A devotee professor distributing books to his students

by Garuda Das

For more than thirty years, I have been teaching at the college and university levels of education. And during each one of those years, I have required students to purchase Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, and then read large portions of it for my courses. Well, during the pandemic, it is no exception. In the picture below, I have 100 books that I will be selling to students (at my cost, to make it easy), and for most of them, it will be the first time they will have encountered the authentic words of the Spiritual Master! Another 100 books will go out next semester as well.

Now, I may not measure up anywhere close to our glorious book distributors who go out and make themselve vulnerable to any and all goodness and levels of nastiness! These book distributors are extraordinary in the ways they sacrifice themselves for this book distribution sevā. I am in awe of them, always. However, I’m a bit spoiled. The persons to whom I sell these books are my students, who not only are required to purchase a copy, but must read deeply into the work and write about it! So, I get a different “high” than those who experience the magical encounter with strangers who take to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. But, in the end, book distribution is book distribution, no matter how its done or in what context it is done, as long as it is done with exemplary behavior and care. My attempt is to show great honor to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s book in the classroom as the writing by the world’s first ambassador from the Chaitanya Vaishnava school to the rest of the world, and by someone who lived and breathed the contents of this most beloved of all sacred texts in the East.

Garuda Das has been a disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda since 1972. He earned two master’s degrees and his doctorate from Harvard University in comparative religion with a specialization on Krishna Bhakti theology and classical Sanskrit writings. As a professor he teaches undergraduate students at a university in Virginia and graduate and doctoral students at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. www.garudadas.com

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