Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day, Los Angeles, December 13, 1973
Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda! Haribol. All glories to Śrī Guru. Haribol.
- nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
- śrīmate bhaktisiddhānta-svāmin iti nāmine
Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura passed away from this material world on 31st December, 1936. So almost forty years past. So there are two phases: prakaṭa and aprakaṭa, appearance and disappearance. So we have nothing to lament on account of disappearance because Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s devotees . . . not only devotees, even the nondevotees, nobody disappears. Nobody disappears, because every living entity . . . as Kṛṣṇa is eternal . . . it is confirmed in the Vedic literature, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). The description of the Supreme Lord is that He is also nitya, eternal, and the living entities are also eternal. But He is the chief eternal, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām. So qualitatively, there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa and the living entities. And quantitatively, there is difference. What is the difference between nitya, the singular number nitya, and the plural number nitya? The plural number nitya is subordinate, eternal servants of the singular number nitya. Just like if you want to serve somebody, so the master is also exactly like you. He has got two hands, two legs, or the same sentiments. He also eats. Everything is same there. But the difference is the master and the servant. That’s all. Otherwise, equal in every respect.
So spiritually, appearance and disappearance, there is no difference. Just like in material point of view, if a person takes birth . . . suppose you get a son born, you become very happy. The same son, when passes away, you become very unhappy. This is material. And spiritually, there is no such difference, appearance or disappearance. So although this is the disappearance day of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, so there is nothing to be lamented. Although we feel separation, that feeling is there, but spiritually, there is no difference between appearance and disappearance.
There is a song, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura’s song, ye anilo prema-dhana. Do you know, any one of you? Can you sing that song anyone? Oh. Ye anilo prema-dhana, karuṇā pracura, heno prabhu kothā gelo (from Prārthanā). I don’t remember exactly the whole song. That is our lamentation, that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura brought this message to distribute all over . . . of course, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu expressed His desire that,
- pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma
- sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
- (CB Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126)
He predicted that, “All over the world, as many towns and villages are there, everywhere My name will be known,” Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s name, which is now, attempted now, it is being actually . . . to execute this will of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He said personally:
- bhārata bhūmīte manuṣya janma haila yāra
- janma sārthaka kari kara para-upakāra
- (CC Adi 9.41)
He wanted that His name should be broadcast all over the world, in every town and village. And who would do it? That He asked that anyone who has taken birth in Bhārata-varṣa, India, it is his duty: first of all make himself perfect by understanding the philosophy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; then broadcast it, distribute it. This was the duty of every Indian.
The Indian, especially in India, they have got the privilege to take advantage of the Vedic literature. In other countries there is no such advantage. So if anyone wants to make his life perfect, then he has to take advantage of the vast treasure house of Indian spiritual knowledge. Even one Chinese gentleman, he has written one book about religion. That is a course in New York University. So he has said that, “If you want to know something of religion, then you have to go to India.” That’s a fact. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu said the every Indian . . . there is need of broadcasting this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world. So it is the duty of every Indian to first of all make his life perfect. He must know . . . perfection means he must know what is his position and what he has to do. That is perfection.
At the present moment, people do not know what he is even, whether he is this body or something extra. The big, big scientist, they are also failure. This is perfection. First of all one must know what he is, whether he is this body or something beyond this body. This is the beginning of spiritual knowledge. So that advantage is there in India, by culture, by education. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested that Indians, bharatiya, Bhārata-varṣa, those who have taken birth as human being . . . he doesn’t speak to the animals. Bhārata bhūmīte mānuṣya janma (CC Adi 9.41). Mānuṣya janma means human being. Because without being human being, nobody can understand these things. The cats and dogs, they cannot understand. So a person whose behavior is like cats and dogs, he also cannot understand. Therefore He said, janma sārthaka kari: first of all make your life perfect and then distribute this knowledge. This is the Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission.
So He simply said, but He was expecting that in later days His followers would do that. So that attempt was made by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, he desired, and, that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s message, it should be accepted by East and West equally, and both the Indians and Europeans, Americans, they should dance together in ecstasy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mercy. That was his desire, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. He simply expressed the desire, “When I shall see this happening, that both the Eastern and Western people, they are united on the basis of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s cult and dancing together in ecstasy?” That was his ambition. That was ambition of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and this was the ambition of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. And Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura took up this affair, business, and he wanted first of all.
So every student, any disciple, every disciple, especially those who are competent, he requested that, “You take up this mission of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and preach in the Western countries.” That was Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī’s Ṭhākura first attempt. Before that, even the ācāryas, Rūpānuga, Gosvāmīs, they left literature, but they did not attempt to preach practically. And Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, he was very, very anxious to preach this Caitanya cult in the Western countries. This is Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s special contribution.
So when I met Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura . . . it is a long story, how I met him. One of my friend, he dragged me. (laughing) (laughter) I was at that time Nationalist, and manager in a big chemical factory. My age was about twenty-four years. So one of my friend, he asked me that “There is a nice sādhu, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. He has come in Calcutta. So let us go and see.” So I was reluctant. I thought just like so, “There are so many sādhus. So I am not very much . . .” Because I had very bad experience; not very good. So I said: “Oh, these kind of sādhus, there are many.” You’ll be glad to know that even my in young age or early age—it was Kṛṣṇa’s grace—even amongst my young friends, I was considered the leader. (laughing) (laughter) In my school days, in my college days, in my private friendship, some way or other I became their leader. And one astrologer, sometimes he read my hands. He said in Hindi, kukum chale na. Kukum chale na means, “Your hand speaks that your order will be executed.”
Prabhupāda: So anyway, it was Kṛṣṇa’s grace. I would not go, but their point of view was that unless I certified that sādhu, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, he’ll not be accepted. Therefore he dragged me. So I went to see Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura on that day. On the first meeting, just we offer our obeisances. It is the practice. So immediately he began his talking that “You are all educated young men. Why don’t you take up Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s cult and preach all over the English-knowing public? Why don’t you take up this matter?” So I argued with him in so many . . . at that time I was Nationalist. So I told that “Who will accept our message? We are dependent nation. Nobody will care.” In this way, in my own way, in these younger days . . . but we belonged to the Vaiṣṇava family, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda, Rādhā-Govinda. That is our worshipable duty . . . er, worshipable Deity. So I was very glad that, “Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa cult, Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s . . . this sādhu is trying to preach. It is very nice.”
So at that time we had some talks, and of course I was defeated by his argument, my argument. (laughter) And then, when we came out, we were offered prasādam, very nice treatment, the Gauḍīya Maṭha. And when I came out on the street, this my friend asked me, “What is your opinion of this sādhu?” Then I said that, “Here is the right person who has taken up Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s message, and now it will be distributed.”
Prabhupāda: So I was at that time a fool, but I opined like this. And I accepted him as my spiritual master immediately. Not officially, but in my heart. That was in 1922. Then, in 1923, I left Calcutta on my business tour, and I made my headquarter at Allahabad. Allahabad is about five hundred miles from Calcutta. So I was thinking that “I met a very nice saintly person.” That was my thinking always. So in this way, in 1928, there was a Kumbha-melā. At that time, these Gauḍīya Maṭha people came to Allahabad to establish a center there, and somebody else said, somebody informed them that, “You go to that Prayag Pharmacy.” My drug shop was named as Prayag Pharmacy. My name was also there. “You go and see Abhay Babu. He is religiously . . . he will help you.” These Gauḍīya Maṭha people, they came to see me. So, “Sir, we have come to you. We have heard your good name. So we want to start a temple here. Please try to help us.” So because I was thinking of these Gauḍīya Maṭha people that, “I met a very nice, saintly persons,” then as soon as I saw them, I was very much engladdened: “Oh, here are these persons. They have come again.”
So in this way, gradually, I became attached to these Gauḍīya Maṭha activities, and by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, my business also was not going very well. (laughter) (laughs) Yes. Kṛṣṇa says, yasyāham anughṛṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ (SB 10.88.8), means if somebody wants to be actually devotee of Kṛṣṇa, at the same time keeps his material attachment, then Kṛṣṇa’s business is He takes away everything material, so that cent percent he becomes, I mean to say, dependent on Kṛṣṇa. So that actually happened to my life. I was obliged to come to this movement to take up this very seriously. And I was dreaming that, “Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is calling me, ‘Please come out with me!’ ” (break) So I was sometimes horrified, “Oh, what is this? I have give up my family life? Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is calling me? I have to take sannyāsa?” Oh, I was horrified. But I saw several times, calling me. So anyway, it is by his grace I was forced to give up my family life and so-called business life. And he brought me some way or other in preaching his gospel.
So this is a memorable day. What he desired, I am trying little bit, and you are all helping me. So I have to thank you more. You are actually representative of my Guru Mahārāja (starts to cry) . . . because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Mahārāja. Thank you very much.
Devotees: Jaya . . . all glories to you Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. (kīrtana) (end)