The annual Book Marathon is always a very special time, but last December was extraordinary! In celebration of the 50th Anniversary since the incorporation of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the aim of the Manor devotees was to distribute 100,000 of Srila Prabhupada’s book in just one month!
After a tremendous effort by more than 350 devotees of all types, 131,340 books were distributed by Manor community devotees across the UK, the largest Marathon score outside of India, and the most successful in over 20 years! The top five positions went to huge ISKCON temples in India, including Delhi, Mayapur, Mumbai (Juhu) and Pune.
The incredible efforts of many devotees, the miraculous stories of books being distributed, and the feeling of being intimately under Srila Prabhupada’s direct shelter and care, remind us of the all-auspicious nature of distributing his books to the public. Record numbers were involved: over fifteen sanga teams, the Pandava Sena, Sivarama Swami’s team, Manor School alumni, travelling ashram teams and fulltime householders. This effort was a very much united community-wide achievement. The National Sankirtan festival was held at the Manor in early January, organised by Vishvambhara das the National Coordinator for Sankirtana. Special guests included Sivarama Swami, Praghosa das, Dayananda Swami and Dhananjaya das .
“Special gratitude must go to Sutapa das and Bhakta Nikhil, ” said Gauri das Managing Director of Bhaktivedanta Manor.
Four of the top five individual street distributors were from the Manor. Second place nationally was Ananda Caitanya das, third was Bhakta Ganesh, fourth Janakinath das and fifth place and the top lady distributor was Guru Shakti dasi. The winners of the ‘Team contact’ category was once again the Manor’s Bhakti Vriksha group!
Stories from the street- A few samples!
As a young university student walked past me, something inside told me to stop him. He was a pharmacy student from a wealthy Arab background. I explained how Prabhupada’s books explained how mantra meditation helps reduce the suffering and depressing conditions of modern life. He was eager to know more and told me how he been feeling suicidal because he didn’t see the meaning of anything he was doing; studies, work, and life in general. Then he questioned “What do these books talk about that I haven’t heard before?” I then explained the Krishna consciousness philosophy in some detail:
“Does that make sense?” I nervously asked. “It makes complete sense!” he exclaimed with confidence. He left taking a Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam 1st Canto and a VEDA book along with a Chant and be Happy!
– Bhakta Nikhil
In Coventry I met two friends who took a VEDA and Gita from me. One of them had already read the Veda and bought it for his friend. He told his friend to read the Veda telling him it is a beautiful book as it is the most ancient teachings. He then bought a Gita for himself as he said he always wanted to read it. He also told me he knows the Mahabharata and Ramayana!
– Guru Shakti dasi
As I approached a young man and said that we are Hare Krishna’s he started to dance! He explained that he met us before at the Woodstock festival, and from all the places there he loves the Hare
Krishna’s the most. He took books, gave a big donation and gave me big hug!
– Bhakta Vlad