Book Distribution

Published on January 23rd, 2018 | by pandava-vijay-dasa | Full size image


The First Traveling Sankirtan (Book Distribution) Party

The 100 degree fever of Sankirtana in the early 1970s in America can only be described as an epidemic.

At one point, when we were completely out of Books, waiting for Dai Nippon’s shipment of Krsna Books to arrive, the leader on the west coast, the pre-GBC mega-authority was Karandhara.

His office was in the breezeway of the Temple in New Dvaraka. During mangal arti, the rumor spread that there were 100 cases of Krsna Books stashed in Karandhara’s office.

That they were Karandhara’s personal property, that they were earmarked for some lofty and important purpose, that he was the “ultimate power” meant absolutely nothing to us-Buddhimanta and the Gang from New Jagannatha Puri, San Francisco.

We mercilessly, without the least consideration for the exalted position of Karandhara, without the least considereration for the extensive damage, we mercilessly broke down his door, splintered it into tooth picks and took every single book and went on a three day Book Distribution Marathon.

By that time, the shipment of fresh Books arrived and the fever spread further and further.

Buddhimanta, you must keep in mind, was the total personification of Maha “outrageousness.” Everything he did, every word he spoke, every gesture, every thought of his should have been filmed for posterity.

Buddhimanta was very handsome, 6’1″, 180 pounds, with an impish grin and reddish blond hair…like the American movie star, Robert Redford.

Buddhimanta was 100% convinced of only one thing: that Srila Prabhupada was the embodiment of the Absolute Truth-that there was no need to look any further. The ONLY need was to Distribute Prabhupada’s Books.

The first Traveling Sankirtana Party, to my knowledge, left San Francisco Temple, New Jagannatha Puri in the Summer of 1971.

It consisted of about 15 brahmacaris crammed into two vehicles. We were out for about 3 and half weeks and distributed an “astounding number” of Back To Godhead Magazines, 3000.

On the last day, the 25 day of our austerity, the day before returning to New Jagannatha Puri Temple, we ended up in the East Bay just north of Oakland in a tract of split level executive homes-nicely landscaped yards, clean streets, lots of trees.

Arriving just as darkenss fell, about 8PM on a pleasant Saturday evening, we piled out of both cars, sikas trailing, dhotis blowing, shouting “Hari Bol”, we descended upon this peaceful community like a hurricane.

We ran “Hari Boling” from door to door, distributing as many of Srila Prabhupada’s Books as possible and running to the next house.

After an hour, we were on fire. Buddhimanta especially. He ran up to a door and RANG the bell.

There he stood, taking up the entire doorway space, eyes bugging out, sweating profusely, neck beads taught against his throat, and fire engine red-faced.

“HARE KRSNA,” he announced to the bewildered housewife who unwittingly opened the door. His eyes bugged. His neck beads strained.

She took one look at this escaped lunatic from the Nut House in Goloka Vrndavana and fainted dead away on the spot.

It only took about 5 minutes for a thousand police sirens to split the calm air.

The surrounded us. They had us. It looked bad. But they didn’t know exactly what to do with us. We didn’t really do anything wrong.

So they didn’t take us to jail. The DID talk to Buddhimanta for about 30 minutes to make certain that even though he looked and acted spirtually insane, that he was infact, OK, not violent, and harmless.

Stuff like this happened in the days of the Sankirtana Revolution in America.

Long may the Flag of Sankirtana Book Distribution wave.

If you Love Me Distribute My Books -- Srila Prabhupada

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2 Responses to The First Traveling Sankirtan (Book Distribution) Party

  1. Rukmini says:

    My book distribution is extremely horrible! It seems that the set of 240 POF I bought will last me an entire lifetime….I’m so horrible at describing the books that when I said “Since no one wants to die…” ; a middle aged lady corrected me saying that if I say that line no one will buy it. I approached many young people but due to my preaching weakness they said “Not Interested” and left before I could say a word more…I know you are able to convince even the “not interested” youngsters too…I tried to say many things but none of them worked….seems hopeless.

    Please Prabhu, could you tell me what to say to distribute this (POF) book. I will repeat it. I know it’s a matter of realization but I don’t understand what to say so as to get the materialistic people become interested….I don’t know the tactics to distribute-( what to say…what not to say…). Please Prabhu,, could you tell me at least a few lines which I could say…Please don’t scold me, Prabhu..I’m extremely weak.

    All Glories to Srila Prabhupada! Hope some day in my life I’ll be able to make Srila Prabhupada happy……

    • Hare Krishna Rukmini

      You have to keep trying…

      There is a science to it, book distribution. Basically there are a few steps. Fist you have to stop the person from walking. You can not sell a person a book if they have not stopped walking. So the first thing you have to concentrate on when you approach a person to sell a book to him is you have to stop him from walking. Otherwise no matter what you say he will just keep on walking past you. So the way devotees stop the people generally is by asking them a question. The standard question is “Are you from Mumbai or out of town?” And you have to ask them this question like it is so very important and their answer to the question is so very important. You have to be very serious. Then when they answer, it doesn’t matter what they say, you have to be so excited, so happy. Like they have given the correct answer and have won the lottery. You know. It does not matter. But you have to be very excited about their answer so they get the idea they have given the correct answer and that qualifies them for something wonderful.

      So the whole point of this is to stop them walking and if you have done it right and if they stopped [you can not get everyone to stop, if you can get say one out of 5 people to stop you are doing well] then you can go on to the next step.

      And the next step is to get the book in their hands. It is not likely they will buy the book if you do not get it in their hands.

      So you can say something like “Fantastic, today we are showing the people these books.” And hand it to them. And many times they will just take the book from you. You have to practice. There is a way that you can hand the book to a person and automatically they will feel they have to put their hand out and grab it. It is a natural reflex. If you hand something to someone they grab it. So that is what you want. You want them to grab the book. If they refuse to grab the book you can just say “Where’s your hand?” and they will put their hand out and then you just put the book in their hand and they grab it. That is what you want. You want the book in their hands.

      Then while they are holding the book you open it up and show them some of the color plates. And you talk something about them. Not much. Just enough to get them interested. You have to find the things to say that will make them interested in reading the book.

      You know, “The deep secrets of India’s culture in a small book that is very easy to read…” I don’t know. You have to experiment, you have to find what works where you are.

      So once you have stopped them, got the book in their hands and showed them some of the color plates and talked a little bit about the benefits they will get by reading the book then you ask them for a donation.

      So you can say “We are asking the people if they can leave something to help cover the printing cost.”

      Then you have to wait and see what they do. As soon as they start going for the money you can say “The books cost about …. to print.” It gives them some idea how much to give.

      You should watch that video “Distributing the Bhagavad-gita on its merits…”

      So just do these things and I think you will find you will be selling some books at least…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

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