Saturday 23rd, February 2011. We raced down for our Saturday cooking shift. Nimai jumped in to cook up a khitchri, full of flavour and goodness, so all I had to do was chop up some vegies, while Krsna Dasa whipped up an awesome salad. I didn’t mind the change of role, being a bit run down and I would need all the energy I could get for the upcoming Sankirtana Saturday.
Whilst we were cooking, we had Partha Sarathi’s class on the radio. He was making some nice points to encourage devotees in preaching and in their day to day lives of service to Radha Gopinatha. The troopers all met on the front steps in a timely fashion. We had massed enough people now that we had to use three cars! Twenty four devotees were ready to go out and distribute Srila Prabhupada’s literature to the masses.
We quickly loaded our books, our lunch snacks (made by Kumari Mataji and co) and our bodies into the vans. Off we went, back again to Maastricht. We parked in a backstreet and the devotees all jumped out to load their book bags. Before we could even blink, Partha distributed a book to a man and his dog. The dog’s name was Rocky; a dog is a man’s best friend so if you make friends with his dog you make friends with him.
Two cars drove into the centre to drop off the distributors, while our carload walked, some distributing on the way. Everyone was fired up and had big smiles on their faces. I came to the square (where the action usually is for the first part of the day) to see what was going on. Santusha had stopped one little boy and asked him about reincarnation. To her surprise the boy managed to explain the whole process all the way up to liberation (or Nirvana in his terms). Partha decided to engage him further and had a good laugh, hearing the intelligent anecdotes the boy came up with. I considered the boy some kind of spiritual practitioner from a previous life, because he seemed to be way ahead of his times.
Eventually I teamed up with Krsna Dasa to feed off his inspiration. He had been going out a lot since our last Sankirtana Saturday and was becoming more and more inspired in the missionary spirit. I still technically knew some things about distributing from previous experiences but I really needed the kick start of inspiring association, thus I thought it would be a good team. We had the bottle neck out front of a large mall and we stopped whoever we could. I focused on putting books in people’s hands and let Krsna Dasa engage them with his elaborate speeches. People were mesmerized by his speech and his effulgence; all I had to do was add the comic relief.
We began to walk around and find the other distributors. The girls were in one group, marching like soldiers and stopping people whenever they could. We found Nimai distributing in Dutch, like a lightning bolt, to every wandering soul. His sankirtana spirit had also been soaring in the last month or so and now he was flaring it on the street. It was pleasing to note on this point that a third of our distributors were second generation youth. More and more the European youth were taking seriously the mission of Srila Prabhupada, wielding the banner of Lord Caitanya’s mercy as their own.
As we walked, we all of a sudden noticed that the crowds of people next to us had almost frozen and were walking in slow motion. Eventually the group expanded as more and more began to follow their slow trend. I caught sight of multiple cameras and realized that it was some kind of publicity stunt. One man from the crowd began to talk to us. “You are out and should strive to get back in.” He was a little crazy but I caught the drift of the whole operation. Maastricht was a mass consumer area and they were trying to point out the zombie-like followings of the world in modern times. Basically they were trying to point out that everyone was in Maya. It was pleasing to see that we weren’t the only propagators of the need for a change of consciousness. Partha Sarathi even talked with a political group that was propagating cow protection so it was quite encouraging for us. It seemed that the world was starting to make a consciousness shift that was in line with the needed rise of Krsna consciousness.
Eventually the rain sunk in but the book distributors continued. Partha commented that the rain signified the demigods being pleased with the sankirtana yajna. I concurred and circled the area with him, checking on all the distributors. It was hard to find a face of a sankirtana devotee that wasn’t smiling. Eventually we had to wrap up the operation but it seemed difficult to stop them from all distributing. Finally we stuffed them all back in the cars and made our way home.
We finished the night at the restaurant, for complimentary meals and announcements. Partha gave everyone a piece of wood from the first Rathayatra cart of ISKCON, built by HG Jayananda Prabhu in the early days. He also handed out little bags filled with dirt from Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Samadhi. We all left with a full heart and a full belly. There had been over three hundred books distributed and we all felt like contributors. The magic just seemed to expand in our revival of Sankirtana Saturday.
Part 1 . Part 2