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Recently BBT International (BBTI) and Jayadvaita Swami have been making public announcements about the importance of devotees buying books from the BBT exclusively. In this way they are indirectly saying that devotees should not buy books from Krishna Books Inc. (KBI) who distributes Srila Prabhupada’s original, pre-1978, books. To substantiate their claim they refer to a letter from Srila Prabhupada saying that all centers should buy from the BBT.
There are several problems with the statements of BBTI and Jayadvaita Swami.
First of all BBT and BBT International (BBTI) are not identical. To make such a claim, or to try to give that impression, is to deceive the devotees. BBT International and Jayadvaita Swami have been actively engaging in this act of deception from the inception of BBTI, and most devotees in ISKCON have accepted their claims blindly. But there is a difference between BBT and BBTI.
BBT was made by Srila Prabhupada in 1972. BBTI was made in 1986 (after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance). BBT does not print or sell books anymore which makes it practically and logically impossible to buy from BBT. BBTI has taken over the printing and selling of Srila Prabhupada’s books from BBT (would Prabhupada like that?). BBTI was never approved by Srila Prabhupada, and except for BBTI themselves no one really knows which rules BBTI follow. Since BBTI is entirely different from Srila Prabhupada’s BBT they do not, legally speaking, have to follow the instructions Srila Prabhupada gave about how his books should be printed and distributed. All devotees would like to support Srila Prabhupada’s original BBT by buying books from it. But BBTI has made in impossible to buy from BBT. Therefore their claim that devotees should buy from BBT is absurd.
In addition the BBTI has an ongoing program destroying Srila Prabhupada’s original books. So by buying from the BBTI we are actively participating in the destruction of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. Of course no serious devotee is willing to participate in that. And obviously Srila Prabhupada would not want us to support such a thing.
Fortunately we have the KBI (Krishna Book Inc.) who prints and sell Srila Prabhupada’s original books. BBTI and Jayadvaita Swami are trying to tell us that buying from KBI is against Srila Prabhupada’s desires and instructions. If they really think so, then why did they authorize KBI in the first place? It seems that BBTI and Jayadvaita Swami are saying that we should only buy from BBT (really meaning BBTI, but they just say BBT to not reveal themselves as a different entity) with one side of their mouth. And with the other side they say that KBI is authorized by BBT.
Something doesn’t make sense!
KBI is the only cooperation now that distributes Srila Prabhupada original pre-1978 books. And therefore KBI is the only place right now for sane devotees to buy their books, and the only entity that can successfully push Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution to save the world. And there is no problem in buying from the KBI, since KBI is licensed by BBT to distribute the pre-1978 original books of Srila Prabhupada.
The following article nicely describes this issue and presents the letter proving that BBTI and Jayadvaita Swami have approved KBI in a mood of cooperation.
BBT Licensed KBI to Print Original Books (originally posted on Sampradaya Sun)
BY: MADHUHA DASA
Dec 21, NORTH CAROLINA, USA (SUN) — This is a response to “BBTonly.com: New Website highlights Prabhupada Memo” – which seems to be a veiled public relations campaign to put down Krishna Books Inc., which is actually licensed by the BBT to print and distribute Srila Prabhupada’s original books.
In November of 1998 the legal battle involving the BBT, Srila Prabhupada’s books and copyrights came to an end with all the devotees involved, including Jayadvaita Swami, being satisfied. That case was brought by the BBT-International, Inc., and ISKCON of California, Inc. vs. Hans Kary (Hansadutta das), which shows that neither the BBT nor the BBTI were sued, as some devotees now mistakenly believe.
In this way they all gave up their adversarial positions in favor of spiritual cooperation to serve Srila Prabhupada. At that time, all the devotees involved compiled an article which was posted on VNN, which elaborately stated their cooperative intentions.
My question is: if it was against Srila Prabhupada’s desire to print His original books, then why did all of the BBT and BBTI Prabhus, including Jayadvaita Swami; Gopal Krishna Goswami; Brahma Muhurta; Madhusevita, Naresvara and Svavasa Prabhus, agree to license Krishna Books Inc. to print Srila Prabhupada’s original books in the first place?
We hope all those involved will continue to work together in an honest way and encourage each other in their service to Srila Prabhupada. There is no need for anyone to try to twist the cooperative licensing agreement made by the BBT to print the original books into sounding as if it’s against Srila Prabhupada’s desire. Please read the below article published on VNN on November 30, 1998:
BY JAYADVAITA SWAMI AND GUPTA DASA
USA, Nov 30 (VNN) — JOINT ANNOUNCEMENT
BBT Legal Case Ends
Devotees settle their differences and pledge cooperation
“Now all my disciples must work combinedly and with cooperation to spread this Sankirtan Movement. If you cannot work together then my work is stopped up. Our Society is like one big family and our relationships should be based on love and trust. We must give up the fighting spirit and use our intelligence to push ahead.”
(Letter from Srila Prabhupada to Upendra Prabhu, dated 6 August 1970)
Hare Krishna. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada. All Glories to Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya.
The BBTI-Hansadutta court case is over. By the grace of Krishna, the devotees involved were able to settle the matter without need of a trial. On November 13, the devotees appeared before the judge and placed their settlement on record, thus putting their legal dispute to an end.
In dispute had been several issues: Is the original American BBT trust, founded by Srila Prabhupada in 1972, still valid? Is it the true owner of the copyrights to Srila Prabhupada’s literary works? And was Hansadutta Dasa still rightfully entitled to serve as a trustee?
After some eighteen months of researching, analyzing and litigating the matter as adversaries, the devotees began to see clearly that to reach a final and lasting resolution, we had to shift from adversarial positioning to spiritual cooperation. Accordingly, after several weeks of intense negotiations, we reached an agreement meant to satisfy our various concerns. It was this agreement that was then officially accepted by the court.
The agreement reaffirms the validity of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust formed by Srila Prabhupada on May 29, 1972. This was a legal California trust into which Srila Prabhupada conveyed the copyrights to his books. All sides agree that this trust is still legal and alive, and that it is the true owner of Srila Prabhupada’s copyrights, as Srila Prabhupada desired. This was an outcome upon which all the devotees, in a spirit of cooperation, submitted their willingness to agree. Now all sides are pleased to see Srila Prabhupada’s copyrights secure within this original trust.
Hansadutta Dasa, Veda Guhya Dasa, Bhagavan Dasa, and Dasa Dasanudasa Dasa Dasi have voluntarily stepped down from any role they might have had as trustees of the 1972 trust. And all concerned have agreed that now the trustees will be four trustees from the BBT International: Brahma Muhurta Dasa, Naresvara Dasa, Svavasa Dasa, and Jayadvaita Swami.
All parties agree that the rightful beneficiary of the trust is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, founded by Srila Prabhupada in 1966 and further defined by the GBC. (The “beneficiary” is the person or organization that a trust is supposed to benefit. So, for example, when the BBT allots funds for constructing temples, they are to be used for the benefit of ISKCON.)
With the validity of the California trust now reaffirmed, what about the BBTI? Is it redundant? Is it useful? Is it needed at all? It’s too soon to say. For now, the 1972 BBT trust will serve mainly as the safe shelter for Srila Prabhupada’s copyrights. And on its behalf the BBT International will continue handling the active side of BBT operations.
Meanwhile, devotee attorneys who opposed one another in the case will work together to study how best to take advantage of the two legal units–the BBT and the BBTI–to serve Srila Prabhupada’s desires. Gupta Dasa (who served as the attorney on Hansadutta’s side of the case) will work on this with Amarendra Dasa (who served on the ISKCON side).
Another part of the settlement is a liberal licensing arrangement that allows for cooperative publishing. Under this arrangement, Hansadutta Prabhu and the devotees working with him will form a company that can publish Srila Prabhupada’s books in the editions published before 1978. These will be available for sale in markets where they won’t directly compete with distribution by the BBT and by ISKCON temples.
The theme is “cooperation, not competition.” The new company may also buy books from the BBT, or vice versa. Or the two may work together on joint projects.
Finally, in recognition of the strong legal claims and defenses presented by Hansadutta’s side in the case (both in America and in Singapore, where the matter first started), the BBTI will reimburse Hansadutta, and the devotees who supported him, for their attorney’s fees and costs.
Clearly, the devotees involved in this case were able to settle their differences only by treating one another respectfully, as spirit souls, servants of Srila Prabhupada. They had to focus together on strengthening and expanding–rather than weakening and limiting–the Krishna consciousness movement.
The resolution of this lawsuit, a case full of emotionally and spiritually charged issues, called for a great deal of personal, emotional and spiritual healing between the devotees involved. We hope that the spirit and example of this unique resolution can now become a model for resolving other controversies affecting the Hare Krsna movement and its devotees.
We’re all servants of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, and we’re all meant to work cooperatively in their service. Case closed, with pleasure. Hare Krishna.
Jayadvaita Swami and Gupta Dasa
With the agreement of all the devotees directly involved:
Akruranatha Dasa, Amarendra Dasa, Bhagavan Dasa, Bhima Dasa (from Singapore), Brahma Muhurta Dasa, Dasa Dasanudasa Dasa Dasi, Gopal Krishna Goswami, Gupta Dasa, Hansadutta Dasa, Madhusevita Dasa, Naresvara Dasa, Svavasa Dasa, Veda Guhya Dasa.