Dec 062019
 

Tomorrow is the eightieth birthday of Sripada Satsvarupa dasa Goswami Maharaja. He was my first temple president, and he has been my inspiration in writing, especially about Srila Prabhupada, which has been my main service. 

My dear Satsvarupa das Goswami Maharaja,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

As you know, you are my mentor, exemplar, and inspiration for writing about Srila Prabhupada, which has been my main focus for the last several years, and so I have been thinking of you. I recently finished the first draft of my book about Srila Prabhupada and Juhu, and while working on the book I would refer to Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta and marvel at how beautifully it was written.

Now I am contemplating writing about Boston, where we first met and where you nurtured me in Krishna consciousness and encouraged me to write. And I will be referring to your writings about that period as well.

In my initiation letter, dated July 5, 1969, Srila Prabhupada mentioned you: “With my blessings, I am sending herewith your beads, duly chanted upon by me. You should avoid the ten offenses as far as possible, and follow the four regulative principles, as Satsvarupa will instruct you. I know your good godbrother Satsvarupa will always help you in this connection.” And even now, your emphasis on your personal japa is guiding and inspiring me.

So I feel very grateful to you, for you have nurtured me in Krishna consciousness from my very first days, as a student at Brandeis University, until today. And I know that you will continue to do so.

How you protected me is exemplified in a small exchange. Once, at breakfast, Saradia was sitting at the end of the sheet on which we had our plates, kitty-corner to me, and you were next to me. Saradia, glancing at me, said, “Satsvarupa, since when do we let hippies stay with us?” You winced and replied incredulously yet firmly, “Glenn isn’t a hippie, Saradia. He’s a devotee.”

Later, at North Beacon Street, feeling especially wretched and lowly, I said, “I feel so fallen, I don’t think Rupa Goswami would want me in the spiritual world,” and you replied, “No, he thinks that you’re nice and that you should be with there with them.”

Unfortunately, my health has not allowed me to visit you again, but I often recall my visit to Stuyvesant Falls and the association and instructions I got from you there.

If there is anything I can do for you, it would be my great honor and pleasure, so please ask without hesitation or reservation.

I love you, Maharaja.

Hare Krishna.

Your eternal, indebted, aspiring servant and younger godbrother,
Giriraj Swami

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