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Srila Prabhupada Books

The Nectar of Book Distribution

The Nectar of Book Distribution

By HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

              Manuals on many topics are entering the ISKCON market: cooking, teaching, communications, Āyurveda, home schooling, Deity worship, tulasī care, the āśramas, the dhāmas, studying śāstra, Ratha-cart construction. Now, also, a manual is available that will help devotees become proficient in the art of distributing books: The Nectar of Book Distribution. This book consists mainly of statements by pioneers, leaders, and other experienced devotees in the field of book distribution. Fearing that the wisdom of their years of experience might be lost, we compiled this book as a service for the present and future generations of ISKCON devotees. It systematically presents for the first time both philosophical explanations of the mission of book distribution and practical guidelines.


         The Nectar of Book Distribution was first published in 1993 under the North European BBT imprint, “BBT Sankirtan Books.” Many devotees quoted herein are from North Europe, which in those days was one of the leading areas in book distribution. We are republishing this work with the hope that the new generation of book distributors can learn from the sacrifices and struggles of the old veterans, as described in this book.

NameThe Nectar of Book Distribution
PublisherBhakti Vikas Trust
Weight820 gms
ISBNISBN 978-93-82109-64-8
Table Of Contents

Introduction to Part One     3
1 / Book Distribution:
“Our Most Important Activity”    5
1.1 Three premises     5
1.2 Saṅkīrtana and book distribution     7
Congregational chanting: the spiritual process for this age     7
Saṅkīrtana includes chanting and preaching     11
Books as a means to propagate the yuga-dharma, saṅkīrtana     14
1.3 Bṛhad-mṛdaṅga     14
“Sales of literature, that is our great saṅkīrtana”     14
“For wider kīrtana, book distribution is better ”     15
Book distribution is “the immediate important business”     17
The necessity of going to the people     20
Book distribution cannot be stopped     22
1.4 The best preaching: let Śrīla Prabhupāda preach     24
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s desire to preach     24
“We have to see how books are being distributed”     26
Earning Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mercy     27
1.5 Book distribution is the basis of all preaching     28
Realizations: Book distribution is the best preaching     29
Realizations: Books prepare the preaching field     32
Festivals: “Do you sell many books there?”     35
Books go everywhere     36
1.6 Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books make devotees     36
Prabhupāda’s guarantee     36
Examples of books making devotees     37
Why don’t more people join?     39
1.7 Book distribution is the foundation of the house
in which the whole world can live     42
Book distribution: the basis of a big plan     42
“Ours is a cooperative movement”     43
“Prabhupāda, what pleases you the most?”     47
“Devotional service is absolute, but …”     49
“See to it that the trains are always running”     51
“Please assist me to your best capacity”     53
Conclusion     54

2 / Saṅkīrtana Philosophy     55
2.1 The Mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu     55
No one is more merciful than Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu     56
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission     56
Starting another person’s devotional service     58
Greatest welfare work     60
“Make all the unfortunate fortunate”     61
2.2 The glories of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books     62
Prabhupāda’s books are the words of bhagavān and bhāgavata     62
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s emotional ecstasies     64
Prabhupāda’s books contain the Absolute Truth     67
As good as Deities     72
Books sanctify us, our preaching, and human society     73
2.3 Prabhupāda’s books are nondifferent from the Lord     78
The transcendental nature of Prabhupāda’s books     78
The Lord’s sound incarnation     79
“Spoken kīrtans”     80
2.4 Book distribution is a transcendental activity     81
Are reading and distributing books activities for neophytes?     81
Book saṅkīrtana and the saṅkīrtana-yajña     83
Saṅkīrtana: both the means and the end     84
Imported from Goloka: books for all seasons     86
The saṅkīrtana movement: Kṛṣṇa’s present incarnation     86
By book distribution Kṛṣṇa appears in human society     87
Prabhupāda’s books purify the atmosphere     88
The confidential understanding of saṅkīrtana     89
2.5 Selling books: the work of vaiśyas or brāhmaṇas?     93
Book distribution and varṇāśrama     93
“No business begging”     94
On making propaganda     95
2.6 Distribution influenced by the modes of nature     97
2.7 Conclusion     102

3 / Qualities of a Book Distributor     105
3.1 What is a book distributor?     105
Preachers render the best service     106
Realizations     108
3.2 Books are distributed by spiritual potency     111
The importance of pure consciousness and motivation     112
Spiritual qualities make a devotee attractive     114
3.3 The qualities of a devotee     118
Verses describing a devotee’s qualities     118
The primary quality and secondary qualities of devotees     119
3.4 Book distribution is a practical
symptom of surrender     121
The six symptoms of surrender     121
Accepting what’s favorable, rejecting what’s unfavorable     122
Firmly believing that the Lord protects His devotees     124
Accepting the Lord as one’s maintainer and master     126
Having no desire other than the Lord’s desire     127
Always feeling meek and humble     128
3.5 Faith in the order of guru and Kṛṣṇa     131
What does it mean to have faith?     131
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mission: his guru’s mission     132
Faith in guru and Kṛṣṇa is the secret of success     133
The greatest opportunity to please guru and Kṛṣṇa     136
Intense association with the spiritual master     137
Are book distributors fanatics?     139
3.6 Energy, enthusiasm, and enlivenment     141
The five factors of action     141
Meditating on the Supercause     143
Desire as the crucial factor     144
Positive thinking     146
3.7 Divine austerity     147
Tolerating difficulties     148
A means to purify and restrain the mind     150
Forced surrender     151
An opportunity to make the quickest advancement     154
3.8 Sources of inspiration     156
Śrīla Prabhupāda made book distribution the top priority     156
Encouragement from the authorities     157
Reading Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books     159
Enjoying book distribution     161
The example and association of other book distributors     162

Introduction to Part Two     165
4 / The Mass Distribution of
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Books     167
4.1 Śrīla Prabhupāda on mass distribution     167
Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted mass distribution     169
Aggression     170
Books should not be given free     171
4.2 Devotee clothing , Western clothing     172
Statements (in chronological order) by Śrīla Prabhupāda     172
Statements from Bhaktivedanta purports     174
Advantages of distributing books in Western clothing     175
Advantages of devotee clothing     177
4.3 Quantity and quality     178
4.4 Saṅkīrtana transcends mundane salesmanship     180
The limits of mundane salesmanship     180
Techniques aren’t the most important thing     182
4.5 Practical techniques of mass distribution     183
Preaching while distributing     184
The psychology of mass distribution     188
Techniques vary according to time and place     189
The stack method     190
How to approach people in public     191
Asking for donations     198
Giving many books at once     199
Preaching to the faithless — the ninth offense     200
4.6 Unlimited ways to praise Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books     201
Flattering people     207
Handling special situations     208
4.7 Learning from past mistakes     212
Misconceptions that sneaked in     213
The end justifies the means — but where does it end?     214
Don’t leave negative impressions     216
Beware of offending the conditioned souls     217
Why not apologize?     218
The role of managers     218
The call to purity and responsibility     219
4.8 What Śrīla Prabhupāda really said     220
On “cheating”     221
“By hook or by crook” in context     224
“The end justifies the means” in context     225
Instructions on quality, quantity, and honesty     226
“First impressions are lasting”     229
Stop disturbing, but don’t stop distributing     229

5 / Other Forms of Distributing
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Books     233
5.1 Śrīla Prabhupāda on selling sets to universities     233
5.2 The history of set distribution     236
5.3 Methods of set distribution     237
The BBT Library Party     237
Contract sales     239
Follow-up programs     239
Single books and sets combined     240
Selling sets door to door     240
The nāmahaṭṭa model     241
5.4 Distributing door to door     241
Visiting private offices, shops, and homes     241
Distributing in offices     244
5.5 Industries     247
5.6 Book tables     248
5.7 Harināma saṅkīrtana — by bus or padayātrā     249
5.8 Magazine distribution     251
5.9 Mail order     258
General strategy of a mail order service     259
Further aspects of mail order     260
Successful advertising     263
5.10 Follow-up or “contact” saṅkīrtana     263
Cultivating the people we meet     263
Not everyone will live in our temples     264
How many people can we reach?     266
5.11 Bringing the books to the top ranks     268
“Getting top-ranking men to read my books is real preaching”     268
“Getting the support of everyone, not just a select few”     268

6 / Book Distribution as a Lifetime Mission     271
6.1 What does “lifetime” mean?     271
Who really distributes for a lifetime?     271
Staying connected to book distribution     273
What it takes to continue for a lifetime     274
Capacity and quantity     278
Responsibility to Śrīla Prabhupāda     280
6.2 Book distribution is a constant challenge     281
Every day means new surrender     281
Taking shelter in book distribution     283
Stopping full-time book distribution     285
6.3 Overcoming problems in spiritual life     286
False ego and fruitive mentality     287
Self-centeredness     290
Discouragement due to bad propaganda     291
Mental rebellion     293
Lust     296
Doubts     299
Accepting glorification     299
Other services: diversity or diversion?     301
6.4 Psychological dimensions of book distribution     303
Considering the individual’s needs     303
Being properly situated     306
Social pressure     308
The highest ideal and the gradual process of reaching it     309
Varṇāśrama: individual and collective progress     311
6.5 Sādhu-saṅga     312
Association with devotees as the life of spiritual life     313
Preaching: giving our association, not taking theirs     315
“The only difficulty is the fighting”     316
6.6 Spiritual life for a lifetime     317
Importance of sādhana     318
Proper chanting and hearing     320
Daily reading of Prabhupāda’s books     321
“Not that we are simply meant for selling books”     323
6.7 Bhāgavata-mārga and pāñcarātrika-vidhi     324
Running on parallel lines     325
“Bhāgavata-mārga is more important”     326
Balanced life     327

Introduction to Part Three     331
7 / Managing and Supporting
Book Distribution     333
7.1 Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books can be
distributed everywhere     333
Temples, books, and chanting in every town and village     334
Where there’s a will, there’s a way     336
Book distribution must be cultivated     336
7.2 Harmony between devotees     337
Śrīla Prabhupāda on cooperation     337
Creating a team spirit     338
Serving the saṅkīrtana devotees     340
Special treatment for book distributors     342
7.3 Temple and saṅkīrtana organization     343
Each temple independent     344
Temple management     345
Inventory and bookkeeping     346
7.4 How to deal with civil authorities     348
Legalizing book distribution     348
Official accounting     350
Dealing with the police     351
Dealing with customers’ complaints     352
When people want to give back books     353
Complaints by phone or mail     354
7.5 Temple economics based on book distribution     355
How temples began to rely on book distribution     355
Book distribution is the safest economic basis     356
“We will always have customers”     360
Preach and the money will come     360
“Deal adequately with all facilities offered by the Lord”     362
7.6 ISKCON and the BBT     363
What is the BBT?     363
ISKCON and the BBT — separate entities     364
The BBT protects Śrīla Prabhupāda’s copyrights     364
BBT, a transcendental collection agency     365
“More books at a lower price”     366
The price formula: double the BBT price     367
7.7 The dangers of immoderate financial management     369
Books are the best paraphernalia     370
Expanding beyond our means     372
The paraphernalia trap     373
Business should support the preaching     374

8 / Saṅkīrtana Strategies     377
8.1 Preaching and book distribution from the temple     377
Śrīla Prabhupāda on the temple’s purpose     377
The temple as a base for book distribution     378
Harināma chanting parties     379
Public programs and festivals     380
Preaching in higher circles     381
Preaching to the congregation     383
8.2 Going out with books     384
8.3 Traveling saṅkīrtana     386
Traveling saṅkīrtana pleased Śrīla Prabhupāda     387
Advantages of traveling saṅkīrtana     388
8.4 The practical side of traveling saṅkīrtana     390
Don’t be attached to facilities     391
Groups and division of duties     391
Vehicles     394
Saṅkīrtana schedule     394
Choosing where to distribute     395
Deities on traveling saṅkīrtana     397
8.5 Book distribution by gṛhasthas living outside     398
The preaching potential     398
Finances     401
8.6 Distributing books and prasādam     402
8.7 Which books to distribute     404
“Every book is meant for everyone”     405
Variety according to time, place, and circumstance     405
Śrīla Prabhupāda on small books, leaflets, and pamphlets     408
8.8 Saṅkīrtana meetings     409
Regular meetings     409
Śrīla Prabhupāda on saṅkīrtana newsletters and reports     411
Suggestions for saṅkīrtana meetings     412
8.9 Maintaining health     413
Dealing with disease     413
Taking rest     414
Eating     415
Back problems     416
Transcending the body     417

9 / Marathons     423
9.1 Every devotee should experience
book distribution     423
Once a week and during marathons     427
Book distribution — part of a devotee’s training     429
9.2 The importance of everyone going out     427
Why it’s important for one’s spiritual life     428
Why it’s important for ISKCON     429
9.3 Marathons mean extra endeavor     430
9.4 Competition     434
Śrīla Prabhupāda on transcendental competition     435
Śrīla Prabhupāda himself took part in competitions     437
Realizations about competition     438
A case history of a marathon competition     441
9.5 Quotas     442
Quotas as stepping-stones to extraordinary feats     446
9.6 How to organize marathons     448
When and how often?     448
How to create the marathon mood     450
9.7 Marathon meditations     452

Introduction to Part Four     459
10 / Training New Book Distributors     461
10.1 Importance of the mood of the temple     461
The saṅkīrtana spirit     461
The sign of a healthy temple is people joining     462
10.2 Importance of the leaders’ mood     464
Pushing the priority     465
10.3 Example is better than precept     466
10.4 The bhakta program     469
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not sentimental or impersonal     469
Proper training     470
Preparation for saṅkīrtana     472
10.5 Points to know before going out     475
Basic book distribution techniques     475
Basic sales psychology     476
10.6 Joining a saṅkīrtana party     477
The first days on saṅkīrtana     477
Distributing books with older book distributors     480
10.7 Lessons to improve the distribution     481
Never quit     481
Quantity rests upon quality     481
Avoid indifference — it’s a battle of wills     482
Determination     482
Avoid small talk     482
Impersonalists     483
Be concise     483
Don’t talk over people’s heads     483
Be aggressive, but . . .     483
Let Kṛṣṇa help     484
Every person is an individual     484
Be personal     485
10.8 Dealing with weakness     485
10.9 Dealing with hostile people     486
10.10 First realizations of a higher taste     488
10.11 Becoming steady     491
Purifying our motivation     491
Tests are Kṛṣṇa’s mercy     492
Overcoming dualities and fighting the mind     493
Realizing your dependence on guru and Kṛṣṇa     494
Kṛṣṇa trains the devotees on saṅkīrtana     496

11 / The Stage of Determined,
Successful Book Distribution     499
11.1 Transcending the mental platform     499
From intelligence to action     499
Distributing without mental discrimination     501
Satisfaction in service     504
You’re never alone     506
11.2 Beyond attachment and false ego     507
“Please distribute books” — the spiritual master’s order     508
Endeavoring to fulfill the order, although we are powerless     508
Realizing that Kṛṣṇa is the controller     510
When Kṛṣṇa begins to drive His devotee’s chariot     512
11.3 How to become empowered     515
How Lord Brahmā became empowered     516
Agreeing to become Kṛṣṇa’s instrument     516
Depend on the mercy of guru and Kṛṣṇa     524
Seeing people change in front of you     526
The ecstasy of unlimited book distribution     527
11.4 Saṅkīrtana meditations     531

12 / A World Revolution
Through Book Distribution     539
12.1 “Prominent within the next ten thousand years”     539
12.2 On the threshold of the Golden Age     543
“The only hope is this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement”     544
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the highest consciousness     546
12.3 Our movement cannot be stopped     547
An historical example     548
Our humble methods will save us and the world     549
We succeed against all odds     549
“‘Hare Kṛṣṇa’ has become a household phrase”     551
12.4 A change of consciousness     552
The change begins subtly     553
Global changes     554
It starts with a small percentage     555
It takes spiritual strength     556
The example of the CIS     557
Revolution in the land of dharma     559
The mass of people can become enlightened from within     563
Unifying the world under Kṛṣṇa’s banner     565
12.5 Appreciating what we are part of     566
“We can explain what God is”     569
Book distributors are transcendental teachers and soldiers     570
Concluding words     573
Contributors     575
Endnotes     579

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