In one sense Prabhupada’s mission goes way past our imagination. Who can understand his vision? Prabhupada went to New York, stayed at the Lower East Side and at the Lower East Side the devotees thought that that was it, that Swamiji was going to stay at the Lower East Side forever and that that was as far as it would go – a far out Swami in a far out storefront in New York, which is a far out place, and the whole thing was just amazing. ‘Come and see what an amazing Swami we have here!’ And then he suddenly wanted to go to San Francisco. ‘Err, Swamiji we can not go to San Francisco!’
But he was terribly detached, terribly detached. He just didn’t seem to care at all, although everyone said, ‘How will we carry on?!’
He said, ‘Well just do what I did!’ He said, ‘One of you will read and then you will comment something, then read something more, hold kirtana and just carry on.’ He even said they could put his picture on the vyasasana and that was it and off he went to San Francisco, where before arriving he was greeted by a hundred hippies all in different outfits – a Merlin the magician, Japanese kimonos, all kinds of far out outfits were present there and it is said that Syamasundara was dressed in a sheep skin and he even smelt like a sheep! They all bowed down to Prabhupada and chanted Hare Krishna and so Prabhupada was very happy. It was very promising, but no one could understand or no one could believe the extent of the Prabhupada’s desires and vision. Prabhupada pushed all into a big international movement.
He would just send devotees all over the world – devotees to Japan, devotees to Hong Kong… Bhurijana prabhu describes how he was sent to Hong Kong and all by himself. If you are from America, you sort of walk around thinking, ‘I’m the only American amongst all the Chinese people, where am I!?’
There were a few Indians who supported him but not that many – they were not supporting that much and he was very lonely. He wrote to Prabhupada, ‘I’m too alone, it’s too difficult – I can not carry on.’
Prabhupada wrote him a letter back, ‘Alright, no problem, I will send you a wife.’
And two weeks later she arrived – not in the mail, but by plane, and introduced herself, ‘Pleased to meet you – I’m your wife!’
And they are still married and stay together, so that’s actually very respectable.
So Prabhupada did things like that, Prabhupada was not just creating a few temples, but Prabhupada was really taking over the world. And each time everyone was amazed at how big his plans were and not only amazed – worried also! Such plans are just inconceivable. Prabhupada was such a preacher that in the Caitanya Caritamrita there is that verse that says whom ever you meet, you speak about Krishna. Until Prabhupada appeared that verse really had no meaning, no one did it, it was just there in the Caitanya Caritamrita – but no one did it. But Prabhupada just lived that verse, whomever he met he just spoke about Krishna, anywhere, to all of us. And he was so convinced. He told Mukunda when they were in Chicago in the O’Hare airport to go to the management and ask them to call it O’Hare Krishna airport. ‘Good joke! That’s a good one, Prabhupada!’ …But Prabhupada was serious! And Mukunda was shocked and he didn’t do it. Prabhupada had great faith in Krishna and simply he was convinced Krishna will help.
He told that also to Syamasundara who had a connection with the Beatles in England that he should go and ask him for a donation of printing the Krishna book and Syamasundara went like, ‘Oh, this ain’t good… George is very sensitive about money; everyone asks him about money, but I don’t have that type of relationship with him, I’ve never asked him for money because everyone has asked him for money and I am afraid that if I ask him for money it will break the friendship.’
Prabhupada said, ‘Don’t worry, just ask him and Krishna will help you!’ So that night there was a private gathering in some house and George Harrision was also going to be there so Syamasundara went there and Syamasundara was next to George and it was already getting to dessert and he still had not asked the question.
He was thinking, ‘Oh no, I can not ask him, but if I don’t ask him I am disobeying the order of the spiritual master and then my spiritual life is finished, now what will I do?’ So he plucked up the courage and said, ‘George?’ ‘Yes?’ ‘You know George, Prabhupada has translated a new book.’
‘Yes, it is all about Krishna.’ ‘Oh, very nice’ ‘Yeah, it is called the KRISHNA book, but you know, you see, yeah errrmm wellll err, a matter of the fact that really is the case that there is not enough funds for the printing.’
George’s face got tight, it became pale and white. He had a very serious look and Syamasundara was sinking into the ground and thinking that everything was finished.
Just then a terrible thunderclap and lightning took place and all the lights in the house went out and after about thirty seconds the lights came back on.
George was smiling and said, ‘How can I refuse after this?!’ And he gave him the cheque and Prabhupada said, ‘See, I told you Krishna would help!’
Prabhupada not only had a great faith but Prabhupada was so close to Krishna. Prabhupada did not just believe Krishna would help – Prabhupada knew that Krishna would help! After all, he was Krishna’s instrument. Once he came down the staircase and as he came to the bottom of the staircase he made a little pirruoette, and everyone was looking like, what is this, coming down the stairs and making this little pirouette? And Prabhupada said, ‘My spiritual master made me into a diamond!’ A diamond, he had explained many times, is transparent, a diamond is not obstructing the light in any way; rather whatever light comes in, the diamond distributes that light in all directions, that is a diamond.