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Dear faithful follower of Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept our obeisances and best wishes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Here for your thoughtful attention is a letter from Srila Prabhupada, dated 14 March 1974, in which His Divine Grace expresses his clear directions regarding the publishing of his books.

Srila Prabhupada sent this letter to all ISKCON centers throughout the world.

The letter makes clear His Divine Grace’s desire that the BBT have the exclusive rights for printing all of his literature. And it emphasizes that printing his literature, taking collection and spending “outside the jurisdiction of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust” was something that, according to his firm direction, “must not go on.”

Srila Prabhupada invested in the BBT the exclusive right for the printing of all his literature so that the BBT’s proceeds could be used “fifty percent for printing new books and fifty percent for construction of temples.”

Independent printing, Srila Prabhupada explained, would be at the cost of the books he himself was printing and could even “eventually cause the financial ruin of the BBT,” thus preventing the book trust he had established from ordering new books on his behalf and having sufficient funds for construction of temple projects.

We are here bringing to light Srila Prabhupada’s desire and directive in this matter so that everyone who wishes may faithfully follow His Divine Grace by honoring the letter and spirit of his important instructions. We also encourage you to inform other ISKCON devotees and followers of Srila Prabhupada to do the same.

If you have any questions about Srila Prabhupada’s desire for us to buy his books exclusively from the BBT, please ask your local GBC secretary to answer them for you.

Clearly, Srila Prabhupada wanted only one exclusive publisher, and during his physical presence this is what he insisted upon. At least for all the members of ISKCON, if not for all his disciples, we believe that this is what he should still have.

Hoping this finds you in good health

Your servants,

Vaisesika Dasa
Vijaya Dasa
Navina Nirada Dasa

Srila Prabhupada’s letter:

Letter To: All ISKCON Centers


14 March, 1974

Memorandum to All ISKCON Centers

My dear disciples,

Please accept my blessings. Now that our ISKCON is growing into a huge, world wide organization, it has come to my attention that sometimes centers are printing my literature, taking collection and spending all outside the jurisdiction of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. This must not go on.

I specifically formed the BBT to invest in it exclusive rights for the printing of all literature containing my teachings, writings and lectures. In this way the collections are to be divided fifty percent for printing new books and fifty percent for construction of temples.

The BBT can authorize a center to print, as in the case of foreign translations, with the agreement that when the foreign printing becomes financially solvent they will pay royalties to the BBT. But all printing of ISKCON literature must be by the BBT or under their sanction and approval.

If temples print independently it will be at the cost of the books I am myself printing, and could eventually cause the financial ruin of the BBT, meaning I could not order new books from the printer or have sufficient funds for construction of temple projects.

I trust this is now clear and you will all do the needful. If you have any questions in this matter you can write me directly or consult with the GBC representative.

Your ever well-wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami


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1 Unregistered

Dear Prabhus,

I have a question - rising out of simple curiosity. I suspect that many devotees have the same question.

As far as I have seen from a cursory study of U.S law regarding copyrights (please correct me if I am wrong), the current U.S government policy is that a book automatically becomes “public domain” (in the sense that nobody holds the copyright anymore) seventy years after the demise of the author. This means, in Srila Prabhupada’s case, that in no more than 34 years from now, all of Srila Prabhupada’s books will become “public domain” in the USA: it will be legal for anyone to print them.

I am not putting into question the clear instruction of Srila Prabhupada that you posted. However, the un-avoidable future seems to indicate that many other printing entities (in the US) other than the BBT will soon print Srila Prabhupada’s books alongside the BBT. Water seeks the path of least resistance: if it is 100% legal for other publishing entities to print Prabhupada’s books (which it will be in 34 years), and if they can make money from it (which they will be able to), they certainly will do it.

What are your comments on this? Where does this leave the BBT? Where does this leave Iskcon members - especially just around the corner in 34 years?

Respectfully yours,
Chandrashekhara acharya dasa

Comment posted by bcsdasa on July 27th, 2013
2 Akruranatha

The BBT has done an amazing job over the years of continuing to keep Srila Prabhupada’s books in print and available for distribution, while also getting them translated into many different languages.

In addition, projects which are very dear to Srila Prabhupada, such as the TOVP in Mayapur, are receiving much-needed funding from the BBT.

Those who want to purchase “classic” reproductions of the 1972 MacMillan edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is (in spite of numerous editors mistakes in the text) can do so from the BBT as well. There is no need to get them from any other source.

The BBT is accountable and you can know how BBT funds are being spent. Buying books from rival publishers is at the cost of the BBT, and the profits are going to God knows where.

If we want to please Srila Prabhupada, we should buy his books exclusively from the BBT and participate in the system of supporting ISKCON projects and BBTv publishing activities, which Srila Prabhupada created and as Srila Prabhupada demanded of us.

There is no alternative for a loyal follower of Srila Prabhupada. Period. This is perfectly clear.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on July 27th, 2013

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