To commemorate the anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in America, we shall sing and discuss the second poem that he wrote on the ship Jaladuta when he arrived in the Boston harbor on September 17, 1965.
1: My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me.
2: But I guess You have some business here. Otherwise, why would You bring me to such a terrible place?
3: Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vasudeva. I do not know how they will be able to understand it.
4: But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible, because You are the most expert mystic.
5: How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message.
6: All living entities have come under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion. I wish that You may deliver them.
7: I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore, if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message.
8: The words of Srimad-Bhagavatam are Your incarnation, and if a sober person repeatedly receives them with submissive aural reception, then he will be able to understand Your message.
9: It is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17-21): ‘Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses the desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. By regularly hearing the Bhagavatam and rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. At the time loving service is established in the heart, the modes of passion [rajas] and ignorance [tamas], and lust and desire [kama] disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness and he becomes happy. Thus established in the mode of goodness, the man rejuvenated by loving service to the Lord gains liberation from material association [mukti] and comes to know scientifically of the Personality of Godhead. Thus the knot in the heart and all misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions [karma] is terminated when one sees the self as master.”
10: He will become liberated from the influence of the modes of ignorance and passion and thus all inauspicious things accumulated in the core of the heart will disappear.
11: How will I make them understand the message of Krishna consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and the most fallen. Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own.
12: Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure as You like.
13: O spiritual master of all the worlds! I can simply repeat Your message, so if You like You can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding.
14: Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts they will certainly feel engladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life.
15: O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance. O Lord, make me dance as You like.
16: I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Krishna. I have been designated as Bhaktivedanta, and now if You like You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedanta.
Signed—the most unfortunate, insignificant beggar,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami,
on board the ship Jaladuta, Commonwealth Pier,
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
dated 18th of September, 1965
Sri Prahlada dasa:
I shall read from the introduction to the section in The Science of Self-Realization entitled “Srila Prabhupada Arrives in America”:
“On September 17, 1965, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada arrived in Boston on board the ship Jaladuta, carrying within his heart the orders of his spiritual master to spread the teachings of Sri Chaitanya beyond the borders of India throughout the entire world. As he looked upon Boston’s bleak and dirty skyline, he could understand the difficulty of this sacred mission and felt great compassion for those godless people. Thus, with perfect humility, he composed this historic prayer in Bengali, praying for the deliverance of the fallen souls.”
Verse 1: “My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me.”
Here, Srila Prabhupada is expressing strong sentiments. First, Krishna is always kind to His devotee. Srila Prabhupada, in his humility, is calling himself a useless soul and asking Krishna, “You are so kind, but if You are so kind, why have You brought me to this place? Obviously, You have some plan.”
It is interesting how Srila Prabhupada sees his coming to America as Krishna bringing him, although he himself made so much endeavor to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master and come to the West, such as cultivating Sumati Morarji to get her to sponsor his journey. He had to convince her; it wasn’t easy. She was reluctant because of Srila Prabhupada’s age and the fact that he didn’t have any friends or relatives in America. So, he had to convince her, but still he is saying to Krishna, “I don’t know why You brought me here.” He is seeing that it was actually Krishna who made the arrangements and who brought him to the United States.
That is how the devotee sees any experience he has in life: he sees it as Krishna’s mercy. It is said that when Gaurakisora dasa Babaji would go about Navadvipa, if he saw a boy who was dark, he would think of him as Krishna, and if he saw a boy who was fair, he would think of him as Gaura. And if one of the boys would touch him, he would say, “Look, Yasoda Mayi, your Gopala has punched me!” or “Look, Saci Mata, your Gaura is making a face at me!” So, he was seeing Krishna everywhere. We might see rascal boys misbehaving and become angry at them and want to correct them, but Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja’s vision was completely transcendental.
The principle here is to see everything as Krishna’s arrangement. And we also have to try to develop that vision, to see Krishna’s plan in everything, to see Krishna’s arrangement in everything—that we have surrendered to Him and so He is taking care of us. Sometimes we may experience setbacks or disappointments, but actually Krishna has some reason for giving them to us. We should try to understand that, and if we do, we’ll never be disappointed in life. We’ll be always happy in Krishna’s mercy, even in adversity.
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