Book distribution stories

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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

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1 Unregistered

Dear Yadavendra das,Thank You thank you for the inspiring stories! It invoked the desire to do book distribution again,as used to do about 10 years ago.

Comment posted by srigurucaranapadma on July 4th, 2012
2 Unregistered

Thankyou for your stories and dedication to SKP. I was thinking it would have been better had you not compromised your principles and pushed the gambling buttons. This man was testing your integrity and seeing if he could degrade you, and in so doing think less of you and what you represent. Krishna also show ed you in that you did not get any money after risking your principles. Like the story Srila Prabhupada tells of the Hindu who lost his cast by eating at the home of a mleccha. He was starving and finally knocked at a mleccha’s house, and ate what small amount he was given. So he repented after he left that his hunger wasn’t appeased and he lost his cast. Ultimately the man would have respected you and what you have to offer more if he hadn’t been able to manipulate you. Plus he will tell his friends how he got a Hare Krishna to gamble, and they too will see us as being “like others”, hypocrites. I think when you wrote this story, since you are sincere, you were hoping to get some feedback to possibly clarify what you may have been feeling inside anyways. Yes, Lord Caitanya is personally training His SKP devotees up at every moment. So we must always be learning, even from our mistakes. This makes us much stronger and purer and more potent. Thankyou. Hare Krishna

Comment posted by Mother Tulasi on July 10th, 2012
3 Unregistered

Hari!
Dear Mother Tulasi,

Please accept my respects and thank you very much for taking the trouble to post a comment on my article “Gambling for Krishna”.

I admit it. This is the only article, which I hesitated to release.

Openness is a good policy, I believe. In the former Soviet Union, it was called “glasnost”. And I would say, Iskcon needs more “glasnost.” After all, the great majority of people are nice and sensible. And Krishna, in His Supersoul expansion, is situated in everyone’s heart. So there really is no need for fear, as we are never in foreign lands. It is all Krishna’s.

We do not follow the rules and regulations of Krishna consciousness just for the sake of them. Out of two meanings given in the Nectar of Instruction, text two, the opposite proposal represents one meaning of “niyamagraha”, and it is condemned therein. The other meaning is outright rejection of the rules and regulations, which of course, is also condemned. Here is the verse:

atyähäraù prayäsaç ca
prajalpo niyamägrahaù
jana-saìgaç ca laulyaà ca
ñaòbhir bhaktir vinaçyati

One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krishna consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.

“Niyamagraha” can also be translated as “dogmatic” or even “fanatic.” Unfortunately, we may come across this regrettable attitude in all sphere of life, not just religion. To follow the rules and regulations is not the ultimate goal. To please Krishna is the ultimate goal. We follow the rules of Krishna consciousness to please Krishna via the pure medium of the bona fide Spiritual Masters. The gopis violated the rules of etiquette to please Krishna by offering the dust of their lotus feet to cool His head. “O what an horrific thing to do!” And no one but the gopis agreed to Sri Krishna’s request, even at the risk of being condemned. That was Krishna’s special tricky request to find and show who where His best and closest devotees. Continued.

Comment posted by yadavendra das on July 13th, 2012
4 Unregistered

Part 2
Krishna’s satisfaction is priceless.

Just now, I cannot see how one can have illicit sex for Krishna. Just now, I cannot see how one can take intoxication for Krishna. Just now, I cannot see how one could eat meat for Krishna, (even though Srila Prabhupada shouted at Harikesa Prabhu:” Then you just eat meat!” when he was asked to go to the former USSR and was arguing with Srila Prabhupada.)
But as I have described in my article, a Krishna conscious person may safely and purely gamble for Krishna under specified and quite seldom circumstances. But the general rule is and remains, and I stress this point: “No gambling, please”. Every set of circumstances is to be judged by its own merit. It will depend on our development in Krishna consciousness and certainly before acting in these tricky situations, one should always hear the good counsel of senior devotees, especially the Spiritual Masters. “If you don’t know, don’t act” seems to be a safe maxim in this respect.

As far as obtaining a fruit for our endeavors, as you perfectly well know, Krishna is not our order supplier! It is not that because we make some small endeavor that He is duty bound to supply a nice result for our good or false prestige and self-satisfaction. No. We faithfully keep on endeavoring in Krishna’s service with determination, whether or not He gives the desired result. We are bhakti-yogis and:

“The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.” Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, text 5.11.

So whether or not there is an external result and whatever its nature, the internal result of purification is always granted, as you have commented.

But a mistake it was not, and I hope you will appreciate the incident at its true value after understanding this message.
Thank you again for your motherly concerns.

One more thing, please. This is very important. As far as your comments about hypocrisy are concerned, as honest and well-meaning devotees, we should be very, very careful before leveling charges of any kind at anyone, especially wholesale or blanket accusations as you are doing. I am sorry, but this is totally unacceptable! Recklessness in this field can lead us into very embarrassing situations. Please always remember that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Srila Prabhupada writes in Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 16. 1-3, purport:
continued

Comment posted by yadavendra das on July 13th, 2012
5 Unregistered

“Apaishunam means that one should not find fault with others or correct them unnecessarily. Of course to call a thief a thief is not faultfinding, but to call an honest person a thief is very much offensive for one who is making advancement in spiritual life.” What more can I say?

In service to Srila Prabhupada and His faithful followers,
Yadavendra Das, Brisbane, 12 July 2012.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Comment posted by yadavendra das on July 14th, 2012

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