I am pleased to present this fifth volume of A Transcendental Diary. This current tome covers Śrīla Prabhupāda’s visits to Aligarh, New Delhi, and Chandigarh; and an extended repose at ISKCON’s Krishna-Balarama Mandir in Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma.
In Aligarh he discoursed for two nights to some of that city’s wealthy elite and scholarly class. In Chandigarh he held a highly successful five-day pandala, speaking nightly to thousands and meeting with government ministers, high court judges and news reporters during the day. His evening lectures were powerful exhortations to the Indian public to take up their forgotten culture and worship the Supreme Lord in His personal aspect. The photos and lectures from that visit presented herein have never been published previously.
But it was during his stay in Vṛndāvana that one of the greatest challenges to the legitimacy of his preaching arose. News came from America of a concerted legal attack on the basic right of its citizens, our devotees, to adopt the religion of their choice. A collusion of disgruntled parents, misguided lawmakers and demonic ‘deprogrammers’ threw down the gauntlet in the first real legal challenge to the existence of ISKCON. And Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted it with alacrity. Rather than being depressed at being the center of a national controversy, Śrīla Prabhupāda delighted in it. It was an affirmation of the authenticity of his movement. Along with his leaders in America and India, he eagerly entered into the fray, determined to use the opportunity to firmly establish the credentials of his spiritual Society. He personally canvassed and won the support of the spiritual and traditional leaders of Vṛndāvana while exhorting his disciples to do the same in the West—“The fight is now!”
At the same time he continued to deal with managerial headaches and physical ones. His on-going struggle to establish a good standard of management in his first big temple in India was in tandem with trying to cope with his failing health. High blood pressure was a major problem along with poor digestion. Yet Śrīla Prabhupāda continued to push himself in the service of his spiritual master and the Supreme Lord. He set the example how to perfectly use one’s life in Kṛṣṇa’s service. Thus when he received letters from seriously debilitated disciples abroad, and when he met with a terminally-ill teenager, he was able to give them the practical advice they needed to keep themselves on course for a spiritual solution to all their problems: tolerate the temporary bodily pains—“pleasure is a misconception”—and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
In Vṛndāvana His Divine Grace, as regulated as ever, daily delivered a series of notable classes on the teachings of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, covering the entire fifth chapter of the Fifth Canto, imparting many valuable instructions for living in the dhāma and attaining the goal.
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s words and actions inspired us all, and by hearing about them there is no doubt the reader will receive the same benedictions and realizations as those who were personally present. It is with this conviction that this volume of A Transcendental Diary is humbly offered to the community of Vaiṣṇavas.