Srila Prabhu established the BBT May 5th 1972 to secure that his books be printet and distributed widely around the world. In1988 eleven years after Srila Prabhupada left us, BBTI was started, and the BBT was left as an emty shell as far as publishing and distribution is conserned. Please notice the small difference in the name (”international” or an ”I” added.) There is however a gulf of difference judicial and practically. BBTI is not bound by, and do not follow all, the rules Srila Prabhupada made for his BBT.
Many devotees don’t even know, there is such a thing a BBTI, because it seems the BBTI aren’t to out spoken about it. You still see BBT on the books and other publications, and BBTI can be difficult or impossible to find. What’s worse is, that BBTI is largely changing Srila Prabhupadas books, without ever having been given any authorization from Srila Prabhupada. BBT still hold the copy rights to Srila Prabhupada’s original books, even though BBTI tried to infringe them, but quess who own the copy rigths for the changed books - right BBTI. And the funds you might ask are they going to BBT? Are they used as Srila Prabhupada wanted it 50% for constructing temples and 50% printing book? No! The founds are all funneled to another organisation called Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing (BBP). Are the BBP bound by the rules Srila Prabhupada made for BBT? NO!
Srila Prabhupada established the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in 1972, and in 1974, appointed Hansadutta dasa BBT trustee for life with these words: "The temples may go, the devotees may go, but my books will live forever.”
The problem is that the original trustees of that Bhaktivedanta Book Trust have either resigned or fallen away, so the book trust (BBT) itself is not functional at present, being bereft of its original trustees.
Memorandum to All ISKCON Centers
My dear disciples,
Please accept my blessings. Now that our ISKCON is growing into a huge, world wide organization, it has come to my attention that sometimes centers are printing my literature, taking collection and spending all outside the jurisdiction of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. This must not go on.
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.
The BBT can authorize a center to print, as in the case of foreign translations, with the agreement that when the foreign printing becomes financially solvent they will pay royalties to the BBT. But all printing of ISKCON literature must be by the BBT or under their sanction and approval.
If temples print independently it will be at the cost of the books I am, myself printing, and could eventually cause the financial ruin of the BBT, meaning I could not order new books from the printer or have sufficient funds for construction of temple projects.
I trust this is now clear and you will all do the needful. If you have any questions in this matter you can write me directly or consult with the GBC representative. (Letter to: All ISKCON Centers - Vrindaban 14 March, 1974)
Srila Prabhupada established the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) on May 5th 1972, founded by Srila Prabhupada for publishing, protecting and preserving his transcendental literary works meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization.
BY: MAHA PURUSHA DAS
"Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wanted to print as many books as possible and distribute them all over the world. We have tried our best in this connection, and we are getting results beyond our expectations." Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 12.8 Purport
Currently in ISKCON, and in the last decade, we have not seen a significant increase of book distribution. There may be isolated exceptions, but on the whole we have not seen the results of the 1970’s and early 80’s. This should raise many questions in the minds of those who wish to see HDG Srila Prabhupada’s desires fulfilled. Srimad Bhagavatam 7.13.34:
"A sannyasi should have an institution meant to preach Krsna consciousness; he need not accumulate money for himself. We recommend that as soon as money accumulates in our Krsna consciousness movement, fifty per cent of it should be invested in printing books, and fifty per cent for expenditures, especially in establishing centers all over the world. The managers of the Krsna consciousness movement should be extremely cautious in regard to this point. Otherwise money will be the cause of lamentation, illusion, fear, anger, material attachment, material poverty, and unnecessary hard work. When I was alone in Vrndavana, I never attempted to construct mathas or temples; rather, I was fully satisfied with the small amount of money I could gather by selling Back to Godhead, and thus I would provide for myself and also print the literature. When I went to foreign countries, I lived according to the same principle, but when Europeans and Americans began to give money profusely, I started temples and Deity worship. The same principle should still be followed. Whatever money is collected should be spent for Krsna, and not a farthing for sense gratification. This is the Bhagavata principle."
Unfortunately this principle of 50/50 is not being followed. In fact, when we get an ‘inside’ perspective on what’s actually happening with the BBT, we see gross negligence with respect to Srila Prabhupada directives. How is this? In regards to the monetary aspect, the BBT doesn’t even have an account opened (in its name, BBT) to deposit the proceeds that come from book distribution. So this begs another question, “Where IS the money going?”
In 1986, the ‘GBC’ formed the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International (notice the name is almost exactly the same, only the ‘International’ has been added) and the Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing. It was to these two unauthorized* ‘shadow’ corporations that Srila Prabhupada’s BBT had its copyrights transferred to, and the money that was generated from book sales. Please see spbbt.org for documentation on these statements.
* Members of the ‘GBC’ met in 1986 and conspired to take illegal control of the BBT, by transferring all copyrights into the BBTi. Since Srila Prabhupada’s departure in 1977, the members of the ‘GBC’ have given the impression to the devotees of ISKCON that they had ‘absolute’ control in decision making. This ongoing illusion has continued for over thirty years, partly due to certain individuals not implementing the DOM (Direction of Management), although it was ordered by Srila Prabhupada back in 1970.
* "GBC does not mean to control a center. GBC means to see that the activities of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamala is exercising his absolute authority. That is not the business of GBC. The president, treasurer and secretary are responsible for managing the center. GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of GBC. Tamala should not do like that. The GBC men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without consulting all of the GBC members first. A GBC member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power." Srila Prabhupada Letter to Giriraja, August 12 , 1971
* "Rupanuga: But now, we discussed this... We discussed this before, Srila Prabhupada. You said that you didn't... You wanted to make some more BBT members.
Prabhupada: If I require, I can make.
Tamala Krsna: The reason I'm bringing this up is because, heretofore, the BBT has been managed by one or two trustees, and the point is that maybe it is best that it be managed by the GBC.
Prabhupada: So that... First of all manage these things. Then you will, it will be included in the trustees. First of all show your capacity that you have managed these things very nicely, these two things. Why there should be complaint? How you can solve it? And why the temples should be maintained by collection of the BBT? It is meant for printing and constructing temples. Why should (we) violate the purpose of the Trust? So first of all you manage these two things. Then, if you want, you can come. If the problem remains the same, then what is the use of increasing heads?"
It should be noted that the copyrights that were transferred from Srila Prabhupada’s BBT to the BBTi were transferred without ANY authorization from the BBT Trust. After this insidious hijacking, the books that were produced and distributed were still done in the name of the BBT! This, of course, helped conceal what had taken place, keeping the general community of devotees in the dark, meaning, who would protest to something unknown?!
"Tamala Krsna: Krsna's giving us... I figured out, Srila Prabhupada, that if we... Just like we did in September, I multiplied times twelve to see how much money in a year your books are selling. And the BBT, in one year, can expect to make, around the world, about $8,100,000. In rupees that comes out to seven crores, seventy thousand rupees. Seven crores, seventy thousand rupees.
Prabhupada: What karmi can earn so much!
Tamala Krsna: What karmi can earn so much. For the temples, that means that by selling your books, the temples will collect about sixteen million dollars in one year. Or in other words, fourteen croes, nine lakhs, forty thousand rupees.
Prabhupada: They'll believe?
Tamala Krsna: Well, believe it or not, it's a fact.
Prabhupada: Fact, yes."
(Room Conversation, Vrindavan, November 3, 1977)
This is a lot of money that the BBT generated; even post-departure of Srila Prabhupada, there has been plenty of money generated through BBT book sales. Where has all this money gone? We can see from our spotted history (post-HDG’s departure) that temples and temple properties were not going up, but factually were either sold or reduced to barely running. Many, many devotees have experienced this firsthand. So who is responsible for this? Hopefully the wheels will begin to turn in the minds of those devotees who actually care about what has happened, and what is happening currently with the Srila Prabhupada’s BBT and the society in general.
It also should be noted that since the copyrights were transferred from the BBT to the BBTi, Srila Prabhupada, from a legal standpoint, went from being the sole author of his books to merely being an ‘author for hire’! An AUTHOR FOR HIRE?!?!?! This is indeed a great offense to not only HDG Srila Prabhupada, but to the parampara he is representing!
As devotees of Srila Prabhupada we should not stand idle, and let these misdirected people in the ‘GBC’, and the so-called currently authorized BBT trustees, continue their efforts to control the BBT, while committing offenses to Srila Prabhupada which keep the growth of our society stunted.