Geeta Bhandari: Yesterday someone walked past me and said, “You’re a beggar, you’re nothing but a beggar”. He then walked off. His comment was said with malice yet I knew he was sent by Caitanya Mahaprabhu to remind me that yes I am a beggar, a beggar begging for the mercy and love of God. I also realized that as a book distributor I’m on the streets begging myself and others to awaken our spiritual identity in order to be able to relate to each other in the mood of pure selflessness so that we can derive unlimited happiness. That is ultimately our purpose in life.
Ironically, today two boys approached me. Rhys (on the left) asked for a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, and I noticed his friend Leoa (on the right) held a copy of the Veda in his hand. Leoa then picked up the Srimad Bhagavatam displayed on my trolley. Rhys explained that he was given a copy of the Veda a few days ago and he and his friend had been reading it together. They were most fascinated by what they had read so far, and now they wanted a copy of the Gita. I asked who had given him the Veda and he said it was an older lady who was standing outside ‘Waterstones’. Immediately I knew they were talking about my aunt, Meena, as she was distributing with me a couple of days ago and had she told me that she was going to stand there as she wanted to compete with the bookshop. Rhys held out a handful of change and placed it into my hand, he said he didn’t know whether it was enough to cover the cost but it was all the money they had collected over the last couple of days…he explained that they were homeless. I was astonished and asked why they were both homeless. Rhys said they both had been extremely wealthy, however, had gotten into the wrong association and tragically had lost their money, homes and flash cars. Now they only had each other, and they wanted to read more about our philosophy as this had struck a real chord with them. I noticed that during my entire conversation, Leoa had just been holding the Srimad Bhagavatam and had been simply staring at it. I was so moved by their story that I gave them the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and Chant & Be Happy. I then requested if I could take their photo and put their story on FB. They agreed. After I took the photo Rhys asked if he could take a look at the photo, as he wanted to ensure he looked presentable. I was really moved at this point. He was homeless, a beggar, yet a gentleman with the utmost dignity. He smiled when he saw the photo and they both thanked me and walked off. I then remembered the incident from yesterday, and it dawned on me that book distributors are also beggars with ‘dignity’….begging people to accept the mercy of Srila Prabhupada’s books and to take shelter of his incredible movement.