The Hare Krishna’s Go West

What Happened to the Hare Krishna’s
By Sriman Madhudvisa Prabhu

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu desired this chanting of Hare Krishna and dancing in ecstasy be spread all over the world, in fact he predicted that one day the whole world will dance in ecstasy to this chanting of Hare Krishna. Until His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada left India for the United States in 1965 no one in India could imagine how the prediction of Lord Caitanya could come true.

The following is a continuation of the fine booklet compiled by Sriman Madhudhvisa Prabhu which he has kindly allowed us to publish from this site.

The Hare Krishna’s Go West

At the age of sixty nine, Srila Prabhupada travelled to the United States with nothing but a few dollars and a stock of Srimad Bhagavatam volumes he had translated and printed in India, along with his most valuable asset, unflinching faith in Krishna and the order of his spiritual master.

In the United States Srila Prabhupada established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness(ISKCON) in accordance with instructions of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, his spiritual master. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta instructed Srila Prabhupada to present the philosophy of Krishna consciousness in English and to preach in the Western countries.

Although Srila Bhaktsiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, my beloved eternal spiritual master, guide and friend, according to material vision passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be present with me by his vani, his words. there are two ways of association – by vani and 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-gita, for example, is the vani of Lord Krishna. Although Krishna was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, Bhagavad-gita continues. (CC Ant p319)

Srila Prabhupada, after studying the Americans and their way of life, moved to the Bowery, and later to the Lower East Side in New York. At this time the ‘Hippy’ movement was emerging and many dissatisfied young people had started moving to the area. These young Americans were unimpressed with the materialistic lifestyles of their parents, they were concerned about America’s involvement in the Vietnam war and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. They were looking for an answer. They wanted peace, love and happiness and with this vague notion they converged on the Lower East Side of New York in search of utopia. For many of these ‘flower children’ Srila Prabhupada provided just what they were looking for. A spiritual lifestyle, peace, happiness and a real purpose in life. Srila Prabhupada’s method was simple. He sat underneath a tree in the park and chanted the Hare Krishna mantra, spoke on Bhagavad-gita As It Is and distributed prasadam (food spiritualized by offering to Krishna). He saw no distinction between people, young or old, black or white, man or woman; to Prabhupada they were all spirit souls who were lost in the bewildering network of this material world. His only desire was to help these lost souls find their way back to Krishna, their eternal father. He knew that they were suffering because of forgetfulness of their eternal relationship with Krishna, and as a humble servant of Krishna he was just trying to give them the right direction so they could reestablish that lost relationship with Krishna. This simple program gradually attracted many sincere young boys and girls to Krishna consciousness.

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