Book Distribution: The Best Training a Devotee Can Get
Volume 1, Chapter 32
June 18, 1995.
Today I was faced with a decision whether to go back to Poland when our tour finishes on June 24th or to stay a few more days to give association to my disciples in Moscow, many of whom couldn’t come to my Vyasa-puja celebrations in St. Petersburg. By going back to Poland, as scheduled, I’ll get a chance to attend to my correspondence. There are many letters from disciples around the world waiting to be answered, and if there is any extra time I could get some rest before our summer Polish festival tour begins. It’s one of the most demanding tours of the year. But the disciples in Moscow are begging me to come and spend a few days with them. My intelligence tells me to go back to Poland and rest, but my heart tells me to stay on in Moscow.
I gave class this morning to an eager and receptive audience. The devotees don’t get much association on the tundra of Siberia, so they relish every moment of nectar they are given. I met my disciples throughout the day, and this evening we had a four-hour kirtana!
Just before taking rest I received good news: the leaders of the South African Yatra, after considering my arguments for holding this year’s Ratha-yatra in December, agreed to go ahead with it as planned! The deciding factor seemed to be my offer to lead the book marathon from the Durban temple during November and December. I was relieved, and I wondered if it was all Krsna’s trick to get me into the book marathon!
I distributed books in France for twelve years from 1971 to 1983. How much I enjoyed that service! And when I look back on those years, I see how important they were in my development in Krsna consciousness. Most of what I utilize in my service as a sannyasi and spiritual master I learned from distributing books for so many years. Book distribution is definitely the best training a devotee can get. One remains detached from material life by constantly seeing the temporary miserable nature of the material world, while at the same time developing his faith in Krsna consciousness by daily witnessing the extraordinary mercy of Lord Caitanya upon the fallen conditioned souls. And by having to defeat opposing arguments and convince others to take up spiritual life, one becomes a capable preacher.
Sometimes I long for the simple life of being a book distributor, but then I see my present responsibilities as an opportunity to inspire others to distribute books and obtain the same benefits I had. But if my higher authorities suddenly ordered me, “Now go back to book distribution,” I would have no regrets! I know exactly what villages I would go back to in France! But now it seems Krsna is fulfilling that desire by giving me an opportunity to help organize the book marathon in Durban. My mind is already full of plans and ideas! My only prayer is that the Lord will allow me to keep body and soul together. Generally the Ratha-yatra takes all my material and spiritual resolve. But if my disciples in South Africa help me, I think I can do it.
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