I very much appreciate Gauridas Pandita,s concerns about the Back to Godhead magazine.
As he stated, Srila Prabhpada saw the BTG and Hari Nama Sankirtana as the back bone of the movement.
I came across a BT G in late 72 and I was immediately mesmerised by its transcendental potency.My life changed forever after reading it.
After joining at the Melbourne Rathyartra in June 1973,Caru(Utah)preached to me so nicely about the importance of book distribution,and asked me If I would like to go out distributing books.
Having been fully convinced about the potency of Srila Prabhupadas books I had no hesitation in going out.
I had fully realised what effect Srila Prabhupadas books had on me,and how they bought me to Krishna Consciousness.In such a short time the experience of Rathyartra,the incredible Madhudvisa kirtans,prasadam and the amazing energy of all the devotees who were on fire due to Rathyartra altered my consciousness.In just 1 week I experienced this higher taste,and all I wanted to do was to share it with the world by distributing Srila Prabhupadas books.
So just 3 days after shaving up,I was out selling BTG!s.
Srila Prabhupada wanted the BTG to be as big as Time magazine.And in the mid 70,s there was a time when 1 million BTG,s were being sold monthly.
When distributing books on the street,first I would offer a book,and If they declined the book I would then offer the much smaller BTG,which most people would accept.I set myself the quota of 1 box of BTG,S per day.
Mid 1975 my self and Bhakta Peter( Adi Purush)distributed 70 boxes of BTG,s and with that luxmi we purchased our TS Bus.For 18 months we travelled all over Australia preaching and holding programs fully funded from BTG sales.
A BTG Tale.
In 1980 I went to Papua New Guinea with my then wife Radhavinodini.
She was raised in New Guinea,her father was a crocodile hunter and they lived in a remote village on the Fly river.She had a native lady care for her and for the first 5 years of her life she could only speak Motu.
On arrival in Port Morseby,the capital,I didn,t really know what to do.The Papua New Guinea natives to this day are some of the most primative people on the planet.Even today there are Highland tribes who are still cannibals.
I had bought up1 box of BTG,S .Looking out of the hotel window I saw a lot of people sitting under Pandanus trees on the beach.So I grabbed some BTG,s and went over to distribute them .There was no way I could ask for a donation for these people simply had no money..
There was a group of a dozen or so ladies with a heap of kids.They are very friendly people and they invited me over.They wanted to know what I was doing there ?
I told them I was Hare Krishna devotee.I took out a BTG and showed them a picture of Krishna and told them he was God.
Many of these ladies were the wives of The tribal chief,who was sitting near by under a tree.He wanted to know what was going on and motioned me over.He and his tribe were Christians.He reached out and wanted to see the BTG.He flicked over a few pages and came across a picture of a black Krishna ( I think it was a Radhe Govindaji) Now this chief was so black,most of the coastal tribes are brownish black,but he was pure black.When he saw the photo of Krishna,he said is this your god ? I answered yes then he said “HE NO GOOD GOD HE,S A BLACK MAN” I had to hold myself back from laughing,here was the blackest man I,d ever seen saying how god could not be a black man.Such was their christian belief.I left knowing that he would show the photo to everyone in his village.The next day while in tne supermarket, Radhavinodini ran inti her old mother nurse,Nari.
She was having a birthday party that night and she invited us along.
Arriving at her house she introduced me to her Husband.It turned out that he was the Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea as well as the PNG foreign Minister.Ebia Olawahlee.
He was a simple ,friendly guy and asked me what I was doing there,
I brought out a BTG and told him I was a Hare Krishna Devotee.
Immediately his eyes lit up “Oh I met a Hare Krishna at LAX and he sold me the Krishna Book”
I thought to myself the book distributors in LAX would have really worked him over.May be even doing Triparari,s change up trick on him.
But no,he gave a donation for tne book and spent the entire flight reading it.
He told me he accepted the teachings because he had a lot of reservations about Christianity.
He was so happy to recieve the BTG.
The next day we headed to the University and I passed out a few BTG,s.
Then I saw an old Indian gentleman who was an University academic .I spoke to him and offered a BTG.
He appreciated it so much.Then he told me he knew all about Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda because he came from Ekachakra.He then invited us to his home for prasadam.
I probably gave out about 20 BTG,s to students at the University.
A few years later, back in Australia,I was told there were now 2 Local boys in PNG who had become devotees.While at the University that day,some student had thrown the BTG into a rubbish bin,another student had seen the BTG in the bin and grabbed it.Took it home and read it.So impressed he wrote to the BBT in Australia and ordered some more books.Read them and became a devotee.
Srila Prabhupada,the greatest of all book distributors,told the devotees to stop wasting time by trying to preach to people while out distributing books.If we spent too long trying to preach,they would become disinterested and not take a book.So try and sell the book as quickly as possible.
Because he said by reading one page of the books their lives would change forever.
Many times I spent too long trying to preach,loosing the sale,so Srila Prabhupada was absolutely right.
Over the last 20 years I have often complained to the Australian management about the lack oF book distribution .Most Australian temples these days only remit 2-3%of their annual income to the BBT.Even if that much..
And I have been so dismayed by the temples inability to distribute masslve numbers of the BTG.
There are many excuses why the BT G is not distributed widely. One reason being that all the bogas gurus take so much money from the temples,there is nothing left for BTG printing.
I have also said for many years,that like Gauridas Pandita prabhu suggestion,that all that needs to be done is to rehash all the old BTG,s of 35-45 years ago,print them cheaply and have massive BTG distribution again.
The BTG,s were relavant then ,are relevant today and will still be relevant in 500yrs time.The transendental knowledge within the BTG,s speaks the eternal truth and is timeless.
I would assume that 95-99%of todays devotees,especially outside of India ,have ever even read these old magazines.