Sunday, 25 December 2011

BBT and its Shadow, the BBTi


"Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wanted to print as many books as possible and distribute them all over the world. We have tried our best in this connection, and we are getting results beyond our expectations."
Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 12.8 Purport
Currently in ISKCON, and in the last decade, we have not seen a significant increase of book distribution. There may be isolated exceptions, but on the whole we have not seen the results of the 1970’s and early 80’s. This should raise many questions in the minds of those who wish to see HDG Srila Prabhupada’s desires fulfilled.
Srimad Bhagavatam 7.13.34:
"A sannyasi should have an institution meant to preach Krsna consciousness; he need not accumulate money for himself. We recommend that as soon as money accumulates in our Krsna consciousness movement, fifty per cent of it should be invested in printing books, and fifty per cent for expenditures, especially in establishing centers all over the world. The managers of the Krsna consciousness movement should be extremely cautious in regard to this point. Otherwise money will be the cause of lamentation, illusion, fear, anger, material attachment, material poverty, and unnecessary hard work. When I was alone in Vrndavana, I never attempted to construct mathas or temples; rather, I was fully satisfied with the small amount of money I could gather by selling Back to Godhead, and thus I would provide for myself and also print the literature. When I went to foreign countries, I lived according to the same principle, but when Europeans and Americans began to give money profusely, I started temples and Deity worship. The same principle should still be followed. Whatever money is collected should be spent for Krsna, and not a farthing for sense gratification. This is the Bhagavata principle."
Unfortunately this principle of 50/50 is not being followed. In fact, when we get an ‘inside’ perspective on what’s actually happening with the BBT, we see gross negligence with respect to Srila Prabhupada directives. How is this? In regards to the monetary aspect, the BBT doesn’t even have an account opened (in its name, BBT) to deposit the proceeds that come from book distribution. So this begs another question, “Where IS the money going?”
In 1986, the ‘GBC’ formed the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International (notice the name is almost exactly the same, only the ‘International’ has been added) and the Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing. It was to these two unauthorized* ‘shadow’ corporations that Srila Prabhupada’s BBT had its copyrights transferred to, and the money that was generated from book sales. Please see for documentation on these statements.
* Members of the ‘GBC’ met in 1986 and conspired to take illegal control of the BBT, by transferring all copyrights into the BBTi. Since Srila Prabhupada’s departure in 1977, the members of the ‘GBC’ have given the impression to the devotees of ISKCON that they had ‘absolute’ control in decision making. This ongoing illusion has continued for over thirty years, partly due to certain individuals not implementing the DOM (Direction of Management), although it was ordered by Srila Prabhupada back in 1970.
* "GBC does not mean to control a center. GBC means to see that the activities of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamala is exercising his absolute authority. That is not the business of GBC. The president, treasurer and secretary are responsible for managing the center. GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of GBC. Tamala should not do like that. The GBC men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without consulting all of the GBC members first. A GBC member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power."
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Giriraja, August 12 , 1971
* "Rupanuga: But now, we discussed this... We discussed this before, Srila Prabhupada. You said that you didn't... You wanted to make some more BBT members.
Prabhupada: If I require, I can make.
Tamala Krsna: The reason I'm bringing this up is because, heretofore, the BBT has been managed by one or two trustees, and the point is that maybe it is best that it be managed by the GBC.
Prabhupada: So that... First of all manage these things. Then you will, it will be included in the trustees. First of all show your capacity that you have managed these things very nicely, these two things. Why there should be complaint? How you can solve it? And why the temples should be maintained by collection of the BBT? It is meant for printing and constructing temples. Why should (we) violate the purpose of the Trust? So first of all you manage these two things. Then, if you want, you can come. If the problem remains the same, then what is the use of increasing heads?"
It should be noted that the copyrights that were transferred from Srila Prabhupada’s BBT to the BBTi were transferred without ANY authorization from the BBT Trust. After this insidious hijacking, the books that were produced and distributed were still done in the name of the BBT! This, of course, helped conceal what had taken place, keeping the general community of devotees in the dark, meaning, who would protest to something unknown?!
"Tamala Krsna: Krsna's giving us... I figured out, Srila Prabhupada, that if we... Just like we did in September, I multiplied times twelve to see how much money in a year your books are selling. And the BBT, in one year, can expect to make, around the world, about $8,100,000. In rupees that comes out to seven crores, seventy thousand rupees. Seven crores, seventy thousand rupees.
Prabhupada: What karmi can earn so much!
Tamala Krsna: What karmi can earn so much. For the temples, that means that by selling your books, the temples will collect about sixteen million dollars in one year. Or in other words, fourteen croes, nine lakhs, forty thousand rupees.
Prabhupada: They'll believe?
Tamala Krsna: Well, believe it or not, it's a fact.
Prabhupada: Fact, yes."
(Room Conversation, Vrindavan, November 3, 1977)
This is a lot of money that the BBT generated; even post-departure of Srila Prabhupada, there has been plenty of money generated through BBT book sales. Where has all this money gone? We can see from our spotted history (post-HDG’s departure) that temples and temple properties were not going up, but factually were either sold or reduced to barely running. Many, many devotees have experienced this firsthand. So who is responsible for this? Hopefully the wheels will begin to turn in the minds of those devotees who actually care about what has happened, and what is happening currently with the Srila Prabhupada’s BBT and the society in general.
It also should be noted that since the copyrights were transferred from the BBT to the BBTi, Srila Prabhupada, from a legal standpoint, went from being the sole author of his books to merely being an ‘author for hire’! An AUTHOR FOR HIRE?!?!?! This is indeed a great offense to not only HDG Srila Prabhupada, but to the parampara he is representing!
As devotees of Srila Prabhupada we should not stand idle, and let these misdirected people in the ‘GBC’, and the so-called currently authorized BBT trustees, continue their efforts to control the BBT, while committing offenses to Srila Prabhupada which keep the growth of our society stunted.

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