The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada teaches the most difficult and sublime science—the science of how to serve God—in such a way that anyone can understand it. The concepts are presented over and over again, for repetition is a time-tested learning technique in transcendental study. Thus in whichever of Srila Prabhupada’s books one reads first, one will find the entire science of Krsna consciousness presented, yet each succeeding book reveals something more, and with each rereading one will find new light. Srila Prabhupada’s books are the most wonderful vehicle because they swiftly transport the reader to a timeless and ever- green world where everyone is joyfully awakened to the Absolute Truth of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa

Part 6

The next book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, was then dictated. It is a summary study of the historic Caitanya-caritamrta. Instead of the exhaustive format of verse to verse translation and purport, Srila Prabhupada presented this book in a shortened but more essential manner. “My books are for my students,” he told us, and so he wanted to write as many as possible. If Bhagavad-gita could be considered the undergraduate study of spiritual life and Srimad-Bhagavatam the master’s study, then Caitanya-caritamrta is the doctorate course. It recounts Lord Caitanya’s teachings to the only five disciples He personally taught. In Teachings of Lord Caitanya, the incomplete philosophy of impersonalism is fully analyzed and forcefully defeated by Lord Caitanya in His discussions with the two biggest impersonalists of His time, Prakasananda Sarasvati and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Also, the quintessence of all detailed knowledge of Krsna and how He acts both in the spiritual and material worlds is disclosed to Ramananda Raya.

The book was published by Prabhupada’s students, who met the costs by donations of all their personal monies. We decided to print it overseas, in Japan, and ultimately in 1968 it came off the presses of one of the world’s largest printing organizations. ISKCON Press was then given full responsibility to publish all of Srila Prabhupada’s books and to develop Back to Godhead to the scale of Time and Life. By this time it was being printed by offset at five thousand copies per month. At Prabhupada’s request, the issues included more articles by his students. He wanted to see how we were realizing what he was teaching, and he was not concerned for outward polish or sophistication in the articles. He said that for a father whose child is first learning how to speak, there is great pleasure even though the child mispronounces the words.

Srila Prabhupada considered Back to Godhead the backbone of the Krsna consciousness movement. He had us give it to a Japanese printer who, to our dismay, could print a minimum of 20,000 copies per issue. “Krsna will distribute them,” Srila Prabhupada assured us. At present, over half a million copies are distributed each month in English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Japanese, Hindi, Bengali and Swahili.

Macmillan’s Gita also came out in 1968 in an abbreviated 300 page edition, which included appreciations by several well-known authors for commercial appeal. One author who was very well known for his books on Eastern philosophy and was solicited with a copy of the manuscript for appreciation wrote back a hot letter to Macmillan. He denounced the Bhagavad-gita As It Is by saying that not to interpret the Gita was itself an interpretation. “Our book is successful,” declared Srila Prabhupada. The word juggler had properly understood Bhagavad-gita As It Is and was properly offended.

In 1969 ISKCON Press composed and printed with its own machinery the Sri Isopanisad, subtitled “The Knowledge that Brings One Nearer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.” It is an elementary book written in verse to verse format and fits as a bridge between the impersonal stress of the Upanisads and the distinct personalism of Bhagavad-gita. Its remarkable introduction, “Teachings of the Vedas,” originally delivered as a lecture in Conway Hall in London, explains how one should best approach a study of the Vedic literature.

Also in 1969, the lawbook for the Krsna consciousness movement was finished. Srila Rupa’s Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (“The Ocean of the Nectar of Devotion”) was presented as a summary study entitled The Nectar of Devotion. In the first “wave” of the ocean of nectar, all the Krsna conscious rules, regulations, devotional practices, ceremonies and so on are codified and explained with abundant scriptural evidence. The Nectar of Devotion is greatly responsible for maintaining the spiritual atmosphere and upholding all the devotional discipline in ISKCON’s temples, for it is written in such a way that almost any question in the day to day problems encountered in prosecuting Krsna consciousness can be authoritatively solved. The second “wave” contains incredible details about Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead—His form, personality, abode and pastimes with His devotees. The book concludes with a detailed analysis of the variegated relationships of devotion that the living entities have with God, or Lord Krsna. The Nectar of Devotion was printed entirely by ISKCON Press. When the first copy was presented to Srila Prabhupada, he requested that we read aloud from it. When asked which portion he would like to hear, he replied, “Read from any part you open. Sugar tasted on any side is sweet.”

“Excerpted from ‘Back To Godhead’ magazine, courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc., http://www.Krishna.com.”

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