Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said, and Sri Krsna has said in the Bhagavad-gita, to first hear from Gurudeva; and then, after hearing, perform kirtana. Kirtana means preaching. The words we speak in class may disappear into the sky; but what is written as a document, in books such as Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srimad-Bhagavatam and the books of the Gosvamis, will remain forever and help for millions of years.
In this volume, our most beloved Gurudeva gives his appeal, inspiration, guidance, and blessing in regard to two of the most essential practices that nourish our bhakti, namely sravanam (hearing, or reading) and kirtanam (chanting, or preaching).
By the divine power of his own kirtana, he speaks to encourage the development of our taste for distributing these same messages. He clearly reveals and inspires the transcendental mood of book distribution that is in the heart of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all our acaryas, and he also reveals it as a way to his own heart.
Out of his fathomless compassion, our most worshipful Srila Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, bestowed his blessings upon the world through his immaculate translations and commentaries of the life- transforming ancient Vedic literatures. His authority is that he has presented, without adulteration, the Vedic literature and those literatures in pursuance of it.
He is glorious because he represents the glorious guru- parampara, the unbroken chain of disciplic succession of realized 9urus coming from Lord Sri Krsna Himself He is accepted by Sri Krsna's devotees throughout the world as a 'manifestation of Srila Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa, the Lord's literary incarnation. He represents and has manifested the sublime works of Srila Vyasa, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanataria Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada, and all the pure acaryas in our disciplic line. In addition, he has glorified their message in his discourses and discussions, and those words have later also become books.
His over seventy books inspire conditioned souls with the path to freedom from birth, old age, disease, and death. They educate their readers about the deluding nature of this frightful material world, and the ever-new and unfolding pristine spiritual world. They teach the means of peace and harmony, giving relief from depression, hopelessness, and conflict. They give the A to Z of the bhakti philosophy, the philosophy of devotion to God, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, they delineate the fundamental practices of such devotion, and they reveal the immaculate guidelines for entering the pinnacle of devotion known as radha.-dasyam.
The Soul of Book Distribution manifests in three parts. Part One is composed of excerpts of Srila Gurudeva's lectures and letters requesting and encouraging his followers to distribute his books. Part Two contains excerpts from the books, lectures, and letters of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada regarding the importance of transcendental books and their dissemination. Part Three contains excerpts from Srila Gurudeva's lectures and books, explaining the deep significance of their messages, the best ways to read them, and the astounding benefits derived from such reading.
As mentioned throughout, Srila Gurudeva not only requests his disciples and followers to propagate his books, but also the books of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, his siksa-guru and intimate friend. In turn, Srila Prabhupada's powerful statements in Part Three not only inspire the reading and distribution of his books, but also the books of Srila Gurudeva, his spiritual successor.
The Soul of Book Distribution has been compiled by a team of Srila Gurudeva's followers. Respected Readers, we pray that you ignore our imperfections in this compilation, and that you receive new inspiration by reading it.
[An excerpt from Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's discourse of March 2, 2000, given in Cessnock, N.S.W. Australia:]
Someone asked me, "What is your mission? What have you come here to give?" I replied, "My mission is the same mission as that of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and our 9uru-paramparii. Our mission is to give love and affection to all living beings without any consideration of caste and creed. Our main mission is to give love and affection to the highest standard:'
You will be happy to know that if one has love and affection for Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that person will have love and affection for all living beings. He will not kill any animal, nor will he take fish, meat, or eggs, nor will he even crush the grass. He will try to please Krsna, and thus he will be kind and affectionate to all living entities. He will have the most high class of mercy.
When I go for walks, I sometimes see calves and cows grazing in the fields, who tremble in fear and run away when- ever they see people. They sense that, "These persons have no mercy for me. They are keeping me in jail, and after some days they will take me to the slaughter house and kill me." They know.
What right do you have to chop and kill them? If you are not merciful, how can you expect Krsna to bestow His mercy upon you? A renowned pope is killing calves, who are like very small children, in order to take their meat. These calves will cry at the time of their death, and where will this crying go? Where will it be heard? Does Krsna have no ears to hear? The popes consider, "We are greatly religious persons; servants of God." And what do the calves realize? They are experiencing that there is no love and affection for them. They are also sons and daughters of Krsna; eternal servants of Krsna. We realize this, and we tell them, "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. Please hear this mantra at least once."
Persons with real compassion are called guru. They have no self-interest, nor are they at all duplicitous. Because they are all pure devotees, they are full of mercy. So, my mission is to give love and affection for Krsna, which will automatically come to all living beings, and I appeal to you all to become like me.
My mission is not to make numerous disciples. Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, and other bona fide acaryas in our disciplic succession never collected disciples. Still, they are jagat guru. They are actually guru - guru of the entire world. My mission is to give the prema that is experienced by the gopis.
Regarding those opposed to this attainment, I pray that Krsna will be merciful to them. Although such persons are offensive to the lotus feet of Guru-Gauranga, sastra, and Krsna, I pray to Krsna to sprinkle His mercy even to them, because they are ignorant. Srila Haridasa Thakura, prayed, "0 Krsna, although these servants of the Muslim government are beating me in twenty-two markets, please give Your mercy to them. They are all ignorant." If it were not for Srila Haridasa Thakura's prayers, Krsna would have at once sent His cakra to destroy them. Because devotees are magnanimous, Ambarisa Maharaja also prayed for Durvasa Rsi, although Durvasa Rsi had tried to kill him.
Try to develop prema for Krsna, and be merciful to all. Convey this message to everyone by distributing books and by nagara-sank1rtana - for the benefit of all calves, cows, and ignorant persons. Whether the ignorant appreciate it or not, and even if they hate hearing it, the holy name of Krsna will purify them. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has personally requested you all to participate in nagara-sankirtana, not seeing whether people are laughing at you, insulting you, or neglecting you. Follow the example of Srila Haridasa Thakura, and follow Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who established nama-hatta.
If you follow all these instructions, you will really be disciples. Then I will be pleased, and Krsna will be pleased.
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