National Sankirtan Festival Report

Submitted by Vibhu Caitanya Das

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to the Sankirtan Mission of Lord Caitanya.

I am pleased to announce that the first National Sankirtan Festival, held on Saturday, 11 June at the Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple was a success.Over 200 Devotees attended the festival, which was facilitated by His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu.

Vaisesika Prabhu transformed the way we approach book distribution and our personal devotional practice. I am sharing all the resources we have gathered from his presentation for your use and also to share with your communities. I encourage you all to read his book “Our Family Business” and use the Monthly Sankirtan Festival to help every devotee achieve their 50 book quota for ISKCON 50th Anniversary.

I trust this finds you well.

Your servant,

Vibhu Caitanya Das

Please find the links to the audio recording of the seminar:

Please find the links to the power point presentations (PDF files) of the seminar:

Below is a synopsis, done by Rukmini Devi Dasi, of what was covered at the seminar:

“With the rise in technology and electronic media many feel that there will be a decline and eventually end to the need for hard copy books. However the research shows that this is not the case. In fact according the Economist (newspaper) publishers expect most sales to come from printed books.

Books represent the Freedom of Thought and Civilisation. The printing press was invented with the purpose of printing the Bible for preaching in mind. This revolutionised the spread of Christianity all around the world.

Books are Containers: 
Books contain idea seeds that are planted in the mind. The BG has the most powerful seeds.
Books are conscious beings that form connection with living beings.
Books are the sound of Krishna’s flute where the eternal meets the temporal.
Language is very powerful and had the power to influence individuals, generations and nations. People believe in evolution because someone wrote a book and the ideas spilled into society. The written word once spilled into society permeates the thoughts and changes the beliefs of people.
Books are institutions unto themselves. An institution is a medium through which culture can be changed over time and geography.
We are waging war on Maya and the Books are weapons of Mass Instruction.

Jiva is open to suggestion
Because we are the marginal energy we are always open to suggestion. This principle is played on by advertising, plating seeds in peoples’ minds.

Jiva is an agent of change

By putting the suggestion of the BG into the mind of the Jiva you are intervening in their karma and changing the trajectory of history.

Our Legacy
Our sampradaya  is the sampradaya of the book. Everyone in our sampradaya is connected with books, right up to Lord Brahma himself (Pictures of Lord Brahma holding a book).  The purpose of our sampradaya is to give knowledge in the written form.
Therefore the books are the The complete gift.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave a two part movement:
  • “Chant Hare Krishna.”
  • “Teach Others.”
Lord Caitanya & Lord Nityananda open the marketplace of the Holy Name and predicted that the holy name will be chanted in every town and village.  With time the movement became hidden but in 1891 Bhakti Vinod Thakur renewed market and made the mercy available to our modern age.
The most powerful instruction that Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur gave to Prabhupada was: “If you ever get money, print books.”
The proof of the efficacy of the Maha mantra is in the turning of Mlecchas to Vaisnavas.

The Plan: Print books
Risk the replacement of the gambling. Our lives are already at risk, every moment we are in danger. It is better that we give up our bodies in and authorized way. So what is going to be your Jaladuta? What risk are you going to take for spreading Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan mission.

Four Laws of Book Distribution
    1. Strong Sadhana
      1. Must be Strict serious and sincere
      2. Taste. Without taste our service will be for the sake of service
      3. Distribute the over flow of the mercy that we get
      4. Reading BG chapter a day will give you’re the strength to confront Maya. Reading and good japa will give you taste.
      5. Hearing and chanting combined with sharing is super sadhana
      6. Your hearing quotient shows how advanced you are.
    1. Get Books
      1. Can’t distribute what you don’t have
      2. If you go out with the intention to distribute then Krishna will help you find a way to distribute the books.
    1. The more you show the more you sell
      1. Find new ways of showing
      2. Door to door
      3. Tables
      4. Smart boxes
      5. Selling whole SB Sets
      6. Whole library sets
  1. Must Organise
    1. Set dates and times
    2. Mark on calendar
    3. Set goals
    4. Report scores
    5. Krishna Mystic Power + Strategic plan = Increase in Book distribution.
Monthly Sankirtan Festival
Is A FUN, ORGANIZED outing, which involves EVERYONE in sharing Krishna’s mercy.
Sample of Monthly sankirtana schedule
  • Morning Program, 4-9am
  • Breakfast, 9-9:30am
  • Training, 9:30-10:30am
  • Street Sankirtan, 11am-2:30pm
  • Lunch – Nectar Stories, 3-4pm
  • Make it fun
  • Teamwork
  • Create fresh challenges
  • Encourage the heck out of everyone
  • Empower people
  1. Mission/Vision
  2. Personnel
  3. Sankirtan Spots
  4. Infrastructure
  5. Systems
  6. Paraphernalia
  • Sankirtan Leader
  • Team Leaders
  • Team Members
  • Fulfillment Director
  • Accountant
  • Communications Director
  • Prasadam Production Team
  • Stamps; Labels
  • Mantra Cards
  • Contact Cards
  • Credit Card Machine
  • Photo ID badges
  • Kirtan Instruments
  • and more…
Art of start
  1. Decide
  2. Set Goals
  3. Start
Goal one
  • Touch the pavement
  • Book distribution is high sadhana
  • Always better service
  • A lot doing a little
  • Fun and Easy
Tips and thoughts
Learn to pick “ripe fruit”
Ambassadors of good will
Prime directive Leave everyone with a good impression
  1. Focus on Team work
  2. Offer kind words
  3. Preaching means giving
  4. Don’t be condescending
  5. Express empathy
  6. Reflective listening
  7. Make people feel special
  8. Express sincere gratitude and thanks to people that you meet
Motto: always better service
Mood: we are Krishna’s instruments
Mood: humble and hungry
Mood: go out for self purification
Mood: do service for service sake
Mood: save one soul at a time starting with myself
How to distribute:
  1. Radar
    • A system for detecting ripe fruits. Hand power: Send directed energy at someone and  by putting up your hand and smiling say “HI”. Observe their reaction to determine if they are ripe or not.
    • Presence 
    • Direction 
    • Distance 
    • Speed 
  2. Qualify
    • Important to ask a question to establish the conversation. (the one asking the questions is the one that controls the conversation) For example:
    • Are you from __________?
    • Do you live here?
    • We noticed your  _________.
    • We noticed that you _________.
  3. Trust the hand
  • Put the book in their hand
    • These are books on yoga and meditation that show you how to get free from stress. Important to time the hand over so that as you say “stress” the book enters their hand.
  1. Give a nutshell presentation
    • “You’ve heard of stress before, right? “
    • “Really you don’t look stressed you look spiritual”
    • “What’s your secret?” (important to “become their disciple” open to learning from them gains their trust)
  2. Show and tell
    • When they answer, you take book back and start to highlight selling points.
    • “Here I’ll show you really quick”
    • Name dropping
    • Endorsements from universities
  3. Compliment
    • Compliment the person. “You’ve heard of karma before? What does it mean to you?”
    • “Whoa!! What a great explanation. If more people thought like you the world would be a better place”
    • Pictures: violence breeds violence. Peace breeds peace
  4. Humor
    • So what do you do? They answer ___
    • Really this guy (show the yogi picture) used to be _____
  5. Engage
    • When they laugh give the book back to them and say: “we don’t sell the books like in a book store. We don’t need the money (hands up) but it is an ancient tradition that when you give a donation then that connects you to the previous teachers and you can enter more deeply into it’
    • “When you give in return for spiritual knowledge, you get good fortune and the power to read and understand the book.”
    • It costs ______________ to print and ship, anything you give over that is a donation.”
    • We do this to Spread love of God.
    • We do this to Help people who are suffering from ignorance all over the world
Come backs 
  1. I already know all about this: That’s great. I could tell just from looking at you
  2. I’m a ____ (Muslim /Christian/ Buddhist etc.): Oh great then I’ll show you this one
  3. I are you selling this? No we refuse to sell it. It is too valuable. We only accept donations.
  4. How much should I donate? We usually try to keep in under R100, but in your case we are thinking of making an exception.
  1. Teaching the Maha mantra
Do you believe in the Power of prayer?
Here let me show you.
  1. Give prasada
  2. Thank you for taking your valuable time. It was a pleasure meeting you
Prime Directive: leave a good impression. 
  • Go for ripe fruit and leave unripe fruit on the tree. You are not responsible for the envious.
  • When you sense fanatism honour their faith and walk away. “Oh that’s is no wonderful that you are such a devoted Christian”
  • Organise your life around hearing and chanting
  • Teaching people early on about the mission of giving through sankirtana they will quickly advance to the stage of madhyam
  • Never leave home without a BG in the bag for distribution
  • Never leave home without chanting the BG
  • The disciple must carry fire wood for the spiritual master to lite the sacrificial fire. In this age Prabhupada’s books are the fire wood that we need to carry. By distributing the books the spiritual master will lite the fire of knowledge in the heart of the reader.
  • The Gayatri is all about Krishna and guru encouraging us. What would happen if we encouraged others?
  • It is not about the result it is about doing the right thing. “

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