The words “Matchless Gifts” means something very special to the followers of this Hare Krsna movement. The founder and Acharya of this movement, His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, arrived in the United States from India. Alone, and at the late age of 69, and practically penniless; in September of 1965, on the order of His Spiritual Master, Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Swami, He came by freighter steamboat, to attempt to spread this Krsna Consciousness to the western countries. He also asked Him to print books. In July 1966, in a storefront in New York City, He began the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, ISKCON, practically single-handed; except for a small group of bohemians and hippies, whom He attracted, while walking the streets of New York City.This small storefront building, had been a curiosity shop before Srila Prabhupada rented it, and someone had painted “Matchless Gifts” over the storefront window. At that time, no one realized just how prophetic these words were; for it was there, that this worldwide movement was started, at the storefront called “Matchless Gifts”. -Krsnadas
The Story of MATCHLESS GIFTS
By Hayagriva das
I walked around the corner with him, and he pointed out a small storefront building between First and Second Streets, next door to a Mobil filling station. It had been a curiosity shop, and someone had painted Matchless Gifts over the window. At the time I didn’t realize how prophetic the words were.
When I first met my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I felt that there was never a time when I did not know him. I never tire of telling of my first meeting with him on the streets of Lower East Side New York. At the time, I was hurrying from my Mott Street apartment, which had become a refuge for psychedeliacs, to a much quieter apartment on Fifth Street where I hoped to get some peace.
I was walking down Houston Street and across Bowery, past the rushing traffic and stumbling derelicts, and after crossing Bowery, just before Second Avenue, I saw His Divine Grace jauntily strolling down the sidewalk, his head high in the air, his hand in a beadbag. He struck me like a famous actor in a very familiar movie. He seemed ageless, though later I found out that he was seventy years old. He was wearing the traditional saffron-colored robes of a sannyasi; the renounced order, and quaint white shoes with points. Coming down Houston Street, he looked like the genie that popped out of Aladdin’s lamp. I was fresh from a trip to India, and His Divine Grace reminded me of the many holy men I had recently seen walking the dirt roads of Hardwar and Hrishikesh and bathing in the Ganges. I had gone to India to look for a guru but had returned disappointed. It was on this bright July morning, when I was least expecting it, that Sri Krsna, out of His infinite mercy, sent guru to me.