Once we were distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books in the coal mines when we met an officer who was a guide to students working for their Ph.D. in Hindi literature. He had guided six students for Ph.D. He regularly writes for a religious journal and also edits books. When we showed him Srila Prabhupada’s books he asked, “I have read eight commentaries on Bhagavad-gita. What new thing do you have?”
We still pressed him to at least see the books. “OK,” he said. “I will just read the commentary of the first verse.” After reading for just a few moments he turned to us, “This Bhagavad-gita is really great. It is marvelous. Give me the entire set,” he said.
Books that No one wants
Avatara Lila Dasa, a devotee in Mumbai, recalls an interesting event that took place recently:
I was distributing books in the local train, when a man who initially seemed disinterested, suddenly called me.
“See son, I am a housing financer,” he said. “Can I talk to you for a moment?”
“You seem to be well-educated, isn’t it?”
“Yes, sir you are right,” Avatara Lila replied. “I am a post graduate engineer.”
“Oh, wonderful,” the man was surprised. “But how come you are selling these books which no one wants to buy?”
Avatara Lila smiled. “You are right sir, again. Actually we need to know the purpose of life. The goal of life is to know the Supreme Lord and engage in His loving devotional service. These books teach the science of loving God and are hence, very important. Therefore I am distributing them.”
“Coming to your point that very few persons are interested in these books, it is also true. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita(7.3),
kascid yatati siddhaye
Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.”
“And sir, you seem to be very interested. I think you are the chosen one. Please take these books.”
The man was charmed by the convincing arguments and took two books. (Murari Gupta Dasa)
A devotee in New Zealand has just received his masters degree in accounting, based on his thesis “Spiritual Accounting” (accounting at the masters and Ph.D. levels means not number crunching, but dealing with the precepts underlying the entire accounting system). The new wave of accounting attacks the old school of accounting concerning itself with only fiscal profit/loss. The new school says accounting should include ecological, physical health, and inner happiness evaluations not just the bucks.
This devotee presented his thesis at an international scholars’ conference and had to defend his openly Vaisnava-based presentation against a top gun in the new school, an Indian Mayavadi, who insisted that Krishna is fictitious and thus the only solution to the global problems is to realize “everything is connected to everything else” as pure undifferentiated oneness.
Our devotee “contained her” in an appropriate scholarly way and then walked off the podium and went on a “victory tour” among the professors there, distributing Prabhupada’s Gita to three of them asking and getting on-the-spot donations from each professor. (I’m amazed at his nerve to be so bold in such an arena.) His final sale was to the Indian Mayavadi scholar herself he told her: “Take a look at a real Gita.” She meekly replied, “How much?”
Amidst international scholarly accolades and urges that he continue the same research, as a Ph.D., he has opted, at least for a while, to follow his own dream: a brahmachari on sankirtana. (Devamrta Swami)