If I wrote a newsletter telling you how to double your money in ten days, would you be interested? Well if I knew how I’d tell you. But I don’t, so sorry.
But I can tell you something better. I can tell you how to double your blessings in ten days. Are you as interested? I hope so. After all, the more blessings the merrier, right? So read on and learn how to have a doubly blessed Christmas and thus make Christmas really, really merry.
May you always think of Krsna.
Double Blessings for Christmas – Illuminations Newsletter 27
Our Most Dear Possession
The Nectar of Devotion states that we should offer Krsna things that are dear to us. Certainly the body is most dear to us and we can be quite particular how we use it in Krsna’s service. Consequently, we may be reluctant to do services which cause us anxiety, inconvenience, trouble, or difficulty. Or we may be reluctant do services that seem to be beyond the limits of what we think is possible for us (“I could never do that”).
We are all well aware of things we’d be reluctant to do for Krsna? Yet doing many of those things would be good for us. We might overcome a fear or an attachment and we’d probably pray a lot more. Plus, we’d get the special taste that comes by doing something for Krsna that is difficult or uncomfortable for us.
The Great Motivators
It is our nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Isn’t fear or reluctance to do something really just the anticipation of the pain that activity will cause? Of the two, the desire to avoid pain is stronger. If you had the choice between having a really great time today and avoiding a major operation, which would you choose?
The problem is that fear that we’ll suffer if we do something often holds us back from doing what we know is best. (“I know I should do that but………..”) Yet “suffering” for Krsna is purifying, and anything we do that is purifying brings us closer to Krsna. Coming closer to Krsna is what you and I want. This is why we do devotional service. And coming closer to Krsna awakens transcendental bliss. So it is not really suffering; it is transcendental suffering.
I have noticed in my life that the pain of feeling guilty for not doing something I know I should do is often greater than the “pain” caused by doing the very thing I am reluctant to do. I guess I have my fears backwards.
What’s On Your List?
So where am I going with this? Since this is December, the month of the Christmas book distribution marathon, I wanted to look at some of the reasons you and I may be reluctant to get very involved in book distribution this season (or get involved at all). Some reasons may be:
- I’ve never done it.
- I don’t know how to do it.
- I could never do it.
- I don’t have the time to do it.
- I am afraid to do it.
- It’s too troublesome to do it.
- I am not a good salesperson.
- I am too shy.
- I don’t like to do it
- I am not compassionate
- I hate to do it
- I am too busy to take time out to do it
- It’s too difficult to do it.
- People don’t appreciate it
- I am embarrassed to do it.
- It’s too humiliating
- I am not concerned enough about other people.
- I am afraid I will fail
- I am too old to do it.
- I am too young to do it.
- I am too ___________ to do it.
- I don’t practice what the books teach.
- Nobody is interested in the books.
- Most people don’t read the books.
- Most people don’t understand the books.
- There are better ways to preach.
It’s Good For You
Is book distribution actually painful, difficult, the cause of anxiety, etc.? I must admit that I have felt all these and other negative emotions while on book distribution, usually when I’d first go out or when I’d be having a rough day. Time and again, however, those negative emotions were replaced by bliss, enthusiasm, and satisfaction as the day went on. Plus, by sticking it out I would get a dose of massive purification. And this had nothing to do with how many books I distributed. So don’t even worry about how many books you will distribute. The effort alone is so purifying that you will receive oceans of mercy for making the attempt. Look at book distribution as you look at other devotional practices; it is done for your purification and to please Krsna. Make the effort and leave the results to Krsna.
If you make the effort to distribute books, Krsna takes note. And that goes to your eternal benefit.
Some Ways You Can Distribute Books
There are many ways to distribute books. Here are some suggestions.
- Buy books and give them to friends, relatives, co-workers, business associates, etc.
- Buy books and give them to a book distributor to give out to people.
- Buy books and place them in libraries or have them placed in libraries by other devotees.
- Give money to your local temple to pay for books that they will arrange to distribute.
- Convince those sympathetic to Krsna consciousness to sponsor book distribution.
- Convince hotel owners to buy one Bhagavad-gita for each room in their hotel.
- Set up a book table at a college, shopping center, or on the street.
- Go to a public place and distribute books.
- Buy books and leave them in stores for free distribution.
- Send books to friends and relatives.
- Inspire others to distribute books.
- Talk to your temple president, nama hatta leader, or other devotees in your area about how you can distribute books.
- Put a book display in a store.
Srila Prabhupada’s main service to his spiritual master, and indeed his essential mission, was to write, publish and distribute books. When Srila Prabhupada separately incorporated his book publishing company, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), the lawyer asked why he was incorporating the BBT separately from ISKCON. Prabhupada said, “I want to make sure the book publication continues even if ISKCON doesn’t.”
Double Mercy For Christmas
Even when Srila Prabhupada was a grhastha, he was publishing Back To Godhead magazine and personally selling them. And when he retired and published the first canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, he was personally selling those books. So this is our family business. Because this was his main service to his spiritual master, Prabhupada said that not only would we receive his blessings if we distributed his books, we would also receive the blessings of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and thus be “doubly blessed.”
The Back Burner
When I lived in Los Angeles in the 70’s, during the ten days before Christmas, everything else in the community took a back burner to book distribution. All other projects were either minimized or put on hold in order to free more devotees to distribute books or do support services for book distribution. You might think those projects suffered somewhat because of this. No. The devotees who participated in the marathon became so enlivened that they came back to their services with new found energy and enthusiasm. Thus their services actually expanded despite taking time off for the marathon.
How Will You Take Part?
So here’s what I am suggesting you do: write down the way(s) in which you will take part in book distribution from now till Christmas. Even if it means just giving a small donation for book distribution, leaving a few free books at a store, whatever, write it down (if you are already doing book distribution this Christmas, think of at least one way in which you can increase your book distribution). Remember, you want double mercy, don’t you?
If you are reluctant to take part you will be missing a great opportunity to make advancement. Why? Because you have the chance to offer Krsna something dear to you (your time, comfort, peace of mind, money, ego, etc.) and thus experience the special taste that comes from this kind of surrender. Actually, the more reluctant you are the more mercy you will get. So write something on that list.
And I would like to make a money back guarantee. If you take part in book distribution and don’t find that it helped you, I’ll offer you 108 apologies for forcing you to do it.
One last thing. Inspire other devotees to take part in book distribution. Prabhupada told me to always enthuse devotees in book distribution. That order wasn’t just for me; it was for all of us. So get the word out. And if you think this letter will help other devotees, pass it on.