Touching the soul by Sivarama Swami


Thirty years ago I was doing the Prabhupada marathon at the Chicago airport. One afternoon, we devotees were so intoxicated by distributing books that we decided to show that one doesn’t have to speak to sell books, that book distribution just depends on our state of consciousness. So we didn’t speak.

Just after loading my bookbag with (20) maha books I tapped a man on the arm and looked him in the eye. He stopped, expecting me to say something. I didn’t. I put a book in his hand, pointed at Prabhupada’s picture, to the Sanskrit inside and then up to the sky indicating the books are meant to elevate you. I remember being absorbed in the desire to give out books and after looking deep into his eyes again, I slapped my pocket indicating he should give a donation. He did.

He was a young businessman, obviously heavily stressed out and floundering in the world of consumerism. He held the book appreciatively. As he started to go I held his arm. I wanted him to get more mercy. We locked eyes for a minute and in my mind I said, “These books will give your life meaning”, and I stuck another two books in his hand. Now he had three books. Again I tapped my pocket. Again he gave a donation.

I opened one of the books and pointed to a part of Prabhupada’s purport and had him read it. I watched his face. It was obvious Prabhupada was speaking to him. I tapped his arms and smiled at him and he smiled at me. Although standing in the middle of the busiest airport in the world we were somewhere else, in a different land where there was no stress, no noise; our own world of Krsna consciousness. Then he looked at the other books in my arm and I knew he wanted more. I gave him a few more books. He gave another donation. By now the total was past $40.

To impress upon the man what was reality I waved nonchalantly at the bustle about us and pressed my forefinger to his heart, indicating the soul. I looked at him, “You are not this body. You are spirit soul.” He understood. He smiled appreciatively. We then shook hands and as he turned to go it was as if he was leaving a realm of peace for the world of anxiety around. For a minute he hesitated. He didn’t want to go. He wanted to remain in that realm of consciousness in which our exchange had taken place. He had been happy. I saw there were tears in his eyes. I touched his hand and tapped the books saying in my mind, “It’s all in the books. Don’t worry.” He nodded shook my hand and left. Neither he, nor I had spoken a word. Yet we were communicating fully. It was one of many such experiences that afternoon. I was convinced that success in book distribution depends upon our state of consciousness. Making soul-to-soul contact with people is the most effective way to sell books. We need to be in the consciousness that we are not this body, that we are Krsna’s spiritual messengers and that we have to want to distribute the mercy. Give! Give! Give! That is our dharma. Give Krsna to others.


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