Mumbai, December 2006
Sridama Dasa was inspiring devotees to distribute Srila Prabhupada's books at Malad railway station, a suburb of Mumbai. His heart-felt announcements made the ever-busy, no-time Mumbaites pause and think about God and Gita. Out of thousands running to catch the next fast train, a few glanced at the book-stall and the devotees standing at strategic locations. Fewer ended up actually taking Srila Prabhupada's books. But by the consistent announcements by Sridama Dasa the sales picked up gradually.
Then a strange event occurred.
Sridama Dasa: A middle aged man came to the stall and looked cursorily at the books. I turned to him and said, "Sir, please take this Bhagavad-gita. It's very nice." He did not reply. I waited and then seeing his indifference, turned back to my announcements while he continued to watch the books
A few men came and I spoke to them. Two of them took the books. This man still stood with folded arms.
"Look sir," I said, "these books are the best investment you will ever make. These give the teachings of Lord Krsna as it is, in modern context. Not only they explain the complex topics but also guide you to practically apply them. Please take them." He smiled and looking at me with a pitiful glance, said, "What is the use of these books to me? These only talk about my lilas – I am god! I have created this entire cosmos; I am maintaining it and I will destroy it. The world runs under my order."
I shook my head. Heights of ignorance! I thought. I left that man alone and continued my announcements. More people came and I preached to them about the mayavada philosophy and how foolishly ordinary humans think that they are god. More and more people took the books but that man stayed there in his illusion of grandeur.
Suddenly my microphone broke down. I tried to mend it but nothing worked.
The man stood in his royal airs when I,surrounded by a crowd of prospective customers, turned to him and said, "Arre Bhai Saheb! (Oh sir!) You claim to be god, the creator of this universe. By your orders the world is running – so please, mend this mic for me. It should be a cake walk for you."
The man prouldly accepted the mic and began to fiddle with its various components. I turned to other customers and preached.
Ten minutes passed.
The man had been twisting and pulling the mic so far and now out of desperation began banging it on his palm. Still, no response.
"Are you done sir?" I asked him. He looked crestfallen. "Sorry," he replied and handed me the mic with a shameful face.
"Please try to understand," I said. "Now you realize the truth – you are not God; you are simply a servant of god. This is our real position. We are parts and parcels of Lord and cannot claim to be equal to Him in any way. So please give up your misconceptions and take these books." The man nodded and then after some further discussion departed with a Krsna book and Bhagavad-gita.
Two businessmen visited the ISKCON Temple for a meeting with His Holiness Gopal Krsna Goswami Maharaja. Maharaja preached to them about various aspects of Krsna consciousness and ending up with saying, "ISKCON can give the entire world Krsna Bhakti."
The visitors were highly impressed by Maharaja and the pure teachings of ISKCON. "How can we help you?" they asked. Maharaja told them abour the auspicious occasion of Gita jayanti and the marathon Bhagavad-gita distribution being done by devotees all over the world. "Please help us by distributing books," Maharaja requested.
"Surely," they said. "We will take some books."
Being encouraged by the meeting' they ordered Bhagavad-gita. How many? Hold your heart; you may have a heart attack! They bought twenty seven thousand six hundred Bhagavad-gitas with advance payment!!!
Srila Prabhupada Transcendental Book Distribution Ki jai
With inputs from Rakesh Oberoi from Delhi