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Back to the Basics
Sometime in 1975, Shrila Prabhupada was in Bombay, and I was sitting in his room when one GBC man came in and presented Prabhupada with a scheme to distribute all the Chaitanya-caritdmrtas being printed at full speed. He said that since the books had a striking appearance and the contents were highly advanced, the devotees would have problems distributing them; furthermore, the BBT needed the capital to print these books and at the same time donate seventy-five thousand dollars a month to the Bombay construction. His scheme was to give out books without regard for the donation size ano cover mC missing portion Oi trie pnee witn otrici collection methods. I don't think the forceful presentation of this scheme disturbed Prabhupada, but he was not happy 'I'npn he heard that his books would be (,'vpn awav ^or les^ than their value. Prabhupada was adamant that no books should be given away for free. People should pay for them; otherwise they would not respect them. But when the GBC man said, "Well, Prabhupada, if we don't do this, book distribution will decrease by two-thirds," Prabhupada looked down at the floor in what seemed to me to be sad resignation and said, "If it will decrease the distribution, do as you must." In my mind the idea is fixed that Prabhupada felt somewhat threatened. I have kept this to myself throughout the years so as not to make a scene about it, but the image remains burned into my mind, and Prabhupada's desire is clear.
We have to understand the desire of the spiritual master:his desire is to distribute books. If his disciples are too rock-headed to understand the whole principle, then his attitude is, "All right, what can I say? After all, you are doing the service." Since we were sitting right next to Prabhupada at that moment, and since he expressed his desire in many ways,we want to strictly follow Shrila Prabhupada's original ideas without any mental concoction. We are asking you to take up this program because it was Prabhupada's idea, and if you do, everything will be spiritually and economically solid. Shrila Prabhupada saw book distribution as the spiritual and economic basis of this Krsna consciousness movement. Whenever anybody asked him how he supported this big organization, he would say, "We are distributing thrif books a day. In this way we support all our temples." He repeated it thousands of times to any Indian who would ask. Yet nowadays what temple supports itself by books? The spiritual master says that it is done by books, but the disciple does it by paintings, bum¬per stickers, and stamps. So it may be troublesome for you, but we will take the trouble to get back to what Prabhupada wanted. He said, "Just distribute books and everything will come," and it is a fact. From book distribution comes money, preaching opportunities, new devotees. People read the books and become favorable. We cannot understand the depth or reach of reach of these books . there for I insists that books . there fore I insits that book distribution be our main preaching. It was Prabhupada's desire and he told me so. We don't need to hear anything else. We will print, distribute ,;,n^ rrv our best to maintain our temples with Shrila Prabhupada's books.