SP explains how book distribution techniques are transcendental

April 1, 2021 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

July 20 1975 SanFrancisco
SP discusses book distribution techniques- and how it is the highest morality

Prabhupāda: Humble, but if you do not follow your spiritual master’s instruction, you follow others, then where is the humbleness? You say that… Your wife says that what Siddha-svarūpa says it is very clear and and others are not so clear. Is it not? What is that clear what is not clear?
Bhūrijana: He says chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: So who says that you don’t chant?
Bhūrijana: Maybe the emphasis wasn’t so much on the chanting even though everyone says harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam [Cc. Ādi 17.21], everyone just chants their sixteen rounds a day, chants a half hour ārati in the evening and half hour ārati in the morning.
Prabhupāda: So what do you want more? What is your program? 24 hours?
Bhūrijana: I like more kīrtana than that.
Prabhupāda: So you don’t like to sell books.
Bhūrijana: No, I think I like very much. I mean I think I would like to.
Prabhupāda: So what is difference?
Bhūrijana: Between selling books and kīrtana?
Prabhupāda: No no. Between others and you. Where is the difference? When you point out that this is the point, we differ. What is that point?
Bhūrijana: Well maybe the point about more kīrtana or less kīrtana.
Prabhupāda: So if you chant more, they’re objecting?
Bhūrijana: No.
Prabhupāda: Then where is the difference? Has anyone objected (if you) chant more?
Bhūrijana: No.
Prabhupāda: Then where is the objection? What is the point of difference?
Bhūrijana: I think there’s no point of difference.
Prabhupāda: Then why do you say we find these instructions more clear?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: You say that there’s no point of difference, but then you say that his instruction is more clear. There’s some contradiction.
Bhūrijana: It’s just the emphasis that was given to hari… to chanting. For myself, I know I was off track and I know that in my heart I built up an enmity toward your disciples and thinking that they…, that by their distributing books they were making people angry at Kṛṣṇa and
Prabhupāda: That is real point. That is real point.
Bhūrijana: That’s what I felt. See, when I was in Hong Kong, people I would meet, they used to yell… They’d yell at me, “What have you done to Kṛṣṇa?” Some Indians used to say that. People we’d meet, they’d tell us they see the Hare Kṛṣṇa devotees and they hate Kṛṣṇa. I remember one specific time when I was speaking to one businessman who was helping us and…
Prabhupāda: He said that “We hate Kṛṣṇa”?

Bhūrijana: No no. He said that, “Your members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa, they’re making people in Australia hate Kṛṣṇa. They make people inimical.” Making people inimical to Kṛṣṇa.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: They feel threatened simply that we’re preaching something that will discourage their sinful way of life. Simply they feel threatened. Not they’re hating. Their argument is that because of our strong emphasis on preaching and book distribution, they say therefore that the mass of people they have a bad impression of Kṛṣṇa.
Bhūrijana: And also because…
Prabhupāda: Because we are selling books.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Because we’re selling books.
Bhūrijana: Not so much the selling books. Maybe because of the emphasis on taking…, how much money can be taken. Like if someone says on the street, “Please give me a donation.” So they give him a donation. “No, you must give more,” and more and more. So the people think that the devotees are only interested in getting money and they get a bad impression that ISKCON is a money making movement.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: We’re selling one half a million large size books each year.
Harisauri: The thing is that the materialists will always find that. They see the devotees and we say that we renounce everything, but they don’t understand that renunciation means to take everything and give it to Kṛṣṇa. So when… Just like that time there was such a great commotion when we hired that Rolls Royce to take Your Divine Grace from the airport to the temple. So in the papers they didn’t put anything that you said. They simply put “His Divine Grace is arriving in a Rolls Royce.” So this is the general attitude of the common mass of people.
Prabhupāda: That is envious. So if they sell books, so that is making Kṛṣṇa unpopular?
Bhūrijana: But one must learn to be a good book salesman I think.
Prabhupāda: But selling book, Kṛṣṇa, does it mean that the booksellers are creating unpopular opinion? Does it mean?
Bhūrijana: Automatically, no.
Prabhupāda: When you say that they’re making enemies because they’re pushing this, what is wrong there? Actually, I can so far understand that you do not like to sell books, or you cannot sell books.
Bhūrijana: Actually I’ve never really tried.
Prabhupāda: Eh?
Bhūrijana: I’ve never really attempted very much.
Prabhupāda: Those who are selling books you think of them they’re not very advanced.
Bhūrijana: I don’t think they can do it for very long.
Prabhupāda: Eh?
Bhūrijana: I don’t think that they can continue for a very long time if they are not advanced.
Prabhupāda: But actually they’re doing. So why do you say they cannot continue long?
Hari-sauri: No, he’s saying that if they weren’t…, that they must be advanced actually if you look at it in the proper perspective. The ones that are continually distributing, they, they must be advanced. Otherwise one could not do it for a very long time.
Bhūrijana: When people… Often used to make me angry when people would collect money for…, using lying terms and say that they’re collecting money for the welfare center here, or to feed the children here, or to bus the children there, and they’d collect money like that but it wasn’t very straight forward.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Prabhupāda has many times given the instruction to the devotees that they should try as much as possible to distribute the books on their own merit. [break] …wanting this knowledge.
Bhūrijana: But they… [break] …so much (indistinct) is collecting, not distributing books.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: No, but the point is that Prabhupāda’s instruction is there.
Bhūrijana: But all the devotees want to hear is Prabhupāda also said “by hook or by crook.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Sometimes it may be required to interest someone in a book, that they may find out their interest. Just like people are interested in philanthropic activity.
Prabhupāda: Just like our… What is his name?
Hari-sauri: Tripurāri? (laughter)
Prabhupāda: Some lady inquired, “Is there any instruction about the power shortage?” “Oh, yes.” (laughs) So she purchased, and the next day she said, “There is nothing about power.” So suppose Tripurāri has sold one book. The lady inquired, “Is there any basic instruction about power shortage?” And he said, “Yes.” So you think it is wrong. That is your version.
Bhūrijana: I think a simple lie like that is not bad.
Prabhupāda: But a devotee’s view is that whatever may be her inquiry, if she purchases one book, she’ll be benefited. This is the point. But you, as big moralist, you, (laughs) you think that he has cheated. He has not cheated. He has benefited her. Somehow or other he has given a book to her. Someday she’ll read and she’ll benefit. But you people, you think that why we should sell like that, that, “Yes, there is some solution of power shortage. Actually there is, but you think that he has lied. Just like there are sometimes the father’s child is suffering from fever. So the father wants that the child may take the medicine, and promises, “You take the medicine. I’ll give you this cake.” The purpose is not to give the cake actually. The purpose is the child may take the medicine. That is the purpose. But when the father promises that “If you take the medicine I’ll give you the cake.” But cake is dangerous for the child who is suffering from fever, but still the father allures him. “If you take the medicine and I’ll give you cake.” So is the father wrong or right?
Bhūrijana: No.
Prabhupāda: Similarly, similarly, if somehow or other one can sell one book to a person it is good for him. Don’t take how he is selling, but he’s giving the book to that person and he’s paying something and that is good. But big moralist, they cannot understand. They’ll see, “Why the father has spoken lie to his son. He’s not a good father.” They’ll mistake. Father is always friend. Father cannot be enemyBut for the benefit of the rascal child sometimes he has to say like that. That “If you take the medicine I’ll give you cake.” So those who are mundane moralist, they cannot understand this thing, because they are mundane platform. The another example is that Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja. He was asked by Kṛṣṇa that “You speak lie to Dronācārya that ‘Your son is dead.’ ” Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja refused. For this he had to see hell. He was more moralist than Kṛṣṇa. For this moral activity he had to visit hell. This philosophy cannot be understood by neophyte devotees. Our purpose is why we are pushing so much this sales of books. Because our missionary activities will be very widely known. That we want. Somehow or other let him purchase a book. That is our mission. There is no question of transgressing moral principles. Arjuna. Arjuna was arguing with Kṛṣṇa that this killing of my relatives, it is horrible, abominable. Better I beg and maintain myself than I kill my relatives and become a king. Did he not say? That is ordinary man’s argument. But as Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja refused to speak lie, [break] Arjuna in spite of his conviction that it is sinful to kill my relatives, he still agreed to kill. Why?
Bhūrijana: That is supreme moral, Kṛṣṇa’s desire.
Prabhupāda: What Kṛṣṇa desires, if one dies, he’s above all this material. But it should not be manufactured. The thing is that our spiritual master wants to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and he has repeatedly stressed to distribute books, we shall distribute books by any means, that is good. That is good. And if you become moralist that, “Oh, they’re taking this means, that means for selling of book, so I’m big moralist. I’m bigger than him.”
Bhūrijana: I don’t think there is so much enmity because of the books themselves.
Prabhupāda: No, I think that.. I do not know what they are doing, but I have information that they’re not selling books.
Bhūrijana: Some I think. I think some.
Prabhupāda: But not…
Bhūrijana: Comparable amount.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Others who were transgressing the moral principle, they were selling more books. And those who are big moralists, they could not.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: They’re also distributing one pamphlet printed by Siddha-svarūpānanda. Then if they like they can buy one of Prabhupāda’s books. Prabhupāda’s book comes second.
Prabhupāda: Sometimes I’ve heard so many things.
Bhūrijana: But they give those away for free. I mean just in the sense that someone maybe doesn’t want to purchase anything. So they give him something for free about Kṛṣṇa.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: First they do that.
Bhūrijana: Only because it’s free. Not that a… As far as I know.
Prabhupāda: They get knowledge free, then why they should purchase? If you give them the opportunity that we take material, knowledge free then why they will purchase?
Bhūrijana: If we can become Kṛṣṇa conscious without following the rules and regulations, why follow the rules and regulations? That’s what I was thinking a while ago.
Prabhupāda: They should follow what their spiritual master says. Book selling, there is no question of moral and immoral. They must sell. Just like in fighting. Where there is fight, the soldiers, to gain victory, there is no question of moral and immoral. He must.
Bhūrijana: Śrīla Prabhupāda, but I think the thing I understand least, is that if they are not doing what you want… I mean… I’m sitting before you now and you’re telling me and I’m listening, and you are my spiritual master. I must accept.
Prabhupāda: We want that book selling must be increased as much as possible. This we want. The same thing. Let the child take medicine. Never mind the father is speaking lies. That is… Because as soon as he takes the medicine he’ll be benefited. End justifies the means. End is that everyone should have a Kṛṣṇa literature. Doesn’t matter what is the means. Because he has taken one Kṛṣṇa literature, that justifies everything. This is the principle.
Bhūrijana: How about just collecting without giving any literature? Just collecting. Three months ago I saw it in Australia, with a lying line too. Not telling the truth. And that wasn’t very long ago.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: (indistinct)
Hari-sauri: Sometimes the devotees are just distributing incense.
Bhūrijana: Nothing.
Hari-sauri: They collect and distribute incense. Sometimes they don’t distribute books.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Maybe they have to pay off a loan on the temple. All the devotees are well aware that Prabhupāda’s books have first priority. Everyone knows it. The consciousness is very (indistinct) It’s not a consciousness of giving.
Hari-sauri: Prabhupāda’s point is that if you see fault with the method of implementing the spiritual master’s instructions, you’ll fail to follow the instructions.
Prabhupāda: No the point is not that they have not done any wrong. Don’t think like that. But my point, that is, my instruction is sell books.
Bhūrijana: I understand. In other words if you think they’re doing it wrong, you do it better. If you see the wrong thing… But do it. Make sure you do it, but do it without the wrong thing.
Prabhupāda: Yes.
Bhūrijana: I feel that this is…
Prabhupāda: Besides that, if you do not take to Deity worship, then you shall remain unclean. That’s a fact. (end)
Some Conclusions—This is a very instructive conversation with Prabhupada about the legality or morality of telling so called “lies” on book distribution sankirtan or not. This devotee could not get past the fact that so many devotees were coming up with their “lines” when they sold books that he felt it was immoral to do so yet Srila Prabhupada gave him several good examples to justify what we were doing. The point was also made that this devotee thought that these book distributers were not  very advanced , when in fact they were the front line soldiers in Mahaprabhus Mission to  renovate  and reclaim the degraded human society. Book distributers were performing the most austerities of any other devotees by putting themselves out there to face all of Mayas allurements and problems. As Srila Prabhupada once said you can hear a drum pounding for a few blocks but when you distribute a book that can be heard around the world.
First point Prabhupada made was when a father gives his child some medicine promising him some cake just to get him to take the medicine, most would agree that the fathers actions were justified. Second example of Yudhisthira maharaj being asked to lie about Dronacaryas son being dead so he would give up his fighting at Kuruksetra. And for his neglect to follow God-Krsnas order he was punished to see hell at death-and Yudhisthira was known as a very strict moralist having never told a lie. !!
And finally Krsna telling Arjuna to kill all those relatives on the battlefield before him because they have defied His orders for Dharma.
These were all tests and examples for us to follow if we want to be considered a soul surrendered to our spiritual master. Some devotees just could not get past the “techniques” done on book distribution sankirtan. They considered this in terms of mundane morality and not in terms of actual spiritual life and how neophyte materialists cannot understand these higher principles of surrender to God and Guru is first and foremost. And for some to this day, they still cant understand it. 
Case in point is iskcon where there has been no limit to all the unauthorized changes they have made to Srila Prabhuapdas original mission’s tenets.
As a result of not understanding his gurus order this devotee developed an enmity or envy in his heart against his Godbrothers. This is the dangerous position of a neophyte who is always plagued by misunderstanding of Krsna Tattva and Guru tattva which leads— to fault finding. The first offense to chanting Hare Krsna maha mantra.
Madhya 19.160-“If one does not distinguish between the bhakti-latā creeper and the other creepers, the sprinkling of water is misused because the other creepers are nourished while the bhakti-latā creeper is curtailed.
PURPORT-If one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra while committing offenses, these unwanted creepers will grow. One should not take advantage of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra for some material profit. As mentioned in verse 159: ‘niṣiddhācāra’, ‘kuṭīnāṭī’, jīva-hiṁsana’ ‘lābha’, ‘pūjā’, ‘pratiṣṭhādi’ yata upaśākhā-gaṇa  The unwanted creepers have been described by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. He states that if one hears and chants without trying to give up offenses, one becomes materially attached to sense gratification.
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das