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By Antardwip das
This is the third time I have submitted this article to CHAKRA, and I am again submitting it because I was heartened to read Sravana prabhu's article on making Srila Prabhupada available to everyone. I feel Brahamanada is doing a service with bargain-prices DVD's, and it is a challenge ITV should rise to, not try and eradicate. I think there is an important principle here as to how available Srila Prabhupada's media should be available. I have fallen over myself to be polite and not offend Nrisimhananda Prabhu, which is unusual for me.
Nrisimhananda Prabhu's rebuke to Brahmananda Prabhu raised a few points about Srila Prabhupada videos. My first assumption, and it may be incorrect, is that Brahmananda is selling cheaper than ITV, but it was not clear. If so, is it such a crime? I know that if the price were reasonable, I would buy a set.
Why not go the whole hog to promote both Srila Prabhupada and his teachings through bargain-priced high quality CD and Video, instead of using them as part of the (necessary) financial sources for ITV productions?
While ITV produces much preaching material, in a way it could also encourage preaching via video and CD by dropping it's profit policy on Srila Prabhupada videos and CDs making them much more attractive to devotees and public.
Technology has really moved on since Srila Prabhupada's time here, and TV production costs are much less - DV cameras give near-broadcast quality, editing on a PC means one does not require a studio, and so on. Because of the reduction in production costs, and with a larger purchasing congregation and the greatly expanded list of titles for sale since Srila Prabhupada's time, perhaps ITV could consider withdrawing Srila Prabhupada videos from their portfolio without too much economic hardship, leaving them with their other titles.
An alternative is to consider whether Srila Prabhupada's videos, which are a spiritual legacy of the ISKCON society (and many of which were not made by ITV but gifted to them), could now be produced and distributed by the BBT, at lowest cost and high quality, the same way they do books. It would be a wonderful gesture.
In any case, the activities of Brahmananda will not necessarily be looked on by the devotee community as those of a counter-revolutionary as appeared in the first article. It is equally important that an official ISKCON department backed by the GBC such as ITV not be seen as over zealous in guarding profit to the expense of what that profit should be guarded for - making Srila Prabhupada and his teachings as available as possible through video and CD. Which, by the way, is what Brahmananda was doing.
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