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You Cannot Cheat on the Street
A successful preacher in the sankirtana mission must conquer lust, anger, and greed from deep within his heart, because these inauspicious desires always demand but never give respect. Therefore Lord Chaitanya instructs us to always give respect to others without expecting respect in return and to always be tolerant like a tree, devoid of false prestige. These key qualities are necessary to perform the sankirtana mission perfectly, whether one is chanting the holy name of the Lord, distributing the literature of the Lord, or preaching about the Lord. These qualities make one successful in spiritual life.
Much 'M 'be preaching miss:"" depends on rhe ■ ^n^cioi' ness of the preacher. At sankirtana meetings, sometimes devotees ask for tips on technique — but technique can only take you so far. You can hold the book this way or hold the book that way; you can say it like this or say it like that. The basic techniques can be learned in a couple of days. Whenever a neophyte sankirtana devotee asks an older sankirtana devotee for some tips, the answer is always, "You have to surrender and learn how to depend on Krsna. Success will come when you give up prestige, false ego, and personal satisfaction and just work for krasna.’’Still the neophyte thinks,’’ oh he is keeping the secrets to himself."
You cannot hide and cheat on sankirtana. Behind an office door von can hide and cheat all vou like and make a convincing show of success, because the material nature is meant for cheating. On sankirtana you cannot hide behind a door because there is no door. You are face to face with reality. The spiritual reality is how much you depend on Krsna. Those without faith in Krsna hide, and those with faith in Krsna go out and expand that faith by practical action. Nothing expands your spiritual life better than stepping onto the street first thing in the morning with some of Shrila Prabhupada's books. It brings you face to face with the spiritual reality that you are not the controller. You have nobody to tell what to do, nobody to do anything for you, and no minor activity to hide behind. It is just you and the people you preach to. They couldn't care less whether you are a "big devotee." They don't even know what it means. They don't care if you are an expert in something or if others scream and shout your name. All they know is what they see right in front of them.You are tested every minute. When you say, "Here I am, O conditioned soul. Please take this book," he looks you in the face and asks, "Why should I?" If you hesitate, "Uh, well. Uh, because you're supposed to," you will not convince anyone. You must tell him,
"My dear sir, in this book you'll find answers to questions that cannot be phrased properly in the material world. The problems of life are so deep that one doesn't even know what the question is, what to speak of the answer. We've accepted a painful condition as normal, and we don't even realize that it can be questioned. Questions like, 'What am I doing? Why am I here? What am I meant to be?' aren't even allowed to be thought in the material world. In this book Maharaja Parlksit asks the greatest authority in existence, Sukadeva GosvamI, the questions we should ask; but because we cannot, he does it for us. This book perfectly describes the best questions and answers. That's why you should buy one." We are carrying living books in our hands. They are not ordinary dead litrater that you forget about. This literater has never deviated trom its essential message since time immemorial.
Therefore these books are important, and we must read them. How else will you get the knowledge and faith to speak about them? You cannot cheat when you are preaching. It may look good, but it will not mean anything unless you have the realization of the Supreme Absolute Truth that comes from reading and studying this transcendental literature. You cannot distribute this literature unless you know it. Therefore we insist on everybody learning. The preachers and book distributors are the scholarly representatives of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for their lives are absorbed in these books.Not everybody has the wonderful opportunity to be absorbed in the sankirtana mission, and some will avoid it at all costs. Yet those who take it up, at least in the Prabhupada Marathon, realize the importance of this activity. It is the surest and most effective way to realize Krsna.