The "Curse" of a Sankirtan Devotee

Manidhara Das
12 Aug 2021


Sankirtan, primarily public hare nama, chanting of the Holy Name and the "big mrdanga", the massive distribution of Srila Prabhupada´s books, was through the sixties and seventies the "must" - activity for everybody who joined the Hare Krsna movement.

It was easy as even the first initiated grhastas lived in a manner unknown even to some of today´s sannyasis. Basically everybody lived the same, had the same and did the same: preaching.
Social issues connected with the establishment of varnasrama society at best, or western psychology as we see today at worst, were unknown amongst devotees. Everybody was serving Srila Prabhupada´s mission day and night... and the results came accordingly.
Those who actively lived through these days are "cursed" for life. What is their "curse"?

Such blessed souls, even not entirely purified from their material desires, will be any time blocked on their path to sense gratification by the Supreme Lord Himself, who will never allow them to sink again into the swamps of dharma, artha, kama, moksa piety or fall bellow, into the demoniac pits the society so eagerly establishes in order to keep the citizens weak and under control.
Those who tasted the freedom of not being controlled by their senses, false ego and the ever phantasizing mind, standing in the midst of ghastly Kali Yuga cities with Srila Prabhupada´s books in their hands, excited about the moments they can plant the seeds of bhakti into the conditioned souls´ heart, such blessed warriors will never be satisfied with anything less than this exclusive taste to fight maya at the frontier of Srila Prabhupada´s mission," bombing the cities with His books" as He said.

Such warriors will never forget even a moment of this exclusive ecstasy and be always tormented with the feeling that the amount of books they distributed was never enough in order to please His Divine Grace. "Double it!" was the last order Srila Prabhupada gave to us, and as we doubled our results, He asked us to double it again.

To be part of this ecstatic, never ending challenge made us into crying renegades when His Divine Grace left His vapu form. Seeing others arriving on the scene who obviously had other priorities in their hearts than book distribution, made us to a group of veterans, surviving on the edge of the bare necessities of life, watching our bodies simply growing old.
Such sankirtan veteran who tasted the ultimate bliss of book distribution will have hard time to "enjoy" family life, believe in its validity and see a need to tolerate endlessly the exposure to dualities it brings along. He will always look back for the times he roamed the streets freely as Srila Prabhupada´s "freedom lover", detached from the particular circumstances, places and social networks maya is ready to offer.
Such liberated soul may have a hard time to be locked down by kanistha adhikari type of institutional dogmatism, but will always seek the freedom from such designations at Srila Prabhupada´s lotus feet. That will make him in the eyes of those who never tasted the nectar of book distribution an anarchist or even worse, a threat to their concepts what the priorities in Krsna Consciousness may be.

Such is the "curse" of a dedicated book distributor who tasted the nectar of receiving the ultimate shelter of Srila Prabhupada´s lotus feet.

Those who truly tasted the nectar of book distribution may be as well "cursed" with the gift of being able to read others´ minds, and occasionally even their hearts. Such a gift is necessary and comes to those who sincerely want to break through the false ego of the conditioned soul, so one can plant there a Srila Prabhupada´s book, the best form of bhakti-lata-bija, the seed of bhakti.
This gift, to see the exposed consciousness comprising of feeling, thinking and desiring, is surely offering the benefactor a view which is not always pleasant as the minds and the hearts of those who are not motivated in Krsna conscious way are like indefinite garbage containers one gets to see and smell.

It is for this reason an aging sankirtan warrior, if not able to distribute Srila Prabhupada´s books continuously, prefers to live in seclusion, as he experiences the polluting effect of the association of materially motivated ones far more intensely than the one who is to some degree still covered by the illusory energy of the Lord.
Once one tasted the nectar of book distribution, one finds no place amongst those who feel enthused by the concept to enjoy this material world.

Such are the "curses", such are the blessings to live with of those who pleased Srila Prabhupada and obtained His blessings by performing the wonderful service of a book distribution.