Tension Between Varnasrama and Vaisnavism

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.2 | November 3, 2012 |

English; Valsad, Gujarat, India

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Question:

I was asked a question by a householder disciple of mine who distributes DVD’s of Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and all kinds of DVD’s in relationship to Srila Prabhupada by which he maintains his household. He doesn’t take all the profits. He has some arrangement with the Bhaktivedanta Archives or whatever. He has a policy of low price and high turnover. This means that you have a low price and then, if it is a low price many people will like to buy it and so many will be sold. That is called a high turnover and then even though the profit is low, it works out to be enough because there are a lot of units sold. Another policy in sales is to have a high price but usually then you get poor sales and you get maybe less profit and possibility of boot legging or imitation.

He is very enthusiastic to distribute this. It is mostly distributed to, 99% already committed devotees, followers of Srila Prabhupada so he is enthusiastic that they should get these invaluable teachings of Srila Prabhupada. And, of course, I very much encourage him in this and I very much encourage you all also to regularly listen to Srila Prabhupada’s lectures as well as to read his books. There are various problems within ISKCON which is inevitable when you have an idealistic movement within a highly non-ideal world. But some of the problems are self-inflicted and are not necessary. They are what Srila Prabhupada would call deviations or speculations or concoctions.  And the overall cure for this is if devotees again get into the habit of reading Srila Prabhupada’s books regularly and hearing his lectures, as used to be standard within our movement.

But I digressed, I got off topic here, I went into a very important topic. The topic is that he asked me that his dilemma was that well I am distributing this, I want to distribute this for the benefit of others but also as a householder, the profit motive is also in my mind. I have to support my family, I have to think of money also, and so is my devotional service compromised? Like this. And this kind of consideration may come for householders who also sell Srila Prabhupada’s books to support their family or selling prasadam. So what is the answer to this conundrum?

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