Tag Archives: sankirtan

12hr Gita Weekend Course in São José dos Campos

On the 10th and 11th of December I taught another 12hr Gita course, this time in São José dos Campos – SP. SJ dos Campos is a good example of the major economic gains seen in Brazil in the last 10 years. This city of nearly one million people lies an hour and a bit from São Paulo and has technological, aerospace and car industries located there. Empty fields and landfills of ten years ago are now massively developed high income neighborhoods and fancy shopping malls.

In the midst of all this, a small group of qualified devotees are trying to establish a Krishna Consciousness preaching center. In sync with the successful recipe for urban preaching seen in other parts of the world, the leader there, Nanda Kumara Das (HDG) has a prasadam restaurant and yoga center (he’s both a cook and yoga teacher!). Nanda Kumara is an “old timer” by Brazilian standards, having started back in the early eighties as a full time brahmacari book distributor. His sankirtan consciousness persists to this day and he has nicely inspired the small group of devotees there, which includes two other yoga teachers, to regularly get books with him for distribution to friends, family, co-workers and any other people they may come in contact with.

In his spacious yoga studio, over his restaurant, 12 people gathered to spend 12 hours going over the entire content of the Bhagavad-gita. The mood was very peaceful and though we had complete newcomers and experienced devotees alike, they all greatly enjoyed the experience – as did I!

Here is some of the feedback I got:

“… The 12 hour Gita course was illuminating, and it brought to light several concepts which for me have always been somewhat obscure. I was also impressed with systematic and modern approach you applied, which facilitated the understanding of these ancient concepts… ” – Yogindra Das

“I have to thank you for this wonderful weekend that the Lord blessed us with. I hope to repeat it many times, for it meant a lot to me to spend 12 hours hearing about Krishna. Many of my doubts were cleared up and now I’ll be able to read the Gita more clearly. ” – Ranga Devi Dasi

“… it was a great pleasure … we have been privileged to learn this nectar.” – Bk. Alexandre

“This 12hr Gita helped me a lot to regain a state of  lucidity and serenenity that I had experienced during a period that was undoubtedly the best time of my life so far. I am very motivated to apply this method, in order to connect deeply with a higher consciousness and experience self-realization at a level beyond what I have already experienced in this incarnation. ” – Luiz Reis

“… we had hours of great wisdom. Thank you for introducing us to the Gita in such a simple and lighthearted way.” – Ana Paula

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Social Marketing and Sankirtan

Yesterday I experienced the power of social marketing. In 12 hours I sold 169 books online!

I’m currently about to print a new edition of my first book, “Ciência Espiritual – Uma Introdução à Sabedoria do Yoga” (only available in Portuguese, but the translated title is, “Spiritual Science – An Introduction to the Wisdom of Yoga”). I recently got an ISBN code for it, allowing me to sell it in bookstores, etc. I also had a new cover made, which I really liked (see below). But the problem was that I still had 165 volumes in stock, which would normally take months to sell, and I wanted to sell them before printing the new run.

Ciência Espiritual

So, I sent a message to my Pandavas Paradise email list (it only has 624 people on it, but it’s always growing), telling people about it and asking for their help. I asked for 15 people to buy 11 books each, for a discounted price, suggesting they could then give it away as they pleased.

I first thought I’d get maybe one or two people. To my surprise I got more than I needed within 12 hours!  The books are now completely sold out!

I think what made this campaign work is:

1) I don’t usually ask for things. I usually just give.
2) I explained the reason behind it, and it was a good one. I think people need a story to go with a plea. Just asking people to buy books because Prabhupada likes it, because they’ll be blessed by it or because other people will benefit is not enough.
3) I made it easy by not asking for anything too difficult and it was zero time consuming.

I’m now looking for ways to do this more, both with my books using our Pandavas Paradise list and also with BBT books using our Amigos de Krishna list (currently with 9000 members!).

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