The last few months I have been praying to Lord Krishna to please make the best use of the remaining part of my life. It so happened that one day a Spanish customer asked me if I believed in God. That started a long conversation and we both became interested in sharing our understanding. This in turn led me to open up my books and start more reading and deep thinking and discussing with him. This further led me to collect all the small books I had on shelves and boxes in my house and start giving them out to my customers. I got a very pleasing response from them. During this process I found one special book which consists of Srila Prabhupada's letters about printing and distributing books with a missionary spirit, as a matter of duty, and not expecting results.
I have faxed one page from this book and I am sure you are more than smart enough to grasp the points and spirit of the subject being discussed. So I am approaching you for your help and participation in distribution of Srila Prabhupada's books, which glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna in the best possible way and promote Vedic Culture and Philosophy.
The example of a honey bee is that it goes from flower to flower and collects a little bit of pollen and thus builds madhapudo. This process is called Madhukari. In the same way, a bhikshuk (sadhu, yachak) goes from house to house and begs alms from Grahasthis and at the same time imparts spiritual knowledge. Thus bhikshuk is also following this process of Madhukari.
In this regard my point is that every day, everyone should do little good for one's own self and a little good to others. Towards this end, my proposal for your consideration and consideration of all other friends is that, every day, each person will give out 3 small books which will cost about $1.50. For a husband and wife team it will cost roughly $100 for 200 books for a month. I hope I am not asking too much. Just a tip of $3.33 per day.
Instead of a few doing most of the work, we must strive to have broader participation. United we succeed, divided we fall. Sangh Shakti Vijetriyam - that should be our motto. However, our example and character have to be strong but humble. Better motto - One virtuous son is better than hundreds of foolish sons, and one moon is better than million of stars combined because one moon can light up the sky at night, but all stars can not do together. We must strive to work in this spirit. We do not need a crowd of monkeys. We need to train ourselves to be stalwart leaders who will guard and propagate our divine heritage.
Astrologers have said that I will live till age of 79 to 80 years. I am 58 now. That means I have at least 20 years of life left to live. My prayer to Lord Krishna is to please make the best use of my 20 years. In the past my friends have always helped me and as such I am sure that my friends will be encouraging and helpful in this humble and renewed attempt of goodwill.
Yes, it is true that my 16 years of efforts in the past got exploited. However, if I may, I have some satisfaction that I was a major force in establishing temple in Houston from ground zero and attracting many people there. Similarly, when I came to Dallas, the temple did not have money to even buy rice or potatoes. My noble wife Champa used to work for American Warehouse, a distributor of fruits, vegetables, and grains. She used to buy things very cheap and I used to supply the temple. The Temple owed money to Sriman Pramod and Renukaben Shah (Tajmahal Import) and Sriman Vipinbhai and Sapanaben Patel (India Grocer). They are witnesses.
But let us not forget that the initial followers of Srila Prabhupada performed miracles compared to any standard. They helped Srila Prabhupada in establishing more than 100 temples in 12 short years, in printing more than 50 different books, and Hare Krishna became a greeting all over the world. Back in 1975, ISKCON was printing and distributing one million copies of Back to Godhead per month. Then things changed. Our humble attempt is to revive, reform, re-establish what we can do.
One may ask what will be the result of distributing books. My first point is that we must do what is best as a matter of duty and not expect to see results quickly. Second point is that the basic premise for preaching is that things can be changed. Third point is that we must have faith that things will change. When we plant a mango seed we have faith that it will produce mangos in 15 to 20 years. Fourth point is that Lord Krishna and his devotees request us that we do this and so we do it.
Bhikshukaa na bhikshayanti, dadati grahe grahe
Diyatam diaytam, adatum karanam idasham
The bhikshuka is actually not begging but he is giving at every house. What is he giving? He is giving bodha (updesha) that give, give, and give, otherwise you will have to beg as I am doing now. This is a simple meaning of this verse. The deeper meaning is, that the bhikshuka is purified by begging, the charity giver is purified by giving, the observer is purified by observing this transaction between bhikshuka and the householder who gives a chapati lot (handful of flour).
My friends, I humbly ask all of you to let us work in this mood and spirit as a matter of duty and depend on the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna. Let us not just waste the remaining part of our life in eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. All animals just do that. Let us do more than that. Let us set the sail high and strive to put our best effort and intelligence.
I am expecting that all of you will lead in this matter. My hope is that you all will be so strong that when you all walk, I will have to run to catch up with you. Let us set the goal high and work for it. Nishan chuk maaf, nahi maaf nichha nishan. Let us work so hard that in 20 years, at least in the Dallas/Forth Worth area, Hare Krishna will become respected words of honor, distinction, and grace, and Indians will be held in great respect as givers of great knowledge and not as free loaders and exploiters. Let us rise to the occasion so that our children and grandchildren will be able to hold their head high with honor and satisfaction that their forefathers did something much worthier than just making money and wasting weekends in chit-chatting.
This time, at this early stage, during this renewed and humble attempt, the focus is on book distribution and the rest will depend on how Lord Shri Krishna wants to manifest Himself in our lives. Let us dedicate ourselves to work with enthusiasm, determination, and patience.
I have tried my best to express myself here. The state of a Society is the outer manifestation of inner thoughts of its leaders. So let us lead in the best way. Let us wake up and do something good for ourselves and others before this life is over. Let us allow ourselves to be touched by noble thoughts, then we will be able to speak noble words, we will be able to practice noble ideas, we will have true understanding and value of noble ideas, and then we will have strong enthusiasm, determination, and patience to propagate and protect things we consider noble. In the beginning things will seem superficial or artificial or mechanical, but in due course of time the true taste and devotion will develop.
Let us start from the lowest stage of mechanical step, doing things that we do not want to do or doing things we are not sure if there is any benefit to it, and progress as far as we can. Let us pray to that Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna, by whose grace a lame person can climb the mountain and mute person can become expert speaker. Let us all help each other to achieve such success. This is true friendship and not the time wasted together in chit-chatting and empty praising of each other. If nothing else, please help me to remember my words and hold me accountable if I divert from this path.
Asking for your understanding, encouragement, participation, and help.
Your well-wisher and friend,
[Editor's Note: This article appeared on the Sampradaya Sun - http://harekrsna.com/sun/index.htm]