Published on January 8th, 2024 | by Prahlad-Nrsimha dasa23
Srila Prabhupada on Book Distribution
The following is a selection of quotes from Srila Prabhupada on the importance of distributing his transcendental books. Please take the time to read them all.
Book Distribution is Samadhi:
The book distribution in Los Angeles during the six day period is transcendental samadhi. They are working in trance, not on the material platform. No common man can work so hard, it is not possible. Working without sleep means no death. Sleeping is dead condition. “Jiv jago, jiva jago, gauracanda bole, kota nidra yao maya-pisacira kole.” Your book distribution is really intoxication. (Letter to: Ramesvara — Calcutta 12 January, 1976)
One should engage in practical service to the Lord. In our Krsna consciousness movement, all our activities are concentrated upon distributing Krsna literature. This is very important. One may approach any person and induce him to read Krsna literature so that in the future he also may become a devotee. Such activities are recommended in this verse. Such activities will always remind the devotees of the Lord’s lotus feet. By fully concentrating on distributing books for Krsna, one is fully absorbed in Krsna. This is samadhi. (SB 10.2.37)
Book Distributors are Quickly Recognized by Prabhupada and Krishna:
I read your Sankirtana newsletter with great relish…. The Sankirtana devotees are very very dear to Krishna. Because you are doing the field work of book distribution, Krishna has immediately recognized them as true servants. Just like during war time, a farm boy or ordinary clerk who goes to fight for his country on the front, immediately becomes a national hero for his sincere effort. So Krishna immediately recognizes a preacher of Krishna consciousness who takes all risks to deliver his message. It is called Dhira vrata — determination. These boys and girls are mahatmas, mahatmanas tu mam partha, daivim prakrtim asritah, bhajantyananya manaso, jnatva bhutadim avyayam [Bg. 9.13] “O son of Pritha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.” This verse is applicable here, if these boys were under material nature they would not take so much risk, they are mahatma, they are real mahatma, not that long beard and saffron cloth mahatma. They are unswerving in their determination, dhira vrata. All glories to the American devotees! (Letter to: Uttamasloka — Vrindaban 11 December, 1975)
Prabhupada: You go on with book distribution. They will be benefited, and distributors also will be benefited. Krsna says, ya idam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati [Bg 18.68]. Na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah [Bg. 18.69]. If you want to become quickly recognized by Krsna, then make propaganda, this Krsna consciousness movement. And once recognized by Krsna, then your going back to home, back to Godhead, guaranteed. (Morning Walk — July 5, 1975, Chicago)
Pancadravida: Srila Prabhupada, two boys are here. They are from Caracas. This one boy is Ramanujacarya. He distributed over three thousand Bhagavatams in the month of December. He did over a hundred books every day. (devotees exclaim)
Prabhupada: Wonderful. Thank you very much.
Tamala Krsna: This is him, this boy.
Prabhupada: Oh. Very good. The more you distribute books, the more you are blessed. There is no more or less. Everyone is blessed… (laughter) There is no such discrimination, but still, there is some competition. (laughter) (Evening Darsana — February 25, 1977, Mayapura)
You are distributing this knowledge, so you become immediately recognized, very dear servant, very confidential servant of Krsna. He says personally. [Bg. 18.69]. “Amongst the human beings those who are doing this preaching, nobody is dearer than these persons to Me”
To be quickly recognized by Krsna, this is the short-cut process. He never says those who are sitting in a secluded place meditating or chanting, doing nothing. He never says that “They are My very dear devotees.” But those who are preaching–na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me [Bg. 18.69]. Just like government takes more care for the soldiers, especially when there is fighting. They are giving life for the state. So their comfort–first consideration. In the warfield, enough supplies. Anything the soldiers require. Enough supplies. (Room Conversation – August 22, 1976, Hyderabad)
Book Distribution is More Important than Temples and Deity Worship:
It does not matter even if we have got a temple, but if the preaching work goes on that is a great satisfaction. (To Krsna das, Seattle 21 Oct 1968)
Your Sankirtana Movement is going on even with no house, so there is no cause of lamentation. You must go on with Sankirtana and selling our literature, never mind there is temple or not. (Letter to: Mukunda — New Vrindaban 10 June, 1969)
Actually it is a fact that ultimately everyone should preach and distribute books if they want to please me in the best way. Book distribution must be given stress always. He has spoken the right thing. If you do this sincerely, it is a fact that Krishna will supply everything else required… I blindly follow my guru maharaj. I do not know what is the result. So I am stressing on this point of book distribution. He told me this personally. Book distribution is bhagavata marga and temple worship is pancaratriki viddhi. Both are important for cultivating Vaisnavism but comparatively speaking bhagavata marga is more important than pancaratriki viddhi. As far as possible both should go on in parallel lines but still bhagavata marga is more important than the other.
So you are all intelligent boys, so you should judge the desire of my guru maharaj and help me in that way. (Letter to: Sri Govinda: — Bombay 6 December, 1974)
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu set a practical example in that He did not establish any temples or Deities, but He profusely introduced the sankirtana movement. Therefore Krsna 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 Krsna consciousness. (SB 7.14.39)
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. (SB 7.14.40)
I like very much to receive the report of my book sales. 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 are 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: Srutadeva: — Mayapur 24 October, 1974)
This, our book distribution is the most important task in our society. Therefore I am giving so much stress and I am working so hard on this. Because this is my life and soul according to the order of my Guru Maharaja. And by his grace it is to some extent successful. And I took it seriously. I take it seriously still now. That is my life and soul. I never tried in India to construct big temples or even in your country we didn’t. I never tried. But I was selling personally books. That is the history. Sometimes they are criticizing, “What kind of sannyasi? He is doing book business.” (laughs) (Room Conversation — December 31, 1976, Bombay)
That is nice that you are distributing many books. I do not want money, or buildings or anything else, I simply want to see that my books are being distributed and because you are doing that I am quite happy. (Letter to Prahladananda, 28 August, 1973)
Prabhupada: I am stressing, therefore, book selling.
Tamala Krsna: Hm.
Prabhupada: Not opening temples. (Room Conversation about Grhasthas — July 17, 1977, Vrndavana)
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 manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah: 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. (SB 7.14.40)
My Guru Maharaja gave me hint that book publication is more pleasing to me than Matha-mandira (temples). 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. (Morning Walk — April 2, 1974, Bombay)
Book Distribution is the Greater Kirtan
Without literature, how can we enlighten the people at large? My Guru Maharaja used to say that this press is brhad-mrdanga. Brhat means bigger, at large, bigger mrdanga, bigger. Just like we are playing mrdanga. This mrdanga can be vibrated in the neighboring quarter, but our mrdanga, Back to Godhead, that will go far, far away. So therefore this press was considered by my Guru Maharaja as brhad-mrdanga. He said. You’ll find in the picture: there is this mrdanga and press. He was very much fond of press. In the very beginning of his, this life, he started one press. You’ll find in his life a small press. So this press propaganda, this literary propaganda, is required because it is not sentiment. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.12-13 — New Vrindaban, June 11, 1969)
Book distribution is better than the Street Sankirtana (Letter to: Ramesvara: — Bombay 25 November, 1974)
According to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, distributing literature is like playing on a great mrdanga. 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 Srila Rupa Gosvami, one can become a rupanuga devotee. (Madhya 19.132)
Book Distribution is Most Important and Pleasing to Srila Prabhupada:
Your report of book distribution is very encouraging. Please go on increasing more and more. Yes, you should become the topmost temple for distributing my books. This is a very good proposal. That is the only way to please me. Distribute my books profusely. That is real preaching. (Letter to: Bala Krsna — Vrindaban 23 October, 1976)
This book distribution is the essence of our mission. (Letter to: Rupanuga – Bombay 18 December, 1974)
Go on selling books. That is my desire. (Letter to: Kurusrestha: — Ahmedabad 26 September, 1975)
Your report of the book distribution there is very encouraging. Make program to distribute our books all over the world. Our books are being appreciated by learned circles, so we should take advantage. Whatever progress we have made, it is simply to distributing these books. So go on, and do not divert your mind for a moment from this. I have full confidence in you. (Letter to: Ramesvara: — Mayapur 11 October, 1974)
Whenever there is any publication in any language, it enlivens me 100 times. (Letter to: Hamsaduta: — Mayapur 19 October, 1974)
Prabhupada: You consult among you. So I want to see simply distribution of books in any language. That I want. (Room Conversation — July 27-28, 1977, Vrndavana)
You have said rightly when you write that the devotees are working to please me by distributing my books. My mission on behalf of my guru maharaj and Lord Caitanya, to spread Krsna Consciousness would never have been so successful if it had not been taken up by enthusiastic boys and girls such as in San Francisco, especially through distribution of books. (Letter to: Bhakta dasa — Melbourne 28 June, 1974)
Regarding sales figures, please endeavor in this way. The sales figures — this is the only solace in my life. When I hear that my books are selling so nicely, I become energetic like a young man. (Letter to: Ramesvara: — Vrindaban 13 August, 1974)
I am very pleased to see how nice the book distribution is increasing in Germany. Give those two boys who have done so nicely my thanks. Krishna will bless them: ye yatha mam prapdayante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham [Bg. 4.11]. Krsna becomes more and more pleased by seeing the increment of book distribution. Devotional service is absolute but one who preaches His message becomes very dear to Lord Krsna. (Letter to: Jayatirtha — Vrindavan 27 October, 1976)
This book selling is the real preaching of our cult. Especially when you sell Caitanya Caritamrta and Srimad-Bhagavatam. They will understand what we mean by reading these books.
So you organize freely. You are the incarnation of book distribution. So take the leadership and do the needful. Your bus program is a very nice idea, and I pray that by Krsna’s grace you will have all success. Yes, you are correct that by distributing books, that income will be sufficient for all programs. (Letter to: Tripurari — Bombay 12 November, 1974)
I thank you very much for the good news. The enthusiasm of the devotees is a very good sign. The more they become enthused and anxious to preach the more they become Krishna conscious. Ya idam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati, na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah [Bg 18.68]. One who explains the supreme secret to the devotees is the most dear to Krsna and never will there be one more dear. So always keep them enthused in this book distribution. This pleases me very much. (Letter to: Mahatma Prabhu – Vrindaban 22 September, 1976)
Please offer all the devotees my blessings. Their enthusiasm for distributing my books will please me very much. Not only will I be pleased, but my guru maharaja will also be pleased and they will all be blessed. This is very good news, prithivite ache yato nagaradi grama sarvatra pracara hoibe mora nama, this is the way of preaching, to spread the news of Krsna in every town and village all over the world. Thank you very much. (Letter to: Hrdayananda)
Although I am practically on the path of death, still I cannot forget about my publications. I wish that if I live or die you should take very serious care for my publications. (Letter to: Hayagriva – New York 10 June, 1967)
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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as well as Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Thank you very much. (His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s Appearance Day, Lecture — Mayapur, February 21, 1976)
In New York I understand that they have sold 3,000 copies of BTG in just two weeks, and I understand that in Buffalo you are also selling BTG very nicely. So please continue in this way and your success in life is assured. As Krishna sees that you are working very seriously to bring His other children back to the Spiritual Kingdom, then He will become very pleased and will bestow all blessings upon you. Krishna is never ungrateful for our efforts to serve Him, rest assured. (Letter to: Prahladananda — Los Angeles 29 July, 1969)
Go on spreading the sankirtana movement more and more. I am only one person, but because all of you have kindly cooperated with me, this movement has now become a success all over the world. Be assured that there is no more direct way to preach than to distribute Krsna conscious books. Whoever gets a book is benefitted. If he reads the book he is benefitted still more, or if he gives the book to someone else for reading, both he and the other person is benefitted. Even if one does not read the book but simply holds if and sees it, he is benefitted. If he simply gives small donation towards the work of Krsna consciousness he is benefitted. And anyone who distributes these transcendental literatures, he is also benefitted. (Letter to: German Disciples — Bombay May 6, 1977)
So Krishna has given you the chance to spread Krishna consciousness so long your country lasts. So try to sell a similar quantity of books every day as you are now doing and that will encourage me. And you can offer your heartiest thanks to the justice because he has given us such a great facility. May by the grace of Krishna your country last forever, and may the justice also live a long time and may you go on selling books. That is my desire. (Letter to: Kurusrestha: – Ahmedabad 26 September, 1975)
I especially want that my books and literatures should be distributed profusely, but so far I understand this is not being done very perfectly. So I want that you all my students shall very vigorously try for this book distribution. Do not hesitate to use your American and European brains to increase, that is Krishna’s special gift to you, now use it. Any activity which will please Krishna should be accepted favorably, this is our guiding principle. Now apply it in this way, by doing everything and anything for spreading this Krishna Conscious literature, and this is really pleasing to Krishna, know it for certain. (Letter to Kirtiraja, November 1971 Vrindaban)
I am very pleased to see that you are distributing 40-60 books daily. Please go on doing this; it is very good. Tripurari Maharaja is well advanced in this art and your intelligence combined will produce a good effect. Please stick to this engagement, and in that way you will be successful. (Letter to: Madhavananda – Mayapur 11 February, 1976)
I want that my books and literatures should be very widely distributed, as many as possible. (Letter to: Sri Galim — Delhi 20 November, 1971)
Try to sell as many books as possible at all the schools and colleges. This is scholarly information, flawless science. Kindly assist me in this great work, and know it for certain, that by your sincerely working in this way you shall very soon go back to Home, back to Godhead. (Letter to: Locana — Delhi 24 November, 1971)
I am very much pleased how all you disciples are distributing my books. Just now Karandhara has informed me that he is printing new editions of Krishna Trilogy, Sri Isopanisad, and NOD, all 100,000 copies each, and Krishna hardback sets, 50,000. So I am very much engladdened by this news. My Guru Maharaja used to be very much pleased whenever there was book distribution. So you just continue it solidly, that is my request. (Letter to: Nityananda — Los Angeles 17 April, 1973)
At any rate we do not know how long we shall live. So we have to concentrate on reading, chanting, and distributing books, and in this way try to become Krsna conscious completely before the next death. (Letter to: Mr. Morris Lapidus – Denver 1 July, 1975)
“Great success, book sales for weekend of Dec. 13 thru 15. Tripurari BBT Party 1346 big books, L.A. 1002 big books, N.Y. over 950 big books, Atlanta Airport over 650 big books, in one day. Distribution definitely doubling in USA, Hare Krsna, Ramesvara” This kind of wonderful news is very pleasing to my heart and I thank you all again and again. I think this is the first time in history that ever before so many religious books have sold so popularly. Four thousand books in one day is a very unique figure. Keep distributing as many as possible in huge quantities. This is my pleasure. We must make a large propoganda program for Krsna Consciousness by distributing these books everywhere, all over the world. Just like the communists they are very expert in distributing their literature, their propoganda. At the present moment they are distributing their literature here in India in nine different languages and it is quite effective. Therefore we must print hundreds and thousands of books and distribute them at the same speed and thus we will have a great effect on the mass population of Europe and America. If we can get the masses in the Western countries like Europe and America to become Krsna Conscious, then all the rest of the world will follow. That is a fact. So please, I beg you, continue distributing my books in this way and Krsna will pour His blessings upon you all. Please keep me informed from time to time of the book sales statistics. (Letter to: Ramesvara – Bombay 21 December, 1974)
Please print as many books as possible, this is my real pleasure. By printing these books of our Krsna Conscious philosophy in so many different languages we can actually inject our movement into the masses of persons all over the world, especially there in the western countries and we can literally turn whole nations into Krsna Conscious nations. (Letter to: Hrdayananda – Bombay 21 December, 1974)
Book Distribution is Our Main Business:
Actually producing and distributing books is our most important engagement, all other engagements culminate in this one end — distribution of books. (Letter to: Tamala Krsna — Bhaktivedanta Manor 27 July, 1973)
There is no doubt about it, to distribute books is our most important activity. The temple is a place not for eating and sleeping, but as a base from which we send out our soldiers to fight with maya. Fight with maya means to drop thousand and millions of books into the lap of the conditioned souls. Just like during war time the Bombs are raining from the sky like anything. (Letter to: Ramesvara — Bhaktivedanta Manor 3 August, 1973)
Our main business is to distribute my books and people will come gradually. Everything should be done for that purpose. (Letter to: Ramesvara 7 November, 1976)
This [book distribution] is our most important work. All the leaders should tax their brains for increasing the sales of our books. I have always said that if we simply rely on book distribution all our needs will be met. (Letter to: Rupanuga 11 January, 1976)
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. (Room Conversation — January 9, 1977, Bombay)
Regarding printing our books and literatures, I may inform you in this connection that I saw one bulletin of “Indian Railways” in which it was specifically advised that every railway servant should see to it that the wheels of the carriages or vehicles must be moving always, which means that the railway is going nicely. Similarly all of us should see that our literatures are profusely distributed. That means that our missionary work is going on nicely. Otherwise we are simply sleeping and eating. (Letter to: Karandhara — Nairobi 9 October, 1971)
Ramesvara: Everyone is now wearing these “Double It” buttons. The whole movement is simply thinking of doubling book distribution, doubling it.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is our real mission. Yare dekha tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa. That’s all. (Discussions — June 2, 1977, Vrndavana)
The main thing is to distribute books more and more. That remark by the man in Houston is to your credit, that this movement is becoming an epidemic. Actually, everywhere envious people are against this movement, especially communists, because this movement is a threat to them. The main thing is to distribute books. (Letter to: Balavanta — Vrindaban 4 October, 1976)
I am glad to know that your sales of our literature and books are very good and improving more. It is natural that such distribution of literatures should increase as the people hear more about Krsna Consciousness Movement, so distribution of our books and literatures is our major propaganda program. (Letter to: Ranadhir, 29 June, 1970)
We don’t approve that go in a solitary place and chanting. My Guru maharaja did not approve! This is all nonsense. You cannot chant. Sir you’ll sleep only and think of all nonsense. You must be engaged for preaching work! (Morning walk LA 1973/12/14)
So-called transcendental meditation, go to the Himalaya and go to the forest. We are not interested in all this nonsense. Our only business is to spread Bhagavad-gita As It Is, door to door, town to town, city to city. We are not going to seclusion. Prahlada Maharaja said, “This is professional bluff: ‘I am going to the Himalaya. I am going to the forest.’ ” Prahlada Maharaja condemns that “These are professional bluffs.” Or they may be sincere, but still, they are trying for their own salvation. Prahlada Maharaja said, “I am not interested in that sal… I am interested for everyone’s salvation. Everyone must go back to home, back to…” That is Vaisnava, not that “For my own salvation I go to Himalaya or in the forest and transcendental meditation, nonsense…” We are not interested in those things. (laughs) (Morning Walk – February 3, 1976, Mayapura)
I am so much pleased to hear how you are so enthusiastic for distributing our books and literatures. Krishna will surely bless you. This book distribution program is our real propaganda work and Krishna is giving you intelligence how to do it nicely. Thank you very much. (Letter to: Madhucara — Nairobi 25 September, 1971)
I am very glad to hear how the book distribution is increasing more and more. This is our greatest weapon. The more the books are distributed, the more the ignorance of the Age of Kali will be smashed. The world is feeling the weight of this Hare Krishna Movement, especially in your country. We have to increase this book distribution work more and more to firmly establish this Movement, which is the only hope for the suffering living entities. (Letter to: Balavanta — Vrindaban 23 November, 1976)
Book Distribution Means Success:
If you simply push on our literature, then our movement is going, you must know. It is really going forward. And there will be no scarcity. You’ll get everything. (Morning Walk – January 5, 1974, Los Angeles)
Wherever my books are distributed profusely, our work is successful. (Morning walk in Denver, Colorado, on June 28, 1975.)
Our preaching work will be measured by the quantity of books we distribute so continue ever-increasingly. (Letter to Makhanlal, 11 December 1973)
Book Distribution is the Best Service:
One thing is that they must be fully engaged. Don’t make a hotel for free boarding and lodging. Everyone must be full-time engaged and the best engagement for them is to sell books. That will be very nice. Don’t allow anyone to simply eat and sleep. All should attend classes 2 or 3 times daily, chant 16 rounds, and go out for street sankirtana. Eating should be minimized. Too much eating leads to too much sleeping, and then sex desire. So, management should be done very carefully to see that there is not easy-going, lazy attitude which will only end in fall down. (Letter to: Rupanuga — Bombay 9 January, 1975)
Your report of book distribution is very encouraging. Please go on increasing more and more. Yes, you should become the topmost temple for distributing my books. This is a very good proposal. That [book distribution] is the only way to please me. Distribute my books profusely. That is real preaching. (Letter to: Bala Krsna 23 October, 1976)
So I am so much pleased upon all of the boys and girls in Los Angeles and all over the world who are understanding and appreciating this unique quality of our transcendental literature and voluntarily they are going out to distribute [my books] despite all circumstances of difficulty. By this effort alone they are assured to go back to home, back to Godhead. (Letter to: Ramesvara – India 9 January, 1973)
So far as your engagement is concerned, I am most satisfied to see that my books are being distributed profusely. Please always follow the four regulative principles and chant minimum sixteen rounds per day. Study my books very carefully and prepare yourself fully for going back to home, back to Godhead. (Letter to: Arjuna — Dallas 20 May, 1973)
Your emphasis on book distribution is quite right. I can understand in the northern centers it is very cold now, and yet you report they are still going out for sankirtana party. Please convey that I extend all blessings to those boys and girls who are trying to distribute our books even under difficult conditions. (Letter to: Jagadisa 8 January, 1974)
There is no question of it stopping. Therefore go on with your life time plans making secure in distributing of books. (Letter to: Govinda — Bombay 8 May, 1974)
There is no comparison. There is no literature throughout the universe like Srimad-Bhagavatam. There is no comparison. There is no competition. Every word is for the good of the human society.
Every word, each and every word. Therefore we stress so much in the book distribution. Somehow or other, if the book goes in one hand, he will be benefited. At least he will see, “Oh, they have taken so much price. Let me see what is there.” If he reads one sloka, his life will be successful. If one sloka, one word. This is such nice things. Therefore we are stressing so much, “Please distribute book, distribute book, distribute book.” A greater mrdanga. We are chanting, playing our mrdanga. It is heard within this room or little more. But this mrdanga will go home to home, country to country, community to community, this mrdanga. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.8 — Los Angeles, January 5, 1974)
Great personalities of the material world are very eager to render welfare service to human society, but actually no one can render better service than one who distributes the knowledge of spiritual realization in relation with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (SB 4.22.47)
One Krishna book sold means we go forward one step in our Krishna Consciousness. We should always remember this. (Letter to: Visnujana — Bombay 4 April, 1971)
Regarding your standing in the book distribution as number three in the world, I am very pleased that you have worked so hard to help me in carrying out the order of my Guru Maharaja. Be convinced that you are doing the highest service for your fellow countrymen by distributing books of Krsna Consciousness. Actually in the west there is now no culture, and no brain even for what is the purpose of life. American civilization is finished, except that it can be saved if it takes to Krsna Consciousness. Try to become more convinced of this necessity for Krsna Consciousness and that will enable you to preach even stronger and distribute more books. (Letter to: Caru — Mayapur February 28, 1977)
Book Distribution is the Best Way to Collect Money:
One’s consciousness should be absorbed in Krsna thought. Therefore the spiritual master gives different varieties of engagements to devotees in Krsna consciousness. For example, under the direction of the spiritual master the devotees may sell books in Krsna consciousness. But if the devotees think that the energy invested in selling books should be diverted into selling jewelry, that is not a very good idea. Then they would become nothing more than jewelers. We should be very much careful not to be diverted from Krsna consciousness. Even if there is danger or suffering in Krsna consciousness, we should tolerate it. We should even welcome such danger, and we should pray in appreciation to Krsna. (TQK 8: Let There Be Calamities)
We have already got our book-selling program. It is better not to divert to other lines of business. (Letter to: Karandhara: — Bombay 19 October, 1973)
We can send you unlimited number of books. You simply have to apply your brain how to sell them. Then you will have plenty of money. This my mission you know started when I came alone to your country by selling my books, and still whatever money we are getting it is coming from the book selling. So it is already proven how important the book-selling is. (Letter to: Gopala Krsna: – Los Angeles 21 June, 1975)
If you can arrange for the selling of these books, there will be no scarcity of money either for the father or for the son. (Letter to: Tamala Krsna — Tittenhurst 14 September, 1969)
Preaching Means Book Distribution:
If we introduce these books in all the bookstores, schools, colleges, libraries and everyone’s home our religion will be the only religion in the world very soon. This prediction has been made publicly here in one newspaper, by a Japanese philosopher, that within ten years Krishna Consciousness will be the world religion. If you all keep preaching in such a pure way this will undoubtedly prove true. (Letter to: Krsna Bhamini — Bombay 4 January, 1972)
Anyone reading our Krsna book, Nectar of Devotion, Teachings of Lord Caitanya and Bhagavad-gita will certainly become a Krsna conscious person. Someway or other we have to push these literatures, whether through schools, colleges, libraries, membership or ordinary sales. (Letter to: Karandhara — Bombay 18 March, 1971)
Devotee: Should there be a college preaching program in each temple? Or should everyone just work along with the BBT Library Party? Should there be a college program?
Prabhupada: No, it is useless to talk with them. If you can peacefully sell some books, that’s all. Don’t enter into very long arguments, because they are all rascals. They cannot understand. Better peacefully, as far as possible, sell some books… they are so rascal, they will not understand. So what is the use of talking with them? Simply waste of time. (Morning Walk — May 12, 1976, Honolulu)
So the books are selling and we are expanding. This book distribution is the brihat mrdangam. It is the greater preaching. (Letter to: Sri Govinda: — Bombay 6 December, 1974)
Prabhupada: That’s all. Print book and sell and spend. Follow this policy there and here also, and push these books. That is our main preaching. Somehow or other, it must go, from door to door, hand to hand. Then our preaching is successful. Anyone who will read, he’ll get some benefit. That is sure, because such literatures are not available throughout the whole world. It is a new revolution to the people in general. Am I right or not?
Ramesvara: Definitely. (Arrival of BBT Manager — January 9, 1977, Bombay)
Travelling Sankirtan / Bus Parties:
The travelling SKP and teaching in the schools and colleges which you are organizing is excellent proposal, and I think that this is the best program for pushing on this Lord Caitanya’s Movement: simply travelling and preaching, and infiltrating the schools where young boys and girls are interested to learn something which will satisfy them. In both activities you may distribute many of our literatures, and that will please me very much. (Letter to: Jagadisa — Bombay 5 February, 1972)
Let everyone take these books. If he simply reads one page then he is getting something substantial, a real eternal benefit. Or if he hands it over to his friend and he reads one page the same result is there. So continue these festivals constantly and make them all Krsna Conscious. Overflood the whole country by this preaching work. Let the whole United States become Vaisnavas, then everyone else in the whole world will follow. That is my real ambition. Therefore your program is very glorious. This is really preaching. Your intelligence is being properly utilized. In the beginning you took up the distribution of BTG’s and you sold the most. Now you have taken up this van program and you will also be successful in the same way. This preaching spirit will make you recognized by Krsna. There is so much wonderful potential in USA for this type of program. So organize hundreds of such parties. This is fulfilling the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I am very glad to hear that not only you are maintaining such program but that you want to expand it. Yes, this is our philosophy: anandambuddhi vardhanam. It means to expand or to increase. Therefore I strongly encourage you to double your program by getting three more buses if you can do it. There is no difficulty. BBT will help. I have written Hamsaduta one letter to give you the loan of $30,000. BBT means fifty percent is for printing books and fifty percent for construction of temples. So your buses are all moving temples. Don’t worry. There will be no scarcity of money. Go on with your program and increase and increase more and more. In the end of your letter you mention that people are not very much eager to go to Temples but with your program you are bringing the temples to the people. Yes, this is a very important point. You have picked up this idea very nicely, of bringing the temples to the people. In this way you will give everyone the opportunity to step in the direction of back to Godhead, back to home. So you and Visnujana Maharaja and all of your nice brahmacaris continue strongly with great enthusiasm and determination to spread this Krsna Consciousness movement all over your country and Lord Caitanya will certainly be pleased with you. (Letter to: Tamala Krsna – Bombay 28 December, 1974)
Your book distribution report is very encouraging. If I see our leaders are enthusiastic, that gives me more enthusiasm. Your suggestion to get new buses is good. I always recommended that. I don’t like old vehicles. I think one hundred buses are not sufficient for America. You propose to induce the American people to surrender to Lord Caitanya by expansion of book distribution, that is wanted. When you come to that, that is success. Then you can take charge of the government. And, as soon as in America the Krsna conscious boys are in power the whole world will be changed. The idea is to bring under control all atheist class of men. (Letter to: Tamala Krsna — Bombay 20 December, 1976)
You have done the right thing to concentrate our forces on travelling sankirtana. (Letter to: Dayananda — Los Angeles 20 May, 1972)
Book Distribution Will Save the World:
These books and magazines are our most important propaganda weapons to defeat the ignorance of maya’s army, and the more we produce such literature and sell them profusely all over the world, the more we shall deliver the world from the suicide course. So your work is the most important preaching work, may Krishna bless you more and more. Thank you for helping me in this way. (Letter to: Jayadvaita — Hyderabad 18 November, 1972)
One day they will realize that what valuable books we have left for the study of the whole world. That will come. (Morning Walk — June 28, 1975, Denver)
Book Distribution Methods:
If we simply speak nicely to a person and try sincerely to get him to take the book he’ll take it. Why should we adopt unfair means? We should not do anything which will create a bad impression or make us unpopular. People are after these books, they are hankering for them. We don’t need to take cheating method. I never had to use any cheating method when I first began. I simply presented the real thing. (Letter to: Ramesvara — Bombay 1 January, 1975)
You should be very enthusiastic for distributing our books to schools, colleges, libraries, bookstores, and wherever else you can imagine that they will be well received. These books are so nice that anyone who reads them is sure to become Krishna Conscious. You can show them Krsna books and ask them to read any part and if they like what they have read they should purchase, and if not you will walk away. Who could resist? Krsna book is so nice that everyone will like it, either as a story book or history or philosophy or whatever, they are sure to be attracted. Simply it depends on your presentation. So do it nicely and Krsna will help you.
(Letter to: Sukadeva — Bombay 25 March, 1971)
The householders may sell my books and incense and make some small salary to pay rent, take prasada at the temple, and live very happily. (Letter to: Mangalamaya, Madhupuri 20 February, 1972)
If you can secure funds simply by selling our literature, by prasadam program and by some sewing labor, then it will not be necessary to take karmi jobs outside. So Krishna has given you very good facilities to be engaged and make profit at the same time for the temple so even though you may live poorly, if you can support yourselves simply with these activities it will be very good. (Letter to: Hamsaduta — Los Angeles 12 December, 1968)
Regarding the controversy about book distribution techniques, you are right. Our occupation must be honest. Everyone should adore our members as honest. If we do something which is deteriorating to the popular sentiments of the public in favor of our movement, that is not good. Somehow or other we should not become unpopular in the public eye. These dishonest methods must be stopped. It is hampering our reputation all over the world. Money collected for feeding people in India should be collected under the name ISKCON Food Relief. Not any other name. And every farthing of that money must be sent to India, or better yet, buy food grains there and ship them here and we will distribute. But every farthing collected for that purpose must be used for that purpose. I have already sent one letter to Ramesvara explaining these points. (Letter to: Rupanuga — Bombay 9 January, 1975)
Prabhupada: All Americans should have at least one set of book. That is not very difficult for them, to purchase one set book. But it will be a good asset for them if they keep and see sometimes. Any line he reads, he will get transcendental knowledge….
Devotee: We are becoming happy by distributing your books.
Prabhupada: Thank you. It is Krsna’s book. (Room Conversation with Tripurari — March 2, 1975, Atlanta)
Ramesvara: Our book-selling is going on on the public property, like the airports. But the stores and the shopping centers are privately owned, so it’s illegal. Sometimes our men will do it anyway, take a chance in disguise.
Prabhupada: So they are taking risk for Krsna. That is great service. Krsnarthe ‘khila cestah. That is one of the valuable service — for Krsna’s sake, all kinds of dangerous position. (Room Conversation — January 9, 1977, Bombay)
Actually these college students have all been misguided. Without Krishna Consciousness, all their book learning amounts to zero. Simply if they will add Krishna Consciousness to their curriculum all their endeavors will know perfection. So it is so important that we distribute our books, especially in the schools and colleges, because anyone who reads them is sure to become Krishna Conscious. So make your program in that way and Krishna will surely help you. (Letter to: Vamanadeva — Bombay 25 March, 1971)
Book Distribution is Not For Profit:
We should not forget. We have presented so many formulas. Why? Not the formulas are important, but the formulas will help me to remember Krsna always. Just like you are going to sell our magazines. So this magazine selling or taking some contribution is not our business. Our business is that we are spreading Krsna consciousness, people are hearing something about Krsna. And because we are helping, we are also hearing. We are also benefiting. (Bhagavad-gita 2.1-10 and Talk — Los Angeles, November 25, 1968)
Prabhupada: There is no consideration of big profit. Simply we want big number, distribution. That’s all.
Gopala Krsna: Also this will increase our prestige as a movement.
Prabhupada: Big number, as big as possible. My Guru Maharaja, he had magazines in six languages: English, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, and one Bengali daily. So if our men complained that “Such and such men are not giving their subscription, so, what we can do? Stop the supply?” Oh, he would become very angry. He asked them, “Are you commercial-hired fools? No! Supply free!” He used to say like that. He was asking, “Whether we shall stop supply? The subscription is not coming.” So immediately he became angry: “Are you commercial-hired? If he’s not giving price, supply him free.” That was his policy. So less perfect or…, try to see how many numbers of books. (Room Conversation — January 10, 1977, Bombay)