After 4 years pause, i decided to distribute books again going door to door. I am praying I have the patience and enthusiasm to continue. I will be honest, living in a place where there is absolutely no devotee or devotee association or for that matter remotely spiritual, I find it very difficult to motivate myself to knock on doors.
Another problem is at least 50% of the people here are conservative christians and it is practically difficult to get them to take a book. So I decided to go to a neighborhood which is partially affluent and less affluent. Initially I was skeptical if anyone would even open the door. But then I motivated myself by thinking I will simply do my duty and the leave the rest to Krishna. In other words, I would not be disturbed mentally.
I may have knocked on 30 to 35 doors in a span of 2 hours. Almost I would say 25 doors did not open although I could hear their tv playing. Some were genuinely not home. One house, I knocked and the dogs (two) started to bark loudly and I was praying the owners don't open the door! Foolish that I was, I got lost in the building layout and knocked again on the same door with the dogs. Thankfully, the owners were not there. I made a smooth exit.
I was happy to have met the people I did. I met an Imam (spiritual leader for Islamic religion), a catalina knight (a rare form of protestant christian), a californian woman open to new ideas, and a old poor woman who lived in a run-down neighborhood and who experienced psychotic and depressive behaviors. Of course I met many more who simply did not care and kept saying NO.
Of all the people I met, the Imam was the first person to invite me into his house, took a book, gave me water and was very sweet. He asked me to come to his mosque to pray which I said I will. I am planning to go tomorrow to his mosque. We exchanged pleasantries in arabic, actually I was showing off my arabic skills whatever little I remembered when I lived in Kuwait. To my surprise, he spoke in arabic when I said I know little arabic...thank God he asked me the one thing I know. So that was good.
Then I met the Catalina Knight. He I have to say was quite the character. He looked straight in my eye and asked "do you follow a particular religion?" and I gave a vague answer like yes and no. He invited me into his house and we must have discussed for at least 30 mins of his religion. He gave me the Bible and asked me to read it which I promptly did and he was talking about his belief etc. He was very proud of his army background from Scotland and that he does not watch tv, listen music and other mundane affairs. Yet there was a huge tv right in the middle of his house and to that he said he watches dvds. Anyways, however I could not help notice on his laptop screen, I saw porn windows flashing and other lewd pictures around the house. After about 30 mins, I decided to do my sales pitch. I was very nice to him that he decided to take a book and donat $1 for it. Happily taking the donation, I bid farewell. Just at that moment, funny enough, the Catalina Knight warned me against knocking on a door just above him and he said, that guy is an imam and that I should stay away from him. I have to say from the conversation with the Knight, there is lot of misconception about muslims and Islam. It is indeed unfortunate!! Anyways, I politely nodded my head not revealing that I already met him.
The best meeting and I would say worth my entire effort was the following two meetings. The californian mother was so open and happy to see me, she invited me into her house and we talked about for 20 mins. She gave her email and phone for us to meet again. Her husband was not home and she wanted to meet again as she said her husband has many questions. We talked about other stuff beyond Krishna and am hoping to meet her again. I gave her 3 books and she donated $2. She wished me luck in my door knocking and I moved from there.
Finally, as I was driving back, I decided to stop in an apartment building which housed society's derelicts such as the drunks, the drug addicts, mentally ill and other psychotic people of society. In fact, I have a friend (who also has mental issues) living in that building. Anyways, I could not get in as it was locked and as I was leaving, I met an older poor woman who was standing with her dog. The dog was totally out of control and was freaking me out. Somehow I maintained my wits and gave a book to the woman. She let me into the building and just as she was about to leave, I explained the nature of this book and its significance. She listened intently. Then I asked her that she should chant Hare Krishna. At first she could not grasp Krishna. I opened the book turned to a page with the mantra and asked her to repeat after me. She dutifully repeated and asked for the meaning. I briefly explained to her the philosophy and I assured her and promised her that this mantra is so powerful that all your desires will be fulfilled and that all your problems will be solved. I saw a sparkle in her eye when I said this. I insisted her to call me. I gave her my phone and email contact. I thought my trip was worth that this poor old woman was lucky to chant Krishna's holy names.
With that, I got into my car and back home. I was hungry and tired by the end of it. I am not sure how frequent I will continue book distribution but I pray Krishna gives me the desire to do so. I hope something more sustainable comes from book distribution. One thing, we never know who will take Krishna and who will not!!