Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Bhakti Trilogy Series is Reaching an Appreciative and Enthusiastic Audience
By Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Jul 17, 2023

The award-winning author Pranada Comtois is reaching a broad and appreciative audience with her “Bhakti Trilogy” book series.

The prolific author began to ask deep spiritual questions at the age of eight, and by age 16, she had met her spiritual master Srila Prabhupada. She was initiated as his disciple in 1976. Her Krishna-conscious journey included living for 20 years in bhakti ashrams and another twenty years raising a family and running two very successful businesses.

Sharing her journey behind the writing of the Bhakti Trilogy, Pranada said, “I’d been thinking for more than twenty years about books for a Western audience that would invite people to seriously consider bhakti. The bhakti philosophy is rich with knowledge and offers a practical approach to transcendence, enabling anyone to have a first-hand experience of the theory.”

Initially, she wished to have a concise little book that she could hand to her family, friends, or acquaintances to explain the knowledge succinctly, intriguingly, and compellingly without much Sanskrit. She recalls how Srila Prabhupada wanted to bring bhakti out of India and into the West. Pranada observed that devotees have mainly spoken to an Eastern audience for the last thirty years. She noted how the intelligentsia of Europe and America are enthralled with Buddhism and Neo-Advaita Vedanta, partly because they had little exposure to bhakti in a way they can connect.

Pranada Comtois with devotees at her 2023 Sadhu Sanga booth.

Her first step in carrying out the above instructions of Srila Prabhupada manifested in the form of “The Bhakti Campaign,” which she wrote in 2002 and presented to the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), was enthusiastically accepted by the BBT Trustees. She mentions, “That five-year marketing campaign specified that we would put authors of introductory books on a speaking circuit in North America and Europe, along with kirtans, to make “bhakti” a household word that was defined according to Gaudiya Vaishnavism. “In other words, I wanted Krishna-bhakti to be known as bhakti. And we wanted to make kirtan well known,” said Pranada. Unfortunately, the campaign was not executed.

In 2007 Pranada took writing courses, joined a local writer’s group, found a writing mentor, and eventually, in 2010, she launched a blog. Finally, in 2013 after hearing bhakti explained in contemporary language by one devotee, she started writing the first book of the Bhakti Trilogy, Wise-Love: Bhakti and the Search for the Soul of Consciousness.

Wise-Love won numerous awards, including the Montaigne Medal for “the most thought-provoking books that illuminate, progress, or redirect thought.” It was also approved by the BBT English Editorial Board to be printed with the BBT logo, which is not easy to achieve.

Her second book, Bhakti-Shakti: Goddess of Divine Love, won two more awards. It delves deeper into the bhakti philosophy by carefully examining the three primary energies: svarupa-sakti (bhakti-sakti), maya-sakti, and jiva-sakti and how the atma can choose which goddess (Sri Radha or Durga Ma) and which energy it wants to come under the shelter of.

The third book is Prema Kirtan which deals with the primary anga, or practice of bhakti, called kirtan. Pranada explained, “The kirtan of Gaudiya Vaishnavas, or kirtan of the maha-mantra, is the only kirtan that can lead to prema, which is a little-known liberation beyond mukti. It is important to give this information to kirtan lovers so they can choose the type of kirtans that will nourish them best.”

Pranada is pleased that so many people are appreciating her books. She said, “I’m hearing of many people taking up a bhakti practice after reading one of the books. Devotees are distributing the books, giving them as gifts, holding reading and study groups with them, or just being inspired in their bhakti journey by reading them.”

At the 2023 Sadhu Sanga festival held in Dallas, Pranada met many people who had read one of the books of the Bhakti Trilogy and told her how they have impacted their lives. “Meeting these friends was uplifting for me. I heard from many people how they use the books in their outreach, and there are many amazing results from reading the books. We sold about 200 books at the event.”

Devotee exchanges at the 2023 Sadhu Sanga Retreat in Dallas, Texas.

Many shared how Prema Kirtan surcharged their practice of japa and kirtan. And the book also helped inspire people who appreciate kirtan to take up a serious kirtan practice by explaining the philosophical foundations of why kirtan delivers such an amazing experience and how to sustain that experience. Pranada shared, “Each book impacts the readers in a certain way. For instance, people have told me how their relationship with Srimati Radharani blossomed by reading Bhakti Shakti, and this uplifted their experience of bhakti. Others have said that by reading Wise-Love, they are convinced about bhakti as a spiritual path.”

The books are reaching people worldwide, and Pranada welcomes conversations with those interested in translating them into different languages. All three books have already been translated into Spanish by Partha Dasa, who has been translating for BBT Spain for more than 40 years. Wise Love is being translated into Mongolian by Baladeva Dasa of Mongolia, who did a podcast reading from the book. There was such a tremendous response from that podcast that he decided to begin the translation process. It is also being translated into Bulgarian, along with Prema Kirtan. In addition, Bhakti Shakti is being translated into Italian.

For those who want to share the books in larger quantities, you can email her directly for special pricing. To follow her inspiring service, and learn about upcoming events or interviews, visit her website. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.