A Change of Heart
It was a particularly challenging day for book distribution at North Carolina State University. Very few students seemed to have any care to even begin to consider the books I tried to show them. I prayed to Guru and Krishna for help, knowing that I am most likely at fault for being selfishly disposed.
As my resolve weakened, I walked toward a science building where I thought I might take a break to read a little bit. My legs ached and the cold wind taunted my miserable acceptance of defeat. I prayed again to be blessed with the strength not to identify with this feeling of dejection.
One boy of Chinese descent casually emerged from the building just before I entered. He appeared a little more animated and enthusiastic than most of the other students I'd met that day. I quickly spoke a Chinese greeting to him. By Krishna's grace, over time I've figured out the strategy of greeting others in their own tongue, so sometimes I rehearse greetings in different languages. I also found out that this is effective from learning about Vaisesika Prabhu's program.
He immediately stopped to turn and face me, impressed that some white guy spoke Chinese to him. So I swiftly placed a book in his hands and told him I would appreciate a donation for the book because it will support our temple and book trust.
His unhesitating response came in broken English: "Sorry, I don't like the religion. No even Buddha."
So I replied: "Religion? No, no. This isn't religion, this is about Krishna. Do you know Krishna?"
He didn't even blink. "No."
"Okay, so maybe you haven't heard. But Krishna is the most amazing person, and his mantra is the best poem in the whole world." At this point I put a mantra card in his hand, gesturing for him to read the words.
Gently, he repeated the Hare Krishna mantra after me. I was impressed. "Thank you, now will you help us?" I cupped my hands like a little bowl before him.
"No. I'm going now."
Having expected another turn down, I wasn't so disappointed, so I walked inside the building and tried speaking to a few students in the lobby. After another rejection, I looked around to find a seat. But before I could leave the lobby, I heard a voice from behind: "Excuse me."
When I turned around to look, I saw the same Chinese boy from just a few minutes before.
"Did you say that book is about Krishna?" he asked. I told him it was. He appeared very calm and innocent all of a sudden. "Because I think I like it now." His gaze was drawn to the golden orange Bhagavad Gita by my side.
I handed him the book. He didn't have any cash, but eagerly swiped his card on my credit machine to make a donation. He thanked me. I told him "Hare Krishna" as he exited the building, staring longingly into the scene of Krishna and Arjuna poised between the two armies.
Your Insignificant Servant,
Dwijamani Gaura Dasa