BBT not meant for publishing fiction


irm


Back to Prabhupada, Issue 28, Summer 2010
By Krishnakant

After founding the International Society for Krishna consciousness (ISKCON) in 1966, Srila Prabhupada established “ISKCON Press” for printing his books. Subsequently, to manage the operations of printing his books, including the activities of ISKCON Press, a trust was incorporated, called The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT). We examine here what ISKCON Press and BBT were set up to print and publish, and further examine what the BBT today is actually printing.

ISKCON Press

“In the meantime, the press is ready. The press has already begun to print, and without having any book ready, they are printing other materials. But the press is specifically meant for printing my books.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 14th, 1969)

“The ISKCON Press was specifically established exclusively for printing my books.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 27th, 1970)

“ISKCON Press is simply meant for printing our books”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 17th, 1971)

This is clear-cut: Srila Prabhupada set up ISKCON Press to only print his writings.

ISKCON Press and BBT

“So far my books are concerned, I am setting up a different body of management known as the BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST. The trustees of this body are also members of the GBC, but their function is not dependent on the GBC. ISKCON Press was created for the exclusive publication of my books and literatures and should be continued in that way.”
(Srila Prabhupada’s Direction of Management, July 28th, 1970)

“The proceeds allocated to the Book Fund shall be used for the following purposes, all in the discretion of the Trustees, in whom I have complete confidence:
Printing and reprinting of books;
Directing and managing all publicity and distribution of my books; Processing all copyrights and legal rights to my books;
Allocating funds as they see fit to ISKCON Press and directing the operation of the activities of ISKCON Press in the printing and reprinting of said books.”

(BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST AGREEMENT, BBT Agreement, May 29th, 1972, emphasis added. Full agreement can be accessed here: http://www.iskconirm.com/BTPexternal_links/BBTTrust.PDF )

Srila Prabhupada announces that a trust will be formed specifically for the purpose of managing the publishing of all books via ISKCON Press, which as we have already seen, was set up to only print Srila Prabhupada’s books.

BBT - That is my will

“The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust account will be used to publish my books and literature and to establish Temples throughout the world”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter to BBT Trustees, July 29th, 1970)

“They shall combinedly collect the sales proceeds from each Center and utilize all funds for the printing of Srila Prabhupada’s books and the construction of ISKCON Centers all over the world. Not a farthing is to be spent for any other purpose.”
(Letter to all ISKCON Temple Presidents, Karandhara dasa Adhikari, April 22nd, 1972, APPROVED: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Founder-Acarya of ISKCON)

“We are printing more books. This is my books. I have made a Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. That is my will, and I have given my will that fifty percent of the collection should be spent for reprinting the books and fifty percent should be spent for spreading the movement.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, April 20th, 1976)

This states clearly that the printing activities of the trust pertain to the printing of Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Non-authorised BBT printings

It is clear that the BBT was set up to only publish Srila Prabhupada’s works. Additionally, Srila Prabhupada gave specific one-off authorisation for the BBT printing of a handful of other works which he approved. However, the BBT today routinely prints works which are neither by Srila Prabhupada, nor which received specific authorisation from him to be printed by the BBT. Some examples are cookbooks (e.g. The Book of Eggfree Cakes, Vegetarian World Food) and books on Indian culture (e.g. The Hidden Glory of India).

As well as the BBT not being authorised by Srila Prabhupada to print these works, they are not even in line with Srila Prabhupada’s teachings:

“But we should not waste time encouraging vegetarianism as opposed to meat eating. We want to encourage prasadam taking and that is automatically vegetarian.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 9th, 1976)

The BBT now wishes to go even further in its non-authorised, non-Prabhupada publishing program. The trust set up specifically to publish Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental words now wishes to publish fiction!:

"A new BBT project - call to authors The BBT would like to showcase some of the best short story (fiction), creative nonfiction, and poetry writing in ISKCON. Devotees are invited to submit their work for consideration. The proposed book will be similar in size and binding to the Hidden Glory of India, published by the BBT."
(http://news.iskcon.org, March 25th, 2010)

Again, this unauthorised program has nothing to do with Srila Prabhupada’s teachings:

“We are not fiction writers.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 18th, 1976)

Conclusion

ISKCON was established by Srila Prabhupada to be a “Prabhupadaonly” movement, with himself as ISKCON’s only diksha guru, with ISKCON’s teachings based only on Srila Prabhupada’s books, with ISKCON’s standards and rules based only on Srila Prabhupada instructions, and the BBT was similarly established to only publish Srila Prabhupada’s books. The removal of Srila Prabhupada as ISKCON’s guru began the gradual move away by ISKCON from reliance on Srila Prabhupada, with new gurus, new teachings, new books, and now even the “Bhaktivedanta” Book Trust is beginning the process of moving away from exclusive reliance on “Bhaktivedanta”. It has moved so
far away from the transcendental, factual teachings given by Srila Prabhupada, that it now wishes to publish the fictional imaginations of anyone and everyone!

Clearly, therefore, today’s ISKCON and BBT are not the “Prabhupada-only” entities established by Srila Prabhupada, and it is these entities which the IRM wishes to see revived and re-established.

Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!