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Getting the mercy: New (free) e-book about book distribution

Friday, 20 September 2019 / Published in Message Board / 390 views

Hare Krsna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada!

My name is Caitanya Chandra dasa, disciple of HH Bhakti Dhira
Damodhara Swami (BTS). I joined ISKCON in 1992 and my main service is
book distribution. I travel in the south of Brazil during most of the
year, doing book distribution and trying to spread Krsna Consciousness
in small cities.

Few years ago, my Guru Maharaja gave me the mission of distributing
books and teaching others about book distribution. This effort
resulted in a book that is now available to all interested devotees.

This book took a long time to ripen. I started working on it in 2014,
but it was finally completed only recently. This long period allowed
me to relate in detail many realizations from book distribution while
they were still fresh in the memory. Many passages were written
directly on the frontline, in the van, or on park benches during
breaks on book distribution.

Srila Prabhupada once said that history will mark how ISKCON saved the
world in its darkest hour. As the world society becomes more and more
degraded, our mission to step forward and bring some light in the form
of spiritual books becomes more and more urgent and necessary.

Every book distributor has his sankirtana stories and his particular
realizations and reasons why to start and continue book distribution
despite all difficulties. One reason is that it helps others, but
another is that we are actually the main beneficiaries. By assisting
Srila Prabhupada in his lila of spreading Krsna consciousness, we get
more mercy than we can realize. A first-class disciple is one who
assists his spiritual master in his mission. All our spiritual masters
are sacrificing their lives to spread Krsna consciousness, and if a
sincere disciple takes up the mission of assisting them, they become
most pleased. Actually, it’s impossible to repay the debt to the
spiritual master: knowledge about Krsna and love for Him is such a
great gift that it is impossible to repay the benefactor. Still, we
can at least show some appreciation by trying to relay the message to
others.

This book is my small attempt in this direction. The main factor in
deciding about publishing this book as a free e-book instead of hard
copy is to allow all interested devotees to have easy access to it and
to share with their friends. There is no marketing department or
advertising budget: this book is being propagated by word of mouth
alone. If you get some inspiration, some valuable information, or some
realization in this book, feel free to share it with others.

It can be download for free on: http://www.gettingthemercy.com/

Facebook page: http://facebook.com/gettingthemercy

– Foreword by Navina Nirada Prabhu:

Dear reader,

In his book Getting the Mercy, Preaching, Book Distribution and the
Ultimate Goal, Caitanya Chandra prabhu, shares his 25 years of
experience on sankirtana. A dear friend, current number one in book
distribution and role model for sankirtan devotees and preachers
alike, he divulges secrets, realizations and his vision for personal,
collective and global transformation.

As a free ebook he made it easily available. Read it, live it, share it!

In gratitude, your servant and friend,

Navina Nirada dasa

– Overview of the book:

This book is divided into eight chapters, grouped into three parts.
The four central chapters deal with topics directly connected with
book distribution, while the first two and the last two are supportive
chapters, that supplement them with other relevant topics for a book
distributor.

The first chapter is an introduction. It examines the historical basis
for book distribution, how it fits in the teachings of Lord Caitanya
and of the previous acaryas, and how it is connected with the
prediction that the holy names would be chanted in all towns and
villages. It also examines how book distribution fits in the current
modern environment (with e-books and other new mediums), and presents
different ideas connected with the proper mood and mentality for one
interested in serving as a book distributor. Pitfalls on the way are
also examined.

The second chapter deals with a rather important topic: how to work
together with other devotees to spread Krsna consciousness. As Srila
Prabhupada explains, “the distribution of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra
should be performed by combined forces”. This is a simple concept to
understand in theory, after all, we all heard the expression “united
we stand, divided we fall”. However, when it comes to practice, we can
quickly realize that to work together with others is one of the most
difficult things. Actually, to be able to work cooperatively with
other devotees from different backgrounds and cultures, in a peaceful
mood, is one of the ultimate tests of spiritual realization. Without
being able to work with others, it’s impossible to maintain an
organized preaching effort.

These first two chapters lay the foundation for the third chapter,
that deals with the external aspects of book distribution: how to stop
and talk with people, how to present the books in interesting ways,
how to cultivate interested persons and so on. It also deals with the
importance of maintaining a good sadhana and studying the philosophy,
and how to deal with the mind. This is by far the largest chapter in
the book.

While the third chapter focuses on the external aspects of book
distribution, the fourth chapter goes deep in the internal aspects,
examining the internal work that needs to be done in order for one to
become stable in book distribution. In other words, the third chapter
is about how to distribute books, and the fourth chapter is about how
to continue distributing until the end of our lives.

The fifth chapter is about maturity in book distribution. It’s a
philosophical chapter that examines sastric guidance for preachers.
Frequently, we think that we should approach people unrestrictedly and
insist until they take a book or become exasperated, but actually, the
sastra gives guidance on different ways to deal with different classes
of people. These recommendations can be used to improve our book
distribution, and especially to make the distribution easier for the
book distributor, avoiding the burn-out effect that makes so many
devotees abandon book distribution after some months or years of
struggle. This chapter also speaks about the training of new book
distributors.

The sixth chapter closes the main body of the book, examining another
important aspect of book distribution: traveling sankirtana. It’s very
difficult for any book distributor to continue distributing day after
day in the same city, speaking with the same persons. Sooner or later,
almost all book distributors come to the point that they want to
travel and reach different publics. Srila Prabhupada himself was
emphasizing the importance of traveling sankirtana groups and giving
special blessings to devotees dedicating themselves to this service.
It’s not something easy to do, especially when one is traveling for
long periods or living in a van, but we don’t need to make it more
difficult than it needs to be. Many times, traveling preachers may
develop an elitist mentality. This is balanced by discussing the
importance of temples. This chapter also gives advice on how to
maintain our health, discussing about exercise, eating habits and so
on.

The final two chapters offer additional points. They are not directly
about book distribution but offer foundational topics, that reinforce
our bases, giving us a platform from which we can project our
devotional efforts.

One serious problem that we currently face in our society is the
dilution of our philosophical basis. More and more devotees are mixing
their Krsna consciousness with different mundane ideas and concepts,
distancing themselves from the teachings of our acaryas. Others go in
the opposite direction, becoming fanatic and adopting limited and
inflexible views, which are also detrimental.

The seventh chapter has the goal of offering a balanced view,
examining different ways in which one can go off astray. The history
of Vaishnavism is full of examples of different groups that deviated
in different ways, and thus ended becoming separated from the tree of
Mahaprabhu. By learning from their mistakes, we can avoid committing
the same blunders.

Most of us are going to spend the majority of our lives living with a
partner, in a (hopefully!) loving relationship. While many passages of
our scriptures warn us about the dangers of grhamedhi life, others
emphasize the advantages of a healthy and progressive family life. The
eighth chapter offers guidance on how to avoid the traps of sensual
indulgence, and how to build a safe environment for the development of
our Krsna consciousness, molding our family life as an asrama, a
platform from which we can advance to higher realms of devotional
service. The primary goal is to offer advice to serious devotees that
desire to build a family that can support their service, but this
chapter can also be useful for brahmacharis since it emphasizes the
duties and regulations of family life in Krsna consciousness (it’s not
easy!). By understanding the duties and responsibilities, one can make
a mature and conscious decision to avoid it, if that’s the case.

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