In ancient times, there was no need for books. Knowledge was transmitted by speaking, and a person would learn by listening and committing the sound he had heard to memory. For this reason, Vedic literature is also known as sruti, or that what is received by hearing. Today very few people are capable of retaining knowledge simply by hearing. Therefore, books are a blessing.
Books are transformed sound. This is especially true for the books of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who "wrote" his books by speaking into a dictaphone and have them transcribed.
During the last 50 years more than 500 million copies of Srila Prabhupada's books in over 80 languages have been distributed all over the world, changing the lives of countless people.“Knowledge is power” wrote the 16th Century philosopher Francis Bacon. That is certainly true. In the material field, access to knowledge opens the door to education, employment, and a fruitful personal life. In the spiritual field, access to knowledge opens the door to transcendence, self-realization and an eternal blissful life.
We should know for certain that there is more to life than just arranging for material facilities and amneties. There is an essential part that people generally are unaware of. Srila Prabhupada writes about this in Chapter Nine of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is: “There are so many departments of knowledge all over the world and many prestigious universities, but there is, unfortunately, no university or educational institution where the science of the spirit soul is instructed.
Yet the soul is the most important part of the body. Without the presence of the soul, the body has no value.”Modern civilization is suffering from an acute lack of spiritual knowledge.Such is the unfortunate situation of today’s society, but still we think that this is the most advanced society in the history of mankind."The Supreme Lord, being very kind, makes different arrangements to give us real knowledge and understand our constitutional position: (1) He comes personally to enlighten us, (2) He sends His devotees, and (3) He gives knowledge through transcendental literatures like the Vedas and Puranas. Transcendental knowledge is absolutely essential to make life successful.In recent history, Srila Prabhupada translated these ancient Vedic literatures into English, and his disciples have translated them into all the major languages of the world. By the power of transcendental knowledge, will we not only understand the nature of the spirit soul, the Supreme Lord and our relationship with Him, but we will also learn how to cross over the ocean of material existence and solve the fundamental problems of life: birth, death, old age and disease.