Questions about Sankirtan
Posted on September 3, 2011
Filed under ASK BVKS
Question: Should we as brahmacharis approach matajis on sankirtan? Also, Should I wear devotion clothing when distibuting in places where we do not have to be undercover?
His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Maharaj asked one of his disciple HG Vasudeva Datta Prabhu to answer this question. HG Vasudeva Datta Prabhu has a good experience of distributing Srila Prabhupada's books in Europe, India, and Sri Lanka in different circumstances. Following is his answer.
Vijay Prabhu, a famous book distributor and a SKT Minister in ISKCON is not approaching matajis on sankirtan. He said there are so many men out there so why unnecessarily take risk. Better be safe than sorry. He is also a good example of a steady brahmacari.
On the other hand, my friend Tirtha-kara Prabhu asked his spiritual master Bhaktivaibhava Swami the same question. Maharaja said that he should not be on the bodily platform while approaching the people. He should see the soul and approach everyone.
As I understand, it is an individual thing. I was mostly doing door to door sankirtan in Europe, where you can't avoid meeting matajis. My experience is that it is best to be brief, especially with young girls. Don't joke with them, don't take their contact numbers and at the same time don't be rude with them. If they start to coquettishly ask many superficial questions, then just politely and firmly quote the price of the book, even a few times if needed. Then they are forced to decide, whether they will buy the book or not. Usually they just return the book and their so called spiritual enthusiasm just disappears. Then you can light-heartedly continue with your distribution. Distribution in pairs or at least near to each other is also helpful.
I have very good experience in distributing books in devotional clothes. A few years ago we had a 3 week Padayatra in Slovenia and we were all distributing books in devotional clothes. It was great, so we thought why not to continue like this in our regular distribution. Guru Maharaja also encouraged us in that line so after that our SKT scores almost doubled. There are different benefits; unfavorable people immediately reject you, in this way you save so much time. And others are immediately attracted. Because of not hiding anything people also reciprocate more openly. Not only that you can preach more directly but it is also good for your personal consciousness and character. For example, you can't speak harshly with people, you can't stare at the shopping windows, and you can't urinate everywhere. You are all the time forced to behave as a saintly devotee. You are all the time exposed in public so your identity as a Krishna bhakta is
strongly established in your heart.
My answer is not "the" formula. Book distribution is a daily adventure, so you can try different things. You can try for a few weeks without approaching matajis and see how it goes, or you can go out in devotional clothes and see the difference. We'll be happy to hear your realizations along with some sankirtan story. Wish you all the best.