In , from his front room at Sita Kanta Banerjee, Calcutta , he started the publication called Back to Godhead ,   for which he was writer, designer, publisher, editor, copy editor and distributor. He personally designed the logo, an effulgent figure of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the upper left corner, with the motto: "Godhead is Light, Nescience is darkness" greeting the readers. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Back to Godhead magazine Vol. Previous to this, as with his early disciples, followers had called him " Swamiji ". During his visit in September he entered the doors of this matha dressed in white, as Abhoy Babu, but he left dressed in saffron, as a Vaishnava renunciate sannyasi. He single-handedly published the first three volumes covering seventeen chapters of the first book of Bhagavata Purana, filling three volumes of four hundred pages, each with a detailed commentary.
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I feel today better. 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. I am quite comfortable. Heavy rains. More sickness.
The captain took him ashore, and he traveled around Colombo by car. Then the ship went on toward Cochin, on the west coast of India. Janmashtami, the appearance day of Lord Krishna, fell on the twentieth of August that year. Prabhupada took the opportunity to speak to the crew about the philosophy of Lord Krishna, and he distributed prasadam he had cooked himself. August 21 was his seventieth birthday, observed without ceremony at sea. By the twenty-third the ship had put out to the Red Sea, where Srila Prabhupada encountered great difficulty.
The pains in his chest made him think he would die at any moment. In two days he suffered two heart attacks. He tolerated the difficulty, meditating on the purpose of his mission, but after two days of such violent attacks he thought that if another were to come he would certainly not survive. On the night of the second day, Prabhupada had a dream. Lord Krishna, in His many forms, was rowing a boat, and He told Prabhupada that he should not fear, but should come along.
Srila Prabhupada visited the city with the captain and said that he liked it. By the sixth he had recovered a little from his illness and was eating regularly again for the first time in two weeks, having cooked his own kichari and puris.
He reported in his diary that his strength renewed little by little. Thursday, September 9 To this afternoon, we have crossed over the Atlantic Ocean for twenty-four hours. The whole day was clear and almost smooth. I am taking my food regularly and have got some strength to struggle.
There is also a slight tacking of the ship and I am feeling a slight headache also. But I am struggling and the nectarine of life is Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, the source of all my vitality. Friday, September 10 Today the ship is plying very smoothly. If he were to pass beyond this crisis in his health, she said, it would indicate the good will of Lord Krishna. The ocean voyage of was a calm one for the Jaladuta.
The captain said that never in his entire career had he seen such a calm Atlantic crossing. Pandia asked Prabhupada to come back with them so that they might have another such crossing.
But Lord Krishna has taken charge of the ship. Cooked bati kichari. It appeared to be delicious, so I was able to take some food. Today I have disclosed my mind to my companion, Lord Sri Krishna. There is a Bengali poem made by me in this connection. An English translation of the opening stanzas follows: I emphatically say to you, O brothers, you will obtain your good fortune from the Supreme Lord Krishna only when Srimati Radharani becomes pleased with you.
He is that great, saintly spiritual master who bestows intense devotion to Krishna at different places throughout the world. By his strong desire, the holy name of Lord Gauranga will spread throughout all the countries of the Western world.
In all the cities, towns, and villages on the earth, from all the oceans, seas, rivers, and streams, everyone will chant the holy name of Krishna. As the vast mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu conquers all directions, a flood of transcendental ecstasy will certainly cover the land.
Although my Guru Maharaja ordered me to accomplish this mission, I am not worthy or fit to do it. I am very fallen and insignificant. Therefore, O Lord, now I am begging for Your mercy so that I may become worthy, for You are the wisest and most experienced of all… The poem ends: 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 means of success. This memory of Krishna, he wrote, came because of a great desire to serve the Lord. Externally, Srila Prabhupada was experiencing great inconvenience; he had been aboard ship for a month and had suffered heart attacks and repeated seasickness. Moreover, even if he were to recover from these difficulties, his arrival in America would undoubtedly bring many more difficulties. But remembering the desire of his spiritual master, taking strength from his reading of Chaitanya-charitamrita, and revealing his mind in his prayer to Lord Krishna, Prabhupada remained confident.
The ship was to stop briefly in Boston before proceeding to New York City. The gray waterfront dawn revealed the ships in the harbor, a conglomeration of lobster stands and drab buildings, and, rising in the distance, the Boston skyline. Prabhupada had to pass through U.
Immigration and Customs in Boston. His visa allowed him a three-month stay, and an official stamped it to indicate his expected date of departure. Captain Pandia invited Prabhupada to take a walk into Boston, where the captain intended to do some shopping. They walked across a footbridge into a busy commercial area with old churches, warehouses, office buildings, bars, tawdry bookshops, nightclubs, and restaurants.
Some of the verses he wrote on board the ship that day are as follows: My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind 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 ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vasudeva [Krishna]. I do not know how they will be able to understand it. But I know that Your causeless mercy can make everything possible, because You are the most expert mystic.
How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message.
All living entities have come under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion. I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message… How will I make them understand this message of Krishna consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and the most fallen.
Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own. Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure, as You like. O spiritual master of all the worlds! I can simply repeat Your message.
So if You like You can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding. Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure.
I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts, they will certainly feel gladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life. O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like. I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Krishna.
I have been designated as Bhaktivedanta, and now, if You like, You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedanta.
Signed—the most unfortunate, insignificant beggar, A. Dated 18th September He was now in America. He was in a major American city, rich with billions, populated with millions, and determined to stay the way it was. Prabhupada saw Boston from the viewpoint of a pure devotee of Krishna. He saw the hellish city life, people dedicated to the illusion of material happiness. All his dedication and training moved him to give these people the transcendental knowledge and saving grace of Krishna consciousness, yet he was feeling weak, lowly, and unable to help them on his own.
He had barely survived the two heart attacks at sea, he spoke a different language, he dressed strangely—yet he had come to tell people to give up meat-eating, illicit sex, intoxication, and gambling, and to teach them to worship Lord Krishna, who to them was a mythical Hindu god. What would he be able to accomplish? I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them. This transcendental sound would clean away desire for material enjoyment from their hearts and awaken loving service to Krishna.
On the streets of Boston, Prabhupada was aware of the power of ignorance and passion that dominated the city; but he had faith in the transcendental process. He was tiny, but God was infinite, and God was Krishna, his dear friend. Srila Prabhupada saw the awesome Manhattan skyline, the Empire State Building, and, like millions of visitors and immigrants in the past, the Statue of Liberty.
Srila Prabhupada was dressed appropriately for a resident of Vrindavana. He wore kanthi-mala neck beads and a simple cotton dhoti, and he carried japa-mala chanting beads and an old chadar, or shawl. His complexion was golden, his head shaven,shikha in the back, his forehead decorated with the whitish Vaishnava tilaka.
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