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The Krsna consciousness movement took birth with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but its rebirth took place when books became an important and powerful means to spread Krsna consciousness to everyone. After Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left this world, Gaudlya Vaisnavism diminished. The Vaisnavas either went back to Godhead or went on different preaching engagements throughout the universe. Only a few were left. The world filled up with dull souls engaging in fruitive activities. Over a century ago, Jagannatha dasa Babajl Maharaja, the leader of the Vaisnavas in Mayapur, declared to Shrila Bhakti-vinoda Thakura that he should spread Krsna consciousness in an organized fashion. On that order, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura personally reconstructed the basis of Gaudlya Vais-navism. He reestablished the places of Shri Chaitanya Maha-prabhu's appearance and pastimes in Mayapur and wrote hundreds of books and articles. But this reconstruction was a hard task, so he begged the Lord to send "a ray of Visnu" to help him. Krsna was merciful and sent an assistant, Shrila Bhakti-siddhanta SarasvatI Prabhupada, whose preaching was so powerful that all over India, Mayavadl philosophy and caste gosvamism were smashed.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta SarasvatI started a society of Vaisnavas known as the Gaudlya Matha. He had thousands of disciples, and some of his representatives went as far as England and Germany. His mission was a great one. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta established the method needed to cut the hard knot of material attachment in the heart, hrdaya-gran-thi. The way to cut this hrdaya-granthi is with grantha—the books of Krsna consciousness, or sdstra. Sdstra means not only "book" but also "weapon." This relationship is significant, because the books are our weapons. Prior to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta's time, books were distributed to scholars, but not in a systematic way to people in general. Lord Chaitanya recommended chanting and prasadam for the masses and philosophy for the scholars. But as Kali-yuga progressed, people became so fallen that they were unable to accept the chanting and prasadam, and they required understanding to go forward.
Therefore Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta put so much emphasis on publishing books. He called book publication the brhad, or big, mrdanga. The little mrdanga may be heard for one block, but the big mrdanga can be heard around the world. In the marble temple Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta had built in Bagh Bazaar, Calcutta, he installed the Deity on one side and the printing press directly opposite, across the courtyard. To him the printing of books was so important that he considered the beat of the press to be klrtana and wanted it to sound in the temple all day. Listening to that klrtana and having darsana of the printing press, the Deities were very happy.