This volume of A Transcendental Diary traces the pastimes of His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda during the first half of his last world tour. I had originally planned to present the entire tour in one volume, from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s arrival in Melbourne on April 19th, 1976 to his departure from Tehran on August 13th, 1976. But the amount of material available was so great it became clear that to make a presentation with the same kind of detail found in Volume One, I would have to split the material into two parts.
The reason for this is easy to fathom. The number of recorded conversations and lectures for 1976 surpasses any other year of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s preaching. Prabhupāda’s servants acquired a cassette recorder in early June making it quick and convenient to record His Divine Grace’s spoken words, and we were increasingly attentive to the task. Still, the material presented here represents only a fraction of the total. It is not possible to present everything in a book of this nature, nor is it necessary.
I have attempted to bring the reader into the daily life of the most powerful proponent of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in recent history. As Dr. Hopkins has noted in his Foreword, no religious tradition since Buddhism 2,000 years ago has spread so far, so fast and to so many without losing any of its authenticity of both spirit and practice. And one person was solely responsible for this—His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda.
In this volume we glimpse the international scale of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s traveling and preaching, as he visits Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, mainland America and Canada. In many ways he was concerned with consolidating the gains of the explosive expansion of ISKCON in the early 1970s. He purposefully chose to visit major new acquisitions of property in Detroit and Toronto (and Washington D. C. and New York, as we will see in Volume Three). Yet at the same time he continued to relentlessly push himself and his disciples to increase the influence of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement on broader and broader scales. While traveling, he remained intimately involved through the mail with every detail of the development of his society in India, and he advised and encouraged his disciples to penetrate the “iron curtain” of communist Eastern Europe and China.
For me personally, as Śrīla Prabhupāda’s servant of five months, the time continued to be exciting and eventful, with His Divine Grace very much at the epicenter of events. By this presentation I hope the readers of this diary will also feel the potency and power of his person and preaching. If only one person feels an increase in appreciation of his divine characteristics, and a deepening of his or her relationship with Śrīla Prabhupāda, then I can consider this humble effort a success.