I heard a few days ago about a Pride festival happening around my city for this coming weekend from the front page the newspaper that gets delivered to my building. I noticed that the front cover photo was taken at the park just a two minute walk from my home and after reading a bit further into the article I saw that part of the day’s events would be taking place there during the afternoon, and would include a market with different vendors, and some live music.
So I thought about it for a few days and thought it would be a good place to do some sit down kirtan. Then, just the day before the festival, it turned out that since most the local devotees were engaged with work or not available, it would be a great opportunity to just go out with some of Srila Gurudeva’s books.
So the next day I was ready to go and filled my backpack up with books that had been donated from a few different devotees and was feeling optimistic about the nice timing of everything. However I also had a bit of hesitation going, and was thinking about what to say or how the message of Krsna consciousness would fit in with the people I met, so I read over the article again and got some ideas of things to say and how to relate, and was feeling that Srila Gurudeva’s books would be a great addition to the festival. Also going with the title of the newspaper article, which talked about Pride, was reminded of the mood of having pride in Sri Guru as inspiration. After that, also went and read a bit more from Srila Gurudeva’s bookbook, The Soul of Book Distribution, and was ready to go.
Once at the festival I walked around a bit to see how everything thing was, and then went and sat down on a bench for a little while to just see the atmosphere, and also did some last minute texting to see if anyone would join me. Then I noticed an empty table near the vendors and was able to go over and lie a shawl down and set up the books that had been donated – I hadn’t registered before to have a table but it turned out to work out fine.
This worked well as opposed to being in a slower area or approaching people individually. And also turned out to be a bit more anxiety free.
The day passed fairly quickly, and in the end, about half or more of the books I had brought were distributed, as well as a collection of art cards which caught many people’s attention including those who weren’t so interested in reading.
There were many nice and interested people throughout the day, and about two nice people that stuck out for the day that I met. One was near the middle of the day, he came over and was looking at all the books and asking questions and was very interested. He had read three different translations of the Bhagavad Gita before, so he was glad to get Srila Prabhupada’s Gita As it is, with his purports, then he also took some of Srila Gurudeva’s books like Siva Tattva, and Secrets of the Undiscovered Self, along with an art card or two. He was glad and as I watched him walking away with the books I saw that he went back to the booth straight across from me which happened to be called the Utilitarian Church, which I later found out to be a branch of Christianity that is more Universal and open in its approach encouraging people to exploring different faiths and follow their own intuition and personal leaning. He seemed to be happy with all his books and the lady sitting next to him was also happy to receive an art card that I gave her a little bit later.
Then at the end, just as I was packing up there was another man who was interested and came to look at the books. At first he appeared to be a bit quiet or reserved, but then I realized he was hearing impaired, so I remembered some sign language I learned in Grade 8 since my high school was also the provincial school for the deaf, and introduced myself, and he was glad to communicate and he took a book and gave a donation and a smile.
Over all it was good festival, minus a few aspects of the environment,and had a positive message which worked out well to share Srila Gurudeva’s books with everyone. I felt glad to have went and hope to have many more positive experiences with books and other seva opportunities.
Jai Srila Gurudeva! Jai SrilaPrabhupada!