Prabhupada’s Books — People Appreciate Them
I was at a concert distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books and by his causeless mercy, I was doing very well. Towards the end of the show I was walking back to my van from a far corner of the parking lot, with my bag empty. I was feeling quite blissful from being an instrument for His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, and tried not to let it go to my head. All of a sudden I see these big bare-chested jocks that I approached earlier, trying to sell them a book, but to put it nicely, they were not interested. Now they see me and they all swarm around me, and their drunk girlfriends wobble over to see the fun also. I felt like a toothpick in the center of many big boulders. I was nervous, to say the least.
Looking at my empty bag hanging from my shoulder, they said, “Looks like you sold all your books ha?” My bliss merged with fear and all I could do was say, “Yeah” and not focus on the fear that was making me shake a little. But I just remembered that I am simply a servant of Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. One of them said, “So what are you smoking, you got to give me some of that sh*t”, to which I replied, “No, I am high on a transcendental platform, no drugs!” They insisted, “No, you got some crack or something. Look at this guy, you know he is high on something.”
I try to never get into trips like this with people, especially while on Sankirtana, and especially with drunk people that are more than two or three times my size. But since there was no one else left to sell a book to (everyone left already), the lot was empty, and they have me surrounded and want to play. So at this point, I just started preaching to them: “Real highness comes from within, I don’t do drugs because it brings me down from the transcendental platform of pure consciousness and the real high. Real pleasure is within us always, it is just there all the time waiting for us to get in touch with it. All the stuff you do with your body that makes you happy, whether it be lifting weights, smoking, drinking or whatever, all the happiness you get from that is actually at all times there inside of you and it comes from the soul by serving God, it is just a taste of the happiness that you get if you stop trying to only please your body and your senses, and start understanding who you really are beyond your bodily identification.”
Some of them lost interest in me and walked away, but a few of them stayed flexing their muscles and arguing that no, real happiness is sex, etc. I said, “Yes, sex is happiness of the body, but just like the body, it is temporary. You can’t have sex all the time, your genitals will start to hurt, so all your body parts are limited in their ability to give you pleasure — and you want pleasure that will not end and is the best, and that comes from within by serving God.”
One of them asked, “You believe in God? My father is a Baptist minister.” I replied, “Look, there is one God. We all just worship Him in a different way, so there are many religions to accommodate everyone’s desire to worship Him. God is unlimited – He can accept everyone’s love and worship.” Then his drunk girlfriend held out her fingers and wiggled them and said, “It’s like this, many fingers but one body, many religions, one God.” Then they asked if I had a website or something? I said, “Yeah, it’s Krishnapath.org, check it out it’s cool!” And then one of them gave me a high five and I walked away a little relieved and surprised. Getting over my nervousness, I thought that the example she thought of was really good and I will use it in the future.
I was at another show, and of course most people were drinking and partying. I approached a small group of drunk guys. They were kind of interested in the books but more interested in screwing with me. One of them, who was most interested, said, “So what does this say about getting drunk?” I said, “Drinking makes you stupid.” They all busted out laughing, appreciating my sarcastic humor, and the guy who asked me the question said, “Great! This is my religion.” He immediately gave a nice donation and took the books. You never know what will inspire people to take Srila Prabhupada’s books, but one thing is for sure — everyone should have at least one of Srila Prabhupada’s books.
I was at a grocery store yesterday shopping, and the guy parked next to me said his car would not start, and asked me if I had any jumper cables. I said, “No, but if you find any, I can jump you.” He told me that he just got a new battery a few days ago so he didn’t know why it would not start. I took a look at the battery and it turns out his negative (ground) cable was never tightened down properly. I happened to have some tools with me and I tightened it down, then his car started right up. He was very happy and thanked me for my help.
This guy didn’t look like a hipster or anything special, just a regular joe, but I asked him if he likes Eastern philosophy or if he reads. He said, “Yeah I read.” I said, “I happen to have some really cool books on Eastern philosophy and spiritual wisdom.” I handed him a Bhagavad-Gita and showed him how it’s the original Sanskrit text from the Himalayas, simply translated into English. Of course, like everyone else that sees Srila Prabhupada’s books, he was impressed. I told him I would like him to take the book and give me a donation to help keep printing them. He pulled out his wallet and handed me every dollar he had in it, and drove off with his car connected to the electric source and his heart connected to the spiritual source.
Just think, there are so many devotees in the world, if every one of them simply took one or two of Srila Prabhupada’s wonderful books with them and whenever they meet someone, simply offered them a book. There are many thousands of devotees in the world and if each one of them simply tried to give out a few books a week in their daily life (at the grocery store to the guy next to them in line, at the gas station to the person at the next pump over, on the street to someone you see walking by, at the park, the bowling alley, in an elevator, to the guy behind the cash register, or wherever we find ourselves), just think of how rapidly we could change the world and everyone’s heart, one book at a time, and how pleased Srila Prabhupada would be!
Since change starts with the man in the mirror, and it only takes a second to say to someone, “Hi you look like a smart, cool person, do you like to read?” and since everyone likes to meet new, cool people why not give others the fortune of meeting a cool devotee like you?