Prabhupada Brings the Hare Krishna Mantra to the West
Srila Prabhupada's Mission To America (Drama of events - play)
Prabhupada's arrival in the USA September 17, 1965.
2002 festival in Boston by devotees to commemorate the day (Iskcon Boston)
See Iskcon Boston's celebrations of this event 2004 picture Gallery
With the manuscript for Volume Three
complete and with the money to print it, Bhaktivedanta Swami once again
entered the printing world, purchasing paper, correcting proofs, and keeping
the printer on schedule so that the book would be finished by January 1965.
Thus, by his persistence, he who had almost no money of his own managed
to publish his third large hardbound volume within a little more than two
At this rate, with his respect in the scholarly world increasing, he might soon become a recognized figure amongst his countrymen. But he had his vision set on the West. And with the third volume now printed, he felt he was at last prepared. He was sixty-nine and would have to go soon. It had been more than forty years since Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté had first asked a young householder in Calcutta to preach Kåñëa consciousness in the West. At first it had seemed impossible to Abhay Charan, who had so recently entered family responsibilities. That obstacle, however, had long ago been removed, and for more than ten years he had been free to travel. But he had been penniless (and still was). And he had wanted first to publish some volumes of Çrémad-Bhägavatam to take with him; it had seemed necessary if he were to do something solid. Now, by Kåñëa's grace, three volumes were on hand.
I planned that I must go to America. Generally they go to London, but I
did not want to go to London. I was simply thinking how to go to New York.
I was scheming, “Whether I shall go this way, through Tokyo, Japan, or
that way? Which way is cheaper?" That was my proposal. And I was targeting
to New York always. Sometimes I was dreaming that I have come to New York.
Then Bhaktivedanta Swami met Mr. Agarwal, a Mathurä businessman, and mentioned to him in passing, as he did to almost everyone he met, that he wanted to go to the West. Although Mr. Agarwal had known Bhaktivedanta Swami for only a few minutes, he volunteered to try to get him a sponsor in America. It was something Mr. Agarwal had done a number of times; when he met a sädhu who mentioned something about going abroad to teach Hindu culture, he would ask his son Gopal, an engineer in Pennsylvania, to send back a sponsorship form. When Mr. Agarwal volunteered to help in this way, Bhaktivedanta Swami urged him please to do so.
Çréla Prabhupäda: I did not say anything seriously to Mr. Agarwal, but perhaps he took it very seriously. I asked him, “Well, why don't you ask your son Gopal to sponsor so that I can go there? I want to preach there."
But Bhaktivedanta Swami knew he could not simply dream of going to the West; he needed money. In March 1965 he made another visit to Bombay, attempting to sell his books. Again he stayed at the free dharmaçälä, Premkutir. But finding customers was difficult. He met Paramananda Bhagwani, a librarian at Jai Hind College, who purchased books for the college library and then escorted Bhaktivedanta Swami to a few likely outlets.
Mr. Bhagwani: I took him to the Popular Book Depot at Grant Road to help him in selling books, but they told us they couldn't stock the books because they don't have much sales on religion. Then we went to another shop nearby, and the owner also regretted his inability to sell the books. Then he went to Sadhuvela, near Mahalakshmi temple, and we met the head of the temple there. He, of course, welcomed us. They have a library of their own, and they stock religious books, so we approached them to please keep a set there in their library. They are a wealthy äçrama, and yet he also expressed his inability.
Bhaktivedanta Swami returned to Delhi, pursuing the usual avenues of bookselling and looking for whatever opportunity might arise. And to his surprise, he was contacted by the Ministry of External Affairs and informed that his No Objection certificate for going to the U.S. was ready. Since he had not instigated any proceedings for leaving the country, Bhaktivedanta Swami had to inquire from the ministry about what had happened. They showed him the Statutory Declaration Form signed by Mr. Gopal Agarwal of Butler, Pennsylvania; Mr. Agarwal solemnly declared that he would bear the expenses of Bhaktivedanta Swami during his stay in the U.S.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Whatever the correspondence was there between the father and son, I did not know. I simply asked him, “Why don't you ask your son Gopal to sponsor?" And now, after three or four months, the No Objection certificate was sent from the Indian Consulate in New York to me. He had already sponsored my arrival there for one month, and all of a sudden I got the paper.
At his father's request, Gopal Agarwal had done as he had done for several other sädhus, none of whom had ever gone to America. It was just a formality, something to satisfy his father. Gopal had requested a form from the Indian Consulate in New York, obtained a statement from his employer certifying his monthly salary, gotten a letter from his bank showing his balance as of April 1965, and had the form notarized. It had been stamped and approved in New York and sent to Delhi. Now Bhaktivedanta Swami had a sponsor. But he still needed a passport, visa, P-form, and travel fare.
The passport was not very difficult to obtain. Krishna Pandit helped, and by June 10 he had his passport. Carefully, he penned in his address at the Rädhä-Kåñëa temple in Chippiwada and wrote his father's name, Gour Mohan De. He asked Krishna Pandit also to pay for his going abroad, but Krishna Pandit refused, thinking it against Hindu principles for a sädhu to go abroad—and also very expensive.
With his passport and sponsorship papers, Bhaktivedanta Swami went to Bombay, not to sell books or raise funds for printing; he wanted a ticket for America. Again he tried approaching Sumati Morarji. He showed his sponsorship papers to her secretary, Mr. Choksi, who was impressed and who went to Mrs. Morarji on his behalf. “The Swami from Våndävana is back," he told her. “He has published his book on your donation. He has a sponsor, and he wants to go to America. He wants you to send him on a Scindia ship." Mrs. Morarji said no, the Swamiji was too old to go to the United States and expect to accomplish anything. As Mr. Choksi conveyed to him Mrs. Morarji's words, Bhaktivedanta Swami listened disapprovingly. She wanted him to stay in India and complete the Çrémad-Bhägavatam. Why go to the States? Finish the job here.
But Bhaktivedanta Swami was fixed on going. He told Mr. Choksi that he should convince Mrs. Morarji. He coached Mr. Choksi on what he should say: “I find this gentleman very inspired to go to the States and preach something to the people there…" But when he told Mrs. Morarji, she again said no. The Swami was not healthy. It would be too cold there. He might not be able to come back, and she doubted whether he would be able to accomplish much there. People in America were not so cooperative, and they would probably not listen to him.
Exasperated with Mr. Choksi's ineffectiveness, Bhaktivedanta Swami demanded a personal interview. It was granted, and a gray-haired, determined Bhaktivedanta Swami presented his emphatic request: “Please give me one ticket."
Sumati Morarji was concerned. “Swamiji, you are so old—you are taking this responsibility. Do you think it is all right?"
“No," he reassured her, lifting his hand as if to reassure a doubting daughter, “it is all right."
“But do you know what my secretaries think? They say, “Swamiji is going to die there.'"
Bhaktivedanta made a face as if to dismiss a foolish rumor. Again he insisted that she give him a ticket. “All right," she said. “Get your P-form, and I will make an arrangement to send you by our ship." Bhaktivedanta Swami smiled brilliantly and happily left her offices, past her amazed and skeptical clerks.
A “P-form"—another necessity for an Indian national who wants to leave the country—is a certificate given by the State Bank of India, certifying that the person has no excessive debts in India and is cleared by the banks. That would take a while to obtain. And he also did not yet have a U.S. visa. He needed to pursue these government permissions in Bombay, but he had no place to stay. So Mrs. Morarji agreed to let him reside at the Scindia Colony, a compound of apartments for employees of the Scindia Company.
He stayed in a small, unfurnished apartment with only his trunk and typewriter. The resident Scindia employees all knew that Mrs. Morarji was sending him to the West, and some of them became interested in his cause. They were impressed, for although he was so old, he was going abroad to preach. He was a special sädhu, a scholar. They heard from him how he was taking hundreds of copies of his books with him, but no money. He became a celebrity at the Scindia Colony. Various families brought him rice, sabjé, and fruit. They brought so much that he could not eat it all, and he mentioned this to Mr. Choksi. Just accept it and distribute it, Mr. Choksi advised. Bhaktivedanta Swami then began giving remnants of his food to the children. Some of the older residents gathered to hear him as he read and spoke from Çrémad-Bhägavatam. Mr. Vasavada, the chief cashier of Scindia, was particularly impressed and came regularly to learn from the sädhu. Mr. Vasavada obtained copies of Bhaktivedanta Swami's books and read them in his home.
Bhaktivedanta Swami's apartment shared a roofed-in veranda with Mr. Nagarajan, a Scindia office worker, and his wife.
Mrs. Nagarajan: Every time when I passed that way, he used to be writing or chanting. I would ask him, “Swamiji, what are you writing?" He used to sit near the window and one after another was translating the Sanskrit. He gave me two books and said, “Child, if you read this book, you will understand." We would have discourses in the house, and four or five Gujarati ladies used to come. At one of these discourses he told one lady that those who wear their hair parted on the side—that is not a good idea. Every Indian lady should have her hair parted in the center. They were very fond of listening and very keen to hear his discourse.
Every day he would go out trying to get his visa and P-form as quickly as possible, selling his books, and seeking contacts and supporters for his future Çrémad-Bhägavatam publishing. Mr. Nagarajan tried to help. Using the telephone directory, he made a list of wealthy business and professional men who were Vaiñëavas and might be inclined to assist. Bhaktivedanta Swami's neighbors at Scindia Colony observed him coming home dead tired in the evening. He would sit quietly, perhaps feeling morose, some neighbors thought, but after a while he would sit up, rejuvenated, and start writing.
Mrs. Nagarajan: When he came home we used to give him courage, and we used to tell him, “Swamiji, one day you will achieve your target." He would say, “Time is still not right. Time is still not right. They are all ajïänés. They don't understand. But still I must carry on."
Sometimes I would go by, and his cädar would be on the chair, but he would be sitting on the windowsill. I would ask him, “Swamiji, did you have any good contacts?" He would say, “Not much today. I didn't get much, and it is depressing. Tomorrow Kåñëa will give me more details." And he would sit there quietly.
After ten minutes, he would sit in his chair and start writing. I would wonder how Swamiji was so tired in one minute and in another minuteï Even if he was tired, he was not defeated. He would never speak discouragement. And we would always encourage him and say, “If today you don't get it, tomorrow you will definitely meet some people, and they will encourage you." And my friends used to come in the morning and in the evening for discourse, and they would give namaskära and fruits.
Mr. Nagarajan: His temperament was very adjustable and homely. Our friends would offer a few rupees. He would say, “All right. It will help." He used to walk from our colony to Andheri station. It is two kilometers, and he used to go there without taking a bus, because he had no money.
Bhaktivedanta Swami had a page printed entitled “My Mission," and he would show it to influential men in his attempts to get further financing for Çrémad-Bhägavatam. The printed statement proposed that God consciousness was the only remedy for the evils of modern materialistic society. Despite scientific advancement and material comforts, there was no peace in the world; therefore, Bhagavad-gétä and Çrémad-Bhägavatam, the glory of India, must be spread all over the world.
Mrs. Morarji asked Bhaktivedanta Swami if he would read Çrémad-Bhägavatam to her in the evening. He agreed. She began sending her car for him at six o'clock each evening, and they would sit in her garden, where he would recite and comment on the Bhägavatam.
Mrs. Morarji: He used to come in the evening and sing the verses in rhythmic tunes, as is usually done with the Bhägavatam. And certain points—when you sit and discuss, you raise so many points—he was commenting on certain points, but it was all from the Bhägavatam. So he used to sit and explain to me and then go. He could give time, and I could hear him. That was for about ten or fifteen days.
His backing by Scindia and his sponsorship in the U.S. were a strong presentation, and with the help of the people at Scindia he obtained his visa on July 28, 1965. But the P-form proceedings went slowly and even threatened to be a last, insurmountable obstacle.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Formerly there was no restriction for going outside. But for a sannyäsé like me, I had so much difficulty obtaining the government permission to go out. I had applied for the P-form sanction, but no sanction was coming. Then I went to the State Bank of India. The officer was Mr. Martarchari. He told me, “Swamiji, you are sponsored by a private man. So we cannot accept. If you were invited by some institution, then we could consider. But you are invited by a private man for one month. And after one month, if you are in difficulty, there will be so many obstacles." But I had already prepared everything to go. So I said, “What have you done?" He said, “I have decided not to sanction your P-form." I said, “No, no, don't do this. You better send me to your superior. It should not be like that."
So he took my request, and he sent the file to the chief official of foreign exchange—something like that. So he was the supreme man in the State Bank of India. I went to see him. I asked his secretary, “Do you have such-and-such a file. You kindly put it to Mr. Rao. I want to see him." So the secretary agreed, and he put the file, and he put my name down to see him. I was waiting. So Mr. Rao came personally. He said, “Swamiji, I passed your case. Don't worry."
Following Mrs. Morarji's instruction, her secretary, Mr. Choksi, made final arrangements for Bhaktivedanta Swami. Since he had no warm clothes, Mr. Choksi took him to buy a wool jacket and other woolen clothes. Mr. Choksi spent about 250 rupees on new clothes, including some new dhotés. At Bhaktivedanta Swami's request, Mr. Choksi printed five hundred copies of a small pamphlet containing the eight verses written by Lord Caitanya and an advertisement for Çrémad-Bhägavatam, in the context of an advertisement for the Scindia Steamship Company.
Mr. Choksi: I asked him, “Why couldn't you go earlier? Why do you want to go now to the States, at this age?" He replied that, “I will be able to do something good, I am sure." His idea was that someone should be there who would be able to go near people who were lost in life and teach them and tell them what the correct thing is. I asked him so many times, “Why do you want to go to the States? Why don't you start something in Bombay or Delhi or Våndävana?" I was teasing him also: “You are interested in seeing the States. Therefore, you want to go. All Swamijis want to go to the States, and you want to enjoy there." He said, “What I have got to see? I have finished my life."
But sometimes he was hot-tempered. He used to get angry at me for the delays. “What is this nonsense?" he would say. Then I would understand: he is getting angry now. Sometimes he would say, “Oh, Mrs. Morarji has still not signed this paper? She says come back tomorrow, we will talk tomorrow! What is this? Why this daily going back?" He would get angry. Then I would say, “You can sit here." But he would say, “How long do I have to sit?" He would become impatient.
Finally Mrs. Morarji scheduled a place for him on one of her ships, the Jaladuta, which was sailing from Calcutta on August 13. She had made certain that he would travel on a ship whose captain understood the needs of a vegetarian and a brähmaëa. Mrs. Morarji told the Jaladuta's captain, Arun Pandia, to carry extra vegetables and fruits for the Swami. Mr. Choksi spent the last two days with Bhaktivedanta Swami in Bombay, picking up the pamphlets at the press, purchasing clothes, and driving him to the station to catch the train for Calcutta.
He arrived in Calcutta about two weeks before the Jaladuta's departure. Although he had lived much of his life in the city, he now had nowhere to stay. It was as he had written in his “Våndävana-bhajana": “I have my wife, sons, daughters, grandsons, everything, / But I have no money, so they are a fruitless glory." Although in this city he had been so carefully nurtured as a child, those early days were also gone forever: “Where have my loving father and mother gone to now? / And where are all my elders, who were my own folk? / Who will give me news of them, tell me who? / All that is left of this family life is a list of names."
Out of the hundreds of people in Calcutta whom Bhaktivedanta Swami knew, he chose to call on Mr. Sisir Bhattacarya, the flamboyant kértana singer he had met a year before at the governor's house in Lucknow. Mr. Bhattacarya was not a relative, not a disciple, nor even a close friend; but he was willing to help. Bhaktivedanta Swami called at his place and informed him that he would be leaving on a cargo ship in a few days; he needed a place to stay, and he would like to give some lectures. Mr. Bhattacarya immediately began to arrange a few private meetings at friends' homes, where he would sing and Bhaktivedanta Swami would then speak.
Mr. Bhattacarya thought the sädhu's leaving for America should make an important news story. He accompanied Bhaktivedanta Swami to all the newspapers in Calcutta—the Hindustan Standard, the Amrita Bazar Patrika, the Jugantas, the Statesman, and others. Bhaktivedanta Swami had only one photograph, a passport photo, and they made a few copies for the newspapers. Mr. Bhattacarya would try to explain what the Swami was going to do, and the news writers would listen. But none of them wrote anything. Finally they visited the Dainik Basumati, a local Bengali daily, which agreed to print a small article with Bhaktivedanta Swami's picture.
A week before his departure, on August 6, Bhaktivedanta Swami traveled to nearby Mäyäpur to visit the samädhi of Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté. Then he returned to Calcutta, where Mr. Bhattacarya continued to assist him with his final business and speaking engagements.
Mr. Bhattacarya: We just took a hired taxi to this place and that place. And he would go for preaching. I never talked to him during the preaching, but once when I was coming back from the preaching, I said, “You said this thing about this. But I tell you it is not this. It is this." I crossed him in something or argued. And he was furious. Whenever we argued and I said, “No, I think this is this," then he was shouting. He was very furious. He said, “You are always saying, “I think, I think, I think.' What is the importance of what you think? Everything is what you think. But it doesn't matter. It matters what çästra says. You must follow." I said, “I must do what I think, what I feel—that is important." He said, “No, you should forget this. You should forget your desire. You should change your habit. Better you depend on çästras. You follow what çästra wants you to do, and do it. I am not telling you what I think, but I am repeating what the çästra says."
As the day of his departure approached, Bhaktivedanta Swami took stock of his meager possessions. He had only a suitcase, an umbrella, and a supply of dry cereal. He did not know what he would find to eat in America; perhaps there would be only meat. If so, he was prepared to live on boiled potatoes and the cereal. His main baggage, several trunks of his books, was being handled separately by Scindia Cargo. Two hundred three-volume sets—the very thought of the books gave him confidence.
When the day came for him to leave, he needed that confidence. He was making a momentous break with his previous life, and he was dangerously old and not in strong health. And he was going to an unknown and probably unwelcoming country. To be poor and unknown in India was one thing. Even in these Kali-yuga days, when India's leaders were rejecting Vedic culture and imitating the West, it was still India; it was still the remains of Vedic civilization. He had been able to see millionaires, governors, the prime minister, simply by showing up at their doors and waiting. A sannyäsé was respected; the Çrémad-Bhägavatam was respected. But in America it would be different. He would be no one, a foreigner. And there was no tradition of sädhus, no temples, no free äçramas. But when he thought of the books he was bringing—transcendental knowledge in English—he became confident. When he met someone in America he would give him a flyer: ““Çrémad Bhagwatam,' India's Message of Peace and Goodwill."
It was August 13, just a few days before Janmäñöamé, the appearance day anniversary of Lord Kåñëa—the next day would be his own sixty-ninth birthday. During these last years, he had been in Våndävana for Janmäñöamé. Many Våndävana residents would never leave there; they were old and at peace in Våndävana. Bhaktivedanta Swami was also concerned that he might die away from Våndävana. That was why all the Vaiñëava sädhus and widows had taken vows not to leave, even for Mathurä—because to die in Våndävana was the perfection of life. And the Hindu tradition was that a sannyäsé should not cross the ocean and go to the land of the mlecchas. But beyond all that was the desire of Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté, and his desire was nondifferent from that of Lord Kåñëa. And Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu had predicted that the chanting of Hare Kåñëa would be known in every town and village of the world.
Bhaktivedanta Swami took a taxi down to the Calcutta port. A few friends and admirers, along with his son Vrindavan, accompanied him. He writes in his diary: “Today at 9 a.m. embarked on M.V. Jaladuta. Came with me Bhagwati, the Dwarwan of Scindia Sansir, Mr. Sen Gupta, Mr. Ali and Vrindaban." He was carrying a Bengali copy of Caitanya-caritämåta, which he intended to read during the crossing. Somehow he would be able to cook on board. Or if not, he could starve— whatever Kåñëa desired. He checked his essentials: passenger ticket, passport, visa, P-form, sponsor's address. Finally it was happening.
Çréla Prabhupäda: With what great difficulty I got out of the country! Some way or other, by Kåñëa's grace, I got out so I could spread the Kåñëa consciousness movement all over the world. Otherwise, to remain in India—it was not possible. I wanted to start a movement in India, but I was not at all encouraged.
The black cargo ship, small and weathered, was moored at dockside, a gangway leading from the dock to the ship's deck. Indian merchant sailors curiously eyed the elderly saffron-dressed sädhu as he spoke last words to his companions and then left them and walked determinedly toward the boat.
For thousands of years, kåñëa-bhakti had been known only in India, not outside, except in twisted, faithless reports by foreigners. And the only swamis to have reached America had been nondevotees, Mäyävädé impersonalists. But now Kåñëa was sending Bhaktivedanta Swami as His emissary.
Today the ship is plying very smoothly. I feel today better. But I am feeling separation from Sri Vrindaban and my Lords Sri Govinda, Gopinath, Radha Damodar. My only solace is Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita in which I am tasting the nectarine of Lord Chaitanya's lila. I have left Baharatabhumi just to execute the order of Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, in pursuance of Lord Chaitanya's order. I have no qualification, but have taken up the risk just to carry out the order of His Divine Grace. I depend fully on Their mercy, so far away from Vrindaban.SPL 12: The Journey to America
The Journey to America
The Power of Mantra Meditation
based on the teachings of
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Srila Prabhupada Brings the Hare Krishna Mantra to the West
When His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada first arrived in America in the midst of the cultural turmoil of the sixties, he quickly captured the hearts and minds of the New York hippies and the San Francisco flower children with the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra.
Within three years, he journeyed to London, and by 1971, Hare Krishna had been recorded on hit records by former Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison. By then the mantra had been heard by hundreds of millions of people, and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, formed in New York in 1966, had spread to six continents. How could an elderly Indian swami in a strange, foreign land, with no money, no support, no friends, and no followers, achieve such phenomenal success? The story that follows includes eyewitness accounts and excerpts from Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita, the authorized biography of this extraordinary saint, written by one of his intimate disciples, His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Goswami.
The arduous sea voyage from Calcutta to Boston was finally over. The lone passenger aboard the cargo ship Jaladuta, a seventy-year-old Indian holy man, had been given free passage by the owner of the Scindia Steamship Company. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada arrived at Commonwealth Pier on September 17, 1965.
For thousands of years krishna-bhakti, love of Krishna, had been known only in India, but now, on the order of his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada had come to awaken the natural, dormant Krishna consciousness of the American people.
On his arrival day onboard the Jaladuta, he wrote in his diary the following words:
Absorbed in material life, they [Americans] think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vasudeva [Krishna]... But I know that Your causeless mercy can make everything possible, because You are the most expert mystic ... How will I make them understand this message of Krishna consciousness? ... O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message ... I am seeking Your benediction ... I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Krishna ...
In 1922, Sri1a Prabhupada's spiritual master, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, had requested him to spread the teachings of Lord Krishna, including the Hare Krishna mantra, to the West, and now, after a lifetime in preparation, Srila Prabhupada was ready to begin.
After landing in America with the Indian rupee equivalent of eight dollars, he spent his first year in the United States with a family in Butler, Pennsylvania; an Indian yoga teacher in Manhattan; and later, with the help of friends, rented a small room in upper Manhattan.
By the summer of 1966, he had found a larger location more suited to propagating the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and the ancient science of Krishna consciousness. That summer Prabhupada had met a young man named Harvey Cohen, who offered him an old artist-in-residence loft in lower Manhattan's Bowery.
Here, a small group of young Bohemian types would join Srila Prabhupada every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening for chanting Hare Krishna and classes on the Bhagavad-gita. Although not yet incorporated or known by its present name, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness had been born.
Few of Srila Prabhupada's guests, whose interests included music, drugs, macrobiotics, pacifism, and spiritual meditation, knew very much about what they were chanting or exactly why they were chanting it. They just enjoyed it and liked being in the presence of the man they affectionately called "Swamiji." These musicians, artists, poets, and intellectuals, most of whom had chosen to live outside of mainstream society, felt that by chanting Hare Krishna they were taking part in something mystical and unique.
Srila Prabhupada led the solo chanting: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The melody was always the same -- a simple four-note phrase, the first four notes of the major scale. Prabhupada led the kirtana with small three-inch-diameter hand cymbals he had brought with him from India. He would ring them in a one-two-three, one-two-three fashion Some of his followers clapped along with him, and some joined in with small fingercymbals of their own. Others sat in yoga postures, hands outstretched, chanting and meditating on this novel transcendental vibration. Guests would sometimes bring other instruments, including guitars, tambouras, flutes, tambourines, and a wide variety of drums.
After a few months some of Srila Prabhupada's followers secured for him a better place to live and spread the chanting of the holy name. The new Second Avenue location on the hippie-filled Lower East Side included an apartment for Srila Prabhupada one floor up and a ground- floor storefront, which he would use as a temple. Within a few weeks, the small sixty-by-twenty-five-foot storefront was packed with young people three nights a week. Gradually the storefront took on the appearance of a temple as visitors began to bring tapestries and paintings for the walls, carpets for the floors, and amplification equipment for Srila Prabhupada's lectures and kirtanas (congregational chanting).
Prabhupada's kirtanas were lively and captivating, with numerous guests spontaneously rising to their feet, clapping and dancing. Srila Prabhupada, always conducting the kirtana in call-and-response fashion and playing a small African bongolike drum, would accelerate the chant faster and faster, until after about half an hour it would reach a climax and suddenly end. Chanting along with Srila Prabhupada in this small room on Second Avenue, guests found themselves transported into another dimension, a spiritual dimension, in which the anxieties and pressures of everyday life in New York City simply did not exist. Many soon caught on that chanting Hare Krishna was an intense and effective form of meditation, a direct means of communion with something greater than themselves, no matter what their conception of the Absolute.
Srila Prabhupada initiated his first disciples in September of ‘66, at which time about a dozen students vowed to chant a minimum of sixteen rounds a day on their beads. This meant reciting the sixteen- word mantra 1,728 times a day, a meditation that would take them between one and a half to two hours to complete.
Prabhupada's flock soon began to print and distribute invitations and leaflets such as this one:
Practice the transcendental sound vibration,
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
This chanting will cleanse the dust from the
mirror of the mind.
Another invited America's youth to
STAY HIGH FOREVER!
No More Coming Down
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*TRANSCENDENTAL SOUND VIBRATION*
HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA
KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE
HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA
RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE
In the mornings Srila Prabhupada would lead the devotees in one round of japa (chanting on beads). After chanting with Prabhupada, the devotees would chant their remaining sixteen rounds on their own.
The celebrated American poet Allen Ginsberg, accompanying the kirtana on his harmonium, had by now become a regular at the evening chanting sessions at the temple and in nearby Tompkins Square Park. In a 1980 interview published in Srila Prabhupada's biography, he recalled his experiences.
Allen Ginsberg: I liked immediately the idea that Swami Bhaktivedanta had chosen the Lower East Side of New York for his practice...S I was astounded that he'd come with the chanting, because it seemed like a reinforcement from India. I had been running around singing Hare Krishna but had never understood exactly why or what it meant...s I thought it was great now that he was here to expound on the Hare Krishna mantra -- that would sort of justify my singing. I knew what I was doing but I didn't have any theological background to satisfy further inquiry, and here was someone who did. So I thought that was absolutely great... If anyone wanted to know the technical intricacies and the ultimate history, I could send them to him.... he had a personal, selfless sweetness like total devotion. And that was what always conquered me ..e a kind of personal charm, coming from dedication ..o I always liked to be with him.
The chanting of Hare Krishna seemed to spread in an almost magical way, and as time went on, the number of people attracted to it increased geometrically. Even in this unlikely New York setting, the mantra seemed to have a life of its own. Whether it was the melody, the beat, the sound of the words, the look of the devotees, or Prabhupada's humility or serenity, nearly everyone who then came in touch with the chanting of Hare Krishna responded favorably.
In December 1966, Srila Prabhupada would explain on his first record album, the LP that introduced two of the Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, to Hare Krishna, that "the chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is not a material sound vibration, but comes directly from the spiritual world."
Prabhupada's Tompkins Square Park kirtanas were spiritual happenings that are now legendary. Hundreds of people from all walks of life took part; some as observers and some as eager participants, chanting, clapping their hands, dancing, and playing musical instruments. Irving Halpern, one of many local musicians who regularly participated, remembers the scene.
Irving: The park resounded. The musicians were very careful in listening to the mantras...t I have talked to a couple of musicians about it, and we agreed that in his head this Swami must have had hundreds and hundreds of melodies that had been brought back from the real learning from the other side of the world. So many people came there just to tune in to the musical gift, the transmission of the dharma. "Hey," they would say, "listen to this holy monk." People were really sure there were going to be unusual feats, grandstanding, flashy levitations, or whatever people expected was going to happen. But when the simplicity of what the Swami was really saying, when you began to sense it -- whether you were motivated to actually make a lifetime commitment and go this way of life, or whether you merely wanted to place it in a place and give certain due respect to it -- it turned you around.
And that was interesting, too, the different ways in which people regarded the kirtana. Some people thought it was a prelude. Some people thought it was a main event. Some people liked the music. Some people liked the poetic sound of it.
After the kirtanas Srila Prabhupada usually spoke for a few minutes about Krishna consciousness, inviting everyone back to the temple for a Sunday afternoon "love festival" of chanting and feasting, a weekly event that soon became a tradition that continues today. The October 9 edition of the New York Times described the Tompkins Square Park kirtana with the following headline: "SWAMI'S FLOCK CHANTS IN PARK TO FIND ECSTASY."
Sitting under a tree in a Lower East Side park and occasionally dancing, fifty followers of a Hindu swami repeated a sixteen- word chant for two hours yesterday afternoon to the accompaniment of cymbals, tambourines, sticks, drums, bells, and a small reed organ...i Repetition of the chant, Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta says, is the best way to achieve self-realization in this age of destruction.
... many in the crowd of about a hundred persons standing around the chanters found themselves swaying to or clapping hands in time to the hypnotic rhythmic music. "It brings a state of ecstasy," said Allen Ginsberg the poet...u The ecstasy of the chant or mantra Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare has replaced LSD and other drugs for many of the Swami's followers."
At the same time, New York's avant-garde newspaper The East Village Other ran a front page story with a full-page photograph of Srila Prabhupada standing and speaking to a large group of people in the park. The banner headline read "SAVE EARTH NOW!!" and in large type just below the picture, the maha-mantra was printed: "HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE." The article admired the chanting and described how Srila Prabhupada "had succeeded in convincing the world's toughest audience -- Bohemians, acidheads, potheads, and hippies -- that he knew the way to God."
Turn Off, Sing Out, and Fall In. This new brand of holy man, with all due deference to Dr. Leary, has come forth with a brand of "Consciousness Expansion" that's sweeter than acid, cheaper than pot, and nonbustible by fuzz.
The newspaper story described how a visit to the temple at 26 Second Avenue would bring "living, visible, tangible proof" that God is alive and well. The story quoted one of Srila Prabhupada's new disciples:
I started chanting to myself, like the Swami said, when I was walking down the street -- Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare -- over and over, and suddenly everything started looking so beautiful, the kids, the old men and women ..n even the creeps looked beautiful ..s to say nothing of the trees and flowers.
Finding it superior to the euphoria from any kind of drug, he said,
There's no coming down from this. I can always do this any time, anywhere.
It is always with you.
The Hare Krishna Mantra: "There's Nothing Higher..."
Chanting for Liberation
Srila Prabhupada Brings the Hare Krishna Mantra to the West
^^ You are here
Srila Prabhupada in San Francisco and Beyond
Chanting for Higher Consciousness: A Cultural History
The Life of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
Haridasa Thakura and the Prostitute
The Science of Mantra Meditation
The Benefits of Chanting
Techniques for Chanting
Original @ http://www.cedarpost.com/krsnaconsciousplays/SPrabhupadaMission.htm
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CAST: Abhay Charan / Srila Prabhupada, Narendranath, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Captain and Mrs. Pandia, Devotees.
Srila Prabhupada Meets His Spiritual Master
(Scene opens with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and disciples in the background.
Enter Narendranath, pulling Srila Prabhupada as a young man named Abhay
Abhay: Narendranath! I'm not going!
Narendranath: Oh please, Abhay, I'm sure you will like him... he is a wonderful sadhu!
Abhay: Oh yes, I know all these sadhus! Most of them are simply beggars and ganja smokers in the dress of mendicants!
Narendranath: But this one is different, Abhay. He is a pure and powerful Vaishnava.
Abhay: Narendranath! I wish you wouldn't behave like this! I told you I'm not going...
Narendranath: Look, Abhay, I tell you he is extraordinary. He is such a learned scholar, and a great devotee of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. You must meet him! Please!
Abhay: Oh, I...
Narendranath: At least you should see him and judge for yourself.
Abhay: You're so persistent! All right!
Narendranath: You won't regret this Abhay, I promise you.
Abhay: Well, we shall see.
Bhaktisiddhanta: There has not been, there will not be, such benefactors of the highest merit as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees have been. The offer of other benefits is only a deception; it is rather a great harm, whereas the benefit done by Him and His followers is the truest and greatest eternal benefit... It is not for the benefit of one particular country, causing mischief to another; but it benefits the whole universe... The kindness that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has shown to jivas absolves them eternally from all wants, from all inconveniences and from all distresses... (Abhay and Narendranath enter, they pay their obeisances and are still rising)
Bhaktisiddhanta: You are educated young men. Why don't you preach Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's message throughout the whole world?
Abhay: (taken back) How can we spread Indian culture if we are under British rule? First India must become independent, otherwise who will hear your Chaitanya's message?
Bhaktisiddhanta: Krishna consciousness does not have to wait for a change in Indian politics, nor is it dependent on who rules. It is so important, so exclusively important, that it cannot wait!
Abhay: How can you dismiss the cause of independence, as if it were of no importance, when so many of our spiritually minded leaders and saints — even Gandhi himself — are stressing national pride?
Bhaktisiddhanta: Whether one power or another rules is a temporary situation; the eternal reality is Krishna or God consciousness, and the real self is the spiritual soul. Therefore no man- made political system can actually help humanity. This is the verdict of the Vedas. Everyone is an eternal servant of God, but if one takes himself to be the temporary body, and if one regards the nation of his birth as worshipable, then he is in the greatest illusion. The leaders and followers of the world's political movements, including the independence movement, are simply cultivating this illusion, and therefore they are no better then cows and asses. Real welfare work, whether individual, social or political, should help prepare a person for his next life and help him to re- establish his eternal relationship with Krishna.
Abhay: Yes, that is true, but oppression of the people is a reality... and the British slaughter of innocent citizens is a reality. Surely, at the present time, the people's cause is the only relevant movement, and spiritual life is a luxury which can be afforded only after independence.
Bhaktisiddhanta: Lord Sri Krishna is the highest Vedic authority, and in the Bhagavad-Gita he declares: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah — that one should give up all so-called dharmas and religious duties and surrender unto Him, the Personality of Godhead. The Srimad-Bhagavatam confirms this: dharmah projjhita kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam — all other forms of religion are impure and should be thrown out; only Bhagavata-dharma — performing one's duties to please the Supreme Lord — should remain. The problem is that the people have become faithless. They no longer believe that devotional service to God can remove all anomalies, even on the political scene. How can someone claim to be a leader of the people if he is ignorant of the soul and identifies with this dead body as the self? He is simply a fool, and yet they are all following... blind men led by another blind man into the ditch. There is no scarcity in this world... the only scarcity is of Krishna consciousness. But all these men — Subhash Chandra Bose, Bannerjee, Lajpat Rai, Gandhi — they have all failed to solve the real problem of society; rather, they simply added to the chaos and confusion. This whole world is simply a society of cheaters and cheated. It is not a fit place for a gentleman. Therefore one should simply aspire to leave this material world and go back to home, back to Godhead. The urgent need is to render the highest good to humanity by educating people about the eternal soul and its intimate loving relationship with Krishna. This is Lord Chaitanya's instruction to everyone born in India: bharata-bhumite haila manusya-janma yara, janma sarthaka kari kara para-upakara. So, do not hesitate... take up this important preaching mission and become an instrument in fulfilling Lord Chaitanya's prediction. And what is that prediction? Prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama — that one day the Holy Name of the Lord will be known in every town and every village of the world. Hare Krishna!
(Abhay pays his respectful obeisances, rises and leaves with Narendranath... they appear again, front stage)
Narendranath: So, Abhay, what was your impression? What do you think of him?
Abhay: He is wonderful! The message of Lord Chaitanya is in the hands of a very expert person!
Narendranath: I knew you would like him, Abhay.
Abhay: Yes, he is a very nice saintly person. Narendranath, I think,
were it not for my wife and
family commitments, I would immediately join him. (pause... then thoughtfully) Still, in my heart, I have accepted him. Yes, I have accepted him!
Srila Prabhupada's Journey To America
(Scene opens with Srila Prabhupada sitting behind a makeshift desk — his trunk — on board the steamship Jaladuta during the long journey from Calcutta to Boston, U.S.A... A few large volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam are visible. He is sitting in the light of a lantern, wearing glasses, and he looks weak in health. As he is writing, he pauses occasionally to think. He seems to be very thoughtful and grave, and at same time there is an unmistakable mood of determination, victory, ultimate happiness and peace about him. As he writes, his thoughts are heard)
Prabhupada: Today the ship is plying very smoothly. I feel today better. But I am feeling
separation from Sri Vrindavan and my Lords Sri Govinda, Gopinath, Radha-Damodara. I depend fully on Their mercy, so far away from Vrindavan. I have left Bharata-bhumi, just to execute the order of Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, in pursuance of Lord Chaitanya's order. I have no qualification, but have taken up the risk, just to carry out the order of His Divine Grace. By his strong desire, the Holy Name of the Lord Gauranga will spread throughout all the countries of the western world. In all the cities, town and villages on the earth, from all the oceans, seas, rivers and streams, everyone will chant the Holy Name of Krishna.
Although my Guru Maharaja ordered me to accomplish this mission, I am not worthy or fit to do it. Therefore, O Lord, now I am begging for your mercy so that I may become worthy, for you are the wisest and more experienced of all. Today that remembrance of You came to me in a very nice way. Because I have a great longing, I called to You. I am Your eternal servant and therefore I desire Your association so much. O Lord Krishna, except for You, there is no other means for success...
(there is a knock on the door. Captain and Mrs. Pandia enter)
Prabhupada: Captain Pandia... Mrs. Pandia! Hare Krishna!
Cpt. Pandia: Maharaja, how do you feel now? Has your health improved?
Prabhupada: Oh yes, yes. Do not worry! The chest pains have gone now, and but for a slight headache, I am feeling much better.
Mrs. Pandia: Oh, this is good news. We were really worried about you, you know, Swamiji!
Prabhupada: If the Atlantic had shown its usual face, perhaps I would have died. But Lord Krishna has taken charge of the ship.
Cpt. Pandia: Yes, I believe you are right. I have sailed these waters a hundred times, but never in my entire career have I seen such a calm Atlantic crossing!
Prabhupada: It is Krishna's mercy.
Cpt. Pandia: Yes!
Mrs. Pandia: Swamiji, perhaps you will come back with us, so that we may have another crossing such as this one! (they all laugh)
Prabhupada: Yes, yes, surely I would return with you. But I have my mission to fulfill!
Cpt. Pandia: Yes. I would like to help you, Maharaja. Is there anything we can do before you go?
Prabhupada: Mmmm? Yes... you take these copies of Srimad-Bhagavatam — this is the First Canto in three volumes — simply try to understand it, chant Hare Krishna, and you will be happy, that's all. This is the best thing you can do for me.
Cpt. Pandia: This is... most kind...
Mrs. Pandia: Oh Swamiji, we cannot possibly thank you enough...
Cpt. Pandia: Maharaja, here's twenty dollars. Please accept it as a donation for the books. It's not much, but it may help you.
Prabhupada: (touching the money to his head) Thank you very much!
Mrs. Pandia: Your future looks very bright, Swamiji, I can tell these things. That you have passed beyond this crisis shows that you have the blessings of Lord Krishna.
Prabhupada: Hare Krishna!
Cpt. & Mrs. Pandia: Hare Krishna! (they leave. Srila Prabhupada rises, and with the help of his stick he walks to the front. Leaning on the ship's rail, he peers out across the ocean to Boston's bleak and dirty skyline)
Prabhupada: My dear Lord Krishna, You are so merciful upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me. But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place? Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of passion and ignorance. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vasudeva. I do not know how they will be able to understand it. But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible, because You are the most expert mystic. Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now it is up to You to make me a success or failure as You like.
Srila Prabhupada's Preaching In America
(A slide show should accompany the Narrator's praise of Srila Prabhupada's
Narrator: Srila Prabhupada arrived in America, practically penniless
and hardly knowing in
which direction he should go. For a while he wandered here and there... to Butler, Pennsylvania, then to New York, where he stayed with Dr. Mishra (a Mayavadi yogi), and then to the Bowery — Skid Row, full of bums and drunkards. There he shared a loft with a drug-crazed hippie, till one day the boy finally went mad and Prabhupada was on the street with nowhere else to go. In this way, alone, for one year he was preaching — through the bitter New York winter — impoverished and a stranger in a city so degraded...Then, at last, on the Lower East Side, one by one, bedraggled refugees of Kali-yuga — hippies, fed up with materialism, and disillusioned with the so-called "flower power movement" — came to him for answers and for shelter from the rain of confusion. So he simply gave them kirtan and, out of curiosity or looking for some kind of mystical experience, they chanted Hare Krishna — although unknowingly, they began their path home to the spiritual sky. With great patience and compassion, Srila Prabhupada gave the message he had brought, and though the first students were so crazy, he spelled the truth out to them all, just like a kindly father: "You are not these bodies, you are spirit souls," he said. "We are all God's servants, so just chant Hare Krishna and be happy!" Many were just too far gone to hear him, but a few were sincere seekers of the truth, and they stayed, listened, learned and followed. Soon the Swamiji (as he was then affectionately known among his followers) had gathered around himself a faithful band of boys and girls, who gradually began to take to Krishna consciousness. Won over by kirtan, prasadam and Prabhupada's devotion to Lord Krishna, they gave up illicit sex, drugs, meat and gambling, and he, in turn, accepted them as his own disciples. But as soon as a few of them were strong enough to carry on in New York, immediately he left and went on to San Francisco, where with chanting, dancing, prasadam and philosophy, so many hopeless souls were attracted and saved from the web of material life.
In just a few years, the seed had been planted in New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Los Angeles... and across the sea to England, France, Australia and Russia. And Srila Prabhupada went traveling on relentlessly — preaching and taking the world by storm. And wherever Srila Prabhupada went with his disciples, people were astonished, journalists were excited, religionists dumbfounded and scientists were smashed! But above all, the peoples' hearts were changed. In just twelve short years — from Srila Prabhupada's arrival in the West until his triumphant return to Goloka Vrindavan, the Supreme abode — this world was benefited with so many of his gifts: more than one hundred beautiful temples, farms, castles, restaurants and palaces, full of thousands of ecstatic Vaishnava sons, daughters, grand-disciples... Sri Mayapura-Chandrodaya Mandir, Vrindavan's Krishna-Balarama temple, West Virginia's New Vrindavan, and the Bhaktivedanta Manor in London, England, to name but a few. He gave us worship of Their Lordships Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna, Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai and Jagannath-Subhadra-Balarama. And festivals like Gaura-Purnima, Janmashtami and Ratha-yatra flooding this world with nectar. He gave us transcendental dramas, art, music, dioramas, schools to teach our children, farms for developing cow-protection — but above all else, he gave us his books! "They are the basis," he would say, and he gave every single breath for writing them — seventy volumes, in fifty languages, printed in the hundreds of thousands and millions, distributed world-wide. He gave us the foundation for a golden age, a blue-print for the future; but more than that, he left his own example — a lifetime of surrender and devotional endeavor, for us to take our strength and inspiration from.
Srila Prabhupada's Arrival
Narrator: It is a few minutes before Srila Prabhupada's arrival. The
occasion is the celebration of
Vyasa-Puja held at the Bhaktivedanta Manor in England in 1973. Devotees are running around panic-stricken and ecstatic, trying to get everything ready. The Temple Commander appears in overalls, blurts out a few instructions to the devotees around him, who run off in different directions, and then proceeds to bang some nails in the wall. Just then, the telephone rings and the Temple Commander answers it. Srila Prabhupada is on his way and will be at the temple at any moment! The devotee's anxiety reaches a climax. Then suddenly the arrival kirtan is heard and Srila Prabhupada has arrived!
Srila Prabhupada's small but commanding figure walks regally into the
temple amidst bowing disciples and uncontrolled chanting of "Jai Prabhupada!"
The Deity curtains are opened and Srila Prabhupada bows down before Their
Lordships Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna and then rises, standing reverentially
before Them, his first fingers tapping together lightly, in time with the
"Govindam" prayers. After a few minutes, Srila Prabhupada turns and walks
majestically to his vyasasana where he sits and begins to chant "Jaya Radha-Madhava."
With his karatals ringing sweetly, and the mridanga following, Srila Prabhupada
takes the devotees out into a deep sea of chanting... After only a few
minutes, the kirtan ends and his Divine Grace begins to speak...
Prabhupada: Sons and daughters — I am so much obliged to you that you have become so enthusiastic for offering Vyasa-puja. When Krishna sees that a living entity is very anxious to understand Him or to revive his Krishna consciousness, then Krishna gives him all opportunity, especially by manifesting himself as the spiritual master... antar bahih... the spiritual master is therefore Krishna's manifestation, Krishna's mercy manifestation to help a person to develop his Krishna consciousness... Therefore, to advance in Krishna consciousness, we require two kinds of help — one from Krishna and another from spiritual master. It is stated in the Chaitanya- Charitamrita... You'll be glad to know that the 17-volume book, Chaitanya-Charitmrita, is now published!
Prabhupada: Kiba vipra kiba nyasi sudra kene naya, yei Krishna tattva vettha sei guru haya. I am sometimes criticized by my godbrothers, that I have become a "marriage-maker," but they do not know why I take this risk. I have got many disciples, they are married couples, but all of them, husband and wife, they are helping this movement. I am very much hopeful that my disciples who are now participating will continue to advance, so, even if I die, my movement will not stop. I am very much hopeful. All these nice boys and girls... Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted that European and American people may understand the philosophy of Chaitanya cult, and take part in it. That was his desire...
My guru maharaja, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada, he also attempted to send his disciples to preach Chaitanya cult in the western world. First meeting, perhaps you know, he asked me to preach. So at that time I was young man, only twenty-five years old, and I was also householder. So I should have joined and executed his desire immediately, but due to my ill luck, I could not immediately execute his order. But it was in my heart, that it is to be done. So it is better late than never, I executed his order at the age of seventy years, not at the age of twenty-five year. So actually I wasted so much time, I can understand that. From twenty-five... The message was there when I was twenty-five years old, but I begun at the age of seventy years. But I did not forget the message, otherwise how could I do? That is a fact. I was simply finding out the opportunity to do it. So anyway, although I began very late at the age of seventy years, so by the help of my disciples this movement is gaining ground and is spreading all over the world. So therefore I have to thank you. It is all due to you. It is not my credit, but it is your credit, that you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja...
So this movement, Krishna consciousness movement — that you already know, that it is the most essential, most important movement in the human society — so this movement will go on... Nobody can stop... You, all my disciples, everyone should become spiritual master. It is not difficult. It is difficult when you manufacture something. But if you simply present what you have heard from your spiritual master, it is very easy... One may be rascal number one from material estimation, but if he simply strictly follows whatever is said by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or representative spiritual master, then he becomes a guru. So, it is not very difficult... Amara ajnaya guru haya... And what is the difficulty? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says don't feel any difficulty, because as spiritual master, what you have to do? Yare dekha tare kaha Krishna upadesa... Whomever you meet, you simply speak to him the instruction which Krishna gives. What Krishna... The instruction He gives? That is also very easy. What is that? Krishna says: Man- mana bhava mad-bhaktah mad-yaji mam namaskuru. Krishna says, "Just become My devotee, always think of Me, offer Me obeisances and worship Me..." And at last Krishna says: Sarva- dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja.
So if you simply preach this cult... "My dear friend, my dear brother, you surrender to Krishna," you'll become spiritual master. Become spiritual master! You go door to door. No other talks, simply say: "My dear friend, you are great sadhu!" Although he may be rascal number one, still you call him: "He sadhava." "Yes, I am sadhu, yes. What is your proposal?" Then you say to him, "Kindly forget all nonsense that you have learned! That's all. I am flattering you because I want that you forget everything... All this yogis and this and that, meditation... Please, kick out all this!" "Then what, after this?" "Chaitanya candra carane kurutanuraga... Just adhere yourself to the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya!" Then you become spiritual master. That's all. So, if you want to become recognized by Krishna very quickly, you take up this process of becoming spiritual master and present the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, your life is perfect. Thank you very much!
Devotees: All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Srila Prabhupada: Chant Hare Krishna!
(Devotees begin chanting and Srila Prabhupada stays for a few minutes before rising and leaving the temple room. Kirtan continues and becomes very ecstatic)
Text courtesy of http://www.vedabase.com Used with permission.