Srila Prabhupada’s Mercy – Better than Any GPS
by Bhakta Hemant & Bhaktin Aditi
Earlier this year, ISKCON Pretoria (South Africa) launched the Sastra Dana library initiative. Our aim was to place sponsored Medium Sets of Srila Prabhupada's books consisting of the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna Book, The Science of Self-Realization, and ten to fifteen small books – in the forty-odd community libraries in Pretoria. By the causeless mercy of Srila Prabhupada, we received more sponsorships than libraries.
What was most enlivening in this whole experience was to see devotees enthusiastically come forward to support the project and sponsor books. Some devotees sponsored books on behalf of family members, some on behalf of devotees who had encouraged them. One devotee even sponsored books on behalf of his spiritual master. When we received a sponsorship, we would insert a note in each book indicating who the sponsor was and also giving the contact info for the temple. When we had all the sets ready, we started delivering the books to the libraries and this was the most interesting part.
A vast majority of the community libraries in Pretoria are located in previously disadvantaged areas poor areas that had grown dilapidated due to neglect by the previous South African apartheid regime. As can be imagined, getting to these libraries was difficult. First we'd make a courteous phone call to the library informing them we would be coming with the books, and weÕd ask for directions. This involved scribbling road names on a piece of paper while trying to follow a route on Google Maps. With that done, we'd be ready for the delivery.
With the trunk of the car filled with Srila Prabhupada's books, we would drive out into these townships confident that we would not get lost. But what seemed so easy on Google Maps turned out to be much harder on the ground. We would end up navigating our way within a tightly knit grid of narrow roads. We almost always took a wrong turn and found ourselves lost in the maze of roads and filled with anxiety.
But amazingly, each time we would get lost Srila Prabhupada's mercy always came to the rescue. We would get a strong message from within the heart "Turn left at the next junction." When we reached the next junction, with no other hope we would follow the inner voice and turn left. As we headed down that road, another inspiration would come from within the heart: "Turn right at the next stop." When we looked at the street sign, it was definitely not the road we were looking for. But still we turned right and headed somewhere. And amazingly enough, we would soon find ourselves right at the entrance of the library. This happened repeatedly. Truly, the mercy of Srila Prabhupada is better than any GPS!
As we handed Srila Prabhupada's books to the librarian, we would usually receive generous thanks and appreciations truly an unforgettable experience. We are very grateful that Srila Prabhupada used us as his instruments to deliver the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to these libraries.