Book distribution stories
By Yadavendra Das
THERE IS NO AGE LIMIT
Yesterday I sold a Bhagavad-Gita As It Is to Betty, a 79 year old. Tomorrow 3 rd of July 2011 is her birthday anniversary. She cared to make the following statement: ” Hello, I am Betty from Central Queensland, Australia. Next Sunday 3 rd of July 2011 is my birthday anniversary and my age will then be 79. Today, July 1st I have purchased one copy of Bhagavad-Gita As Is It from a travelling sales person from the Hare Krishna Movement. I am delighted about this acquisition and I am inviting you to buy a copy too. It is such a famous, well-read and useful book. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna!”
WHAT LITTLE IT SOMETIMES TAKES TO SELL A BHAGAVAD-GITA AS T IS
Here is what it takes in some cases to sell a copy of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. I have met this gentleman a few times over the last few years and he would have acquired some small books such as Science of Self Realization, Your Ever Well Wisher or Higher Taste etc.He owns a computer shop.
Customer: So this Bhagavad-Gita is based on Hinduism? Devotee: No, this is not a sectarian book. It is a universal book. Human nature is universal and God is one. Customer: We believe in the same ideas. Please let me have a copy.
GAMBLING FOR KRISHNA
On July 1st 2011, I was distributing books in a public bar in Airlie Beach, a popular tourist resort in Central Queensland. Public bars are certainly a manifestation of the mode of ignorance. But if we go there exclusively for book distribution and service to Krishna we shall remain untouched by the lower modes. Besides that, many public bar customers are quite willing to engage in Krishna’s service. There are some rare ones that will insult the book distributor spontaneously, profusely and without any provocation at all, just like a venomous snake will bite without any provocation. But these are “les risques du métier” and we have to tolerate it. In a letter to Lilavati dated 12 May 1974, Srila Prabhupada gives the definition of patience as follows: “So there will be, that in our preaching, we will meet with many tribulations, that is patience.” So this young man had already given me a donation and I had given him a copy of the Science of Self Realization in return, when he decided to ask me whether I was allowed to gamble. The immediate answer of course is:” No, our rules and regulations prohibit gambling”. Gambling is irreligious! Then he made the following proposal:” Look, come with me into the gaming room and all you have to do is press the buttons with me. I shall supply all the money and whatever we win, I shall give you half the amount for Krishna.” Considering all the circumstances and conditions, I felt safe to accept the proposal for Krishna. There was no risk of loss to me and a chance of profit for Krishna. All I had to do is in turn press two buttons a few times. Unfortunately, there was no win and therefore no fruit to offer to Krishna. He assured me, however, that the maximum he had ever won was $500. How nice it would have been to be able to raise an extra $250 offering for Krishna’s cause!
NOT EVERYONE IS ABLE TO ACCEPT THE MERCY
Today 21st September 2011 among other shops, I went into a Uniting Church Charity shop. I find that sometimes these respectable ladies or gents in church opportunity shops are actually willing to give a donation for a Krishna charity. There were three elderly ladies present, possibly in their seventies, and none of them had any cash on hand. More over the lady sitting on the cashier assured me that it was impossible for her to give some money from the cashier, which I accepted, of course. So, I asked them to chant Hare Krishna. One lady immediately said: “Yes I can say Hare Krishna” and repeated it a second time. The second one also said Hare Krishna when I asked her to do so. But the third lady slightly lowered her head and started moving it from left to right and vice versa and started chanting” NO, no, no no…..” In this way we may find that everyone reacts differently to the invitation to chant the Hare Krishna mantra according to his or her pious credit.
We generally associate the mantra
Maha prasade govinde Nama brahmani vaishnave Svalpa punya vatam rajan Vishvaso naiva jayate with honoring prasadam because we chant it at prasadam time. But there is more to it. It is a very nice mantra and the full meaning is: ” O King, for those who have amassed very few pious activities, their faith in maha- prasadam in the Supreme Personality of Godhead or Govinda, the Holy Name of the Lord, or in the Vaishnavas is never born.”
Besides prasadam, there are thus three more elements out of reach of those who have meager pious credit: Govinda or Krishna, the Holy Name of the Lord and the Vaishnavas. But the mercy of the devotees can also change that situation.
LEARNING A BOOK DISTRIBUTION SANKIRTAN PRINCIPLE FROM THE ISKCON CAT.
When I visited Iskcon New Govardhan, I was approached by the most intelligent, personal and friendly cat ever, the big white and grey cat. According to Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, all living entities are spirit souls and this is where the real ” freedom, equality and fraternity”, the motto of the French republic, lays. Freedom, equality and fraternity can only be found on the spiritual platform, not artificially or by the power of the slogan itself! “Fraternity comes from Latin “frater” which means brother, so brotherhood. Even though we had never met before, He very confidently came up to me, a total stranger, rubbed against my right leg and uttered: ” miaou, miaou, miaou” meaning to say: “Can you please rub my back?” I obliged and rubbed his back for about a minute and he was satisfied. In the Lilamrta, I believe there is a passage where Srila Prabhpada Himself also caresses a cat, even though the author expected Srila Prabhupada to flick off the cat.
This is an essential Sankirtan principle. For Lord Caitanya’s sake, we confidently approach any total stranger and request him, often successfully, to please participate in Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan movement. In this way we may learn from the Iskcon cat about an essential Sankirtan principle and overcome our shyness and / or reluctance for Book Distribution Sankirtan. Of course, this is not an ordinary cat because he lives on Krishna’s property.
FASTEST AND LAZIEST SALE EVER May 25 2012
I entered the premises of this accounting business at Paddington, Brisbane. There were 3 people present at the reception desk. Behind the desk was the reception lady. On my side of the desk were two gentlemen transacting business. I remained silent, trying to understand who was doing what, when one of the two gentlemen, Eddy, the accountant, asked me point blank :” How much?” He was pointing his finger at the Higher Taste, which I always carry on top on my books for everyone to see. I answered his question and started showing him the pictures of Kurma Prabhu’s full sized cookbooks in my folder. “Yes,” he said: “I have seen him on TV and I wish to purchase a copy of Cooking with Kurma”.
BLESSED IN THE RINSING CHAIR. June 9, 2012
This ladies’ hairdresser shop is called “Blessed Hair and Beauty”. I entered and made my presentation. Because I previously sold books to ladies while they are having their hair done, I hoped and prayed to Krishna for it to happen again. Please see my previous article “Kurma’s market penetration”. Sure enough as I was directed to the business owner in action, there was a lady customer reclining on the rinsing chair. She immediately responded: “O Kurma’s cook books. Yes, I am interested. I visited the Hare Krishna food stall at the last festival but you were out of stock. I think Quick Vegetarian Dishes is the volume I want”. In her hair dressing garb and wet hair she went with enthusiastically to the nearby bank teller only just a few doors away and withdrew the required amount. Vegetarian is the progressive way to go.
NO INTOXICATION PLEASE! June 18th 2012 Cairns.
Again, I met the Dutch lady with the aboriginal painter husband. Yesterday she spontaneously confided that long ago in Holland, one night after a party, when she was drunk, she noticed that Iskcon Amsterdam was also having a party and she went to the temple but was refused entry because she was drunk. I encouraged her and she then said: “So you think I should persevere (in my Krishna consciousness)?” Of course she should persevere! Not in drinking but in trying to develop Krishna Consciousness. Next time I have to get her details. She has been giving donations regularly every year since I met her 15 years ago. She has bought most of the cookbooks and some philosophy books as well. I gave her my catalog with the Hare Krishna mantra heading and encouraged her to chant. Caitanya Caritamra Madhya 7.101 Purport says: “In order to become an empowered preacher, one must be favored by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu or His devotee, the Spiritual Master. One must also request everyone to chant the maha-mantra. In this way, such a person can convert others to Vaishnavism, showing them how to become pure devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Krishna consciousness is such a nice process that even by knocking at the temple door in a drunken state she gets an eternal devotional credit. What to speak of the other services she has performed over the years! But I clearly said to her it was fair dealing to be refused entry in a drunken state and we all agree on that principle. Neither could I establish which festival Iskcon Amsterdam was celebrating at the time. It could have been Janmastami because it sounded quite late in the night.
“Quote of the week”: Gradually it will become a mundane institution”
“Regarding incorporation of our ISKCON centers, we want to run all our centers as nonprofit religious organizations; that is the main point. Keeping this point in view too much official control is not good in spiritual life. The centers should remain spiritually fit and independent. Some control must be there as is now. Too much control means so many vouchers. Gradually it will become a mundane institution. All our managers should be spiritually advanced simple and honest in carrying out the orders of the spiritual master and Krsna. That will be a nice standard. Democracy in spiritual affairs is not at all good but breeds power politics. We should be careful about power politics. Our only aim should be that each and every devotee is fully dedicated to Krsna, then things will go on nicely. ” 730719let.Karandhar