Preaching and bringing in new people to chant is not an easy task. We have to be persistent. Srila Gurudeva often says, "Preaching is really for the preacher himself/herself. The more we preach, the more realisation we can acquire."
There's this university student, Priya, whom I got in touch with 2 years ago by one god-sister. Since my god-sister, Malati, who resides in India cannot always be in constant preaching contact, she therefore forwarded Priya's e-mail and contact number to me.
Many times I had invited Priya for programmes at our preaching centre, which she will politely decline. This is because she lives very far away and she don't own a car, as yet. She is a student after all. Besides, her mother do not approve of her going out after dusk. To this I usually advised her to listen to her mother.
Just 4 days ago I decided to have a lunch house programme this Sunday. So I text ed message Priya and to my surprise she confirmed her coming through e-mail.
My initial reaction was, perhaps she's being really polite as I had invited her many times. Anyway, I shall wait and see. Everything is in Sri Guru & Krsna's hand.
Lo and Behold! Not only did Priya came on time, she also brought along her friend, Akeela.
After the initial "getting to know you" I started off the programme with mangala caranam and then with the song "Gurudeva Krpa Bindu Diya." Soon we were joined by another god-brother and his children.
One god-brother who was "missing-in-action" for a long time, decided to join us at this function as well. He said house programmes are more convenient for him to attend as it does not clash with his work commitments.
Right after that Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja (our guest speaker) and Krsna Kanta Brahmacari walked in. We proceeded with our kirtan followed by arati and then class by Maharaja. Before the class started, Maharaja asked us what is most important to most of us. My husband said 'money,' just to generate an interest in the students.
Below is a short excerpt of the class.
Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja explaining the importance of chanting to the 2 university students.
"There is nothing wrong in us earning money as it is needed in our daily lives. We are not against money. But don't forget God, Krsna. For without Him, nothing is possible. He gives us everything. We must use our time to worship Him always."
Then he turned to the 2 university girls.
"Both of you are students, right? We are not saying you must give up your studies. Do your duty and study well. Get good results. But try to chant always. At least allocate 20 minutes from your daily activities to chant. The more you chant, the more intelligence you will beget. You will also have good rememberance. This is a fact. Try this for 6 months. You will notice a change within you.
I will tell you a story. There was once a lady who always comes to the temple. She was a really busy lady with children and other duties to take care off. I always requested her to chant at least 2 rounds daily. I told her this every time we met. Then one day she said she will chant 2 rounds a day.
After some time, she herself was telling everyone she met to chant 2 rounds a day. Soon she became a joke of sorts as everyone spoke of her as the one who requests everybody to chant 2 rounds!
I asked her husband whether she is still doing her daily duties or is there any problem at all. Her husband said she was very well indeed. In fact her life seem to be better than before.
Therefore, always be in good association. You should constantly be in touch with mataji (maharaja referring to me). If you are not in touch then you will think this is a one time programme and you will forget. Ask questions also. Do your duty but always chant."
Right after the class, we served prasadam. There were more surprises in store. I brought out 3 small books and asked the girls whether they were interested in purchasing them. Priya bought them immediately. After about 5 minutes, Akeela also wanted it. Then Priya asked for chanting beads followed by Akeela. Later Priya bought a beautiful picture of Sri Radha Krsna.
Listening intently to Hari-Katha
Sri Guru and Krsna does wonderful, mystical pastimes. Really we are not the doers. We just have to do our duty and not expect anything. Everything is in Sri Guru and Krsna's hand. And most importantly in the power of the maha-mantra.
And what did I learn today --- be persistent.