2019.1-3 2018 New Year Beginnings (Gurudeva, California, MSF)

Dear Devotees,

Hare Krishna!

Please kindly accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

After a very inspiring blessings-filled 2018, I offered the results up to Guru and Krishna, and started with an empty roster of Sankirtan outings. It’s such a relief to be the little jiva who owns nothing, has nothing, because otherwise it can get too heavy for my tiny shoulders. So, I started on Jan 1st, 2019, with ZERO outings.

The same experience can be had when we chant our quota of rounds, then the sun sets, and we wake up from bed having chanted ZERO for the day 🙂 Its a lot of fun to just give up all results to Krishna really, then every day becomes such an adventure.

So, in 2018, my personal goal is to go out on a minimum of 108 Sankirtan outings, and write about the experience. I will also strive to follow up with those who gave me their contact details, though I haven’t figured out a sustainable way of doing that – if I add a 100+ contacts each year (actually more), how can I serve each individual personally? That’s my prayer to Guru, Krishna, and Vaishnavas, how can we serve these interested souls adequately beyond getting them a book and a mantra?

Summary:

Jan 9 – 13 – Distributing Sankarshan Prabhu’s books, collectively one outing
Jan 14-18 – Travel & Office Sankirtan, collectively one outing
Jan 26 – MSF Door-to-door

Total 3 Outings

My year always begins with a bang, with the spiritual master’s personal presence in Toronto, and Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to his followers to continue writing books, I had an opportunity to participate in book distribution of Sankarshan Prabhu’s books – titles like “Truth Works Volume One”, “Stop Worrying Start Living”, “Pursuit of Excellence in Krishna Consciousness”, “Conquer your Mind Conquer the World”, “Uttama Bhakti”, it was a pleasure to watch these books going out after enlivening programs.

From Jan 14-18, I had the opportunity to travel South on business, and while almost continuous rain and a bad case of the flu made it hard for me to go out, there were numerous opportunities to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books, on planes, in offices, and in stores. All of those interactions over many days I counted as one outing.

MSF continues to be my most predictable opportunity to go out on Sankirtan… on a really cold day we knocked on doors near 401/Kennedy and that was an enlivening experience! I did unfortunately miss the Evening of Bhakti in January

India Sankirtan!
From Feb 7 – Mar 28, I have the golden opportunity to be back in India, mostly on pilgrimage, but also out on Sankirtan. Its not too cold there, and there are many more souls there too. My plan is to take some books with me, and when those get distributed, then get a few books from the local temples and try to distribute everywhere I go. What do I have to lose? Nothing! What do I have to gain? Everything!

What makes it easier is that some of my Godbrothers have arranged some progams where they are inviting some souls over. One of my University classmates, who is now a Professor at a University in India has also arranged a program for his students. He’s agreed to distribute books there, even though it is technically illegal to do so in a publicly funded institution in India. I’m hoping to distribute to family, friends, shopkeepers, and just trying some street Sankirtan and some door-to-door wherever possible! May it be possible! I know for sure that I will have more outings there than I would here in the chill of Canada.

Here are a few memorable interactions:

I met Glenda on a flight to California. Initially I thought she was South African, but turns out she is a New Zealander. Going home to visit her elderly ailing mother, Glenda said she didn’t want to think about it (made a mental note to try a Hiding in Unnatural Happiness with her), and then revealed that she and her husband were trying to go vegetarian (perfect for Higher Taste). Due to my developing flu and the sleep deficit over the ecstatic week that my spiritual master was in town, I had to sleep for most of the flight, but the first 20 mins and the last 20 mins turned out to be pivotal. She accepted the books, gave me her contact details. She lives in Barrie, and I know we have a couple of fired up devotees in Barrie. So in due course of time, Glenda will be enveloped in the loving embrace of Krishna’s family in Barrie.

J is a colleague, having read (and relished) Higher Taste, she was ready for Chant and Be Happy! She took the book enthusiastically and told me of her continued progress in being vegetarian! The Mahamantra is the real deal – she said she’d share with her sister.

A is another colleague, troubled with so many stresses! He opened up to me one day, and we spent over an hour discussing the Gita, and “I just happen to have an extra copy here in my top drawer” LOL! 🙂 He has asked me before these retreats I attend and organize, so at the earliest opportunity he is coming to a Kirtan near him.

J is a super-senior businessman, the top C in the company I work for. He had before had some really intriguing deep conversations with me and accepted a “bridge” book written by a Jewish author who no longer practices Krishna consciousness but remains a friend. This time, I hit him with another Jewish author who does practice Krishna consciousness, Jayadvaita Swami’s “Vanity Karma” with the line “Hey this book is real mysterious, if you figure it out, let me know” and he said yes. When I read that book myself, it inspired a deep sense of vairagya, further convincing me of the futility of pursuing material goals, and helped me refocus in my attempt to be Krishna conscious. I am hoping J, who is “getting old” (in his own words) can continue his journey.

P was a Punjabi man in an apartment. He was moving some mattresses in/out of the apartment. He took a book from us, Hari Bhakti Vilas Prabhu and myself, actually two. But when it came time to give a donation, “something, anything for Krishna and the temple, maybe a banana, or an apple”, he became “busy” and said “let we do our work” forbade the lady, and shut the door on us! This was inspite of the fact that the lady of the house was busying herself in finding us something to take for Krishna! I was reminded of Krishna and Balaram’s cowherd friends, who were completely ignored by the Brahmanas! May the poor lady find an opportunity to serve Krishna soon!
Very soon after though, a pious Gujarati couple gratefully accepted a Gita and finding no cash, gave us some vegetables for Krishna.
My Sankirtan outings goal for 2019 is 108, and write about them all, and I now have 105 to go. Please bless me that I may humbly perform this service. I am very greedy for your blessings. In fact, I am 100% convinced that I can only go out on Harinam Sankirtan because of your blessings, because otherwise I am just a useless fool.

Praying to be always out on Harinam Sankirtan, or at least be in Harinam Sankirtan consciousness 24X7, this is my humble desire, though I must admit that unfortunate as I am, I still maintain all sorts of material attachments.