Changing Minds and Hearts Compiled 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.
Follow the Leader
In Lithuania we went to a construction site to distribute books. We found five Russian workers in a hut, preparing for lunch.
"Hello, I have something for you," I said.
Experience told me I had only a small chance of success. They seemed to be waiting for someone else. Still, I put my set of books on their small table. But under the weight, their lunches started to fall to the floor.
"Get out of here!" they shouted.
Then their leader came in with two bottles of vodka (they can't imagine having lunch without it), and all the workers started to shout joyfully. I was the only morose one.
"What are you doing here? Get out!" shouted the brigade leader when he saw me in the smoky room.
They all looked at me angrily. Only by the Lord's mercy was I able to pacify them, and they agreed to listen to my presentation for five minutes. It wasn't my best performance. And although I tried hard, their eyes still looked the same after several minutes.
"Wait a minute " said the brigade leader suddenly, as he pointed to one of the books in the pile.
The workers awakened from their dreams and looked at the books.
"What is this book?" the leader asked.
The other men seemed curious now.
I went through the books until I reached Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
"Yes, this is the same book!" said the leader, as if he had found an old lost friend.
"The same book!" he said. "Oh, I have it at home!"
My confidence jumped.
But then he shook his head.
"Such a difficult book," he said. "Very difficult."
My confidence started to sink.
"It's hard to believe, guys," he told the men, "but I tried my best for four months and still couldn't understand anything. Then I had my vacation. I decided to go for several months, and I took this book with me. Instead of completely wasting my time, I tried to study the book. You can't imagine every word in this book is like nectar. So much realization. So much truth. You must take the sets for yourself, and I'll take a set for my family."
"But we'll never be able to understand them," protested one of the workers.
"That doesn't matter," the chief said. "Maybe you are fools, but your children will read the books, and they'll thank you. They'll appreciate them."
Turning toward me he said, "Thank you very much. You are doing very important work."
Nityananda Rama Dasa adhikari
"You Saved My Life"
I walked over to a man sitting in the driver's seat of a parked car and handed him a copy of The Science of Self-Realization. As he looked at the beautiful photograph of Srila Prabhupada on the cover, I spoke to him about the book and about the chanting of Hare Krsna.
On the seat beside him I noticed a large knife, some whisky bottles, and what appeared to be a package of illegal drugs. The man accepted the book and left. I went on with my service.
A half an hour later he returned and asked to speak with me urgently.
"It's a life or death situation," he said.
I sat in the car with him, and he told his story.
"At the moment you first saw me," he said, "I was going straight to kill someone who owed me money and was refusing to pay me."
He showed me the knife.
"I was going to get intoxicated so I could get up the courage to kill him. But I don't know what happened. I saw the monk on the cover of this book and chanted the Hare Krsna song you taught me, and suddenly someone is telling me from inside, 'Forget about the money. Don't kill him.' "
He was clearly moved.
"I just came to thank you, because you saved my life."
I told him to thank Lord Krsna, who was telling him from within to forget the money and the murder.
We became good friends, and I invited him to visit the temple and to go deep into the philosophy of Krsna conscious4ness.
Haripada Dasa adhikari
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.