Page added on December 12, 2009

The 2009 Prabhupada Marathon

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Dear Sankirtan devotees, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Ah yes, the Prabhupada Marathon — that glorious time of year when there is an intense focus on the distribution of our jewels of wisdom, Srila Prabhupada’s books. More books going out means more people are going to come in contact with the mercy of Krsna. But not only should we focus on the *quantity* of books distributed but also on the *quality* of our distribution. Let’s also have an internal marathon to increase the quality of our service. The quality of distribution will increase to the degree that our devotion to Sri Krsna increases. As our quality increases, so does the quantity, because Krsna is pleased, Prabhupada is pleased, and so are the people we approach. In this way we will be able to participate not only in the
2009 Prabhupada Marathon but in many, many marathons to come, and we will also reach our goal at the end of this life, the lotus feet of Krsna. This material world is like a prison house, and the people here are the inmates. When we go out on this marathon, let’s meditate on getting the transcendental message of Krishna into the hands of the inmates so they can become good citizens again and be released. All of them have their karma, which makes them suffer. The only thing that can destroy their karma is coming in contact with Krishna and His devotees. We are Krishna’s fortunate assistants in His mission to help as many prisoners as possible become good citizens again and be released from the prison of this material world. And it is not only they who will be helped by book distribution: we will also become better citizens by going out and helping them end their illusory existence. In prisons, some prisoners are better than others, their crimes aren’t so serious, their sentence is lighter, and their treatment is less severe. Similarly, in this world some people are really bad while others are not so bad. And sometimes, by the influence of the not-so-bad prisoners, the others are helped to cope with prison better and become reformed. Yesterday I saw this actually happen: While I was distributing books at a university, a student (Jim) approached my table, curious about what I had. I showed him the Bhagavad-gita, and he appreciated it. He was into Buddhism and thought the Gita might be interesting. He gave a donation, and we began conversing. Then another student (Ryan) came and was so happy to see me with all the books. He asked Jim in a jovial way, “Have you ever meditated?” “No, I haven’t.” “Well, would you like to join me in meditation right now?” “OK.” Ryan started singing the Hare Krishna mantra to a very beautiful tune. I was practically stunned in ecstasy! I gave a mantra card to Jim, and he also started chanting. It was ecstatic. We all chanted. After we chanted for awhile Jim asked, “What does the mantra mean?” Ryan replied, “These are names of God. By chanting them you become purified.” “God!?” Turning to me, Jim angrily said, “The book I just got from you is about God!?” “Yes, it is. Are you opened-minded?” “Yes, but not about God! Where is the proof of the existence of God?” “Look around you,” I replied. “The trees, the mountains, the sky, there are so many intricate and wonderful things we can’t create. How did they come about? They were created by God. And what about you? Your very existence is proof of God. There is no way anyone can combine any number material elements to produce consciousness, which is the essence of you. You’ve come from the Supreme Consciousness. The cause can be understood from the effect: you yourself are proof of God’s existence.” Jim didn’t like my answer. He was a very devout atheist. Ryan then said, “One of the major problems in the world today is that people have contempt for things they haven’t investigated.” What a profound statement! Jim said, “How do I investigate the existence of God?” I said, “Reading the book in your hand will be the beginning of your investigation.” He argued some more about whether God existed, but he kept the book. Jim was one of the most atheistic persons I’d ever met, but he walked away with the Bhagavad-gita and he chanted Hare Krsna. By the mercy of Lord Caitanya & Srila Prabhupada, even a confirmed atheist can get a chance to get out of the prison house of the material world, become a good citizen, and go back to the spiritual world, where everyone is a beautiful citizen. Your servant, Vijaya das PS: Chant your rounds very attentively and take some time every day to read Srila Prabhupada’s books, even during the marathon. This is the key to success. World Enlightenment Day is December 12th.

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