Srila Prabhupada’s Appeal
To Be Free From Contamination
If you actually want to become free from the contamination of this material world, then you should always be engaged in chanting, saṅkīrtana. Not only the holy name, but reading the Kṛṣṇa book, The Nectar of Devotion, and Teachings of Lord Caitanya. If you feel tired of chanting, you read these books.
You are reading some book; you want to read another book. So we have got so many books. If you feel tired by reading this book, then transfer your attention to another book, or another book, or chant. Find out. Simply not to waste a single moment. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ.
Gorakhpur, India: February 14, 1971
For A Spiritual Revolution
I must admit my frailties in presenting Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but still I am hopeful of its good reception by the thinkers and leaders of society on the strength of the following statement of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.11):
yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api
nāmāny anantasya yaśo ‘ṅkitāni yat
śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhavaḥ
On the other hand, that literature which is full with descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, form, and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a transcendental creation meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though irregularly composed, are heard, sung, and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.
Preface to his translation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam
Delhi, India: December 15, 1962
Become Realized Through The Books
My dear Miss Nedungadi,
Please accept my greetings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated March 6th, 1975, and have noted the contents. Thank you so much for your kind appreciations. I am so much grateful that you have enjoyed studying my books. Many young intelligent persons such as yourself are studying these books in the colleges and universities all over the world.
Actually, anyone who tries to understand these books will become a great realized devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa gradually. The original potency of the śāstra remains in these books because I have not added or opinionated anything of my own. I have simply presented the scriptures such as Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as they are. Therefore, just see the effect they have on the world. At present, we have about 100 centers worldwide and about 10,000 fully dedicated students in those centers. You are welcome to visit or stay in any of our centers for your spiritual advancement. We have a nice center in Madras: 50, Aspiran Gardens, 2nd St., Kilpauk, Madras ‒ 600010. You can get all the books there.
Letter to Miss Nedungadi:
Bombay, India: March 19, 1975
Become Life Members And Read
We have already published about twenty books like this. All the life members, they have got our books. Those who are not life members, I would request them to become life members, and we give you more than your money’s worth of books. We want that everyone ‒ every scholar, every thoughtful man ‒ should read these books, such as Bhagavad-gītā As It Is.
These books are very much welcome in the Western countries. I got a report just now, from Los Angeles. The report is that within the three days of Christmas holidays, we have sold one lakh [$100,000] worth of books ‒ within three days. So our books are being very much welcomed in the Western countries, especially the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is.
Bombay, India: January 12, 1973
Read Them Aloud
Sravaṇaṁ is very essential. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam. So in all our centers, this process should be followed. We have got now so many books. Our Yogeśvara prabhu is very enthusiastic to read books. So, everyone should read books and others should hear. That is very essential; śravaṇaṁ. Just like we are describing one verse daily, there are so many verses already in stock, you can go on speaking for fifty years. These books are already published, and you can go on. There will be no want of stock.
Geneva, Switzerland: June 3, 1974
Discuss, Read, And Understand
They are chanting sixteen rounds, temple management is going on according to the routine work, and the books are being thoroughly discussed, being read, and understood practically. These things are required. Now, suppose you go to sell some book, and if somebody says, “You have read this book? Can you explain this verse?”
Then what you will say? You will say, “No. It is for you. It is not for me. I have to take money from you. That’s all.” Is that a very nice answer?
Melbourne, Australia: April 5, 1972
Books Are K rsna-Kīrtana
The Gosvāmīs all joined together for executing the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ‒ to write books about Kṛṣṇa; His pastimes, His līlā. They wrote books of highly spiritual understanding.
Nānā–śāstra-vicāraṇaika-nipuṇau sad-dharma-saṁsthāpakau. This is the business of the Gosvāmīs; the symptoms. The first symptom is kṛṣṇotkīrtana-gāna-nartana-parau. They were always busy in kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. We perform kīrtana with khola, karatāla; this is also kṛṣṇakīrtana. And to write books, that is also kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. And to read books, that is also kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. Not that simply this kīrtana is kīrtana. If you write books about Kṛṣṇa, if you read books about Kṛṣṇa, if you talk about Kṛṣṇa, you think of Kṛṣṇa, you worship Kṛṣṇa, you cook for Kṛṣṇa, you eat for Kṛṣṇa ‒ that is kṛṣṇa-kīrtana.
Vṛndāvana, India: March 17, 1974
Books Are Recorded Kīrtana
Today we shall discuss about the prominent symptoms of this age. This book, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, was written ‒ not written, practically it was recorded. All Vedic literatures are recorded from hearing. Five thousand years before, people could keep in mind the statements of authorities, without any book record. At that time the memory was so sharp that one could keep them in his memory imply by once hearing from the spiritual master. There was no need of written books to consult.
So five thousand years ago this book was recorded by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, because he could understand that in the future people will be born of such a low grade that it would not be possible to keep in memory without book record. Formerly, these books were written in hand on palm leaves… because there was no press or type. So if you wanted a book, you had to copy from other’s book. That was the system.
San Francisco, California: March 18, 1968
Take Them From Your Bookcase
That is the injunction: nityam. Nityam means ‘always.’ So our members especially, I mean to say, those who are inmates, they, and those who are becoming members, ordinary members or patron members, we are giving them books. Please read them carefully. Don’t take books and then think that “I am a member. It is my duty to take books and keep them in the almirah (bookcase).” No. Read them thoroughly.
Nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā. By regular reading of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, our material contamination becomes vanquished. Naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā. As soon as it begins to diminish, then it will diminish finally, and then you will be situated in your pure, original constitutional position, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Bhakti-yogataḥ. Evaṁ prasanna-manaso bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ. By cleansing the heart we become prasanna-manasaḥ, very jubilant. Bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ. Therefore, this bhāgavata-dharma should be practiced from the very beginning of life, and it should be studied. We have got so many books.
Bombay, India: january 16, 1975
See Through The Eyes Of Śāstra
Without śāstra, how you can make progress? Just like, you are seeing the sun daily just like a disk, but if you see geography through the śāstra, then you will understand that the sun is fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this Earth. So, how do you know? You have not gone to the sun planet. How do you know? Through the śāstra; through the books.
Therefore, you should see through the authoritative śāstra, books. What we are speaking about the moon planet, sun planet, or God, His abode in Vaikuṇṭhaloka, the spiritual world, so many things we are talking. How we are talking? We are talking through the Vedic literature, because Vedic literature is authoritative. According to Vedic civilization, we don’t accept any book written by any rascal.
What is stated there in the Vedas, we accept without any argument. One of the examples is that the Vedas say that [you must bathe] if you touch the stool of an animal, even your own stool. That is the system. In India still, not in the city, but in the villages, you will see even an ordinary man goes to pass stool in the field, and just after passing stool he will take bath and change his cloth just to purify himself. That is the sastric injunction. In one place it is said that the stool of the cow is pure. Now, if you argue that “One place you say that the stool of an animal is impure, even your own stool, if you touch it you have to take bath. How is it that another animal’s stool is pure?” This is superficially a contradiction. But those who are following strictly the Vedic principles accept that the stool of cow, or cow dung, is pure. Now, if you argue, “Why it is pure?” then you come to a modern chemical analysis and you will find the cow dung is full of antiseptic properties. It has been examined in Calcutta by one doctor, Rajmohan Bose.
Therefore, the Vedic injunction is so perfect.
Manila, Philippines: October 12, 1972
Through Guru’s Words
Practically, just like a vagabond I came. But I had full faith that “my Guru Mahārāja is with me.” I never lost this faith, and that is fact. There are two words: vāṇī and vapuḥ. Vānī means ‘words,’ and vapuḥ means ‘this physical body.’ So vāṇī is more important than the vapuḥ. Vapuḥ will be finished. This material body will be finished. That is the nature. But if we keep to the vāṇī, to the words of spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up. It doesn’t matter.
Just like Bhagavad-gītā: It was spoken five thousand years ago, but if you keep to the words of Kṛṣṇa, then it is always fresh and guiding. It is not that because Arjuna personally listened to Kṛṣṇa about the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā, therefore he knew it. That is not the fact. If you accept Bhagavadgītā as it is, then you should know that Kṛṣṇa is present before you in His words in the Bhagavad-gītā. This is called spiritual realization. It is not mundane historical incidences:
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
If you don’t keep in touch with the original link, then it will be lost. And if you keep touch with the original link, then you are directly hearing Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s representative, the spiritual master, if you keep always intact, in link with the words and instruction of the superior authorities, then you are always fresh. This is spiritual understanding.
Discourse on the Disappearance Day of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
Atlanta, Georgia: March 2, 1975
Don’t Miss This Opportunity
By chanting, you will feel how much you are advancing in spiritual knowledge. This is the shortcut way of understanding God realization. But if you don’t believe in the simple method, if you want to understand this philosophy through science and philosophy, we have got books, about one dozen books, four hundred pages each, to explain this science of chanting theHare Kṛṣṇa mantra. We have got our magazine, Back to Godhead, and our books, Kṛṣṇa Book, Nectar of Devotion, Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad- Bhāgavatam. So many books we have got.
Everyone should be serious, because if we miss this opportunity, then after death we do not know what is going to happen. I may have a human form of body, or we may have a body of the animals or of a tree; thatwe do not know. But if we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and become advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, At least our next life again a human form of body is guaranteed.
Speech at Olympia Theater Paris, France: June 26, 1971