A blissful day, in a determined mood, in and around Liverpool
The rain was torrential. My path to the bus stop was blocked by floods underneath rail bridges, twice. I watched two firemen drag an old man, soaked up to his neck, out of his car, which remained almost completely
submerged in the five-foot-deep trench of water he had tried to drive through.
“A good start to the day,” I chuckled to myself.
I was trying Great Crosby, a small town outside Liverpool (home city of The Beatles and Bhakta George Harrison), having found the big city a little tough that week. Upon arriving, finally, wet socks and all, I found it to
be much too quiet to work. After being ejected by the management of Sainsbury’s supermarket from the only spot I considered feasible, I felt dejected.
I had no real option but to head into Liverpool, to take the big city head on, but I would only be able to start there at about 1:30 p.m., a start time which, according to my orthodox sankirtana training would be considered
adharmic, to say the least!
A little upset, I sat at the bus stop to read Bhagavad Gita, from where I had left off: Chapter 6, text 24. Srila Prabhupada wrote: “One should be sure of success at the end and pursue this course with great perseverance,
not becoming discouraged if there is any delay in the attainment of success.
Success is sure for the rigid practitioner.”
Jaya Prabhupada! Whilst chanting that morning I had asked myself, How does Krsna consciousness work? Will I ever advance from stage zero?
Then, as if out of nowhere, came Garuda. Unexpectedly, Prabhupada’s rendition of the sparrow’s story appeared at the end of the purport, presenting itself to me with startling relevancy. Feeling like Garuda’s
small sister bird in her difficult circumstances, I resolved: If the afternoon ahead in Liverpool is the great ocean, let’s dry it up!
Having taken great strength from marathon podcasts on the way, along with more Bhagavad Gita, I glided off the bus, into the still torrential rain, on a wave of enthusiasm. The first boy I approached took books, saying he’d
been wanting to get into meditation for a long time. The next also gladly took books. I went to exchange to some foreign currencies and the cashier there donated for a book.
As I continued to waltz through Liverpool beneath my umbrella, selling books with rhythm, I felt that Garuda had added his supernatural might.
Then, I had a thought. Someone had told me earlier in the week to visit Liverpool Cathedral, on the grounds of which, he said, there is a freshwater spring which spiritual people frequent – I might find interested people
there, he had said.
Being a sucker for such things myself, I set off up the hill, thinking, Vamsi, you’re really spacing out – leaving the street to look at a cathedral is even more adharmic than getting out at one-thirty!
However, I stopped whoever I saw on the walk and some of them also took books.
Reaching the impressive Anglican cathedral, I asked the first person I saw if he knew the freshwater spring. He was happy to take me, leading me down a slippery tunnel, lined on either side with tombstones. At the spring, we
both took a drink and I popped the question to my guide: “Do you want any meditation books?”
“Yes,” he replied, without missing a beat.
I gave him the Bhagavad Gita and, as he left, I told him, “I came here because I was told I might meet someone spiritual.”
“You have,” he said, clutching his Gita. “I’ve been looking for one of these for a very long time.”
Jaya Prabhupada! I headed back to Liverpool, where I continued to distribute books into the evening in great happiness. I only lamented that I had to leave when all the books in my bag were finished, a bag I never thought I
would even half empty.
For me, this experience was such ecstatic inspiration. Simultaneously hearing and distributing Prabhupada’s books yields these miracles time and time again.
As the account of the sparrow and Garuda concludes: “God helps those who help themselves.” Put differently: Srila Prabhupada’s books help those who read and distribute them!