This year, the New Delhi Pusthak Mela, or book fair, took place from 23 to 31 August. As usual, the devotees from our Sri Ramana-vihari Gaudiya Math set up a book stall and invited all devotees who were interested to come and join in the book distribution there.
Every day, we would start our distribution with guru-puja, followed by some bhajans, and a maha-sankirtana, in which devotees would dance in front of the stall. Many times people from the neighboring stalls would join in the dancing and singing.
Attracted by the kirtana, people would come into the stall and curiously look at Srila Gurudeva’s jewel-like books.
After the kirtana, we would hand flyers to the people passing by our stall, pointing out the purebhakti.com webpage on it, and informing them that all the books that they saw in the stall were available there for free downloading. This incited curiosity within many, and they strolled in to check out our offer.
Inside the stall, the devotees present attended to all kinds of questions and inquiries, varying from “Where are you from?” and “How long have you been in India?”, over “Do you have any books on spirituality and management?”, to “Everybody is always talking about Krishna, but I’m looking for something on Radha-tattva. Do you have anything on that topic?”
In the meantime, other devotees would get ready to go out into the three large book fair exposition halls, to distribute books to the thousands of people wandering around from stall to stall.
And five-year-old Indulekha also helped! Together with her mummie she would approach people and offer books, pointing out pictures of Krishna inside, or if other children would pass by, she would bring her own Govardhan coloring book and show how nice it is to color in the plates. Often she would invite the other kids to help her color in bit as well.
And just like our days at the book fair started with kirtana, they also ended with it.