Goal for 2013 - 50,000 + books!

Last Update: Jan 31, 2013

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A book in the bag

I met a young boy in University of Toronto last week and I showed him the chant and be happy. He responded saying he already had a book from me and was reading it. To my surprise he said he carried it everywhere and opened his bag to show me his copy. sankirtan yagya ke jaya!

Temple and book distribution

For preaching, construction of temples is also necessary. The Gosvāmīs not only engaged in writing books but also constructed temples because both are needed for preaching work. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted the cult of His sańkīrtana movement to spread all over the world. Now that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has taken up this task of preaching the cult of Lord Caitanya, its members should not only construct temples in every town and village of the globe but also distribute the books that have already been written and further increase the number of books. Both distribution of books and construction of temples must continue side by side in parallel lines.

Cc Adi 7.165

Temple and book distribution

For preaching, construction of temples is also necessary. The Gosvāmīs not only engaged in writing books but also constructed temples because both are needed for preaching work. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted the cult of His sańkīrtana movement to spread all over the world. Now that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has taken up this task of preaching the cult of Lord Caitanya, its members should not only construct temples in every town and village of the globe but also distribute the books that have already been written and further increase the number of books. Both distribution of books and construction of temples must continue side by side in parallel lines.

Cc Adi 7.165

Monday, November 28, 2011

Compassionate outreach

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the mercy incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is addressed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī as mahā-vadānyāvatāra, or the most magnanimous incarnation. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī also says, karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau: it is only by His mercy that He has descended in this Age of Kali. Here this is exemplified. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not like to see Māyāvādī sannyāsīs because He thought of them as offenders to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, but here He excuses them (tāń-sabāra kṣami' aparādha). This is an example in preaching. Āpani ācari' bhakti śikhāimu sabāre. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches us that those whom preachers meet are almost all offenders who are opposed to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but it is a preacher's duty to convince them of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and then induce them to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Our propagation of the sańkīrtana movement is continuing, despite many opponents, and people are taking up this chanting process even in remote parts of the world like Africa. By inducing the offenders to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu exemplified the success of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We should follow very respectfully in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya, and there is no doubt that we shall be successful in our attempts.

CC Adi 150

Saturday, November 26, 2011

30 years later

I was in Kensington market trying to reach out to people and I saw a man with two very little 7 year old (approximately) girls. I spoke to him and showed him the perfection of yoga and a picture of Srila Prabhupada and he really appreciated it. I requested a donation and he readily parted with some change. Then to know him better I tried to speak with his daughters and told him - I was their age when I got my first book. To my greatest surprise he replied "I was their age when I got that book (pointing to the chant and be happy in my hands". I was extremely surprised and asked him details of how he got. He had it and had read it and today 30 years later he was picking is second Srila Prabhupada book. Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam

Every minute can make a difference

I had a flight to catch to Harrisburg next morning and had not even started to pack my bag - but its marathon time so I had to try at least for a few minutes. I practically ran from my home and while i was running towards the closest major intersection I stopped to talk to a girl who had just stepped outside a sushi restaurant. I asked her if she had heard of yoga and she responded immediately saying " I have spoken with you before". I was not sure how this would turn out now but I asked her to remind me of our last meeting. She described how we met outside Starbucks and she got a book from me. I asked her if she had read the book and she explained that she had loved the perfection of yoga and wanted to come visit us, but she had lost our card. So I handed her a Chant and be happy and requested her to come visit us. She gave me some more donation and took the book promising to read it. We were discussing the rare chance of us running in like this and I knew for sure that this was no random event.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shopping on the street

Submitted by : Mahabhagvat Das
A lady hurried by, something about what she said in response to my call "Yoga and Meditation?" made me follow her a few steps. She stopped and asked me what was yoga and why people say different things about yoga. I started explaining, and showed her the books. She kept looking through one, then another one, then another then back to the first one, then another, flipping pages, trying to absorb something from them, frantically switching from one book to the next to the next.

During the conversation, She told me her name, Gladys, that she was from Nigeria, that she had seen and heard this "Hare Krishna" many times. Eventually it got so cold that I offered to step into the mall, she agreed. She looked through the Bhagavad Gita again and again, and kept flip-flopping whether to take it or not. She expressed concern, what if she doesn't get anything out of it. I said what did she have to lose then anyway, as at the moment it didn't seem that she had anything any way, no loss. She expressed she didn't have much money. I handed her the softcover and said she could give me whatever she had. She expressed concern that she was not able to understand anything of what she read. I said that's because she kept flipping back-and-forth... that if she sat down and read carefully, few pages every day, she would understand, because the book was written for people like us who had trouble understanding complex things

Somehow or the other she counted out little coins, holding on to one particular toonie, which looked shiny, identifying it as her "new coin" which she did not want to spend. Then she took the Bhagavad Gita softcover, and said that if she didn't understand it, she would bring it back. I said I'd give her something even simpler to read in that case, and that simply keeping the book in her home would bring her good luck, but reading would help her more.

She resisted chanting the Mahamantra for some reason, but kept the invite to the Sunday feast.

I wondered how it was that someone would be very much attached to a shiny coin that had the same value as a dull-looking coin, but had so much trouble beating down the mind which kept posing objections, that kept urging her to shop and shop, even in spiritual books. Then I wondered how long I had been in that very same situation before somehow being fortunate enough to accept some little bit of devotional service, and I felt great compassion for this poor soul.

One beggar to another

Submitted by : Mahabhagvat Das

One scruffy young man stood about 10 feet from me, begging. A passerby gave him a cigarette. As I approached him, he lit the cigarette and began to inhale deeply that poison. I had asked him if he was interested in yoga and meditation, and he said without hesitation "yeah man, sure, I am interested". Having stood for a long time and heard different forms of negatives, I was pleasantly surprised. So I asked him if he'd practiced yoga, and he said no. I showed him the Bhagavad Gita which he appreciated. As I showed him the pictures, he said I was preaching to the choir. I asked him where he'd heard all this - he told me his friend had told him this when he was high on acid once. He said he didn't have any money, and I believed him. So I asked him if he had even some change, as little as one cent, for a smaller book that costs us less to print. He pulled out all the little coins, likely he'd begged them by standing on the street. It wasn't a lot, but he picked up Bhakti Yoga, the Art of Eternal Love, saying his girlfriend was really into this, that she would love that book. He chanted with me the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, told me he was a musician. Before he left, I gave him Chant and Be Happy, thinking he would really be attracted by George Harrison. I also gave him an invite to the Sunday feast, and he said he'd come with his girlfriend.

He took the book, shook hands, and left. In another 2 minutes, I saw him about 50 metres up the street, showing the book(s) to someone else. The people looked at the books but didn't take them. He moved on.

I don't know if the man will read the books, or will distribute them in exchange for some worthless pieces of sense gratification, but regardless, he has participated in the Sankirtan movement of Lord Chaitanya in his own way, now my prayer is that Lord Chaitanya should please pick up this scruffy young man from the stress and confusion of trying to get high by artificial means, and become a devotee of the Holy Names of God, and stay High up for ever.

Anger management

Submitted by Mahabhagvat Das

I met this young boy who was rushing by but something (or Someone) made him stop and said "yeah man, yeah, actually, what am I doing, just walking around, yeah, I will hear what you have to say". I spoke a few sentences about the Bhagavad Gita, the people who read it and benefited from it, yoga, meditation, and I asked him for his name. He replied with his name - Sebastian. I then asked him what he did. He began to tell me how he was in a special school working off issues with anger. I told him I had issues with anger also, and it got me into a lot of trouble. He said he was getting out of those troubles now. He then spoke about how everyone should have an open mind, about how everyone should be free to speak, and there should be more patience and tolerance in this world. I gave him a mantra card and asked him to chant. Half-way through the mantra, he stopped and asked me if I was tricking him into glorifying Krishna. I said I will tell him what the mantra meant as soon as we finished chanting once without interruption, and we chanted together. Then I told him that the mantra would help him totally conquer anger, that it helped me a lot. he compared it to counting to 10, and said, that doesn't really work, but this was more majestic. I said it was magical, it always calmed one down, and I said I'd been practicing for many years and had personal experience of its power. I told him that reading the book will also help him conquer anger also, on a deeper level too. He said he'd surely read it. He gave me a donation, practically all he had at the time, wished he had more to give. I invited him to the sunday feast, asked him to come with friends and have a great experience with food, drumming, chanting, music and singing... he shook hands and departed.

I just reflected upon this bright spark, part-and-parcel of Krishna, and wondered if it was being out of touch with Krishna that was making him so angry, and what made him stop and chat with me, take the book, chant the Mahamantra. I pray he reads, I pray he chants. I pray he pursues devotional service wholeheartedly.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hare Krishna chanting

"'You are a fool,' he said. 'You are not qualified to study Vedānta philosophy, and therefore You must always chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. This is the essence of all mantras, or Vedic hymns.

Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja comments in this connection, "One can become perfectly successful in the mission of his life if he acts exactly according to the words he hears from the mouth of his spiritual master." This acceptance of the words of the spiritual master is called śrauta-vākya, which indicates that the disciple must carry out the spiritual master's instructions without deviation. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that a disciple must accept the words of his spiritual master as his life and soul. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu here confirms this by saying that since His spiritual master ordered Him only to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, He always chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra according to this direction ('kṛṣṇa-mantra' japa sadā, — ei mantra-sāra).

Adi 7.72

Monday, November 14, 2011

All auspicious sankirtan

Srila Rüpa Gosvami has given a definition of auspiciousness. He says that actual auspiciousness means welfare activities for all the people of the world. At the present moment groups of people are engaged in welfare activities in terms of society, community or nation. There is even an attempt in the form of the United Nations for world-help activity. But due to the shortcomings of limited national activities, such a general mass welfare program for the whole world is not practically possible. The Krishna consciousness movement, however, is so nice that it can render the highest benefit to the entire human race. Everyone can be attracted by this movement, and everyone can feel the result. Therefore, Rupa Gosvämi and other learned scholars agree that a broad propaganda program for the Krishna consciousness movement of devotional service all over the world is the highest humanitarian welfare activity.
How the Krishna consciousness movement can attract the attention of the whole world and how each and every man can feel pleasure in this Krishna consciousness is stated in the Padma Purana as follows: "A person who is engaged in devotional service in full Krishna consciousness is to be understood to be doing the best service to the whole world and to be pleasing everyone in the world. In addition to human society, he is pleasing even the trees and animals, because they also become attracted by such a movement." A practical example of this was shown by Lord Caitanya when He was traveling through the forests of Jharikhanda in central India for spreading His saìkértana movement. The tigers, the elephants, the deer and all the other wild animals joined Him and were participating, in their own ways, by dancing and chanting Hare Krishna.

Sravanam - bonafide hearing

As from wood, fire can be manifested, or as butter can be churned out of milk, so also the presence of the Lord as Paramātmā can be felt by the process of legitimate hearing and chanting of the transcendental subjects which are especially treated in the Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads and Vedānta. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the bona fide explanation of these Vedic literatures. The Lord can be realized through the aural reception of the transcendental message, and that is the only way to experience the transcendental subject. As fire is kindled from wood by another fire, the divine consciousness of man can similarly be kindled by another divine grace. His Divine Grace the spiritual master can kindle the spiritual fire from the woodlike living entity by imparting proper spiritual messages injected through the receptive ear. Therefore one is required to approach the proper spiritual master with receptive ears only, and thus divine existence is gradually realized. The difference between animality and humanity lies in this process only. A human being can hear properly, whereas an animal cannot.

SB 1.2.32

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keeping up with an image

I met a very young exchange student and initially was staying aloof not admitting any interest in the books. I asked him if he was the 'cool guy' not wanting to be seen with this stuff. He immediately backed off and said he was a simple guy not a cool guy and as we talked a little more - his expressions changed a little. I could see he was struggling with something so I inquired politely what the matter was. A few minutes later he told me he was struggling to keep up with the expectations people and friends have of him - the burden of keeping up with an image. It seemed to me like his eyes were teary so I handed him a Bhakti Yoga and showed a picture of Prabhupada encouraging him to read it. I explained that the body changes so no point trying to keep up, he should raise his consciousness. He then explained he was an exchange student and would leave in a few months. He took the book and I showed him the temple address for Mexico City in his home country. Praying he reads it.

Lord Krishna or Lord Rama

I met a girl at University of Toronto and when I was showing her a book; she reminded me that she had already taken a Bhagavad Gita from me before. I was happy to hear that and inquired if she had read it. She explained that her elder sister had taken the book from her and was reading it as she herself wasn’t as religious. I told her I wasn’t religious either but it was a matter of genuine experience and handed her a Science of self realisation. I explained to her the topics in there and she agreed to take it. I asked her more about her life. She revealed she was more into Lord Ram and wanted the Ramayana. She said Krishna was her sister’s interest but she wanted to know about Ram. Just that morning I was reading in Chaitanya Caritamrita
“yei yei rüpe jäne, sei taha kahe
sakala sambhave krishna, kichu mithyä nahe
In whatever form one knows the Lord, one speaks of Him in that way. In this there is no falsity, since everything is possible in Krishna. Adi 5.132”

Remembering what I read and knowing that I did not have a Ramayana, I handed her a Krihsna book. I tried to explain to her that this was the last day of Kartik (she really did not know what it was) and that she should read it. So somehow she agreed to take it and we exchanged numbers so I could get her a Ramayana later. Later that day she texted me asking for Ramayana and another copy of the Bhagavad Gita. We now plan to meet on Thursday and I wonder Lord Caitanya has in store for this young girl.

Mysteries of the space - a sankirtan learning

A few days ago I met a student at University of Toronto who at first maintained his distance saying he was not really into yoga and related stuff. I asked him where his interests lay and said he was into Ice hockey. I knew nothing about Ice hockey so I showed him a Beyond birth and death trying to explain how rare the book is. He listened as I told him that the body changes, mind changes but something about us remains the same and yoga is not only the process of keeping a healthy body but realising we are more than the body. He agreed to take the book so I wanted to know him better and asked him about what he was studying at University. He started to explain that he was a PhD student of Astrophysics and instantly I thought Vedic Planetarium project in Mayapur and how it would be nice to have him serve. He started to explain about Supernova explosions he was researching and I asked if he had heard about Vedic Cosmology. I tried to describe briefly what Prabhupada explains in Bhagvatam and he described it as classical Astrophysics. I then asked him if he could explain why 99% of matter astrophysicists study is dark matter. He corrected me and said that actually “75% of the matter was dark matter while 25% was observable matter. This dark matter is expanding very rapidly and some force is propelling it out but that is a great mystery no one knows about.” I told him how Krishna explains material world is ekamsha and that there is so much more that cannot be observed by material body. I asked him to keep in touch and come sometime to see Srimad Bhagvatam. Speaking to him I was realising if we just studied Bhagvatam properly it gives us thorough information about everything without having to go through the grills of modern education.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An interfaith discussion

Submitted by : Yogendra das

I was distributing books at Dundas Square a few days ago, when I stopped one young man on vacation from Germany. I showed him a copy of Beyond Birth and Death, and said a little something to garner his interest. I wasn't sure if what I was saying would keep him for very long. In the middle my speaking, an elderly man distributing free copies of the Quran walked over from the corner and tried to hand him some books on Islam. Here is how we sometimes receive an opportunity to analyse our crisis management skills:

The Islamic representative encouraged the German to take his books, saying "You should research all religions." Rather than getting angry at his unscheduled behaviour, a second option presented itself: try and sympathize with where this older man is coming from; having a desire to share spiritual and cultural values for the benefit of others is purifying for any heart. Then came the reply from the German side, "No thanks, I am fine with this one [referring to Prabhupada's book]." Rather than becoming proud of having won the bout of the books, a second option presented itself: quickly try and use whatever compassion you have to minimize the rejection that this person could be feeling; I prayed for a swift end to any agitation he might have suffered." When the dejection hit the elderly man, the German boy gave me 10 Euros and walked away. I turned away from the elderly man, silently trying not to acknowledge his defeat. I had a few moments to reflect on how often I have tried to go out on a limb to present Krishna consciousness to someone and have received a big lump on the head in return.

At that time Joseph walked right up to me. He introduced himself as someone who has visited our temple on 243 Avenue Rd in Toronto. He was eager to purchase a few books. I was curious about how funny the flow of interactions on book distribution can sometimes be. As he was explaining his interest, he let his true intention slip out. He had come as an ambassador for the Islamic man. Joseph told me that the Islamic man asked him to approach me; according to Joseph, the Islamic man wanted to know what exactly we were all about. Rather than be cold about the situation, a second option presented itself: go over yourself and bring the book to him yourself, and make him your friend. He took a Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, on Joseph's donation. I walked away with some books on Islam. It was a cultural exchange and a successful, real-time interfaith dialogue.