Candidates for Mercy by Navina Nirada Dasa
Navina Nirada Dasa
HERE ARE SOME experiences and realizations of devotees who give people Krsna consciousness through books by Srila Prabhupada and his followers.
Big Change for a Big Woman
Another devotee and I and were distributing books in Lithuanian villages. In Darbenai, one of the larger villages, I was going to homes that were not much more than huts. I wondered how people could survive in such places. Hardly anyone was interested in the books.
Krsna finally brought me to a big house with several good cars in the driveway. I met the son of the owner, and he liked the books but didn't have money and suggested I find his mother. So I shouted "Mistress!" as is usual in such villages. The mistress showed her face in the door. She was a huge women, and I felt very meek in her presence.
"My son was joking," she said. "None of us needs Krsna. And you look suspicious."
I convinced her to let me into the house, but she again said, "We don't need Krsna."
She finally decided to get rid of me by taking one book.
The next day I went to the high school. First I met the sports teacher. I told her what the books were about, and she enthusiastically introduced me to other teachers. We gradually made it to the library, and I put the whole set of books in front of the librarian.
"Ha!" she exclaimed. "I've been searching for these books everywhere. How much does the set cost?"
The books are expensive for Lithuania, but the librarian didn't want to lose her chance, so she took us to the director's office.
The director seemed very liberal and said, "Ah, Krsna." He told the teachers, "Decide yourself. If you like them, go to the accountant. She's responsible for finances."
When the director mentioned the accountant's name, everyone fell silent. I understood there would be problems.
The librarian, the teachers, and I anxiously made our way to the accountant's office. I knocked at the door, opened it and there stood the same huge woman I had met the day before.
"What are these drunkards doing here?" she shouted. "I already bought a book just out of compassion."
Trying to be firm, I put the whole set on the table in front of her, with the twenty or so teachers gathered around me.
"We don't need these books! Do you understand? And how dare you come here!"
The teachers tried to pacify her.
"We need these books. Let's …"
"No, we don't need these books! The school doesn't have the money!"
The director looked through the door, mumbled, "So, girls, decide," and quickly disappeared.
"We won't take these books!" decided the accountant.
But then one teacher said, "I'll take this one," and she took a book from the pile.
"I'll take this," said another.
After a minute there were no books left on the table.
The shocked accountant shouted, "Put them back! We don't have money." Then, after a pause, "Well, maybe it is possible. Let's try. Okay, I'll accept responsibility."
She opened the safe, counted the money, and gave it to me.
Some teachers took books for themselves, and the accountant sat looking at the set in front of her. I thought I should give her something, so I had Mukunda, our driver, bring in a postcard of Mother Yasoda holding baby Krsna.
"This is very old and divine," I said. "Please meditate on them; they will protect you from all troubles."
The teachers gathered around to see what it was.
"Oh, they'll steal it!" exclaimed the accountant. "I'll take it home. Thank you very much."
Nityananda-Rama Dasa, Russia
I was distributing books near the subway in Vladivostok when an unkempt man came up to me and asked about the books. He said he very much wanted to get the Bhagavad-gita but had no money.
"He looks like a bum," I thought. "He's just going to bother me."
Although he asked me questions and kept saying how much he wanted the Bhagavad-gita, I had already decided not to give it to him for free.
But Krsna had His own plan. The moment I decided to get rid of the beggar, a man ran past us and lost a wad of money. The beggar saw the money, picked it up, and ran after the man to return it to him. But the man had vanished.
"Now this beggar will buy vodka and sausage," I thought.
I was wrong. He came back with the money and asked for a Gita.
Srutadeva Dasa, Russia
Navina Nirada Dasa, a disciple of Harikesa Swami, has been a leading book distributor for many years. He heads ISKCON's book distribution ministry and travels worldwide to train and inspire book distributors.