Maseru, Lesotho March 2013 Day 2
by Madhumangala dasa
In the morning, with great eagerness, I set out to distribute books. The first person I encountered liked the books, but said she did not have any money. Just then another lady appeared with a twenty Rand note in her hand and said to me: “I would like to take a book. Yesterday I did not have any money.” I gave her a Beyond Birth and Death. Shortly after that, I met a group a young students. As they curiously asked me where I was from, I handed each one of them a book and began preaching to them. More and more students came to listen and the crowd got a little bigger.
This gave me an opportunity to introduce them to the holy name of the Lord! I said to them: “Everyone put your hands up in the air”. They all did so and I asked them to repeat Hare Krsna. They began to chant with great enthusiasm as the holy name penetrated their hearts. By the second round of the maha mantra, the symptoms of chanting the holy name started manifesting as they all began laughing.
I explained the meaning of the maha mantra thus: when the mother is cooking in the kitchen and hears the distressed call of her child, she does not carry on cooking and ignore the child, but she drops everything and runs with great urgency to see the child. Similarly, when we chant this mantra in the mood of a distressed child, Krsna is thinking, “who is calling my name?”, and He quickly runs to see who it is. “When He does that”, I told the students, Krishna comes and dances on your tongue. “That’s why you are all laughing.”
They all nodded their heads in agreement. I showed them some books. Most said they liked the books but did not have any money. I told them they could each take a book and just give something. They dug their pockets, made a combined contribution, and took a book each. They came forward and gave me their email addresses and I gave them mine. I bade them goodbye and said that I looked forward to hearing from them again. About a block down the road, I heard the sound of Hare Krsna. It was the same students, all waving at me chanting Hare Krsna!
Walking down the street, I passed by the Vodacom store, where I had previously distributed a book to the lady at the information counter. I noticed she was reading a book – it was the same book I had given her the previous day! I went on into the building of the Alliance Française, a French cultural organisation that promotes the French language and culture around the world. I walked into the office and told the director that I was a travelling monk teaching the ancient culture of bhakti yoga. It was the first time I was visiting Lesotho and I asked her if, in the future, she would allow me to use a hall or classroom to teach students when I would return to Lesotho.
The lady told me that they do have a classroom, but that there is a fee for renting it. I replied by saying that as I am a monk in the renounced order of life, I could not afford to pay the rent and asked if they could perhaps help me out. She thought for a moment and suggested that I email her my personal details. They may indeed consider helping me. I thanked her and gave her my email address. We began talking about what else she does and as she began to tell me that she was a writer, I told her, “we publish books on ancient Vedic culture.” I proceeded to show her some books. She took one and gave me a nice donation.
I went into the small coffee shop in the building to buy myself a soda. Just then the same lady appeared and pointed through the window at some tables outside. She said, “you see that man sitting at the table on his Mac laptop, he would like to speak to you.” I went over to the man at the table. He introduced himself to me: “My name is Michel Jordan. I am a foreign correspondent and I train people in journalism.” We shook hands and had a long conversation about his profession as a journalist. Finally, I told him that I am a travelling monk representing BBT Africa and that we are an international publisher of the ancient Vedas. I showed him some books and he took a copy, saying that he would enjoy reading it. He gave me his business card and told me that he looked forward to hear from me.
Next I met another young man and showed him some books. He could not take any, as he had no money. Further up the road, I spoke to some students and asked them if they would like a book. They also declined, saying they had no money. Just then, at that exact same moment, the young man who had just said he had no money suddenly appeared and said: “I’ve got some money now! Can you give me that book you showed me?” He took a book and gave a donation.