681016 - Letter to Candravali written from Seattle
October 16, 1968
My Dear Candrabali,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of Oct. 16, 1968, and I thank you very much for your questions. You are always at liberty to inquiry from me about all such questions in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, and I am so glad that you are reading all these books so carefully. That is our business—we shall chant Hare Krishna or read Srimad-Bhagavatam or or associate with devotees in the temple, so that program shall go on continually for constantly remembering Krishna, and we shall not forget Him, even for a moment.
Regarding the question (In vol I, First Canto, Ch. 1, Text 1, pp. 59 of Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is stated "anyone who hands over a charity of this great work on the full moon day attains to the highest perfection of human life by going back to home, back to Godhead." Does this mean that by giving the Gayatri mantra, only vol. one, or the complete work?) it is not the Gayatri mantra, but the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The idea is that in olden days there was no press. So books were not available printed. Formerly great aristocratic families kings, and rich men, they used to engage a qualified brahmana to copy Srimad-Bhagavatam in handwriting, and then present it to a suitable person, especially brahmanas, in a gold casket. That was the system. But since printing machine has been introduced, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and other literature are being printed. So therefore, this reference, in the Skandha Purana, is in connection with giving Srimad-Bhagavatam in handwriting. That was a great work of charity. This charity, however, included the complete Srimad-Bhagavatam, and neither vol. one nor two. That was the process. Still there are many rich men in India who have engaged learned brahmanas to copy Srimad-Bhagavatam in handwriting, and they give in charity, to a qualified person, in the above way.
Hope this will satisfy you, and I hope this meet you in good health.
Your ever well wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami