What Is ISKCON ?

WHAT IS ISKCON?

Yamuna: Srila Prabhupada, although we are very happy where we are, we are prepared to go wherever you would like to send us in order to have your blessings.

Srila Prabhupada: You westerners are always so restless. Why can’t you stay where you are?

Yamuna: But we have been told that because we don’t have the association of devotees, we cannot make any advancement.

Srila Prabhupada: Association can be two or two hundred. But you must be compatible. If you are two and are compatible, you can go back to Godhead. But if you are two hundred and not compatible [his eyes open widely], then no one will make any advancement.

Yamuna: But Srila Prabhupada, some of the leaders are saying that we have lost your mercy because we left ISKCON and without your mercy there is no meaning to our lives.

Srila Prabhupada: ISKCON is where you are chanting the Holy Names of Krsna. That is ISKCON. (Yamuna Devi, A Life of Unalloyed Devotion).

Note: This is an instruction to Yamuna devi dasi, who is 100% devoted to Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada is ISKCON!

Ramesvara Interview

The following is an excerpt from a long interview of Ramesvara prabhu made for Srila Prabhupada lilamrta. If you read the whole interview, you will find it full of nectar pastimes of Srila Prabhupada, but the interview, unfortunately, never made it to the lilamrta?

The interview was made in 1979 and was carefully hidden in the Bhaktivedanta archives until it was leaked by a devotee in 2013. 

Please bear in mind, as you read the following, that in 1979 when the interview was made, there were no bookchange conflicts, consequently there could have been no hidden motives in Ramesvara prabhu’s statements.

(There is a lot of sweet nectar and good information here, worth a moment of your time. -Vyasasan das)

The paintings sell the books 

See, what Prabhupada did was so ingenious, it has to be appreciated from a historical point of view. No one in modern history has ever made philosophy books popular for the mass market. So what Prabhupada did was a stroke of genius and he should be described as…this should be understood to be part of Prabhupada’s genius in knowing how to popularize Krsna consciousness. That he combined the world’s deepest philosophy with paintings. And the paintings added to this philosophy made the books popular, made very deep high-level philosophy books popular to the masses. The average print run and distribution of a major philosophical work is miniscule in this world. In any language it’s miniscule compared to the popular novels and the popular nonfiction works. Philosophy books just are not big sellers. So this was Prabhupada’s genius. It cannot be in any way overstated, because it is an act of genius that he figured out how to have mass popularization of very high philosophy books. Prabhupada actually wanted 50 paintings in every volume. That was Prabhupada’s vision. Genius! No philosopher ever thought of such a thing. And therefore their books never sell. These art paintings were the basis of all the book distribution. 

Of course, it was our sincerity and our drive and our desire to please Prabhupada. But the technique was showing people the paintings, attracting their senses, getting them curious and interested and attracted by the art. The more beautiful the art the more you could tell people that this describes the most beautiful, peaceful way of life, the most beautiful spiritual thing, you have to find out these people have. You’d show the paintings and you’d say things like, “This explains how to experience the highest happiness. Just look at this painting. Wouldn’t you like to be there?” The paintings were the basis for the book selling. And Prabhupada is the genius who thought that up. 

Ramesvara interview on history of ISKCON and book changes — full text 77 

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