In 1971, as a young devotee in Calcutta, Giriraja Swami approached Srila Prabhupada, “I have been trying to understand what your desire is, and two things seem to please you the most: distributing your books and building the big temple in Mayapur.” Prabhupada’s face lit up, his eyes opened wide, and he smiled, saying: “Yes, you have understood. If you all build this temple, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur will personally come and take you all back to Godhead.”
Building the TOVP was so important to Srila Prabhupada (and our acharyas) that he categorically stated, “You have understood”, and if you build this temple, “Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur will personally come and take you all back to Godhead.” And hand-in-hand with the TOVP is book distribution.
It may be unknown to many devotees, including those who actively distribute his books full or part-time, that for every book which is bought from the BBT and distributed to some fortunate conditioned soul, a percentage of that income to the BBT goes directly to temple construction as per Srila Prabhupada’s direct instruction:
“I specifically formed the BBT to invest in it exclusive rights for the printing of all literature containing my teachings, writings and lectures. In this way the collections are to be divided fifty percent for printing new books and fifty percent for construction of temples.”
Letter to all Temple Presidents 3/14/74
Several years ago the BBT Trustees unanimously decided that the importance of building and completing the TOVP exceeded the needs of any other temple construction project, and agreed to continue to remit annual funds for TOVP construction until the year 2022 when it is scheduled for completion. This landmark commitment by the BBT heralded the start of an unannounced pledge by the BBT to help build the TOVP through funds generated by book distribution.
And every book distributor in the world was now an unsung hero in the “Raising of Lord Caitanya’s temple by the hands of every devotee.”
To date the BBT and BBTI have given the TOVP over $2 million.
It may consequently be said that every book distributed builds the TOVP. Every book distributed is figuratively another brick on the TOVP. Books are, in fact, bricks. And in this way devotees can be further inspired and enlivened in their book distribution service to distribute even more books, knowing they are personally involved in the construction on a daily basis.
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Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer
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