Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Book Distribution Record Broken with New Farsi Translations
By Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Mar 07, 2024
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Bhakta Kevin (far right) shares a “Four Kumara Stack” with a family near Santa Monica Pier.

A young devotee named Bhakta Kevin, serving at the Los Angeles New Dvaraka temple, has broken multiple book distribution records enthusiastically distributing stacks of Srila Prabhupada’s books newly translated into the Farsi language. As soon as the new books arrived at the BBT warehouse from the port of Los Angeles, Bhakta Kevin immediately made beautiful, ribbon-tied stacks of them, which were named the “Four Kumara Stacks.” He drove straight to a local area called “Little Persia” and proceeded to distribute 35 sets in just two hours.

This special set of four books—Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Perfection of Yoga, Beyond Birth and Death, and Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers—is available in both Farsi and Arabic. Not resting on his laurels, Bhakta Kevin broke another record recently, distributing 62 of the Farsi sets also in just a few hours.

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

He continued, “While distributing among the millions of Farsi and Arabic speakers who come to the Western world as tourists, university students or as new residents each year, both the book distributors and the Iranians/Arabs experience a special happiness when that exchange happens.

It is as if Srila Prabhupada’s special blessing becomes truly alive at that moment. It’s a blessing reserved just for these Middle Eastern languages, and that blessing falls on both the book distributors and the receiving parties at the same time. They seem to feel a unique and shared transcendental joy.”

Middle Easterners are deeply grateful that this ancient spiritual knowledge is being translated into their own mother tongue, as the knowledge goes deepest into their hearts that way. They often take the books back home with them to the Middle East and share them with friends and family.

The recent December marathon results for North America revealed that Bhakta Kevin was number one in the country in book points. This was even more remarkable because he only had 14 days out of the month to reach that achievement, whereas everyone else had the full 31 days. The main reason for this is that the Farsi books only arrived from the printer in mid-December.

This new Farsi book distribution is, in a sense, standing on the shoulders of the Arabic book distribution, which similarly started from zero but has had about ten years to attract book distributors and then develop worldwide. Thus, Farsi language books can now benefit from that same distribution network. Similar to 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 distributing the Farsi Gita size books. 

Bhakta Kevin never distributes single books but only book sets, 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 ribbon bow-tied set looks like a gift, which lifts the spirits of the receiver and makes them more prone to take it. They also feel that it makes the spiritual knowledge being received more complete.

Satyanarayana Dasa shared, “The beginning inspiration to work with these neglected Arabic and Farsi languages came transcendentally in front of my eyes directly from His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. I was incredibly fortunate to be in his room in Vrindavan on November 9th, 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 was able to obtain 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 hearing the word ‘Muslim.’ Shortly after that, Srila Prabhupada said, ‘For anyone who preaches in the Muslim world, for that person, I take the dust from their feet and put it on my head.'”

Satyanarayana Dasa continued, “As far as I know, Srila Prabhupada never made such an emotional statement like that about any other devotional service. Therefore, I always tell the Farsi (and Arabic) book distributors worldwide that Srila Prabhupada was specifically referring to them when he made that statement because when the distributor and the Farsi/Arabic-speaking receiver both touch the book in the exchange, that’s the Muslim world right there, wherever that may be. And this is the moment when they both feel that most joyful blessing from Prabhupada. For the book distributors, this enlivens them tremendously to continue and increase this specially-blessed service more and more.”

The response to the Farsi books has been far more than expected. The recipients are thrilled to see books in their native language, which they’ve wanted for so many years.

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

Bhakta Kevin recently met with the Iranian publisher of the most popular Farsi magazine in the USA. After the encounter, the publisher offered to give him a free booth (normally costing $800) at the large Iranian Expo that he is arranging to happen in March. The publisher wants all of the attendees to obtain at least one of the Farsi book stacks. He is also putting up a stage where he wants devotees to do kirtan and share with everyone the spiritual culture of Krishna Consciousness.

Satyanarayana Dasa concluded, “It is so amazing and so clear that Lord Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupada’s special blessing is behind all of this and that They also inspired a new bhakta to become the top book distributor in the country specifically by distributing these Middle Eastern language books. New breakthroughs seem to be happening every single day now.

“Thank you so much, Srila Prabhupada, for these great gifts of service you have given us. All of this is your direct mercy pouring down on everyone involved in any way.  And this is just the beginning! Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!”

To follow the devotional service of the BBT Far East/Middle East division and to also watch the enthusiastic response of the Iranians and Arabs worldwide, visit their Facebook page.

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