October 22nd, 1968
[This letter was originally written in Bengali by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja on the occasion of the disappearance of Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Goswāmī Mahārāja. It was addressed to Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Goswāmī Mahārāja, one of the prominent disciples of Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Kesvava Mahārāja. It was then translated into Hindi by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja and printed in the Śrī Bhāgavata Patrika magazine in December 1968. The following is the English translation of that letter.]
All glories to Śrī Guru & Gaurāṅga
October 22, 1968
I offer my humble prostrated obeisance at the lotus feet of all the Vaiṣṇavas.
Śrīpād Trivikrama Mahārāja,
Yesterday I received your letter dated October 12, and its contents were heart-breaking. Kindly inform me of the details of the sudden disappearance of Pūjyapāda Mahārāja (Śrīla B.P. Keśava Mahārāja). I had a very long-standing intimate relationship with Śrīla Mahārāja. When I used to visit Śrīdama Māyāpura, I was taken care of by Śrīpād Narahari Dādā and Śrīpād Vinoda Dādā with great affection. They were my extremely loving friends. Also in Calcutta, the senior Tīrtha Mahārāja, Professor Niśikanta Sannyal and Vasudeva Prabhu, were very dear to me. Afterwards I used to visit and associate freely with Śrīpād Śrīdhara Mahārāja as if we were the closest of family members. Except for Śrīpād Śrīdhara Mahārāja, all of the above-mentioned Vaiṣṇavas have gradually disappeared. Our time is also approaching, so it will be best to have the opportunity to serve Śrīla Prabhupāda as long as possible.
I have a very close connection with the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti. Yourself, and particularly Śrīpād Vāmana Mahārāja, are well aware of the fact that I am one of the three persons who founded Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti. We had conceived the idea of the formation of Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti at Bosapada Lane, Calcutta, even before Śrīla (Keśava) Mahārāja accepted sannyāsa. Within a few days of the formation of the Samiti, Śrī Narottamānanda Brahmacārī (presently Tridaṇḍi Swāmī Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Kamālā Madhusūdana Mahārāja) separated himself from the Samiti. At that time Śrīpād Vāmana Mahārāja, who was then a brahmacārī, visited our home at Sītākānta Banarji Lane. He made me the chief editor of the Bengali magazine, Śrī Gauḍīya Patrika.
Respecting the order of Śrīla (Keśava) Mahārāja, I started writing articles for the Gauḍīya Patrika regularly. Śrīla Mahārāja greatly appreciated whatever I wrote. Thereafter, I was also appointed as the president of the Hindi magazine, Śrī Bhagavata Patrika, and many of my articles were published in that. Afterwards I could not submit articles due to lack of time. Now I have become a resident of foreign lands and I have to travel twenty thousand miles every year.
The greatest compassion of Śrīla Keśava Mahārāja was to make me a sannyāsī. I had taken a vow that I would never accept sannyāsa, but Śrīla Mahārāja forcibly gave it to me. He would certainly have been most pleased today to see the success of my preaching. Last year I visited him in Calcutta along with my disciples, and despite being bedridden, he was very pleased to receive us. I have complete confidence that both in his manifest presence and after his disappearance, he must be very pleased to see my widespread preaching of the message of Śrīman Mahāprabhu in Western countries like America, Canada, England, Germany and Hawaii (Honolulu), situated in the Pacific Ocean, as well as eastern countries like Japan (Tokyo) and so on.
I was a staunch gṛhamedī (one whose thoughts are absorbed in household affairs). Śrīla Prabhupāda used to come to me in dreams from time to time and call me to renounce family life and come along with him. The dreams would frighten me and make me think that I would have to accept sannyāsa. I didn’t have any desire to take sannyāsa. But upon the repeated insistence of Śrīpād Nārayana Mahārāja, Śrīla Keśava Mahārāja bestowed boundless mercy upon this unwilling and blind person, by forcibly giving me sannyāsa. It seems that this desire of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s was transmitted into his heart, and it was thus that my sannyāsa was accomplished.
So I am eternally indebted to Śrīla (Keśava) Mahārāja. Therefore, immediately after receiving your letter, I organized a viraha-sabhā, an assembly at the Seattle temple to honor his disappearance. I am sending the condolence resolution of the meeting along with this letter. Kindly accept it as our śraddhāñjali, or humble homage. In my other centers (the list is enclosed), particularly London, Hamburg and Honolulu I have given instruction to arrange a viraha sabhā and offerśraddhāñjali homage likewise.
You will be glad to know that under my guidance I have formed three sankīrtana parties comprising American youths and couples. One such party is currently traveling to all cities in America and I am also with this party. The second party of six devotees is performing kīrtana at different places in London. The Indians living there are amazed to see them. They have given up their homeland and come all the way to the Western world to attain wealth and reputation, but the Americans are performing harinama-sankīrtana. Somehow the preaching activities are going on very nicely. I am interested to know what kind of constitution you are forming. In this matter you will receive my complete cooperation, because I am a man of constructive ideas. I do not like destructive policies.
It was the desire of Śrīla Prabhupāda and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura that Americans perform kīrtana in Śrīdhama Māyāpura, and that opportunity has now come. Unfortunately, those who have intruded in Māyāpura consider it to be their personal property.
These days others are restricted from visiting that place. Śrīla Keśava Mahārāja used to deal with these guru-tyāgīs (those who renounce their guru) and guru-bhogīs (those who enjoy the property of their guru) with sword in hand. Anyway, last year he mentioned that he would arrange five acres of land for me in Śrīdhama Māyāpura. You were present at that time. If you help me in this matter, I intend to make an asrāma in Māyāpura. American boys and girls can visit and stay there and receive proper training. By our cooperation, preaching activities can be done very nicely. Therefore, I am eager to know the details of your constitution.
I am going to Montreal tomorrow. From there I will go to Sante Fe (New Mexico) and then to Los Angeles. I am sending the addresses of our various centers along with this letter. We are executing a plan to build New Vṛndāvana on three hundred acres of land. Kindly reply to the Los Angeles – Hollywood address as I will be staying three days in Montreal, seven days in Santa Fe and almost one month in Los Angeles.
pritivite ache yata nagaradi grāma
sarvatra pracara haibe more nama
Preaching can be spread extensively throughout the world on the basis of this system. I think that you will make your constitution directly in accordance with the above prediction. I hope your bhajana is going on nicely.
Your obedient servant,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Swāmī
P.S. If you have any nice photograph of Śrīla Mahārāja, then kindly send it to me. I will get a life size oil painting made of it and along with a picture of Śrīla Prabupāda, I will place it in my prominent centers, particularly New York, Hollywood, London and so forth.