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 the meantime, I was induced to translate Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and publish it in an elaborate version. In his leisure time in later life, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura would simply read Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. It was his favorite book. He used to say that there would be a time when foreigners would learn the Bengali language to read the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. The work on this translation began about eighteen months ago. Now, by the grace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, it is finished. In this connection I have to thank my American disciples, especially Śrīmān Pradyumna dāsa Adhikārī, Śrīmān Nitāi dāsa Adhikārī, Śrīmān Jayādvaita dāsa Brahmacārī and many other boys and girls who are sincerely helping me in writing, editing and publishing all these literatures.
I think that His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is always seeing my activities and guiding me within my heart by his words. As it is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye (SB 1.1.1). Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramātmā feature, is always sitting with all His devotees and associates. It is to be admitted that whatever translation work I have done is through the inspiration of my spiritual master, because personally I am most insignificant and incompetent to do this materially impossible work. I do not think myself a very learned scholar, but I have full faith in the service of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. If there is any credit to my activities of translating, it is all due to His Divine Grace. Certainly if His Divine Grace were physically present at this time, it would have been a great occasion for jubilation, but even though he is not physically present, I am confident that he is very much pleased by this work of translation. He was very fond of seeing many books published to spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Therefore our society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has been formed to execute the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
It is my wish that devotees of Lord Caitanya all over the world enjoy this translation, and I am glad to express my gratitude to the learned men in the Western countries who are so pleased with my work that they are ordering in advance all my books that will be published in the future. On this occasion, therefore, I request my disciples who are determined to help me in this work to continue their cooperation fully, so that philosophers, scholars, religionists and people in general all over the world will benefit by reading our transcendental literatures, such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.