By Bhakta Hemant & Bhaktin Aditi
One late Friday afternoon we received a call from Reverend Ntombe, the leader of one of the Methodist churches in Pretoria. He said, “I was told you are from a society that is giving books to libraries. Could you donate some books for our church library?” The reverend went on to explain that he was starting a library for his church’s congregation and wanted as many quality books as possible. That sounded like a really nice thing for a religious leader to do.
He explained that a member of his congregation is a librarian in one of the community libraries where we had earlier donated books, and that he had gotten our number from her. That was truly inspiring to hear: in her own way this librarian was helping Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution. Hari Bol!
But still we had some doubts: Had the reverend seen the books? Did he know that we were Hare Krishnas? We knew that usually Christians are not inclined to take our books, what to speak of a reverend?!
Sensing our concern, he assured us: “I want my congregation to learn about all religions — Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. All paths lead to the same God. The only difference is that we Christians believe that Jesus is the only way, while other religions have their own path.”
We took the opportunity to present a brief summary of Vaisnavism, explaining that the books are based on the Vedic teachings from India, which are thousands of years old, and that they had been translated into English by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and that they encompass the essence of the teachings of all paths D namely, love of Godhead. His enthusiasm remained intact, and so, thinking that this must be Srila Prabhupada’s arrangement, we decided to go for it.
We arranged a time and place to meet the reverend near his church. He was quite warm and welcoming, and when we handed him the Medium Set of books — the /Bhagavad-gita/, Krsna Book, Science of Self-Realization, and ten to fifteen small books — he smiled gratefully and said, “Hare Krishna. I am grateful for these books. They will benefit our congregation, and I will also read them.”
A week later we called the reverend to follow up. He said that though he hadnÃt had a chance to read the books yet, they were being catalogued and would soon be put on the library shelves. His last words were “If you have more such books, please bring them.” Srila Prabhupada Ki Jaya!
Your servants, Bhakta Hemant & Bhaktin Aditi ISKCON Pretoria, South Africa