My sankirtan spot is right outside Crossways and Urban Yoga (our Hare Krishna restaurant and preaching center) on the main street of Melbourne. I stopped a boy, Shannon, who was attracted to the Bhagavad-gita. He decided to take the book and explained that he thinks young people don't realize they can die at any moment. He had been in a car crash at the age of eight and given a 20% chance of surviving. So after that experience he feels there is a purpose to his surviving, and he linked that to the Bhagavad-gita.
I was so excited by the encounter that I started telling Ariel, who was right next to me distributing flyers.
I said to her, "I'm soooo greedy to distribute books to everyone!" and just then a boy with a guitar that looked like a ripe mango walked in the restaurant, and I was internally pushed to follow him. I started up a conversation on music and was wondering how to introduce the book into the conversation in a smooth natural way. I showed him "Chant and Be Happy," and he was a Beatles fan! But he was not so much into the book, so we kept on talking slowly, slowly talking more about mantra meditation and he ended up saying "Wow, now I'm more interested in this book. I'll take it."
I really felt that Krishna reciprocated with my strong desire to meet sincere souls.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ki jaya!
Your servant, Madhuryamrta devi dasi
*Sankirtan, Bosnia, during war time, 1994.*
I had been trying to distribute a book for a whole day. I was exhausted, fried and lacking inspiration. I didn't know what to do. People were closing their doors in my face, throwing me out of their firms, shops… what a nice opportunity for purification!
By Krsna's mercy I somehow remembered a sankirtan instruction: "Krsna distributes the books!"
So I thought, completely fried: "Krsna, they say that you distribute books. I can’t distribute them, You please distribute them!"
Feeling a bit angry on myself for not being a good instrument, I noticed a kiosk. It was partially destroyed by a bomb but it was wartime so grenades weren't a surprise. I lined all my books on the kiosk and sat on a bench, right across it.
I wasn't sitting more then few minutes when someone called me: "Fellow, these are your books?"
I hardly pronounced: "Yes."
He continued asking: "How much is this one? And that one?"
He bought so many books and I didn’t even approach him.
They say that Krsna distributes books and this was a proof for it.
Yesterday morning, a young couple visited the temple up on the hill here in Kalamunda, in Perth, Australia. I talked to them and showed them the Gita. I mentioned that the book explains all aspects of life, not least the types of food that are best to eat. I opened the book to find the reference, and by Krsna's mercy the verses were right there on the first page we turned to. We discussed for a while the benefits of a vegetarian diet.
The young man's name was Mitra. I closed the book and then at a later point in our discussion opened it again. I was amazed that this time the page directly opened to Text 6.9, wherein Krsna uses the word mitra to refer to an affectionate benefactor.
With these mystical happenings taking place right before him, Mitra decided it would be a good idea to take the book home.
It was my fortune that that I got a chance to spend the week of Gaura Purnima under the shelter of Srila Gurudeva Sankarshan Das Adhikari and Srimati Gurumataji Vishnupriya Devi Dasi in Austin, Texas. I was even more fortunate to have accompanied Srimati Gurumataji on book distribution, her enthusiasm was contagious and I had made up my mind that when I return to Detroit I will go on book distribution at least once a week. So when I got back, I was making plans to solicit shopkeepers in my area to setup a book table once per week, however everyone politely denied, so my only chance was to go out on the streets and distribute books. I was very much reluctant at first however it was my only chance so I was researching online on ways to distribute books on the streets and I stumbled upon my dear god brother Mahabhagavat prabhu's account of his book a distribution experiences, inspired I directly wrote to him for advice and he gave some very helpful advice and a lot of encouragement and support. So thus inspired I went out on the streets.
The very first time I choose a somewhat busy spot in the relatively deserted Detroit downtown and was trying to interest people in Srila Prabhupada's books when a cop pulled over and addressed me thus "what are you selling there man" I showed him a Chant and be Happy and told that I was from a nonprofit organization IKSCON that we don't sell the books but accept donations from interested people. He mentioned that the building management was not happy with me being there and showed me a different spot. I thanked him and started using the very same spot for my subsequent trips.
One day I was distributing a book at the Michigan Veg festival and one nice person took a book gave a donation then I gave him a mantra card with the temple address and told him about the free Sunday vegetarian feast, he exclaimed "free!" and asked why we were doing this for free, I couldn't think of any thing better so told him that our spiritual master gave this to us for free and asked us to do the same, he said interesting and walked away with his book.
Another time one nice lady took a Chant and be Happy almost pulled out a donation from her purse but questioned whether the book was religious fortunately Srila Gurudeva in His Thought for the day addressed a similar question earlier, so I responded saying "no this is beyond religion, the essence of all religion" she seemed satisfied gave the donation and walked away with her book.
I was trying to distribute books in downtown Royal Oak, Michigan, two ladies were passing by I inquired if they were from around, they said no and before I could say anything seemed to walk away, just moments later one of the them took a step back and asked "why do you need some help", I put a Chant and be Happy in her hand and said "yes we are showing these please take a look, these are books on yoga and meditation that show you how to get free from stress" She pointed to Srila Prabhupada and asked if He were Gandhi, I said he is swamiji who taught us about Bhakti yoga, showed them the pictures of George Harrison and John Lennon and said that they were also his students. She pulled out a nice donation for the book I felt she should also get a another book for the donation. Then gave her the mantra card and asked her to chant along with me, which she did, she noticed the maha mantra and instantly recognized the Hare Krishnas, I mentioned that I was one as well, then she looked at my head and said "but you are not shaved" I replied "I am incognito" we both laughed and she left with her books and the mantra card.
It said that by the grace of Guru even a lame person can climb a mountain and a mute person can also sing, in the same way by the Grace of Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji and by the mercy of devotees like my Godbrothers, I am able to slowly shed my fears and distribute whatever few books I can to my capacity.
Sri Gaura Hari das
Completely sweet. Reminds me of the time I was stopped by a policeman while distributing books in Daley Plaza in Chicago. He said "What's in the bag?" My heart rate went up and I thought I was going to be harassed and told to move on. Then this big burly cop asked "Got any of those sweets?"
Turns out he had received some prasadam sweets at the Chicago Ratha yatra and had never forgotten the taste. I did have some excellent mangal aroti burfy in my lunch bag. I gave it to the cop who immediately popped it into his mouth. He smiled, shook my hand, and walked off saying "Don't be caught out here without some of those sweets".