Waking up a sleeping soul — how tough is that?
I was doing a book table in the Hamilton CBD, and a drunk and homeless guy walks up and says, “Do you know Jesus Christ?”
As all book distributors know, this is the beginning of a tough time. So I said, “Yes, he’s the son of God.”
He looked at me in shock and disbelief. “You believe that?” he asked.
I reassured him, and suddenly he was pacified. He started looking at the books. He picked up one and said, “I got this book! I thought it was rubbish so I flushed it down the toilet.”
At this point, I gave up hope for the guy. A lady was at the table taking a real interest in the books, so I switched my attention to her. The guy was being a very disturbing drunk clown, but luckily this lady turned out to be a regular from the Mantra Lounge.
Michelle, a very keen reader, had already read Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrta. That was far out, because she didn’t look like the type of person that would have read so much.
“You guys have to print some more books,” she said. “I’ve read all these.”
I said, “Next week I’ll come up with a Prabhupada Lilamrita for you.” She looked excited.
Suddenly, the drunk pointed to an Easy Journey to Other Planets.
“Can I have that one?” he asked. “I’ll give you a donation.”
I said, “OK, just don’t flush this one down the toilet.”
He promised me that he wouldn’t and became so enthusiastic that he started to persuade Michelle to buy a copy too, even though she’s read all the books. It was humorous, and then they both left.
I had tried to give him prasad, but he strongly refused. “I only eat alcohol,” he’d said.
The next week, doing books in the same place with Joel, the drunk comes to the table again, his eyes beaming.
“Hare Krishna! Hare Rama!”
He told me that he’d read the whole book and thoroughly enjoyed it, exclaiming, “I want to give up drugs, alcohol, and gambling! I want to go to Goloka Vrindavan!”
I was speechless. He started diving into the book table and picked up a Bhagavatam 1.1, asking me whether this is the book mentioned in Easy journey. I said yes. He looks at it a bit, but he wasn’t convinced. So I showed him Bhagavad Gita, and he flicked through it but still was not enthused. Then he sees The Path of Perfection.
“Woah, can I have that one?” he asks and opens it up to a blank page for two seconds and says, “Yep! I’ll take this one!”
He gave a donation. I offered him prasad, but still he rejected it. He took the book and left.
The next week he comes past the table with his head shaved, and he looked quite sober and peaceful. He told me his name and said that he finished reading Path of Perfection and was completely convinced by Prabhupada’s teachings.
“Krishna is the way!”
He picked up Beyond Illusion and Doubt and asked whether he could have it. I said yes and gave him some beads so he could start chanting.
Then he asked, “Do you think I could have a muffin?”
Finally! He took prasad and walked off, happy and peaceful.
For me, this solidly proved how powerful Srila Prabhupada’s books are. They can turn a seemingly hopeless, homeless drunk and angry Christian into devotee of Krishna.
A picture of him is attached.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Your aspiring servant,