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“‘Putting Srila Prabhupada in the Center’ Means Putting Srila Prabhupada’s Books in the Center.”

Kanakabja das

NE BBT symposium report
By Kanakabja das

A three-day, international “BBT Symposium 2000” took place in mid-January, in Kisslegg, Germany. The North European BBT (NE-BBT) rented a new-age conference center and hotel for it. The symposium presentations focused on Srila Prabhupada’s book production and distribution.

Eighty devotees from Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, England, Benelux, the USA, Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary and CIS countries gathered to strengthen the sankirtana spirit and renewed their inspiration.

Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu (GBC for Germany, Sweden, and Denmark) gave a nice presentation entitled “‘Putting Srila Prabhupada in the Center’ Means Putting Srila Prabhupada’s Books in the Center.” He spoke about the qualities needed to really enter into the depths of the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Dravida Prabhu (BBT senior editor, San Diego, USA) explained why some things are changed in Srila Prabhupada’s books and others not. Most of his material came from the brochure “Responsible Publishing,” which illustrates clearly that all the work done by the BBT editors is just to bring Srila Prabhupada’s books closer to the original version dictated by Srila Prabhupada.

Sacinandana Swami (preacher and author, Germany, central Europe) enlivened everyone with an illustrative field report on the effects of book distribution. He demonstrated how the contagious magic of Srila Prabhupada’s books works. Maharaja showed a slide show about his recent pilgrimage to the Himalayas, where he met a yogi living close to Gomukha (the source of mother Ganges). Upon being asked by Maharaja who his spiritual master is, the yogi pulled out “Life Comes from Life” and pointed to the picture of Srila Prabhupada. “This is my guru,” he said, “because he so nicely explains the way of saranagati.” Devotees also heard a song glorifying the book distributors, from the new record by Stevie Wonder. (We will try to get the lyrics and post them soon.)

Maha Visnu Swami (preacher, Bangladesh and Nepal) was there, with his legendary accordion. He sang about the merciful nature of Lord Nityananda: “Boro Sukher Khabor Gai,” by Bhaktivinoda Thakur. While everyone was singing about how the Lord opened the marketplace of the holy name and sold Sri Harinam wholesale, on a large screen onstage a slide show was projected, showing how Lord Nityananda’s confidential servants are doing this same seva on His behalf, by distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books worldwide.

Ranjit Prabhu (BBT Archives, North Carolina, USA) showed us how Srila Prabhupada’s legacy is preserved. A lot of interesting information reassured everyone that Srila Prabhupada’s books are safely protected for almost the next ten thousand years.

Manidhara Prabhu (sankirtana veteran, Czech Republic) gave a lively speech; full of nice stories, contrasting what book distribution was like twenty-five years ago with what it is like now. He still occasionally goes out, so he also shared with us some nectar from the last Srila Prabhupada marathon.

Ekanath Prabhu (NE BBT, Sastra Research, Sweden) made a scholarly presentation entitled “Srila Prabhupada and the Tradition of the Bhagavatam Commentaries.” Devotees could see more closely how Srila Prabhupada was translating his books and which material was he using. Ekanath revealed many small and interesting details that he discovered researching Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Ciranjiva Prabhu (NE-BBT, South-East Asian Division) refreshed all the devotees with a nice presentation followed by a slide show: “An Illustrated Report from Bali.” Devotees could see how Srila Prabhupada’s books are being produced in this exotic part of the world. There is still lot of work to be done, because this is almost a completely new field, and he invited anyone who is interested to come and help. So, whoever likes adventure . . .

Mangal Maya Prabhu (BBT representative, Germany) told how devotees have a new approach to distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books in Germany. He assured everyone that Germany is not lost, that there is a growing group of young book distributors determined to increase book distribution.

Dayalu Prabhu (ISKCON Croatia) also showed a slide show, explaining how devotees (mainly the congregation) distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books through the Sastra Dana program. Many devotees agreed that this is the future of our book distribution.

Navina Nirada Prabhu (BD Minister) talked about reflections on his personal life, his vision of book distribution, managerial issues and a lot of other thought-provoking topics. See his recent text “I’ll be back” in BDS conference on COM.

Brahma Muhurta Prabhu (NE-BBT trustee) gave a report on the present situation of the North European BBT. He also introduced many new BBT projects. The Brhad-Bhagavatamrta and a couple of other books will soon be published. He officially launched “The Interactive Bhagavad-Gita As It Is CD-ROM.” Many devotees were excited about the “Krsna in The Box” project: a small Krsna Deity placed in a nice box together with a manual about how to worship Him and necessary paraphernalia, all for mass distribution.

Kurma Prabhu (famous cook and author, Australia) played one of most prominent roles in the whole event, though practically all the time behind the scenes. He was cooking great banquets, breakfasts and feasts.

There were many question & answer sessions, in which everyone could get firsthand information on issues concerning book production and distribution, or give suggestions and advice.

There were many nice and entertaining opportunities to relax between the sessions. The sauna, a swimming pool and table tennis provided a lot of fun for all the assembled Vaisnavas. There was a bonfire and an outdoor kirtan one evening. One conference room was set up as the temple room, and devotees maintained the regular morning program.

All the devotees found this symposium a wonderful event. It brought the devotees together and everyone could see what is happening in the different fields of the book production and distribution. Lots of sadhu sanga, many new friendships made, many old ones renewed, a lot of ideas how to spread the Krsna consciousness shared . It was a great relief after all difficulties the devotees have experienced in North Europe, and it gave new hope and inspiration to many. Everyone agreed that this should become a regular event.

Your humble servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada,

Kanakabja Dasa

© CHAKRA 28-Feb-2000

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