Some mornings I was giving the SB class and always connected the topic with book distribution. And every single day we were going out and distributing books, together with Sahasrajit and Visvambhara Prabhus, and some local devotees.
We were doing several trips to nearby towns like Sunam Ganj and Dhirai, and stayed there for one or two nights. During the day we would divide our whole team into four or five groups and visited the markets, and in the evenings we had programs lined up in some local Hindu temples or homes of devotees, where we would speak briefly about the glories of Prabhupada and his books, and simply request the audience to come forward and purchase some literature. And we would offer to sign them with blessings, which is always a good trick to get people involved.
So many books found their way into the homes of people - simply amazing! Every day we met several people who decided to accept the SB - either one of the three boxes with four cantos each, or even the entire set. Also sets of CC were distributed.
In Sunam Ganj we went to the City Council office and distributed books to the Hindus who were working there. The devotees also arranged a meeting with the Mayor who is a Muslim - he had helped ISKCON to get our temple established in this city. On behalf of ISKCON I expressed our gratitude and presented a BG to him, which he happily accepted. I shared how I came to Krsna consciousness, not being satisfied with a life of sense gratification, and looking for a higher purpose in life. He was visibly impressed, and also pleased to receive a foreign visitor in his office - something which might have never happened before in his entire life....
Over the years of preaching in Bangladesh I have had the pleasure of meeting many very cultured and respectful Muslims. Sometimes they are even more respectful and cultured than many Hindus....
One evening we conducted a very wonderful evening program in a Hindu temple in Dhirai. A couple of brahmacaris gave a short speech, and then Navadvip Gauranga Prabhu, one of our seniormost devotees who is now on the list of taking Sannyas performed a very sweet and heart moving bhajan which he had composed himself. It was all about Srila Prabhupada's wonderful family - a heartfelt invitation to become part of it, presented in the traditional bhajan style of singing, and then reciting further poetry while the mrdanga and kartals continue playing in fast rythm, followed by more singing. The audience was requesting another song, and in all humility Navadvip Prabhu turned towards me seeking permission to recite another bhajan. And the next one was all about ISKCON being Prabhupada's school - with Prabhupada's books being the school books! What a charming presentation - truly given with style, sincerity and pure desire to win the hearts of the audience!
I gave a strong speech about Srila Prabhupada and his books, and so many people came and accepted our books! The atmosphere was surcharged with joy and excitement - a truly memorable program!
Visvambhara Prabhu liked to go out with Navadvip Prabhu on book
distribution - serving as his dancing white elefant, and at the same time catching his nice mood of dealing with the people and inducing them to accept Prabhupada's books. Navadvip Gauranga Prabhu is setting such a wonderful example of a senior devotee and leader eagerly going out on book distribution - a truly genuine Vaisnava....!
On the 12th of December I flew off to Calcutta to visit the congregation of our ISKCON temple and offer the course "Women in Spiritual Culture" to the ladies. It was my very first visit to the Calcutta temple as a preacher.
I stayed in a guest room around the corner of the temple, and the devotees took nicely care of me. When attending the morning program I remembered my visit to Calcutta temple some twenty-five years ago. In those days the temple room was rather run down and dingy - now it is nicely renovated with marble floors and beautiful Srngasanas for the Deities.
Friday evening, and during the entire Saturday and Sunday I met with an eager and enthusiastic group of ladies, discussing the beautiful and highly important position of women within human society, with their precious role of being the auspicious source of energy and inspiration to men. The presentations were well received, and devotees expressed their gratitude and appreciation for my efforts of giving inspiration and guidance. Also here the principles of spiritual culture have almost become lost and forgotten due to so many modern influences entering from the Western world of sense gratification. And receiving this knowledge from a German person's mouth turned it once again into the latest thing - new and revolutionary....!
I had the opportunity to connect with many nice devotees and established relationships. And everybody urged me to come again soon.....
On the 15th of December I received my two assistants Alakananda and Madhuri Radhika Matajis at the Calcutta airport, arriving from Europe.
And we traveled out to Mayapur together...
Your servant, Devaki dd