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 

More

“Our process is so nice anyone can avoid, if he follows”

 

Conversation with Srila Prabhupada

Jan 21 1977

Hari-sauri: So those persons who can’t come up to the standard of the temple life…

Prabhupada: Yes.

Hari-Sauri: …they should remain outside.

Prabhupada: That is above all the guas.

Ramesvara: That’s very rare. That is the most rare.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Ramesvara:  Not every man. You always say it’s not possible for every man.

Prabhupada:  No, that you cannot do. Because you are in the material world, how you can avoid the influence of material qualities? But our process is so nice that anyone can avoid if he follows. There is no difficulty.

Hari-sauri:   But just like in our society we already have so many people who are initiated, but they can’t follow the principles very strictly.

Prabhupada: That’s all right. It will take some time. They’ll do it.

Hari-suari: They just have to be encouraged to keep that association.

Prabhupada: Therefore I stress in every letter, “Chant Hare Krishna at least sixteen times. Follow the principles.” That can be done.(?) This simple method will help. Even if he cannot strictly follow, still, whatever he has done, that is his asset. And it will give me more and more chance. So it is not actually lost.  tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer (SB.1.5.17)

Hari-sauri:   So we have to give allowances to such people. We have to give allowance?

Prabhupada:   Allowance? It is not allowance, but give him instruction. It is up to him to follow or not to follow.

Hari-sauri:   But we cannot give any compromise.

Prabhupada:   No. This is the way. “But you are not able? All right, take little more time.

Changes

Srila Prabhupada

“I am not much fond of the idea of changing things to accommodate the
public — better to change the public to accommodate us.”

(Letter to Bali-mardana — Bombay, December 28, 1971)

“The standards I have already given you, now try to maintain them at
all times under standard procedure. Do not try to innovate or create
anything or manufacture anything, that will ruin everything. Simply do
as I am doing and be always serious and sincere to serve Krsna, and He
will give you intelligence how to do everything.”

(Letter to Bali-mardana, Pusta Krsna — Los Angeles, September 18, 1972)

Book Changes More

1979 Interview with Ramesvara Prabhu

Srila Prabhupada with Ramesvara

click on image to enlarge

In case anyone missed this important 1979 interview with Ramesvara Prabhu, on the History of ISKCON, Book Changes, Book Publication, etc., etc. We are re-posting again.

Testimonial by Ramesvara dasa
Ramesvara-interview-1979

A very, very important document has just become public. It is a 300+ page transcript of a 1979 interview betweem Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu and Ramesvara Prabhu, the manager of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the person who was directly in charge of printing Srila Prabhupada’s books durning that time. Ramesvara had many direct instructions from Srila Prabhupada in regard to printing his books, and he also gives an eye-witness account of many events that took place while Srila Prabhupada was physically present. Very interesting read!!!

You can download the PDF file of the interview by clicking on: Ramesvara-interview-1979

Or you can read the entire interview here… More

The Change Disease / Book Changes

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Macmillan Edition

This is a very nice article written by Sriman Rupanuga Prabhu, that I found on the Sampradaya Sun this morning. It gives us some more information of the history of the Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1972 Macmillan Edition, and the changes that have transpired since. Very informative!

…That new Gita was to prove big and heavy and only so many could be crammed into a bookbag, but people were to become immediately attracted to the gorgeous, colorful paintings; besides, where could they find such a book with so many color illustrations, and for how much? It was Srila Prabhupada’s transcendent genius to conceive of such a way to reveal to people the deepest philosophy and the highest truths comprehensible to human beings. No other volume of supposed philosophical content could compare to that Gita, decorated as it was with paintings allowing a view of the Spiritual Sky. Along with Prasadam, those paintings were Srila Prabhupada’s secret weapons.

…To reiterate, after examining and rejecting new paintings for the Krsna Book, Srila Prabhupada formulated the following instructions for paintings in his books:

“If a painting is to be replaced it must be the exact same pastime, same scene, but better technically; to take out an approved painting and replace it with a different one was not allowed; and a painting may be added but there is no question of removing anything.”

In other words, Srila Prabhupada was explaining that if he were to replace a painting as they were proposing, it would be only with a better painting technically, with the same scene. But once approved by him, a painting could not be replaced; but more, bona fide paintings could be added. The conclusion is that paintings personally approved by Srila Prabhupada were not to be changed or replaced then, or in the future. It’s noteworthy that he strongly resisted replacing illustrations or paintings he had previously approved, and often took the time to demonstrate how proposed replacement or additions were misconceived.

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