Srila Prabhupada's books eventually find this young boy even though he has long forgotten them.
One day, during the summer of 2004, my sister returned from her high school with a box full of books. "These books had been gathering dust in the library and the librarian was throwing them away, "She said, "She gave a few to me," My sister searched in the box and kept the books she liked. In the bottom of the box, she found one Srimad- Bhagavatam, second canto part two. "Hey Jean!" she called me. "I have one o f these eastern philosophical books. Perhaps you would be interested in it." At that time, I was reading mystic literature and practicing asanas, pranayama, and ku,ndalini yoga. My goal was to read all the major canonical texts of all major cultures of the world and I had heard about Bhagavad-gita through a yoga book. I decided to try Srimad Bhagavatam because it said in the front flap that it was a elaboration of the Gita and the ripened fruit of Vedic literature. That line appealed to me. I liked it's pictures. I was an artist and I immediately scanned them to my hard drive . I liked the picture of Lord Caitanya chanting and dancing in the temple. I had never seen a more beautiful picture of someone like Him. I liked Paramatma. I liked Lord Krsna and the cowherd damsels. I admired Lord Krsna for having so many girl friends. I could relate to Him because at that time I was obsessed with chasing girls.
However, Srimad-Bhagavatam was low on my priority list. I thought I would read it after finishing the Bible and the Koran. But one day I had an uncontrollable urge to read Srimad Bhagavatam. It seemed as if the book was screaming at me from the shelf. All other books I was reading were boring me to tears. I picked up the Srimad-Bhagavatam and finished it over the weekend. My friends called me for partying but I made an excuse. My favourite verse was about dogs, hogs, camels, and assess. [Men who are like dogs, hogs, camels, and asses praise those men who never listen to the transcendental pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna, the deliverer from evils. (S .B. 2.3.19)] I was amazed at the accuracy of the purports; they so vividly described my own situation and those of everyone around me. I called my friends and read this verse to them aloud. I also read to them the descriptions of the Vaikuntha planets. But I only became the object of their ridicule and laughter.
As I continued reading Srimad-Bhagavatam, I began developing a desire to read more. I checked the name of the author- A.C. Bhakrivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Although sounding foreign it seemed familiar. Intuitively I went to the Iiving room closet, searched at the back of the bookshelf, and found two "The Science of Self Realization" books. I realized they had been given to me on the streets long back, when I was eleven years old. I hadn't touched them ever since. After reading them, I became very convinced and began to chant and follow the regulative principles. I felt the same feeling while chanting which I would experience while practicing kundalini . Those were the best rounds of Hare Krsna maha-mantra that I have ever chanted since.
I am very grateful to Srila Prabhupada for writing these wonderful books and for inspiring his followers to distribute them widely. But for his mercy I would have been still going round in a whirlpool of maya.
Bhakta Jean Paul originally from Canada, has completed his graduation in economics and philosophy. Currently, he stays at ISKCON Mumbai and is studying the bhakti-sastras.