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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

BBT Hyderabad Step Up to the Challenge

Saturday, 07 June 2008 / Published in Book distribution, Newsletters / 4,767 views

By Madhava Smullen

Friends of the BBT Newsletter:

As a young man in Lille, France, Anandamaya Dasa probably never expected to live most of his adult life in India. But in 1971, he took an epic journey that would change his life, driving thousands of miles from his home to the mystical Eastern country, where he planned to spend a year travelling.

On his way home, however, he happened to stop in Bihar, where several of Srila Prabhu-pada’s disciples from ISKCON Calcutta were attending a mela. Anandamaya spoke to Tamal Krishna Goswami, and Achyutananda and Guru-kripa Prabhus, and was so fascinated with their philosophy that he followed them to Calcutta. “I joined ISKCON there in 1972, and have lived in India ever since,” he says.

India certainly seemed to be Anandamaya’s destiny—only four years later, when he was living in Hyderabad, he discovered his life’s work. “Srila Prabhupada came to inaugurate the new temple there, and was delighted to see it,” he says.

“But I remember he told the president Mahamsa Swami, ‘You have only done fifty per cent of the work.’ Mahamsa’s face fell, and Prabhupada explained, ‘To do the remaining fifty per cent, you have to print all my books in Telugu.’”

The instruction embedded itself in Anandamaya’s mind. When Prabhupada requested an outside pandit named S. Krishna- murti to translate his books into Telugu, Anandamaya assisted him, printing whatever Krishnamurti translated, and the Hyderabad BBT was born.

“It was difficult and slow work,” says Anandamaya. “Bhakti Charu Swami was translating in Bengal, and later Gour Govinda Swami in Bhubaneswar. But we had no devotees proficient in the complicated Telugu language, nobody to check if the translations were accurate.

I did my best, talking to the translator and systematically eliminating any philosophical discrepancies.” It wasn’t until 1984 that the first complete edition of Bhagavad-gita finally appeared, but when it did it was a victory for Anandamaya and BBT Hyderabad.

Now, twenty-four years later, and fifteen years since he took on BBT work full-time, Anandamaya is BBT Hyderabad’s Telugu branch manager. With Telugu the third most spoken language in India after Hindi and Bengali, that means he’s serving a potential audience of sixty million.

And all from a 300 square-foot office in the basement of the Hyderabad temple. Anandamaya’s not complaining, however. “It’s pleasant and cool in the summer, and the temple atmosphere is very favorable for working on Prabhupada’s books,” he says. “I feel that the BBT is not a commercial enterprise—it is a spiritual activity. So I’ve tried to keep Prabhupada in the center and keep the atmosphere here spiritual, broad-minded and open.”

A large 2,000 square-foot warehouse helps too, allowing the Hyderabad BBT to store books for dispatching to ISKCON centers, although Anandamaya estimates that it will become too small for their needs within the next five years. With a total of 197,709 Telugu books sold in 2007, and book sales of almost eight million rupees, that’s a foreseeable outcome.

“We get our inspiration from Prabhupada’s instructions, from dedicated book distributors around the world, and from ISKCON centers that encourage book distribution, such as Tirupati, Bangalore, Rajmundry and others,” says Anandamaya.

“By watching them, we have managed to increase our book distribution by ten per cent every year, and expect to continue in the future.”

Anandamaya and his small team are also doing their best to make sure all of Prabhupada’s books are available in Telugu, just as he wanted them. So far, they’ve published six big books, twenty small books by Srila Prabhupada, and five books by other ISKCON authors.

“Prabhupada used to say, ‘Every time a new book is printed, I feel like I have conquered a new empire,’” Anandamaya recalls. “I never quite understood that. But when our latest release, Prabhu pada’s biography, finally arrived from the printer after ten long years of so many different corrections, translators, and printing problems, I finally could truly comprehend what he meant.”

Next on the slate for BBT Hyderabad is Teachings of Queen Kunti, currently under translation, and expected by next year. Their most challenging project ever, the translation and printing of Caitanya-Caritamrita, will follow.

“It’s a very difficult job that requires lots of dedication, devotion and knowledge,” says Anandamaya. “We can only start once we have managed to build a team of devotee translators.”

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3 Responses to “BBT Hyderabad Step Up to the Challenge”

  1. scooty.ram says :


    Anandamaya prabhu is an amazing devotee, with vast knowledge in all vaishnava philosophies ,i had ever met.

    He has a beautiful library in his office downstairs with most rarest collection of madhva’s and sri ramanuja’s works.And top of all he still remembers most of those works with exact references.

    If i am not wrong, he had met bnk sharma (madhva author) and published few articles in BTG decades before.
    It is really rare to see such harmonious blend of devotion and scholarship.

    You can always see him engrossed in editing srila prabhupada’s translated works.

    He is also very humble and most amicable person .You can rarely find him in the crowd.

    Every weekend i had spent with him in hyderabad is most memorable.

    I learnt a lot from him.

    Anandamaya prabhu ki jai!


  2. Siddhartha says :

    Hare Krishna!
    Is there anyway we can help in the service of BBT telugu translation through internet? By Krishna’s mercy, I am decently good at internet and want to contribute for this good work.

    Srila prabhupada Ki Jai!!

    If so, please contact me –

  3. scooty.ram says :

    Please contact sri anandamaya prabhu

    Please contact temple for details 040 24744969/24607089