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After a month long efforts in distributing Srila Prabhupad books during December marathon, all the 4 Brahmachari bus parties of ISKCON Chowpatty returned home on the first week of January. Seeing a congenial time for all devotees to meet, a BOOK MARATHON FESTIVAL GET TOGETHER was organized in the 2 nd week of January in the Ashram. Like Every Year H.H Radhanath swami maharaj was present to grace the occasion and to hear devotees share their experience and finally to distribute gifts to all book distributors.

The Festival began at 4 pm and went on till 8 pm. Just as book distribution is so absorbing, similarly hearing Sankirtan stories got all devotees absorbed on this day. It was Exciting, Fun and Wonderful Krishna katha (Book distribution Katha) and all present in the audience were completely glued to their seat for all the 4 hours….except for occasions where loud laughter made everyone get displaced from their original position.

The Program began with each of the 4 bus party members coming ahead and presenting their experiences using pictures and videos of their book distribution adventures via power point presentation.

Out of the 4 parties, 2 senior brahmachari bus party went to do book distribution in factories and industries across India. Meanwhile the 2 Brahamchari Trainee (BT) bus party covered villages and town of Yavatmal and Pathankot. H.H Radhanath Maharaj was present for this festival to enthuse all. The most amazing part of the event was Radhanath maharaj’s class. Generally every year Maharaj speaks for 20-30 minutes of encouraging talk on sankirtan and thanks all devotees. However this year Maharaj gave an hour and half elaborate long detailed and amazingly wonderful talk on his experiences about book distribution as he travels around the world for preaching. Here is the brief synopsis of his talk – “ Srila Prabhupad revolutionized all the different traditional ideas into successful preaching methods like Harinam parties, dramas, scientific preaching , University programs, Gurukul, farm communities and Book distribution. However all of this programs were based on his books. His books were the foundation for all projects. Because it was this specific instruction of writing and printing books that he received from his Spiritual master on the holy banks of highest place, Radha Kunda. And Srila Prabhupada took this instruction so seriously . His preparation to go to west was spend majority in writing this books. When Srila Prabhupada reached west and slowly the movement spread, then at a particular point of time onwards the universal seva of the entire Hare Krishna movement was to distribute books. Why did devotees enthusiastically do this seva ?…What was the reason.??. Because all devotees saw or heard that Srila prabhupada would rise at midnight and give translations and commentaries to this books. He would dictate word to word on a heavy Dictaphone. He would carry book with the commentaries of all prominent acharyas for his reference. Srila prabhupada would read these commentaries, digest them and then give his own devotional ecstacies. This he did wherever he went around the world for preaching. Those hours of the night - he

would not sleep, he would be there with no one but only him and the previous acharyas and Krishna. So all devotees knew this and therefore they were ready to do anything to distribute the books. Sometimes devotees would risk their lives in doing so. Many devotees did not directly met or see Srila Prabhupada yet they were willing to risk their entire life. “ H.H Radhanath maharaj went on to mention in great elaboration the story of Russian devotees who risked their lives to go against the communist regime to distribute books. Specifically he mentioned the names of Mandakini Mataji (French devotee who on Prabhupada’s desire married Anant shanti pr) and Brahmanand prabhu of Ukraine (Devotee who was underground printing books of prabhupada for distribution.) H.H Radhanath Maharaj said that we should not feel that we have less opportunity or mercy available than those in Russia or USA. The same opportunity is available for all of us even today and we have to be grateful for getting this opportunity.

H.H Radhanath maharaj ended his talk by saying that while the score of marathon book distribution of the temple is indeed great but even more great is the enthusiasm and sincerity of each one of devotees who made the score happen. During the December marathon, Radhanath maharaj had the sankirtan leaders send a message out to all devotees that –“ He wants to thank each one of them for distributing Srila Prabhupada’s mercy in form of his books and that he places his head at the lotus feet of each book distributor.”

After Maharaj’s wonderful class, He distributed gifts to all Sankirtan bus party members. Then a grand marathon cake was arranged for Maharaj to cut and distribute to all. Thanks to kitchen dept, they had arranged a wonderful south indian feast with hot online Dosas , Idli , Sambhar and Gajar Halva.

Similar Book distribution festival get together was also arranged in smaller group at various location in mumbai city for Congregation devotees. The program was arranged in a similar way. Being in smaller groups, these events facilitated many devotees to get a chance to share their experience. Few of such programs arranged were in Colaba, Malad, Chembur, Belapur etc.

By the combined efforts of Congregation and Brahmacharis , the chowpatty temple score was 1,46,000 Mahabig books, 947 big, 4114 medium, 51,400 small and 579 BTG copies. Please follow the link for H.H Radhanath Maharaj’s video class on Sankirtan festival.

H h radhanath swami at iskcon chowpatty book marathon festival get together  
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