Book distribution is difficult. When most people in the world are interested in things other than Krishna, to stop them and convince them to listen to Krishna’s words is not easy. They will have an unlimited number of excuses to turn in a different direction.
In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says,
catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
janāḥ sukṛtino ’rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
“O best among the Bhāratas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.”
But piety can also become an impediment on the way to Krishna. Raghunath Puri Das, one of our regular book distributors in Chowpatty, Mumbai, has noticed that these four qualifications that Krishna has mentioned in the Gita can often turn into disqualifications in getting attracted to Krishna.
Here are some typical conversations that happen when he meets with such people:
1. Meeting with the Aarta (the distressed)
RP: Excuse me sir, please take a look at this book. This is Bhagavad-gita, the Song of God.
Aarta (under severe anxiety and stress): What? Do you know the problems I am facing in my life? How can this book help me?
RP: Sir, this book can solve all your problems permanently. It has solutions—
Aarta: I lost my job due to the pandemic. How will I maintain myself and my family? Oh . . . there goes my train — I missed it. I will take the book later. . .
2. Meeting with the artha-arthi (the wealth-seeker)
RP: Excuse me, please take this book.
Artha-arthi: You are doing good work. Please continue.
RP: Please take a book.
Artha-arthi (taking a book in his hand, appearing interested): It’s a very nice book. Can I keep it?
RP: Please give a donation . . .
Artha-arthi: I have to rush to my office. I will see you later . . .
3. Meeting with the jijnasu (the curious seeker)
RP: Please take this book.
Jijnasu: What is this book?
RP: This is Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the Song of God.
Jijnasu: Will it answer all my questions?
RP: Yes sir, all the fundamental questions about life and the universe.
Jijnasu: What is the goal of life? And what should I do to attain it? Is there life after death? What will I become in my next life?
RP: Yes, you will find answers to all these questions in this book.
Jijnasu: Where do you come from? Are you connected to ISKCON?
RP: Yes, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Jijnasu: Do you have branches all over the world?
RP (hoping that the person will take the book): Yes sir, please come to our temple any time.
Jijnasu: OK great. I will take the book when I visit the temple. Goodbye.
4. Meeting with the jnani (the person in knowledge):
RP: Please take this book.
Jnani: Oh . . . Bhagavad-gita. I know about it.
RP: Do you have a copy?
Jnani: No, but my parents read it regularly, and I know the teachings of the book. Ultimately, everyone should stick to his duty.
RP: But there are many more things discussed in this book. Please have your personal copy.
Jnani: Look, my friend, all our family members are devotees of Krishna. In fact, we are life members of ISKCON. I know everything. Thanks.
Raghunath Puri says that he has only one prayer: “O Krishna, please make me an instrument in spreading your message to as many people as possible.”