Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Worlwide, people are wasting their human lives by “chewing the chewed,” or gratifying their senses. Imagine someone picking up from the ground a chewed piece of gum and chewing it to get some pleasure. Disgusting! Well, that's material life: a disgusting existence.
They don't know that by satisfying the senses of Krishna their senses will be satisfied. We have to give them this good news, by giving them the important message from Krishna they can be free of the reactions of their sinful activities and move forward on the path of bhakti. Sure, it's an austerity to approach people and try to presuade them to take a book and give a donation, but austerity is what human life is meant for. Lord Rshabhadeva says, “We should not waste our time in engaging in sense gratification like the animals but we should engage in austerities by which we attain spiritual happiness.”
It's an austerity for the mind (which hates it), and the false ego can't stand it, either, but the soul loves it, because the soul is getting cleansed and purified, which is what we, the soul, want more than anything. As purified souls we will be able to lovingly serve Srimati Radharani and Sri Krishna.
During this marathon let's act by what Prabhupada said should be our only motto in life: “Read and distribute books!”
He said, “If we distribute books, we'll be happy, and if we read the books we'll stay devotees.”
To make it clearer he said, “Krishna consciousness is the absolute need of the present day society, and there are many people who will come to join us if we simply make these teachings of Bhagavad-gita and the rest of the vedic literature available to them.” To further confirm this, he said, “The immediate important business is how to distribute these books all over the world.” And finally: “There is no doubt about it, book distribution is our most important activity.”
There is no official starting date of the marathon. Some temples already began, some start in mid-December. In the beginning it was only three days long, the three days before Christmas. Then it increased to ten days, then to the month of December, which is mostly what it is now. But some devotees never stop the marathon. In World War I and World War II there were remote areas of the world where soldiers didn't know the wars were over, and when someone would tell them, “It's over,” they wouldn't believe it and wanted to keep fighting.
Similarly, some devotee soldiers don't know when the marathon ends, and they just keep going; devotees like Brghupati Prabhu, Bharadwaj Prabhu, Madhusundara Prabhu, Paramesvara Prabhu and many others who never stop their marathon. For them, it's a constant marathon, and these are the real soldiers in Lord Caitanya's army. We may not all be able to be on a constant marathon like these great souls, but let's do something this December for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada, to show him our gratitude for what he gave us. Srila Prabhupada said, “You cannot repay me for what I have given you, but if you want to try, then distribute books.
World Enlightenment Day is on December 15th.