Book Distribution on the Azores islands

Book distribution on the Azores islands

For a couple of months every year, for the last ten years or so, I've visited the Azores islands, an autonomous region of Portugal, in the mid-Atlantic.

On one of the islands, where just five hundred inhabitants live, I was giving out books one day. A lady who stopped to talk began to take something from her purse, which I thought might be an offical government document identifying her, and that she'd ask me to stop my book distribution.

But in her purse she had the maha-mantra written a paper. She kept it there because the chanting gave her peace. She'd gotten the mantra from a tape recording that someone had loaned her. She writes it down in her new diary every year, too. About three years later, I met her again in a city on one of the bigger islands.

Another lady I met also kept the mantra, but at her home. She'd gotten a mantra card from a devotee one day immediately after she'd left a hospital, where her tumor was diagnosed as benign. Relieved at this good news, she took the mantra as a sign that she should use her life spiritually.

On a small island, with very few houses and businesses, there is a famous religious procession held annually. Many people from other islands attend. They cover the street itself with flowers and and set up floral designs along the street for a procession of the statue of Jesus Christ. I first distributed a book to each of the few houses, because I'd gotten there early in the morning before the procession.

Then I approached a man in religious garb, and he happened to be a bishop in the Azores. I probably never would have been able to meet him even if I had gone to his residence, but here he was. His opinion is that Jesus had been in India. So he gladly took several large books and donated generously.

Your servant,

Parama Dhama Dasa

Editor's note:

Parma Dhama is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada's who's distributed books for forty years in Spain. He also cares for a few cows at New Vraja-mandala.

He explained that at first he did book distribution to maintain his family and to avoid doing business. He thought, Whatever I am destined to get, I will get it either way, but I don't want to just sell jewelry or something, so why not distribute books?

Eventually he developed a great feeling for this service. He quotes Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, who said that devotees transform the desires of the jiva because they are merciful; they free the jiva from maya; and devotees should spill their blood to nourish the spiritual life of each individual in the world.

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