“My books will live forever”

Early one morning in the late part of 1974, at Bhaktivedanta Manor, I was called to Srila Prabhupada’s room. Prabhupada was sitting on his bed, I was sitting on the floor. He asked me if I would accept his appointing me to act as a BBT trustee. I of course immediately accepted the appointment. At the same time I also wondered, why would Srila Prabhupada appoint me, when he has so many other disciples much more qualified than myself, to such a confidential and responsible position? So I very carefully put forward my question as to why he would ask me to be a BBT trustee, when in fact he had so many other disciples with qualifications far better than myself. I in fact did not even finish high school, so why me?

Prabhupada immediately replied, “Because you have understood the importance of my books. Without being asked, you published and distributed my books.” Then after a long silence he said, “The devotees may fail, the temples may fail, but my books will live forever.”

Of course I was struck dumb at the time. I could not understand what Prabhupada meant by saying: “The devotees may fail, the temple may fail, but my books will live forever.” Now many years later I can still hear his words ringing in my ears, and I can see what he meant. The devotees have for the most part failed, the temples have failed, but the books continue, and will live forever. It is obvious and sadly clear, but the books will live forever.

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