From St. Louis Vyasa-puja offering 1985
Posted on September 7, 2015
(Written by Sura dasa)
I remember the first time we received some instruction, about twelve years ago. Many traveling sankirtana parties had gone to Los Angeles to see and hear Your Divine Grace. It was an early January, Friday morning, which meant in those days a maha-sankirtana day. The lectures for the past few days spoke of the devotees' deathlessness. You compared the devotee's death to
the kitten in the mouth of the cat, whereas the nondevotee's death meant the rat in the mouth of the cat. Then that morning you said something that rings in the ears and hearts of devotees all over the world to this day. "There is no literature throughout the universe like Srimad-Bhagavatam. There is no comparison or competition. Every word is for the good of human society, each and every word. Therefore we stress so much in the book distribution. Somehow or other, if the book goes in one's hand, he'll be benefited. At least he'll see, 'I have taken so much price -- let me see what is there.' If he reads one sloka, his life will become successful. If he reads one sloka, one word! This is such a nice thing. Therefore we are stressing so much, please distribute books, distribute books, distribute books!" That was all we needed. We left that place and traveled all over the country distributing books like madmen. We were touched whenever you would say anything about book distribution and took those statements as our life and soul. We were after your recognition as we heard you say, "The sales figures, this is the only solace in my life. When I hear that my books are selling nicely, I become energetic like a young man." There was no doubt about what to do and what our connection with you was. We weren't big guns who could sit at a meeting with you or get personal attention so much. Maybe some morning walks at the Mayapur festival we got to sneak in with the sannyasis, but otherwise our book distribution was our personal association with you. You often spent your time translating the Bhagavatam, and we would spend ours in distributing that Bhagavatam. Then you laid it down: "Actually it is a fact that ultimately everyone should preach and distribute books if they want to please me in the best way Book distribution must be given stress always."
In the beginning of April 1974, a group of devotees distributing books at the World's Fair in Spokane wrote to you inviting you to come and speak there, as well as informing you of our book sales results. You replied on April 20, 1974, "better you yourselves do as much as possible to spread Krsna consciousness there by distribution of literature, kirtana, and prasadam, and that will be as effective as my personally coming. I am very keen on the distribution of my books, and I am very indebted to all of you for your untiring efforts to see that every man and woman in America get one of my books. If they simply read one page, even if they do nothing else, they can become perfect. Please keep me informed of your progress as the Fair develops." We took this as our eternal instruction. When we were distributing books, you said that it was as effective as your personally being there. That meant that by continually distributing your books you would always personally be there. Furthermore, your order was that every man and woman in America get one of your books. Obviously this was a tall order that might not even be able to be fulfilled in one lifetime. It was also a very menial order, and sometimes, due to our being puffed up and wanting to be master, the order seems a little bit difficult.
Therefore we are praying to you, Srila Prabhupada. Somehow or other let us be conscious of our position as menial servants meant to simply fulfill your order. Keep us in the mood, just like in the 70s, of embracing your intimate directions. Let us keep you personally present and in the center of our lives by following your order of distributing books till our very last breath and beyond!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!