His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada’s marathon in France is considered by many to be in a category of its own. Some devotees say that France is one of the most challenging places to distribute books, and within France, the city of Paris is the most difficult. Yet, it has become a thriving base of operation for the sankirtan devotees under the tutelage of HH Janananda Goswami Maharaj.
Before the city is covered in a white coat of cold, on the 28th of November, the French devotees will ignite the fire of sankirtan for the biggest yajna of the year: Prabhupada’s December marathon entitled “To Receive is to Give.” This simple diction means that the process of preaching naturally starts by receiving or hearing (sravanam), which automatically gives the impetus for spreading the glories of the Lord (kirtanam). By receiving Krsna consciousness, one automatically desires to share it with others.
Therefore, Radha Parisisvara (the controllers of Paris) are opening Their doors to devotees ready to step into the fire of sankirtan. Although this year, full-time sankirtan devotees distributing books are only a handful, they still may be considered maharathis, for every book distributed has the potential to reach tens of thousands of people and plant the golden seed of bhakti in their hearts.
The target this year is to please Prabhupada as it is every year. Even if the conditions are less favorable, the French devotees are used to challenging the odds, and the goal this year is to reach 20,000 book points. “Envers et contre tout” means “against all odds” in French, representing their spirit of devotional service. There is a saying amongst the sankirtan devotees of Paris, “If you can distribute in Paris, you can distribute anywhere!”
Paris is considered the city of love, lights, fashion, luxury, and more. Therefore, devotees are trying to induce its residents to love Krsna, realize Krsna, and surrender everything to Krsna. If the capital falls in love with the Supreme Lord, the rest of France will follow. That is the purpose of the marathon: to persuade people to become Krsna-conscious. In this connection, Srila Prabhupada said, “Srila Bhaktivinoda Ṭhakura has said that a Vaiṣṇava is meritorious in proportion to the number of devotees he has created” (SB 9.21.18, purport).
To follow their inspiring service in Paris, please visit their website.
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