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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Book Distribution > Book Distribution Glories > Introduction

Introduction

 

All Glories to the Sankirtana Devotees

 

Despite freezing cold, scorching heat, relentless rain, and maddening wind off the sides of frozen mountains, Srila Prabhupada's sankirtana warriors bring the mercy of his books to every door. Tolerating the constant changes in weather, drinking water, sleeping places, and food, they go from town to town, village to village, bringing a gift of love rarely seen in this world, and even more rarely attained. Tolerance is their regulative principle: tolerating the taunts and shouts of igno­rant and trivial onlookers; tolerating being pushed, shoved, beaten, or spit upon; tolerating needless police interference; tolerating the pains in the back or feet; and above all, toler­ating the mind. Such tolerance is found only in the greatest of yogis who have practiced their mystic art for so many years. The mercy of the Lord on His sankirtana warriors is hard to describe, but He is inspiring me to do so. May He help me in this endeavor.

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees

Without concern for their bodily comforts or care for the whims of the constantly complaining mind and senses, they are promptly on the street early in the day and remain there, till all the materialistically minded people have gone home for the night. When they think of the so-called pleasure of the fruitive workers, their lips curl in disgust and they spit on it. But remembering their spiritual master's warning not to be too proud of their renunciation—for that can lead one to falldown—they regret this spontaneous external display of their higher taste and again fix their minds on the preaching mission. Who can maintain attachment to the material world after having tasted the nectar of the Lord's mercy? O devo­tees of the Lord, hear me well. If you wish to remain attached to home, family, nation, society, and the rest, do not go out preaching the sankirtana mission, for on the streets of the cities, towns, and villages, the flute sound of the Lord may be heard, even today, inviting His devoted followers to return to the shelter of His holy lotus feet.

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees!

Some of these transcendental warriors have been distributing for years, without stop, day in and day out. They are fully dedicated to the sankirtana service of their spiritual master and Krsna. Although such souls are rarely to be found in this world, the materialists cannot imagine that there are only a handful of them. "I see you people everywhere. How many of you are there anyway, thousands?" Due to the sankirtana devotee's intensity of endeavor and boundless enthusiasm, the materialists cannot imagine that such an impact comes from a handful of dedicated men. This is the potency of one san­klrtana devotee; he can deliver a whole country by his spiri­tual determination to bring the books of Srila Prabhupada to every door.

All Qlories to the Sanklrtana Devotees

The concept of mercy can be understood only by examining the mercy the sankirtana devotees pour on the seemingly undeserving souls lost in an ocean of ignorance. Only by carefully studying this mercy can we know how Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda poured Their divine grace on the con­ditioned souls five hundred years ago. No need to wonder how it happened then, for it is happening again now. Only the most fortunate persons are born at this time, for they can accumulate piles of pious activities and acquire the seed of de­votional service by purchasing a book of Srila Prabhupada's. If they simply read it, the seed of bhakti will quickly sprout in their hearts. We look through the many letters of appreciation from the readers of our books, and we sit stunned, unable to fathom the unlimited mercy of the sankirtana devotees.

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees

 

The sankirtana devotees have the greatest association in the universe, for Kslrodakas'ayi Visnu, the Paramatma, the Super- soul within the heart of all living beings, is also a sankirtana devotee. Caring for all living beings as the eternal spiritual guide within, the Supersoul is always inducing the condi­tioned soul to walk in the path of the waiting distributor, hear what the devotee has to say, reach into his wallet, and take out the biggest note he has. All sankirtana devotees are glorious, for they know well that without their transcendental partner, the Supersoul, no one would take a book. Because of His constant transcendental association, the sankirtana devo­tees have forgotten the meaning of the word "loneliness," although they can see it on the faces of the people on the streets. And remember, only a devotee knows the real mean­ing of the word "love."

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees

 

The householders who remain at home with their economic problems, family encumbrances, and needs secretly lament that they cannot join these liberated sankirtana men and women who wander freely, without restriction, throughout the three worlds. Although the sankirtana devotees are fully capable of enjoying their senses to the greatest degree, they are averse to doing so, for they only wish to please their spiri­tual master and Krsna. Family life, household affairs, children, problems, housing bills, gurukula costs, and all the other un­fortunate "requirements" in a world covered by maya's unique power seem distant and unreal to those desiring to shower the rain of mercy on souls burning in the fire of material ' existence. They cannot discriminate between the cries of some living entities posing as their babies and those of the conditioned souls on the street who are lost and bewildered, without anyone to care for them. Considering themselves the real protectors of the living entities who stand before them, the sankirtana devotees nurse these lost souls back to life with the milk of kindness and the all-powerful drug, the holy name of the Lord.

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees!

Even if they win the weekly sankirtana competition, they still know that the real victory is to conquer the senses and the mind. The sincere and enthusiastic cheers of the devotee audience, honestly ecstatic to hear the wonderful results of their worthy heroes, only add another burden to the sincere distributor's struggle, and therefore the experienced "win­ners" inwardly laugh, fully aware that this sophisticated snare of maya is waiting to find some subtle weakness and ruin their sankirtana spirit. Who in the three worlds can give up attach­ment to the fruits of their results? No one. But even the demigods learn a good lesson in renunciation by secretly observing the Sunday meetings of the sankirtana men in the temple. They are amazed at the submissive attitude of these devoted souls, completely devoid of the concept of self-glorification. Indeed, such great souls push off all attempts to glorify them as if they were avoiding disease personified. Who can understand their own minds besides themselves? We can only pray to associate with such selfless personalities life after life. A birth as a bug in the book bag of such great souls is superior to becoming Brahma devoid of the sankirtana spirit.

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees!

They are gentle souls who are kind to all. Who can be more gentle than the devoted sankirtana devotees who only think of the advancement of the fallen conditioned souls devoid of all understanding of spiritual life? Who can be kinder than they who profusely distribute the greatest gift in the universe? The sankirtana devotees are like a wish-fulfilling tree, for they know the real desires of people: to be happy, peaceful, and eternally situated in their natural, constitutional positions as parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord. Because the sankirtana devotees are displaying their kindness throughout every town, we can understand something of the vast mercy of Lord Caitanya; otherwise, it would remain a mere theory. I offer again and again my humble obeisances unto the feet of such exalted Vaisnavas as these, and pray that I may assist them in any way I can.

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees!

Because of their devotion and dedicated endeavors, Srila Prabhupada's books are all over the world. From Nome, Alaska, east to Tokyo, Japan, Srila Prabhupada's books have been distributed in massive numbers and have found Their way into nearly every town and village. Where no books could conceivably go, these books go, for They are transcendental living entities, capable of intelligent and directed motion, wishing to bestow the greatest mercy on the conditioned souls throughout the world. These books are creating a revolution in the hearts of the people absorbed in a misguided civi­lization seemingly bent on self-destruction. It seems that there are people everywhere interested in the Bhagavad-glta, Srlmad-Bhdgavatam, and any literature from Srlla Prabhu-pada they can get their hands on. None but the rich, proud, and arrogant avoid the nectar of this sankirtana mission. And now the Soviets are importing our books and encouraging . their translation. Need I say more than this?

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees!

Someone once said that some demigods have appeared as hu­man beings to distribute these books in great quantities. Although this sounds nice, a real sankirtana devotee does not believe it; for after all, he knows he was saved by his spiritual master. We were lost in a pit of ignorance and knew nothing of the higher realms of reality, when the spiritual master saved us from the eternal doom. We were fallen then, and outside of the mercy emanating from this transcendental literature, we would still be fallen now. A sankirtana devotee is intelligent and knows that he is personally nothing but the mercy of his spiritual master. And he is happy in this understanding. All sankirtana devotees are happy simply being instruments in this great mission. They know that the books distribute Themselves when we surrender to Them and Their mission. Actually we have been picked up from the lowest platform of existence and elevated to very high positions simply because we are associating with the supremely opulent Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, and we are happy simply knowing Him as our master. As the servants of the king live on the same level as the king, so the sankirtana devotees are glorified and living nicely as servants of the supreme controller. Is it possible to attain more opulence than this?

 

All Qlories to the Sanhirtana Devotees!

They drive their vans with great care and attention, filling up with petrol, regularly changing the oil, and checking the water, the anti-freeze, and the tires, for they consider their sankirtana vehicle as reverential paraphernalia of the Lord. They take care of their vans as if these vehicles were mem­bers of Lord Krsna's transcendental family, representatives of Garuda. Every sankirtana warrior knows well that without these faithful carriers of the book Deities, the sankirtana mis­sion would quickly grind to a halt. Never driving too fast, although always impatient to bring knowledge to every town, the sanklrtaners depart at the proper time to reach their destination without hurry. Even though Krsna is protecting them, they never want to disturb Krsna's transcendental pas­times by forcing Him to catch their van as it is rolling off a slippery road. They are models of safe and cautious driving, since they know that their cargo, the empowered sankirtana devotees and these transcendental books, is more valuable than piles of gold and jewels.

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees!

They are so humble and meek that although they know well that they are engaged in the most important devotional service of all, the direct preaching mission of the Lord, they never demean the service of the other devotees who live in the temple and support the sankirtana mission. Thus they are glorious in the eyes of all. They are devoid of the stain of false pride, for they know that without the support of the devo­tees in the temple sankirtana could not go on. The sankirtana devotees are thankful to those dedicated souls taking the re­sponsibility of washing the floors, worshiping the Deity, and cooking the noon offering. Every sankirtana devotee knows perfectly well how hard it is to live in the temple, for without having to struggle in the preaching mission, control of the mind and senses is most difficult to achieve. Therefore, out of humility, like trees overloaded with the burden of ripe fruits, they bend low during their weekends in the temple, offering their respects to even a tiny ant. Having seen enough materialists during the week, the sankirtana devotees know how rare it is for a devotee of the Lord to be fully engaged in devotional service in the temple.

 

All Qlories to the Sankirtana Devotees!

They care about the people to whom they distribute. Not considering numbers more important, they really want peo­ple to read and understand these transcendental gifts. If they did not care about the fallen souls, how could the devotees go on, year after year, day in and day out, sustained by the satisfaction of the Lord? These sankirtana warriors want to die on the battlefield. They wish to continue to distribute this literature in some form or another throughout their whole lives. They know nothing else than this intense and gratifying mission. The sankirtana devotees know an open secret: if they can just continue distributing, they will get the mercy of their spiritual master and Krsna and, in this very life, go straight back home, back to Godhead. Keeping this dearmost secret close to their hearts, they only wish that all other living enti­ties would also take up devotional service and become auspi­cious and glorious too, for it is easy, sublime, and beyond the material world.

All glories to the sankirtana devotees! Their servant, Harikesa Swami