The sankirtan fields bloomed brightly in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on Vasanta Panchami, the first day of spring! More than 100 devotees from ISKCON Ahmedabad joined our temple’s 4thMonthly Sankirtan Festival.
On Saturday, 9th February, Vaisesika Das gave a presentation on the philosophical significance as well as practical techniques of book distribution to the entire team at ISKCON Ahmedabad. Then, late morning on Sunday, Vasanta Panchami, the entire team got onto buses heading out to Bhadrakali – a busy shopping spot in the city for the practical session!
Reaching the venue, all the attending devotees took a group photo. Then, a small kirtan party stayed back in the centre of the marketplace, whipping up an energetic melody and inviting onlookers to dance to the Holy Names.
Another small party of devotees set up a large, well-organized book stall right next to the kirtan, showing books to the onlookers and making friends with all they met. The rest of the team, including kids, fanned out with books in hand to try distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books across the marketplace. That’s when the magic happened!
While many devotees felt initially apprehensive about distributing books to Muslims who were common in the area, soon they begun to challenge themselves to feel comfortable outside their comfort zone. Following the specific tips and techniques given by Vaisesika Das, the devotees humbly showed Srila Prabhupada’s books to whomever they met and simply acted as instruments to the best of their ability, making book distribution fun and easy.
Soon, the impossible became possible. Taking shelter of service for service sake, the devotees transcended the oppressive mid-day heat, the noise, dust, and odors of the crowded marketplace, as well as their own assumptions and inhibitions. And before two hours could pass by, the team together distributed 181 big books and 387 small books, collected 35,275 in Lakshmi donations, and made friends with many people whom they might have otherwise ignored.
The Monthly Sankirtan Festival is once again proved to be a valuable means for ISKCON temples to not only raise book distribution scores but also to engage their congregations in a constructive and inspiring way.
Jan 22, 2022
Sunanda Das, tovp.org