I offer my earnest obeisances at the lotus feet of His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata-Sri-Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is most dear to Lord Krishna in this world, having achieved full shelter at His lotus feet.
Once, in the mid-seventies, we sat with Srila Prabhupada in his garden in Los Angeles on a lovely summer evening. At one point he looked at us sitting at his feet and boldly said, “What is the use of your being Americans unless you do something wonderful to spread this movement?”
Those words entered my heart and have continued to boldly challenge and inspire me to this day. In Srila Prabhupada’s first pranama mantra, we glorify him by saying Srimate, literally “unto Srila Prabhupada, who possesses Sri—opulence, beauty, good fortune.” In his second pranama mantra, we glorify him with the words gaura-vani-pracarine, “unto Srila Prabhupada, who is preaching the message of Gaura, Lord Caitanya.” The word pracarine, which we translate as “preaching,” literally means “unto one who is causing [the message of Gaura] to go forth.” We also glorify Srila Prabhupada as pascatya-desa-tarine, “unto the savior of the Western countries.” The word tarine, which we translate as “unto the savior,” literally means “unto Srila Prabhupada, who is taking [the Western countries] across,” that is, across the material ocean to the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna.
We do not chant these words as a mere formality, simply because Srila Prabhupada is our spiritual master. Rather, he powerfully demonstrated by his practical deeds a unique and inconceivably marvelous ability to cause the message of Lord Caitanya to go forth into the world and to bring the Western countries across the material ocean to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.
Today at sunset, as I returned home from my evening walk after chanting the Gayatri mantra, which he gave to me, I reflected upon the relationship of his bold command to us in his garden and these words of his pranama mantras. It became more profoundly clear to me that we can fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s desire that we do something wonderful only by surrendering ever more sincerely and completely to his lotus feet. For it is Srila Prabhupada who possesses Sri, full success in the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, it is Srila Prabhupada who most perfectly sends forth Gauranga’s message, and it is Srila Prabhupada who will bring these Western countries, and the rest of the planet with them, across the material ocean to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.
I might also state here that just as Srila Prabhupada expected his American disciples to do something wonderful, it is safe to say that each loyal follower of Srila Prabhupada should hear Srila Prabhupada saying to him or her: “What is the use of your taking birth in, or preaching in, Africa, or Europe, or South America, or Australasia, or India, or East Asia, or Southeast Asia, or Canada, or any other place, unless you do something wonderful in that place for the glory of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu?” And then we should all remember that our ability to do something wonderful depends directly and completely on our ability to surrender ourselves at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. And so glorious and merciful is Srila Prabhupada, that even when our efforts to surrender are inadequate, as they almost always are, he will bestow his causeless mercy and aid, enhance and complete our surrender so that we may share in the bliss and the glory of his pure love and pure service for Lord Caitanya.
Falling at the feet of Srila Prabhupada in a sincere attempt to find shelter there,
Hridayananda das Goswami