Srila Prabhupada Meets
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Pages 54 to 57
Both of us were trained in the devotional service of the Lord from the very beginning of our lives. Later on we met by the order of the transcendental system.
TRANSLATION: Or he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is rare in this world.
PURPORT: Birth in a family of yogis or transcendentalists--those with great wisdom--is praised herein because the child born in such a family receives a spiritual impetus from the very beginning of his life. It is especially the case in the acarya or gosvami families. Such families are very learned and devoted by tradition and training, and thus they become spiritual masters. In India there are many such acarya families, but they have now degenerated due to insufficient education and training. By the grace of the Lord, there are still families that foster transcendentalists generation after generation. It is certainly very fortunate to take birth in such families. Fortunately, both our spiritual master, Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and our humble self, had the opportunity to take birth in such families, by the grace of the Lord, and both of us were trained in the devotional service of the Lord from the very beginning of our lives. Later on we met by the order of the transcendental system.
[Srila Prabhupada from Bhagavad-gita 6.42]
So when I met Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura...
It is a long story, how I met him. One of my friends,
he dragged me. (laughing) (laughter)
So when I met Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura... It is a long story, how I met him. One of my friends, 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 friends, he asked me that "There is a nice sadhu, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He has come in Calcutta. So let us go and see." So I was reluctant. I thought just like so, there are so many sadhus. So I was not very much... Because I had very bad experience, not very good. So I said, "Oh these kind of sadhus, there are many." You'll be glad to know that even my in young age or early age or early age--it was Krsna'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 hand. He said in Hindi, kukum calena(?). Kukum calena means "Your hand speaks that your order will be executed."
Prabhupada: So anyway, it was Krsna's grace. I would not go, but their point of view was that unless I certify that sadhu, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he'll not be accepted. Therefore he dragged me. So I went to see Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura 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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu'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 Vaisnava family, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda, Radha-Govinda. That is our worshipable Deity. So I was very glad that "Radha-Krsna cult, Caitanya Mahaprabhu's cult, this sadhu 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 prasadam, very nice treatment, the Gaudiya Matha. And when I came out on the street, this my friend asked me, "What is your opinion of this sadhu?" Then I said that "Here is the right person who has taken up Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's message, and now it will be distributed."
Prabhupada: 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 Kumbhamela. At that time, these Gaudiya Matha people came to Allahabad to establish a center there, and somebody else said, somebody informed them that "You go to that Prayaga Pharmacy." My drug shop was named as Prayaga Pharmacy. My name was also there. "You go and see Abhaya Babu. He is religiously... He will help you." These Gaudiya Matha 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." And because I was thinking of these Gaudiya Matha people that "I met a very nice, saintly persons," and 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 Gaudiya Matha activities, and by the grace of Krsna, my business also was not going very well. (laughter) (laughs) Yes. Krsna says yasyaham anughrnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih. If somebody wants to be actually devotee of Krsna, at the same time, keeps his material attachment, then Krsna's business is He takes away everything material, so that cent percent he becomes, I mean to say, dependent on Krsna. 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 "Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is calling me, 'Please come out with me!' " (pause) So I was sometimes horrified, "Oh, what is this? I have give up my family life? Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is calling me? I have to take sannyasa?" 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, my so-called business life. And he brought me some way or other in preaching his gospel.
So this is 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 Maharaja (Srila Prabhupada starts to cry) because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja.
Thank you very much. Chant Hare Krsna.
[Srila Prabhupada from His Divine Grace, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada's Disappearance Day, Lecture Los Angeles, December 13, 1973]
A young man I was at that time, and I was also misled
in so many ways. But my spiritual master saved me, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja.
So these false notions, isms, are going on. People are being misled. You see? Andha yathandhair upaniyamanah. 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 Maharaja, 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, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja.
[Srila Prabhupada from Sri Vyasa-puja Lecture, Montreal, August 17, 1968]
Without seeing him at that opportune moment, we could have become a very great business magnate,
but never would we have been able to walk
the path of liberation...
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the great preacher of the principles of Srimad-Bhagavatam, has stressed the importance of association with sadhus, pure devotees of the Lord. He said that even by a moments association with a pure devotee, one can achieve all perfection. We are not ashamed to admit that this fact was experienced in our practical life. Were we not favored by His Divine Grace Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, by our first meeting for a few minutes only, it would have been impossible for us to accept this mighty task of describing Srimad-Bhagavatam in English. Without seeing him at that opportune moment, we could have become a very great business magnate, but never would we have been able to walk the path of liberation and be engaged in the factual service of the Lord under instructions of His Divine Grace.
[Srila Prabhupada from Srimad Bhagavatam 1.13.29]
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