śrī śrī guru-gaurāṅgau jayataḥ
Seattle (Washington) U.S.A.
22 October 1968
I offer my humble prostrated obeisance at the lotus feet of all the Vaiṣṇavas.
Śrīpāda Trivikrama Mahārāja,
Yesterday I was heartbroken to receive your letter dated 12 October. How did pūjyapāda Mahārāja disappear so suddenly? I want to know. I have had a very long-standing intimate relationship with Śrīla [Keśava] Mahārāja. When I used to visit Śrī Dhāma Māyāpura, Śrīpāda Narahari dādā and Śrīpāda Vinoda dādā were very affectionate to me, and I loved them so much.
At around the same time, in Kolkata, I was very close with the senior Tīrtha Mahārāja, Professor Niśikānta Sannyāl and Vāsudeva Prabhu. Later on, I used to visit freely with Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja, as if we were the closest of family members. Except for Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja, all of the above-mentioned Vaiṣṇavas have gradually disappeared. Our time is also imminent. The longer we have the opportunity to serve Śrīla Prabhupāda, the better.
I have a very close connection with the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti. You, and particularly Śrīpāda Vāmana Mahārāja, are well aware of the fact that I was one of the Samiti’s three founders. We conceived the idea of forming Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti at Bose Para Lane, Kolkata, even before Śrīla Mahārāja accepted sannyāsa. Within a few days of forming the Samiti, Śrī Narottamānanda Brahmacārī (presently tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Kamala Madhusūdana Mahārāja) separated himself from the Samiti, and Śrīpāda Vāmana Mahārāja (who was then a brahmacārī) visited our home at Sita Kanta Banerjee Lane, to make me the chief editor of the Bengali magazine Śrī Gauḍīya-patrikā.
Carrying the order of Śrīla Mahārāja on my head, I began to regularly write articles for the Gauḍīya-patrikā. Śrīla Mahārāja greatly appreciated whatever I wrote. Thereafter, I was also appointed the chief editor of the Hindi magazine Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā, wherein many of my articles were published. Later, I could not submit articles due to lack of time. Now I have become a resident of foreign lands and have to travel twenty thousand miles every year.
The greatest compassion of Śrīla Keśava Mahārāja was to make me a sannyāsī. I had vowed that I would never accept sannyāsa, but Śrīla Mahārāja gave it to me by force. He would certainly have been most delighted to see the success of my preaching today. Last year, I visited him in Kolkata along with my disciples, and though he was bedridden, he was very pleased to receive us. I have complete confidence that both in his manifest presence and after his disappearance, he is very pleased to see my widespread preaching of the message of Śrīman Mahāprabhu in Western countries like America, Canada, England, Germany and Hawaii (Honolulu), which is situated in the Pacific Ocean, as well as Eastern countries like Japan (Tokyo) and so on.
I was a staunch gṛhamedī (family man). From time to time, Śrīla Prabhupāda used to come to me in dreams and call me to renounce family life and come along with him. The dreams would frighten me and make me think that I had to accept sannyāsa. I had not the slightest desire to take sannyāsa, but on the repeated insistence of Śrīpāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, Śrīla Keśava Mahārāja bestowed boundless mercy upon this unwilling and blind person, by forcibly giving me the renounced order. It seems that this desire of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s was transmitted into his heart, and it was in this way that my sannyāsa was accomplished.
I am eternally indebted to Śrīla [Keśava] Mahārāja. Therefore, immediately after receiving your letter, I organized a viraha-sabhā (festival of separation) at the Seattle temple, to honour his disappearance. I am sending the “condolence resolution”* of the meeting, along with this letter. Kindly accept it as our humble offering of love and respect (śraddhāñjali). In my other centres (the list is enclosed), particularly London, Hamburg (Germany) and Honolulu (Hawaii), I have given the instruction to arrange a viraha-sabhā.
You will be glad to know that the American youths and young married couples have formed three saṅkīrtana parties under my guidance. One such party is currently travelling to all the cities in America, and I, also, am with this party. The second party of six devotees is performing kīrtana at different places in London. The Indians living there are amazed to see them. Those Indians have given up their homeland and have come all the way to the Western world to become big sāhebs,** but the Americans are performing harināma-saṅkīrtana. Somehow, the preaching work is progressing beautifully. I am interested to know what kind of constitution you are forming. You will receive my full support in this regard, as I am a man of “constructive ideas”. I do not favour “destructive policies”.
It was the desire of Śrīla Prabhupāda and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura that Americans perform kīrtana in Śrī Dhāma Māyāpura, and that opportunity has now come. Unfortunately, there are those who are in fact intruding on Māyāpura by considering it to be their personal property.
These days, others are restricted from visiting that place. Śrīla [Keśava] Mahārāja used to deal with these guru-tyāgīs (persons who give up their guru) and guru-bhogīs (those who enjoy the property of their guru) with sword in hand. Last year, he mentioned that he would arrange five acres of land for me in Śrī Dhāma Māyāpura. You were present at that time. If you help me in this matter, I intend to make an aśrāma in Māyāpura. American boys and girls can visit and stay there and receive proper training. If we establish cooperation and work together, the task of preaching can be splendidly conducted. Therefore, I am eager to know the details of your “constitution”.
I am going to Montreal tomorrow. From there I will go to Sante Fe (New Mexico), and then to Los Angeles. I am sending the addresses of our various centres along with this letter. [The following letters also appeared in the same issue of Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā.]
We are executing a plan to build New Vṛndāvana on three hundred acres of land. Kindly reply to the Los Angeles – Hollywood address, as I will be staying three days in Montreal, seven days in Santa Fe, and almost one month in Los Angeles.
pṛthivīte āche jato nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata (Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126)
My holy name will be broadcast in every town and village of this Earth planet.
You should create a “constitution” based on this prediction, such that the task of preaching will spread powerfully throughout the world. I hope your bhajana is going on nicely.
Your obedient servant,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Svāmī
P.S. If you have any nice photograph of Śrīla Mahārāja, then kindly send it to me. I will get a life size oil painting made of it, and along with a picture of Śrīla Prabhupāda, I will place it in my prominent centres, particularly New York, Hollywood, London and so forth.
*These words and others below, in quotation marks, appear in English in the Bengali letter.
**One aspiring to be like a Westerner.
Translated from Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā, Year 14 Issue 8 (1968)
Kṛti-ratna: Jewel Among Guru-sevakas
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