Book Distribution Nectar
By Partha-sarathi Dasa
written at Bhaktivedanta Ashram, NYC
I am sitting in New York City now, looking out the window and thinking how fortunate we are to have this movement. Below on the street people are running from here to there, with no goal or purpose. No realization of what the purpose of this life is. It is very sad, and it breaks the heart of a devotee to see this. I just arrived from Washington, DC, and the monitor in the cab said, “If eating meat was a religion, then consider us your church.” It was an ad for a steak house. I was blown away. How crazy Kali Yuga is! How fallen is today’s “more-advanced” society! The only hope for them is for devotees to awaken their soul and engage them in Krsna’s service.
ISKCON Potomac, Washington, DC
I arrived and the devotee had a nice feast waiting. It was very nice to sit with devotees and honor the Lord’s prasadam. I missed this while in Iraq. Sometimes the material world can make us forget how special the devotees are. My five days there were action-packed. Thursday, I gave morning class. The theme of my class was improving devotee relationships and not taking them for granted. In the evening I was invited to a home program. I gave a short class and then we had some kirtan. For me it was very nice to be in the association of the devotees, and their realizations of the Holy Name were very deep.
On Saturday the weather was horrible, so I went to a once-a-month class at a devotee’s home. The topic of the meeting was increasing our faith in japa. Because of the bad weather there was a small turn-out. But still we chanted and read about the Holy Name. I asked everyone to share what the Holy Name meant to them. The answers ranged from shelter to a friend to protection. It was very interesting to hear the responses. I used this to show how the Holy Name is nondifferent from Krsna and how each one of us has a personal relationship with the Holy Name. After some amazing prasadam, we left for the temple, but on the way we received word that the temple had experienced a flash flood! The cows had almost drowned, but the devotees had saved them.
When we arrived, the creek was overflowing and I ran over to help. Myself, Anuttama Prabhu and some others were trying to redirect the water while also trying not to get washed away, and all this with winds and heavy rain. I looked over while standing in knee-deep water to see one devotee’s son with a small bucket, trying to scoop the water back into the overflowing creek. It was actually pretty comical, but then it reminded me of the story in the Bhagavad-gita about the bird who tries to drink the ocean. I really appreciated the child’s efforts. I thought “Wow! This must be what Mayapura is like when the Ganges overflows, indicating that Lord Caitanya’s mercy is overflowing and ready to flood the world.”
I came to the realization that we are naturally protective of Krsna. When the Lord or His devotees or property are in danger, the devotees are willing to do anything, to forgo their bodily comforts, in order to protect the Lord. Amazing, isn’t it? The Lord doesn’t need our protection, but still He creates situations where He seems to need our help — just so that we may deepen our love and attachment for Him.
That evening the weather cleared, and I had the sankritana fever. I and some others went on harinam and distributed books. I never realized how much I missed being out in devotional clothes, giving out Prabhupada’s mercy. By the Lord’s mercy some books went out. One group of young people was very receptive. I saw them watching the harinam and approached them. They were explaining how captivated they were by the singing and wanted some info. When I explained what we were up to and told them I had some books by Srila Prabhupada, they snatched all the books out of my hand, threw a donation into my other hand, and walked off.
Sunday was Radhastami, which was really sweet. By Her divine mercy I was allowed to perform some seva on the altar and massage Her lotus feet! Under the guidance of HG Naveen Krsna Prabhu, I decorated the altar and was able to render some service. We had some amazing bhajans led by HG Gauravani Prabhu. I was asked to give morning class. I chose to read from the Cc, Madhya Lila, Chapter 8, text 166. In the purport Srila Prabhupada describes the qualities of Radha. I turned the class into a discussion. I requested all the devotees to share a realization about Radharani. Gauravani Prabhu gave a very sweet realization. While leading a bhajan he sang a certain tune he said he had learned at Radha’s birthplace. He sang it for Her because it was Her appearance day. He explained that he wanted Her to feel like She was at home. Such a sweet realization. I had the realization that once a year we can take darshan of Her lotus feet, so we should really take advantage of this opportunity. We should pray to Her to allow us to taste pure devotional service. HH Romapada Swami gave a wonderful presentation on Srimati Radharani.
I took rest very late, about 11:00. I woke up in the morning and performed seva for Their Lordships and was off to the airport. I was going through security when I was stopped because of the Salagram Silas I travel with. The man asked what They were, and I explained They are God in the form of a rock. He was very interested and called some others over. He asked what religion I was and I replied, “Well, I’m a Hare Krsna.” The man was taken back a little. “I heard of you guys but never met any of yas,” he said. “What are you dudes about?” I explained the science of Bhakti Yoga and how it is the topmost form of spiritual practice for the modern age. He was excited and asked if I had any books. As I have written before, I always travel with a few small books, so I pulled them out and explained each one. Each of the people gathered around started asking for a book, and by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy I distributed all the books I had. I gave them the temple’s contact info and went off to the gate to wait for my flight.
Sankritan: So many people are eager to learn about Krishna. We just have to search them out. Here are my book scores:
Maha Big: 3 Small books: 15
Please pray for me so that I can remain focused. In Iraq it was so easy to surrender and depend on the Lord. I feel being here now is harder. It’s harder because of the false security we have. We think nothing will happen to us, so why should we depend on Krsna? Why should we really apply ourselves? There is always tomorrow. I therefore fall at all the devotees’ feet and pray that you allow me to have the determination to help others and to stay clinging to the orders and instructions of my spiritual master.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,