Although in his fifties, Rajahamsa Dasa, a member of Bhaktivedanta Institute, Mumbai and Berkley, regularly goes out to di stribute Srila Prabhupada's books. This August, I saw him at ISKCON Belgaum. He would pick up books at 2 pm, load them on the carrier of a bicycle, and ride to the local railway station . There he would board the train and distribute books till the next main station and then return via another train to the temple at 8:30 pm or later. If the train was late he would join his partner in doing harinama on the platform and many of his customers remembered him for this and buy books.
He recalled one interesting experience:
I was showing books to passengers in the AC compartment when I came across two businessmen from Goa . Both were arguing. When they saw me they eagerly welcomed me. 'J ust now we are discussing,' one of them said, 'that the doctors say that when the heart beat stops the man dies. They say th at the heart is the source of life. But the heart is just a mechanical pump. Medical science is so advanced, if the heart fails, they can surely be able to restart it; it is an organ after all. But they can not do it and the person dies. So what determines the life? Is there some soul? But the scientists say that there is no soul.'
I wanted to show them the Bhagavad-gita verse that says t hat the heart is the seat of the soul. I l tried looking in the index and came upon one entry. As I turned to the page I came across this statement:
"The influence of th e atomic soul can be spread all over a particular body. According to the Mundaka Upanisad, this atomic soul is situated in the heart of every living entity, and because the measurement of the atomic soul is beyond the power of appreciation of the material scientists, some of them assert foolishly that there is no soul. The individual atomic soul is definitely there in the heart along with the Supersoul, and thus all the energies of bodily movement are emanating from this part of the body. The corpuscles which carry the oxygen from the lungs gather energy from the soul. When the soul passes away from this position , the activity of the blood, generating fusion, ceases. Medical science accepts the importance of the red corpuscles, but it cannot ascertain that the source of the energy is the soul." [Bg. 2.17 p]
When the man read it he jumped in ecstasy, 'This is what we had been discussing since so long. That is what I wanted. Thank you very much.' Both of the passengers bought the Gita. I realized that Srila Prabhupada's books have complete power to reciprocate with their readers. I had not intended to show them that passage but by the mercy of Lord they got what they were looking for.
SCARRED FROM THE WAR
by Parthasarathi Dasa
I boarded my flight and hoped to catch up on some rest. As I looked for my seat I noticed the man sitting next to me was an amputee. It turned out he lost his legs in a roadside blast in Iraq. I explained to him that I was a soldier too and showed him my J.D. card. He asked if I saw anything crazy there. "My friend, too much ," I responded.
He looked down and with a sad expression explained how now he drinks all the time and is very depressed. As he opened up I could see this boy was suffering intensely and was looking for something to guide him through this rough time. I said I was here to help him if he so desired it. He grabbed my hands and pleaded for help. He asked how I am dealing with the effects of combat. I started telling him h ow I try to t ake shelter of God and how I try to develop a relationship with Him within my heart.
"This body is temporary my friend' I said, "when we die, it's the body dying, not the soul" He stared at me with an intense look. So for the next five hours I spoke to this man about the Bhagavad gita. When we landed I gave him Bhagavad-gita, a Perfection of Yoga and a Science of Self Realization. He was moved to tears. He said, "I have gone to so many groups and talked to so ma ny peo pl e, but no one wanted to help me. So, why are you opening your heart to help me?" "Well , because I have a great treasure that was given to me," I said. "I would be a miser to keep it to myself."
With tears in both our eyes, we exchanged hugs, and he clasped the books to his chest.