BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASWATI IN THE FOREFRONT OF THE SANKIRTANA PROCESSION FROM THE GAUDIYA MATH , ULTADANGA , CALCUTTA , IN OCTOBER 1930.
CONCLUDING WORDS TO SRI CAITANYA CARITAMRITA BY SRILA PRABHUPADA
Today, Sunday, November 10, 1974-corresponding to the 10th of Kärtikka, Caitanya Era 488, the eleventh day of the dark fortnight, the Räma-ekadasi-we have now finished the English translation of Sri Krsnadasa-Kaviräja Gosvami Sri Caitanya-caritämrita in accordance with the authorised order of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati Thäkura Gosvämi Mahäräja, my beloved eternal spiritual master, guide and friend. Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati Thäkura Prabhupäda passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vani, his words. There are two ways of association-by vani and by vapu. Vani means words, and vapu means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vani continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vani, not the physical presence. Bhagavad-gitä, for example, is the vani of Lord Krsna. Although Krsna was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, Bhagavad-gitä continues.
In this connection we may call to memory the time when I was fortunate enough to meet His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupäda, sometime in the year 1922. Srila Prabhupäda had come from Calcutta to Sridhama Mäyäpur to start the missionary activities of the Gaudiya Math. He was sitting in a house at Ulta Danga when through the inducement of an intimate friend, the late Sriman Narendranätha Mallika, 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 Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu in English in the Western countries. Because at that time I was a complete nationalist, a follower of Mahätma Gandhi's, I submitted to His Divine Grace that unless our country were freed from foreign subjugation, no one would hear the message of Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu seriously. Of course, we had some argument on this subject, but at last I was defeated and convinced that Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu's message is the only panacea for suffering humanity. I was also convinced that the message of Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu was then in the hands of a very expert devotee and that surely the message of Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu 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.
In this way I passed my life as a householder until 1950, when I retired from family life as a vänaprastha. With no companion, I loitered here and there until 1959, when I took sannyäsa. Then I was completely ready to discharge the order of my spiritual master. Previously, in 1936, just before His Divine Grace passed away at Jagannätha Puri, 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 Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu 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 Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu through this magazine. After I took sannyäsa, 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 Srimad-Bhägavatam. Before that, when I was a householder, I had written on Srimad Bhagavad-gitä and had completed about eleven hundred pages, but somehow or other the manuscript was stolen. In any case, when I had published Srimad-Bhägavatam, 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 Srimad-Bhägavatam, Bhakti-rasämrita-sindhu, Teachings of Lord Caitanya (a summary) and many others.
In the meantime, I was induced to translate Sri Caitanya Caritämrita and publish it in an elaborate version. In his leisure time in later life, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati Thakura would simply read Caitanya-caritämrita. It was his favorite book. He used to say that there would be a time when the foreigners would learn the Bengali langage to read Caitanya-caritämrita. The work on this translation began about eighteen months ago. Now, by the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu and his Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati Thakura, it is finished. In this connection I have to thank my American disciples, especially Sriman Pradyumna däsa Adhikäri, Sriman Nitäi däsa Adhikäri, Sriman Jayädvaita däsa Brahmacäri 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 Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati Thäkura is always seeing my activities and guiding me within my heart by his words. As it is said in Srimad Bhägavatam, tene brahma hådä ya ädi-kavaye. Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramätmä 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 Srila Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati Thakura. If there is any credit to my activities of translating, it is all due to His Divine Grace. Certainly if His Divine Grace were personally present at this time, it would have been a great occasion for jubiliation, but even though he is not physically present, I am confident that he is very pleased by this work of translation. He was very fond of seeing many books published to spread the Krsna consciousness movement. Therefore our society, the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, has formed to execute the order of Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu and His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati Thakura.
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 Srimad-Bhägavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritämrita.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Sri Caitanya-caritämrita, dated November 10, 1974, at the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Hare Krsna Land, Juhu, Bombay.