Hare Krishna, Dandavats, All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
PAMHO Dear Devotees!
I just wanted to share my experience I had today while distributing books. A little background info: a friend and I both go to the same college and we are both devotees. So I planned on getting together and starting a nice organization for devotees and for those interested in KC at our college. As it turned out, we have been pretty busy individually so the organization would go back and forth between an on / off status (By 'on' I mean planning phase, and getting flyers handed out etc.).
Two and a half years later (initially planned this fall of 2011) we finally got the organization started. Today we decided on a nice book distribution to send the word out to everyone that there is an organization on campus that has to do with higher thinking and the true goal in life. We handed out the Perfection of Yoga and the Higher Taste (The former was completely free, the later had a $1 donation if possible, but we handed this out to people for free if they didn't have money etc.). We raised $32 within an hour!
We plan to donate half to the local ISKCON temple during a festival or something (Lord Narasimhadev's appearance day is coming up!!!), and keep the rest to fund our organization if needed (ie. for flyers etc.). In the end, the goal is to use the amount in the service of Krsna :)
The experience itself was out of this world. Whenever a person took a book, i felt such happiness. And the happiness was increased when one person would come back a few minutes later just to donate some money. Each person I handed a book to literally made my day. It's a feeling that is hard to describe but think about that feeling when you start to eat a big bowl of halava prasadam and multiply that by 10!! :D
I'm quite a shy person, I really don't like talking about material things and I like to keep my distance from them, but i also don't like talking to devotees either. I am quite happy being a "loner", which is contrary to the suggestions I add to many discussions. But talking to these people who were not familiar with Krsna or even those who had an interest because of the word "Yoga" was phenomenal.
This reminds me of a line in the Sikshastakam (the poetic translation by Dravida Prabhu I keep mentioning)
vadanaḿ gadgada-ruddhayā girā
pulakair nicitaḿ vapuḥ kadā
tava nāma-grahaṇe bhaviṣyati
6) O my Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant Your holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs of my body stand on end at the recitation of Your name?
Tears streaming from my eyes,
My voice choked with bliss,
the hair upon my body.
standing up in happiness.
When will all these signs of rapture
decorate my limbs!
As I chant your holy names the monarch of all hymns!
But at the same time I felt a bit disappointed that many people also refused to take the book (although they said it nicely). Just think, Krsna was shining mercy on them and they refused! But I will keep praying to Krsna to please please please give them some mercy because it is Krsna who instills the thought of bhakti in the hearts of everyone. Only by His grace can people even begin to advance in KC.
This also told me many things about myself. I talk too quickly when I am distributing books and I seem to forget things and lose my calmness. Hopefully over time I will be more comfortable but this is an experience I will always treasure.
Please dear devotees, take a handful of Srila Prabhupada's books and just distribute them! That nectar of ecstatic bliss tastes better than anything else in this whole material creation.
After that long write up here are a few stories:
1) Getting our 4th member
At our college, we need 4 members to become an official organization that is publicized in the college's list of organizations. We also can take part in various events, get booths, get meeting rooms, offices, etc. But we were always on the third member line.
Today, a fellow devotee who was distributing books caught up with a friend of his who agreed to help out and become our fourth member! We have been trying very hard to get someone to join us, even as a bystander who just fills things out but doesn't have to participate. But none have held that interest..
2) Returning to donate
I mentioned earlier how people came back to donate, here is a nice story.
I was handing out books, and came across a young woman who was waiting in line for prasadam (the temple comes every week to distribute food). So I walk up to her
"Hey, would you be interested in a book" I ask and show up the Perfection of Yoga. She looks at the book, looks at me, and back at the book and says "Yeah Sure"... and she take book.
I smile and pull out the Higher Taste!
"This book is also a fantastic read" I say. "It's about Vegetarianism, Higher thinking, and it's got many recipes at the end. For this book we are asking for a dollar donation, just to help fund our organization, and get it running"
She smiles and says that she doesn't have any money. Just $5 for the prasadam.
I smile back "Don't worry about the money, Just take the book. It's on us"
She hesitates because I assume, she felt bad.
I press a bit more and tell her with confidence that she doesn't have to worry about paying us.
She smiles and takes the book and I continue down the line.
A few minutes later, as she is passing by with her plate of food. She spots me, stops and gives me some money. I thank her profusely, and she smiles and says "Bye!"
3) Donating to the Max!
This happened quite a few times actually, but what would happen is we would give out our books. And if a person was interested he/she would take the Perfection of Yoga, and then we would see if they were interested in the higher taste. Most didn't have money for donation. They were there to enjoy the prasadam and carried that much money. So we gave it for free. Then there were some who gave a dollar happily. Then there were a few who gave us $5 even though we suggested $1.
Hopefully as time goes on I can begin to have those experiences as many great devotees narrate, but in the meantime, every Wednesday from ~12 PM to ~1 PM we will be distributing books and spreading Lord Chaitanya's message.
I hope Krsna will continue to share his mercy on these fallen souls :)
Hare Krsna and Gaura Prema Anande!!!!