Earlier this year, Arcita Prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada who serves with the North American BBT, was visiting Latvia.
He asked the devotee who met him at the airport how he had joined ISKCON.
This devotee, Adi Deva Dasa, said, “I knew a friend, a salesman, that for many months had seen devotees selling books. So he thought, ‘I’ll buy them from them for the least amount that I can and then resell them and make a profit.’ Whenever he saw devotees, he bought all the books from them at the cheapest price. After he had a good number, he decided to make his profit, but it wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. No one was buying them. He was surprised, because he’s a good salesman. And he’d seen how the devotees were selling them easily, so he couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t sell any. Finally, he gave up and started giving them away to friends, and one of them was given to me. I read it, the Sri Isopanisad, and the rest is history.”
I had a similar experience many years ago in Los Angeles. A bhakta who was a professional businessman heard about our book distribution in the airport, and he wanted to try it out. The devotees told him to speak to me about giving it a try.
So I said, “Yes, you can come out with me and taste the nectar of book distribution.”
When we arrived I gave him a few tips about what to say. He was stopping people and talking to them about the books, but no one would give a donation. For two hours he tried, and only one person gave a small donation and took a small book. Meanwhile, by Krsna’s mercy I was distributing books all around him. He was so surprised because he’s a good salesman. He came over and asked me why. I asked him how many rounds he chanted before he came out. He said, “One.” And how much did you read? “None.”
I said book distribution isn’t a material activity it’s a totally transcendental activity in which one needs spiritual strength that comes from chanting Hare Krsna and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books.”
“I can understand that now,” he responded.