Acharya Dasa, All India Padayatra leader
On December 2, 2022
Please accept my humble obeisances at your lotus feet Gurumaharaj.
My humble obeisances at the lotus feet of all the assembled Vaishnavas.
Some devotees distribute books for one month or two months – but in this Padayatra team, we distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books throughout the year. In this process, the devotees face many realizations. Srila Prabhupada desired to do Padayatra. Maharaja likes doing Padayatra. Some devotees are from South India and cannot speak Hindi fluently. When we travel to South India like – Orissa, Bengal, and Tamil Nadu, we face language barriers. The devotees pray to Srila Prabhupada – while distributing the books due to the different language barriers they show them the price tag which is written. People often ask us, “Where have you come from and where are you going?” We tell them that we have come from Vrindavan. People often ask us for free books. We ask them, “How much money do you pay when you visit a restaurant or How much money do you spend on lavish weddings?” But for religious purposes, why are you behaving in such a way? We are taking only the printing cost.
Many devotees have many experiences. Our Prahlad Vatsal Das was standing at the railway station for the entire day but was not able to distribute one single book. He took a vow that he will not consume prasadam until the book is sold. He prayed to Srila Prabhupada. One man came and took the entire set of books from him. The padayatris always carry books in their bags. They do not walk without books. Many people have become devotees after reading the small books of Srila Prabhupada. Some people give donations of Rs. 10/20/50. It has never happened that today no books were distributed. We distribute books daily.
A few days back, the devotee who drives the chariot – Uttama Narhari Das – is a renunciant. He is always engaged in devotional service. He Does not use hot water for bathing nor does he wear any warm clothes. Near Agra, there is a place of pastimes of Parshuramji. When Parshuram had cut the neck of his mother Renuka mata. We stopped there, because of H. G. Uttama Narhari Das’s purity – a person came and asked us for the entire set of Srimad Bhagavatam and Chaitanya Charitamrita in the morning. Our purity is our strength. How much purely we engage in our sadhana, influences others. When we tell them a little, they buy it.
Some people are atheists and we have bad experiences also. We were at a place in Bihar. The road was blocked so we were stranded there from morning 7 a.m. to 1 p,m. There were many people. They were not allowing us to move forward or bbackward We requested them but they did not pay any heed to it. Our tractor was damaged by a car, this led to a massive fight. The car owner came to the spot where we had halted for the day. He told us either give me the laxmi for my damaged car or give us that babaji. We will beat him. He called somebody and told them – “They did not give the money so I have kidnapped a babaji”. He asked me what do you do? I told him we preach Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavat Gita. I kept the books in front of him and somebody told him – the books are Lord Himself. His heart got transformed. He further added that you are doing a religious activity and we should not behave like this. In return he brought 3 books amounting to Rs. 500/-. He asked us where we were going. We told him we are going to Patna. About 10 km from there was his village, he invited us to his village and made nice arrangements. Many villagers bought many books from us.
In Gujarat one small boy bought a book from us – we gave him a sticker along with the book. Later, from the sticker, he took the telephone no and contacted us for more books. The small boy has now become a devotee and is now chanting 16 rounds. Srila Prabhupada’s books are very important. It has lots of transcendental knowledge. Many devotees have said behind every book there is a pastime or Srila Prabhupada’s mercy. We will get some people who are good or bad. We just have to preach to everybody. We are afraid of Muslims but the devotees talk to them politely. They also buy books. We have to leave laziness and get out of our comfort zones. If we take 10 books with us, we are able to distribute 4 books. It becomes easy when we pray for Gurumaharaja’s mercy. When we distribute books, sometimes we feel as if we are distributing ourselves. It is actually the mercy of Gurumaharaja to make us tiny instruments in this activity. When we go with this humble feeling then people accept it. We should not be discouraged but should move on. Lord is present in each and every one’s heart. If the opposite person does not buy the books we can tell that, “O Lord, You are present in his heart. Please motivate him to buy these books. It will change his life”. We can pray in such a manner. Srila Prabhupada’s books are like time bombs. Nowadays it is very cold here. It is open here. We do austerities to gain purity. When we preach, people do buy books. We do a little bit of book distribution. If they have one book, we ask them to buy other books and in this manner we serve Srila Prabhupada.