Sunday, March 6, 2011

On the Train

by Vasanti dasi

Distributing books on the train is really fun. People are just sitting with nothing to do and it’s nice to walk through each car and offer everyone a chance to read something. I pass out the books to all in the compartment and then tell them it is a beautiful book about Krsna.

There were three police sitting and I offered them a book and they said no, so then I turned to the next people and there was a man lying down on an upper seat. I offered him the book, he took it, and asked if it was free. I said, no, it is ten rupees. Then he showed me his left hand and that he was handcuffed to the rail. I was in shock. I said, “Jail?” He nodded his head yes. I asked, “Why?” He made a motion of cutting his head and said kill. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but thought it meant he killed someone. I said, “For you, this book is free. It will help you.” He was so grateful. Then I left that car and had to pause and get grounded after that experience. I headed up the prison program for our International Pure Bhakti Yoga Society, and there just felt some difference between getting a letter from an inmate, and distributing a book personally to one. Really all jivas are suffering….

When I went back, I saw that he was reading. I wanted so much to take a picture of him reading the book for this report. So I thought I would hurry back to my seat (four cars a way) and get my camera. As I was walking back to my seat, so many people who originally said no to buying a book, then stopped me, and said, “Excuse me, can I see that book now?” So I would wait while they looked through the various books I had. I finally got the camera and hurried back to take the picture. By the time I got back, the train pulled into Delhi station, and the prisoner was at the door handcuffed to one of the policeman and about to get off the train. He thanked me and the police also smiled at me.

I followed them off the train to try and get a picture, and this is what turned out....

Nice Korean lady studying in India

Samsara hogya

By Jai Sri dasi

Overcast skies were no match for the jubilant smiles of the ladies book distribution team as we headed for Har Ki Pauri, the main ghat in Haridwar for this years observance of Siva-ratri. Last year's Siva-ratri was also Kumba-mela and consequently we could hardly walk a few feet without a tidal wave of Siva bhaktas eagerly reaching for a copy of Siva-tattva. This year, as we strolled down the same path, I was a little worried to see only small tributaries of people coming our way. Luckily, all my fears were dispelled once we reached Hari Ki Pauri and I remembered its India! There’s always a crowd waiting nearby! My eyes met a kaleidoscope of colourful jivas gathered around the Ganga for bathing and puja. Initially I was a little nervous about approaching unknown people (it having been a while since my last book trip) but Gurudeva is ever full of surprises and eager to ease my anxiety in the wake of his seva.

I was happy on the first night to meet a young boy from Japan. We shared our common love of India and he told me he was hoping to study some yoga during his 6 months here. As I began to tell him about Bhakti yoga he instantly pulled out his journal and starting taking notes. I was really charmed by his eagerness to learn and told him I had some books he could take with him. Joyfully he replied "For me?!" He gladly took three books and gave a donation. At that point I noticed he had tulsi around his neck. He didn’t know anything about it but said he had gotten it in Rishikesh. I assured him it was a sign. I left feeling so inspired by his openness! With nothing to fear he was able to take away precious jewels in the form of Srila Gurudeva's transcendental books. And now he is planning to come to Navadvipa!

The next day I met a young Indian boy who told me he wasn't much interested in Indian culture and explained how he didn't think people should go to temples to ask for things that they can easily work hard for, and at the same time, he said, their karma would determine what they would or wouldn't receive. I agreed with him and we spoke about the importance of approaching Krsna instead with our spiritual desires, our need for Truth and True Love. He identified with this need and said "Yes, that is what I am looking for" and confessed "I am quite an emotional guy." I could see his sincerity and depth despite trying to profess that he wasn't spiritual. We agreed to keep in touch and continue our conversation. Using his interest in the west, I was able to use a film example to explain how our consciousness is covered by ignorance. In the movie Inception, the characters find themselves within several layers of dreams, trying to make their way back up to the surface of reality. As I see it, we are in a similar predicament. A dream within a dream, ad infinitum, and Srila Gurudeva comes to wake us up to the reality we seek.

That wasn't the last time I got the opportunity to use my immersion in maya for prachar. Later that day I was feeling tired and decided I needed some ice cream. Yamuna devi dasi also came and as we walked inside the shop she started to share books with the men working. She had a group of seven surrounding our table. At first I wanted them to go away, I just wanted my ice cream! But then as I was sitting and enjoying, I remembered the Hindi Jaiva Dharma I was determined to distribute. I reached into my bag and handed the Jaiva Dharma to one man standing in front of me, "This is the book you want." I said. (Jedi mind trick *wink*) He took the book and after looking through it for a while, decided he did in fact want it! I was so astonished! Have no doubt; Srila Gurudeva is always many steps ahead of us. The young man held his Jaiva Dharma, and with a simple heart said "I have a feeling this is a very special book." A village man who bought several books from Karunamayi dasi also felt the same way when he kindly expressed to her "It is very rare to meet someone like you and to find books like these." It’s moments like these that make book distribution worth every second.

One evening Anita dasi was asked if she could explain the topic of the books in hindi. Put on the spot she quickly scanned her brain for the best combination of the 50 or so hindi words she knows. Being the ever clever Anita we love, she discovered the most succinct way to explain Bhakti yoga to beginners. “Bolo Hare Krsna, Samsara hogya, chelo (while pointing to the sky)” For those of you that need a translation “Chant Hare Krsna, the cycle of birth and death will be finished, then off we go” We all got a good laugh about the brilliance of this explanation and I even found myself using it later.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva's magical endeavors to put us in the right place at the right time! How wonderful it is that has given me this opportunity to meet people and instantly engage in transcendental conversation. Without him my life would certainly be meaningless.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Siva-ratri in Hardwar

by Vasanti dasi

I must be honest – I was feeling some trepidation about distributing books in Hardwar for Siva-ratri. It was the first time that I would be distributing books after Srila Gurudeva’s physical departure from this world. I had some fear and sadness and a range of emotions. I was thinking how easy it was to talk to people in India and that my entire motive was to show them Gurudeva’s picture and encourage them to come meet him, a pure devotee of Krsna. Now what would I say.

What to do? I couldn’t miss Siva-ratri in Hardwar. The Siva-tattva book is special to me and I know that Gurudeva wants book distribution.

Once I got to the ghat (the bank of the Ganga) where all the shops and people are, we set the books out and people immediately began to approach us. The second I picked up a book , a wave of joy overcame me and there was like no difference now or before in distributing books. The same conditioned souls are wandering by and as a messenger, I have the incredible fortune to share such transcendental life-altering truths.

I gave one man a Hindi Secrets of the Undiscovered Self. When he saw Srila Prabhupada’s picture, his eyes lit up and excitedly said, “Swami Maharaja, I’ve met him.” He bought the book from me for 10 rupees. Then a few minutes later he came upset and said, “you cheated me. This book is not by Swami Maharaja.” I was nervous at first by his reaction and didn’t know what to say. I opened to Gurudeva’s picture, begged his guidance, and then said, “This is Swami Maharaja’s successor and he is teaching the exact same teachings as Swami Maharaja did. You think you are an Indian man, and I think I am an American woman, but really we are the soul – our atmas are the same.” He got a big smile, and said, “Yes, thank you. “ I said, “Hare Krsna” and he walked away.

We took one box of books that was labeled Secrets of the Undiscovered Self (in Hindi). This is the most popular seller in India. The cover is so dynamic and all are attracted to it –and the book is only 10 rupees. When we got to the ghat, and opened the box, to our surprise, it was a box full of Hindi Sankalpa-kalpa-drumas. “Oh my gosh, how to distribute such a high book? Do we really believe Gurudeva’s words, ‘All for all?’” I even heard him say, “All for all” personally in the Fiji airport. We were all laughing, and decided must be Lord Siva’s mercy on the jivas to give the highest benediction – manjari-bhava. After all, he meditates on Radha and Krsna’s asta-kaliya-lila. We all tried to push that book and occasionally someone would buy one. It is 20 rupees, and thanks to the sponsorship program, we even offered it to people for 10 rupees. Then, one young boy came to our table. Taruni showed him the Sankalpa-kalpa-druma. He looked at it and I also showed him Siva-tattva. He then took 4 Sankalpa-kalpa-drumas and two Siva-tattvas (all for 100 rupees). Taruni and I were surprised thinking, “Why would he buy four?” What will he do with them? Then, a few minutes later, he came back and bought four more Sankalpa-kalpa-drumas and two more Siva-tattvas and gave us another 100 rupees. Taruni looked at the 100 rupee note and asked me, “Is it real? Or, is it counterfeit?” Between the 7 of us, we distributed about 30 Sankalpa-kalpa drumas on Siva-ratri day.

Transcendental Book Distribution ki jaya!!

Anita speaking to nice students from Jaipur

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Trip Unfolds - Siva Ratri in Haridwar 2011

I think the last few months have been a very emotional and intense for all of us. I have felt the need to be very gentile with myself and others as we attempt to process Srila Gurudeva entering nitya-lila. Many plans have been altered or canceled, but I kept feeling a nudging to come to Haridwar for Siva-ratri again. Partly out of my anxiety that the book worms could be slowly devouring all the jewel like books we stored in Haridwar, partly remembering last year’s bliss of standing with a crowd around you grabbing Siva Tattvas out of our hands, and partly a desire to find a connection with Srila Gurudeva through trying to serve his desire for book distribution I booked the tickets.

GVP Book Sponsorship recently printed many fliers in Hindi and English so that money is never an obstacle for anyone to come in contact with the soul piecing message of our guru-varga. But I admit that the night before we left, when I stared at the boxes of pamphlets needing to be folded my mind grumbled, “forget it, we don’t have time to fold them.” But out of duty I filled up a big box while Taruni dasi convinced me we can fold what we can on the train, though I was still grumpy because I prefer to distribute books on the train.

The next morning our party of six made our way to the Mathura train station.

Once we boarded the train and all our luggage and boxes of books we settled I pulled out the good news, “lets fold fliers!” As I began to pull out stacks of the A4 sheets that needed folding, Syamarani didi’s words, “you can have the new people you meet help” came to mind.So I just began passing out stack to the other people in our compartment. Yamuna dasi quickly folded them a sample, and with the simple exchange of the word “seva” they began folding – two, three, four people. Then the fellows in the next compartment came to see what we were doing, and when I offered them a stack to my delight they took it. Periodically they would hand us a bunch of folded fliers and I would smile and offer them another stack to work on. A few people came to their stop and had to go and few more came and wanted seva. In less then three hours all the fliers were miraculously folded. We let everyone who helped pick a small book in appreciation.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cebu distribution

by Anjali dasi from Cebu, Philippines

We have gathering from my high school Batch 1994 last Sunday, and I brought 20 pcs. of Secrets of the Undiscovered Self and I distributed it to them, and they are very enthusiastic to read it and they like it very much. Some of them take 2 because they likes to give that to their special someone.

After that I go home around 2:30 p.m., but due to my son's (shyam) fever, I asked the Big sisters in our Krishna Kids School to continue distribute the books in our neighborhood and to some parents of the Krishna Kids. I hear from them that the people received the books are very happy and most of them especially the fathers said that "This is very good so that we don't have to think always drinking and gambling".

I'm so sorry I'm not really a very good story writer but I hope the pictures will give you more thoughts and story to tell. Hoping for your understanding.

I still have books to distribute, soon I will send you update for the book distributions in University of the Visayas with my niece Jovie Didi.

Hare Krishna!

Anjali Dasi (CEBU)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Distribution Asylum Seeker Centre, Cork

All Glories to Sri Guru and Guaranga! I started the book distribution on 6th December 2010 from the main reception of the centre. During this time, one lady refused to take one initially saying she was a Christian. I told her I also love Jesus Christ and that there is only one God, she took the book. Another resident of the name Charles spoke about how he never ate beef but ate other meat such as chicken. He was happy to receive a book.

I gave a book to a lady who faces deportation, she was very happy to take a book and posed for photos with it. Another lady took one but refused to be photographed. One Brahmin asylum seeker from Mauritius was thrilled to take a book and asked for 5 more to distribute amongst his friends in the centre.

That evening, when I was finishing my shift I left some books in the reception area. I was delighted to see that the next day, 7th December, they were all gone. When I was going for my lunch, I left more on the table in reception and when I was finishing that day, I left more there.

On the 8th December, there was a lot of fighting in the centre, two ladies were arguing all day and it was really taking a lot of time and energy to restore the peace. The arguing was going on two days.

One of the ladies involved came to the office to speak to the manager and when she was waiting to go in I handed her a book. She left it to one side while she went in and spoke to the manager. When she came out, I said to her “Don’t forget your book”. She replied, “You want me to read this?”

I was surprised when the security guard next to me said to her “Yes, go read it, it’s a book about peace, love and harmony, you really need that now! Go read it!” I was amazed at the power of a pure vaishnav, Gurudeva is truly merciful!

I realized that leaving the books in the reception area was an ideal place, as the centre is open 24 hours a day and this gives residents a chance to take a book when I am not here. Sixty books out of a hundred have been distributed and I am sure that they will be gone by next week.

I am thinking of keeping some to one side to give to people in times of strife such as the arguing this week that turned to violence and assault and terrified the children of those involved who were present at the time.

I will be in touch soon with another update!

Your lowly servant


Faridibad Book Stall

Last weekend a group of 3 devotees including me & 2 others organised a book stall in one of the biggest shopping mall in Faridabad. By Srila Gurudev's mercy I got the approval to organize a stall without any charge for 3 days. During these 3 days we Distributed about 300 Books from little ones like the way of love (50 Copies), beyond liberation, Secrets of the undiscovered Self, Chamatkar Chandrika, Damodrashtakam, Prem Samput to Big ones like Bhagawat Geeta (10 Copies), Raas Panchadhyai (2 Copies), Journey of the Soul (10 copies) & Jaiva Dharma (3 Copies). Along with that We Distributed lot of Transcendental Pictures.

I would like to share some of the wonderful experiences. A man named, Jamuna Prasad left his home to pick his children from the tudoring. He was delayed in being able to pick up his children so He was passing his time at the mall. He landed himself in front of our book stall to buy Jaiva Dharma, Raas Panchadhyayi, lot of other small books along with one year subscription to our monthly magazine "Bhagwat Patrika". Srila Gurudev brings Jivas to the Transcendental world through so many ways.

I also came across a school teacher who worships Lord Shiva. When I showed her the position of Lord Shiva through the map of the worlds printed in "Journey of the Soul", She was so happy. She bought a copy of the Journey of the soul along with Siva Tattva.

The most amazing part about this book distribution was the ISCKON book stall next to us. When I ran out of my BG I distributed few of Prabhupada BG & Krishna Book. The ISCKON leader (Gopeshwar Prabhu) & Others showed love & affection towards Srila Gurudev. He said Together we can fulfill the mission of our Acharyas & Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. At the end of the 3rd day they gave us Prasadam & Milk to us. It was a heart melting experience with them.