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Thursday 14 December 2017
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The Voyage of Compassion: Srila Prabhupada Reaches the Shores of America

The arduous sea journey of Srila Prabhupada to fulfil the order of his spiritual master of spreading Krishna Consciousness in the western world was a great austerity for the exalted Acharya. The heavy seas and gigantic waves caused immense discomfort to Srila Prabhupada. On the thirteenth and fourteenth days of that voyage, as the ship plied over the Arabian sea, he underwent two heart attacks experiencing sharp pain in his chest. At his age, to tolerate such agony was virtually impossible. Yet, his unshakable faith in Lord Krishna helped him sail through the crisis. After 14 days, when the Jaladuta entered the Atlantic Ocean, they found it unusually calm. It was a peaceful passage to America. To the astonished crew he said that Lord Krishna’s had taken charge of the Ship and so the ocean was not its usual turbulent self. On 19th September 1965, Srila Prabhupada set foot on America soil. No one present there at that time knew that it was an event that was about to transform the whole world.

25th August

It was the 13th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

On this day Srila Prabhupada made no entry in his Jaladuta Diary, except the words: Beginning from today – down.

It is on this day he had his first heart attack on board Jaladuta. The symptoms from previous day persisted, but it was more than seasickness. The pains in his chest made him think he would die at any moment. Till September 3rd, Srila Prabhupada made no further entries in his diary.

26th August

It was the 14th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada encountered a second heart attack.

Excerpt from Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Volume 2: He tolerated the difficulty, meditating on the purpose of his mission, but two days of such violent attacks he thought that if another were to come he would certainly not survive.

On that night, Prabhupada had a dream. Lord Krishna, in His many forms, was rowing the boat, and He told Prabhupada that he should not fear, but should come along. Prabhupada felt assured of Lord Krishna’s protection, and the violent attacks did not recur.

27th August

It was the 15th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

On this day too Srila Prabhupada made no entry in his Jaladuta Diary.

On the evening of January 25, 1977, at Jagannātha Purī, Srila Prabhupada recalled his heart attack in a conversation with a disciple,

Prabhupāda: So I passed through three heart attacks. One, two and three. They say that anyone who gets the third heart attack, he must expire.

Devotee: You had three attacks on the ship?

Prabhupāda: Two.

Devotee: Oh. And then one when you got to…

Prabhupāda: New York. Third one—paralyzed.

Devotee: Very bad one?

Prabhupāda: Left side paralyzed. I do not know how we were saved.

Devotee: [chuckles] Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: And one girl, that captain’s wife, she studied astrology. She said, “Swāmījī, if you can survive your seventieth year, then you’ll live for one hundred years.” [Devotees laugh] So, somehow or other, I survived my seventieth year. I do not know whether I shall live for hundred years, but seventieth year was severe—three heart attacks and paralysis.

Devotee: All in the same year.

Prabhupāda: Then without any family. At that time none of you were with me. I was alone. I was completely dependent on Kṛṣṇa. But on the ship I saw that “Kṛṣṇa is with me.”

(Evening Conversation — January 25, 1977, Jagannātha Purī)

 

28th August

It was the 16th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

On this day too Srila Prabhupada made no entry in his Jaladuta Diary. Understandably he would be recuperating from his two heart attacks.

Excerpt from the Introduction to The Jaladuta Diary written by the Editors of The Bhaktivedanta Archives: Srila Prabhupada was concerned that he might pass away, but in his uneasy sleep that night he had a dream, a vision. Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared. The Lord was in an open boat, along with His other incarnations. Kṛṣṇa was rowing the boat, and the boat was pulling Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ship with a rope. Kṛṣṇa was smiling at Śrīla Prabhupāda and was pulling the ship all the way to America! Śrīla Prabhupāda did not write about this occurrence in his diary but simply drew a line through those troubled days, declaring that he had passed over a great crisis in the struggle between life and death. Years later he related these events to his followers. (Jaladuta Diary: Introduction)

29th August

It was the 17th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

On this day too Srila Prabhupada made no entry in his Diary.

Speaking in a conversation with disciples at Puri on January 25th, 1977, Srila Prabhupada revealed a powerful spiritual insight into the proper approach to dealing with problems,

Prabhupāda: The word apratihatā is used. Pratihata means checking. When your devotional service will make progress in spite of checking, that is pure devotion. Ahaituky apratihatā yenātmā suprasīdati [SB 1.2.6]. And that is pure devotion. I was attacked by heart attack thrice. While on the ship, twice.

Devotee: On the ship twice? Oh.

Prabhupāda: Consecutively two days, attack. Actually I would have died on the ship before reaching your country. I could not understand that was heart attack. The pain was so severe, I thought, “I am now dying.” And it happened on two nights. And I was very much afraid whether on the third night it will recur. I was thinking, “If tonight also the same pain comes again, then I’ll die.” But third night it did not pain. It was suspended….

…So bodily, mental, by enemies—so many impediments will come. What can be done? We have to tolerate. That is material world. We cannot expect smooth, very happy. That is not possible. Kṛṣṇa is advising Arjuna, what to speak of us. What are we in comparison to Arjuna? He’s His personal friend, talking with Him. He said, tāṁs titikṣasva. Kṛṣṇa never said, “I have made some magic. You’ll have no failure,” like that. Tāṁs titikṣasva: “You just try to tolerate. That’s all.” He never gave him any tablet. [chuckling] As the modern gurus say, “I’ll give you some ash. There will be no more trouble,” Kṛṣṇa did so? He said, “No, tolerate.” That’s all. He could have said, “I’ll give you some ash… You are an ass; I’ll give you some ash.” [laughter] Neither Arjuna asked also, “Why You are asking me to fight? Give me some ash. I’ll throw.” He was not such a fool that he asked some magic from Kṛṣṇa and kill his enemies. Actually he fought. This is Bhagavad-gītā. So face things as they are and depend on Kṛṣṇa. That is our duty. We must go on with our duty. Don’t expect any ash, miracle, magic. (Room Conversation — January 25, 1977, Jagannātha Purī)

30th August

It was the 18th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

On this day too Srila Prabhupada made no entry in his Jaladuta Diary. Srila Prabhupada recalled the travails of his journey during a Srimad Bhagavatam lecture on Nov 25th, 1976 in Vrindavan:

“I have seen it also. In the mid-ocean, immediately there is fog, and the ship immediately stops because there is danger of collision with other ship. At least the ship in which I was going to your country, Jaladuta, so the captain, Mr. Pandia, he immediately used to stop in the mid-ocean and sound horn, “gaw, gaw,” like that. So that was danger, very dangerous. When the sea is rough there is no fog. And as soon as the sea is not rough there is fog. So whether you will go this way or that way, there is misery. Therefore this world is called duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam [Bg. 8.15]. You subdue something and another problem is there.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.6.3 class — November 25, 1976, Vṛndāvana)

31st August

It was the 19th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

On this day Srila Prabhupada made a minor entry in his Jaladuta Diary. He wrote “Passed over a great crisis on the struggle for life and death. A separate statement has to be written on this crisis area.”

On March 11th, 1966, Captain Pandia visited Srila Prabhupada at New York and heard a Bhagavad Gita lecture by him. Srila Prabhupada related his voyage on the sea and gave a powerful insight about material existence,

“Here a very nice word is used: dhīra. Dhīra means undisturbed. So this we should carefully note. Our mind in the material condition is always disturbed, always disturbed. And this is due to our unfavorable condition. Because we are actually spirit in identity and we have been put into material conditions. We can very well experience. And we have, I got experience, and here is Captain Pandia. He has also experienced. He may be more experienced than me. When we passed through the sea on the ship, although we are on the sea, quite safe, still, when there is some storm, when there is some disturbance on the ocean, we also become very much disturbed, because that situation is foreign to us. We are not so much disturbed in the land as we are disturbed in the ocean because we know that our position in the ocean is not our natural condition. So we should know that disturbance is due to our unnatural condition. Otherwise, there is no question of disturbance. (Bhagavad-gītā 2.13 — March 11, 1966, New York)

1st September

September 1, 1965 : On Sail and Suez Canal Port

It was the 20th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Excerpt from Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita (volume 2): “Today Jaladuta entered the Suez Canal Port and stopped. Slowly recovering from the heart attack, Srila Prabhupada wanted to stay in land for some time, so he requested Captain Pandia to visit the Suez Canal City and Captain gladly accepted the request and scheduled the visit for tomorrow.”

2nd September

Suez Canal & Port Said

It was the 21st day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Excerpt from Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita (Volume 2): “Today, Srila Prabhupada with Captain started for Suez Canal city and visited various places and after visiting Srila Prabhupada said he liked the visit.”

During a Srimad Bhagavatam class on November 6th, 1970 in Bombay, Srila Prabhupada briefly referred to his visit to the Suez Canal city:

“Even though they (astronauts) have reached the moon planet, it is not a fact that there is no living entity there. Accepting they have reached the moon planet, they might have gone to the part where it is a desert or barren land, because in each and every planet there is such possibility. In our planet also, when I was passing through the Suez Canal, I have seen it is a horrible desert. So if somebody drops in that Arabian desert and concludes that there is no living entity in this planet, it is simply foolish. (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.6 — November 6, 1970, Bombay)

3rd September

It was the 22nd day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: “We started from Port Said today at about 1 p.m. The Port Said city is nice. It has long narrow neat and clean roads with lofty buildings. The city is not at all congested. While passing the rear point of Suez towards Mediterranean sea, the city is clearly seen. But it is a small city with some industrial factories. Although in the desert, in the city, all varieties of vegetables are available. There is also a Marine drive like Bombay Chowpatty beach. I could see a good park in the city.”

4th September

September 4, 1965: On Sail in Mediterranean sea

It was the 23rd day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: Today there was a rehearsal for emergency. We all prepared with belt on the body and the life boat was tested whether they were in order. There were two boats with capacity to load 120 persons. But we were all about fifty five on board.

5th September

September 5, 1965 : On Sail in Mediterranean Sea crossed Sicily (Italy)

It was the 24th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: “Today in the evening the sky was cloudy and they expected foggy weather and all of them became little gloomy. But at midnight we passed Malta Sicily by God’s grace it was all right throughout the night.”

6th September

September 6, 1965 : On Sail in Mediterranean sea

It was the 25th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: Today I have taken khichri and kari. It was tasteful and I took them with relish and this gave me a push forward to get renewed strength little by little.

Excerpt from Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita: By the sixth of September, he had recovered a little from his illness and was eating regularly again for the first time in two weeks, having cooked his own kicharī and purīs. He reported in his diary that his strength renewed little by little.

7th September

It was the 26th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: Today Baraha Dwadashi observed, The best atmospheric condition on the Mediterranean sea. All along we have seen the Algerian coast.

8th September

It was the 27th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: Today at about 8 o’clock in the morning and near about Gibraltar we had a first experience of fog impediment. It was all dark round the ship and she stopped moving completely. She was whistling now and then to protect herself from other unseen ships being collided with. We started at about 11 again.

8/9/65 at about 2/30 p.m. we passed over Gibraltar Port ending at Tarita(?) Light House. The other side is Spanish Morocco. There is regular ferry steamer service. The gap(?) is wide about seven miles across. We are in the Atlantic.

9th September

It was the 28th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: Till 4 o’clock afternoon we have crossed over the Atlantic Ocean for twenty four hours. The whole day was clear and almost smooth. I am taking my food regularly and got some strength to struggle. There is slight lurching(?) of the ship and I am feeling slight headache also. But I am struggling and the nectarine of life is Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita the source of my all vitality.

10th September

It was the 29th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: Today the ship is plying very smoothly. I feel today better. But I am feeling separation from Sri Vrindaban and my Lords – Sri Govinda, Gopinath, Radha Damodar. The only solace is Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita in which I am tasting the nectarine of Lord Chaitanya’s Leela. I have left Bharat Bhumi just to execute the order of Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati in pursuance of Lord Chaitanya’s order. I have no qualification, but I have taken up the risk just to carry out the order of His Divine Grace. I depend fully on Their mercy so far away from Vrindaban.

11th September

It was the 30th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: Today the ship ran on very smoothly. The sky was clear and there was sunshine all the day. At about 7/30 in the morning we passed on the Azore group islands under the Portugal Republic. There was again rehearsal for life boat saving at 4/30 p.m. There was rehearsal of the fire brigadiers also. At night there was profuse moonlight on the ocean and considerable lurching also. But did not affect me very much as it used to do in the Arabian sea. The Atlantic Ocean is more kind to me than all other seas so far we have crossed over. It is all Lord Krishna’s Grace.

Srila Prabhupada later wrote in a letter to Sripad Narayan Maharaj on Oct 4th, 1965, recalling his journey across the Atlantic:

“To cross the Atlantic Ocean took ten days. This great sea is usually full of storms and fog and is very disturbing. But by the mercy of Krsna, there was no disturbance. The captain of the ship, the main officer, told me, “This kind of quiet Atlantic I have never seen in my life.” I told them that this is only by Krsna’s mercy, nothing else. After the troublesome storm in the Arabian Sea, I knew that if I had had to face a storm like that again, I would die. (Letter to: Sripad Narayana Maharaja, 4 October, 1965)

12th September

It was the 31st day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: S. R. Day. Today there is a great deal of lurching although the sky is clear. Mrs. Pandiya, although a little lady but very intelligent and learned also. She has foretold about my future. Thanks to her prediction. All blessings of Lord Krishna for her. The crisis which I suppose to have crossed is also mentioned by her. If I have crossed the crisis, then that is Good Will of Lord Krishna, my friend and philosopher. In the evening there was too much lurching and I felt a bit sea-sickness. I could not take my food properly. A little sweets were accepted with some relish. The lurching continued till midnight.

13th September

It was the 32nd day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: It was the 32nd day of our journey from Calcutta. After midnight yesterday the lurching decreased and I felt relief. In the morning also I could not take my breakfast properly. Then I cooked ‘Bati-chachari(?).’ It appeared to be delicious and I was able to take some food. Today I have disclosed my mind to my companion Lord Sri Krishna. There is a Bengali poem made by me today in this connection. At about eleven there is a little lurching. The captain tells that they had never such calmness of the Atlantic. I said it is Lord Krishna’s mercy. His wife asked me to come back again with them so that they may have again a calm Atlantic Ocean. If Atlantic would have shown its usual face perhaps I would have died. But Lord Krishna has taken charge of the ship.

The Bengali poem mentioned in the Jaladuta Diary was a prayer to Lord Krishna, and it is filled with Srila Prabhupada’s devotional confidence in the mission that he had undertaken on behalf of his spiritual master. An English translation of some of the stanzas is as follows:

I emphatically say to you, O brothers, you will obtain your good fortune from the Supreme Lord Krishna only when Srimati Radharani becomes pleased with you.

Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who is very dear to Lord Gauranga, the son of mother Saci, is unparalleled in his service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. He is that great, saintly spiritual master who bestows intense devotion to Krishna at different places throughout the world.

By his strong desire, the holy name of Lord Gauranga will spread throughout all the countries of the Western world. In all the cities, towns, and villages on the earth, from all the oceans, seas, rivers, and streams, everyone will chant the holy name of Krishna.

As the vast mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu conquers all directions, a flood of transcendental ecstasy will certainly cover the land. When all the sinful, miserable living entities become happy, the Vaiṣnavas’ desire is then fulfilled.

Although my Guru Maharaja ordered me to accomplish this mission, I am not worthy or fit to do it. I am very fallen and insignificant. Therefore, O Lord, now I am begging for Your mercy so that I may become worthy, for You are the wisest and most experienced of all!

The poem ends:

Today that remembrance of You came to me in a very nice way. Because I have a great longing I called to You. I am Your eternal servant, and therefore I desire Your association so much. O Lord Krishna, except for You there is no means of success.

14th September

It was the 33rd day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: It was the 33rd day of our journey and at 3 o’clock in the morning I saw the sky cloudy with dim moon-light. From morning till 1 o’clock the sky remained cloudy and at 1/30 p.m. there was a shower of rain. The sky is still cloudy and the wind is blowing from south-east corner and raining at intervals. The whole day passed in that way and the wind assumed a para-cyclonic face with dense cloud resulting in rain till 9/30 p.m. with regular lightening etc. At ten o’clock when I was talking in the captain’s room the chief engineer Mr. Travers told me that he had never such experience of calm & quietness of the Atlantic Ocean. There was always typhoon, cyclone, fog, etc. at least for days in every trip in the past(?). I said it is Lord Krishna’s Grace. If such things as usual in Atlantic would have taken place, I would die.

15th September

It was the 34rd day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: Today 34th day of our journey As usual I rise up at 3 a.m. and when I went to veranda I saw the sky almost clear. There was moon-shine on head(?) and although the wind from south-east was strong, the ocean was clear visioned and the ship was passing smoothly. At about 11 a.m. the sky again became over cast with cloud and it is continued till 3 p.m. There was rainfalls at intervals but after 4 o’clock the sky became clear and there was bright sunshine. I was engaged in reading Kaliya Daman Leela from Srimad Bhagwatam specially the prayers by Srimati Naga Patnis and the last appealing prayer by Kaliya.

16th September

It was the 35th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: It was the 35th day of our journey and yesterday night at about 10/30 p.m. we have turned one wheel(?) towards north eastern corner from the Bermuda latitude towards Boston port. In the morning the atmosphere was fairly cleared and the ship was plying very smoothly. The first officer told me that they never had such experience of the At lantic ocean and he ascribed the good luck to me. I said yes it is all Lord Krishna’s Grace because due to my severe type of sea-sickness, He has Himself taken charge of the ship. In (?) expansion the Lord is rowing the oars. We shall certainly reach to America port safely. The whole day was clear sun-shine but at 4 p.m. the sky all of a sudden became foggy. The sun became dim covered by foggy weather. The horizon is still visible. Let us see what is still ahead. The ship is stopped completely at about 6 p.m. on account of dense fog. Be Lord Krishna pleased to get out this fog. By the Grace of Lord Krishna the fog was cleared after 2-3 hours and the ship started. The whole night was non-disturbing and today on the 36th day of our journey we reached safely at Boston Port at 5/30 a.m.

17th September

It was the 36th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: We are now on the dockyard of Boston and at 10 a.m. the custom officers and others came on the ship. They have now issued the admittance permission after due checking etc. I saw the Boston Town with captain It is very nice and I shall describe it in a separate note. 36th day from starting from Calcutta Port To-day we are expected to reach Boston Port U.S.A. in the morning ACB—/9/65

We stayed the whole day & night at Boston till 4.p.m. next day.

Srila Prabhupada recalled his interaction with the immigration officer in a room conversation on June 8, 1976, in Los Angeles:

Prabhupāda: I was extending my visa. In Boston, the immigration officer came in to my boat. He inquired about this. So he asked me, “Sir, Swāmījī, how long you want to stay?” I thought that I have no shelter, I have no money, but I have got the return ticket. So I did not know how long [laughs]. He asked me, “How long do you want to stay?” So I thought, “In these circumstances, I can stay at most two months, because I have no means where to stay, how to eat, and where shall I go. So I may struggle for two months.” So I told him, “I may stay at most two months.” He sanctioned two months stay immediately. I could not think that I shall be able to… [laughs] That one month was with sponsorship. So I thought, “Another one month I can stay, that’s all. This gentleman has sponsored for one month. So that is guaranteed. Then I can stay another one month. That’s all.” So after that, I was staying here and there without any fixity. So I was extending the visa. Each time, I was paying ten dollars. Another three months, another three months, like that. And when one year was finished, they refused: “No extension.” (Room Conversation — June 8, 1976, Los Angeles)

18th September

It was the 37th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: To-day is the 37th day of our journey & at 4 p.m. we left Boston Port for New York. In the morning I had telephonic talks with Gopal P. Agarwal in Butler and he said that his man will receive me at New York & dispatch me to Butler by Bus or train as convenient. I tried to contact Dr. Misra but he was not available both yesterday and to-day. I do not know if he is coming to receive me. To-day I met two American nice gentlemen Mr. Gardiner & Fryer(?). We passed a beautiful canal and crossed underneath two overbridges. But at midnight there was considerable fog disturbance and the ship moved very slowly. The fog persisted.

While in Boston, Captain Pandia invited Prabhupāda to take a walk into Boston, where the captain intended to do some shopping. They walked across a footbridge into a busy commercial area with old churches, warehouses, office buildings, bars, tawdry bookshops, nightclubs, and restaurants. Prabhupāda briefly observed the city, but the most significant thing about his short stay in Boston, aside from the fact that he had now set foot in America, was that at Commonwealth Pier he wrote another Bengali poem, entitled “Mārkine Bhāgavata-dharma” (“Teaching Kṛṣṇa Consciousness in America”). Some of the verses he wrote on board the ship that day are as follows:

My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me.

But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place?

Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vāsudeva [Kṛṣṇa]. I do not know how they will be able to understand it.

But I know that Your causeless mercy can make everything possible, because You are the most expert mystic.

How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message.

All living entities have come under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion.

I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message.

How will I make them understand this message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and the most fallen. Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own.

Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure, as You like.

O spiritual master of all the worlds! I can simply repeat Your message. So if You like You can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding.

Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts, they will certainly feel gladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life.

O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like.

I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. I have been designated as Bhaktivedanta, and now, if You like, You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedanta.

Signed-the most unfortunate, insignificant beggar,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami,
On board the ship Jaladuta, Commonwealth Pier,
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Dated 18th September 1965.
(Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, Vol 2: 12: The Journey to America)

19th September

It was the 38th day of Srila Prabhupada’s journey on board Jaladuta:

Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Jaladuta Diary: It was the 38th day of our journey and we reached New York Port at 12/30 p.m. about three hours later than the scheduled time.

Excerpt from Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita Volume 2: On the nineteenth of September the Jaladuta sailed into New York Harbor and docked at a Brooklyn pier, at Seventeenth Street. Śrīla Prabhupāda saw the awesome Manhattan skyline, the Empire State Building, and, like millions of visitors and immigrants in the past, the Statue of Liberty.

Śrīla Prabhupāda was dressed appropriately for a resident of Vṛndāvana. He wore kanthi-mālā (neck beads) and a simple cotton dhotī, and he carried japa-mālā (chanting beads) and an old chādar, or shawl. His complexion was golden, his head shaven, śikhā in the back, his forehead decorated with the whitish Vaiṣṇava tilaka. He wore pointed white rubber slippers, not uncommon for sādhus in India. But who in New York had ever seen or dreamed of anyone appearing like this Vaiṣṇava? He was possibly the first Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī to arrive in New York with uncompromised appearance. Of course, New Yorkers have an expertise in not giving much attention to any kind of strange new arrival. (Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita Vol2: 12: The Journey to America)

Srila Prabhupada recalled his arrival during a morning walk in Bombay, on February 19, 1974:

“When I went to America, I went with forty rupees. Mrs Sumati Morarji gave me a free ticket, and I had only forty rupees. Those forty rupees could not be spent there in the US. Then, when I was getting down the ship, I asked the captain, “Captain Pandia, I have not a single dollar with me. So you purchase one set of my books.”

“So what is your price, Swami?”

“Sixteen dollar.” He paid me twenty dollars. With those twenty dollars, I arrived in New York.


Thus it was that the amazing Voyage of Compassion concluded. After alighting the Jaladuta, Srila Prabhupada stayed at Philadelphia for a short while and later returned to New York, where among the ghettos of the Bowery, Srila Prabhupada sowed the seeds of a global spiritual movement, the likes of which the world had not yet witnessed.

Jaya Srila Prabhupada!




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