Srila Prabhupada on the importance of His books
Srila Prabhupada's warning regarding Gaudiya Matha books.
Regarding the Gaudiya Math books being circulated there, who is distributing? Who is sending these books? The Gaudiya Math does not sell our books, why we should sell their books. Who has introduced these books? Let me know. These books should not at all be circulated in our Society. Bhakti Vilas Tirtha is very much antagonistic to our society and he has no clear conception of devotional service. He is contaminated. Anyway, who has introduced these books? You say that you would read only one book if that was all that I had written, so you teach others to do like that. You have very good determination. srila Prabhupada Letter, November 14,1973
No need to read any books besides Srila Prabhupada's books.
There is no need by any of my disciples to read any books besides my books--in fact, such reading may be detrimental to their advancement in Krishna Consciousness. All reading of outside books, except in certain authorized cases such as for example to read some philosopher like Plato to make an essay comparing his philosophy with Krishna's philosophy--but otherwise all such outside reading should be stopped immediately. It is simply another botheration. If my students cannot even read my own books thoroughly, why they should read others? I have given you TLC, what need is there to read Caitanya Caritamrta translated by someone else. You are right to stop such reading. Srila Prabhupada Letter January 20, 1972
No need for any outside instruction.
There is no need whatsoever for any outside instruction. Whatever is to be learned of the teachings of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura can be learned from our books. There is no need whatsoever for any outside instruction. Srila Prabhupada Letter, December 12, 1973
Stop the practice of reading other books.
Brahmananda Swami has read me your letter regarding the students there reading other books. I request you to stop this practice. Our students have no time to read our own books, but they have time to read other's books, and the money to purchase them? Why this mentality is there? You are a serious student, therefore you have correctly found out the defect in these books. We don't want babaji class. We want active preachers. Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 13, 1973
In our Krsna consciousness movement we have therefore limited our study of Vedic literatures to these four works
TRANSLATION: "The twelfth item is to give up the company of nondevotees. (13) One should not accept an unlimited number of disciples. (14) One should not partially study many scriptures just to be able to give references and expand explanations.
PURPORT: Accepting an unlimited number of devotees or disciples is very risky for one who is not a preacher. According to Srila Jiva Gosvami, a preacher has to accept many disciples to expand the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is risky because when a spiritual master accepts a disciple, he naturally accepts the disciple's sinful activities and their reactions. Unless he is very powerful, he cannot assimilate all the sinful reactions of his disciples. Thus if he is not powerful, he has to suffer the consequences, for one is forbidden to accept many disciples. One should not partially study a book just to pose oneself as a great scholar by being able to refer to scriptures. In our Krsna consciousness movement we have therefore limited our study of Vedic literatures to Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta and Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. These four works are sufficient for preaching purposes. They are adequate for the understanding of the philosophy and the spreading of missionary activities all over the world. If one studies a particular book, he must do so thoroughly. That is the principle. By thoroughly studying a limited number of books, one can understand the philosophy. Srila Prabhupada from Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.118
Or even if you read some books, you cannot understand unless you understand it from me.
This is called parampara system. The person who heard Bhagavad-gita directly from Krsna, whatever he says, that is to be accepted. You cannot interpret. This is the parampara system. So if you want to understand Bhagavad-gita, then we must understand in the same way as the person who directly heard from. This is called parampara system. Suppose I have heard something from my spiritual master, so I speak to you the same thing. So this is parampara system. You cannot imagine what my spiritual master said. Or even if you read some books, you cannot understand unless you understand it from me. This is called parampara system. You cannot jump over to the superior guru, neglecting the next acarya, immediate next acarya. Just like our, this Gau..., Caitanya Mahaprabhu's cult; we cannot understand Caitanya Mahaprabhu directly. It is not possible. We have to understand through the Gosvamis. Therefore you'll find in the Caitanya-caritamrta and at the end of every chapter, the writer says, sri-rupa-ragunatha-pade yara asa caitanya-caritamrta kahe krsna-dasa
This is the process. He does not say that "I've understood Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu directly." No. That is not understanding. That is foolishness. You cannot understand what is Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore repeatedly he says, rupa-ragunatha-pade... "I am that Krsna dasa, Kaviraja, who is always under the subordination of the Gosvamis." This is parampara system. Similarly, Narottama dasa Thakura also says, ei chay gosai jar mui tar das, "I am servant of that person who has accepted this six Gosvamis as his master. I am not going to be servant of any other person who does not accept the way and means of..." Therefore we say or we offer our prayer to our spiritual master, rupanuga-varaya te, rupanuga-varaya te, because he follows Rupa Gosvami, therefore we accept, spiritual master. Not that one has become more than Rupa Gosvami or more than... No. Tandera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane vas. This is the parampara system.
Srila Prabhupada from Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.30
Los Angeles , December 8, 1973
You are giving us the essence of all the previous acaryas' books in your books.
Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, I remember once I heard a tape where you told us that we should not try to read the books of previous acaryas.
Srila Prabhupada: Hmm?
Devotee: That we should not try to read Bhaktivinoda's books or earlier books of other, all acaryas. So I was just wondering...
Srila Prabhupada: I never said that.
Devotee: You didn't say that? Oh.
Srila Prabhupada: How is that?
Devotee: I thought you said that we should not read the previous acaryas' books.
Srila Prabhupada: No, you should read.
Devotee: We should.
Srila Prabhupada: It is misunderstanding.
Devotee: I think maybe he was thinking that there was some things about some of the Gaudiya Matha books.
Srila Prabhupada: Maybe.
Paramahamsa: And sometimes you said that better not to..., better to read your books.
Devotee: When the devotees went to India this year, they said that Acyutananda Swami very..., chastised them that "You should never... If I catch any of you buying Bhaktisiddhanta's books from Gaudiya Matha then I will take it away," something like this.
Devotee: Yeah, that was, the reason was because of, he didn't want the devotees going to Gaudiya Matha. But there's nothing wrong with the idea of studying the previous acaryas' books.
Srila Prabhupada: No. Who said? That is wrong. We are following previous acaryas. I never said that.
Devotee: All of your commentaries are coming from the previous acaryas.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Devotee: But that wouldn't mean that we should keep all the previous acaryas' books and only read them.
Srila Prabhupada: That is already there. You first of all assimilate what you have got. You simply pile up books and do not read--what is the use?
Devotee: First of all we must read all your books.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Devotee: Practically speaking, Srila Prabhupada, you are giving us the essence of all the previous acaryas' books in your books.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, May 13, 1975, Perth, Australia
One has to understand the writings of the previous acaryas not directly but through the medium of the current link in disciplic succession Srila Prabhupada.
TRANSLATION: By the mercy of Vyasa, I have heard these most confidential talks directly from the master of all mysticism, Krsna, who was speaking personally to Arjuna.
PURPORT: Vyasa was the spiritual master of Sanjaya, and Sanjaya admits that it was by his mercy that he could understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that one has to understand Krsna not directly but through the medium of the spiritual master. The spiritual master is the transparent medium, although it is true that the experience is direct. This is the mystery of the disciplic succession. When the spiritual master is bona fide, then one can hear Bhagavad-gita directly, as Arjuna heard it.
There are many mystics and yogis all over the world, but Krsna is the master of all yoga systems. Krsna's instruction is explicitly stated in Bhagavad-gita--surrender unto Krsna. One who does so is the topmost yogi. This is confirmed in the last verse of the Sixth Chapter. Yoginam api sarvesam. Narada is the direct disciple of Krsna and the spiritual master of Vyasa. Therefore Vyasa is as bona fide as Arjuna because he comes in the disciplic succession, and Sanjaya is the direct disciple of Vyasa. Therefore by the grace of Vyasa, his senses were purified, and he could see and hear Krsna directly. One who directly hears Krsna can understand this confidential knowledge. If one does not come to the disciplic succession, he cannot hear Krsna; therefore his knowledge is always imperfect, at least as far as understanding Bhagavad-gita is concerned
In Bhagavad-gita, all the yoga systems, karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga, are explained. Krsna is the master of all such mysticism. It is to be understood, however, that as Arjuna was fortunate enough to understand Krsna directly, similarly, by the grace of Vyasa Sanjaya was also able to hear Krsna directly. Actually there is no difference between hearing directly from Krsna or hearing directly from Krsna via a bona fide spiritual master like Vyasa… The spiritual master is the representative of Vyasadeva also. According to the Vedic system, on the birthday of the spiritual master, the disciples conduct the ceremony called Vyasa-puja. Bhagavad-Gita 18.75 (authorized unedited version 1972 by Srila Prabhupada)
These two, three books, that's all.... You haven't got to learn so many huge volumes of books
Journalist: You go for a prescribed course of study?
Prabhupada: Yes, prescribed course of study, these two, three books, that's all. Anyone can read. Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam or Caitanya-caritamrta. You'll learn everything. You haven't got to learn so many huge volumes of books. Because Bhagavad-gita is such nice book, if you can understand one line, you advance hundred years. You see? So, I mean to say, meaningful and so solid. Therefore we have published this Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Let your people read it, let them question, and try to understand what is this movement. Press Interview, December 30, 1968, Los Angeles
Yes you can print one copy... Not for distribution....They are not devotees... Liberated for going to hell.
Srila Prabhupada: My Guru Maharaja wanted to publish Govinda-lilamrta. He asked permission of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. So first of all Bhaktivinoda Thakura, "I'll tell you some day." And when he reminded, he said, "Yes you can print one copy. If you are so much anxious to print it, print one copy. You'll read and you will see that you have printed. Not for distribution." So we are printing all these books for understanding properly. Not that "Here is Radha-kunda. Let us go." Jump over like monkey. "Here is rasa-lila. Immediately..."
Devotee: Even in Krsna book rasa-lila should not be told in public.
Srila Prabhupada: No, why? Krsna book must be there, in the book must be there.
Devotee: But in public...
Srila Prabhupada: But you should go gradually. You should go gradually. You first of all understand Krsna, then krsna-lila. If you have not understood Krsna, then you'll think Krsna's rasa-lila is just like we mix with young women. And that becomes as polluted. Because they do not understand Krsna. Manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye yatatam api siddhanam. Krsna understanding so easy? If you do not understand Krsna how can you go to the Krsna's confidential activities?
Devotee: Some of the devotees, they said that it is for liberated souls. So they said, "Well, we are all liberated."
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Liberated for going to hell.
Devotee: In your Krsna book, Srila Prabhupada, you've given such clear explanations along with the stories of Krsna that it's very difficult to misinterpret, because you use such clear explanation.
Srila Prabhupada: No, you read all the books first of all. Then you'll be able to understand.
Devotee: Even theoretical understanding that Krsna is transcendental will not help unless one...
Srila Prabhupada: Because Krsna will lift, samaste, Krsna lifted the hill. Now how you can become equal with Krsna?
Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, what about if some devotees, I know they want to come to Vrndavana...
Srila Prabhupada: Every devotee, they must follow the rules and regulations, that's all.
Devotee: And engage in practical service to Krsna.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Guru-mukha-padma-vakya cittete kariya aikya ara na kariha mane asa. Has he taken order from Guru Maharaja that "I am going to jump over Radha-kunda"? Why does he go? Daily singing, guru-mukha-padma-vakya cittete, ara na kariha. Why should he desire like that?
Devotee: There are some devotees who always want...
Srila Prabhupada: They are not devotees. Rascals. Don't say "some devotees." Devotees will hear: guru-mukha-padma-vakya cittete kariya aikya ara na kariha mane. Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, August 16, 1976, Bombay
There is no need to read such a high standard of transcendental literature
Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments in this connection that such feelings of separation as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu enjoyed from the books of Vidyapati, Candidasa and Jayadeva are especially reserved for persons like Sri Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara, who were paramahamsas, men of the topmost perfection, because of their advanced spiritual consciousness. Such topics are not to be discussed by ordinary persons imitating the activities of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. For critical students of mundane poetry and literary men without God consciousness who are after bodily sense gratification, there is no need to read such a high standard of transcendental literature. Persons who are after sense gratification should not try to imitate raganuga devotional service. In their songs, Candidasa, Vidyapati and Jayadeva have described the transcendental activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mundane reviewers of the songs of Vidyapati, Jayadeva and Candidasa simply help people in general become debauchees, and this leads only to social scandals and atheism in the world. One should not misunderstand the pastimes of Radha and Krsna to be the activities of a mundane young boy and girl. The mundane sexual activities of young boys and girls are most abominable. Therefore, those who are in bodily consciousness and who desire sense gratification are forbidden to indulge in discussions of the transcendental pastimes of Sri Radha and Krsna. Srila Prabhupada from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 13.42
One should not associate with these apa-sampradaya communities.
In the parampara system, the instructions taken from the bona fide spiritual master must also be based on revealed Vedic scriptures. One who is in the line of disciplic succession cannot manufacture his own way of behavior. There are many so-called followers of the Vaisnava cult in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu who do not scrupulously follow the conclusions of the sastras, and therefore they are considered to be apa-sampradaya, which means "outside of the sampradaya." Some of these groups are known as aula, baula, kartabhaja, neda, daravesa, sani sahajiya, sakhibheki, smarta, jata-gosani, ativadi, cudadhari and gauranga-nagari. In order to follow strictly the disciplic succession of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one should not associate with these apa-sampradaya communities. Srila Prabhupada from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 7.48
No learned man should be willing to hear a person who does not represent the original acarya
TRANSLATION: On hearing Suta Gosvami speak thus, Saunaka Muni, who was the elderly, learned leader of all the rsis engaged in that prolonged sacrificial ceremony, congratulated Suta Gosvami by addressing him as follows.
PURPORT: In a meeting of learned men, when there are congratulations or addresses for the speaker, the qualifications of the congratulator should be as follows. He must be the leader of the house and an elderly man. He must be vastly learned also. Sri Saunaka Rsi had all these qualifications, and thus he stood up to congratulate Sri Suta Gosvami when he expressed his desire to present Srimad-Bhagavatam exactly as he heard it from Sukadeva Gosvami and also realized it personally. Personal realization does not mean that one should, out of vanity, attempt to show one's own learning by trying to surpass the previous acarya. He must have full confidence in the previous acarya, and at the same time he must realize the subject matter so nicely that he can present the matter for the particular circumstances in a suitable manner. The original purpose of the text must be maintained. No obscure meaning should be screwed out of it, yet it should be presented in an interesting manner for the understanding of the audience. This is called realization. The leader of the assembly, Saunaka, could estimate the value of the speaker, Sri Suta Gosvami, simply by his uttering yathadhitam and yatha-mati, and therefore he was very glad to congratulate him in ecstasy. No learned man should be willing to hear a person who does not represent the original acarya. So the speaker and the audience were bona fide in this meeting where Bhagavatam was being recited for the second time. That should be the standard of recitation of Bhagavatam, so that the real purpose can be served without difficulty. Unless this situation is created, Bhagavatam recitation for extraneous purposes is useless labor both for the speaker and for the audience. [Srila Prabhupada from Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.1]
"It is important that we preach the message of Krishna consciousness EXACTLY as we have heard it from OUR spiritual master. The same philosophy and spirit must be there." (Letter to January 23, 69)