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720930 - Letter to Bali-mardana written from Los Angeles
A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI
INTERNATIONALE SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
CENTER: Los Angeles ISKCON
September 30, 1972
My dear Bali Mardan,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated September 27, 1972, and I have noted the contents carefully. Regarding that building on 40th Street, try to get it as much as possible, but if business of getting this building appears too much difficult or complicated, then give it up. If you like, if this place is not possible, you may try for another similar place. I have received one telephone call this morning from Kesava, who is in California, so he will not be able to take over the affairs there in New York. So how will you be able to leave New York affairs? New York is our most important center in all the world and it requires your strong leadership there, or a suitable replacement. I do not think anyone is there who is able to become president and manage the Press affairs altogether.
Regarding the question you have raised about traveling sankirtana parties and selling of books, yes, we want money. So that is the real preaching, selling books. Who can speak better than the books? At least whoever buys, he will look over. If you have to sell books, do it by hook or by crook. The real preaching is selling books. You should know the tactic how to sell without irritating. What your lecture will do for three minutes, but if he reads one page his life may be turned. We don't want to irritate anyone, however. If he goes away by your agressive tactics, then you are nonsense and it is your failure. Neither you could sell a book, neither he would remain. But if he buys a book that is the real successful preaching. That is the certificate of my Guru Maharaja, if someone, brahmacari, would sell a one paise magazine, if one of our brahmacaris would go and sell a few copies, he would be very very glad and say "Oh, you are so nice!" So distribution of literature is our real preaching. Now if you cannot handle the matter nicely, that is your fault. But the success of your preaching will be substantiated by how many books are sold. Anything you want to sell, you have to a little canvass, so he gives some money for the service of Krsna. That is his good luck and he gets the chance to read some transcendental knowledge. But if you only irritate and he goes away, that is your less intelligence.
The fact is that we have to adopt the same tactics as ordinary salesmen adopt, but the difference is we do it for the satisfaction of Krsna, they do it for sense gratification. Actually we have experienced that sometimes out of sentiment someone gives to ISKCON and then laments and wants it back, but that does not mean we should give it back. Our policy is that his money which would have been used for purchasing cigarettes, liquor, sex literature, meat, will give him the opportunity to gradually become purified. So if by tactics we save that money from being spent on cigarette packets, that is good. If we can take some money and give some literature, that is a good service. So far irritation is concerned, a child is also irritated when he is given instructions, but that does not mean that we should stop. Invite them in our feast, that is a better indication.
So if the sankirtana parties in Satsvarupa's zone are irritating the public for selling so many books, that is one thing, but by their selling books they are doing the greatest service. What your one hour of preaching will do, they will hear and go away, but if they have one book at home, they will read, their friends will read, and something solid work is done. So the art is to sell many many books and not to irritate the public, so you may instruct all the others how to do this successfully. That is sannyasa. That is GBC. There are so many places to go, so why there should be business competition sankirtana parties in New York? This problem should be adjusted between the GBC men.
Hoping this meets you in good health,
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Bali Mardan das Gosvami
ISKCON New York