For light duty book distribution, I generally carry Reservoir of Pleasure, the 72 Macmillan Bhagavad-gita As It Is, soft bound and of course The Higher Taste. Just as there are the yummy Govinda Hare Krishna restaurants, similarly, on Book Distribution Sankirtan there is always a need to carry a Hare Krishna cookbook . A Hare Krishna cookbook, can indeed open many doors, which would otherwise remain shut. Srila Prabhupada, in His letter dated 15 June 1969, which remains as fresh as ever, to His female disciple Krishna Devi Dasi remarked:
“Actually, the practice of meat-eating is very detrimental to spiritual life, because in spiritual life the goal is to become free from all sinful reactions, and meat-eating means simply to force oneself to suffer the sinful reactions of killing our fellow living entities. So as many people will be taking to practicing spiritual life through the influence of our Sankirtana Movement, SUCH COOKBOOK WILL BE VERY IMPORTANT and you should work for this as you are able.”
My first attempts were unsuccessful. People declined to even accept benefit by touching the literature, what to speak of accepting a copy to take home! But we do not depend on the result of our endeavors. Finally after passing a final negative young couple having a snack on a bench, I came to a young guy sitting on another bench with table. He was bent over the table and absorbed in looking at the screen of his phone. I offered the magazine and he was not defensive as were previous customers and finally accepted it. In the talk that ensued he amazingly admitted that he was reading the Bible on his phone. I encouraged him with: “Congratulations, this is unique, I don’t think many people are studying the Bible in the park right now!” The amazing thing here is Krishna’s arrangement. This person was looking at God’s word on his phone and consequently searching for Him and here God Himself, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, comes in the form of a nice painting on the cover of the nice Reservoir of Pleasure and sets Himself before this seeker of truth as described in BGAII 7.16 “O best among the Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin their devotional service unto Me, the distressed, those in need of money, the inquisitive or those searching after the knowledge of the Absolute.” Krishna is so wonderful and we shall both remember this instance as part of our God or Krishna consciousness! Later things got easier and people got friendlier and more receptive. A met another guy with whom I had a good preaching conversation. Another lady mentioned that she visits the West End Hare Krishna restaurant every Thursday, without fail. I didn’t get a chance to ask why only on Thursdays and not every day. Another, daggy looking guy was amazed to deal with Hare Krishna. He said:” O Hare Krishna, they were here about 40 years ago….I thought they are dead and gone….there are to many religions in the world ….Then I asked him what was his own religion. He replied without inhibitions whatsoever: “My religion is alcohol and smoking” We are lucky that alcohol-and-smoking is not a world religion, even though it may be more widely spread than we think. Some other people spontaneously react positively and with good speed, just like the lady and her husband who were strolling their two months old son. This has got to do with Prabhupada’s saying that the spark of fire may fall in three places, the earth, water and dry grass, and also the modes of material nature. These people are good prospects for Krishna consciousness and deserve our attention. In this way Book Distribution, besides being a highly efficient means of purification for all parties involved and especially the distributor, is also a good testing meter for Krishna consciousness, just like a Geiger detector indicates the proximity of gold. Book distribution, just like Gurukula, is also a character forming activity. Let us all get involved in Book Distribution! And then the night fell and my book distribution activities came to end for the 4th day of december 2021.
Srila Prabhupada Srimad-Bhagavatam class, 1.16.8, Los Angeles, 5 January 1974
“There is no comparison. There is no literature throughout the universe like Srimad-Bhagavatam. There is no comparison. There is no competition. Every word is for the good of the human society, every word, each and every word. Therefore we stress so much in the book distribution. Somehow or other, if the book goes in one’s hand, he will be benefited. At least he will see, “Oh, I have taken so much price. Let me see what is there.” If he reads one shloka, his life will be successful, if one shloka, one word. This is such nice things. Therefore we are stressing so much,
“PLEASE DISTRIBUTE BOOKS, DISTRIBUTE BOOKS, DISTRIBUTE BOOKS!“
All glories to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s world wide Sankirtan Movement, all glories to Srila Prabhupada, all glories to the dedicated ISKCON book distributors!