ISKCON News | Book distribution record broken with new Farsi translations

Bhakta Kevin (far right) shares a “Four Kumara Stack” with a family near the Santa Monica Pier.

A young devotee named Bhakta Kevin, who works at the New Dvaraka Temple in Los Angeles, has broken several book distribution records by enthusiastically handing out stacks of Srila Prabhupada’s books recently translated into Farsi. As soon as the new books arrived at the BBT warehouse from the Port of Los Angeles, Bhakta Kevin immediately made them into beautiful stacks with ribbons, which they called the “Four Kumara Stacks.” He drove straight to a local area called “Little Persia” and distributed 35 sets in just two hours.

This special set of four books—Bhagavad-gita as it is, Perfection of yoga, Beyond birth and deathAnd Perfect questions, perfect answers-is available in both Farsi and Arabic. Not resting on his laurels, Bhakta Kevin recently broke another record, also dishing out 62 Farsi sets in just a few hours.

Satyanarayana Dasa, BBT’s Far East/Middle East director, said: “As we saw previously with Russia and China, it now appears to be the Middle Eastern world undergoing a ‘distribution revolution’..’ It is the last great frontier in this world.”

He continued: “As they spread to the millions of Farsi and Arabic speakers who come to the Western world every year as tourists, university students or as new residents, both the book distributors and the Iranians/Arabs experience a special happiness when that exchange takes place.

It is as if Srila Prabhupada’s special blessing really comes to life in that moment. It is a blessing reserved only for these Middle Eastern languages. That blessing falls simultaneously on the book distributors and the receiving parties. They seem to feel a unique and shared transcendental joy.”

People from the Middle East are extremely grateful that this age-old spiritual knowledge is translated into their own native language, because this is how the knowledge reaches deepest into their hearts. They often take the books home to the Middle East and share them with friends and family.

The recent December marathon results for North America showed that Bhakta Kevin was number one in the country in terms of book points. This was even more remarkable because he only had 14 days of the month to accomplish that feat, while everyone else had the full 31 days. The main reason for this is that the Farsi books did not arrive at the printer until mid-December.

In a sense, this new Farsi book distribution stands on the shoulders of Arabic book distribution, which also started from scratch but has had about a decade to attract book distributors and then develop globally. Books in Farsi can therefore benefit from that same distribution network. As with the Arabic books, and as a distribution incentive, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) awards 12 times the regular book points for the small Farsi books and three times the regular book points for the distribution of the Farsi Gita books.

Bhakta Kevin never distributes single books, but only sets of books, and he often says that it is easier to sell a ribbon-tied set of four books than one book alone. This is because the bow ribbon set looks like a gift, which cheers up the recipient and makes them more likely to accept it. They also believe that it makes the spiritual knowledge received more complete.

Satyanarayana Dasa shared: “The first inspiration to work with these neglected Arabic and Farsi languages ​​came transcendentally before my eyes, directly from His divine grace Srila Prabhupada. I was incredibly fortunate to be in his room in Vrindavan on November 9, 1976, when I had the opportunity to tell him about the results of our own BBT library party. We had just come from Kashmir and I was able to tell him that by his grace I could get a standing order for his books from a Muslim-oriented university there.”

He continued, “Srila Prabhupada interrupted me and I saw something amazing in him, an almost childlike excitement just after he heard the word ‘Muslim.’ Shortly afterwards, Srila Prabhupada said, “For anyone who preaches in the Muslim world, for that person, I take the dust from their feet and place it on my head.”

Satyanarayana Dasa continued, “To my knowledge, Srila Prabhupada has never made such an emotional statement about any other devotional service. That’s why I always tell the Farsi (and Arabic) book distributors worldwide that Srila Prabhupada specifically referred to them when he made that statement, because when the distributor and the Farsi/Arabic speaking recipient both touch the book during the exchange, that is the Muslim world there, wherever it may be. And this is the moment when they both feel the most joyful blessing from Prabhupada. This gives the book distributors enormous energy to continue and expand this very blessed service.”

The response to the Farsi books was much more than expected. The recipients are very happy to see books in their native language, which they have been wanting for years.

He continued, “Both the Iranians and the Arabs are very serious about serving God, but especially for the Iranians, Zoroastrianism has been the religion for most of them for thousands of years. And that belief is completely based on the Vedas. So it has been in their culture for thousands of years to respect Krishna and the spiritual knowledge from India. Some of the Iranians living there come to the temple in Los Angeles almost every evening and help the distributors by sharing exactly where the best areas are to distribute to the local Persian communities. Southern California in particular has more Iranian residents than anywhere else outside Iran. But there are also countless Farsi-speaking communities around the world.”

Bhakta Kevin recently met with the Iranian publisher of the most popular Farsi magazine in the US. After the meeting, the publisher offered to give him a free booth (which normally costs $800) at the big Iranian Expo, which he is organizing in March. The publisher wants everyone to come and get the Farsi pile of books. He also sets up a stage where he wants devotees to do kirtan and share the spiritual culture of Krishna consciousness with everyone.

Satyanarayana Dasa concluded: “It is so amazing and so clear that the special blessing of Lord Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupada is behind all this and they have also inspired a new bhakta to become the best book distributor in the country specifically through these languages from the Middle East. books. New breakthroughs seem to be happening every day now.

“Thank you very much, Srila Prabhupada, for these wonderful gifts of service that you have given us. All this is your direct grace descending upon all involved in one way or another. And this is just the beginning! Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!”

Visit their Facebook page to follow the dedicated service of the BBT Far East/Middle East Division and also see the enthusiastic response from Iranians and Arabs worldwide.

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