Another question from Gaura Karuna dasa in CIS:

Some statements are attributed to Srila Prabhupada (such as “books are a basis, purity is strength…”) which he never spoke or wrote. Should this be paid attention to, if this happens?


Its always good to verify if possible any important statement attributed to Srila Prabhupada. “Prabhupada said…” is an often quoted phrase when devotees want to justify a particular instruction or understanding they have. But whether Srila Prabhupada actually said it, and in what context he said it, that should be verified. Srila Prabhupada once complained that “They are saying ‘Prabhupada said’, ‘Prabhupada said’, but Prabhupada never said.”This doesn’t not mean however that we should challenge everything that we are told Srila Prabhupada said. Srila Prabhupada obviously gave many instructions and if we hear an authority tell us, “This is what Srila Prabhupada said,” it is better to go along with that even if you can’t immediately verify it. Later if it turns out to be correct, you can be
satisfied that you have done the correct thing to please Srila Prabhupada and you get the benefit. If it later turns out to be incorrect, the fault lies with the person who gave the instruction, not yourself. You acted sincerly with a desire to do everything according to Srila Prabhupada’s standards so there is no loss on your part.
So either way, we should have a little faith and act sincerely and we will always make advancement in our spiritual life.

As far as the particular saying that you have quoted “Books are the basis, purity is the force, utility is the principle and preaching is the essence” it is difficult to trace out the origin of this. However, Srila Prabhupada was certainly aware of it and liked it. Every week when I was travelling with him a sankirtan newsletter was published by Srutadeva das from ISKCON Baltimore and this phrase was printed very boldly on the front page of every issue. Srila Prabhupada would read it every week.

Also in 1977 some devotees that were preaching in Hongkong and Taiwan presented Srila Prabhupada with a wall hanging that had this verse written on it in Chinese language. Srila Prabhupada was very happy to receive it.

The conclusion is that he approved of it, so whether it came directly from him or someone else, he did like it and we can take it as authorized.

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