A Lifetime Sankirtana Devotee
A most heartwarming sight during my visit to the French yatra is the example set by Janananda Goswami, a full-time sankirtana devotee. He prefers being on the road and distributing Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, in the form of his books, even in the harsh winters. He is the inspiration behind the sankirtana efforts in France, and he leads by example, tirelessly distributing books on streets or in airports, planes, and bus stations and everywhere else he sets foot.
Janananda Goswami’s enthusiasm is contagious, his dedication is admirable, and his determination simply beyond words. In the most indifferent of cities, like Paris, he blissfully mans a book table with no one accompanying him, no servant, no disciple, no follower. He sends all of them out to distribute books as he stands alone, picks up kartals, and chants Hare Krishna. Most people hardly notice him. Some passersby toss coins in his donation box, and in return he smiles and hands them a book, asking them to take this cadeau (“gift” in French).
This is the revered guru of hundreds of disciples worldwide, and he does not give a damn that he is all alone on the road with nothing but his unflinching faith in Prabhupada to support him. Many people perhaps take him for a poor, hungry, or even homeless man, who sings and sells books on the street for his maintenance. They have no idea that he is no ordinary human being but a worshipable representative of God for a devotee community that spans the world. But that is the last thing on his mind. He is only bothered about distributing books and bringing souls to Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet.
In this way, he exemplifies following his spiritual master’s instructions to preach. Srila Prabhupada was all alone, preaching boldly, with no capital other than his faith in his guru maharaja. Following in Prabhupada’sfootsteps, he demonstrates what a real disciple of Prabhupada is, in doing exactly what Prabhupada himself did and urged every one of his followers to do. And the result? Young women and men in the Paris yatra followed suit and started singing Hare Krishna in the streets, preaching and distributing books alone, fearlessly, with nothing but faith in their own gurus and Srila Prabhupada to back them up when it got hard.
All glories to the harinama sankirtana maha-yajna!