Prabhupāda: Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja my spiritual master his advent day today. In 1922, I was at that time very much engaged in Congress activity. I was very much a devout follower of Mahātmā Gandhi, and at that time, I was manager also in a very big chemical concern in Calcutta. Perhaps you may know, Dr. Bose's laboratory.
One of my friends—he's still living, Śrī Narendranath Mullik—he informed me that "One saintly person has come. Let us go and see." At that time I was young man, and I did not care for very much about so-called saintly persons. Because in our house, my father used to receive so many sannyāsīs, but some of them were not very to the standard, and due to my association with college friends, younger days, I lost my faith practically, although I was born in a Vaiṣṇava family.
My father was a pure Vaiṣṇava. From my childhood, he gave me Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deity for worshiping. A ratha... I was playing with my boyfriends, Ratha-yātrā, Ḍola, like that. My father encouraged. So I was trained up in this line, but in my youthful age, when I was college student, gradually, by their bad association or something, gradually I lost my activities.
But when this friend, Mr. Mullik, took me to Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, he immediately asked me that "You are educated young boy. Why don't you take up Lord Caitanya's message and preach in the Western world?" In the very first sight, he told me. At that time, I argued with him that "We are dependent nation, and who is going to hear about our message?"
So he defeated my argument.
[aside:] There is no necessity of closing.
Yes. He defeated my argument. He was learned scholar. What I was? I was a teeny boy. So I agreed [chuckles] that I was defeated. So after finishing our visit with Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, I got some impression that "Here is a person who has taken Lord Caitanya's message very seriously. Now it will be preached." My friend asked my opinion, that "What is your opinion?" So I gave this opinion, that "Here is a person who has taken Lord Caitanya's movement very seriously, and now it will be preached."
So that was in 1922. Then, in 1923, I left Calcutta on business account, and I started my business at Allahabad. But I was always thinking of my Guru Mahārāja, although I was that time not initiated. But the impression was there. I was thinking, "I met a very nice saintly person." So in this way, I passed from 1923 to 1928, I think.
Then during Kumbha-melā...
[child making noise] Stop that noise he's making.
In 1928 my Guru Mahārāja, along with other disciples, came to Allahabad for starting their branch there. So some gentlemen known to me might have told them that "The proprietor of such-and-such business, Prayāga Pharmacy, he's a very nice gentleman. He can help you in so many ways." So they came to me, and I saw the same saintly persons whom I met 1922. I was very glad to receive. In this way, my connection was more intimate with my Guru Mahārāja.
And in 1936, or 1933, I was initiated officially, although I was initiated 1922. But officially, I was initiated in 1933, although from 1922 to 1923, er, '33, I was always thinking of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja.
So in 1936, he was to pass away by 31st December. So I do not know... Out of my own accord, I wrote him one letter that "Guru Mahārāja, you have got many disciples. Some of you [them] are directly serving you. I could not do so; I am a householder. So if you give me some direct service to you, it will be very kind of you."
So he replied that letter, that "You try to preach in English language. Then the persons who will be instructed by you and both yourself will be benefited." Again, he said the same thing which he ordered me in 1922 at the first sight. Then there... He passed away 1936, 31st December.
Then there were other Godbrothers. I consulted him that "Guru Mahārāja said like this. What can I do?" So they also encouraged me. I was writing. There was a paper, Harmonist. Then, by their desires, I started this Back to Godhead in 1944. That was also started on his advent day, this advent day. Back to Godhead was started. Yes. There was a meeting, and many friends came, and we first started this Back to Godhead on his advent day, this advent day, 1944. So the our paper, Back to Godhead, the advent day is also today. Yes.
Haṁsadūta: Doubly auspicious.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So at that time, there was no sale of Back to Godhead. I was publishing about one thousand copies and distributing. So there was no income. I was spending three hundred, four hundred rupees from my pocket. At that time, I had income. Then, gradually... I wanted to remain as a gṛhastha and preach, but Guru Mahārāja did not like this idea. I could understand. Sometime I was dreaming that he was calling me, and I was horrified that "I'll have to go away from home." [laughter]
So at last it happened so that I left my home in 1950 and became a vānaprastha. I was living sometimes here and there. In 1959 I took sannyāsa. But that Back to Godhead was going on. Then there was some inner dictation that "This paper, Back to Godhead, I am publishing; people are taking." Some friend advised me that "Why don't you write some books? That will be nice."
So then I began to translate Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And because I left home, so practically I had no income. With this Bhāgavatam, er, Back to Godhead, I was selling and I was some way or other maintaining. And whatever little money I had, that was finished.
Then, when I wrote book, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto was finished. So I approached the Bhāijī of... Perhaps Mātājī knows this. [chuckles] In 1962. So I asked him that "You take this publication." So I am very much obliged to Bhāijī. He said that "Our English printing is not very efficient. You can get this book published from elsewhere. I shall partly help you." So he helped me with some money from the Dalmia Trust, and I first of all published my first part of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Then I published second part also. There was sale. Then there was no necessity of money. I was getting money by selling Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Everyone appreciated. Even the..., your American Embassy here, they purchased eighteen copies, and they gave me open order that "Whenever this Bhāgavata will be published next part, subsequent parts, this is open order, eighteen copies, each part." That order is still there.
So after publishing three parts of readings[?], then automatically, Guru Mahārāja gave me indication that "Now you can start for America." So some way or other, in 1965 I went to America, with great difficulty. But I took about two hundred sets of books. The customs clearance was done; I told them that "Oh, I am taking these books for distribution. Not for sale." Anyway, they passed, and with these books I reached America. And I was maintaining myself by selling these books for one year.
There was no friend, and I was living in apartment with great difficulty. Still, the whole, I mean to say, stock, and my typewriter, my tape recorder—everything was stolen. In this way, I became very much depressed, and I was going to the shipping company, "When the next ship is going for..., going to India?" So they gave me such-and-such date. Then I thought, "Let me wait for some time more. Then I shall return back." I had return ticket, of course. There was no difficulty.
In this way, 1966, by selling these books, I had only $200, and I dared to take one apartment and storefront. Storefront $125 per month, and apartment $75. So I had only $200 dollars. So I advanced him $200. I did not know how to pay next month's rent. So I started in 1966, lecturing in a storefront and living in that apartment in 26 Second Avenue. Then gradually, these boys, American boys and girls, began to come. And then I started my kīrtana in Tompkinson Square. More and more, these younger Americans, they came to me, and things were organized.
Then I registered this Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society under Religious Act of New York in 1966, and gradually people took interest. "People" means the younger section. All the boys and girls, they were from sixteen... Not all sixteen, but there were sixteen. Kṛṣṇa dāsa was at that time sixteen years old. And... Between twenty to thirty. Only, I think, Keith—now Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja—he was at that time twenty-nine. Hayagrīva was, I think, twenty-six.
So in this way... This Hayagrīva, I met him on the street. After renting the apartment and storefront, when I was returning, this Hayagrīva, Professor Howard Wheeler... He was philosophically minded. So he asked me, "Swāmījī, are you coming from India?" So I told, "Yes, I am coming from India." So, "Are you interested in Indian philosophy?" "Yes, sir." "So why don't you come? I have taken one storefront and apartment." So I came back. I showed him, "Here is my storefront and apartment. You come in the evening."
So... So the Hayagrīva and Kīrtanānanda, Keith, and some other boys, I think, Satsvarūpa...
Prabhupāda: Ravīndra, yes, yes, he was there.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Mukunda.
Prabhupāda: Mukunda. In this way, five or six students used to come. Gradually it developed. Then we started next branch in San Francisco, next branch in Montreal, next branch in Buffalo, Boston. In this way... Now we have got forty-five branches. So practically, we began work from 1968. Sixty-six I started, but... And '67 I became very much sick. So I came back to India, and again I went there and started in 1968. Practically, this propaganda work began vigorously from 1968. So from 1968, '69, '70, and this, '71.
So three, four years, all these branches have grown up, and now practically, throughout the whole continent, Europe and America, they know what is Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, really to our propaganda. Just like these boys: you have seen they are chanting and dancing. We send street saṅkīrtana even the most busiest quarter of New York, Fifth Avenue, and they go.
The American boys, they are very daring. Sometimes police arrest them. And now police is not harassing. The public and police, both, they are now sympathetic, that "Here is a movement which is actually genuine and very beneficial to our people." They are sympathetic.
And even some of the Christian priests, they are also very sympathetic. They say that "These boys, American boys, they are our boys. They're so nice that they're mad after God, but we could not give them. Swāmījī has given them." So they appreciate. Actually, these boys, they come from Christian family, Jewish family.
There are many churches in America. I was surprised. When I first went to Butler, that's a small county, but I saw there about dozen of churches. So I thought the American people are very religiously-minded. And actually so. The history of the American people, mostly they came from England for this religious purpose. So they migrated in America for being religiously advanced.
So American people, I very much appreciate them. They are religious... They have got very good potency for understanding God consciousness. That is my opinion. And I do not know why I was inclined to go to America. It was also Kṛṣṇa's desire. Because I thought that "If this movement, Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement... " Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that,
pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
[CB Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126]
That is His prediction, that "As many towns and villages are there on the surface of the globe, everywhere, this message of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and Caitanya..., Lord Caitanya's name will be there." So I thought that "I should go to America. If the American people take it seriously, then other people will take it."
So actually, that is happening. These boys are so enthusiastic in preaching that on my word, they are going any part of the world. Any part of the world. They are prepared to go any part of the world. And just now I received one letter from my disciple Śrīmān Upendra dāsa. He does not know Hindi, and in the Fiji Island there are many Indians, but still, he is making propaganda. He's simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra door to door—they are also husband and wife—and people are very much appreciating.
So my Guru Mahārāja's desire and Caitanya Mahāprabhu's prediction is now being fulfilled. At least, it has begun to be fulfilled. So it is a genuine movement, authorized movement, and India's original culture. So our appeal to the Indian people, that "You should take seriously about this movement and try to cooperate with us." That will be glorification for Indian culture.
At the present moment, India is known as very poor, poverty-stricken country. People are under impression that "They are beggars. They have got nothing to give. They simply come here to beg." Actually, our ministers go there and, for some begging purpose: "Give us rice," "Give us wheat," "Give us money," "Give us soldiers." That is their business. But this movement, for the first time, India is giving something to them. It is not a begging propaganda; it is giving propaganda. Because they are hankering after this substance, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They have enjoyed enough of this material consciousness.
The material consciousness means to enjoy sex life and drink and have sufficient money. These three items, they have got sufficient, immense. There are... So far material comforts, oh, there is no conception in India how they are materially comfortable. Their roads, their cars, their machines... You cannot imagine how American roads are there. There are freeways. In America, there are freeways: without any stoppage you can run your car in seventy mile speed, and four cars going up and four cars going down. And road just like velvet. You see? [laughter] [laughs] Our roads... So there is no comparison of their materially advancement.
So I always... When I run in some freeways... These boys run our cars. And you'll be very pleased that in each and every temple we have got at least four cars, nice. Especially one car for me and two cars for carrying them for saṅkīrtana movement. Very good arrangement. That better than any temple in India. If you go sometimes... I request you to go. But one condition: that you have to become Life Member. [laughter]
But if you go, will be very much pleased in our temples. And this Dr. Rao... Perhaps you know, he is a professor in your Gorakhpur University. He was a research scholar, atomic research scholar. His wife is sitting here. So he's still [indistinct]. So he was very much captivated with the temple worship, and there he became my disciple.
So our temple is very nice. Just like this temple, you see practically how they are managing. Here, of course, we have no facility. But in other temples we have got very nicely decorated. There is chandelier and... If you see, we have got pictures. It is very nice. So this movement is increasing, and our branches are increasing, practically, every month one branch. And these boys are doing very enthusiastically.
So why not spread this movement in India? It is India's culture. Why Indians are lacking? That is my... I have brought them to show you example. This is a genuine movement, Kṛṣṇa. People are harassed, "Where is God?" Kṛṣṇa, here is God. Why don't you take Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. And Kṛṣṇa's order is there in the Bhagavad-gītā: man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī mām... [Bg. 18.65]. Why you are misusing this Bhagavad-gītā? You take it very seriously, and let there be a successful world movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And people will be happy.
Actually, that is the peace formula.
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
Śānti means to understand Kṛṣṇa, or God, as the supreme enjoyer. Here, in the material world, everyone wants to be enjoyer. That is not possible. Not everyone is enjoyer; everyone is servant. But his misconception is that "I am enjoyer." That is called māyā, illusion. He's not enjoyer. He's servant.
So Kṛṣṇa therefore says in the Bhagavad-gītā, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Sarva-dharmān, we have created some dharma. Some dharma is for lording it over the material nature. Karmīs. The karmīs are trying to lord it over the material nature, all resources. Working hard, day and night, how to lord it over the material world. This is one dharma.
Another dharma, when the karmī's frustrated, because he cannot enjoy... Because he is not enjoyer. Artificially, he is trying to enjoy. Then, when he's frustrated, then he says, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā: "The brahma is satya, and this world is false." Then he becomes a sannyāsī, a renouncer. But he cannot live in that renouncement platform. And then he again comes back to this material world and engages himself in some philanthropic work: "Let us open hospital. Let us open schools and college..."
If the brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā... If the world is mithyā, false, why you are again, a sannyāsī, you are coming again back to this platform? That means he's not satisfied in so-called brahma satyam. Practically, he has no realization of Brahman. Therefore he comes back again. And that is, I mean to say, indicated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninaḥ [SB 10.2.32].
Persons who are thinking that "I have become liberated. I have become Nārāyaṇa. I have become God. I have become Brahman..." Brahman, everyone is Brahman. That's a fact. But there is another, Param Brahman. Paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12]—Kṛṣṇa.
So the Māyāvādī philosophers, they mistake that "Param Brahman or myself—all the same." No. That is not the fact. Therefore, without having shelter of the Param Brahman, he falls down again in this material world. Ārūhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adho 'nādṛta yuṣmad aṅghrayaḥ [SB 10.2.32].
Because he has no information of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, he falls down again to the material platform. So just like pendulum, the clock pendulum, tack, tack, tack—sometimes he's renouncer and sometimes he's enjoyer. Sometimes he's accepting...
For example... Don't take it otherwise. Just like our national father, he renounced everything. But renounced for what? That greater enjoyment, that his countrymen will be happy. "The Britishers will go away, and we shall get independence, and we shall be enjoyer." You see? So this renouncement or that...
Again, renouncement for enjoyment. The Māyāvādī philosophers, they say, "Renounce this whole..." Brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā. Jagan mithyā. "But I want to be one with that Supreme." That is for greater enjoyment. "I have failed to enjoy this world even after becoming prime minister or big man. Now I'll become God."
So this kind of philosophy will not make you happy. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. We have created dharma in two categories: one for enjoyment and one for renouncement. Both these things have to be given up. Neither enjoyment, nor renouncement. Then what is this philosophy? The philosophy is that you cannot renounce anything. Because what is the value of your renouncement? You haven't got anything. Everything belongs to God. So what you can renounce? Similarly, what you can enjoy if everything belongs to God? Īśāvasya.
Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ [Bg. 5.29]. Kṛṣṇa says, "I am the enjoyer. I am the proprietor." So if Kṛṣṇa is proprietor, if Kṛṣṇa is the enjoyer, then how you can renounce? The proprietor is somebody else, so what is the value of your renouncement? You are sitting in this room. While going away, if you say, "I renounce this room," what is the meaning of this renouncement?
When this room belonged to you? You have come here for some time and sitting here for one or two hour. That does not mean you possess it. Similarly, we come here empty-handed; we leave here, say, fifty years or hundred years. When I become proprietor? This is another māyā, renouncement. As enjoyment is another māyā, similarly, renouncement.
So we have to give up this renouncement or enjoyment. We have to take the real position, that "Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, or God. We have simply to serve Kṛṣṇa." That is bhakti-yoga. That will give you actual peace. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ... Kṛṣṇa is the supreme enjoyer. You simply supply ingredients of His enjoyment; then you'll be happy. Because He is enjoyer. And bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram [Bg. 5.29]. And He is the proprietor.
[tape recorder battery running out...]
So this attitude... Of course, they may criticize that "The bhaktas, the Vaiṣṇavas, they have got slave mentality." Some so-called philosopher remark like that. But that is not slave mentality. That is the actual position. That we get information from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Jīvera svarūpa haya nitya kṛṣṇa-dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108-109].
We are eternally servant of Kṛṣṇa. And mukti means svarūpenāvasthitiḥ. When you are situated as servant of Kṛṣṇa, that is mukti. And so long you are falsely claiming that "I am enjoyer, I am proprietor," that is māyā. That is our philosophy. And Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for that. We are...
[break] ...that this movement is not new. It was long, long ago started. Even before five thousand years, when Kṛṣṇa spoke this philosophy to Arjuna, He said, imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1]. Formerly, He spoke to Vivasvān, the sun-god. Manu. Manu understood this philosophy from Vivasvān. That means four hundred millions of years ago.
So it is not a new movement. It is very old, just like Kṛṣṇa is very old. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣam [Bs. 5.33]. Purāṇa means very old. Purāṇa means very old. Nava-yauvanaṁ ca: at the same time, very youthful. Similarly, this movement is very, very old, but it appears very fresh.
Because it is spiritual, it is ever-fresh. So you take to this movement very seriously, and all of you will be very happy. That is our request. We are presenting this movement all over the world, and anyone who has taken, he is happy. But one must be sincere and serious. Then it will act.
Thank you very much.
Haṁsadūta: The preceding lecture was recorded on February 15th, the evening of the appearance day of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Gosvāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda, at 3 Kṛṣṇa-niketana, in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. [end]