I was at one of the bigger schools and saw a student who looked pretty hip and together, so I ran to catch up with him. I showed him the books and he immediately looked at me asking, “Are these the edited ones?” I busted out laughing in total surprise that a regular guy knew about how Srila Prabhupada’s books are being heavily edited and changed, and is smart enough to not buy into that nonsense. I flipped open to the publisher’s page in the front of the books and showed him that these are published by Krishna Books Inc., who only publish the original stuff. I told him I don’t like all the editing, either.
I asked him, “How did you know about the editing of these books”? He said, “A while ago there were some other people here passing out some books and I looked in the front and it said ‘REVISED’ in it and so I handed it back to them. I told them I don’t want an edited version, I want the original thing!” So he very happily gave a nice donation and took Srila Prabhupada’s original books.
I stopped one Indian man and presented him Srila Prabhupada’s books. He immediately smiled, stood very erect and said in a bit of a know-it-all way: “Oh, Prabhupada, he is a great scholar”. I got a serious expression on my face and firmly replied, “NO, he is much more than just a scholar. He is realized, he is a practitioner, he is a devotee, so his translations are not just scholarly or academic. They are realized, and will reveal to you realizations in your own heart, it’s all about experience.”
As I said this, his facial expressions went from jolly and a bit arrogant to serious and he said: “You know, I am physicist, and I have this book, and I know your Prabhupada”. Then he stopped talking for a moment and then he said in a whole other tone of voice, “I was just walking here one second ago before you stopped me and I was thinking about particles and atoms, and that it’s all useless knowledge unless you experience it. You have to experience it, realize it, and now you’re here telling me the same thing that I was just thinking about!”
He gave a nice donation and took all the books I had and asked if I had any other books by “Swami Prabhupada”, but unfortunately that day I only had three titles with me, so he only took those. Then he just started, on his own accord, glorifying Srila Prabhupada to me, saying he is such a great realized master and how wonderful Srila Prabhupada is, and he thanked me very much for distributing these books and being out there.
Being the last day of final exams, not too many students were around and the pickings were slim. So I approached the only person I saw. Judging by his clothing, demeanor, gait and haircut he looked as straight as a nail and like some type of a military kid. I presented the books to him. He, like many students who are away from home for the first time and burned out by the end of the year from too much partying and studying, was not too present or attentive when I was talking to him. So after I had explained what the books are about, the guy said, “So what is it about?” Obviously he was not listening to me at all the first time I explained it. So again I explained it to him, this time in slow motion. Now he looked up at me and said clearly and matter-of-factly, “Yeah, I have been looking for something like this, thank you so much! Is fifteen dollars ok?” Then, while looking me right in the eyes, he just kept on saying to me again and again, “Thank you so much, thank you so much, this is awesome!”
I was a little surprised at his level of appreciation and how he said he has been looking for something like this, so I asked him, “What is it about this that you’ve been looking for?” He replied that when he grew up he was religious, but he got out of it, came to college and got into partying and drinking. But the scene got old really quick. He wanted to quit drinking and get his life together and do something with himself because, in his words, he really just lost himself. So he found the books important and special and was grateful. He assured me he would read them. Thanking me a few more times, he walked away with the greatest gift one human being can give to another – Srila Prabhupada’s books.
If you would like some of Srila Prabhupada’s original, authorized (pre-1978) books to bring with you in your daily life to distribute, please goto www.KrishnaStore.com.