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Sankirtana Is Transcendental
Some devotees say that book distribution is brah-minical and some say that it
Harikesa Swami: In one room conversation, Shrila Prabhupada called selling books a vaisya activity. At other times he said that it is brahminical because it is teaching. It depends on how you do it. You have a vaisya mentality if you say, "I am collecting for the ants in Mesopotamia," because you are using deception to get some money and then throwing a book at him. But distributing books the way you are supposed to, by straight preaching, is brahminical. You show him the book in your hand and present it on the basis of what the book savs and explain whv the book is cood to read. Of course. Prabhupada said "by hook or by crook," which implies that you can also do it with a vaisya mentality. But if you are strong enough, you can sell the book on its merits by speaking philosophically to the people. Selling the books on the basis of the books is brahminical, and doing it to make money may indicate a vaisya mentality, but book distribution itself is purely a Vaisnava activity.
Devotee: Which is better, to remain a simple book distributor one's whole life or to get brahminical initiation and a high post?
Harikesa Swami: First, it is not that you either distribute books or you get brdhmana initiation; the book distributors are the brahmanas, and we give them brdhmana initiation. Second, the book distributors are in the highest position; there is no post higher than distributing books.
Devotee: How is book distribution related to varnasrama-dharma1.
Harikesa Swami: Book distribution itself has little to do with varndsrama-dharma. For example, brahmanas would never sell anything, and vaisyas would never distribute Vedic literature. It cannot be classified according to any varna, but if it had to be classified, it would be brahminical (an insult, though not a big one). Book distribution is pure, transcendental activity. Everyone talks about transcending the modes of nature; nothing is more transcendental than distributing books, and everything else is questionable. By the distribution ot these books, people will understand that their speculations are resulting in a chaotic society and that they need varndsrama-dharma to properly organize society.
Devotee: Is it required to have a ksatriya spirit to have enough courage and determination to go out on sankirtana and do battle with mayal
Harikesa Swami: First, you don't need a ksatriya mood to have courage and determination; second, it is not the same kind of battel as in a war; and third, the great distributors say that the most important quality is complete dedication to the spiritual master's mission and the other qualities follow automatically. To give a gross example- a hungry person, even a vount? babv. knows exactly where and how to put food into the mouth. He doesn't have to think about it. Similarly, if you do sankirtana with complete dedication to the lotus feet of your spiritual master and constantly meditate on distributing the books for his pleasure, you will automatically get the necessary determination and intelligence to present the books correctly. There will be no weakheartedness. You will dash right onto the battlefield, weapons in hand. With this dedication and daily meditation you will succeed. By praying, before the Deities or within the heart, "Please Krsna, help me in this mission. Please, help me satisfy my spiritual master," you will get the mercy and all good qualities will develop within you. This I have heard from great authorities.