Here is a summary of a class given at the Rishikesh Kirtan Fest 2020, about the importance of distributing books, cultivating relationships, and staying connected with people after the program ends.
This material world is an ocean of misery. The Hare Krishna movement is a boat, headed back home, back to Godhead. We pull people out of the water to dance and chant and feast, but we don’t want to throw them overboard when the festival ends.
When Narada Muni instructed Vyasadeva, he explained how he first came to Krishna Consciousness. As a young boy, he had the good fortune to meet and serve elevated devotees. He was sincere, so they taught him Bhakti Yoga. Later on, he became the greatest spiritual master.
“As they were leaving, those bhakti-vedantas, who are very kind to poor-hearted souls, instructed me in that most confidential subject which is instructed by the Personality of Godhead Himself.” SB 1.5.30
Similarly, we have the opportunity to instruct these souls who are coming to our programs by giving them a book, exchanging contact information, and connecting them to their local center. It takes gallons of blood to make a single devotee – go the extra mile. Make a friend! This is why we are here.
You never know who will become the next acharya. See every soul’s unlimited potential, not where they are at today. Prabhupada said if he made even one pure devotee from all his efforts, he would consider his life a success.
Book distribution is key. They’ll forget what you say over prasadam, but if they have a book they can study it. Reading the Gita is direct association with Srila Prabhupada. Talk to one of our advanced devotees for tips and tricks for distribution. I’ve learned a bunch of things speaking to Shanti Parayan and Tara this week. Indradyumna Swami spent years distributing books and speaks fondly of those memories.
You can give away a small book, but explain to them it’s for their own benefit to give a donation. That penance qualifies them to read spiritual knowledge and connects them to the line of great teachers.
As Krishna said in the Gita, “For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” BG 18.68-69.
When I asked for reflections, one girl Uma spoke at length, as a guest who has fallen in love with our festival, wants to become a devotee, and is already distributing books to her friends!
I also encouraged everyone to check in with their health and their sadhana. Sadhana is the irreplaceable basis of effective preaching. We’re almost halfway through this marathon event. How’s your japa? Are you reading? Be honest with yourself and always strive to become better.
All good fortune to you. Hare Krishna.
Your enthusiastic servant, Bhakta Eric Santagada