(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 20 March 2013, Cape Town, South Africa, BTS Vyasa Puja Talk)
Transcribed by Sukumari devi dasi
Going earlier into Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja’s life, we see that Maharaja was already powerful, in the sense that he emerged from that black ghetto and came out as one of the very few, almost symbolic black students in Princeton University, where you had a handful just to make up a quota. He was there and obviously did very well, and graduated from that prestigious university, majoring in psychology – something that comes back in his later writings.
Even in student days, he connected with leaders, African leaders of that time, such as Martin Luther King and others. They all recognized him immediately, as someone who could have made a career in politics. And the reason was, not that he was such a diplomat or such a politician, no, that was not it. He was truly a leader of men. He was never just someone who thought in a small way. He always thought in a big way, in the interest of many people. It was natural to him.
He spent a significant amount of time preaching in Nigeria. At one point, he spent most of his time in Africa. In 1990, he was given the position of being a chief! Not just an external thing but because he had influenced so many people and led so many people because he was like that. He was thinking like that. He was thinking as a leader of many people and wherever he went, it was like that.
When Maharaja went to Soweto, he danced in front of hundreds of devotees who went with him on a maha-harinama. It was like a powerful victory dance of Krsna consciousness in the streets of Soweto –not ordinary at all. He was like that.
People recognized that he was such a leader. Therefore, he was naturally acceptable to heads of state, and he met them frequently on different occasions. He was very comfortable with the upper echelon people because he was thinking with same broadness of mind that leaders of many men have. Therefore, also in our society, he came to a leading position. Still, he was not what you call just a man who was representing an institution and who derived his prestige from his rule in the institution. Far from it! He was an individual who was ready to experiment and for the sake of preaching, venture out and try different strategies.