for ISKCON News on April 1, 2011
The Moscow National Book Fair "Books of Russia 2011" took place on March 16-21 at the Russian Exhibition Center. For the third time in the last two years, Vaisnavas of Moscow Yatra participated in the event.
Srila Prabhupada encouraged his followers to "let there be systematic propaganda for popularizing reading of the Bhagavad-gītā and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam", and that is why devotees could not miss a chance like this to present Prabhupada's books to the public.
This time the participation of Srila Prabhupada’s books in Russian language in the Fair was dedicated to the 40th Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s visit to Moscow which started the Hare Krishna movement in the USSR back in June, 1971. The first Moscow International Book Fair took place in 1977, and Gopal Krishna Goswami was one of the first devotees to openly present the Vedic books to the Soviet people and the Soviet intelligentsia.
The Fair exhibited more than 150 000 books from 500 publishing houses. Thousands of Moscovites who are interested in reading, came to see the exhibition. Devotees worked hard at making the BBT booth attractive to visitors.
ISKCON congregational members served together with ashram brachmacharis to make the booth look nice by painting a big BBT logo on a piece of cloth bought especially for the occasion. A big TV screen was brought from the ashram to show films like "The Ganges" and "Lost Village", as well as films on the early days of the Movement. Beautiful flyers with the photo of Srila Prabhupada were designed and distributed at the Fair, in relevant book stores, at Gaura-purnima festival and by sankirtana book distributors. In all, 4,000 flyers were distributed which means that 4,000 people had a chance to at least have a glimpse on the face of
At the booth, leading preachers such as Radha Damodar Das and Krishnananda Das, who have joined the movement in the Soviet times, as well as brachmacharis were eager to give the public a chance to learn about Krishna Consciousness. People would come, ask for “Bhagavad-Gita”, spend some time examining the colourful “Darsana” book with pictures of Deities from ISKCON temples around the world and talk to the devotees. Some visitors would ask serious questions. Some of them would go to the www.krishna.ru or other Vaisnava websites, and some, having received the leaflets with the address, might even come to the temple.
Devotees present at the Fair received hot prasadam lunches each day so that they would be in good shape and not get tired from the mass of people that were flooding the Exhibition Centre. More than 50 devotees took part in the preparation and in the event itself. In addition to more than a hundred books, audio- and video-CDs were distributed with films about harinamas and with lectures on Vedic culture and philosophy. The devotees were very inspired by the event and are looking forward with enthusiasm to the Moscow International Book Fair, which is to take place in September.