By Madhava Smullen
With ISKCON book distributors off the streets and staying at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, you might think their service has completely ground to a halt. Instead, however, they’ve put all their energy into innovations such as mailing, contactless delivery, and e-books to distribute thousands of Prabhupada’s books at a time when people need them more than ever.
In North America, one of the teams most affected was New York City’s Yuga Dharma Ashram led by Rama Raya Das, who relied on donations collected from book distribution and Harinama to pay their rent. Before the lockdown in March, all the brahmacharis on the team moved from New York City to rural Prabhupada Village, North Carolina, where they immediately began to call the hundreds of contacts they had amassed over the years on book distribution.
After checking in with people as to how they and their loved ones were doing during the pandemic, devotees shared that their ashram was doing a special lockdown book drive to mail out copies of ancient spiritual wisdom texts during this difficult time. With many people becoming introspective and asking questions like, “What is the purpose of life?” and “What happens if I die?” the response was extremely positive.