(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 29 August 2013, Abenthuer, Germany)om ajnana-timirandhasya
jnananjana-salakaya cakshur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Your Divine Grace.
You once mentioned to Bhavananda Prabhu that while you were a resident of the spiritual sky, Krsna approached you and said, “I want you to go to the material world to deliver the conditioned souls.” You replied that you didn’t really want to go because you didn’t like austerity. Krsna then said, “Don’t worry. All you have to do is write books. I will do the rest.” So, you descended into the material realm. You wrote books indeed. Books that are pure and spotless such as translations of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, with perfect commentaries. However, your service didn’t end there. Rather, you left no stone unturned. You took endless austerities to preach.
In 1944, in the middle of the war, there was no paper available in Calcutta market so you could not publish your Back to Godhead magazine. All paper was reserved for the use of the army. You did not give up. You met a big officer who said, “Swamiji, all the paper has to be reserved for the war,” and you replied, “Exactly! My paper is directly in the interest of the war because my paper will bring peace.” And you got the paper and published Back to Godhead. You stood up against the odds, against opposition all along in so many situations and Krsna made you successful and miracles happened.
Surely Krsna’s help was there with you when you embarked on your mission to preach in the West and boarded the Jaladuta to cross the Atlantic Ocean. However, first you went through heart attacks on the rough sea and you were close to death, but Krsna appeared in your dreams rowing a boat, telling you not to worry. Then the surface of the Atlantic became unusually calm and smooth and you made it to America. Among many qualities as a preacher, one stands out. No matter how great the obstacles were, you never gave up. No matter how much effort was needed, you rose to every occasion. Alone to far foreign land, in old age, without money or support, you never gave up! You never gave up when you were alone on the Lower East Side, living on a loft with a drugged-out crazy boy. You never gave up, not in Bombay in the fight with Mr. Nair over the Juhu land. When all your leaders threw in the towel and cancelled the sales agreement then you did the impossible and somehow or other got Nair to sign a new one.
You never gave up on anyone. When one of your leading disciples in Calcutta was having difficulties and fell back into smoking undesirable substances, you told your secretary Tamal Krsna Goswami to get him on the phone. With the devotee of Calcutta on one end of the line and you, in your room on the side of the world while Tamal Krsna Maharaj was holding the phone, “Tell him, that if he doesn’t give up this nonsense that I will reject him,” you said. Tamal Krsna Maharaj passed on the message and put down the phone. Then with a state of shock about what had just transpired, Tamal Krsna Maharaj asked, “Prabhupada, would you really reject him?”
“Of course not,” you replied, “I’m just trying to scare him.”
No-one can say now that it is so difficult to preach Krsna consciousness when you’ve made it easy for us. You gave us books, temples, an institution with a respectable name, assets and money in the bank. You gave us all facility while personally you had to struggle single-handedly. One old man, alone, in the sinful Western world to tell people what they did not want to hear. They did not want to follow the four regulative principles or chant the holy name. You searched with determination and intelligence and found people who were ready to listen. You tolerated confusion and degradation and pushed this movement forward.
My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Krsna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, no-one can be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet. Srimad Bhagavatam 7.9.44
My dear Srila Prabhupada, you performed the true austerity connected with compassion. Just like Vasudeva Datta, you were ready to deliver the entire universe at any cost. You were ready to offer anyone, no matter how fallen his background, a chance and was prepared to take the sinful reactions. You said you gave initiation liberally and that you were prepared to go to hell. Many of us have a feeling that you didn’t leave it at this one universe but that now you’re still preaching somewhere else. Little-by-little, you chisel at the stone-like hearts of the residents of this age of Kali. You’re prepared to one-by-one conquer the heart of everyone you meet. I, a little dwarf in the preaching field, stand in amazement at the giant steps you take to deliver all. I could only imagine how deep is your love for Krsna. I could only imagine how much you’re willing to fulfill his desire to bring back all the fallen souls to the spiritual world. I cannot understand your greatness. So, finally, I can only pray to you. You never gave up, kindly also never give up on me.
The servant of your servant,
Kadamba Kanana Swami