Submitted by Vijaya dasa
(Iskcon Sankirtana Minister)
As I was distributing books in Nairobi, Krsna gave me a new line for distributing books.
After I stopped someone and exchanged a few words, I’d present the book to the person and, as Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to do, show the pictures to them.
Showing the changing bodies picture, I’d say the soul is going through the body from boyhood to old age to death and that it would continue after the death of the body. Then I would tell them the soul is so powerful that nothing can kill the soul not even the hydrogen bomb.
Then I would ask, “Do you know why the soul is so powerful?”
The person always said, “No, why?”
“Because it’s part of God, who is the most powerful. The more we connect with God, the more powerful we get, and the less connected we are to Him the weaker we become. This book will help you become spiritually powerful.”
Then I would ask for a donation, and ninety percent of the people would give one and take a book. It was pretty ecstatic.
This took place this last Saturday. All week long I was giving seminars on book distribution to the congregation and the temple devotees with the idea that we would all go out together on Saturday. During the week it’s difficult for the congregation to go out because they have jobs, so the plan was to try and inspire them to go on Saturday. It was a good turnout. Thirty-three devotees went out and distributed 1,124 books. We all had a great time giving our treasures of bhakti to the people.
I just finished visits to Nigeria and Ghana. Devotees in both countries are nice and enthusiastic to hear about Krishna and book distribution. The leaders sincerely stick to Srila Prabhupada’s desire to distribute books, and the result is that the books are going out. They are poor countries, so it’s not easy to distribute books, but still people read the books and become devotees.
Srila Prabhupada went to Africa five times, so he had a desire that the people of Africa take to Krishna consciousness. When he came the first time, he saw that the devotees were preaching only to the Indians, so he told them, “No, everyone is a spirit soul, and anyone can take to Krishna consciousness, so preach to everyone.” Then the devotees let the local Africans hear the glories of Krishna, and soon the indigenous devotees were established.
Last week in East London, I a met a very nice African student at the Vincent shopping mall. I introduced myself to him and told him that I was a traveling monk and that I taught yoga and philosophy. “That’s interesting,” he said, “As a matter of a fact I am very glad to have met you. You know what’s amazing, just before you came while sitting here I was thinking about serendipity.” I showed him a selection of books and told him that they were text books of higher knowledge. I began preaching about self realization and the difference between the soul and the temporary material body. I began to notice as I spoke to him, he seemed to understand everything that I told him; in fact it was almost if he were a devotee. I told him about the importance of chanting and of association and gave him a chant and be happy. He thanked me, and said he felt that it was by no chance he had met me. I gave me my email address, cell phone number and an invitation to the Wednesday program. The very next day, I was amazed to receive this email: Continue reading →
Maseru, Lesotho March 2013 Day 4
by Madhumangala dasa
On this day, I approached a lady at a table outside a coffee shop and asked her if she knew where I could find a vegetarian restaurant. As she replied, I could hear that she spoke with an American accent. I asked her if she was from California. Yes she was, she answered. I told her that I had lived in San Diego for three years. She responded with amazement that she lives in San Diego. I enquired what had brought her to Maseru and she replied that she was with the Peace Corps working in education with young children. I then asked her if she knew Bob Cohen, who had also been in the Peace Corps many years ago.
I sat down at the table and handed her a Perfect Questions Prefect Answers, showing her Bob Cohen’s name at the back of the book. Continue reading →
A friend shared a tip with me from the medical perspective. She said as a medicine student they are taught how not to lose a patient. When a patient comes for treatment to a doctor for the very first time, if the doctor sends him to run some tests before treating him, more than often the patient will run away to sort some cheaper remedy, which might not be a good thing for the patient. So a responsible doctor tries and treats the patient from the obvious symptoms and carefully administers a broad spectrum medicine which will fully cure the patient and also secure his trust on the doctor.
As book distributors we are also faced with similar situations when a person stops to pick a book, asks a few questions regarding the book, then puts the book down and promises to come back, but that might be the last time we see the person.
Once again we lose the chance of passing Srila Prabhupada to a new person.
Applying the broad spectrum remedy we can also secure a potential buyer. If money is the issue, I usually ask the person what he can afford to give, if it’s reasonable I usually settle for it. If it’s too little then I convince the person to pick a smaller book which is cheaper.
If the person is not too sure about the book and how it might affect his faith, I usually pass on a small book to him, just to read, and if he feels it’s good he can come and pay me later or return it, if he feels it wasn’t worth it.
Till date no one has come back with the book, but I always get the money back.
The positive side of this is that it has made me regular on distribution, and also people build trust when they see you regularly distributing books.
Srila Prabhupada was once asked by a reporter; “How will you recognise a devotee when you see him?” He replied: “He will be a perfect gentleman.”
Shortly after hearing this I had the realization, a perfect gentleman means to be a well wishing friend of all living entities. I then had a further realization: A well wishing friend of all living entities, means to give and to share the holy name of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to others, without discrimination.