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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

The Unknown History of Big Book Distribution

Saturday, 07 July 2018 / Published in Articles, Mahatma das / 8,110 views

By Mahatma Das

(The following is an excerpt from an unfinished book about my life in Krsna consciousness. It details the history of how big book distribution began in Iskcon, a history which has not been chronicled in any Iskcon publications. The scene takes place in Vancouver, Canada, November of 1971.)

At this time in Iskcon (1971) big book distribution had not yet begun. We only distributed Back to Godhead magazines (BTG’s) on the street. We usually got donation of 25cents per magazine. If we were lucky, we might occasionally get a really big donation of 50 cents. We thought it was difficult to get that much money from most people so we didn’t usually ask for it.

I have never been one to be happy with the status quo (sometimes that gets me into trouble) and I began thinking that we should try to distribute Krsna Books which had just recently been published. That was such a big way of thinking at the time that it was hard for any of us to take it seriously, myself included, since the Krsna Books sold for $8 and we were cautious about asking for mere 50 cents. Yet on one Canadian holiday in which everyone stayed home, we decided to go door to door. The idea was that we would all bring one Krsna Book with us along with our magazines. We thought it would be fun and exciting to show people the book and the pictures and that alone would be our reward for our boldness. We knew there might be a remote possibility of selling the book but we didn’t have much faith that it would happen. Still we showed everyone Krsna Book.

So there we were, knocking on doors as we usually did, and we were really having a good time showing those Krsna Books. Then all of a sudden we had a major unforeseen accident that day. We all returned to the van one hour after we were dropped off and upon returning of the devotee says, “I just sold a Krsna Book!” Our whole world was turned upside down forever. We were in a state of shock. When the shock wore off we started going crazy celebrating, banging the walls of the van, congratulating the devotee who sold the book, laughing, screaming. We were in major party mode celebrating this momentous victory. We actually couldn’t believe what happened.

Here we were, a band of six very young devotees thousands of miles from the big temples in Iskcon, and we were making history in the pioneering of big book distribution.

From that time one on whenever we went out door to door, we would bring Krsna Books. And every once and a while we would sell one. Every time it happened we went crazy. It was still as unbelievable as it was the time we sold the first book. The first time I sold a Krsna Book I got so excited – actually intoxicated – I couldn’t find my way back to the van. I was running wildly down the street in ecstasy and I couldn’t wait to get back to the van to tell the other devotees what happened. But I got lost for a few minutes – and the van was only two blocks away! Later I read that Prabhupada said, “This book distribution is the real intoxication.” I think those of us who were first to distribute big books got the most potent brew ever of this intoxicating drug called big book distribution.

Krsna wanted these books distributed in larger quantities but we didn’t know how to do it. The problem we faced is that we didn’t have any technique to sell the books. Our sales were just a matter of luck, a numbers game of finally running into someone interested enough in buying the book. We now realized that distributing big books was possible and sensed we were on to something big. The problem was we couldn’t figure out how to take advantage of this potential so we could all consistently sell books. In other words, we didn’t have a technique to sell the books.

Krsna had a plan to help us. In steps Thakura Haridas Prabhu on the scene to save the day. Thakura Haridas, a tall, enthusiastic, boisterous, in your face kind of guy from the San Francisco temple, shows up one day in Vancouver. Thakur Haridas was all enthusiasm and was always making huge plans to spread Krsna consciousness. In fact, before he came to Vancouver he was in Portland teaching a professional basketball team to chant japa! Thakura Haridas was looking for big challenges in Krsna’s service and when he heard about our big book distribution and enthusiasm to expand it, he bought into the idea like a hungry brahmacari at a feast. He immediately became ten times more enthusiastic about the idea than we were. It was like he found his calling in life. He was ready to take on the world with Krsna Books.

At this time we were informed that Srila Prabhupada said if someone will go anywhere to spread Krsna consciousness, not considering how he will eat or where he will sleep, he would take the dust from their feet and put it on his head. We practically fainted when we heard this. That statement became the catalyst for a preaching revolution in our hearts. On the spot we decided to load all the books we had into our van and head east from Vancouver on traveling sankirtana. So with $5 in our pocket and a full tank of gas, we headed east into the Canadian winter on the first ever big book distribution traveling sankirtana party. We didn’t know how we would eat, where we would sleep, or if we would make enough money to live. And that’s exactly the way we wanted it. We wanted the mercy and we knew we’d get it if we’d be willing go out on a limb for Krsna. It was exciting. It was an adventure. We were setting off to visit cities in which people had never seen nor heard of Hare Krsna. (And, by the way, it was really cold for a kid like me who grew up in Southern California).

We left in the late afternoon with a van full of books and a bag of rice and dhal. We didn’t even have pots. Actually we didn’t have anything we could eat. And the $5 was quickly gulped up at the gas station. We were truly living on the edge, and we loved it. We arrived in a small town in the evening about 8pm. We were used to going out on harinama (chanting) wherever we’d go so that’s what we did. The problem was that this was a small town and it was in the middle of the winter, so no one was on the street at 8pm. Well, actually there was one person on the street: the local town drunk. So there we were, three of us chanting and Haridas with his book bag full of Krsna Books waiting and hoping that someone might hear the kirtan and come over to see what was going on. Nobody came so the only person he had to talk to was the drunk. So that’s what he did. There he is showing a drunk a Krsna Book and we are looking at him thinking this is ridiculous. And he’s talking and talking and talking and we are thinking Thakura Haridas is nuts, he is wasting his time, the drunk isn’t going to buy a book. Get real Thakura. And then we watch in amazement as the drunk takes out $8 and gives it to Haridas. No one had ever distributed big books on the street and here Haridas sells a Krsna Book to the only person on the street – and a drunk to top it off. This event set the scene and mood for the rest of the trip; you can distribute Krsna Books to anyone, anywhere. You just have a strong desire, believe you can do it, and just try.

So we’re on the street, it’s 8:30 at night and the ecstasy is starting to get overtaken by the realization that, “It’s dam cold out here, there’s no one on the street and we don’t have a place to stay. Maybe we should do something.” What a good idea. So we drive around town and by Krsna’s grace we find a hostile. We knock on the door and we are welcomed in, given our own room and fed the next morning with all the fruit and nuts four hungry monks could ever want. We knew Krsna would provide and the whole trip turned out to be a series of similar scenarios in which Krsna supplied whatever we needed.

After breakfast the next morning we decided to go door to door and beg for cooking pots since we didn’t have any. We also begged for vegetables; “Here take a magazine and can you throw in a few carrots as a donation? How about a couple tomatoes? Here, I’ll give you another magazine for you friends if you can throw in a pat of butter. And by the way, do you have an extra pot you don’t use?” By Krsna’s arrangement we met a relative of a devotee and she donated all the pots and utensils we needed. We collected some veggies and also a few dollars. So we were set. We then drove off to Calgary, the next closest major town on our tour, raring to do harinama sankirtana and distribute Krsna Books and magazines that afternoon.

The more we depended on Krsna, the more He provided for us. Actually, we had no doubt that He would provide whatever we needed. After all, we had seen Him maintain the Vancouver temple month after month despite the fact that we never knew where the money would come from. So we never worried about how we would live. On the very first day we arrive in Calgary we meet some hippies who have we have a head shop and they tell us there is an extra room in the back where we can stay. So right there without even knowing us, they give us the keys to their store. Not that we would have, but we could have stole everything and run out of town (what were those guys smoking?).

Were we excited when this happened? Not really. We just expected that we would meet people who would put us up. Our faith was so high that I think Krsna made things happen according to that faith.

Everyday Thakura Haridas would manage to distribute big books. The rest of us were still trying to figure out how to do it and we would sell one every few days. Thakura Haridas had become so enlivened by distributing Krsna Books that he couldn’t contain himself. It was common that after breakfast, while we were getting ready to go out on sankirtana, he would run out for fifteen minutes to go door to door in the neighborhood. And when we were getting ready for bed, he would do the same thing. He had become addicted to distributing Krsna Books. We really couldn’t believe that anyone could distribute big books everyday like he was doing. He was simply distributing books with one technique: his raw enthusiasm.

One evening after returning from sankirtana while we were taking hot milk and preparing to take rest, Thakura Haridas again amazed us and went out door to door. He returned about 20 minutes later so he to go to bed when we did. “Thakura, where did you go?” He was beaming. He told us that he had just sold a Krsna Book to an atheist. Totally blown away, I ask, “What did you tell them?” Boiling over with enthusiasm he replied, “I told them ‘I am in ecstasy. You should take this book.’ And they took the book!” We couldn’t believe it. This guy was amazing.

After a week in Calgary we head east to Edmonton. On the first day we meet some favorable hippies. They have a huge house and invite us to stay with them. We slowly turn the house into a temple because several of the hippies living there want to get into Krsna consciousness. We have morning programs and with their help organize three amazing Sunday feasts that are attended by about sixty people. All the people in the house are quickly becoming attached to the devotees, kirtana and prasadam. This trip planted the seed in the hearts of five people who became devotees over the next few months.

Thakur Haridas is becoming more enlivened every day. He is a persuasive person who likes to inspire others. At this time traveling sankirtan was just beginning in San Francisco. We heard they would fill their vans up with BTGs and stay out on the road until all the magazines were distributed. One Sunday morning Haridas decides to call the temple president of San Francisco, Keshava, to let him know that we had broken open big book distribution, something that no one else in the movement even imagined was possible. Thakura says to Keshava with a bit of pride, “So what’s going on down there?” Keshava proudly tells Haridas about their new traveling program. They fill their van full with BTGs and go out on the road and don’t return until every last magazine is distributed. They are distributing many times more magazines than every before. They are on fire. Haridas is not impressed, but he wants to let Keshava toot his own horn so he can smash him to the ground with his news. “That’s nothing. You’re in maya,” Thakura’s intimidating voiced almost screaming bloody murder. “We are selling Krsna Books. This is the real sankirtana. Get out there and sell Krsna Books. Just bring them with you and show them to people. What’s wrong with you.!”

Silence. Did Keshava faint? Did he commit suicide? No Keshava is a warrior and his blood is boiling. He takes up the challenge. San Francisco temple runs with the idea of big book distribution and soon far surpasses all our efforts. Now the big book distribution revolution has really begun. That call was such a momentous occasion that somehow to this day I can still remember exactly where in the house Thakura called, what the room looked like, what he said, his mood, etc. That call ignited a huge fire of big book distribution in Iskcon. Thank you Thakura Haridas. And thank you Keshava for taking the sauce as a true warrior.

Keshava is now so enlivened that he calls his brother Karandhara in Los Angeles and tells him about the big book distribution breakthrough. Soon the fire catches on in LA with even more intensity than in San Francisco. Not only do the LA sankirtana devotees discover that they can sell Krsna Books, but temple devotees take Krsna Books to sell when shopping, doing laundry, getting gas, etc. (“I don’t have money to pay for the gas but I have this book I can give you as payment.”). Devotees are becoming addicted to the intoxication of selling Krsna books. LA then spreads the word about big book distribution everywhere and the whole Iskcon world gradually catches on fire.

The above story about the first big books being distributed in Vancouver, Thakura Haridas taking up the challenge and then inspiring Keshava are important events in the history of book distribution in Iskcon, events which have have not been chronicled anywhere else in Iskcon publications.

(Here in the book I describe other ecstatic events, but to shorten this article and keep it focused on book distribution, I have eliminated those parts. The following paragraph begins by making reference to those stories).

Since so much ecstatic preaching is going on, I write the devotees in Vancouver a blow by blow account of our activities; the TV and radio shows, the Indian program, how the house we are staying in is being transformed into a temple, and the incredible big book distribution we are doing, etc. The devotees are so enlivened by the letter that, unknown to us, they decide to send it to Srila Prabhupada so he can also become enlivened by our preaching as well.

Prabhupada loved the letter. He encouraged me by saying that I get the credit for starting the first traveling sankirtana party (actually Gaura Hari Prabhu, the president of the Victoria temple, had taken out the very first traveling party. But they had not done big books). On that trip we distributed sixty big books. That was the all time Iskcon record for big books distributed by one temple in one month and that was reported to Prabhupada. Prabhupada was no doubt pleased and noted how we had taken advantage of so many situations to spread Krsna consciousness, and especially to distribute Krsna Books. He said that seizing every opportunity to spread Krsna consciousness is the symptom of an advanced devotee.

I feel so blessed to have taken part in that historic event and feel fortunate beyond expression that Krsna sent Haridas Thakura to Vancouver to run with my dream of distributing big books. I don’t feel that I have any qualification to practice devotional service, but perhaps having something to do with the beginnings of book distribution has showered me with so much mercy that I am still able to continue in Krsna consciousness even today.

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13 Responses to “The Unknown History of Big Book Distribution”

  1. Akruranatha says :

    I love to hear these histories about book distribution from the devotees who lived them. Mahatmaji, when is your book coming out?

    I used to love the old Sankirtan newsletter that Ramesvara used to publish from the BBT in L.A., which usually told some stories of things that happened on book distribution. One tag line at the end of the stories used to be, “Sankirtan yajna kijaya! What else is there to do?”

    Does anybody know if those newsletters have been preserved by archives or by someone who kept a collection?

    It is always enlivening to hear devotees describing their experiences in preaching. These are historically significant, and they make others enthusiastic for preaching. These are the pastimes of Lord Caitanya unfolding before our eyes.

  2. Suresh das says :

    Thakur Haridas Prabhu first joined in San Francisco. We were Brahmacari Godbrothers back then. He was confused about how to chant japa when he first joined. He thought chanting one round on his beads meant chanting from the head bead all the way around to the head bead, and then all the way back, so he was chanting 32 rounds per day. We chanted together everyday in front of the Deities, and within a very short time he became very advanced in his chanting. Srila Prabhupada’s choice of his devotional name was very apropos.

    In the beginning we were selling Krsna books door-to-door. On one day every door I went to I sold a book. The secret to being a successful book distributor, I found, is to be an avid reader of Srila Prabhupada’s books. In the beginning all the other devotees were selling books quite easily, but I couldn’t sell any. I tried everything, even getting down on my hands and knees and begging, but nothing worked. Then I remembered reading in “Nectar of Devotion” that if we truly wish to earn Krishna’s service, we must cry for it. As an experiment, I went to a place in the temple where no one would see or hear me (so I wouldn’t be branded as a fake), and cried again and again for permission to sell Srila Prabhupada’s books. After that time, gradually, day-by-day, I was permitted to sell some books.

    On one day, when I was selling books, door-to-door in the Hollywood hills, I came to one door, way out in the woods. Before ringing the door bell I said a prayer where I admitted myself as being completely unqualified for serving Srila Prabhupada. I frankly admitted that I didn’t have any ability to speak or to represent the Krishna Consciousness Movement. I begged to be empowered to speak something of significance and to continue being allowed to sell Srila Prabhupada’s books. I rang the doorbell, and an elderly woman answered the door. She burst into tears when she saw me, since in those days we wore dhotis and full devotional garb. She stated that she was old and practically invalid, but that she had been begging for a devotee to come to her home (which she felt was impossible being all the way out in the woods), because she couldn’t visit our temple. She bought all of my books.

    On another day I met a hippy in the hills near Santa Cruz. I tried to sell him Nectar of Devotion. He was poor, and had no money for his book. I continued selling door-to-door for the next several hours, and collected a little extra money to pay for his book. I hitch-hiked to his house several miles back. I gave him his book. It touched him so much that I would care about him and give him that book, that he read it, later moved into the temple, became an initiated disciple, and eventually took Brahman initiation.

    On one day, in the Denver temple, while I was distributing books in a parking lot, huge rain clouds were gathering overhead. The sky turned extremely black, and the first drops started to fall. I said “you may not rain here today Lord Indra; I must distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books”. I probably was reading way too much Srimad Bhagavatam then, so what I said was probably especially foolish and silly on my part. But amazingly it didn’t rain in the parking lot all day, although the sky stayed complete dark and foreboding. At the end of the day, the van picked me up to take me back to the temple. When we got out of the parking lot, all the cars in the street were wet and the street had a huge backup of water rushing down the street on both sides. I asked the Sankirtan leader if it had rained. He said “where have you been today Prabhu, it’s been raining all day – there have even been flash-flood warnings all over the city”.

    Even though I am just an ordinary man, amazing, even miraculous, magical things happened whenever we sold those books. The other amazing thing I noticed was that no one could ever defeat Srila Prabhupada’s words. I found great confidence whenever I spoke Srila Prabhupada’s words from his books. If we wish to realize the knowledge in those books, we must speak the philosophy we have learned to others.

    I found that no one could defeat me in any argument; no matter how educated they might be by material estimation. I spoke to a college professor once, when I was selling books in Knoxville Tennessee. He stated he was a scientist. He looked at my devotee dress and stated that our movement was just a bunch of sentimentalism – just dancing and chanting in the street. I stated something which I had read that Srila Prabhupada had spoken word-for-word: “this Krishna Consciousness is a science to understand what is the difference between a dead body and a living body”. Nothing extraordinary about this statement, at least on the surface. But, when I said the words there was suddenly a mild thundering in the sky. The air crackled as if it was charged with electricity and the wind began to howl. Astonished the professor looked at me and I looked at him. Both of us felt as if our hairs standing on end. He said “give me all those books, I must have those books”. I sold him 10-12 hardbound Bhagavad-gitas.

  3. Tamoharadasa says :

    Suresh Prabhu; Wonderful stories! More, more!

    Mahatma Prabhu; Fantastic history! I am transported back in time to those early days. My heart aches to hear these tales.

  4. Suresh das says :

    Empowered by books
    Everyday, after being dropped off for Sankirtan, before distributing books, I would spend about one hour reading either a chapter of “Nectar of Devotion” or “Krsna Book”. I would never sell books until I had finished my reading. I was even chastised once by my temple president and my Sankirtan leader for my reading. I was told I wasn’t supposed to read Srila Prabhupada’s books outside of class, that I was instead just supposed to sell them. I never listened. I knew that couldn’t possibly be correct. It might have been that they were trying to sell as many books as possible, and that my taking time to read meant less books sold in our national competition. But, what I found was for me, for my mind, was I needed to regularly hear Srila Prabhupada’s books, so I could be at peace, and at the same time be empowered to sell them as well.

    We worked seven days a week. Our schedule on traveling Sankirtan was rise before dawn for a simple Mangal artik, simple Morning Program, chant 16 rounds, Srimad Bhagavatam class, Prasad, and then we would sell books all day and into the night without rest. We did this every day. If we returned to the temple, we would continue to work on Sundays too without rest. Relaxation was kirtan. Someone might say “you could relax at the Sunday Feast”, but even then you were expected to preach to the guests, so there was really never any time off. It was an almost guaranteed burnout program. We were young, enthusiastic and idealistic then, so for the most part we all put up with it. The idea of ever taking a break or getting a vacation was unheard of. You couldn’t just say, hey, I need to go to the park and relax for a while, so sometimes this built into resentment. So, there was a tendency from time-to-time to break down.

    I’m leaving today Krishna
    I remember one incident on traveling Sankirtan. We were going down the highway in winter. There was ice and snow on the road, in Lawrence, Kansas, combined with high-prairie winds. I was really quite exhausted and feeling very angry and resentful because of our exhaustive schedule at that time. Our Sankirtan van was a Winnebago fiberglass camper. I was sitting in the back all by myself, having a little conversation. I wanted out of the movement at that moment, and I was growing more and more defiant and angry by the minute. Suddenly I raised my fist into the air and challenged “I’m leaving today Krishna, and there is nothing you can do to stop me!”

    I felt really embarrassed and upset over what I had said, but it too late. In the next moment the van hit a patch of ice, and was met by a huge gust of wind. The van was going too fast, and it spun around in the ice, as it lost traction. Then it flipped off the freeway and rolled down the embankment. As it was rolling down, the fiberglass frame exploded into a million pieces. I went flying through the air (in the days before seatbelts), and the debris. I landed in a shallow, frozen pond, off the freeway. My body broke through the ice, and came up covered in blood head-to-toe. My body was broken and damaged, but I was grateful to Lord Krishna to be allowed to live, that He had heard me, and that I wasn’t allowed to leave His service at that time. Some 26 years have passed now, and I have spent thousands of dollars in physical therapy. I am still injured today and have daily pain. The pain reminds me of my ignorant and offensive challenge to Lord Krishna.

  5. vamshi says :

    Great, this is filling in the gaps of our history. Can anyone pinpoint the time when “full devotional garb” gave way to western dress for book distribution. I know in England it was June 1974. A meeting was held that everyone should wear wigs and western dress for street distribution. It was an emergency situation to save the Manor but after the Manor was secure, the western clothes were not given up but became the standard.
    Of course plain clothes were used by Satsvarup Maharaj’s lib party to meet the professors and teachers but that didn’t entail wearing them everyday except Sunday. By 1977 devotees in disguise become the norm. I mean look at the bbt results for 1976 1,007000 Big Books, 7 million BTG’s etc ( See Room Conversation Jan 16 1977).

    This of course had the downside that it was easy for devotees to slip into small maya in their “karmi clothes”. Wearing the full dress you were told how to act by the robes. I believe that IsKcon is strong enough to have it’s brahmachari’s free from such temptation’s, and return to the days of Mahatma, Suresh, Praghosa (ACBSP) and let the householders wear the western attire for quantity book results and the brahmachari’s can have the wonderful pastimes that the early devotees had pre-1974 and so enliven us all, by wearing full Vaisnava dress, tilak, saffron robes 24 hours 7 days a week.

    And the results, in the beginning there may be some shortfall but in the long term, a return to seeing devotees on our streets again, even people in their cars and on the bus will go home at night and maybe say “I saw a Hare Krishna to-day, I think their back”
    Vamsi Vadana das

  6. Suresh das says :

    I made a mistake on the timing of the Sankirtan accident. It was in the winter of 1973, some 33 years ago.

    Most days were not miracle days, like the incidents I have described before. There were, of course, philosophical miracles every day though. Any time someone asked a question, or presented an argument or objection I couldn’t answer, I wouldn’t rest until I researched Srila Prabhupada’s books and found the proper answers. The same questions tended to come again and again, so even if I wasn’t prepared for one person, guaranteed I would be ready for the next.

    One woman as an example challenged “I don’t believe in God, I believe in infinity”. I answered “if you believe in infinity, then you must include God, otherwise you are making a limitation.” She thought about it for a minute and then bought a Bhagavad-gita. I became more and more confident from regularly reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. I especially found repeating his messages, word-for-word, was extremely powerful and convincing.

    One evening I was selling books at the back of Tower Records on Sunset Blvd, in Hollywood. It was pretty late and dark, maybe 8:00-9:00pm at night. I stopped a very strikingly beautiful woman, and showed her a Krsna book. She liked the pictures, so to make a little conversation, before asking her to buy one, I asked what kind of work she did. She replied she was a prostitute. Honestly I was a little taken aback. I had been a Brahmacari for four years by that time. I felt a deep sense of loneliness much of the time. I was speaking with a beautiful woman in a dark and, for the moment, rather quiet place. I thought about the humor of the situation, and how Lord Krishna might be testing me. I said an internal prayer “Lord Krishna I don’t wish to entertain any other desire at this time except that you allow this person to purchase this Krsna book and become your devotee. Please fulfill my desire”. The woman bought Krsna book and went on her way. I didn’t think much more about it. I had done my duty and I went on too.

    The next day something odd happened for me though. Formerly when I read Srila Prabhupada’s books they were more or less just purifying sounds for me. I had been a hippie before I joined the movement. I found I got a type of natural high from reading and listening to his books, even though I often didn’t understand the philosophy. I am not very educated, and the ideas mostly went over my head. But, as I said, something new started happening that day. I noticed, as I was reading, that the words and ideas seemed much clearer. I seemed to grasp the philosophical concepts in a much deeper way now, almost by revelation, if it could be described that way. I could only conclude that it was as Srila Prabhupada had stated “if you offer something (or sacrifice something) to Lord Krishna you are never a loser, but a gainer by millions of times”.

  7. Suresh das says :

    Blazing Circle of Fire
    I was reading in Krsna Book of how Lord Krsna fired His arrows at Jarasanda’s opposing armies like a “blazing circle of fire”, and was inspired to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books in a similar way. It was during the Christmas Marathon in 1974. I was selling books in front of Zodys Dept Store in the San Fernando Valley. I had to share the door with several other non-profit groups. I was concerned that too many souls were missing getting their books, because I just wasn’t distributing fast enough. I increased my pace, so that every person going both into the store and out of the store was sold a book. Soon I was all alone in front of the door. All the other groups gave up and left. I was just too aggressive and intense.

    The last 10 days before Christmas are always the busiest time during the Christmas Marathon. During this time parking lots are packed with cars, and buyers become frantic with last minute purchases. Day-by-day I increased my intensity and determination to distribute more and more books. On one day something very unusual happened, which had never happened to me before, and was never to be repeated again. I noticed every person I looked at was coming up to me and purchasing a book. I wasn’t sure if my special power was for real, so I experimented and began looking at more and more people. Sure enough, all people I looked upon were buying Srila Prabhupada’s books. I made sure to look at every one, in every place, all day; because I wanted to make sure everyone got the opportunity to purchase a book.

    I was never anyone of any importance in Srila Prabhupada’s movement, and was especially never a major book distributor. It was exciting that day to sell through a couple of cases of BTG’s and a couple of cases of hardbound books. I was a little disappointed that I only had a couple of cases of hardbound books with me, but I had only brought them along as a long shot, since my specialty was BTG’s and small books. It probably wasn’t a very significant amount I sold that day, now looking back in retrospect, but it was really cool none-the-less to see every person I looked upon, for no particular reason, just come up to me and purchase all my books, all day long. It was very exciting.

  8. Suresh das says :

    The problem with remembering our old war stories of our Sankirtan days is we tend to live in the past, and as Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur states “the past sleeps”. Other philosophers state that the past is just a “bucket of ashes”. I sense a danger in telling of our old past experiences, from the good olde days of ISKCON, because we tend to only think of and remember everything that was good, and that there weren’t also times of tremendous failure, along with periods of deep suffering, disruption and upheaval.

    I like to remember the popular song “What have you done for me lately”. What are we doing for Lord Krishna in the present, right now? That’s what is really important. How many books we sold 30 years ago isn’t going to pay the rent today, no matter how magnificent it might have been back then.

    Our movement is called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The danger in our dwelling in these old stories is we may tend to be remembering and glorifying ourselves, instead of Krishna, even though, on the surface, it sounds like we are talking about devotional service. When McMillan publishers saw the outstanding sales and success of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is, they asked Srila Prabhupada to write a book about himself. He refused stating that we only publish books about Krishna.

  9. ameyatma says :

    Jai Mahatma and Suresh Prabhu’s.
    What enlivening nectar, even for one who was not much of a printed book distributer (although, Srila Prabhupad called the Doll exhibits “Living Books”). I am traveling and have gone to the Atlanta temple several times in the last 3 weeks. Balabhadra and Sikhi Mahiti really inspired me with their stories, past and present. As Friday was Gita Jayanti, the mood was pure Book Distribution nectar. Bhagavad Gita As It Is distribution.

    I don’t want to take away from anything Mahatma wrote regarding the ‘first’ distribution of big books, but there were Krsna Books distributed even in 1970. I know, I was the indirect recipient of one.

    Back around 1980-81, before he left, I was relating the following story to Jayatirtha about how I found the Krsna Book at the library in 1970, and we found we had a common connection to the event.

    In 1970 I had already been studying as many Vedic books as I could find in the public and school libraries (which was quite a large number of various books). In the summer of 1969 I had discovered the Bhagavad Gita, not Srila Prabhupad’s, but still, the 2 very poor translations I found, I had come to the sharp and immediate conclusion that this was the Highest, and Original scripture – the direct spoken words of God. Even then, I used to tell people that there would come a day when there would be only one religion, and one scripture, Bhagavad Gita. Yet, this was before I had come in contact with Srila Prabhupad, his books or movement. After reading many other books by other gurus and swamis I had come to the conclusion that I needed to find my spiritual master. But, every book I would pick up by this swami, that yogi, this guru, Krsna within the heart would direct me to just the right place in the book and within minutes I would reject the author as not being a truly qualified spiritual master. After searching, in the libraries, for a guru for over a year I came to the conclusion that no “living” guru was actually bona-fide. I had come across translations of the Upanishads that were written in the 1800’s and the books I found were last reprinted in the 1930’s. The knowledge in the verse commentaries I considered very close to being transcendent, BUT, not quite. It was the fact that there was no direct mention of God as a person that I had to reject those books and the author. But, it made me convinced that someday I would find my guru from a book in the library. That I became convinced was how I would someday find my guru.

    I had already discovered Paramatma, from reading books by other gurus. I had accepted Paramatma as God, as the Father I had always prayed to all my life.

    I admit, though, I was a hippie at the time who could not imagine life without LSD or Peyoti and was very fond of smoking from my cannibis filled Hooka. But, gradually I became fixed on knowing God. I wanted to know what God looked like, what was the kingdom of God like, what is God’s activities, what does He do? I became obsessed, I HAD to know. So, one evening I decided that was it, I had to find out. So, I went to my room and shut the door and sat in the full lotus position, practiced pranam and chanting OM and prayed to the Paramatma with every ounce of energy and strength I could find, “PLEASE, PLEASE O’Lord, Please reveal yourself to me.” I prayed like this for hours, many hours. I determined that was it, it was either then or never. I begged God to reveal Himself to me. What did He look like, what does He do? What does the kingdom of God look like? I stayed up all night. I also prayed that He would send me my spiritual master. Somehow, even though I wanted God to reveal Himself right then and there, I was actually praying for Him to send me a book that would reveal Himself to me. I will admit that I had taken a lot of LSD and smoked a lot of weed that night, but, despite that, the prayers were as genunie and deep and real as any prayer can be. I recall the sun was just rising when I finally decided to come out of the room and break from my intense prayer.

    I don’t recall if it was that very next day, or maybe a few days later, but I made a trip to the West Covina Public Library (in Southern California) with the full determination that on that day I would find not only my spiritual master, but also God would reveal His true original self to me that day. I went to the Hindu/Vedic section. I was looking for a very old book. By that time I had come to the conclusion that no living guru was bona-fide, so I was thinking that my guru must have lived long ago but that he had written a book for me, that I would find it in the library, and from that book I would be enlightened and finally know God and know my true purpose for living. I was convinced, though, that my guru was not living, and so I was set on finding an old, old book. After some time, I began to feel scared. I was so convinced that I would find the book, the answer to my intense prayer, but on not finding any old book, I began to feel scared, what would I do if God chose not to answer my prayer.? No, I was convinced, the book HAD to be there.

    Looking all over the shelves, I was kneeling down when something caught my eye above my head. The cover seemed to shimmer vibrantly (maybe the color and pulsing of the florescent lights and book cover created the illussion of movement). The book end was bright metalic silver with bright red letters on it. It was shimmering and dancing before my eyes. The large letters were K R S N A. But, the book was not old, it was shinning and brand new. The idea ran through my head, “my guru could actually be living on this planet? I could some day meet him directly?”

    I reach out to pick up the book. I tried to pronounce it, Krashna, Kershna. No, there are dots under the letters. The Upanishad books I was reading at the time had Sanskrit lessons in the back and I knew the sound of R with dot was Ri, and the dot under the S was Sh, so as I took the book down and turned it to the front cover, I read out, KRISHNA as I stood mezmerized at seeing a picture of Lord Krishna for the first time. Krishna, that is the name for God, the one who spoke Bhagavad Gita. This is a picture of GOD. The title was KRSNA – The Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    Part of my prayer was answered. I asked God to reveal Himself to me, I had to know what did God look like, and now, holding this book in my hand, was a picture of God, Krsna. Tears began to stream from my eyes. God had answered my prayers. I felt that the search of 1,000 life times had come finally to an end. My long search for God had finally come to an end, I knew I was now holding God, in the form of a book, in my hand. I had finally found God, I had found what I had been looking for, not just this lifetime, but for so many life times.

    Then, just as Srila Prabhupad wrote in the introduction, as I was looking at Krsna, He was standing with a beautiful young girl. in my mind, I aked, who is this by the side of God? A girl? God is both man and women – together? That intrigued me. YES, God is the source of everthing. I wanted to know what is the kingdom of God like? What does it look like, and I could see from the painting, it was ideal. It was a garden like setting, mixed with temple like palaces. I then opened the book and was even more mezmerized by all the paintings. As Srila Prabhupad stated, they were like looking through windows to the Spiritual Sky. Another part of my prayers were answered, What does God do in His kingdom. The paintings showed his many pastimes. I was so overwhelmed. I was in transcedental ecstacy.

    Then, I realized, whoever the author of this book is, that person is my spiritual master. As I was thinking this I was turning the book over and saw the picture of Srila Prabhupad on the back cover. This was the original printing of Krsna Book, the photo of Prabhupad in that printing was of him sitting with a big wide smile. I immediately accepted Srila Prabhupad as my spiritual master. No revervation, no holding back. But, on seeing his smiling photo for the first time, somehow I saw him as a young child, with his beaming bright smile. In my mind I was thinking how could such a young innocent child as this write such a book as this? Then I realized that the young child was in an old man’s body.

    The next thing that came to my mind was, being young and someone who had many friends, I was thinking, how can I convince my friends that Krsna is God, how can I present this to them? They will not take this seriously. Just as I was thinkinig like this, Krsna directed me to the introduction written by George Harrison. George Harrison???? WOW. He is into Gita and Krsna? WOW. I couldn’t wait to show all my friends what I had discovered.

    I wanted more. There were no computers then, but in the Library was a list of books by author, so I looked up and found a long list of books by Bhaktivedanta Swami. I then looked up the books the library had in their card index and found the library had 2 other books beside the Krsna book. They were the Nectar of Devotion and the Teachings of Lord Caitanya. I went and found all of them and took those 3 books to the counter to check them out.

    The librarian, a lady probably in her mid 40’s, took a look at those books and she looked totally stunned. She looked at me and asked, “Why… How did you get those 3 books?” I told her very straightforwardly, God sent them here because I wanted them. She almost fainted. Why? She told me that she had just put those same 3 books out on the shelf just within that hour, and she knew she had put them on different shelves and different isles. So, it was not conincidence that I could have gotten those same 3 books. She was astounished how and why i was checking out those same 3 books. I again told her, “God sent them there for me, and I expecting them to be here”. Then she told me that just yesterday a man with a shaven head and pony tail wearing long robes and a women wrapped in a colorful cloth had come in and donnated those 3 same books to the library. She told me that they had also told her that “God wants these books here”. And here I was, holding the very same 3 books she had just put out telling her that I was expecting those books, that God had brought them there just for me. She was really overwhelmed by it, yet, I was simply taking it almost for granted. I really was expecting those books to be there. If they hadn’t been there, I would have been totally lost forever.

    So, this was, in my memory, in 1970. It must have been late 1970, but I vividly recall it being 1970.

    So, in 1980-81 when I was telling this story to Jayatirtha and he told me that it was he who was the devotee who donated those books to the library. He told me that when the very first box of Krsna Books (he said it was the very first box, not just the first shipment) came that no one knew what to do with them. He told me this was probably the very first Krsna Book to be distributed, even though he gave it away as a donation, he told me this was very likely the very first Krsna Book ever distributed because he took the Krsna Book within days after it first arrived, along with the Teachings of Lord Caitanya and the Nectar of Devotion with him on his way to sell incense to the “Head” shop in West Covina. He stopped by the library and made the donation of those books.

    This was not the type of book distribution that you so nicely wrote of, but, it may very well be the first big books distributed, especially the first Krsna Book.

    Just see, I had prayed, somehow, intensly for those books and Prabhupad to come, and so Jayatirtha brought them, and I was expecting them in the library. I knew they would come. I wasn’t even surprised when the librarian told me how they had just come, it was as if it was just normal, to be expected. That is the way I acted. Yet, on the other hand, I also realized that something very magical and mystical and special had just taken place.

    Param Vi Jayate – Sri Krsna Sankirtanam

    (BTW – what ever happened to our old God brother Ramesvar? Doesn’t he miss the fever of Sankirtan book distribution? He used to be so infected with the fever, I cannot accept that he could ever get over it).

  10. Akruranatha says :

    Yesterday Vaisesika, Srivasa Pandit and I went for book distribution on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, California. We set up a table with a rack of Srila Prabhupada’s books on it, right in front of O’Neil’s Surf Shop. Shrutadeva came with a harmonium and a carpet and chanted, which made for a nice atmosphere while we distributed. The weather was sunny, a little cool and brisk, but very nice.

    I do not have any real “miracle” stories from yesterday. I was not particularly intense or “fired up”, having just come down off an intense schedule writing an appellate brief. I took it easy, spending time to talk with those who were actually interested, not feeling any pressure to make a quota or collect a lot of money.

    We had the luxury of being able to pass out books very freely because the book distributors have actually been collecting more donations than they need to cover the BBT bill (one thing that helps is that members of our temple congregation actually donate extra laxmi to pay for books to be distributed, which is a vey nice form of donation when you think about it.)

    We also had the mandate to pass out books very freely because our small temple is committed to distribute at least 1001 Bhagavad Gitas and more than 2000 books (I forget the exact number) in honor of Gita Jayanti weekend. I ended up passing out a lot more softbound Gitas than I usually would to people who only gave small amounts, (without trying to switch them to POYs or other small books)

    Vaisesika always emphasizes that our prime directive is to make a good impression on those we interact with and leave them satisfied.

    Sometimes I neglected this important point in the old days. If people have a bad experience with a book distributor, it is less likely they will take a book in the future. They will also tell friends and relatives about the bad experience, creating negative “word of mouth” and a host of problems.

    If they have a good experience, even if they don’t take a book this time, they may get enough sukriti, just by having a pleasant exchange with one book distributor, to buy a book from the next devotee they meet. And when they do buy a book they may be able to appreciate it more.

    One guy I talked to yesterday was carrying a banjo case. I sold him a small Krishna book, telling him about how George Harrison donated the money for the first addition, and showing him the “Words from George Harrison” (or “Words from Apple”) forward. I told him that musicians often like Krishna consciousness because we meditate through musical kirtans, and I invited him to go “jam” with Shrutadeva. He sat down near Srutadeva and read a chapter or two of Krishna book. I noticed him talking to Shrutadeva a little while later. Finally he got out his banjo (it had “All You Need Is Love” written on the drumhead) and plucked away with the kirtan. Some other local devotees came up, one with a mandolin, and they all seemed to be having a nice congenial time for a couple of hours, chanting, playing their instruments, and having some friendly talks.

    One of the last people I met was a former Episcopalian minister who is now a Quaker. He only gave a dollar for a soft Gita (I told him he was entitled to the clergyman discount) :-), and we spoke briefly about history of science and challenges for religion in a “post-Enlightement” world. It turns out he is from San Diego and was friends with Radhanatha, the devotee who distributes books from a wheelchair. He had actually met Shrutadeva in San Diego at a kirtan with Radhanatha, so he was surprised to see him again in Santa Cruz.

    When I first started distributing books, most of the Americans had never even heard of Bhagavad Gita. Now many of them have heard of it or even read it, or at least some of it. Many people tell me they have been meaning to read it. It is required reading at one of the separate colleges within U.C. Santa Cruz.

    One of the main lines I use these days is, “Krishna is famous as the greatest authority on Yoga, and this is the original classic book in which Krishna explains all about Yoga, meditation, karma, and reincarnation to his disciple Arjuna.” People like to see that there are blurbs from Thoreau and Emerson on the back, and by college professors on the inside front pages. They really understand that this is a very famous and authoritative book.

    When people are looking for a book, they know they cannot go wrong with a “classic of world literature”.

    This very mellow, low-pressure style of book distribution is so easy and fun, I hope devotees who may have been afraid of or burnt out by book distribution in the ’70s will take it up again with enthusiasm. One can go on distributing books for “hundreds of years” (or at least several decades) in this way.

  11. ameyatma says :

    Regarding Vamsi’s question about when devotees took up western dress for book distribution. I have an insight to this, i will simply state what i saw.

    I joined in the summer of 73, and when I went out on book distribution it was in dhoti. But, around late 73 or early 74 Tripurari in LA and a few others had discovered distributing the books at rock concerts. Their first attempts were big, but, devotees in dhoti and sari were too easy targets and quickly the auditorium guards would not let them in. So, one night Tripurari dawned a long haired wig and hippie styled karmi clothes and was able get into a concert (I think it was Led Zeplin) and distributed boxes and boxes of Krsna book trilogies. Ramesvar was beside himself with ecstacy and the dawn of the age of Western dress was born.

    But, some devotees complained and word reached Srila Prabhupad. The first letter from Srila Prabhupad was his request that devotees only go out in devotee clothes. Ramesvaer was convinced that Srila Prabhupad just didn’t understand. So, he devised a plan. He sent, I think it was Bopa dev, could be someone else, for one week to Watts, the worst place in LA to do books, in devotee clothes. He then sent Tripurari out in karmi wig and clothes to concerts and other places. He then sent a letter to SP giving the lop-sided count of books using the very biased and slanted figures, saying a top distributor in devotee clothes can only distribute so many books, but in karmi dress devotees can do so much more.

    The figures he sent SP were not skewed and not geniune. But, his idea was that SP had to be convinced that more books could go out in karmi dress.

    SP then sent a second letter stating that, in the mood of Lord Caitanya, who took sannyas to trick people into following Him, that devotees could also dress in disguise in order to trick them to take books. But, he asked that the dress be as respectiable gentlemen, no long haired wigs and hippie dress.

    — Sorry, I don’t have time right now to look those letters up to give exact dates, but I am sure they are in the Vedabase.

    — My personal take:
    Personally I could not wear the karmi clothes and distribute books. I simply felt it was like cheating. Ramesvar had all us do it, at least for a while. But, I eventually refused. What he did then was to reserve all the best locations for those who dressed in karmi clothes, those who insisted on going out in dhoti, we were constantly sent to Watts or other very difficult locations. I was never able to do very many books that way, so I began to pray to SP to be given another service where I felt i could do more to serve him and engage my talents and propensities better. First, I was given opportunity to paint for the books, and then came the Doll Project.

    I see, in some instances, that to dress in karmi clothes can be of use, such as getting into locations you could not in devotee dress. But, otherwise, my personal opinion is that it is best if we preach as devotees, in our devotee dress. It makes us feel more genuine, it makes our preaching more sincere. IMHO. I always felt a negative because Ramesvar was not fully honest in his presentation to Srila Prabhupad. SP did agree, but to what? To a not so honestly presented scenerio. Of course, the numbers of books that went flying out after this are very impressive, and SP was very happy and impressed. But, if we take the original letter in consideration, along with the not so honest presentation that made him write the agreeing letter, all together, I still prefer that devotees present themselves honestly as devotees whenever possible, and reserve the disguises for only when really neccessary.

    Aspiring to become your worthy and humble servant, ameyatma das

  12. Srimanta says :

    First I must congratulate those Krsna devotees, who had created this wonderful website to propagate love of Krsna. After searching many websites available for Krsna, I personally liked this site where so many articles are put every day. Vaisanava devotees are always engaged to view, read and discuss many siddhanta’s and Prabhupada’s teachings in this site. Whoever had started this service with such wonderful website about Krsna and Prabhupada, they must have done because of pure love towards Krsna and Prabhupada. As a Vaisanava, we serve Krsna in various way but pure devotees of Krsna always try to serve Krsna in unique way, only by pure love. That’s why my heart goes to these wonderful devotees who had created this wonderful website to serve Krsna and Prabhupada. Being one house holder and a simple devotee of Lord Krsna, I always think how I can serve Krsna. In this Kali Yuga house holders have so many difficulties, especially in this technological age when people are completely dipped into material enjoyment. Becoming house holder without mercy of Krsna it is really very difficult to serve Krsna whole heartedly. Because of this reason, I always ask mercy of Prabhupada in my heart who Himself was one house holder. But becoming house holder, Prabhupada successfully brought Krsna to entire world, only because of His pure love towards Krsna. That’s why Prabhupada’s love is pure love of Krsna.

    Here are some ideas I got how we can serve Krsna in future becoming house holder devotees.

    1) Prabhupada’s books are one wonderful assets about Krsna no doubts. But going out of way to sell Prabhupada’s books, it is sometimes very difficult for house holders when especially house holders remain very busy in week days. Second aspects is even we can sell some books because of our personal relationship with some people, it may not be sure that buyer of Prabhupada’s book must have read it. Even though they read, they may not have understood everything about Krsna, the way ISKCON devotees know from Prabhupada’s teaching. Everything works fine when Krsna is very merciful to one particular soul who just bought that book. Krsna shows mercy to pure devotee who is really looking for God in his/her heart. Otherwise even also that book is sold but still that soul will remain in dark, if Krsna is not merciful.
    So if we really interested to spread Krsna Consciousness among many people in this world, we have to make sure that every soul who just bought one book at least reads, understands and gets some light of Krsna. So making a relationship with the buyer of Krsna’s book is another responsibility of a seller devotee. One Krsna conscious devotee must make a kind of relationship with buyer; try to find out whether that book helps to understand Krsna. If the buyer reading Krsna’s book still not able to grasp Prabhupada’s teaching, seller devotee must help and try to make engage buyer to listen more about Krsna and Prabhupada’s teaching. If we sell Krsna books in this way we may help at least one soul to become Krsna Conscious and ultimately help that soul to come out from ignorance, getting mercy of Krsna.

    2) But being house holder and those who are extremely busy in every day life, they may not be able to sell and follow up some unknown person, the way I tried to explain. This is possible who are not house holder devotees and already engaged themselves full time for Krsna’s service. But becoming house holder the first thing we can do, we can invite one or two house holders to week end temple feasts and introduce them to our large numbers of devotees. And later we can follow up with those families in some occasions and try to discuss Krsna and Prabhupada in some other days. If they are interested we can share some Prabhupada’s books with those families and even try to sell few new of them.

    3) Another way of serving Krsna by house holders is by celebrating Krsna’s worship in our own home and inviting some new families to that celebration. It can be Krsna’s birthday or Chaitannya Mahaprabhu’s birthday or even Prabhupada’s birthday or even any Vaisanava Acharya’s birthday including our Guru Maharaja. It can also be birthday celebration of any family members of house holder devotees or even full moon day puja, ekadasi celebrations etc. In those celebrations we can call our relatives, friends, colleagues etc. to our own house in a small scale functions with Kirtan and Bhagavad Gita class, discuss Krsna and ISKCON. Later we can follow up those invitees and discuss about celebration and if they are interested can help to read Prabhupada’s books.

    4) Once we find at least one new house holder devotees we can do more such occasional house holders celebrations and can invite more families alternatively. Finally becoming house holder we can help other house holders to know about Krsna and bring them to Krsna Consciousness.

    As Mahaprabhu said any body can preach about Krsna and discuss about Krsna, one who is Krsna devotee. Mahaprabhu had given Krsna seed to every one including house holder devotees to plant. So why not house holder Krsna devotees can preach and spread Krsna Consciousness? Ultimately Mahaprabhu wants everybody should hear Krsna and Mahaprabhu through out this world. So to serve Krsna and Mahaprabhu house holders must engage themselves in preaching and discussing Krsna among other house holders.

  13. Suresh das says :

    I distributed books in Watts in my dhoti and shaved head. I never knew there was a plan, created by Ramesvar, to send the devotees dressed as devotees to this place. I found poor areas like Watts and East L.A. were the best places for donations. I tried Century City and Beverly Hills once, and got nothing but disappointment. You might assume that rich people are cheapskates, but they have charities which they feel are legit, and we didn’t have such a good reputation. But, poor people always gave something and easily. Poor people were more genuine too, and easier to speak with.

    I saved my best Sankirtan miracle for last, since you brought up Watts. I was distributing BTG’s in front of a grocery store in Watts one day. I was probably the only white body in a ten mile radius. I distributed there all day, and into the night as well. Around 8:00 pm or so, the notorious gang, the Crips, walked up to me. They told me they had been watching me collecting money in their neighborhood all day, and that I was not permitted to keep the money I had collected. In those days, the early 70’s, the Crips were kind and gentlemanly. They asked nicely for your money before they killed you; now instead they just shoot you first and ask you questions later.

    Most security experts recommend when you are involved in a robbery that if you want to live, it is best just to give the thieves your money, that way you have a better chance of coming out alive. Watts is a very poor area, the scene of the 1965 Race riots. I had collected all day and night, but at most I had collected about $30, in nickels, dimes, quarters, and a few dollars.

    When they demanded the Laxmi I had collected, I pondered the situation. Even though the amount of money I had collected was small, still I thought every penny had been sincerely offered as guru dakshin to Srila Prabhupada. I knew the money was the property of Sri Sri Rukmini-Dwarkadish, so giving it to them was not an option. I offered them some packs of incense, which they threw on the ground.

    Then they demanded that I either give them all the money or they would count to ten and then beat my body into the ground. They began counting, so I quickly said a prayer for protection to Lord Nrsimhadeva. Then the fists started flying, and pounding me. I closed my eyes, raised my arms up in the air and called out “Lord Krishna protect me, only you can protect me!”, as I jumped up and down.

    I opened my eyes and they were gone. The parking lot was well lit and there were very few cars. I looked hundreds of feet in every direction. They had vanished. I walked into the store to take a break from my ordeal. When the security guard saw me, with a look of terror, he crouched down behind a counter in fear.

    What I learned from this experience was to be fearless, and to always know that Lord Krishna would protect me, even in the most dangerous situations, if I took shelter of Him.

    Devotees progressively were attacked again and again in Watts, so after a short time we never returned to that place.