Srila-Prabhupada-Reads-Srimad-Bhagavatam

Prabhupada began making life members in Indore by sending Hamsaduta out alone. Hamsaduta was inexperienced and even skeptical that anyone would pay the 1,111 rupees.

Hamsaduta: One day Prabhupada told me to go to the market with a neighbor and take these books – he had three Krishna books – and try to make some life members. “Just show them the books,” he said, “and tell them this is a token of our work. Then ask them to please help our mission by becoming a life member for 1,111 rupees.” I was thinking that no one was going to give one thousand rupees for two or three books, so I just didn't do anything about it. I just avoided the issue. The next day Prabhupada gave me the same instruction, but again I didn't do anything. On the third day he said I had to go, so I went next door and got a man who took me to the cloth merchants.

We went to the shop of the biggest cloth merchant in Indore. The man didn't speak English, so the neighbor who had accompanied me translated. I would say, "Tell him this. Tell him that." And the man would translate everything. After I had exhausted my presentation, I said, "Now ask him to give a check for 1,111 rupees." My translator relayed the message, and the merchant immediately took out his checkbook and wrote the check. Then we visited another merchant, and the same thing happened – he immediately wrote a check. We went to another merchant, and he also became a life member. So I made three life members on the first day, and when I came back and told Prabhupada, he was in ecstasy.

By sending disciples and by sometimes going out himself, Srila Prabhupada soon had a dozen ISKCON life members in Indore. Prabhupada, Hamsaduta, and Giriraja visited the king of Indore and invited him to become a life member, but the king declined. The devotees were disappointed, and in the car on the way back to Gita Bhavan, Hamsaduta asked Prabhupada, "Did I say the right thing about the books?"

"My books are like gold," Prabhupada replied. "It doesn't matter what you say about them. One who knows the value, he will purchase."