BOOK DISTRIBUTION IS NOT MUNDANE BUSINESS
Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja
Devotee: It is often said that one should not make a business out of the Bhāgavatam. If materialistic persons heard that, they could easily look at us and say this whole ISKCON society is based on selling Bhāgavata. It seems we are contradictory to our own preaching.
Gour Govinda Swami: Devotees sell the Bhāgavata book and thereby they give opportunity to people to serve Krishna or serve a purede votee, vaisnava. They take money from people in exchange for the Bhāgavatam and they utilize that money in the service of guru, vaisnava and Krishna, and not for their sense gratification. Such devotees are not vyavasāyīs, business-men. But Bhāgavata–vyavasāyīs, so-called pandits who speak on the Bhāgavata for money, and who upon obtaining that money use it for sense gratification — they are doing sinful activity. Devotees never do that. Their selling the Bhāgavatam is not a profession, a business. They are distributing mercy. My Guru Maharaja Srila Prabhupada said, “If someone simply gives money and takes Bhāgavata, even if he never reads it, if he just keeps it in his house, then he gets benefit, because Bhāgavata is non-different from Krishna — krsna tulya bhāgavata.” Krishna and His vānī are non-different. So if he keeps Krishna in his house, then the day will come when his son, or his son’s son, will read it and get benefit. This is not business. We are not doing business. We are distributing mercy. They cannot understand, so they say like that.
Devotee: What about the situation where one is a grhastha? If he goes out and sells Bhāgavatao r Krishna consciousness literatures to support his family, is that the same? Is that cheating?
Gour Govinda Swami: You should understand. A devotee, a vaisnava, if he is a family man, his family is not an ordinary family. All of the members of his family are vaisnavas. All of the relationships among them — husband and wife, father and son, friend and friend, master and servant — must be based on a relationship with Krishna. This is a vaisnava family, sādhu-samsāra. Thereby he shows the public how to have a Krishna conscious household life and not a materialistic or illusory family life. Krsnera-samsāra, and not māyāra-samsāra. So that grhastha-vaisnava, householder devotee, must do some business for the service of Krishna or the main-tenance of the devotees of Krishna. It is not for his sense gratification. This is a grhī-vaisnava. He is not an ordinary householder. He is vaisnava.
Devotee: As long as he is following the principles.
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes. He never does anything for his own sense gratification. He does everything for the gratification of the senses of Krishna. He is a vaisnava, but general people cannot understand it. In order to teach them, a vaisnava becomes a grhastha. By doing so, he shows how to maintain a family in Krishna consciousness. He shows how to make all the members of the family krsna-bhaktas, how to serve Krishna. In other words, how to have Krishna conscious family life, krsna-samsāra.“You have been doing māyā-samsāra, but now do krsna-samsāra.” Therefore, a sādhu becomes a grhastha to teach this thing. _
— Lecture, Bhubaneswar, 23 September 1989.
– An expert from Sri Krishna-kathamrta Bindu, a free bi-monthly magazine service provided by Gopal Jiu Publications.