A Wealthy Beggar

A wealthy beggar

Over the summer I've been traveling with book distributors from the Simhachalam temple in Germany. They distribute Srila Prabhupada's books in southern Germany and in Austria.

One day I was in the center of St. Poelten, Austria. An older woman approached me with her hand out, begging for coins. Her skin was somewhat dark. She could have been a gypsy; Roma is the more politically correct term. Wherever I've been to distribute books, beggars are not uncommon. In Germany and Austria, some, like the lady who approached me, are from Eastern Europe.

I spoke to her in English, which I assumed she wouldn't understand. Still, I addressed her full of care and understanding: "Mother, I am a beggar just like you. What can I do for you? Please understand. I am here distributing books."

As I was still talking to her a, boy walked up with a palmful of coins, which he thrust into her hand. Then as I turned away from her to distribute, she saw the cover of the German Isopanishad in my hand.

In a voice full of wonder she said "Krsna!?"

I paused. I was surprised how much feeling she put into that one word "Krsna" — exclaiming and inquiring at the same time. I showed her the book cover. It is blue with Lord Visnu in water up to his waist. Then I showed her the paintings inside, pointing at each image of the Lord and saying "Krsna." She kept on repeating His name with feeling.

As I handed her the book I thought to myself that I would like to have as much feeling for and attraction to Krsna as she had. I asked her if she could give a donation for the book. Without hesitation she handed me the coins the boy had given her.

Your servant,
Harinama Dasa

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