Prabhupada Marathon 2012


In April of 1967, a shipment of The Teachings of Lord Caitanya arrived at the ISKCON Centre in New York at 26th, 2nd Avenue. From there, the books were distributed to ISKCON centres across the USA. Devotees knew only how to distribute magazines and ask for small donations but had no idea how to distribute big, hardbound books, so most of the books remained in storage. Then, in 1971 a shipment of the first volume ofKrishna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead , Srila Prabhupada's summary study of the Tenth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam arrived.

Srila Prabhupada requested his disciples to distribute the books but again, they were unsure how to proceed.

One day, a few weeks later, in San Fransisco two brahmacaris got the idea to ask a petrol station attendant to accept a Krishna Book in payment for a tank of petrol. The attendant readily agreed, and the next day the enthusiastic young men experimented with selling books outside a grocery shop. This time they sold two books. News of this discovery spread to the other temples and by mid-1971, centres had teams of devotees going out on book distribution to shopping malls, parking lots, fairs, concerts and airports. Hundreds of Krishna Books were going out every week.

Another significant breakthrough in the distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books came on the 22nd of December 1972. Without any preconceived plan, devotees all over the USA got caught up in a fever of book distribution and took advantage of the large numbers of people shopping for Christmas until midnight. The devotees also decided to stay out till late and set a new world record in book distribution. The “Christmas Marathon” was born and lasted three days. Thousands of books were distributed with one center distributing 17 000 books! Srila Prabhupada was amazed and very pleased, showering blessings on the book distributors.

The following year book distributors went out on a ten-day marathon and before too long it became a month-long marathon, known as the “December Marathon”. Later the GBC changed the name to “The Prabhupada Marathon” and every ISKCON temple and centre worldwide now participates.

Mauritius is no exception. Taking advantage of Gita Jayanti, which also occurs in the month of December, and of the Gita’s popularity amongst Hindus, book distributors in Mauritius have recently started distributing thousands of Bhagavad Gitas during Srila Prabhupada’s Marathon. Satyabhama Mataji, who has been distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books in Mauritius for the past twenty-four years, and her team members Akuti Dasi and Vinata Dasi distributed 600 Bhagavad Gitas on Gita Jayanti 2012. Having topped book distribution scores in Africa in December 2011 and having won previous marathons, they together distributed the most number of books during the 2012 Prabhupada Marathon in Mauritius.

Haridev Prabhu, the Sankirtan Leader at Hare Krishna Land, Phoenix, encouraged devotees to participate in the marathon and also led the way with his example. In response, several devotees came forward to take part in whatever way they could. It was particularly inspiring to have a group of young men distributors, "The Spiritual Warriors"(Harinamananda Das visiting from Australia, Abhay Nam Das, Avinash and Pawan) who spent much of their university vacation distributing Srila Prabhupada’s mercy in the form of his books.

It’s never too late to go out and show Srila Prabhupada gratitude for what he has done for us. Carry Srila Prabhupada’s books with you and share them with fellow students, work colleagues or anyone you meet along your way. In this way you will not only be fully prepared for participating in “The Prabhupada Marathon” 2013 and thus yourself be blessed by Prabhupada’s mercy, but you will also be instrumental in spreading Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement across the world. Srila Prabhupada Marathon ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

The book distribution scores for Hare Krishna Land, Phoenix for the month of December 2012 may be viewed here

Some words about the marathon from Abhaya Nam Das:
The December marathon month is the ideal occasion to get Srila Prabhupada's mercy by distributing his books. Although our team "The Spiritual Warriors" missed the beginning of the marathon we got a lot of mercy from His Holiness Bhakti Dhir Damodar Maharaja. By his mercy I was in a very prayerful mood and I begged Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga for their mercy. By Krishna's mercy I realised that I was not at all the doer but my spiritual master was using me, despite my defects, as an instrument in Krishna's service.
My heartfelt gratitude to Harinamanada Prabhu who was instrumental in reinforcing my faith in the holy names. Our initial objective for the marathon was to distribute one thousand small books and 108 Bhagavad-gitas but Harinamananda Prabhu encouraged the team to come out of our comfort zone and double our quota. At the end of the marathon we had distributed 1720 small books and 116 Bhagavad-gitas.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada's transcendental book distribution!

Some words about the marathon from Avinash Jughroo:
Distributing Srila Prabhupada books very easily paves the way towards Lord Caitanya’s mercy. It is a very easy way to attract Lord Caitanya’s attention. To be compassionate towards other living entities is a prime quality of a Vaisnava and out of his compassion, he sets out to delivers them from their ignorance.
While doing this service of reaching out to the conditioned souls I realized that a strong sadhana bhakti is indeed important. Actually, before going on for book distribution, I would make sure that I had chanted all my 16 rounds . Sometimes, if I hadn’t chanted all of my rounds, then it would be so difficult to convince someone to take a book and in some cases they won’t even stop to listen to me.

We see that a living entity suffers because he is forgetful of his relationship with God and by distributing knowledge of Krishna, we try to revive his or her dormant Krishna Consciousness. He may not know it, and even we may not know it, but when someone takes a book, for him the whole process of bhakti-yoga begins. I find it so amazing and it the most wonderful thing because the seed is finally planted into the heart of someone who has been in the material world for millions of lifetimes and who otherwise would never have a chance of going Back to Godhead.
So my message to all devotees, especially youngsters is, to continue to get out Srila Prabhupada’s books which change lives.