When we distribute books, we really see the dualities of this world. I was distributing at Venice Beach in Los Angeles, probably the biggest tourist attraction in LA and a big attraction for the locals as well, when I approached a man saying, “Excuse me,” to which he replied, “Shut up.”
The next person I approached put his hands together and said, “Namaste, Hare Krsna.”
In the Bhagavad-gita Krsna says, “One who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.”
We have to transcend the dualities of this world, and book distribution helps us do it. The Acaryas have said, “He who praises you is your enemy, and he who criticizes you is your friend.”
Book distribution helps us to check the false ego. We may have a big idea of who we are, but when we go out to distribute, people will criticise us and ignore us. This is a medicine for reducing the false ego. When people give donations and take Prabhupada’s books, I thank them, and when people criticize, ignore, and don’t take a book after my telling them about it, I still thank them because they’re helping me to dissolve the false ego.
Now here’s a nice story.
I was distributing at Venice again when I approached three people and offered the books to them.
One of them said very sternly, “We’re Christians!”
I said, “Wow, that’s great. You know atheism is increasing all over the world, so it’s nice to meet believers. And you know we’re on the same side. There are so many arguments against atheism in the books you’re holding. Do you know why I stopped you people?”
“Because you all have good energy. And do you know why you all have good energy?”
“Because you are all God conscious. The result of reading the books you have is that the good energy will increase.”
They gave a nice donation and took the books I gave them.
This is an example of how to turn a negative into a positive.
If you sell a book to someone, that is better than your speaking to them—what will your three minutes’ preaching do?
(Srila Prabhupada letter Brahmananda, November 3rd, 1972)