So these false notions, isms, are going on. People are being misled. You see? Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ (SB 7.5.31). Practical experience: In my country, India, I was also a student of Gandhi. In 1920 I joined the noncooperation movement and gave up my education because Gandhi's program was to boycott the British educational institution. So most of the university students... I was also. I passed my final examination, B.A., but I gave up. I did not appear, and I joined this movement. Fortunately, in 1922 I also met my Guru Mahārāja, and he, on my first visit, I do not know why, he told that "You should preach this Caitanya philosophy to the outside world." I replied that "We are dependent nation. Who will hear us? In the world, nobody hears any person who is coming from dependent nation, so we must have first of all independence." A young man I was at that time, and I was also misled in so many ways. But my spiritual master saved me, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja.
In 1922, I was at that time very much engaged in Congress activity. I was very much devout follower of Mahatma Gandhi
"...simple expression of reverence and love. The disciple, Abhaya Charan Dāsa, was to become His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, founder-ācārya of International Society, Krishna Consciousness." So whatever I appreciated forty years ago, the same principle is going on. We have no change. What I understood my spiritual master... Practically I met him in 1922, and this poetry was written in 1936. That means fourteen years before writing this poetry, I met my Guru Mahārāja in 1922. At that time I was quite a young man, twenty-five years old only, and I was posted in a very responsible position and as the office manager of Dr. Bose's laboratory. And I was fond of in those days, of Gandhi's movement. In 1922 I joined Gandhi's movement, and I gave up my educational career because one of the Gandhi's program was to boycott the universities. That's a very long story. And many students gave up their educational career and joined this Gandhi's movement, and I was one of them.
So Dr. Bose, Kartik Chandra Bose, he's a very important man. At that time he was managing director of Bengal Chemical Company. Now there is a street in the central Calcutta, Dr. Kartik Bose Street. So he was very important man, and he was our family physician and my father's very intimate friend. So when I gave up my education and I was joining Gandhi's movement, at that time Dr. Kartik Chandra Bose asked me to join him. So with the permission of my father, I joined. So I was fond of, at that time, this Gandhi's noncooperation movement. And then, when I joined Dr. Bose's laboratory, of course, I was dressed in khādar. So Dr. Bose liked that dress, khādar dress. He told me one day that "Out of your whole Gandhi's movement, I like this khādar only." Dr. Bose said. And why? "No, because this will give impetus to industry. This hand spinning will gradually give impetus to India." Actually that happened. He was himself an industrialist. Actually in India the chemical industry was given birth by Dr. Kartik Chandra Bose. He was very important man. He started this Bengal Chemical.
Prabhupāda: Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura organized this Kṛṣṇa Caitanya's movement in pure form from Māyāpur. He published many books and papers, Sajjana-toṣaṇī. When he passed away in 1914, at that time, he entrusted the matter to Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, that "I am going, my work unfinished, about this Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement. You take charge of it." So he took very seriously the word of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. So since 1914 to '18, he was simply thinking that "How I can expand this movement?" So in 1918 he started this movement with the help of some disciples. Kṛṣṇa sent him. So one of the disciples, he is now Tīrtha Mahārāja. Perhaps he is... He belonged to Rama Krishna Mission Society. So he is very ambitious. So he took the opportunity of starting this movement, finding out the saintly person. So apart from that point of view, with his help this Gauḍīya Mission was started, and gradually it developed. So in Calcutta Guru Mahārāja started in 1918. And, I think, in 1922, when I was young man, one of my friends, he took me to Guru Mahārāja. That was my first meeting. And, of course, he was speaking to everyone, but he found me as something. So immediately after my meeting, he said this, that "Why don't you preach this Caitanya's cult in the Western countries?" That is a memorable day. Of course, I did not know that I will have to do it. You see? It is...
Prabhupāda: Stop. Whatever you do not understand, you will ask later on, not in the middle. I could not understand that time. You see? It was... I talked with him in so many ways: "Who will hear your Caitanya's message? We are dependent country." At that time I was Gandhi's devotee. In 1920 I gave up my educational career and joined this Congress Movement. Because Gandhi's program was to boycott the university education and the British law court, so we took this opportunity and gave up education. You see? (chuckles) So then Dr. Bose, he was my father's friend. So he asked, "What this Abhaya is doing?" And my sister told him, "Oh, he has appeared in the B.A. examination, but he is not doing anything." So Dr. Bose was my father's friend. So he appointed me the manager of his laboratory. I did not know anything; still, he appointed me. So that was in 1921. In 1920 I gave up my education. Of course, I was married in 1918, and I got my first child in 1921. So in 1922, when I saw my Guru Mahārāja and when I was convinced about his argument and mode of presentation, I was so much struck with wonder. I could understand that "Here is the proper person who can give real religious idea." That I appreciated at that time. And at that time I thought, "This great personality is asking me to preach. I would have immediately joined, but now I am married. It will be injustice."
Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, my spiritual master, his advent day today. In 1922, I was at that time very much engaged in Congress activity. I was very much devout follower of Mahātmā Gandhi, and at that time, I was manager also in a very big chemical concern in Calcutta. Perhaps you may know, Dr. Bose's laboratory. One of my friends—he's still living, Śrī Narendranath Mullik—he informed me that "One saintly person has come. Let us go and see." At that time I was young man, and I did not care for very much about so-called saintly persons. Because in our house, my father used to receive so many sannyāsīs, but some of them were not very to the standard, and due to my association with college friends, younger days, I lost my faith practically, although I was born in a Vaiṣṇava family. My father was a pure Vaiṣṇava. From my childhood, he gave me Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deity for worshiping.
Perhaps some of you know the name, Gauḍīya Math. And he was trying to spread this message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and by chance or by prediction, as you think, I was taken to Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura by one of my friends. I did not want to go there, but he forcibly took me there. Yes. And he ordered me that "You preach the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu in English language. This is very much essential." So on the first meeting he told me like that. That was my first meeting with him. So at that time I was in favor of Gandhi's movement. So I said that "We are not independent—subjugated. Who will hear about our message?" So Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura refuted my argument. I was very much pleased. I had so many talks. But I was very much pleased to be defeated, that "This so-called nationalism or any ism, they are all temporary. Real need is the self-realization."
In this connection we may call to memory the time when I was fortunate enough to meet His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda, sometime in the year 1922. Śrīla Prabhupāda had come to Calcutta from Śrīdhāma Māyāpur to start the missionary activities of the Gauḍīya Maṭha. He was sitting in a house at Ulta Danga when through the inducement of an intimate friend, the late Śrīmān Narendranath Mullik, I had the opportunity to meet His Divine Grace for the first time. I do not remember the actual date of the meeting, but at that time I was one of the managers of Dr. Bose's laboratory in Calcutta. I was a newly married young man, addicted to Gandhi's movement and dressed in khadi. Fortunately, even at our first meeting His Divine Grace advised me to preach the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in English in the Western countries. Because at that time I was a complete nationalist, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi's, I submitted to His Divine Grace that unless our country were freed from foreign subjugation, no one would hear the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu seriously. Of course, we had some argument on this subject, but at last I was defeated and convinced that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's message is the only panacea for suffering humanity. I was also convinced that the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was then in the hands of a very expert devotee and that surely the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would spread all over the world. I could not, however, immediately take up his instructions to preach, but I took his words very seriously and was always thinking of how to execute his order, although I was quite unfit to do so.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1968 Conversations and Morning Walks
Interviewer: Would you tell me something of your own background? That is, where you were educated, how you became a disciple of Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: I was born and educated in Calcutta. Calcutta is my home place. I was born in 1896, and I was my father's pet child, so my education began a little late, and still, I was educated in higher secondary, high school for eight years. In primary school four years, higher secondary school, eight years, in college, four years. Then I joined Gandhi's movement, national movement. But by good chance I met my Guru Mahārāja, my spiritual master, in 1922. And since then, I was attracted in this line, and gradually I gave up my household life. I was married in 1918 when I was still a third year student. And so I got my children. I was doing business. Then I retired from my family life in 1954. For four years I was alone, without any family. Then I took regularly renounced order of life in 1959. Then I devoted myself in writing books. My first publication came out in 1962, and when there were three books, then I started for your country in 1965 and I reached here in September, 1965. Since then, I am trying to preach this Kṛṣṇa consciousness in America, Canada, in European countries. And gradually the centers are developing. The disciples are also increasing. Let me see what is going to be done.
1971 Conversations and Morning Walks
Mohsin Hassan: They were, I was told, associated with Gandhi. What's your relation with Mahatma Gandhi?
Prabhupāda: Gandhi, in my young age I was Nationalist, so I followed Gandhi. I was interested. Later on, when I met my spiritual master, I became disinterested with this temporary, ephemeral things. So this is permanent. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is permanent. It is very long(?) (non?) subject matter. We are simply dreaming. All these activities are just like at night we dream, but they are all false. Whatever you dream at night, they're not facts; they're false. Similarly, these are also daydreams, these activities. Daydream. They're also false. The only thing what we can actually take benefit out of it is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That's a fact. It will take some time.
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Ambassador: Nice to see you again. Not that I have felt that far away.
Prabhupāda: You are looking little reduced than before, in health.
Ambassador: Oh, perhaps slightly older.
Prabhupāda: You are not as old as I am. What is your age?
Ambassador: I am fifty-six.
Prabhupāda: Oh, you are just like my child. My first child was born 1921. What is your birth date?
Ambassador: That was three years earlier. So there you are.
Prabhupāda: 1918? In that year I was married. I was student at that time. I was student, 1900 up to '20. Then I joined Gandhi's noncooperation movement and gave up my education. His points were to give up English education, English court, English-manufactured goods, in this way.
Ambassador: How did you feel about Gandhiji spiritually?
Prabhupāda: He was a good gentleman, that's all. He had no spiritual asset.
1947 to 1965 Correspondence
Regarding my personal history I beg to state it shortly as follows: I was born 1st September 1896 in Calcutta as the third son of my father Late Gaura Mohon Dev and mother late Rajani Devi in the family of one of very respectable Gold merchant aristocracy of Calcutta. I was educated in the Scottish Churches College (B.A. 1920) and Netaji Subhas Candra was my college mate. I left education influenced by Mahatma Gandhi in 1921 and joined for some time in the national liberation and other social service movements. I was secretary of the Social Union movement of which Late Mr. J. Choudhury Bar-at-law was the president. 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.
At the present moment I am seventy-four years old complete. I was by profession chemist and druggist, and in the beginning I was manager in a very big chemical firm of Calcutta. I was educated in Scottish Churches College, appeared for my B.A. in 1920 and then joined Gandhi's movement and gave up education. I met my Guru Maharaja in 1922. I was born in a Vaisnava family—perhaps you may know Kasinatha Mullick Thakuravati—so by the grace of Krsna from the very beginning of my life I was Krsna conscious by family tradition and my father's caretaking.
I was very pleased to see in the newspaper clippings that you were voicing our Krishna Consciousness platform very nicely and that the public was given opportunity to understand something. As you are so much eager for this political activity in Krishna Consciousness, you may go on endeavoring to utilize this activity for preaching to the public. If Satsvarupa and others have encouraged you to make settlement in the Gainesville city and thus become well known as a political figure, that is a good proposal but you may do as you see fit in this matter. You are correct in thinking that simply by this full-time preaching activity all other problems will be solved very easily in the matter of financial and other problems. What is that financial security? Real security is only there at the Lotus Feet of Krishna, and Krishna is most pleased of all upon His devotee who is always preaching His message. It is recommended in Srimad-Bhagavatam that simply by engaging your tongue in the service of Krishna that He becomes revealed unto you, so in this way we can understand that all of your questions will be answered more and more as the preaching work progresses. I was also at one time interested in politics and Gandhi's non-cooperation movement. But now-a-days I am not too much familiar with the politics of your country, so whatever you consider the best thing, do it very nicely and always remember Krishna. In this way by your sincere preaching and engaging of the tongue all of the right answers for your questions will come out.
|Page Title:||In 1922, I was at that time very much engaged in Congress activity. I was very much devout follower of Mahatma Gandhi|
|Created:||25 of Nov, 2010|
|Totals by Section:||BG=0, SB=0, CC=1, OB=0, Lec=6, Con=3, Let=3|
|No. of Quotes:||13|