My dear Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my prostrated obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to Your Divine Grace, the embodiment of unlimited mercy.
Knowledgeable devotees agree that you were a saktyavesa-avatara, an empowered incarnation, and you have indicated as much yourself. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 2.13–14) states, “To deliver people in regions throughout the universe who could not meet Him, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally entered the bodies of pure devotees. Thus He empowered living beings [His pure devotees] by manifesting in them so much of His own devotion that people in all other countries became devotees by seeing them.”
And in your purport you explain, “As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 7.11):
krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana
Unless one is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one cannot spread the holy names of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra throughout the world. Persons who do so are empowered. Therefore they are sometimes called avesa-avataras, or empowered incarnations, for they are endowed with the power of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”
Your learned godbrother Sripada B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja also accepted that you were a saktyavesa-avatara, and he opined specifically by whose shakti you were empowered—Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s.
Lord Nityananda is renowned for delivering Jagai and Madhai. As described briefly in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 17.17), abe nistarila prabhu jagai-madhai: “Then the Lord delivered the two brothers Jagai and Madhai.” In your purport, you write, “Jagai and Madhai were two brothers born in Navadvipa in a respectable brahmana family who later became addicted to all kinds of sinful activities. By the order of Lord Caitanya, both Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura used to preach the cult of Krsna consciousness door to door. In the course of such preaching they found Jagai and Madhai, two maddened drunken brothers, who, upon seeing them, began to chase them. The next day, Madhai struck Nityananda Prabhu on the head with a piece of earthen pot, thus drawing blood. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard of this, He immediately came to the spot, ready to punish both brothers, but when the all-merciful Lord Gauranga saw Jagai’s repentant behavior, He immediately embraced him. By seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face and embracing Him, both the sinful brothers were at once cleansed. Thus they received initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra from the Lord and were delivered.”
But as you wrote about yourself in your purport to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 16.55:
“If one is true to Gaura-Nitai’s service in the disciplic succession, he can even exceed Nityananda Prabhu’s service. This is the process of disciplic succession. Nityananda Prabhu delivered Jagai and Madhai, but a servant of Nityananda Prabhu, by His grace, can deliver many thousands of Jagais and Madhais. That is the special benediction of the disciplic succession. One who is situated in the disciplic succession can be understood by the result of his activities.”
Srila Prabhupada, you took up the same mood of approaching anyone and everyone—pious or sinful, qualified or unqualified—without discrimination. As Nityananda Prabhu said, in Kali-yuga practically everyone will be like Jagai and Madhai. That may be more apparent in America and Europe than in India—though I did hear a talk in which you were discussing how demonic Western civilization is and how the leaders, and pretty much everyone, are demons, but then added, “Actually in my country also, 80 percent are demons.” But still, what you encountered in 1965 when you came to America was something that people now, especially people in India, can’t even imagine.
Krsna Candra Prabhu (Hrishikesh Mafatlal), from Mumbai, used to say that people cannot imagine who you approached when you came to America. He recommended that everyone see the early DVDs of you, first at 26 Second Avenue in New York, then at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Most of us can’t believe, can’t imagine, the type of people you were approaching. And they didn’t always receive you or treat you well.
I hope all your followers have read Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta; everyone should read it as well as see the DVD series Following Srila Prabhupada. There was one incident when you were living in New York, in a loft in the Bowery, which was the most degraded part of the city, its skid row, inhabited mostly by drunks. But even they had a little respect. They would be sprawled out on the sidewalk and on the stairs leading up to your apartment, but somehow they sensed that you were a saintly person and would try to move over and make room for you to pass.
You were staying with a young man who seemed interested. In fact, you thought, “I’ll train him as a Vaishnava.” But one day the young man went crazy, probably from taking LSD—the 1960s’ equivalent of the strong wine that Jagai and Madhai were drinking five hundred years ago. He went crazy and wanted to attack you. And he was ready to kill you, just as Madhai was ready to kill Nityananda Prabhu. You bolted out of the room and ran down the stairs like Lord Nityananda being chased by Jagai and Madhai.
It is quite a history—what you endured for the sake of delivering the mercy of Gaura-Nitai is inconceivable. On the boat to America you suffered two heart attacks, and even in America you had a lot of physical problems. But you endured everything—all these attacks of maya—for the sake of delivering Gaura-Nitai’s mercy to us. And what Nityananda Prabhu wanted in India you have fulfilled outside India. What Nityananda Prabhu wanted was fulfilled in Bengal, but through you it’s been fulfilled throughout the world. So you really are the embodiment of the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu. There’s no one else in the history of our sampradaya, no one after Nityananda Prabhu, who has taken up that mood of approaching anyone and everyone without discrimination, without considering who is qualified and who is not.
And you delivered the same message: chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna, follow Krishna’s instructions—but not in so many words, because the people you were approaching didn’t even know who Krishna was. When Nityananda approached people in Navadvipa and told them, “Chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna, follow Krishna’s instructions,” they knew who Krishna was and they knew what He was saying, but in America and Europe nobody knew who Krishna was. So “Just chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna” had to be explained in detail in books, and thus you wrote so many books to explain who is Krishna, what is Krishna’s name, what are Krishna’s instructions, how to chant Krishna’s name, how to worship Krishna, why we should surrender to Krishna and follow Krishna’s instructions—the same message that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked Nityananda Prabhu to deliver to everyone, but in an expanded form, because the people you were approaching had no idea of Krishna’s identity or instructions.
When we go out with your books, it is like when Mahaprabhu sent Nityananda and Haridasa to approach people with that message. Sometimes devotees are not well received, but even Nityananda and Haridasa were not always well received. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would have nocturnal kirtans in Srivasa Thakura’s house, and if anyone was proud they were not allowed to enter. Only humble, pure devotees were allowed. So all these proud people in Navadvipa were upset and angry that they weren’t allowed to join the kirtan, and when Nityananda and Haridasa came to their homes, they were angry with them—“Oh, you’ve come from that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srivasa Thakura”—and the people spread so many rumors about them: “They are thieves. They come to your door and say to chant Krishna’s name and worship Krishna, but really what they’re doing is looking in your house to see what you have so that they can come back at night and steal it.” The people spread a lot of false propaganda. So we have to accept that, expect it and accept it, without being deterred. It didn’t stop Nityananda Prabhu, and it didn’t stop you, and it shouldn’t stop any of us.
So, your movement is the continuation of Nityananda Prabhu’s mission, and you really had that mood. When one of your early disciples came to India and the Calcutta temple president phoned you in Bombay to tell you that the devotee was smoking ganja, marijuana, and asked what to do, you told your secretary, Tamal Krishna Goswami, to relay your response: “Tell him that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja I will reject him.” Afterwards, Tamal Krishna Goswami asked you, “Is it true that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja you will reject him?” And you said, “No—I cannot reject anyone.” Tamal Krishna Goswami asked, “But don’t you have to draw the line somewhere?” And you replied, “The mercy of Lord Nityananda has no limit.” So, that was your mood; you were in the mood of Nityananda Prabhu.
We are the recipients of Gaura-Nitai’s mercy through you. By your mercy, we are chanting Krishna’s name and worshipping Krishna, accepting Krishna as the goal of our lives. And it is also by your mercy and order that we preach the same message to others. We can speak to our capacity, and we can give people your books, which convey the same message of Mahaprabhu. We just elaborate on it and present it in a way that people without any background in Vedic knowledge can understand.
So, on this most sacred and blessed occasion, we can pray to you and Nityananda Prabhu to inspire and empower us with this mood of humble persuasion. When Nitai approached people, after giving them instruction He would say, “If you accept this instruction, I will consider you more dear to Me than My own life.” And if someone did not accept the sacred instruction, He would prostrate Himself at their feet and beg them to take it. He is Lord Balarama, the first of all of Krishna’s expansions; He is the origin of Maha-sankarsana, who is in turn the origin of Maha-vishnu, Karanodakasayi Vishnu, by whose breathing countless universes are generated from the pores of His body. And then a portion of that Maha-vishnu is Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, and He enters into every universe and gives birth to Brahma and engineers the creation of every universe. And Ksirodakasayi Vishnu is the Supersoul in everyone’s heart. Nityananda is that original Supreme Person, and He is rolling in the dust at people’s feet and begging them, “Just chant Hare Krishna.”
I saw that mood in you. You often tutored us in it, but I saw it personally. When we first went to Bombay, there was a program on the terrace of the house where we were staying—Seksaria Bhavan, on Marine Drive. It was very nice, very glamorous, near the sea, and our host, Kailash Seksaria, had invited all the elite, affluent aristocratic people he knew in Bombay. And you, with the same humility as Nityananda Prabhu, implored them, “I am taking the straw in my mouth and begging you, please chant Hare Krishna”—just like Nityananda Prabhu.
You often quoted a verse by Prabodhananda Sarasvati about how we should approach people the way Nityananda Prabhu approached people. The verse is, dante nidhaya trnakam padayor nipatya: “I take a straw in my mouth . . .” (it is a sign of utter humility) “and I bow at your feet.” Krtva ca kaku-satam etad aham bravimi. “And I flatter you a hundred times.” He sadhavah: “O great learned sadhu.” Sakalam eva vihaya durad: “Whatever you have learned, you keep it far away from you.” And gauranga-candra-carane kurutanuragam: “Just accept the mercy of Lord Gauranga, just surrender to Lord Gauranga, become attached to Lord Gauranga’s lotus feet.” And you did it yourself.
In that humble mood, Nityananda was begging for people to take the holy name—falling at their feet, rolling in the dust, and begging them. And that, in essence, is what you did with us. None of us would be here today if you hadn’t done what you did.
In Bombay, an Indian gentleman came to you, pleading, “Please save me; please save me. Only you can save me. Please save me.” And you replied, “I cannot save you; you have to save yourself. But I can give you the process by which you can save yourself.”
So, Srila Prabhupada, you have given us the process by which we can, with your mercy, save ourselves, and on this auspicious occasion we resolve to follow the process in greater earnestness.
In one brief statement you encapsulated our entire procedure: “To approach Radha and Krishna, you need the mercy of Lord Chaitanya. To get the mercy of Lord Chaitanya, you need the mercy of Lord Nityananda. And to get the mercy of Lord Nityananda, you have to approach people like Jagai and Madhai.” So, if we ever feel, “Oh, I’m too high, I’m too holy, I can’t approach these people,” we should think of that instruction and your own example and Nityananda Prabhu’s example and really pray, beg, to be humble instruments of your love and mercy and compassion. And as your guru maharaja told you, that will be good for us and good for the people who hear us.
In a talk in Bombay you said, “Our Krishna consciousness movement is trying to make fools and rascals and sinful men wise. And actually it is happening. Papi tapi yata chila, hariname uddharila, tara saksi jagai madhai. You want evidence? Look at Jagai and Madhai. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu delivered two sinful brothers named Jagai and Madhai. Now you can see how strong is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement. Many thousands of Jagais and Madhais are being delivered. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement is greater than Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally delivered Jagai and Madhai, but now, by His movement, thousands of Jagais and Madhais are being delivered. This is the practical evidence. If you take advantage of it, you will be glorified, and we shall be glorified. This is our process.”
Srila Prabhupada, despite your merciful association and instructions, I am still possessed of some qualities of Jagai and Madhai. So, on this auspicious occasion, please purify me and reform me.
sri-guru karuna-sindhu, adhama janara bandhu,
lokanath lokera jivana
ha ha prabhu koro doya, deho more pada-chaya
ebe yasa ghusuk tribhuvana
“O spiritual master, O ocean of mercy and friend of the fallen! O universal teacher and life of all people! Alas, alas, O master, please be merciful unto us and give us the shade of your lotus feet. May your glories now be proclaimed throughout the three worlds.”
Your aspiring, eternal, hopeful servant,