Hare Krishna Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
How the Prabhupada Marathon evolved is interesting. The most successful three days in book distribution history up to 1972 took place at the end of that year in Los Angeles. Three days before Christmas, the Los Angeles devotees distributed more than 17,000 pieces of literature! Because they distributed the most books ever just before Christmas, it became known as the Christmas Marathon. The next year it became a ten-day marathon. Before too long it became a month-long marathon --
the December Marathon. Then some temples stretched it further so that it became a six-week marathon. To this day the length of the marathon varies from temple to temple. In LA it is still ten days, in some places it lasts a month, and some stalwart temples still go out for six weeks.
Many years ago the GBC changed the name to "The Prabhupada Marathon." That was appropriate, since Srila Prabhupada was on a constant marathon to please Krishna and save us, literally sacrificing his life. We go on only a short marathon. What an example he set for us! This is a marathon to please Prabhupada, to show some gratitude for what he has done for us and for the world. He wanted everyone to hear about Krishna, and we want everyone to hear about Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. In the Bhagavad- gita (9.29) purport he says, "When a diamond is set in a golden ring, it looks very nice. The gold is glorified, and at the same time the
diamond is glorified. The Lord and the living entity eternally glitter, and when a living entity becomes inclined to the service of the Supreme Lord he looks like gold. The Lord is a diamond, and so this combination is very nice."
During this Prabhupada Marathon let's meditate on giving these valuable jewels to as many souls as we can so that they can also become golden and bright-faced. This is the Iron Age of Kali, but we are within Lord Caitanya's 10,000-year-long golden age.
One devotee recently made a snide comment while we were honoring prasadam together: "This is supposed to be the golden age. I'm still waiting for it."
I said, "The proof that this is the golden age is that we are chanting Hare Krishna and sitting here honoring Krsna-prasadam in Kali-yuga."
We were born mlecchas. It's a miracle that we are part of the divine movement Srila Prabhupada established. Sometimes people would ask Prabhupada, "Can you perform miracles?" Prabhupada's response was, "I have turned mlecchas into Vaisnavas; that is my miracle." That there are thousands of devotees all around the world chanting Hare Krishna and distributing the message of Krishna is further proof of the golden age of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We were all ironlike before coming in contact with Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, but now because of that contact devotees all around the world have become shining jewels .
In a purport in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.13.55) Srila Prabhupada says, " A pure devotee of the Lord does not live on any planet of the material sky, nor does he feel any contact with material elements. His so- called material body does not exist, being surcharged with the spiritual current of the Lord's identical interest. . . ." By distributing Prabhupada's books, we also become surcharged. In this connection Prabhupada gives the example of a copper wire conducting electricity. Anyone who touches such a live wire is shocked, and if that person happens to be touching a second person, he also gets shocked. The books we distribute are surcharged with the Krishna consciousness of Srila Prabhupada, and whoever receives one of those books is connected to the transcendental current of Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. We may not see the effect of that person's receiving a book, but the connection is made and there will be some transcendental result. Rest assured.
I know there are many devotees on this BDN conference who aren't full-time book distributors, and maybe not even part-time. For this Prabhupada Marathon, I request those of you who are occasional book distributors to please distribute 31 books -- a book a day for the month of December. You will be happy you did. For those of you who are part-time distributors due to other services, try to do more. And for those who are full-time: no distractions, go for it, give it all you have.
World Enlightenment Day is on Saturday December 11th. The goal: A million books in one day! I have heard from reliable sources that there are a million devotees in the Hare Krishna Movement; that's with congregation and temple devotees, most of the devotees are in our congregation of Vaisnavas. So if every one of us distribute just one book on that day, a million would be distributed. We just have to get the word out to everyone. At the Sunday Feast, announce World Enlightement Day and enthuse everyone to give a book to a friend or distribute one to an unknown friend—we're all friends on the spiritual platform. Every temple that has a congregational newsletter should advertise World Enlightenment Day. This is our family business so let's try to get the whole family into it. Prabhupada and Krishna will be very pleased.