Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 26.08.2016 morning, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Shrila Prabhupad was very ambitious. Although he had only 7 dollars in the pocket when he arrived in America, he was intent to conquer the whole world. At that time he took all that was necessary according to him – basically two things. One was the umbrella. An Indian gentleman without an umbrella – impossible! The other was a big set of Bhagavatam, all the twelve books. Because he knew books are the basis. “Books are the basis, preaching is the essence, purity is the force and utility is the principle.” And the umbrella is the important fifth principle!

Let me quote something from him when he arrived. This is one poem, composed by him: “My dear Lord Krishna, You are so dear to this insignificant soul, nevertheless I have no idea why You have brought me here. Now, make me dance, make me dance, make me dance as You like! But I think You have some plan here with me, otherwise why should have You brought me here into this ugly place?” New York – America, the land of dreams! “Into this ugly place You brought me here! Why?”

“Those who live here, the majority of them are in ignorance and passion. They are absorbed in material life and feel themselves completely satisfied and happy. Therefore they have no idea to taste the transcendental nectar of the message of Vasudeva. I have no idea how they will understand. But I know that by Your unconditional mercy everything is possible, as You are the greatest mystic. How they will taste the nectar of devotional service? Oh, my Lord, I pray to You that I should be able to convince them of the importance of Your message. In my heart there is neither devotion nor knowledge. But I have a strong faith in the holy name of Krishna. The name Bhakti Vedanta – ‘devotion and knowledge’ – is given to me. And if You like, you can turn the meaning of this name into reality.”

So beautiful! “I know nothing, I have no devotion, no knowledge – nothing! But I have firm faith in the holy names.”

And some little stories about him: once he was sitting in a park, on a bench, in the very early times when he was practically alone, penniless, nothing was manifested yet. Somebody was sitting by his side on this bench. And Shrila Prabhupada started to describe the worldwide mission: the hundreds of temples and centers, devotees and activities – although there was nothing at that time. What a vision!

His vision was very exact. For example, his vision about western civilization was: ”You have a wush-wush civilization.” Why did he say like this? Because in America the cars were moving like wush-wush.

Once his secretary tried to apply for some money: “Prabhupad, I want to apply for some money for the book publication department, for the BBT[1].” And you know, for him book publication was like the mission of his life. Yet at that time he said: “No. I don’t give anything. I have given too much to them already.” So, when it was necessary, he was the best manager. At the same time he was so naive. For example he said to his disciples: “To obtain the documents for America, maybe you can adopt me?”

(to be continued)

[1] Bhaktivedanta Book Trust – ISKCON’s publishing house.

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