Why Not Just Print Prabhupada’s Original Books?
Srila Prabhupada said that our purpose was unity, and even though the legal documents seem to create a workable arrangement by which both editions of his books can be made available, the true potency of the Hare Krishna movement will be manifested when the deviation is removed and we are all distributing the same Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the same Krishna Book and the same Teachings of Lord Caitanya, just as
Dear Gupta Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Thank you very much for your letter detailing the conclusions of the Kary v. BBTI case. I very much appreciate all the work that was done by your team to arrange for the re-printing of the original edition of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Of course, had the BBT not decided to whimsically change Srila Prabhupada’s writings, there would have been no reason to form the licensee known as KBI. It appears that the BBT will continue to print the adulterated version of Srila Prabhupada’s books while KBI works to make the original editions available to devotees who see that there is greater potency in distributing the version printed during Srila Prabhupada’s lifetime.
It is true that the BBT is a legal entity separate from Iskcon. Srila Prabhupada’s main reason for setting it up as a trust was that if Iskcon were to go into liquidation, the BBT, as publishers of his books, would not be liable for the debts of the institution. In other words, if the temples closed, the books would remain. However, being a major part of his legacy, the BBT was to remain under the watchful eye of the GBC. The great defect that occurred in Iskcon was due to the GBC not opposing the changing of Srila Prabhupada’s books despite his repeated warnings to not change anything. A similar situation arose with regard to the Back to Godhead magazine which Srila Prabhupada always insisted must be published monthly for mass distribution. It is the duty of the GBC to be vigilant in protecting these aspects of Srila Prabhupada’s legacy by making sure that his instructions are being followed.
However, we have not heard the voice of a single Iskcon leader protesting the changes made to Srila Prabhupada’s books or calling for a monthly Back to Godhead as per Srila Prabhupada’s explicit instructions.
Because the BBT and KBI are separate entities and separately financed, they will ultimately be competing with one another, and that competition will be even more intense should the BBT ever decide to make the original books available. It is inevitable that the BBT will be the loser the more devotees turn to KBI for books.
Therefore, it was Srila Prabhupada’s desire that all publishing rights be vested exclusively in the BBT.
The present situation can be compared to reaching around behind your head to touch your nose. It is an unnatural strain. The current arrangement cannot stand permanently because it is not what Srila Prabhupada had envisioned. It does, however, make the real editions available to devotees who understand the deviation of the BBT trustees and the negligence of the GBC in safeguarding Srila Prabhupada’s legacy. Ultimately, though, for an inundation to take place and for Srila Prabhupada’s teachings to be translated and distributed throughout the world, Iskcon has to be reformed or its leaders and BBT trustees replaced. Srila Prabhupada said that our purpose was unity, and even though the legal documents seem to create a workable arrangement by which both editions of his books can be made available, the true potency of the Hare Krishna movement will be manifested when the deviation is removed and we are all distributing the same Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the same Krishna Book and the same Teachings of Lord Caitanya, just as we all chant the same Mahamantra, offer obeisances to the same spiritual master and worship the same Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In closing, I applaud your effort to make Srila Prabhupada’s original books available to the world. You have exhibited real spiritual leadership. Still, delivering the entire world from the darkness of ignorance will demand the perfect alignment of all devotees in support of the arrangement put in place by Srila Prabhupada. This is the only way to guarantee that his books will be translated and published in the languages of all of the countries of the world and distributed by the millions, by the tens of millions and by the hundreds of millions.
Hoping this finds you in the best of spirits, I remain
Your servant, Locanananda dasa