Goal for 2013 - 50,000 + books!

Last Update: Jan 31, 2013

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Smart Box Miracle

This last Sunday Feast, I was standing at the book table when a very interested Girl came, I asked her if she wanted any books - she said she already had a Beyond Birth and Death and Chant and be happy, I asked her where she got them from and she said at a RESTAURANT - I said do you know which one? - GINGER at BLOOR AND BATHURST...she said she picked up the books and the temple card fell off from them, so she picked it and came to the temple.

She was so excited, and so was I, I asked her for her email, which she very happily gave. She told me she is readng the book and she loves it - she picked up 2 more spanish books and gave a very kind donation It was so magical, Tania (that's her name) could definitely see how excited everyone was, when they found out that she received a book from a smart box! She is so ready for learning more and definitely will be coming around again.

Smart boxes are a very labor intensive sankirtan technique which require extreme background hardwork of going around the city, putting these smart boxes, monitoring them, re-filling them, reporting updates and more...Over the last few months we've been distributing many books from these magical boxes, and so many people have been affected.

So next time you see a store, think of a smart box there, think of all the people who would see the books, think of the time when you will meet them at the temple, think of the time when they will be happy and grateful to whoever placed the books there - those books that have changed our lives and those books that will change theirs!

Stay High Forever - That too Free of cost!

It was almost the end of the Monthly Sankirtan Festival. As is the usual tradition, a group of enthusiastic devotees were chanting their hearts out. I saw a group of 3 young boys pass by. I handed them some free cookies, and asked if they were interested in Yoga or Meditation. Unenthusiastically they replied No, But (one of them said), I like being HIGH!

With some unknown confidence I said, REALLY, I just have the right thing for you, I ran over to the books and brought a Chant and Be Happy for them. I told him how just like the Beatles he could be high forever that too free of cost. They were impressed, but didnt have money. I asked all 3 to chip in whatever change they had and get this book - so they did and left me with a more than enough donation!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Miracles on the Street ... A Monk Asked Me to Read Books

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti Devi Dasi

Standing on a lonely corner where there weren’t many passersby – I met Natalie. She didn’t seem all hip or yoga types but I thought we should approach everyone – never know who is a devotee. As I started to speak with her she told me her doctor had asked her to do meditation and so I showed her chant and be happy. She really appreciated it and listened carefully about the content and gave me some laxmi. I tried to inquire a little bit more about her and she told me she got cancer two years ago and was told she would die and everyone is surprised she is still alive (still undergoing cancer treatment). At this point I told her perhaps then there is a special reason we met and I handed her the Bhagavad Gita and told her what it was all about - a life time classic, the reincarnation poster, Srila Prabhupada and his mission.

This really got her to open up and share her very strange dreams since she survived cancer. She explained to me she sees a monk in her dreams who asks her to read and read his books again. I had a chill go up my spine as she kept describing. Some of her dreams were vauge but this was really powerful. She didn’t really recognize the monk but she took a very strong attachment to Srila Prabhuapda’s picture and just decided to take the book and gave me a donation. We continued to talk as she expressed her spiritual aspirations.

Then she had another memory flash and she told me a few weeks ago her ex-husband came home with a yoga book and told her that there was a lady standing downstairs near yonge and finch and has books on meditation. She had almost come down to meet me that day but could not make it on time. She hugged me several times and talked about how this was a miracle. It was all so special as I started to realize Srila Prabhupada is truly the master Orchestrator of this sankirtan movement – we just have to stand at our spots and wait for mercy to fall in…Sankirtan truly is a downpour of nectar

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mar 27th (Sat) 10th MSF - Bringing Sita Back to Ram!

This coming saturday, March 27th is our 10th Monthly Sankirtan Festival and it's Ram Navami Special!
The theme for this MSF is Bringing Sita Back to Ram. In the spirit of serving our most beloved Lord Ramacandra, just as the army of monkeys and squirrels picked up boulders and stones to construct the bridge across the ocean, let's also contribute, whatever we can, to bring the most auspicious sankirtan movement in the hearts of the residents of GTA!
Our motto is A Lot of People, Each Doing a Liitle Bit!
To help us organize better we request that you RSVP no later than March 25th, thursday. Please bring your friends and family, you're certainly in for an unforgetable treat.
Looking forward to serving with you.
In your service,
Toronto Sankirtan Team
Marching towards 20,000 in 2010

Schedule for Sat, March 27th:-
9:00am :- arrive at the temple
9:30am :- Training on "how" and "what" of going out experience
10:30am : - Team assignments
10:45am :- Drive to various locations
11:00am-2:00pm :- Harinama Sankirtan at different locations
2:00pm :- Final harinam & Wrap up
2:30pm :- Return to temple for lunch prasadam

I've heard him before - On YouTube!

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti dd
I met this guy from Guelph. While I was talking to someone else, he stopped seeing the books in my hand and inquired about them. I showed him a Bhagavad Gita and he really liked it, though he didn't have enough laxmi for it, so I showed him the Perfection of Yoga and he gave a small donation. As I started to show him Prabhupada's picture at the back of the book he said -hey I know this guy, I really like his talks - obviously surprised, I asked him where he heard from him and he said on you tube. It was very inspiring to hear and see how any contact with Srila Prbahupada brings us to his books - its true that Srila Prabhupada is personally overlooking this sankirtan movement - even though not visible to our mundane eyes he is still engaged in book distribution.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Krsna - Akincana vrta : property of the materially impoverished

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti dd
Standing near Yonge and Finch I wasn't able to do much but I was trying to remember Vaisesika prabhu who said you cant do more than what you can do. So I was just praying that i could be properly aligned when this young lady stopped.I asked her if she had tried yoga or meditation and she said no but she wanted to try. I first showed her a Beyond Birth and Death, she seemed interested. I asked on if she had ever thought of questions in life around spirituality or who we are and where we come from. She agreed, I then asked her what her life was like - she said i have had a very tough life and I had almost given up sometime ago. She looked so young to be saying that - so i asked her why. Then right there in the middle of the street she shared with he her story - how her mother didnt do much and she has been on her own since she was 15 - , then she was in an abusive relationship and she had to save herself. Then her mother borrowed all her savings and just never returned - and now mother had abandoned younger sister so she was caring for her - and on top of all this she lost her job last year and thats when she was ready to give up. I was - at a loss of words. So I took out a Bhagavad Gita and introduced her to Srila Prabhupada's picture and told her here in this book is a secret - a secret that Krishna or God is 'Akincana vrta'...or the property of the materially impoverished. The fact that she has had such struggles implies that she is meant for something special. She expressed her desire to read Bhagavad Gita and I promised to assist her. She talked to me for a while and more she spoke more I was horrified to hear stuff. She didnt really look very old, I wondered how old she was. She said she was 23 - my jaw dropped. Please pray that this girl reads Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita and comes to his shelter.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Begging from beggars...

(December 15 2009) Yesterday I thought Krishna was testing my determination. Over 40 minutes went by and not a single person stopped by and took any interest in the copy of Bhagavad Gita I was holding out. So here it comes, I thought, the stories by stalwarts like Mangal Aarti & Premavati Prabhus came to mind.

Happily though, Krishna chose to treat me very gently quite appropriately too, the neophyte I am. He sent a few people to engage with some minor interactions, one man said "Thanks, I'm not a vegetarian" continuing to walk briskly, another girl suggested I needed a better line than "it's cool", which is what I blurted to her as she passed by once, and her comment came the next time. I sure hoped to have some sparkling repartee for every passing living entity, but tongue tied I was for the most part. Vaisheshika Prabhu's recounting of the lesson from Chaitanya Charitamrita came to mind, something like... "If the people who beg knew how hard it was to give, they wouldn't beg, and if the people who gave knew how hard it was to beg, they would always give"... here I was, begging to be more Krishna Conscious really. I thought, every person who passes by, makes me more Krishna Conscious. They are really gifting this ultimate treasure to me, whether they engage with me or not. Even if they take the book, they take far less than what they give back to me. What better can an insignificant unqualified beggar like me hope for? And I hadn't even chanted all my rounds!

I shared the sidewalk with another beggar, she was asking for money for herself with a simple line "Some change?". I begged her to see if she would take a book even just to read while she sat on the sidewalk, she refused emphatically. How strange it was for a beggar to refuse another beggar. If I see her again, I will try again, maybe she may say yes next time? But I returned the favour, when I started walking away, she asked me for some for change, she knew I had it, so I couldn't lie outright as people sometimes do. So I said, "Sorry, I need to pass it on higher". So beggars do turn other beggars down sometimes.

Several weeks later Februrary 19, 2010...

Next, a person who looked like he may be homeless or very very poor stepped out of the coffee shop next to me and smiled. He had an accent that sounded like he spoke Spanish as his primary language. He asked me something that I could not initially comprehend, but I understood he was asking me "Hare Krishna?". So I nodded enthusiastically and showed him the Spanish books I had with me. He said no, he wanted an English book. So I gave him one and asked if he had some change. He pulled out two coins from his pocket, a $2 (toonie) and a 25 cents (quarter). He asked me if the quarter would be OK, I nodded, eager to have him read the book. So he gave me the quarter dollar donation and took the book. I pulled out the Mantra card and he chanted Hare Krishna with me. What a miracle. I was thrilled! My desire to beg from a beggar was fulfilled on this day. Krishna is kind, He was kind to the other man, and He was kind to me. He helped me see very practically that I should not be judging someone by their appearance. How many rich people had I tried in vain to interest in Krishna's message? As he walked away with his newly acquired book, I saw him stop at a restaurant window and gesture at the patrons asking for money. And later on I realized I had done nothing, he approached me himself with his smile and a "Hare Krishna". Another little miracle... last week, Monday, Ateet Prabhu had written me an email that went something like this: "..may be someone will be attracted to the Matchless Gift..nice cover..and change his/her life...imagine..change someone's life for 25 cents!!!".

(photo originally on: http://therandomizer.wordpress.com)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Taxi - 243 Avenue Road please - The Hare Krsna Temple!

Scene 1:- 4:30am, rushing out to the temple with bags of grocery in hand, I hail a cab. 243 Avenue Road please - the hare krsna temple. Thank you
Driver:- What's this mark on your forehead? Is it your religion?
Me:- Yes, I am a Hare Krsna!
What followed was a 5 minute conversation on religion and what hare krsna's believe. As we came close to the temple, I offered my kind driver a complement on his interest in learning about other religions. I asked him if he wanted to read about mine and he gracefully agreed. I ran into the temple, grabbed one "bhakti yoga"from the hallway and brought it back.
Me:- We normally request for a small donation to help us cover printing costs. If you like you can give something, otherwise please keep it as a present.
Driver:- Oh sure, just give me 5 dollars for the fare and keep the rest as a donation!
Grateful I, smiled and ... wondered what the day would unfold!

Scene 2:- Running late for the cake decoration class at the temple, we hail a cab. 243 Avenue Road please, The Hare Krsna Temple! As we come close to the temple...the driver asks "oh is this your church", yes, its our temple - The Hare Krsna Temple. Are you interested in yoga and meditation. "Yes". Would you like to read something on it? Sure...

Again I run into the temple grab a Perfection of Yoga and ask the kind driver for a donation. He happily handed me a 5 dollar bill. I thanked him and thanked Krsna...yet again!

Scene 3:-
Again running late, after printing the monthly newsletters...I hail a cab. 243 Avenue Road Please, the Hare Krsna Temple!
Driver:- But there is one condition. I want PRASAD!
I was dumbstruck! What just happened!
My driver, who was a very kind muslim guy, spoke to me about his religion...prasad...and other temples in GTA. We reached the temple, I ran in to find some prasad...on the way out I grabbed a "Higher Taste" and I offered it to him as a present and requested for some donation, to which he very kindly offered a portion of the fare!

With grateful memories of a Krsna-ized day, I went inside...praying to always remember the sweet little games that the blue boy plays!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nectarean Travels

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti Devi Dasi

I was on my flight to Richmond, Virginia early today. Generally going through US customs and security is my most dreaded experience as they treat you like criminals. Today there was an exceptionally huge crowd at security checkpoint (like Christmas day) and they were randomly sending people to full body frisk or another line. I got sent to the other line and had prasad and japa bag in an open hand bag. As my hand bag came out the security lady (Punjabi lady who had immigrated here) saw the japa beads and just started to ask me questions. She said are you Punjabi and I said I am not but my best friend is Punjabi. She then asked me about the japa beads and i explained they were tulasi beads. She saw the Krishna pendent on my neck and said ‘Ah, krishna pendent, so beautiful’…as soon as she appreciated Gopinath she opened a flood gate of appreciation. After a few initial questions she said ‘ I could see you from a distance and had made out you are a very spiritual person’..I was staring at her in bewilderment. Then she said you don’t go now, you stay here and please talk to me your flight is at 8 AM and there is 1 hour so I wont return your boarding pass you talk to me’. I was in utter disbelief – there were so many people waiting and she was on duty just talking to me about God. I realized her courage and sincerity and my emptiness. She spent the next many minutes sharing with me her life and the related problems, I didn’t know what to say. Feeling the need to help, I asked her to chant a mantra - Gauranga…she asked me what it meant and I said it meant ‘be happy’…its golden faced beautiful lord. I also gave her my email and she asked for my phone number. I left with a feeling of gratitude as I got a chance to speak about Krishna even without any effort but I also felt regret as I didn’t tell her the Maha mantra.

Afterwards I was on the terminal waiting for my flight and as always relishing the experience by narrating it to Shyama on the phone – and I was just relaying to her how I regretted not getting the chance to introduce her to Hare Krishna mantra. And that very moment my phone rang to my greatest shock it was that lady Rajkamal or Rosy who was the security officer on duty, she just called to understand what Gauranga meant ?....Now Krishna was giving me a chance, responding to every prayer and now I had to tell her who was Gauranga – so there I am at the airport talking to security personnel explaining Gauranga means Golden faced beautiful Lord. Krishna is blue, Radha rani is golden but when he remembers her he becomes golden and then we call him Gauranga…I told her when you chant Gauranga you are remembering Radha and Krishna. But she was just insistent – she didn’t want to stop here – she asked me is there something more to the mantra – is there an OM around it. I told her well if you want the full mantra – then its Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna hare hare , hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare. So she said ok I know Hare Krishna. Then the discussion dynamics fully changed, she shared with me her tough life and how she cries everyday in front of her altar at home. She expressed her gratitude at having met someone who reminded her of God, she doesn’t talk to everyone like this…she was just pouring her heart out. I told her to try and chant and come to temple. I hope she does. I offered to get her a japa bag and she said she wanted a red or yellow one.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Going the distance in your Krsna Consciousness

By some rare fortune, we've come across this great wealth of Krsna Consciousness, but what will the future be like, say 5 years, 10 years...30 years down the line? We plan for our material education, career progression, family lives and more...What is our plan for spiritual success? Can one really engineer a lifetime in Krsna Consciousness? Krishna Consciousness is a movement - we're either moving forward or backward. Bhakti is NOT static - it's Ecstatic!
Find out about the 'secrets of success' and 'danger signs to avoid' in Krsna Consciousness, in a very interactive seminar:
"Going the distance in your Krsna Consciousness - Dreams, Visions and Goals"
by H.G. Vaisesika Das
on Friday, March 12th, 6:30pm
at ISKCON Toronto
Suggested Registration: $15

Monday, March 8, 2010

Baby's first steps...

Hare Krishna!

Yesterday, Saturday November 27, 2009, Gita Jayanti, was the first day I went out to distribute books. Sure, I had been out on Sankirtan before, lively and rousing Harinams led by various exalted devotees such as HH Bhaktimarga Swami Maharaja, manned the book table at a few events, and even the last MSF in October, where we enthusiastically sang out the Holy Name to all who passed by Kensington market, chanted from the heart, with abandon and not a care.

The Sankirtan trip started later than planned, due to a small emergency, we were roped in to perform some other service in the temple kitchen by the ever-enterprising, ever-ready-to-serve Shyama Mohini Mataji, and supervised by the kind-yet-firm, tremendous-attention-to-detail Vrindavan Prabhu. But I'm sure, for reasons we cannot hope to understand just yet, that this was part of an incredibly intricate master plan.

Baby's day out...

But yesterday was a first. With a bag full of Prasadam pouches, Mantra cards, and a few books, I set out, with Arusha & Tara, nervous and really scared. My hands were cold, and not just due to the chilly weather here in Toronto, my stomach was doing somersaults, and surely I hadn't had much to eat, it being Ekadashi and all. Nervously stepping out onto the South side of Queen Street West between Peter & Spadina, I stood in front of a clothing store, positioned with a copy of Bhagavad Gita As It Is in my hands, flashing nervous smiles to passersby. At the temple, I had been praying to Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, to Sri Sri Radha Ksira Cora Gopinatha, to Lord Jagannatha, to somehow or other include me in the Sankirtan movement started by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I begged and pleaded for strength and humility, and patience.

Nervous tension, and nothing happens...

Just before that I had dropped the Matajis off and found a parking spot, paid for parking, pulled out my bag, put on my wool cap, and headed out. We nervously gathered in front of a store that sold all kinds of aromatic scented soaps and cosmetics, the Matajis were quite disappointed to hear I'd never actually done this before, they were both hoping to be out with someone with more experience. All I could do was say we had slightly over 90 minutes, all we had to do was try our best, then head back to the temple. Then I crossed the street and started out.
At first, nothing happened, well, a lot happened, but it amounted to a whole lot of nothing. People ignored me sometimes, some went out of their way to walk out of earshot, others pretended to be engrossed in their music with iPods and MP3 players, yet others suddenly got into animated conversation with their walking companions, even though they had been quiet just ten meters before coming to where I stood. Then something began happening, a shrug, a nod, even a puzzled smile, a sarcastic eye-rolling expression, a friendly and cheery "good afternoon", "how are you, fine, and you"... thinking some interaction better than nothing, I started to feel encouraged. Though, so far not one soul had stopped and looked at the book I was holding out.

Training to the rescue...

So then I recalled the training imparted that morning by a fired-up Ateet Prabhu, and very timidly began to say something like "May I show you this cool book?", "Would you like to see this book on Yoga?", "May I show you something really amazing?", the ignoring continued, some people almost were offended to be accosted in this way by a strange stranger with an orange book in hand. I almost had one young man, but he pleaded that he only had 20 minutes on his break, no time to chat. I wondered what else he could do that could possibly be more important, maybe he was just hungry, though didn't I have Prasadam in my bag? I asked another young man for 2 minutes, he said “sorry”, I said one minute, he said "nope", "30 seconds" I called out as he was 20 steps past where I stood, he laughed heartily and carried on. Well, that wasn't too bad, at least I was giving people some laughs. Then I prayed to Krishna to give me more patience and courage, as I continued getting strange looks, especially from many passersby who wore female bodies and looked at me with suspicion.

My first “customer”...

A young student stopped by, his friend gave me a leery smile and disappeared from sight (reappeared briefly later), quite disapproving of his friend stopping by for a conversation. Bright inquisitive eyes, and he was familiar with Gandhi, he read the back of the book, what Gandhi had to say about the Gita. He had a beautiful name 'Hezron', named after a forefather of Jesus Christ, and he went along exactly like the "ripe fruit" was supposed to, according to Ateet Prabhu's training, until it came time to part with some donation so he could take the book home. He had no money, not even a toonie for the small book. I asked him if he knew about meditation. He said yes, they do it at school, I asked him what they do, and he described a Buddhist-like ritual with silence and a bowl/spoon... I said, see, it is hard to get our minds to shut up, and that is why mantra meditation was so much easier. I handed him a Mantra card, he nicely chanted the Hare Krishna Mahamantra with me, took some Prasadam, he said he might come back, I told him I'd be there for about an hour. He sauntered off. Then I mentally kicked myself in the head when I realized what Ateet Prabhu had said about the sincere souls who may not have any Lakshmi on them, to just give them the book. I thought, here I am, a businessman, I'm supposed to have good “closing skills”, speaking of deals and transactions, yet the process of Krishna Consciousness is teaching me more about business than any business magazine, consultant, or training session ever has.

Experts galore...

"Would you like to see this book about Yoga", I called out to a passing couple of ladies. "Its alright" one of them said, "I'm a Yoga teacher, I know all about it". "You'd really appreciate this book then!" I called out, but she had no time for me. I continued, sometimes feeling out of sorts, sometimes impatient, mostly always afraid of what someone might say, maybe a policeman or shop owner would shoo me off...

Krishna sends someone along...

Finally, one couple, who looked as if they were from India, who had earlier stepped into the clothing store walked out. "Hello, How are you? Are you from India? Which part of India", the questions tumbled out. They stopped, "Yes, from Bombay". Krishna had answered my prayers. Here were two people starving to speak to someone in Marathi. So I spoke to them in Marathi, one of the languages Krishna taught me as I was growing up. They were hard up for cash, but took a Bhagavad Gita and Higher Taste, after much deliberation and careful thought. The few dollars they gave were clearly a luxury for them. I kept the pressure up, invited them to the temple, gave them Prasadam, they even filled out a contact form. What were the chances of a Marathi-speaking couple from Mississauga passing by Queen Street West meeting a Marathi-speaking book distributor in downtown Toronto? They didn't even have a car; they'd taken the GO bus downtown and were visiting a friend. Krishna sent them just to encourage me; clearly I had nothing to do with anything that happened. He brought them, He gave them the books, and He gave them Prasadam, He gave me lots of encouragement in this way. They promised to come by later that evening for the Gita Jayanti celebrations at the temple, but looks like they couldn't make it that evening.

I ran across the street to my fellow-compatriots, who were by now very focused on handing out the Prasadam, also they were quite cold in the chilly air on the pavement. They were very excited to observe from a distance the interactions I seemed to be having and offered a tremendous amount of Vaishnava encouragement. Because I had just given out my display copy of Bhagavad Gita As It Is, and the others were far away in the car, I took the one they had, and went back to my spot.

Timeless Message, Engaging Images...

A group of siblings passed by, a young man, a young lady, a young boy, maybe about 8 or 9, and a little girl, about 4 or 5. From Grenada originally, except for the little girl who declared she was "Canadian". They listened intently, though they hadn't heard of Thoreau, Emerson, even Gandhi failed me. So I moved on to the pictures. As I explained how we are the same person even though the bodies changed constantly externally, and asked them to point out where they were on the changing bodies picture, the young man clearly pointed to the young man in the picture, the young boy pointed to the boy in the picture, the little one jumped enthusiastically and said "there I am" and pointed to the little boy in the picture. I turned to the picture of the senses, the little one jumped up and down "Horsieeee" she went. The picture on the opposite page was about how the wise one sees the soul within every living entity, regardless of the external covering; now the little one was really excited "Whee! Elephant!" she went. Then I realized how really powerful those images were! Prabhupada had conveyed his transcendental vision to the artists, and the artists had faithfully executed his instructions! This little girl will some day again see the same images and maybe she will be as receptive then? Just then the streetcar they were waiting for arrived, I had just enough time to shove as many little packets of Prasadam as possible into their hands before they had to run to catch their streetcar.

Warmed up and grateful...

By now I was all warmed up, had almost overcome my fears, didn't mind being ignored or looked at strangely, and was just raring to meet the next person who was interested in the transcendental timeless message of Sri Krishna, as brought to the modern world by His dear devotee A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I reflected how over 12 years ago a young bright-faced Brahmachari had literally chased after me as a strode along on the first day of my first job feeling like the most important person in the world, and gave me my copy of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is even though I was so incredibly rude to him, and walked off haughtily without any donation, how this young and anonymous devotee was really one of my best well wishers, even though our interaction lasted less than a minute, but that's another story. Here I am, 12 years on, trying to pass on his kindness to others. Paying it forward at its best.

Another man stopped by, hands full with shopping bags, coffee, and a snack from a fast-food store. We had a quick chat about how the literature was not Hindu, he mentioned Buddhism, said he will check it out on the Internet and then ran off. All I could do was put some packets of Prasadam into his shopping bag, which contained bananas. He wanted to know if it was vegan, I wholeheartedly said yes, even though at the time I didn't know for sure if the cookies were vegan.

People are open...

Finally Michael stopped by. We got chatting about how he'd moved to Ajax recently, and how he was into Tai Chi. He had heard of Gandhi, and was intrigued enough to look at the pictures. He mentioned that this was a Hindu literature. Thanks to the excellent training, I asked him if he thought Thoreau or Emerson were Hindus, or the Professors at the various universities were Hindus. He agreed that this was "Kind of like Buddhism", I didn't argue. As I pointed to a younger version of Michael, he said he was actually much older but his lifestyle made him look younger. So we read a verse from the Bhagavad Gita, I gave him a Mantra card, he chanted Hare Krishna, asked me how much I was selling the book for, I told him all about our costs, and how our intent was not to make a profit. He insisted he wanted to pay me more than cost, gave me a modest donation, and said he'd come to one of the Sunday feasts soon, if he couldn't make it that evening.

Krishna's All-encompassing Mercy...

Feeling gladdened by the mercy Krishna had just showered upon me, but realizing that we were out of time, and all of us were cold, we decided to head back to the car. On my way back, I reflected, what could I have possibly done to “earn” this amazing experience? Is there anything anyone can ever do do be able to deserve this privilege? Nope. Nada. So that's what I understand by the word “causeless” as in “causeless mercy”.

My Sankirtan companions Arusha and Tara have their own amazing success stories when speaking to people... some people knew Prabhupada by face, others had been to our Sunday feast, one claimed her friend had a copy of Bhagavad Gita As It Is, and that she was going to borrow it. Another girl was happy to get vegetarian treats, said she and most of her coworkers at the cosmetics shops were vegetarian...

So now, I have some training, and I have some experience, and have a target audience, people who are somehow offbeat, different from the others, maybe they walk differently, or dress differently, maybe they have some time on hand unlike others, most people are in a hurry always, or maybe they have a different skin color, or speak a different language. A colleague once told me I was an "odd duck", well, if some other "odd ducks" get along with me enough to get chatting about Krishna's message, then that's who Krishna wants me to speak to! Bottom-line? I'd do it again in a heartbeat. We have nothing to lose, except our own fears. And we have everything to gain, EVERYTHING.

Who's coming to our next outing? It’s going to be the mostestest fun you've ever ever had. Don't take my word for it, come out and see for yourself.

Milind Joshi, neophyte in Krishna Consciousness at ISKCON Toronto
(Originally written 28th November 2009 )

Krishna book – The heart of India

I met this lady and she was just passing by but somehow stopped when she heard about the monk. We got talking and I showed her the Bhagavad-Gita and she just turned her head around saying it was too much. Remembering Vaisesika prabhu, I thought lets show her the 'Perfection of Yoga' and she took it and gave me some laxmi for it. I thought I should keep trying. So I asked her more questions and found out that she had recently gone to India and spent 6 months studying Buddhism. So we talked a bit about Monks and Buddhism, while I was contemplating my next steps. Then I thought of trying an old tip by Vaisesika prabhu, and I said– hey you know what You want! - a book about India – here take the Krishna book. And she just took it. I showed her pictures, told her these were very easy narrations to read and had beautiful pictures (that she liked) and told her that it would give her the heart of India. I showed her the addresses of bhakti yoga centers at the back of Krishna book and she liked that for her future travels to India. She left with the Krishna book and happily gave her email to stay in touch.
- Mangal Aarti Devi Dasi

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Inspiration from the Street!

During the 9th Monthly Sankirtan Festival, several devotees who had never been out on the street before went out for sankirtan. Everyone was inspired to the core, beaming with enthusiasm and more than eager for next time.

Below are some realization/reflections from H.G. Rupanuga Das from his first sankirtan ride:-

It was with a lot of trepidation that I arrived at Dundas square, never having gone outside before, to distribute books. I had been inspired by all the wonderful descriptions of Milind prabhu's experiences and the enthusiasm of all the samkirtan devotees led by Ateet and shyama Mohini prabhus. As soon as I arrived, I saw a group of devotees chanting ecstatically. This brought me immediately into my comfort zone of following a leader and I stayed there more than a half hour with the chanting group, almost not wanting to leave to distribute books.

However, I felt guilty. So I took a few books in my hand and walked half a block away. Most people on Yonge Street looked exactly like what Milind prabhu had described in his emails - harried and in a hurry, not wanting to look into my eyes, finding it hard to smile, chatting away on their cell phone, talking to their companion or just looking straight ahead as if no
one else existed on the street. It took me about 10 minutes before I tried to say hello to anyone. The first person who completely ignored me. I blamed it on my "soft voice" and tried another person who nodded at me without changing his facial expression of being mad at this world. Some more people responded with an audible hello without looking at me. This was
discouraging, so I decided to move right to one of the exit doors of Eaton Centre and started trying to make conversation with every one who came out. Somehow it never went beyond saying hello and them ignoring my question regarding their interest in Yoga or meditation. One person completely ignored what I was saying and just kept asking if I knew where the closest
Tim Horton's was. He was not interested in me walking with him so we could both "find it".

So, I moved another block south. But by now I had enough courage to say hello to any one who walked by and ask them if they were interested in Yoga. Well then the fun began. First a man came by and shouted "You guys will do any thing for money". He was not interested in my response and kept repeating his "mantra" and kept walking. A few minutes later a lady responded to my question by saying " I love Jesus". I responded "so do I" and asked if we can talk about it. But she was not interested in talking. Yet another lady announced she was Christian and walked away in a huff. Well after receiving a few more dirty looks and crude remarks, I felt I was ready for some training. So I came back to where some devotees were trying to distribute books. I decided to observe and learn from the veterans. Jai Keshava prabhu seemed most animated. So I asked him for help. His advice was simple: " Just start talking to them and start walking with them". So, now fully trained, I decided to go independent.
First family I started "walking with" was visiting from Paris and did not speak English beyond "Thank You". So I volunteered to take a picture of the whole family using their camera which allowed them to use their entire English vocabulary on me.

A few more attempts and finally one lady responded by saying "Yes, I am very interested in Yoga". At this time it was so unexpected that I almost said great and walked away, before realizing I may have a real taker. So I stopped and talked about bhakti Yoga and the temple etc. and tried to interest her in Gita as well. But she wanted to go slow, so just took the Yoga book and gave a donation of 50% more than the list price of the book. I must admit that I did not handle it right because I started talking too much and too fast. But she was patient and smiled before walking away promising to one day visit the temple.

I carried on for a while longer, but was unable to distribute any more books before leaving.

However, the whole experience was exhilarating. It felt so good just to be there and have people hear the name of Krsna. It was simultaneously scary, humbling, joyful, exciting and amazing. I would do it again.
Thank you Ateet and Shyama Mohini prabhus for engaging me in the service of
Srila Prabhupad

Hare Krsna

Your servant and recently humbled

Rupanuga Das

Friday, March 5, 2010

ISKCON News Talks about MSF!

ISKCON News, the news agency of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness recently did a feature article on the Toronto Sankirtan Team. You can read more about it here:


“Our vision,” he concludes, “Is to grow to the point that despite the coming or going of Sankirtana devotees and leaders, the culture continues.”

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Welcome to Toronto Sankirtan Adventures - The Blog of the Toronto Sankirtan Team!

Created in May 2009, under the inspiration of Vaisesika Prabhu, the Toronto Sankirtan Team organizes regular Monthly Sankirtan Festivals to encourage devotees to go out as a group to share the precious gems from the spiritual world - the books written by Srila Prabhupada!

In addition to regular MSFs, different members of the Sankirtan Team hit the streets by themselves during the week, this blog will also enable them to share their realizations along their Sankirtan Journey!

And finally, we hope to keep posting upcoming events, newsletters, new sankirtan initiatives and inspirational quotes on Book Distribution through this blog!

All  glories to Sri Krsna Sankirtanam  - Parama Vijayate Sri Krsna Sankirtanam