Book Distribution in Sri Navadvipa-dhama

Posted on January 27, 2016 by admin-vasanti

When we first arrived in Sri Navadvipa-dhama, I was a bit unsure how it would be possible to distribute books. However, Srila Gurudeva soon revealed many opportunities and venues for the distribution of his jewels to the conditioned souls awaiting his mercy. The first opportunity arose during the month of Kartika at the nama-hatta programs in the village surrounding Srila Gurudeva’s samadhi mandira and Sri Sri Kesavji Gaudiya Matha. Each house that had hosted a program received as a gift a small poster of Mother Yasoda and Damodara. At a few of the programs, it was announced that books were available, free of cost, to anyone who wanted them. Greedy little hands of the dhamavasi children, as well as the bigger hands of the villager ladies and men, excitedly and reverentially grabbed Bengali copies of Butter Thief. A few specifically asked for copies of Bhagavad-gita, Navadvipa Dhama Parikrama, Patravali, and Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmiya. They just as eagerly received copies of the books as they did the prasadam sweets that were distributed. As soon as all the books were given out, I got that feeling in my heart…you know when it feels like a bomb of happiness exploding inside your heart when Gurudeva is mercifully pleased with you? Yeah, that one. It was a good start for the book distribution journey, that we’re still on, in Navadvipa-dhama.

Another idea we had was to distribute books at the ghata. As one of us sang kirtana in a loudspeaker, the other distributed books to walkerbys. We positioned ourselves near the signature Gaura Nitai murtis encased above in a showcase overlooking the ghat. It was wonderful to do kirtana and distribute books on the bank of the Ganga (with Gaura-Nitai present there, too!). At some point one little boy, around six-years-old perhaps, came up to my god-sister and asked, “Are these Krsna books?” Taken away by his cuteness, she replied, “Yes, would you like one?” “Koto taka?” After she quoted the price, he ran back around the corner where his mother was seated. He quickly came back, gave enough rupees for two copies, then ran back again to his mother, gave one copy to her, and sat down with his copy of Butter Thief and immediately started reading. Our hearts melted at witnessing the sincerity of the little boy. Navadvipa dhama-vasis ki jai! On our way back to the matha, one of us rode the bike, and one of us sat on the back while continuing to sing kirtana in the loudspeaker.

My godsister had the idea to distribute books at the matha itself during gaura-aratika, when many people around Navadvipa come to visit the temple. However, little did they know that our Gurudeva, like his beloved Lord, is an expert thief, and by coming near him, somehow or another he will find a way to sneak into their hearts. We felt like his secret agents, kindly requesting people to take books, which we knew would enable Gurudeva to easily influence their lives and bring them to the lotus feet of Hari, Guru, and Vaisnavas.

This also inspired us to set up a book table on the stairs of the temple during a week-long Bhagavata Saptaha that started on Gita Jayanti. We weren’t able to do it every day, but many of the days we were there with books and occasionally posters. The days we weren’t there, several of the audience members would see us around and ask where the book table was, wanting to purchase something. In total, Gurudeva helped us distribute 80 books, including a few big titles like Rasa Panca jaya, Gita Govinda, and Vraja Mandala Parikrama, as well as several copies of Navadipa Dhama Mahatmiya, Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama, and Sri Caitanya Carita Piyusa. Hundreds of people from Bombay and Hathras assembled in the temple room to hear the Bhagavat Saptaha for three hours. The whole experience made me reminisce about Srila Gurudeva giving class to thousands of pilgrims during Navadipa Parikrama, and a book stall enhanced that feeling of Srila Gurudeva’s presence, making the harikatha festival complete. We were so happy that many of participants of the Bhagavata Saptaha who came to Navadvipa (most of them for the first time) were able to bring back with them the moods of our Srila Gurudeva’s heart in the form of his literature and art.

We have also gone to Calcutta a few times. It takes a little less than three hours one way on a local train. We travel on the ladies coach and for some time we do kirtana and usually are able to distribute a handful of books. The ladies are often quite pleased with our kirtana and books and give us blessings in the form of gently slapping our cheeks, patting our heads, verbal compliments, or radiant smiles. When we arrive in Howrah station, we find a somewhat busy place to sit down with our books displayed on a cloth and sing kirtana. Attracted by the kirtana and drawn by the beautiful array of Gurudeva’s books, many stop by to get books. We went twice so far and each time around 30 books were distributed.

I feel so blessed to have Gurudeva using us to distribute his books. It feels so rewarding to share with people the heart and soul of Srila Gurudeva that is present in his amazing books. We hope the Vaisnavas will bless us to continue this seva and that Srila Gurudeva will give us the strength, resolve, and desire to forever be his secret agents in his transcendental pastimes.

Srila Gurudeva ki jai! Book Distribution in Gauda-mandala ki jai!