Dear Respected Maharajas, Prabhus and Didis,
Dandavat pranama. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva. I am writing this letter from Bangalore, India, to tell the devotees around the world about an exciting new development and opportunity for service. We have informed Srila Gurudeva about the developments here, and he was kind enough to express his pleasure with it.
We have a house and seven devotees, three of whom are full time sankirtana devotees engaged primarily in book distribution in the westernized areas of Bangalore. We also do nagara-sankirtana and house programs, and hold a Sunday program for the public. Our big thrill and inspiration however is coming for the results that we are getting from book distribution. We invite more devotees to come here and experience this wonderful seva in a great environment.
When we first arrived in December 2003, we knew that we wanted to find a way to distribute Srila Gurudevas books and for the first 2 1/2 months, we tried all kinds of things store to store, books tables, sales to the crowds that gathered to watch us chant, and random sales wherever else we were. We had enough success, to convince us to come back after Gaura Purnima and try again.
After celebrating Gaura Purnima in Vrndavana, we returned with renewed determination. Day after day we gave classes and discussed the technical and spiritual aspects of transcendental book distribution as guru-seva. Both Guruttama and I had a lot of experience in ISKCON. He was an extremely successful book distributor for over 20 years, primarily at airports. I had experience distributing BTGs and books at all levels since 1971 and was also a sankirtana and bus leader for the Radha Damodara travelling parties. We felt that if we could renew our commitment to the same spiritual principles that were so successful for Srila Prabhupada during the 1970s that we could help to initiate the second revolution in book love distribution that Srila Gurudeva has often talked about.
Well, it is working, and faster than we thought it would. Our men are all relatively new to this seva. When we first started, we were distributing as a group, maybe one or two large books like Jaiva Dharma and perhaps 30-40 booklets per week. Now we are seeing improvement day after day and currently each of our men is distributing up to 10 Jaiva Dharmas and 30-50 small books per day. They have no doubt that very soon they will be distributing at least 20 Jaiva Dharmas per day as well as many small books.
The people they meet are very impressed and many come to our Sunday program which has grown, in just 4 weeks, to 20 guests. It is so satisfying to see the fruits of our preaching efforts ripen. Some of these people are now regular congregation members and some will become full time devotees. There are two ISKCON temples to visit, with deities and the whole package, but they choose to come to our humble little house, simply because they like our devotees and were moved by their sincere hari-katha.
Now we want to invite more men to join us in this wonderful endeavor. Unfortunately we cannot invite our respected sisters to come here yet, as we only have one small house; but we hope to have facility in the future.
Bangalore is a place to become very fixed in this sankirtana seva. The principles that you will learn can be applied in any situation or location.
Everything is favorable:
1. A very large percentage of people speak English; 2. The city is affluent and people can easily afford large and small books; 3. The climate is quite temperate with no extremes in any season, 4. Good health is easy to maintain with high quality fruits and vegetables and free health and dental care; 5. We can easily travel anywhere in India to see Srila Gurudeva when he is here, or travel to other holy tirthas, especially in South India. 6. The culture is still chaste and there is respect for those living a spiritual life. 7. 4-5 hours of book distribution and lots of time in the morning and evening for hearing and chanting and reading.
Come for a few months and become enlivened to sell Srila Gurudevas books. We welcome devotees that want to distribute books full time, as well as those that want to do other seva to support that effort (cleaning, cooking, nagara sankirtana, etc.).
I have written a few stories about our early days here, in the Gaudiya Courier, which you can view on the purebhakti.com and IGVP websites. If you would like to inquire further, you may write to me at .
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
BV Vaikhanas, Guruttama dasa, Sri Nidhi Syama dasa, Giridhari dasa, Jaya Gopal dasa, Manmohan dasa, Caitanya dasa