First of all, let me offer my humble, respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda. Sometime in the year 1935 when His Divine Grace was staying at Rādhā-kuṇḍa, I went to see him from Bombay. At that time, he gave me many important instructions in regard to constructing temples and publishing books. He personally told me that publishing books is more important than constructing temples. Of course, those same instructions remained within my mind for many years. In 1944 I began publishing my Back to Godhead, and when I retired from family life in 1958 I began publishing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in Delhi. When three parts of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam had been published in India, I then started for the United States of America on the thirteenth of August, 1965.
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I started my paper Back to Godhead in 1944
- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 3 Lectures
- 4 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 5 Correspondence
SB Canto 8
In this way I passed my life as a householder until 1950, when I retired from family life as a vānaprastha. With no companion, I loitered here and there until 1958, when I took sannyāsa. Then I was completely ready to discharge the order of my spiritual master. Previously, in 1936, just before His Divine Grace passed away at Jagannātha Purī, I wrote him a letter asking what I could do to serve him. In reply, he wrote me a letter, dated 13 December 1936, ordering me, in the same way, to preach in English the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as I had heard it from him.
After he passed away, I started the fortnightly magazine Back to Godhead sometime in 1944 and tried to spread the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu through this magazine. After I took sannyāsa, a well-wishing friend suggested that I write books instead of magazines. Magazines, he said, might be thrown away, but books remain perpetually. Then I attempted to write Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Before that, when I was a householder, I had written on Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and had completed about eleven hundred pages, but somehow or other the manuscript was stolen. In any case, when I had published Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto, in three volumes in India, I thought of going to the U.S.A. By the mercy of His Divine Grace, I was able to come to New York on September 17, 1965. Since then, I have translated many books, including Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Teachings of Lord Caitanya (a summary) and many others.
In 1936, just on the 13th, December, I wrote him one letter. Not 13th. I think by the beginning of December, 1936, I wrote one letter to Guru Mahārāja. I knew he was little kind upon me, so I wrote that "Guru Mahārāja, you have got many disciples. I am also one of them. But they are doing direct service to you. Some of them are brahmacārīs, some of them sannyāsīs, but I am a householder. I cannot..." Of course, I was giving sometimes some monetary help, but I could not give any direct service, so I asked him that "If there is any particular service I can do for you?" So that letter was replied in 13th December, dated 13th December, from Purī. And he passed away on the 31st December. Just a fortnight before. So the reply was the same as he wanted me to do this preaching work in 1922, when I first met him, that "You try to preach whatever you have learned from me to the English-knowing people in English. That will do good to you and to the people to whom you shall preach. That is my instruction." So I took up, direction. And then he passed away in 1936, 31st December. So I consulted some of my Godbrothers, senior Godbrothers, "Guru Mahārāja has told me like this. What can I do?" So you have heard the name of Professor Sanyal, and there were other Godbrothers. They asked me to write on the Vaiṣṇava-siddhānta in English. So perhaps in 1935 I wrote one poetry. The part of it, somebody, you have got. He was very pleased. Since then he was insisting me that "You write on, preach on in English." At that time I was thinking, "What can I do?" So anyway, after his passing away, this Back to Godhead paper was started, as late in 1944, I think, because the expenditure was three hundred, four hundred rupees per month.
But officially, I was initiated in 1933, although from 1922 to 1933 I was always thinking of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja. So in 1936, he was to pass away by 31st December. So I do not know... Out of my own accord, I wrote him one letter that "Guru Mahārāja, you have got many disciples. Some of them are directly serving you. I could not do so. I am a householder. So if you give me some direct service to you, it will be very kind of you." So he replied that letter, that "You try to preach in English language. Then the persons who will be instructed by you and both yourself will be benefited." Again, he said the same thing which he ordered me in 1922 at the first sight. Then there... He passed away 1936, 31st December.
Then there were other Godbrothers. I consulted him that "Guru Mahārāja said like this. What can I do?" So they also encouraged me. I was writing. There was a paper, Harmonist. Then, by their desires, I started this Back to Godhead in 1944. That was also started on his advent day, this advent day. Back to Godhead was started. Yes. There was a meeting, and many friends came, and we first started this Back to Godhead on his advent day, this advent day, 1944. So our paper, Back to Godhead, the advent day is also today.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, he wanted to rent us only for ninety rupees. I told him, "You just give me the concession. He, at that time he was getting 125, but because I am his friend, "All right, I'll give you, ninety rupees." So that could not happen somehow or other. So I was trying from the very beginning after the disappearance of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī.
Śrīdhara Mahārāja: First appearance of Back to Godhead (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: Yes, 1944. I think you were at that time at my house. Yes. So, somehow or other, this intention for preaching the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu increased and the other side decreased. Viraktir anyatra syāt. But I was not disinclined, but Kṛṣṇa forced me that you must give up. (chuckles) And these thing is known better to Śrīdhara Mahārāja, how it decreased, decreased, decreased, then almost it become nil, and then I left home in 1950. Whatever was there, "All right, you do whatever you like." In 1954, four years I remained as vānaprastha, (indistinct) four years, from 1950 to 1959.
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Atreya Ṛṣi: No. It is new, 62 the new American. (BTG?)
Yogeśvara: This was your idea, to put the temple buildings on the magazine. Jayādvaita wrote me about that.
Prabhupāda: Very good picture, encouraging, that so many devotees in one center. It is very much pleasing to me. I started single-handed.
Prabhupāda: No, no, no, not '44, '66. '44, of course, that was idea, plans, Back to Godhead started, '44.
Yogeśvara: Looks like it will be heavy competition for the next French issue. Looks like strong competition for the next French issue.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (chuckles) Very good. The pictures are very nice.
Yogeśvara: That was in Watford.
Prabhupāda: It is... Every time it is improving. That is Kṛṣṇa's grace.
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Dr. Copeland: Does this organization do social work?
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is the best social work. We are giving the best education, best knowledge, best hope of next life. And what they are giving? They do not know what is next life even.
Dr. Copeland: When you do the translations...
Prabhupāda: I have all translated during these ten years. I translated, began translating from 1968, or '9, I was publishing that Back to Godhead paper even from my gṛhastha life, from 1944.
Dr. Copeland: And when you do do the translation...
Prabhupāda: Then I began translating from 1968 or '69. And I published my first book in 1962. Then next was in 1964. And then the third volume was published in 1965. And then I came to America. And then I translated all these books, whatever you see, about fifty books. This is about eleven hundred pages. Other books are not less than four hundred pages.
Prabhupāda: Yes. When I was twenty-five years old I met him first. On the first meeting he ordered me to this. So at that time I was married man. I had two children. So I thought, "I shall do it later on." But I was trying to get out of family life. It took some time. But I was trying my best to carry out his order. In 1944 I started magazine, Back to Godhead, when I was gṛhastha. Then I started writing books in 1958 or '59. In this way in 1965 I came to your country.
Woman: You have said that you are very small and that you are not God, and yet it appears to me as an outsider that the devotees treat you as if you were God.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is devotee's duty. Just like a government officer. Personally he is not very important, but so long he executes government order, he should be respected as government. That is the way. Even a ordinary policeman comes, you have to respect him because he is government man. But that does not mean he is government. He is respected. Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ **. If that man thinks that "I have become government. People are respecting me," then he is foolish. So... But it is the etiquette. If the government man comes, you should respect him as government.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Svarūpa Dāmodara: We saw the first Back to Godhead magazine yesterday, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: The first Back to Godhead copy of the magazine that you published from Calcutta in 1944. We found in the library here.
Prabhupāda: Oh, '44 edition is here?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, Library of Congress.
Prabhupāda: How they collected?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Oh, it has kept very nicely. Paper was... Quality was very good, I mean the printing and everything, from India, thinking... (laughs)
Prabhupāda: There are some mistakes also.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, printing mistakes.
Prabhupāda: That is India's special...
Svarūpa Dāmodara: (laughs) Quality.
Prabhupāda: ...qualification. It was printed in the best press of Calcutta, but still, they committed mistake. Sarasvati Press. That is the best publishing house in Bengal.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: This is called Tapke?
Prabhupāda: Tata Spingh(?) was the agent for selling.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, the paper quality was good.
Prabhupāda: So it was first published in 1944. That is...
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, the first appearance in the Vyāsa-pūjā day, 1944.
Prabhupāda: It was published in the first-class press, and the first-class bookseller who was selling this, Tata Spingh(?), that was the most important bookseller in Calcutta.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Did you send copies to all the libraries?
Prabhupāda: No, they were doing everything. They might have sent to America, like that.
Rāmeśvara: And also he was writing transcendental or spiritual books even at that time.
Rāmeśvara: It's not that he has adopted a new occupation now.
Rāmeśvara: He has always been Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Prabhupāda: This Back to Godhead was started in 1944, when I was still a family man.
Interviewer: You started that in India.
Prabhupāda: India. The first copy is here, some copy?
Hari-śauri: The first copy is in the Library of Congress in Washington.
Interviewer: Your family, your blood family, are they Kṛṣṇa conscious as well?
Prabhupāda: Not very much. Therefore I had to leave them and create another family. (laughter)
Interviewer: How many children do you have.
Prabhupāda: I have got two daughters and two sons. My wife is also still living.
Interviewer: Is she Kṛṣṇa conscious?
Prabhupāda: Not very much. Naturally women are after worldly opulence.
Kīrtanānanda: Yes, a few years ago we couldn't conceive of distributing twenty thousand Back to Godheads a month. (laughs)
Prabhupāda: We started with five hundred. What was that machine?
Kīrtanānanda: Mimeograph. Then I think it went to two thousand, then to five thousand.
Rāmeśvara: Now for December we are printing two million copies. Last year we printed one million copies, so this year we must double. Two million copies in one month.
Prabhupāda: It is all Kṛṣṇa's mercy. You have seen the first copy? They have brought photograph from... Which library?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Congress Library in Washington. They found the original...
Prabhupāda: Yes. I do not know how they got my...
Rāmeśvara: Oh, your original, from India.
Prabhupāda: Yes, 1944, the first copy. (indistinct) I get them from selling. Perhaps they had been, American.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Very thick. It was a thick magazine.
Prabhupāda: In those days I was spending three hundred rupees per month.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That was a lot.
Prabhupāda: Yes, three hundred rupees, nowadays at least ten times. Three hundred, ten times?
Kīrtanānanda: Three thousand.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: At least three thousand. I think even perhaps more, Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Yes, not less than.
1977 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Hayagrīva was eating also. (laughter) And he was typing. He's a very good typist. He'll type very swiftly and correctly. Then I started this Back to Godhead, Hayagrīva and Rāyarāma, editors. And I purchased two machines. What is that?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Mimeograph machine.
Prabhupāda: There was advertisement. So I went to Long Island. That two machines... I asked, "What is the price?" "$150 each." Then he wanted to take away the machines. Machine was all right. And then I told him that "I have got $150 only. If you want to give us, give those two machines." So "All right, you take these all." (laughter) So I gave him $150, whatever I had, and I took the machine. In that machine was printed Back to Godhead. So five hundred copies... How many copies you were selling?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Well, by the time we were selling, you were printing about three thousand, and we were selling twenty-five hundred.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Then I asked Brahmānanda that "Why not print it nicely?" So he said that "Unless we print twenty thousand, nobody will take this work." And "All right, order twenty thousand." Now, from twenty thousand or five hundred, what is the quantity now we are printing?
1947 to 1965 Correspondence
Please therefore save them from the great falldown. Believe me or not, I have got the clue of going "Back to Godhead" just after leaving my present material body and in order to take along with me all my contemporary men and women of the world, I have started my paper "Back to Godhead" as one of the means to the way.
Please do not think of me as an wonderful or a mad man when I say that I shall go "Back to Godhead" after leaving my present material body! It is quite possible for everyone and all of us.
In the Bhagavad-gita it is said very clearly that whosoever may adopt the specific principle of accepting Sri Krishna the Personality of Godhead, he will be able to achieve the highest transcendental goal of life,—never mind what he is either a born untouchable, a fallen woman, a laborer or a man dealing in rupees annas pies. His being so, what is there difficulty for a pious "Brahmin" and devoted king for going "Back to Godhead"? Everyone should therefore adopt this principle of going "Back to Godhead" in order to get released from the world of miseries, with temporary existence.
In this movement there was a great stir for intercaste marriage in favor of Patel's (Vithalbhai) bill. I was married during my student life in 1918 with Radharani Devi and she is in Calcutta with her sons and daughters five children and a few grand children also. After my education I was appointed (1921) as the Asst. Manager of Dr. Bose's Laboratory Ltd of Calcutta and then engaged myself in my personal business in the chemical line. I was a research student in chemical and medicinal composition and for the first time in India, I introduced Gadine preparation in the medical profession. I met my spiritual master Late Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami in 1922 and he desired me to preach in the foreign countries the spiritual movement started by Lord Caitanya for enlightenment of all materialistic men all over the world. He gradually turned my mind from matter to spirit and I was accepted as his disciple in 1933 after full association of ten years. He left this world in 1936 and insisted to explain the mission in English. I started my paper Back to Godhead in 1944 and left home for good entirely to execute the order of my spiritual master in 1954. Since then my H.Q. is at Vrindaban and devote in literary work.
Regarding the manuscript: It is very difficult for me to see it again, but I inquired from Brahmananda whether the manuscript is already delivered to MacMillan Company or not. If it is not delivered then I shall try to see it again. Your fear that the entire society will be in danger by Raymond's editing of the Gita is not very suitable remark. Rayarama may not be as qualified as you are, but his one qualification that he is fully surrendered to Krishna and his Spiritual Master is the first class recommendation for his editing any one of our literatures, because editing of Vedic literatures does not depend on academic education. It is clearly stated in the Upanisads that one who has implicit faith in God as well as in the Spiritual Master, to him only the import of Vedic literature is revealed. I think Rayarama is doing work in that spirit and his recent publication of several booklets and Back to Godhead and a calendar are all first class proof of his sincerity of service. Anyway, when I started Back to Godhead, it was my intention that your academic career and Rayarama's sincere service would be a good combination; unfortunately, I do not know why, you do not agree with one another. To me, English language is undoubtedly a foreign language, and I thought your combination of editorship will help me a great deal. Anyway, whatever is done is done. I wish that the misunderstanding created at the present moment may be mitigated by mutual cooperation and we can start fresh with renewed energy for service of the Supreme Lord. I think you will agree with me.
My blessings are always with you. You are very sincere boy trying your best to serve Krishna and by His Grace you are quite fit for this business, and considering all these points, I have entrusted Back To Godhead in your hand. Because this paper is the beginning of my spiritual life. During the time of my Guru Maharaja's passing away, His last instruction was to me that "You try to preach whatever you have learned from me in English, and that will do good to you and the people who will hear you." This instruction was given to me in 1936, and I started this paper in 1944. So during my householder life I was printing this paper and almost distributing free, and some of them were paying me subscription, and some of them not. But I was trying my best at my cost. You have seen the old articles about my tendency in this regard, and please try to follow this principle and improve the condition of this paper as you think best. You have got full liberty to make it acceptable to the general public, keeping pace with our principles of Krishna Consciousness. And as I have told you several times that I am awaiting for the day when this paper will take the shape of Life magazine or similar other magazines, in the matter of its popularity. From India this paper has been brought to America, with this hope that American young boys like you will take interest in spreading this sublime gospel of Krishna Consciousness.
In this way, I passed on as a householder, but, by the causeless mercy of my Divine Master, that order of preaching was impressed on my heart. I was initiated regularly in 1933 at Allahabad, when Sir Malcolm Haley, the then Governor of U.P., opened our Gaudiya Math branch there. Then, in 1936, my Spiritual Master left this world leaving a message for me that it would be better for me to preach in English language.
So I was thinking very seriously, and then, as late as 1944 I started my paper, "Back to Godhead." Gradually, in 1954, I retired from my family life and began to live alone in Mathura Vrindaban. In 1959, I was awarded Sannyas by one of my Godbrothers, His Holiness B.P. Kesava Maharaja.
Then I began translating Srimad-Bhagavatam in 1960; and, perhaps in 1961, I was your guest in the Gita Bagicha. You were very kind to help me partially for publishing my first volume of Srimad-Bhagavatam through the Dalmia Charitable Trust. With great difficulty, I then published the second and third volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam until 1965, when I prepared myself to come to this country with some books.
When I was staying in a hotel of Tokyo I immediately sent my arrival news to Sripada Tirtha Maharaja offering my respects therein to you, but on my return to San Francisco from Tokyo I did not receive any letter from you although my return address was given in the letter which I wrote from Tokyo. Anyway that is a long distant topic. I am very pleased to receive your letter as I was expecting at every moment. I hope by the grace of Srila Prabhupada you are doing well.
I am so glad to note that you remember the auspicious day sometimes in 1944 when I started my "Back to Godhead" magazine. I think in the first issue you wrote some article also, and you took the trouble of going several times to the Sarasvati Press for supervising the printing work. It is a great pleasure to remember those days of cooperation. You rightly remember that His Holiness Bhakti Saranga Goswami presided over the meeting in which our revered Kesav Maharaja also participated.
But at that time on account of my selecting Goswami Maharaja to preside over the meeting, Sripada Tirtha Maharaja (then Kunjada) and Bon Maharaja also refused to accept my invitation. Anyway, by your blessings "Back to Godhead" although passed through many difficulties is doing well. First of all it was published in Calcutta, than in Allahabad, then at Delhi. In this way at last it has come to U.S.A. and my American disciples are taking care of this transcendental magazine. You will be glad to know that we are printing now 125,000 copies English edition, and 15,000 copies each of French and German editions. These are coming out every month, and very soon, maybe from the next month, we will issue a similar quantity in Japanese language.
You are all my children and I love my American boys and girls who are sent to me by my spiritual master and I have accepted them as my disciples. Before coming to your country I took sannyasa in 1959. I was publishing BTG since 1944. After taking sannyasa I was more engaged in writing my books without any attempt to construct temples or to make disciples like my other Godbrothers in India. I was not very much interested in these matters because my Guru Maharaja liked very much publication of books than constructing big, big temples and creating some neophyte disciples. As soon as he saw that His neophyte disciples were increasing in number, He immediately decided to leave this world. To accept disciples means to take up the responsibility of absorbing the sinful reaction of life of the disciple.
Thank you for our letter dated Nov. 26, 1975. I do not know where one could find copies of the old Back to Godhead started by me back in 1944 it is a long time ago. If you write to our Los Angeles center they may be able to send you some of the back issues of the more recent publications.
|Compiled by||Matea + and Visnu Murti +|
|Completed sections||ALL +|
|Date of first entry||February 20, 0011 JL +|
|Date of last entry||November 11, 0013 JL +|
|Total quotes||20 +|
|Total quotes by section||BG: 0 +, SB: 1 +, CC: 1 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 2 +, Conv: 8 + and Let: 8 +|