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The Best Business
Book distribution is the only hope for maintaining our society, because distribution of paraphernalia—paintings, bumper stickers, or whatever people are distributing nowadays — will not give us strength. People will look at this and laugh at us: "Look at these so-called spiritual people. They engage in all sorts of paraphernalia sales just to make money." Also the devotees will develop a fruitive mentality and their spiritual life will diminish, because thev don't have a direct connection to the preaching mission. One may manage to collect a lot of money from paraphernalia sales and start an opulent center. But then one depends on a high level of income to maintain it. And this is difficult because devotees cannot continue to stay out late and associate with karmis in unpleasant circumstances. They gradually give up, and one cannot replace them because such activities do not attract new devotees. Then one takes out loans, thinking that they can be paid back later on, but the center just becomes more and more overextended and soon collapses. We have seen it happen again and again. On the other hand, book distribution strengthens spiritual life. The devotees who go out and sell books become enlivened, ecstatic, and regulated in sleeping and rising. They are able to chant properly and associate with the other devotees. They are not on programs in which they go to bed at midnight or one in the morning and get up at eight or nine o'clock as all the other devotees are walking out the door. All the devotees connected with the book distribution become strong together. And they are interested in reading the books because they are distributing them all the time. Nobody has gotten on the case of any temple for distrib-uting books and the monev from distributing books has never become the target of the tax authorities or government people as long as it has been collected in a fairly decent manner. Straightforward book distribution never disturbed anybody anywhere in the world, because it is understood that we are selling our books as part of our religion. Money made in that way is secure, because it is untouchable and usually tax exempt.
Shrila Prabhupada said that book distribution is the best business. He even said that our householders could maintain themselves by distributing books and could take a commission, fifteen percent or whatever is required to maintain themselves. Of course, that was in Prabhupada's time. Today it is more like fifty percent. In this way they have a personal income and are not dependent on the temple. They give money to the temple, and they support the BBT It is the best occupational duty for every householder in the movement. It is the way that all householders can have their own places, do a lot of preaching, and be very satisfied in Krsna consciousness.