A Muslim bussiness man has a change of heart

Around one and a half years ago, while distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books on a street in Blantyre, Malawi, I met Mr. Khan, a Muslim businessman from India. He was amused to see an Indian sadhu in a dhoti and kurta on the busy streets of a remote Central African country and asked me in Hindi what was I doing. I explained to him that I was from the Hare Krishna movement and was distributing books about how to develop love for God. At that time he bought some small books. A few days later, when we met again on the street, he started criticizing Srila Prabhupada, saying that he uses abusive language and calls people rascals.

When I met him again on the street after a few days, he had started appreciating the books and said that Srila Prabhupada was actually very intelligent. After that I met him quite a few times on the street and also we crossed paths a couple of times while devotees were doing harinaam sankirtan. He consequently bought Bhagavad-gita As It Is. During the marathon, when I met him at his lodge (he runs three lodges), he said that he was going to India in February and wanted to visit Varanasi and buy copies of the Vedas, as he had knowledge of Sanskrit and liked to read in Hindi.

Recently, we received a consignment of one Hindi and three Gujarati Srimad Bhagavatam sets. I thought that the local Gurudwara (Sikh temple) would take the Hindi set for its library, as the priest likes to read in Hindi and has read some of our books, but the Gurudwara committee declined to buy it because it was too expensive. So I was wondering who would take the Hindi set. as now there are not many people who want to read in Hindi. There was one person, and I told him we have the Srimad Bhagavatam set in Hindi. He said that I could bring it and he would take a look at it. The next day I went to his lodge and explained that Srimad Bhagavatm is the ripened fruit of the tree of the Vedas. He asked the price, and by the mercy of guru and Gauranga agreed to pay in three installments. I felt that the Bhagavatam set in Hindi came all the way from India in a ship for three months just for this Muslim gentleman.

Sankirtan yajna, ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada, ki jaya!

Thank you.

Your humble servant,

Nitai Nimai Das

ISKCON Blantyre, Malawi, C Africa

 

 

 

Srila Prabhupada Is Coming Marathon Day

After being on sankirtan for almost two years, the German devotees rented a big castle, Schloss Rettershof. With hardly any time for renovation, we got to know that soon Srila Prabhupada is arriving. For me it would be the first opportunity to see Him personally. Instantly we decided to welcome Him with an increased sankirtan effort. A (typical German) idea became prominent: “Let’s collect a new Mercedes car for Srila Prabhupada….in one day!”

And so a day was set where EVERYBODY went on sankirtan. German yatra operated at this time with a modest number of sankirtan vans already, filled with enthusiastic distributors. I knew instantly the town I wanted to be at that day. Dusseldorf was a town which offered an opportunity to distribute literary day and night. As the old town red light district was directly connected to the main shopping street, we simply switched after the closing hour of the shops and kept on distributing most of the night in conditions surely not exactly suitable for a brahmacary. I remember scenes where some of my older godbrothers dashed into the bars and distributed Bhagavad Gitas to all the drunkards present.(Not to be imitated). I received donations on the street from ladies of not exactly representative appearance. (Not to be imitated either).We simply didn’t care. I saw devotees becoming in middle of the night so ecstatic that they started to grab people coming out of the bars and dance with them in the streets while chanting Hare Krsna.

I totally forgot my regular distribution mantra, simply telling people in most excited way, “He is coming! He is coming!” I got donations without even distributing any book. Some people cried. Nobody asked who is coming as nobody knew what is really going on. The image of Srila Prabhupada soon arriving took completely over our minds as we run from one drunkard to another.

By four o clock in the morning, after 20 hours of non-stop distribution, the streets became really empty and we met in an absolutely ecstatic spirit at our car. We spent the time driving back with wonderful kirtan and arrived exactly at the guru puja time in the morning. With our sankirtan bags hanging still around our necks we danced in the kirtan like madmen. This was the biggest one-day-marathon I ever took part in. Two weeks later Srila Prabhupada arrived.

Moral

Being lifted by the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu from the sentimental platform the conditioned souls dwell on all the time, one realizes the true meaning of spiritual rationality. It doesn’t apply to the puny “rational” concepts of the mundane speculators. Once one is acting in ones original constitutional capacity, the spiritual bliss the soul is experiencing cannot be compared to any “pleasure” of this material world. Just a glimpse of it leaves permanent mark in the heart of the conditioned soul and so both, the distributor and the receiver taste something they forgot long time ago: the bliss of Krsna-consciousness.

Some seek further, some don’t, but both are blessed forever. And so any concept derived from one’s mind is false. The true benefactor activity is remembering the souls again about their original position as eternal servants of Krsna and engaging them directly in service of Krsnas pure devotee. That night, as we danced through the streets of that sinful city, rejoicing about the arrival of Sri Krsnas most confidential servant, we got a glimpse of a spiritual reality far beyond the reach of our mundane mind and the material senses. Some forgot and got covered again, some can still remember. Srila Prabhupada showed us that our home is not here, but in His place, the place where Krsna, His master resides. As he told once to one exhausted and discouraged devotee: “We have to always dance…even when the authorities don’t give permission”.

 

 

 

The Rainy Day

I still remember that small town in middle of Germany where we parked our car. The town was indeed very small and on top of that we had already days and days of rain pouring down on our water soaked books and bodies.

Getting sick, I chanted in the hotel my rounds in a dizzy type of condition, trying to get my feverish mind under control. Finally arriving in the middle of the town I watched the devotees getting out of the car, with great roar and determination once again ready to push Srila Prabhupadas books into the laps of the stubborn and obstinate (German:-) conditioned souls.

I decided to stay back for little while, hoping that the fever will somewhat be reduced during the day. But after few minutes sitting in an empty cold van, I could see the first karmis passing by the condensate water covered windows of the car I was imprisoned in. The sight became intolerable.

I decided to get some books into my sankirtan bag and “try it out at least for few minutes”. Maybe it was possible to overcome my mind which indicated to me that I am indeed a sick man.

I got out of the van and felt truly weak. A woman passed by and I just turned around, not taking even one step and whispered:”Hello”. She stopped instantly. Caught by surprise by such instant response following such a little action, I kept on whispering my distribution mantra, not believing that she can hear me at all. She looked seriously at me and then at the book, took out her money bag and bought it. I thought, “Well at least one book I sold today”.

Then I took few steps, turning to a man passing by. He stopped also instantly, but not been able to hear me, came very close. I simply whispered again my mantra, thinking how wonderful Srila Prabhupada is that He allows me to be here. My voice chocked at the memory of Srila Prabhupadas gratitude towards His disciples He so wonderfully demonstrated in one of His Vyasa-puja lectures. I lost the contact to the man standing in front of me, but somehow he didn’t lost contact with me. He asked me how much the book did cost and….bought it.

Next person passed me by, but stopped and came back. Almost like in a silent slow motion movie, I passed over the book and like in some sort of dream returned to the car to fill up my bag again. Whole day passed by and I started to cry, not believing that I could still walk and whisper. It was getting dark and so I returned to the car where already the rest of the sankirtan party was sitting, counting the laksmi and exchanging their ecstatic sankirtan stories.

Seeing me, soaked wet from the rain, dragging my feet along, practically popping into the car with only one ability left, to start it, the bhaktas compassionately looked upon me and asked: “How many books did you do?”

I whispered again:”I don’t know I have to count them”.

This was the first day in my life I did 108 books in one day. This was at that time the ISKCON record. And it was the day I felt most weak, most desperate and most dependant on Srila Prabhupadas mercy.

Next day I woke up more refreshed, felt much better, chanted my rounds in much more concentrated spirit and full of passionate enthusiasm jumped on the street with another load of Srila Prabhupadas books. I laughed at the first approaching man and pushed the book into his hand. He looked angrily at me and said loudly: “Get lost!”…..I struggled the whole day.

MORAL

Krishna’s mercy cannot be attracted by our pathetic heroism, youthful passion or heavy duty sadhana. It’s our pride Krsna sees and He is not impressed. After all, He is the Supreme Person and can clearly see what our true motivation is. To impress the world with our heroic deeds puts us in comparison with Krsna’s gigantic display of His energies into the category of fools and comedians.

 

 

 

The Prabhupada Marathon

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur used to say, “The only lack in society is Krsna consciousness.” Krishna consciousness is the greatest need everywhere, and there is no better place to get it than from Srila Prabhupada’s books. This is why part-time and fulltime distributors – and devotees who never distributed books — will increase or start their service of book distribution all over the world during the Prabhupada Marathon in December.

In a lecture that Srila Prabhupada gave, while speaking about the importance of preaching, he said, “Krsna is feeling a little pain; therefore yada yada hi dharmasya.” He feels pain, knowing that His parts and parcels are suffering, and therefore He comes to help us.

Recently, a medical magazine stated, “Stress is the Black Plague of the 21st century.” I’ve had students almost in tears in front of me, because they’re under so much stress. We have no idea how much people are suffering. If we don’t help them, who will? No one else is giving pure knowledge of the soul, of God, and of the process that will bring the soul and Krsna into a loving relationship. We have a treasure house of knowledge, and Lord Caitanya is the one who came and broke open the storehouse of love of God.

He said, “I’m the only gardener, if I do not distribute these fruits, what shall I do with them? How many fruits can I alone eat? Therefore I order everyone to accept this Krsna consciousness and distribute it everywhere to everyone. Distribute this Krsna consciousness movement all over the world. Let people eat these fruits and ultimately become free from old age and death.”

In the purport to this verse Srila Prabhupada writes, “The Krsna consciousness movement established by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is extremely important because one who takes to it becomes eternal, being free from birth, death, old age and disease. People do not recognize that the real distresses in life are the four principles of birth, death, old age and disease. They are so foolish that they resign themselves to these four miseries, not knowing the transcendental remedy of the Hare Krsna mantra.

Simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra one can become free of all misery, but because they are enchanted by the illusory energy, people do not take this movement seriously. Therefore those who are actually servants of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu must seriously distribute this movement all over the world to render the greatest benefit to human society.” (Cc. Adi 9.39p)

So during this marathon let’s distribute books, lots of books, to relieve the pain Krsna feels because His parts and parcels went astray from the path of bhakti. Lord Caitanya said to Srila Sanatana Goswami, “Krsna buli sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha: Forgetting Krsna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore the illusory energy (maya) gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.”

Book distribution means we just try to remind people of what they’ve forgotten: Krsna. And because book distribution is such a glorious activity and so pleasing to Krsna and the acaryas, we are also reminded by their mercy.

So try your best, pray for the best. Krsna will do the rest.

Your servant,

Vijaya Dasa

ISKCONbookdistribution.com 

 

 

 

Falling in love with Krsna Book

 

 

 

“Krsna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Somehow, by the will of Providence, I ended up with a few cases of these this summer during our 7-week music festival tour. I was a little hesitant to distribute them at first, assuming that modern Americans may not like such a far out book – especially with the “G-word” plainly printed on the cover – but I decided to give it a shot anyways. “Hey guys! Check it out, it’s Krishna’s pastimes!!” I handed the books to groups of kids and explained how this book is all about Krishna. “He’s the hero. This is Him. He goes on amazing quests and adventures, kills evil warriors, wizards and dragons (Aghasura), and enchants all the residents in the magical land of Vrindavan.”

“It’s like Treasure Island on steroids.” I’d show them as many pictures as possible and tell them that it blows Lord of the Rings out of the water: “This is the greatest epic of all time.” Paramesvara Prabhu suggested that I tell them, “Nothing gives the soul more ecstasy than hearing the pastimes of Krsna.” They liked that a lot. What was their response? The more that these kids would drink in the artwork, the more they became enchanted. I would sometimes tell them that they can actually enter into these spiritual pastimes and eternally have fun with Krsna. They’d never get old, never get sick, and they could just play all day long with Krishna and the cowherd boys… Kind of like Peter Pan.

I remember some kids saying, “Oh hell yeah! Krishna!” After purchasing a copy, I told some that by the time they finished reading the book, they would certainly be a fan of Krishna. Some would respond, “I’m already a fan! Thanks!”

I approached one car as they pulled in to park and passed in 4 different books to the various passengers. One passenger held a Krsna Book and was looking as it as I briefly presented the literature. Then I asked for a donation, but they could only scrape together a little bit. I asked them to choose just one book to share. Immediately the girl with the Krsna Book excitedly said, “I want THIS book. I LOVE this book. Ohhhh… mmmm….” She closed her eyes and embraced the book like a newborn baby. She just caressed it and didn’t even look up at me after that. It looked like she entered into some sort of trance. So I thanked them and went on to the next car.

To other kids, I would show and tell them about the painting of Brahma & the devatas. I explained how the demigods and angels assembled 5,000 years ago in the heavenly realms and begged the Supreme Lord to incarnate. So God descended, and His pastimes are recorded in this ancient book. The pastimes are real, and by studying them with attention, you can develop pure love of God, free from all tinges of materialism. I didn’t get a single bad reaction to this explanation. Within 3 or 4 weeks I had distributed 370 Krsna Books. I am still distributing Krsna Books, and not just to encourage able teenagers, but to ordinary people that I meet at the park and on the street. I recommend that they make a daily routine of chanting the mantra mentioned in the beginning by George Harrison of The Beatles, accompanied by reading Krsna Book each night before bed (with a little warm milk and cookies of course). Jaya!

 Krsna Kumar Dasa

ISKCON San Diego

 

 

 

The best verse & some lines for evoking the right consciousness

While distributing at the Hollywood farmers’ market I approached a man who, after seeing my books, said, “No, it’s not my thing.” Then he went on his way.

Fifteen minutes later he came by again with his wife. I asked her, “Is that your husband?”

“Yes it is.” I said, “He’s got good energy.” Then, smiling, I said to him, “I knew you’d come back, it’s your fate to have one of these books.”

Again he said, “No it’s not my thing.”

Then I said to him, “Here, (pointing to his head) it’s not your thing, but you’re not your mind. You’re the soul, (pointing to his soul). I said, ‘You the soul, are saying ‘Get the book, get the book!”

“No, I’m a mystic Jew. This is not my belief, sorry. I read the Kabalah.”

“I’m not trying to change your belief, but there is always more to learn. Am I right or wrong?

“Yes, you’re right. All right, I’ll take it.”

He gave a nice donation, so I gave him two. This is something I’m regularly saying to people: “I show these to people that have good energy.” People like to hear this. And it’s true, everyone has good energy because the Supersoul is there and the soul is there, even though covered. And it helps us remember that there is a soul and a Supersoul present.

When they are a little hesitant to give a donation I say: “Money is flickering, it comes and goes, but wisdom (then I point to the book) it sticks. So it will be good for you, more valuable than money.”

Yesterday, while I was distributing to people I was thinking, “This soul has been in the material world for so many lifetimes suffering, Krsna please allow this soul to receive some information about you.” While thinking in this way so many people were taking books. It was ecstatic. I always say that 95% of our ability to distribute books is in our consciousness. Our consciousness creates the atmosphere by which people want to take books. We have to tune in to what Krsna wants and tune out of mayic distractions. Sometimes there may be some static, and we’re not clearly tuned in to the Krsna channel. Then we have to pray to Krsna to get tuned back in. Then it becomes ecstatic.

One last thing, there is a verse that I’ve been meditating on quite a bit while on book distribution and is, in my opinion, the best verse for evoking the right consciousness on book distribution. This is it:

titiksaya karunaya

maitrya cakhila juntusu

samatvena ca sarvatma

bhagavan samprasidati

 

The Lord is very satisfied with His devotee when the devotee greets other people with tolerance, compassion, friendship and equality.  (SB 4.11.13)

Your servant,

Vijaya Dasa

 

What did Srila Prabhupada mean by stating that “Books are the Basis”?

It is not difficult to understand that his books are the philosophical basis of ISKCON. Many, many times He pointed out that he is living and will continue to live in his books. His books are so unique that Srila Prabhupada studied them himself. Being written down as direct dictation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they provoke even Srila Prabhupada’s admiration. But it is less commonly understood that “Books are the Basis” is indeed THE BASIS of Srila Prabhupada’s mission. Basis means “that on which everything rests.” That means everything rests on this basis economically, philosophically and constitutionally.

Srila Prabhupada wanted even construction of temples being absolutely linked to book distribution with BBT as the main supporter. Of course, especially in India, donations play great part as well, but for the members of the International Society of Krsna Consciousness Srila Prabhupada wanted it to be the law, that their life revolves around His books, their production and their distribution.

On the basis of these books preaching is conducted, new bhaktas are joining and congregational members are engaged. From these books a whole picture of Vedic society arises, serving as the blue print for future generations to come. The “internal” meaning of “Books are the Basis” contains far more as the production and distribution of these books.

Everybody who comes in touch with these books and engages in their further distribution quickly realizes that it is not possible to do so as long one doesn’t also change one’s life style. As matter of fact, these books command a whole change of consciousness when one is supposed to be their truthful representative. Austerity, blissfully performed, knowledge enthusiastically received, mercy, readily bestowed upon the conditioned souls…all these symptoms become visible when the book distribution becomes the center.

Unity and true love…terms so often used and abused today, are automatically part of the book distribution mission. After all, united for the same purpose of distributing Srila Prabhupada’s literature rendered the later on arriving “freudistic”  mediators and counselors…useless. It is the main reason they didn’t exist in the initial phase of Srila Prabhupada’s preaching movement because they were not needed.

Memories of bygone sankirtan days arrive in the mind of the author of this text, days where we despite all our youthful passion and immaturity joined together to disseminate Srila Prabhupada’s books on the animal like humans. Battling our own animalistic propensities became easy, brahmacarya was possible to maintain without any problems and the co-existence even with the most opposite eccentric natures of other Vaisnavas was not impossible.

Specially remembering the early days of Srila Prabhupadas sankirtan movement, to live for years on minimum space, in cold van with four brahmacaries ,struggling at night for space to sleep, wasn’t at all difficult as some of us could hardly sleep for being so ecstatic. Little we knew about the intricacies brought upon us and the movement as such by later on arriving kanistha adhikaris and pseudo intellectuals who made book distribution more and more to a memory of bygone days, something “a truly advanced Vaisnava will abstain from as it causes disturbance for the public”.

Diving into their minds, guided by misguided intelligence, they thought their followers how to take the “voyage inside” and abstain from “sankirtan outside”. Of course, most of us got married, embarking on the thorny path of grhasta asrama. Of course we had to face challenges which this intricate asrama brings along. But that doesn’t mean that the spirit should be lost and buried. It is maya’s function to make unimportant important and important unimportant. As so the “new preachers” ,facilitated by the fall downs of those who still could have remembered what Srila Prabhupada declared to be our priority, declared important what Srila Prabhupada didn’t took notice of.

Did he forget to comment upon the vast amount of issues discussed today…for sure not. He knew that if the tree is watered at its roots, then the leaves will automatically flourish. Now we are blinded by the glitter of the leaves, lost while trying to look towards the skies through the branches, debating where to go, caught in so much confusion with no conclusion. That’s because we forgot to look towards the roots and understand the main frame work of the gigantic tree Srila Prabhupada left behind. This tree is just a branch of the tree of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and if we desire to live where the green leaves flourish, then we have to be sure the branches are connected to the main trunk leading to the roots.

And so book distribution, the most vital part of Srila Prabhupadas mission, is invigorating, inspiring and enlightening everybody who comes in touch with it.

Projects based on book distribution will be always flourishing. Projects based on something else may initially look like they will flourish, but too soon they will be lost in the ocean of intricacies maya offers so willingly. As one of my godbrothers rightly pointed out: “Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, brings the spiritual world into the material world, turning it into the spiritual world again. Enthused and refreshed the conditioned souls enter this transcendental realm and due to their habituation turn it gradually into the material world again.”Such is the history of all movements sparked by spiritual impetus, but not protected by strong parampara guardians.

Sankirtan book distribution is simple for the simple ones and impossible for the complicated ones. That explains why so few are admitted to enter this service and taste its most wonderful nectar. Book distributors, often derided by the pseudo academic “intellectuals” as being simpletons and “of passionate and aggressive nature, are the carriers of the most intense desire of Srila Prabhupada, to provoke a change in the hearts of the conditioned souls. Simply the existence of Srila Prabhupada’s books has its effect, even when not intellectually understood.

Distribution of these books is so urgent, that Srila Prabhupada sent us out, well aware of our lack of training and lack of maturity. He wanted us to spread out these seeds of bhakti into every home and every nook and corner of the world. He knew that our clumsiness will cause problems. He knew that we may end up preaching in countries where we don’t understand neither the language, nor the mentality of its residents. He didn’t care.

As He said, when there is fire, it doesn’t matter what language the fire brigade men are speaking. It is our purity and our dedication to Srila Prabhupada people will understand and those pious at heart will be attracted by it. Further Srila Prabhupada pointed out that academic expertise is not required as even a simple, but rich man opens schools, even he himself didn’t dedicate his life to intense studies.

Here is a letter from Srila Prabhupada from 1973 for inspiration:

 “As far studying my books is concerned, I have already given the order. One hour in the morning class and one hour in the evening and if there is extra time during the day it may be used for studying but we cannot expect everyone to be studious. If someone has desired to distribute books all day he may do this, but he must always follow the principles of rising early, chanting 16 rounds, etc. Just as some rich man has no inclination for studying, but still he opens many schools for other to study at. Like this, all of my students may not be inclined to study but they are very much eager to give others the opportunity to read my books and this should not be discouraged. All programs must go on but it is a fact that this book distribution program is very, very important.”

There are many, many letters and quotes illustrating how book distribution is the center of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON. No amount of “preaching” conducted by those who lost that kind of faith can change that.

Anything Can Happen At Any Time

Back in the 1980s we’d work the Kennedy Space Center, where the shuttle spacecraft launches from, using ice breakers and Easy Journey to Other Planets and Coming Back. 

When we were negotiating where we could distribute with the authorities, it was going back and forth for a long time and finally they just said,”Would you be satisfied if we just gave you the whole parking lot?”

Of course, we agreed and our first day out we found out it was monitored by parking attendants, who kept cars going to the next open spot, which was great for us. One day, the next car that pulled in was a brand new, full-size Mercedes Benz sedan. 

The driver got out with his wife and two kids, and I said, “Welcome to the Space Coast!” (We couldn’t say “Kennedy Space Center,” so we adjusted a little).

As I approached the gentleman, he said, “Oh, no, not you guys again here. I see you in airports all around the country. I have a few books already, but today I am on vacation with my family, so I just want to be peaceful.”

I agreed with him and said, “Fine. Great that you have some of our books. I really appreciate that.”

I turned around to walk away, then turned back and asked if I could say something. He said sure. So I told him, in a nice way, that there had been another man like him here with his family just the other day, out to enjoy their vacation and visit the center, who collapsed from a heart attack.

“Not to ruin your good time, but you should know that anything can happen anytime,” I said.

He said, “OK, you got me. Give me the books.”

Then he gave a donation and thanked me.

Just make a little extra effort and see what guru and Krishna will do.

That is the best book!

I was on sankirtan with Mangal-Aarti on a bitterly cold winter afternoon at Eaton Centre and had spoken to a few people and was just recuperating from the snow and rain a little, standing in the shade.

A man walked by and I asked him,”Have you tried yoga or meditation, sir?” He stopped for a while, as I showed him some pictures, but I could tell he wasn’t going to buy a book. He walked away, but from the corner of my eye I spotted a thin, tiny man with an old, torn jacket and a little hat and a cigarette in his hand.

He pointed to the Bhagavad Gita with the finger that was looped around the cigarette and said, “That is the best book!” He had a thick, raspy accent I was unfamiliar with — maybe from Australia or Africa — so at first I didn’t know if I’d heard him correctly. But when he came a little closer and repeated himself, now touching the pictures, I understood. I immediately broke out laughing and said, “Yes! Have you read it?”

He twirled the cigarette in his hand and said, “Read it? I can’t stop. I’m reading about the… uh… eleventh chapter…universal form.” I began to say something and prepared to show him the Krishna book, but was cut off, because this man went off on a long talk about the Gita’s greatness.

He said, “I got the book from someone only a little while ago. I really like the pictures. They’re so colorful and real. Now I can’t stop reading. I am a servant of Ram. Ram Dasa: that is what I want for a spiritual name. That is me. I am not God. I am God’s servant. This book is the nicest book. I have read so much before: the Koran, the Bible. So much. But this book I cannot stop reading.”

So at last I showed him the Krishna book, and immediately his eyes widened. “Does this have pictures?” he asked, sounding now like a little child.

“Oh yeah,” I replied.

I flipped through a few of the pictures and to my complete surprise this man began to name the people in the pictures. “Oh, is this Kamsa? Oh, so this is Durgadevi. Oh, I see, yes, I know this is Krishna.”

He really wanted a Krishna book, but he did not have enough laksmi, so I showed him a Chant and Be Happy instead and he immediately grabbed that one and gave a nice donation. He parted smiling and saying, “The pictures are the best. They’re great. Oh yes. Oh yes. They’re great.”

Prabhupada says that even if someone touches a book his life is transformed. Krishna book was his favorite book. How great is Krishna that a man with a cigarette in one hand is using his other hand to touch the pictures of Krishna, which are nondifferent from Him, and his mouth to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his pastimes, and his associates. Indeed, how good is God.

Book distribution in Sarajevo

SP Book Distribution

Last summer, two interesting incidents happened on book distribution in Sarajevo, Bosnia, which illustrate how non devotees can distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. I was only assisting them.

I was distributing books in front of a big mall, and after some time I took a break on the bench in the street. From a distance an elderly couple (around the age of 70) approached and ask if they could sit beside me, because the other benches were taken. I had no objection. I thought that maybe this was some kind of providential arrangement for me to show them books, but I was so exhausted that I remained silent. After a few minutes I opened my book bag to take out a bottle of water.

The old lady sitting beside me saw the stack of books inside and asked, “Are you selling something?” Now it was obvious that there was some arrangement going on, but I again decided not to say anything not just because I was tired but just to see what would happen. I took out a Caitanya-caritamrta and put it in her hands. She read the description on the back and then started examining the book. She seemed to be waiting for me to say something, but I remained silent. After quite some time she asked, “How much is this?” I said, “Donation — give as much you like.” She again carefully examined the book for a while, as though it was a piece of fruit that had to be checked for defects. Still I didn’t say anything about the book. She said to her husband: “Look, a very nice book. We can give as much we want.”

The old man said that they didn’t need this book and anyway they already have many other books at home, but the old lady insisted. She said, “But look how nice this book is, I want to read it.” He again made some excuses and finally said that he didn’t bring his wallet with him. She was really eager and continue to praise the book, and then she put a book into his hands. Now it was as though someone rewound the tape, but switched the roles. He read the description on the back, examined the book, and said, “It is a really nice book, maybe we should take it.”

Now she was counteracting saying better not to take it, because they have so many books at home, but he reasoned with her to take it anyway. “It is a nice book and I want to read it” he said and gave a nice donation out of his pocket. Surprisingly, I felt fully recovered, thanked them, and continue on with book distribution.

The second incident happened in one of the skyscrapers in Sarajevo. I rang the bell at one of the doors, and a very receptive middle-aged lady took a book. When she saw me heading toward her neighbor’s door, she told me that in this apartment lived a very old woman with bad hearing, who could not hear my ringing, but she had a key to her apartment. She took the key, entered her apartment and brought her in front of the door to speak with me. I showed the old lady a book, but she refused to even look at it. Besides that, she was grouchy and bad-tempered. Than her neighbor took a book from my hand and forcibly put it into her hands and started to yell in her ear that this is holy book about God and that I am a monk preaching God consciousness, etc. “I also took one and you should also take! He is not selling, you only need to give a small donation to cover the printing cost!” After this drama, the old lady was persuaded by her neighbor, and she took a book. I said goodbye to her and continue conversing with her neighbor for a while. In the end she asked me my name and told me hers: Rada!