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(XVII) BOOK PUBLISHING AND DISTRIBUTION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION & DEITY WORSHIP
Writing, publishing and distributing books is more important than temple construction; compared to playing on great mridanga Cc. Madhya 19.132:
It is certainly not good to write literature for money or reputation, but to write books and publish them for the enlightenment of the general populace is real service to the Lord. That was Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s opinion, and he specifically told his disciples to write books. He actually preferred to publish books rather than establish temples. Temple construction is meant for the general populace and neophyte devotees, but the business of advanced and empowered devotees is to write books, publish them and distribute them widely. According to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, distributing literature is like playing on a great mridanga. Consequently we always request members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to publish as many books as possible and distribute them widely throughout the world. By thus following in the footsteps of Shrila Rupa Gosvami, one can become a rupanuga devotee.
Book publishing and distribution is more important than temple construction:
NOD Ch. 7
… a sannyasi should not be enthusiastic about constructing temples. We can see in the life of various acaryas in the line of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that they are not very enthusiastic about constructing temples. However, if somebody comes forward to offer some service, the same reluctant acaryas will encourage the building of costly temples by such servitors.…
So a bona fide spiritual master should not personally take any responsibility for constructing temples, but if someone has money and wants to spend it in the service of Krishna, an acarya like Rupa Gosvami may utilize the devotee’s money to construct a nice costly temple for the service of the Lord.… a spiritual master needn’t be very enthusiastic for constructing temple buildings simply in the name of so-called spiritual advancement. Rather, his first and foremost activity should be to preach. In this connection, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja recommended that a spiritual master print books. If one has money, instead of constructing costly temples, one should spend his money for the publication of authorized books in different languages for propagating the Krishna consciousness movement.
Book distribution is more important than Deity worship:
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu set a practical example in that He did not establish any temples or Deities, but He profusely introduced the sankirtana movement. Therefore Krishna consciousness preachers should give more stress to the sankirtana movement, especially by distributing transcendental literature more and more. This helps the sankirtana movement. Whenever there is a possibility to worship the Deity, we may establish many centers, but generally we should give more stress to the distribution of transcendental literature, for this will be more effective in converting people to Krishna consciousness.
The Secret of Prabhupada’s Success
Morning Walk, April 2, 1974, Bombay
Prabhupada: Yes. Krishna says, sarva-dharman parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. You’ll take a practical... My Guru Maharaja gave me hint that book publication is more pleasing to me than Matha-mandira. So I took it and I began to publish books and that has come successful. Karyam karma. I took it, “Oh, Guru Maharaja wants that books should be published. So let me concentrate on this instead of...” My creating so many centers, big, big temples, that is not my primary duty. My primary duty is to write books. Therefore I am going on still. These are coming automatically. Maybe this is the secret of my success.
Meeting With Member of Parliament, Mr. Krishna Modi, August 31, 1976, Delhi
Krishna Modi: And what is your program, sir?
Prabhupada: My program is chant Hare Krishna and write books. That’s all.
Cc Adi 7.164 purport:
Now that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has taken up this task of preaching the cult of Lord Chaitanya, its members should not only construct temples in every town and village of the globe but also distribute the books that have already been written and further increase the number of books. Both distribution of books and construction of temples must continue side by side in parallel lines.
Cc 12.8 purport
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wanted to print as many books as possible and distribute them all over the world. We have tried our best in this connection, and we are getting results beyond our expectations.
Cc Concluding Words
He was very fond of seeing many books published to spread the Krishna consciousness movement. Therefore our society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has been formed to execute the order of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His Divine Grace Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
TLC: Lord Chaitanya’s Mission
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed His disciples to write books on the Science of Krishna, a task which those who follow Him have continued to carry out down to the present day.
Press Interview, October 16, 1976, Chandigarh
So we have got at least ten lakhs of rupees expenditure for these temples, and that I am bringing from foreign countries. So if by laboring hard at night in this dictaphone, I write books and I sell them in the foreign countries and I bring the money here for spending in India, do you think it is faulty?
Room Conversation, April 10, 1977, Bombay:
Prabhupada: Yes. I am chanting. If I am not writing I am chanting. Of course, sometimes irregularity. What can be done with this physical impediment? Otherwise, I’ll either chant or read books or write books.
Letter to Upendra, Los Angeles, 6 August, 1970
Now I have set up the Governing Body Commission to handle management, questions of philosophy, and personal problems. These things are too much botheration for me, I simply want time to write books to satisfy my Guru Maharaja.
SB 8.1 summary
I am continuously trying to publish books, as suggested by my spiritual master. […] I am neither a great scholar nor a great devotee; I am simply a humble servant of my spiritual master, and to the best of my ability I am trying to please him by publishing these books, with the cooperation of my disciples in America.
SB 10.2.31 purport:
Thus it is the duty of the acarya to publish books that will help future candidates take up the method of service and become eligible to return home, back to Godhead, by the mercy of the Lord. In our Krishna consciousness movement, this same path is being prescribed and followed.
His Divine Grace Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s Appearance Day, Lecture
Mayapur, February 21, 1976
He continued that “There is no need of establishing many temples. Better we publish some books.” He said like that. He said that “We started our, this Gaudiya Matha in Ultadanga. The rent was very small, and if we could gather 2 to 250 rupees, it was very nice, going on. But since this J.V. Datta(?) has given us this stone, marble stone Thakurabari, our competition between the disciples have increased, so I don’t like anymore. Rather, I would prefer to take out the marble stone and sell it and publish some books.” So I took that point, and he also especially advised me that “If you get money, you try to publish books.” So by his blessing it has become very successful by your cooperation. Now our books are being sold all over the world, and it is very satisfactory sale. So on this particular day of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s advent, try to remember his words, that he wanted that many books should be published about our philosophy and it should be given to the English-knowing public especially, because English language is now world language. We are touring all over the world. So anywhere we speak English, it is understood, except in some places. So on this day, particular on the advent of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, I’d especially request my disciples who are cooperating with me that try to publish books as many as possible and distribute throughout the whole world. That will satisfy Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as well as Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Thank you very much.
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.33, Vrindavana, August 14, 1974
We shall dance for Krishna, we shall eat for Krishna, we shall print books for Krishna, not newspaper. We shall secure money for printing for Krishna." The same thing, the same printing, same working, same dancing, same eating, but for Krishna.
Arrival Address, Los Angeles, June 20, 1975
I have no personal qualification, but I simply tried to satisfy my guru. That’s all. My Guru Maharaja asked me that “If you get some money, you print books.” So there was a private meeting, talking, some of my important Godbrothers also there. It was in Radha-kunda. So Guru Maharaja was speaking to me that “Since we have got this Bagh Bazaar marble temple, there has been so many dissensions, and everyone thinking who will occupy this room or that room, that room. I wish, therefore, to sell this temple and the marble and print some book.” Yes. So I took up this from his mouth, that he is very fond of books. And he told me personally that “If you get some money, print books.” Therefore I am stressing on this point: “Where is book? Where is book? Where is book?” So kindly help me. This is my request. Print as many books in as many languages and distribute throughout the whole world. Then Krishna consciousness movement will automatically increase.
Letter to: Ajita, Bombay, 7 April, 1974
Of course, I cannot read Swedish, but looking through this book has given me unlimited bliss. After all, this is my prime duty, to publish books on Krishna Consciousness. The printing of the book appears excellent, and that you are "profusely distributing" the book all over Sweden is the crowning success of our movement. We will conquer Europe with these books.
Morning Walk, April 24, 1976, Melbourne:
Prabhupada: Yes. Collect and spend. Collect and spend for Krishna, that is nice. I am therefore asking them to print books. I have got so much in the Book Fund. Print books. Let there be books stocked and no money stocked. [break] ...upashamam sakshad bhakti-yogam adhokshaje.
Garden Discussion on Bhagavad-gita Sixteenth Chapter, June 26, 1976, New Vrindaban:
Prabhupada: Our Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the formula is therefore: as soon as you get money, fifty percent spent for printing and fifty percent for temple. This is the basic principle of our Bhaktivedanta (Book Trust)-no saving. As soon as you have got some money, print books, print books. Don’t keep it. If you print books, some day somebody will read. But if we keep money, it creates disturbance. I am therefore always insisting, “Print books, Print books.” Or construct temple, this building, that building. There is no need of keeping money.
Arrival Conversation, August 13, 1976, Bombay:
Prabhupada: Print books many, as good as possible. Let us do our duty.
Room Conversation About Mayapura Construction, August 19, 1976, Hyderabad:
Gargamuni: If we stock money, then there’ll be no preaching. But if we print books, then we have to sell the books. So that is preaching.
Prabhupada: Therefore I am insisting all over, “Print any book.” Never mind either Hindi or English or... Print book and keep it in stock, nicely.
Gargamuni: And gradually we will sell. Then we will preach. Otherwise, if we...
Prabhupada: That is the purpose of my Bhaktivedanta Trust. Fifty percent must be spent for printing and fifty percent for building. That’s all. No money. Don’t keep any account.
Gargamuni: Then the government will never get envious because there’s nothing there.
Prabhupada: Yes. And we haven’t got to keep so many accountant, auditors, and other nonsense, unnecessary things. As soon as there is collection, invest the money in some building or in making some book, book printing. Follow this policy. I am very much eager. I have got money here and there, but I want to spend it in this way. So therefore I am advising take this. We shall invest renovating them and in developing them. Spend money. Don’t keep money.
Gargamuni: If we invest in books... Just like this little pamphlet I printed. It cost me fifty paisa. If we sell it in one month...
Gargamuni: Then we will get fifty paisa profit. We will double our investment.
Prabhupada: That was nicely... That was nicely printed. So in this way invest our books or land. We don’t want to keep cash.
Jayapataka: And if they want to keep branch or not, that is up to them. We can’t give them any money. If they want to keep branch or not, that’s up to them.
Prabhupada: That should be up to them. If they keep branch we can take that. They’ll go on.
Gargamuni: We will tell them frankly that for us to invest in books is more profitable because after one month we get more.
Prabhupada: We cannot keep money and without any... They will give interest. What is that interest? And he said we have printed fifty paisa and selling hundred paisa. So that much interest they cannot give. They’ll give, utmost, ten percent. Ten percent per annum-not even one percent in a month.
Gargamuni: Your books will be our bank.
Prabhupada: Yes. We have got business. Why shall I keep in the bank? This is the policy. If your money is idle, we can spend it in our books, in our purchasing land in temple, constructing temple, developing... So where you got that water? Water’s there? Don’t touch that water.
their money in the bank. The farmers don’t want to do it.
Letter to Russian, January 5, 1977, Bombay:
Prabhupada: So I have told them “Any amount I can invest. You print book and sell.” That is my open secret. Print books, and distribute, and spend half in whichever life you do and half, again print books. That is my ambition (vision?). I want to see our philosophy is widely spread by different literatures. That I want to do.
Room Conversation, January 9, 1977, Bombay:
Prabhupada: Anywhere, this is our main program. Print books as many as possible and distribute. This is our main program. All other programs are secondary. So with this aim in view, work all together. Our Chaitanya-caritamrita is unique literature. For Chaitanya-caritamrita, we are above any acarya. There are four acaryas: Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Vishnu-swami... But our Gaudiya Vaishnava, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s legacy, acarya’s, that is unique. Anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirna kalau. Here the Supreme Personality of Godhead is personally teaching-acarya. Anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirna kalau samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam. The highest topmost bliss, madhurya. These dealings of Radha-Krishna, madhurya-rasa, is the contribution of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. All other acaryas, they could not give up to this. All other acaryas, they contributed up to friendship, no vatsalya, neither madhurya. That is this contribution of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Room Conversations, February 20, 1977, Mayapura:
Prabhupada: Print books, sell, and expand.
Room Conversation, February 27, 1977, Mayapura:
Prabhupada: For printing there should not be any delay for money. Whatever money you require, I shall arrange.
Harikesha: I’m trying to follow your principle of not keeping a bank account by just always printing more books.
Prabhupada: (laughs) Yes, yes. It is very nice. I simply asking them that “Print books. Whatever money I have got in bank, let me spend.” I am asking always. Always. So anyway, money is... Bhagavan is giving. Now I have asked them to invest at least five lakhs of rupees for printing these Hindi and Bengali books.
Harikesha: I just suggested also that Gopala Krishna could...
Prabhupada: Instead of keeping in the bank, keep books stock. It will save. That principles let us follow. Simply keep the book that it may not be spoiled, it may not be stolen. Otherwise it is our..., as good as government currency notes. Take that. As soon as there is money, convert it into books.
Room Conversation, July 19, 1977, Vrindavana:
Prabhupada: This paper is nice.
Yashomatinandana: We will have a few at least a few books ready in a few months.
Prabhupada: No, the manuscript you take. I want to see at least manuscript is not left idle. That is...
Yashomatinandana: Now, with your blessings, we’ll go very fast.
Prabhupada: Now we have got some position, Hindi books.
Gopala Krishna: Gujarati books also should be same standard.
Prabhupada: Yes, same standard. Very nice, Hindi books. All right.
Devotees: Jaya Shrila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: Thank you very much. Be enthusiastic to print books. And these items are very, very nice, greeting.
Gopala Krishna: Greeting cards. This will overtake India, take everyone by storm. Plus, we are coming up with calendars next year.
Prabhupada: Yes, make money and spend it for printing.
Room Conversation, July 19, 1977, Vrindavana:
Gopala Krishna: And the books I don’t want to touch, because it is for the government of India.
Prabhupada: No. That’s nice. We have got so many avenues. So print books as soon as possible. This gives me life.
Room Conversation, October 12, 1977, Vrindavana:
Thank you very much. Print books, and as I have given in my will, half, again print, and half spent for propaganda as you like. In this way go on. Jayapataka, you are doing that?
Tamala Krishna: Jayapataka, are you doing that? Half spending and half for printing?
Jayapataka: In Bengal, because the people are so poor, so there we are giving the book and just taking five or ten percent profit margin...
Prabhupada: No, no.
Jayapataka: ...for the small books, for propaganda purpose, so that we can reach many people.
Prabhupada: Yes. Whatever propaganda require you spend, but print books and distribute. Whatever English book we have got, if we translate into Bengali, we have got enough stock.
Jayapataka: Yes. We have a treasure house.
Prabhupada: In this way, in all languages, distribute. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.
Room Conversation, November 3, 1977, Vrindavana:
Then Prabhupada went on, referring to Harikesha Swami, after he presented six new hardbound German books to His Divine Grace, ‘He is very intelligent boy. My Guru Maharaja is so pleased. He used to say whatever money is there was to be used for printing books. He was so happy to print books. So you do it all very nicely. I printed my books, and now you do it. These are first class and there is no defect. German printing is very favorable. This is all right. Thank you very much.’ It says here, ‘Harikesha Swami told Prabhupada that now he has to become more healthy to finish the Bhagavatam. Prabhupada replied, ‘Healthy? I have nothing to do with this body. I have to do with the spiritual world.’ Bhagavan prabhu mentioned to Prabhupada how many books his zone was distributing. They are trying for twenty thousand big books in one week. Prabhupada was very encouraged and told him, ‘Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati will give them all blessings. He wanted this very much.’ An hour later Hridayananda Maharaja was in the room and told Prabhupada that they had printed 100,000 copies of Krishna book in Portuguese. Prabhupada said, ‘Thank you very much. Printing of books is our life force.’ Prabhupada looked through the books and again he asked, ‘How many published?’ When he heard 100,000, ‘Oh, how they are selling, and what is the price? Very good collection? Print more books. This is life. This material body-only bones. So go on and this is life. We are not concerned with bones and stones. Our concern is the living force. The living force is actually sustaining these bones. Bones are not life. Print books as I have shown the way: half again for printing and half spent for propaganda as you like. In this way go on.’ Then he turned to Jayapataka Maharaja and asked him if he was doing that. He told him, ‘Whatever propaganda is needed, you go out and spend, but print books and distribute.
Letter to: Tamala Krishna, Los Angeles, 1 May, 1970:
So far translating our literatures, if you simply send the matter, our press will immediately give you so many books. You can print books in small sizes and distribute them profusely. Small books like ``Easy Journey to Other Planets'' and ``Isopanisad'' will be very quickly sold more than the larger volumes of TLC and Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
Letter to: Hamsaduta, Nairobi, October, 1971:
There is good demand. So Krishna has solved all your problems. Print books and sell and get rich; that's all. We have got asset, our books, so where is the question of poverty? So don't be disheartened at any circumstance. Depend on Krishna. After all this is the kingdom of maya. She is always peeping to take the opportunity of attacking us, but if we fix up our attention on the Lotus Feet of Krishna, maya cannot even touch us.
So let Mandali Bhadra be seriously engaged in translating work and recruit some German devotees to help him so that we can print all our books in German language and you can develop the Hamburg center very nicely. You know very well that I went to India this time empty handed but we spent there not less than five lakhs Rupees during my 10 month stay and all the money was collected simply on the strength of our books and literatures. So when you have got literature and books, there is no question of poverty in our society. Simply we have to organize things nicely and manage carefully. I hope henceforward you will not feel at all discouraged.
Letter to: Bhagavan, Vrindaban, 5 November, 1972:
Anyway, print books, distribute profusely, and that will be the best preaching work. What will your three minutes' preaching do?--but if they buy one book, it may turn their life. So make this your important task, to print our books in French language and other languages, and distribute widely, and that will please my Guru Maharaja. Never mind it takes little time to make progress, our process is slow but sure, and we are confident that if we continue in this way we shall go one day back to home, back to God head.
Letter to: Karandhara, Bombay, 27 September, 1973:
This engladdens me when I see our literature very widely distributed. This was the subject matter of my Guru Maharaja's satisfaction. He liked to distribute books more than constructing temples. He personally advised me to print books if I have got some money. So by His mercy we are printing books and constructing temples, as well. Although in the beginning we had no such opportunity, but still I brought some books from India, and that was the foundation stone of our Krishna consciousness movement. So I want all our centers should give very much importance in the matter of book distribution. .
Letter to: Rupanuga, Bombay, 13 October, 1973:
Regarding Guyana, if the money is there, so you open an office and print books. That will be all right.
Letter to: Srutadeva, Mayapur, 24 October, 1974:
I think it also gives encouragement to the devotees who distribute the books. Here at Mayapur my guru maharaj was printing one paper. It was selling for only a few paise. Sometimes whenever one brahmacari would go to Navadvipa and sell even a few copies, I would see my guru maharaj become very much pleased. Even if the brahmacari was not a very important member, my guru maharaj would become very, very pleased with him. He personally instructed me that books are more important than big temples. At Radha Kunda he told me that since constructing the big marble temple at Bhag Bazar, there have been so many difficulties. Our men our envious over who will live in which room. I think it would be better to take off all the marbles and sell them and print books. He told me this personally. So I am always emphasizing book distribution. It is the better kirtana. It is better than chanting. Of course chanting should not stop, but book distribution is the best kirtana.
Letter to: Aksayananda, Los Angeles, 26 July, 1975:
Regarding the Madjar center, sending funds for the deity maintenance in Vrndaban, you are already collecting money, so it is not required that Madjar send money to Vrndaban. Rather the money in Madjar should be used for printing. Not that we should use all collected money for maintenance. Better to print books and distribute.
Letter to: Puranjana, Honolulu, 4 May, 1976:
These books are the life of human society. Others may be disturbed, but they cannot disturb this Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Let any man come, but here they cannot touch. We are putting these books for deliberation before the topmost thinkers of human society. Therefore, I have to see that in all languages all of our books are published. If we strain, and if he takes one book home, some day people will come to understand what valuable knowledge they have received. It is transcendental literature. Nobody can challenge it. It is done so nicely, without any spot, the spotless Purana. Please continue like this to print books in all the languages for the benefit of suffering, misdirected humanity.
Letter to: Ramesvara , Radhavallabha, Bombay, 14 August, 1976:
The report of the book printing is both encouraging and surprising. Every time I see this I remember the words of my Guru Maharaja when he told me that wherever there was money it should be used to print books, not that we shall have big big temples and then fight in the court. He asked me to do this and I am trying my little bit, that's all. It is all by his blessings for without his blessings this wonderful thing would not have happened. He said personally to me, ``If I could sell this Gaudiya Matha building, that would have been better.'' He predicted that there would be fire within these walls. So I took it, ``O, His Divine Grace wants some books.'' So I accepted it, ``Yes, I shall do it.'' It is all by his blessings. Mukam karoti vacalam pangum langhayate girim, by his mercy a dumb man can speak and a lame man can cross a mountain.
Letter to: Trivikrama, Vrindaban, 13 November, 1976:
Print books and distribute. For now there is no need of opening temples.
Preaching is more important than Deity Worship :
Deity worship is especially meant for purifying the neophyte devotees. Actually, however, preaching is more important. In Bhagavad-gita (18.69) it is said, na ca tasman manushyeshu kashcin me priya-krittamah: if one wants to be recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he must preach the glories of the Lord. One who worships the Deity must therefore be extremely respectful to preachers; otherwise simply worshiping the Deity will keep one in the lower stage of devotion.
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.9-11,New Vrindaban, June 6, 1969:
So if you want to write books, you write books by glorifying the Lord. Na yad vacash citra-padam harer yashah.
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.22, Vrindavana, August 3, 1974:
Prabhupada: Yes. So everyone can write books. Everyone wants to write books, wants to show some scholarship. Do it. But the conclusion should be that “Here is the original cause.”
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.2, Vrindavana, March 17, 1974:
They were always busy-Krishna-kirtana. Krishna-kirtana means... Just like we perform kirtana with khol, karatala, this is also krishna-kirtana. And to write books, that is also krishna-kirtana. And to read books, that is also krishna-kirtana. Not that simply this kirtana is kirtana. If you write books about Krishna, if you read books about Krishna, if you talk about Krishna, you think of Krishna, you worship Krishna, you cook for Krishna, you eat for Krishna-so that is krishna-kirtana.
Darshana, June 28, 1971, San Francisco,:
First of all prepare yourself to come to the stage of perfect chanting. This is seva. Always be engaged in Krishna's service: how to decorate the temple, how to invite people, giving the feast, write books, distribute books and knowledge. In this way don't sit idly. Always be engaged, always.