The powerful words of Prabhupada

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By Suresvara dasa

By Krsna’s mercy 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 said he was a scientist. He looked at my devotee dress and said our movement was just a bunch of sentimentalist - 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 were standing on end. He said, “Give me all those books, I must have those books!” I sold him 12 hardbound Bhagavad-gitas.

your servant, Suresvara dasa

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1 Suresh das

Sri Krishna says “you have a right to perform your work, but you can’t be attached to the results”. Everything I wrote about my Sankirtan book distribution experiences, which was previously published at this site under the article “The Unknown History of Big Book Distribution” by Mahatma Prabhu, has been copied from Dandavats and spread throughout the internet, in various articles, crediting the author as “Suresvara dasa”. Actually I wrote all these memories and experiences. But why fight about it and try to correct it? I am glad if my sankirtan memories and stories inspire others to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. That should be the only purpose to remember them. It really only matters if I am recognized and given the credit for my previous service by Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.

Comment posted by Suresh das on February 24th, 2007
2 Suresh das

It was always amazing that anything miraculous happened to me. I was just an ordinary, rank-and-file devotee - no one of any importance or significance. I was also not one of the major distributors or had any fame of any kind. But I was always enthusiastic to read and distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. I developed a dogged determination to never give up or take “no” for an answer. The point is - any devotee can distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Many devotees are wondering now how to start up the book distribution again like it was before. The only thing which can be done is for each devotee to grab a book bag and try to sell some books. It would probably be best if more of the leadership of our movement sell books themselves and set the example. When the devotees see the great happiness which comes from distributing Krishna Consciousness, there is the chance that many books can be distributed again.

I got involved in book distribution because I saw the extreme happiness and bliss the book distributors were experiencing, and wanted to see if I could feel it for myself. Being kind of a social misfit, I was never very successful, but I never gave up non-the-less. Virtually every time a book left my hands, I felt a charge of spiritual bliss. It was very addictive.

The secret was - many, many small books and magazines were sold on a daily basis for me, without any unusual occurrences taking place, and then once in a while something extraordinary would happen. The real miracle is to speak Bhagawat philosophy - whatever you have heard and whatever you have learned - and then see what happens.

I have always tried to determine why these things happened to me. My best conclusion is:

“Wherever there is Krishna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality.”

Krishna and Arjuna have come into this age in the form of Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Comment posted by Suresh das on February 24th, 2007
3 Suresh das

More than 30 years have passed now, and I am not in the same space I was in before. I was once a penniless, innocent, and egoless Brahmacari; but now I have become much more arrogant, and important. I have become a fallen materialist (with a spiritual name). It was easier, in days gone by, to run around parking lots begging for alms all day. I could hardly imagine myself now, arriving in my Mercedes, and distributing books the same way.

I know the Vedic teachings. All the people I care about; relatives, friends, neighbors, and business acquaintances; may not be returning to the human form of life next time, because they made no effort on the path of self realization. Maybe they had no access to spiritual knowledge, but ignorance will still not be forgiven. I can perhaps help. At the same time, I will need to be very careful in the way I present and distribute spiritual knowledge, because I am not in any an example of the teachings. Also distributing spiritual knowledge comes with the heavy responsibility of setting an example of one’s own self. In other words I must live what is in those books, and perhaps I can’t any more, or don’t even want to. My spiritual life is more or less an imagination now.

So what to do? How do I get free from the gnawing feelings of guilt I get every time I read Srila Prabhupada’s books - that am I not a greedy miser, for taking the spiritual knowledge he is so liberally giving me, and not sharing it with others?

Here are a couple of solutions I came up with for anyone who doesn’t already know about it:

1) You can give your money to Sastradana.com. They do an amazing job of freely distributing books in Southern California. They set up book stands in car washes, beauty salons, yoga studios, doctors’ offices, and all types of businesses. People take a copy of Srila Prabhupada’s books for free, without any pressure or financial obligation. Sastradana.com also distributes books to very influential people like rock stars, movie stars, and sports stars, which your contribution will also help pay for.
2) You can buy books at wholesale from Sastradana.com and give them away yourself.
3) Buy a case of books directly from the BBT and give them away to your friends and neighbors.

I intend to give regular donations to Sastradana.com myself, as well as buy cases of small books and magazines to distribute in my area.

Comment posted by Suresh das on February 25th, 2007
4 Suresh das

Dear Maha-tattva Prabhu (Sastradana.org),
Please accept my obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I received your box of books today, and have begun distributing them right away. I figure, without much effort I can distribute 25 Reservoir of Pleasure per month, just in one location alone. I plan to buy one case of Reservoir of Pleasure per month, and find ways to give them away throughout Southern Orange County where I live.

What I have been doing is putting them on top of the stacks of Yogi Times and other similar magazines, that are distributed for free in front of the yogi studios I frequent.

I am very excited about my plan. I encouraged ISKCON Laguna Temple to make a postcard, advertising the Sunday Feast. I am putting one of their cards in each Reservoir of Pleasure. Everyone is very happy to get their books.

Let me know when I can get more Hidden Glories of India (my favorite to give away to yoga teachers and students).

Hare Krishna,
Suresh dasa

Comment posted by Suresh das on April 20th, 2007
5 Suresh das

I am not in any way trying to blow my horn about distributing some “Reservoir of Pleasure” pamphlets for free. This in no way compares to the heroes of the Sankirtan Movement, who go out and distribute Srila Prabhupada’s hardbound books. That service is certainly much more difficult, especially if they are being sold for donations.

I was just thinking of a practical way that many householder devotees and congregational members could be involved in very simple, low-profile, low-pressure book distribution, to develop a taste for this service. There are currently 60,000 “Reservoir of Pleasure” pamphlets in print and available for distribution through the BBT. Your cost per case, through Sastradana.org, for instance, is only $120 per case of 600. Your cost per pamphlet is only about $0.20 each, so these pamphlets are very low-cost to just give away. If 100 devotees purchase just one case each, all your “Reservoir of Pleasures” available can be very easily distributed.

Each person, in your own area of the country, has health food stores, new age book stores, yoga centers, etc., where local spiritual-type magazines and newspapers are already being given away for free. Usually there are stacks of these publications, either right at the entry door, or right outside the door. Try putting 5-10 “Reservoir of Pleasure” on top of one of these stacks. If you put just a few in each place, they won’t be noticed, or be considered too obtrusive (you don’t anyone to think we are pushing religious publications, and throw away your pamphlets), so just put out a few at a time.

Even if you put out just 20 a week, in the various places, which you are already frequenting, in the normal course of your week, within less than a year your entire case will be very easily distributed, in a very low-key way.

If you can enclose a small card or flyer for your local temple inside each your pamphlets, people who like “Reservoir of Pleasure” might even end up coming to your local temple as well.

Comment posted by Suresh das on April 21st, 2007
6 mahattattva


Sastra Dana correct website address is
www.sastradana.com

Your servant,
Mahat-tattva Dasa
(Sastra Dana coordinator)

Comment posted by mahattattva on April 22nd, 2007
7 Suresh das

You can get many good ideas from the Sastra Dana website, on methods of approaching businesses in your area for your free book distribution program. Sastra Dana also offers you a catalog of ISKCON/BBT books on their site, with your wholesale costs, which you may purchase for your own distribution. You may also contribute money directly to them, if you feel uncomfortable about distributing yourself. They will take care of putting out your books throughout the San Diego, and Los Angeles, California region. Sastra Dana has given away books in thousands of locations throughout two of the most populous regions in the United States. Srila Prabhupada’s books may be found in the waiting rooms of many car washes, beauty salons, and doctor and dentist offices, just to name a few places.

Also Sastra Dana lists the cost per book, or pamphlet, and how many units come in each case. They also accept broken case orders. If paying $120.00 for your case of 600 “Krsna the Reservoir of Pleasure” (#ROP) is to much money for one month, try ordering 100 copies at a time, or get a few friends to go in on a case. If you purchase books from them, or support their book distribution, your cost is totally tax deductible. If it takes you one year to distribute one case of “Reservoir of Pleasure”, giving away 50 copies each month, your cost per month for your book distribution is only $10.00, a tiny amount almost anyone can easily afford.

When putting out your free books or pamphlets, in each location, put out the smallest number at first to test the waters. Yesterday, for instance, I got permission from a yoga school owner, to put 10 “Reservoir of Pleasures” on top of their other free yogi-type magazines. I also got permission from her in the future, to put additional copies when the first ones are taken. But, today when I went there, one day later, the 10 were gone. I sense someone at the center doesn’t like devotees, perhaps even the yoga school owner herself, and has removed or even discarded Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Now I am in the delicate and uncomfortable position of trying to retrieve those books, and perhaps never being allowed to distribute at that location again. It would probably have been better to put out one copy at a time, at first, even without permission, just to test that location. My suggestion is to keep your distribution at each location as small as possible, so that your books can go on being distributed unnoticed, as long as possible. It’s a little bit more hassle for you , but your patience will pay off in time, if you can establish regular distribution points, in the most favorable locations in your area.

If you are putting books on top of someone else’s pile of free publications, you are basically riding piggyback on top of their established distribution network, which they created, and you are potentially, in their eyes, are competing or interfering with. You want to be very careful not to be noticed or disturbed in your distribution efforts. Try to find out what day of the month the regular distributor brings around their magazines, so that your Krishna books or magazines aren’t there when they come, aren’t noticed or discarded. That way you can keep your Sankirtan distribution going as long as possible in each location.

There are many envious people who are against the Sankirtan Movement, and who try to hinder the devotees of the Lord and their mission. Many innocent people are genuinely seeking enlightenment and spiritual knowledge, at this time, but they are generally being misinformed by the messages of atheistic Voidism philosophy (Buddhism), Mayavadi philosophers, and other materialist personalities. People have very little information about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Many people misunderstand the Krishna Consciousness Movement and its message. Perhaps due to a previous bad experience, they believe we are just another pushy religion, who like every one else, thinks we have the only way. Most peoples’ bad impression of devotees is just due to ignorance or misunderstanding of our philosophy and process.

We want to, as innocently as possible, introduce everyone to our long-lost relative - Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, with all His attractive features, beauty, and opulence’s. We are confident that when people begin to understand our philosophy, even a little bit, they will be benefited so much, and will greatly appreciate the beautiful literature we are presenting, and even freely giving them. That should be our plan.

Comment posted by Suresh das on April 22nd, 2007
8 Suresh das

Don’t delay in your book distribution program like I did. I put off buying my books, and could only get 10 copies of “Hidden Glories of India”, and no “Light of the Bhagavat”. Both of those books are now out-of-print, with no timetable for reprinting by the BBT. Printing costs and paper costs are so high now that reprinting may have become prohibitive. There may be a coming book shortage in the near future, so you might not get any books to give out at all.

Comment posted by Suresh das on April 28th, 2007

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