it would be only with a better painting technically, with the same scene. But once approved by him, a painting could not be replaced; but more, bona fide paintings could be added. The conclusion is that paintings personally approved by Srila Prabhupada were not to be changed or replaced then, or in the future. It’s noteworthy that he strongly resisted replacing illustrations or paintings he had previously approved, and often took the time to demonstrate how proposed replacement or additions were misconceived.