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Respecting the Books
If someone respectfully hands you a book, you automatically become respectful. For example, in Japan they understand the value of Shrila Prabhupada's books. In the early days people would often wash their money before giving it to the devotees, because they didn't want to give dirty money for -uch beautiful books. It is our responsibility to properly prepare people to receive these books. When we bring somebody to the Deity greeting, we don't walk into the temple room with our shoes on, zoom open the curtain, and say, "Here are the Deities," and then zoom shut the curtain. People should respect the Deities, so before entering the temple room, we make them take their shoes off; upon entering the temple room, we bow down, blow the conchshell, and ring the bell; and when the curtain opens, vvc bow down before the Deities and offer draii and prayers. It creates an atmosphere of respect tor the Deities.
We should keep that same respectful atmosphere around the books 1 have seen honk« treated with disrespect even by devotees. To throw books on the floor, cut out the verses, cut out the pictures and paste them on the wall, mark up books with notes or underlining, or tear the plastic wrapper off new books just to read them once, so that they cannot be distributed anymore, is very disrespectful and one loses the proper mood. In some places we have ruined our image by cheating or trickery. We become merely businessmen, and the people see us as money swindlers. If we can learn some respect for ourselves and the activity of distributing transcendental literature, we will do it in a way so that nobody feels that it is something cheap. If you understand how the wonderful philosophy in these books will change the world by making a spiritual revolution in the hearts of men, you will respect these books and you will become spiritually empowered to project that respect onto others. Just by doing sankirtana you become a self-realized soul, and when you are self-realized you will do it better.