By Yadavendra Das
In the afternoon of August 7 th 2013, I was attempting to bank Krishna’s laksmi. My bank is a very good bank because its employees often buy Krishna’s books. I use a different bank than Iskcon. At one Brisbane branch, one lady recently bought three Kurma vegetarian cookbooks for her vegetarian daughter. This particular non-Brisbane branch was no exception. One lady not only confirmed that she already owned some Krishna books but agreed then and there to add a copy of Renunciation Through Wisdom to her existing collection.
Next I walked toward the teller queue. I usually try to keep busy in Krishna’s Sankirtan book distribution mission under all circumstances. In a queue situation, I ask people in front of and behind me whether they like to acquire a Krishna book. There was one single person in front of me. He was Indian, perhaps Nepali. I initiated the conversation and he confirmed that he was in fact Indian. But the greatest surprise was still to come. Dear reader, will you be able to guess what was his reply, when I asked him about his name? Will you?
Well his name is “Gauranga”, the name of Lord Caitanya. As a matter of echo, I exclaimed “Gauranga” and raised my arms. I had already placed with him a request to purchase a copy of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, when we were then about to be separated by the call of the teller person and he invited me to come and see him next door at his restaurant after the bank transactions.
The time was right. The restaurant was “closed” for afternoon break and we had a chance to sit down and have a short exchange. He told me that he was in fact from Manik Nagar, district of Nadia, West Bengal, a town / village situated 10 or 11 kms from Navadvipa and that he is a regular visitor to our Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir. When I asked him again to purchase some books, he mildly protested that in his hometown he already had most of them. To counter him was evidently easy: “What use will you get from books thousands of kilometers away?” When he mentioned however that in India the books are much cheaper, I could not help but give him a special circumstantial discount. He agreed to purchase a copy of Bhagavad Gita As It Is and a copy of Srimad Bhagavatam. All glories to Gauranga and all glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: “Raising His arms, chanting the holy name and looking upon all with deep love, He drives away all sins and floods everyone with love of Godhead.” Caitanya caritamrta, Adi Lila 3.62
RUCI, THE BUDDING BOOK DISTRIBUTOR. V4
On Wednesday 24 of July 2013, I entered the Art Gallery and a young and pretty lady with bright red lipstick welcomed me with a friendly smile.
“Good day sir, how may I help you?” “Good day mam, how are you today?”
The Sankirtan person will always show at the very least as much respect as he / she is given. But the better policy is not to miss a single opportunity to proactively give more respect than one receives. Such feature will be part of an effective preaching strategy!
We talked about her French Tahitian origin, the default atheistic mentality of her father, etc etc.Finally I asked her to please chant the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra and I noticed how confident and trained she already was. She explained to me that she owned a copy of “Chant and Be Happy with George Harrison” and did notice how the Maha-Mantra was repeatedly chanted therein, so much so that it left an indelible impression on her mind. She had by now passed on “Chant and be happy” to someone else. With a very dynamic conception of the usefullness of books, she felt that books should not rest on a bookshelf, but should be passed around and read by as many people as possible. Then finally, in a very straightforward and graceful way, she offered a bank note and I gave her a copy of “Renunciation through Wisdom”. “What shall I do with Renunciation through Wisdom when I finished reading it?” I semi-joked: ” Well, just go back to the beginning and start reading again.” She laughed. I said it in a joking way because to a mundaner, which she might or might not have been, this may sound a little absurd. But with Srila Prabhupada’s books it is nothing less that a very real and tangible benefit to read the same book over and over again. At each successive reading one will discover new meanings and have new spiritual realizations, due to the dynamic, transcendental nature of His literary creations. “In my books the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is explained fully so if there is anything which you do not understand, then you simply have to read again and again. By reading daily the knowledge will be revealed to you and by this process your spiritual life will develop.” 741122let.Bahurupa
Significantly, she asked that very same question several times and it made me think later that Ruci (actual name withheld) is in fact interested and qualified to be a Prabhupada book distributor. The next day therefore, I went to see her again with a book distribution business proposal in mind. She was however not present at her place of work and I met the owner of the business instead. He is a nice, half Chinese gentleman, with good common sense and he purchased a copy of Higher Taste, our budget-edition cookbook. He also agreed to give me Ruci’s phone number.
As I was unable to meet her at her place of work before my departure, I finally decided to call Ruci the following Monday, 29th of July. As Srila Prabhupada has taught us through His teachings, as well as by His own personal example, inter-gender dealings always require caution, otherwise they may well degenerate imperceptibly–in the beginning at least–into a boy and girl affair and vice versa. That does not mean however that in Krishna Consciousness, there are no boy and girl affairs, but such affairs are strictly regulated and ideally culminate in one single, lasting and successful marriage. The best example being Srimati Rukmini Devi, who, against her brother Rukmi’s wishes, decided not only to have a boy-girl affair with Sri Krishna Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but proactively took matters in her own hands in order to achieve her desired and cherished goal. Please see Krishna Book chapters 52 “Krishna, the Ranacora” and 53 “Krishna kidnaps Rukmini.” We met at the library and she immediately agreed to purchase some copies of Renunciation through Wisdom at a wholesale price and to distribute them. She is a student and consequently lives on a restricted budget. She also requested to purchase some beads and a beadbag on a thirty-day account and I showed her how to use them. I gave her a silicone bracelet with the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra, as a complimentary gift. She said she would chant on her way home, even though out of courtesy, I offered her a ride, which she declined. She also mentioned that she liked walking, a first class qualification for a book distributor. I have high hopes for Ruci and may Lord Krishna bless her to become inspired from within her heart and determined in her new service of book distribution. She is a beautiful, selfless and receptive soul and amply deserves the matchless gift of Krishna Consciousness. All glories to the wandering mendicant His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!