“These books are the foundation stone of our movement.”
Letter to Hrdayananda—Bombay 31 October, 1974:
Actually these books are the foundation stone of our movement. Whatever we are is resting on these books, so far reading them and distributing them. This should be our only motto.
“books are the basis of our Movement. Without our books, our preaching will have no effect.”
Letter to Mandali Bhadra – Jaipur – 20 January, 1972:
My first concern is that my books shall be published and distributed profusely all over the world. Practically, books are the basis of our Movement. Without our books, our preaching will have no effect.
“If this book distribution is managed properly…the whole world will become Krishna conscious.”
Letter to Satsvarupa—Nellore – 5 January, 1976:
Our first business is this book distribution. There is no need of any other business. If this book distribution is managed properly, pushed on with great enthusiasm and determination and at the same time if our men keep spiritually strong, then the whole world will become Krishna conscious.
“Not ordinary books… Anyone who reads, he is hearing.”
Letter to Rupanuga Das, 19/10/74:
Anyone who reads the books, that is also chanting and hearing. Why distinguish between chanting and book distribution? These books I have recorded and chanted, and they are transcribed. It is spoken kirtana. So book distribution is also chanting. These are not ordinary books. It is recorded chanting. Anyone who reads, he is hearing.
“Yes, if they read. Even if they touch. That is the difference between this book and ordinary book.”
Room Conversation with Mr. & Mrs. Wax, Writer and Editing Manager of Playboy Magazine — July 5, 1975, Chicago:
Devotee (2): We are giving these books to so many common men. Then the books will attract them to perhaps chanting and following the regulative principles.
Prabhupāda: Yes, if they read. Even if they touch. That is the difference between this book and ordinary book. Even they touch and they read one line and says, “Oh, it is very nice,” he makes a step forward. If he simply says this word, “Oh, it is very nice,” that is sufficient to bring him. Therefore I am trying to push. He has paid some money. He will then say, “What these nonsense have written. Let me see.” (laughter) And if he sees and says, “Oh, it is very nice,” then the beginning is immediately. Therefore we are trying to push. At least let him say, “It is very nice.” The Kartikeya’s mother, the practical experience… The Kartikeya, when he used to go to see his mother, the mother was going to dance, ball dance, and she would not speak: “All right, sit down. I am coming.” She used to go out. The same mother gradually, in the association of her son, became Kṛṣṇa conscious. So at the time of death she asked Kartikeya, “Is your Kṛṣṇa here?” and she died immediately. This is the effect. So anta-kāle, she remembered Kṛṣṇa, so her life was successful. She inquired like this, “Is your Kṛṣṇa here?” And immediately died. So she got the benefit of her son’s Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You can ask Kartikeya also. She said that.
“The instruction given in my books is supposed to be personal instruction.”
Letter to Dhrstaketu—Bombay 14 October, 1973:
Regarding your question about instruction, spiritual life is different from material life. The instruction given in my books is supposed to be personal instruction. When we read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, it is understood that we are receiving personal instructions of Krsna. No physical barrier is there in the case of spiritual affairs.
“Hearing must be from sadhu, from devotee, from the lips of the devotee…If you simply read Krishna book or Bhagavad-gita or Teachings of Lord Chaitanya…As long as you are reading, the sun is unable to take your life.”
Lecture, Los Angeles, June 12, 1972:
So hearing is not very difficult job. But you must hear from the realized soul. That is… Satam prasangan mama virya-samvidah. If you hear from a professional man, that will not be effective. Hearing must be from sadhu, from devotee, from the lips of the devotee. Just like Sukadeva Gosvami was speaking to Maharaja Pariksit. So … Or even if you hear yourself, you read books, you will save your life. If you simply read Krishna book or Bhagavad-gita or Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, then you know the… As long as you are reading, the sun is unable to take your life. It is not possible for the sun to take your life. So if you constantly read, then where is the opportunity of sun’s taking your life? That means you are becoming immortal.
“What I talk, I have written in the books…you can associate with me by reading my books.”
Morning Walk: August 7, 1975, Toronto:
Indian Man (2): …like your company very much in Toronto and we feel like talk you so much, but we don’t have so much time to talk with you. You have so much mercy, so we have not… know so much about Kṛṣṇa from you.
Prabhupāda: So in my absence you read the books. What I talk, I have written in the books. That’s all.
Indian Man (2): Personally, we think more greater.
Prabhupāda: That’s all right. But still, you can associate with me by reading my books.
Indian Man (2): I am reading books Prabhupāda. That books are your very, very good and most blessful to us. It is the biggest good will upon whole of universe at present, I think. By that knowledge, from dog to, I have become… I feel like I have something in my property of your books in my home. That’s the only property I feel that I have, this one. I was misled, misguided in this country.
Prabhupāda: Therefore in the beginning of Bhāgavatam it is said, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo atra: [SB 1.1.2] “All cheating type of instruction is kicked out from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Only substance.” Vāstavam-vastu vedyam atra. One who is really anxious to know reality, for them, it is Bhāgavatam. And those who want to be misled, not for them. One who is sincere to get the light, for him Bhāgavata is the only remedy. [break] …the question that “Why Bhāgavata is so important than other books?” The reply is there: mahā-muni kṛte kiṁ va paraiḥ. “What is the use of other books?” It is written by Mahā-muni Vyāsadeva, the Vedānta-ācārya.
A moment’s association with the commentary of a pure devotee
Morning Walk—June 11, 1974, Paris:
Paramahaṁsa: There’s a verse in the Bhāgavatam that says that one moment’s association with a pure devotee is greater than liberation from the material world or than innumerable…
Paramahaṁsa: …years of enjoyment on heavenly planets.
Paramahaṁsa: My question is: A pure devotee, when he comments Bhagavad-gītā, someone who never sees him physically, but he just comes in contact with his commentary, explanation, is this the same thing?
Prabhupāda: Yes. You can associate with Kṛṣṇa by reading Bhagavad-gītā. And these saintly persons, they have given their explanations, comments. So where is the difficulty? Everyone is helping you.
Even a little association with your books has the same effect?
Room Conversation—December 13, 1970, Indore:
Prabhupāda: […] Caitanya Mahāprabhu says,
sādhu saṅga sādhu saṅga sarva śāstra kaya
lava mātra sādhu saṅge sarva siddhi haya
[Cc. Madhya 22.54]
“Even a moment’s association with a pure devotee—all success.” Not necessarily that one has to acquire it previous, no. Generally it is so, but sādhu sanga has got its effect. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, lavamatra sādhu sanga sarva siddhi haya. You have not read in the Sanātana-śikṣā in the Teachings of Lord Caitanya?
Revatīnandana: Does that also apply to reading the words of a pure devotee?
Revatīnandana: Even a little association with your books has the same effect?
Prabhupāda: Effect, of course, it requires both the things. One must be very eager to take it. Just like Mahārāja Parīkṣit heard Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and there are so many others. They are also reading Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So Mahārāja Parīkṣit was very serious. So both things should be serious. Just like the example: the husband and wife must be potent; then there is pregnancy. Otherwise there is no pregnancy. So sewing the seed, the field also must be fertile or receptive, then the seed will fructify. It is reciprocal.
Revatīnandana: If the seed starts to sprout and it lacks sufficient facilities, then it will die completely.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes.
Revatīnandana: But if a spiritual seed sprouts, then whatever sprout is made is never lost. Right?
Prabhupāda: Yes. It is not lost, but it is checked. Sometimes he is checked.
“Not my books, Kṛṣṇa’s books.”
Morning Walk: June 8, 1976, Los Angeles:
Rāmeśvara: The only hope is to read your books, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Not my books, Kṛṣṇa’s books.
“…it is not my writing. It is Kṛṣṇa’s writing.”
Room Conversation — September 4, 1976, Vrndavana:
So description of the sādhu is there. It is very nice. Where they will find this description all over the world? Hm? (referring to SB 3.25.21)
Harikeśa: I think there’s only one person who’s following that description.
Prabhupāda: No, I say about Bhāgavata’s description. How perfect it is in any subject matter. I have tried to explain what is there in the Bhāgavatam, expand it. That is not my explanation, that is Kṛṣṇa’s explanation. I cannot explain now. That moment I could explain. That means Kṛṣṇa’s… I can understand that. That the description is very nicely given. Although it is my writing, but I know it is not my writing. It is Kṛṣṇa’s writing. So we should read Bhāgavatam always. Nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā (SB 1.2.18). We should not waste our time. So we have to check that closet. You can… (break) How they can say there is no God? Then you are only intelligent. All are fools. That means you are fool number one. If you think like that…
“When there is time I go on reading my own books.”
Letter to Hamsaduta — Mayapur 1 October, 1974:
The book sales are very encouraging, increasing, increasing. It is very good news. Thank you, I want this. Record selling is temporary. Even George Harrison’s record sales do not continue for a long time. But, a book sold becomes a permanent matter for enjoyment. We read the scriptures again and again and it is still fresh. When there is time I go on reading my own books.
“taking shelter of these books means taking shelter of Krsna.”
Letter to Bhavananda — Bombay 28 October, 1970:
It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that Maya is very strong, unsurmountable, but one who surrenders to Krsna—Maya does not touch him. So, all our books are as good as Krsna because we deal in the books about Krsna only. Therefore, taking shelter of these books means taking shelter of Krsna—there is no doubt about it and if you stick to this principle there will be no attack from Maya.
“Where is such literature throughout the whole world? It is all Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Every line is perfect.”
Talk About Varnasrama, S.B. 2.1.1-5 — June 28, 1977, Vrndavana:
Sometimes I become surprised how I have written this. Although I am the writer, still sometimes I am surprised how these things have come. Such vivid description. Where is such literature throughout the whole world? It is all Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Every line is perfect.
“these books are the ultimate source of knowledge”
Letter to Devananda dasa, September 1968:
But one thing I may inform you, that the three books which I have already prepared, namely the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, Teachings of Lord Caitanya and Srimad Bhagavatam, all these books are the ultimate source of knowledge. If you simply reproduce what I have tried to explain in those books, surely you will come out victorious, even in the midst of so many mundane scholars. The descriptions given in these books are not mundane speculations, but they are authorized versions of liberated souls, presented by our humble self. So the strength is not in us, but the strength is in the Supreme Lord. And we have simply to present them without any adulteration, in humble service spirit. That is the secret of success.
“this clear understanding of God is not available anywhere else but from our books.”
Letter to Bali-Mardana – Monday, April 3, 1972 Sydney:
There is no other literatures like ours in the world, and this information, “Here is God, just see Him,” this clear understanding of God is not available anywhere else but from our books.
“anyone who reads them is sure to become Krishna Conscious.”
Letter to John Milner—Bombay – 22 April, 1971
These books are so potent that anyone who reads them is sure to become Krishna Conscious. So it is a very valuable service to distribute our books.
“If he reads one śloka, his life will be successful. If he reads one śloka, one word.”
Lecture on SB 1.16.8 — Los Angeles, January 5, 1974:
There is no literature throughout the universe like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. 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 śloka, his life will be successful. If one śloka, one word. This is such nice things. Therefore we are stressing so much, “Please distribute book, distribute book, distribute book.” A greater mṛdaṅga. We are chanting, playing our mṛdaṅga. It is heard within this room or little more. But this mṛdaṅga will go home to home, country to country, community to community, this mṛdaṅga.
“It is just like sugar doll. Anywhere touch—it is sweet.”
Room Conversation with Tripurari — March 2, 1975, Atlanta:
Tripurāri: Sometimes the devotees question, “What is the best book to distribute, Caitanya-caritāmṛta or Bhagavad-gītā?” We’re thinking all of them are absolute. It does not matter.
Prabhupāda: Yes. It is just like sugar doll. Anywhere touch—it is sweet. That’s all. When I read books, I open anywhere. Any book I take, and anywhere I open, and I read.
“each time he gets new enlightenment”
SB 3.25.2 Purport:
Bhagavad-gītā can be read or heard many times, but because it gives great pleasure, the more one reads Bhagavad-gītā the more he gets the appetite to read and understand it, and each time he gets new enlightenment. That is the nature of the transcendental message. Similarly, we find that transcendental happiness in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The more we hear and chant the glories of the Lord, the more we become happy.
“without fail, new aspects of the subject matter will be relished by the devotee”
SB 3.20.6 Purport:
The narrations of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam may be read thousands and thousands of times, and still, without fail, new aspects of the subject matter will be relished by the devotee.
“Kṛṣṇa is giving. I never thought my books will be sold as much. I never… Neither in the history of human society religious books sell six lakhs of rupees daily.”
Evening Darśana—August 14, 1976, Bombay:
Prabhupāda: So there is no scarcity of money. Now our daily collection is six lakhs of rupees throughout the whole world.
Kartikeya Mahadevia: Per day.
Prabhupāda: Per day. So there is no scarcity of money. A business started with forty rupees bringing six lakhs daily, it is not ordinary business.
Kartikeya Mahadevia: No, extraordinary. Most extraordinary. Everybody wondering that only, how it has been done.
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is giving. I never thought my books will be sold as much. I never… Neither in the history of human society religious books sell six lakhs of rupees daily.
Kartikeya Mahadevia: It has never happened.
Prabhupāda: And it is selling where? Where they are not Hindus.
Kartikeya Mahadevia: Yes, all Christian countries, so-called; Westernized countries.
“That gentleman has written, “Swami Bhaktivedanta will be remembered for centuries, making history.””
Evening Darsana — February 15, 1977, Mayapura:
Prabhupāda: They clapped. After hearing me they clapped. They purchased books. Now they are selling books. So I think my books are more important. We shall give more concentration for pushing on and publishing. What do you think?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes. That is our weapons. They are our strength, they are our guidance and they are our ammunition. Everything is based on these books, everything. We are…
Prabhupāda: One Indian, a very learned scholar in Chandigarh, he has given very good certificate. What is that?
Satsvarūpa: He said that “There have been many commentaries on the Bhagavad-gītā including Rāmānuja, Madhva and Śaṅkara, and then,” he said, “Tilak and Gandhi, but of all of them the commentary by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami is the greatest commentary.” Punjab University. Then he said later that “In this suffering mankind, God has sent His Holiness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.”
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He said greater than the other ācāryas.
Satsvarūpa: Yes. Greater than Rāmānuja and Madhva.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: And he’s a big man.
Prabhupāda: He is very big man. Very good scholar also. He goes outside for lecturing.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Practically all the devotees feel your presence through these books.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Their life is sustained with these books, these books and chanting and the Deity worship, sustaining all the devotees in the world and bringing new devotees. Everyone we ask who joins this movement, “Before you joined, did you get a book?” “Yes.” In every case I have seen that the first thing was the book.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Then, after reading, they become convinced and then they joined.
Prabhupāda: So let us do our duty. Our attempt Kṛṣṇa will see. That gentleman has written, “Swami Bhaktivedanta will be remembered for centuries, making history.” Is not that?
Satsvarūpa: “Unsurpassed,” this… Not just remembered, it will be unsurpassed.
“…supposed to be intelligent or scholar and does not read my books, his knowledge has no profit. That’s a fact. Asampūrṇa. He remains still in darkness. That is a fact.”
Letter from Yugoslavia—”Books!”—June 30, 1977, Vṛndāvana:
Prabhupāda: Our books are sold not for philosophical speculation but practical solution of the problems. The philosophical classes are now being closed everywhere.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah, that’s a fact.
Prabhupāda: The professors are starving. No students are interested in philosophy. Rather, they take admission in the technological class.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Or even in meditation in classes. They want some practical realization.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Should I go on reading, Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Prabhupāda: Hm. Hm.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Seeing that the… Lord Caitanya did not let them escape so easily, seeing that the books would be very interesting, he requested both standing orders and several small books. Before leaving the city, I went to two international book shops. One book shop bought several books, and the other shop, an enterprise, wanted to translate two of your books into Yugoslavian language.”
Prabhupāda: Eh? What is that?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “One bookshop bought several books, and the other shop, an enterprise, wanted to translate two of your books into Yugoslavian language.”
Prabhupāda: What is that book?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Gugalana(?), one of the few cities which had a theological seminary, was overpowered…” He doesn’t say which one.
Prabhupāda: So make arrangement immediately. We shall allow them to translate and publish.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He says, “Gugalana, one of the few…” [break]
Prabhupāda: And Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is going, what is called, strong.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Very welcome (indistinct). He says, “The Yugoslavians, more than any other…” [break] “He felt such books should be read by everyone.”
Prabhupāda: All philosophical.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “He gladly bought the Śrīmad…” [break]
Prabhupāda: …supposed to be intelligent or scholar and does not read my books, his knowledge has no profit. That’s a fact. Asampūrṇa. He remains still in darkness. That is a fact.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: His learning is imperfect.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: If such a person doesn’t read your books, his learning is not complete-imperfect. Asampūrṇam?
Prabhupāda: Sampūrṇam is perfect, when he completes reading my books.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Asampūrṇam means incomplete.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “She also,” this person who said that, that all the intellectuals should be familiar with the books, “she also bought the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam standing order and promised to advertise your books among her colleagues.”
Prabhupāda: Just see how Kṛṣṇa…
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Even more pleasing was my conversation with the chairman of the Comparative Literature program. He bought both standing orders for the department library, and he wants to speak with his colleagues, who are interested in India. He feels both or one of them…”
Prabhupāda: This will increase India’s cultural program. And the government is not… You have to show to the government.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “The day ended with a visit to the Philosophy Institute. The professors were in a meeting, and they did not want to speak with me, but finally I rather abruptly started showing them the books anyway.” He burst into their meeting.
Prabhupāda: How much obstacles he had. His feature is not attractive, he speaks another language, and he presents the most tough subject. And still, Bhāgavata is going through. So many hard knocks.
“Yes, that is a fact. That authority I have got.”
Morning Walk—March 1, 1975, Atlanta:
Prabhupāda: I am surprised how I have written so many, what to speak of them? (laughter) It is all Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.
Dhīra-Kṛṣṇa: One professor the other day was trying to convince one of our boys that you were coming in the disciplic succession and were authorized to translate all these books.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is right.
Dhīra-Kṛṣṇa: Because he was dressed and he didn’t know that he was your disciple, so he was saying, “Bhaktivedanta Swami, he is coming in a disciplic line straight from Kṛṣṇa. That’s why he can speak on all these books.”
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is a fact. That authority I have got. That’s a fact. Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau, tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakaśānte [ŚU 6.23]. They become manifest, all the meanings of the Vedic literature. Yasya deve parā bhaktiḥ.
“…it is Krsna’s grace. Otherwise, not possible. Human being, it is not possible.”
Room Conversation, July 26, 1976, London:
Srila Prabhupada: Are you reading sometimes my books? Which one?
George Harrison: Mainly Krsna.
Srila Prabhupada: That is the main book. [laughs]
George Harrison: Mukunda gave me the new books, but there’s so much to read.
Srila Prabhupada: Philosophy.
George Harrison: I don’t know how anybody could have written it, it’s difficult to read all that amount.
Srila Prabhupada: Sometimes they are surprised how one man can write so many books, but it is Krsna’s grace. Otherwise, not possible. Human being, it is not possible.
“Why I get up at night, one o’clock, and do this job? Because I cannot do without it. How one will do it artificially? This is quality. Therefore they like my purports.”
Morning Walk — November 2, 1975, Nairobi:
Aśakti, attachment. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī says that “How shall I chant with one tongue, and how shall I hear, two ears? Had it been millions of tongue and trillions of ear, then I could enjoy it.” This is quality. Quality is not so cheap. Maybe after many births. For the time being you go on following the rules and regulations. It is being done by force. Where is the quality? So you wanted to understand quality. This is the quality. You’ll not be forced, but automatically you’ll desire. That is quality. I am writing books. I am not being forced by anyone. Everyone can do that. Why one does not do it? Why I get up at night, one o’clock, and do this job? Because I cannot do without it. How one will do it artificially? This is quality. Therefore they like my purports.
Conversation — May 28, 1977, Vrndavana – GBC Meets with Srila Prabhupada:
“My purports are liked by people because it is presented as practical experience.”