I hope by this time you have received my acknowledgement dated yesterday for your letter dated 26 January, 1970. As you want to publish a comprehensive article about my activities in the "Kalyana," I think it is proper to give you a short history of my coming to the western world.
Sometime in the year 1922, when I was acting as manager of Dr. Bose's Laboratory Ltd., I was fortunate enough to meet my Spiritual Master, His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya 108 Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada. On the very first meeting with His Divine Grace, He asked me to preach the message of Lord Caitanya in the Western world.
At that time, I was a young man and a nationalist, admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and C.R. Dass. So I replied Him at that time, who would care for the message of Lord Caitanya while we are a subject nation? In this way, I had some argument with my Spiritual Master, and at the end I was defeated. But at that time, because I was already married, I could not take His words very seriously.
In this way, I passed on as a householder, but, by the causeless mercy of my Divine Master, that order of preaching was impressed on my heart. I was initiated regularly in 1933 at Allahabad, when Sir Malcolm Haley, the then Governor of U.P., opened our Gaudiya Math branch there. Then, in 1936, my Spiritual Master left this world leaving a message for me that it would be better for me to preach in English language.
So I was thinking very seriously, and then, as late as 1944 I started my paper, "Back to Godhead." Gradually, in 1954, I retired from my family life and began to live alone in Mathura Vrindaban. In 1959, I was awarded Sannyas by one of my Godbrothers, His Holiness B.P. Kesava Maharaja.
Then I began translating Srimad-Bhagavatam in 1960; and, perhaps in 1961, I was your guest in the Gita Bagicha. You were very kind to help me partially for publishing my first volume of Srimad-Bhagavatam through the Dalmia Charitable Trust. With great difficulty, I then published the second and third volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam until 1965, when I prepared myself to come to this country with some books.
With great difficulty, I was able to get the "P" Form passed by the Controller of Foreign Exchange, and, someway or other, I reached Boston on 17th September, 1965. I was thinking, while on board the ship "Jaladuta," why Krishna had brought me to this country. I knew that Western people are too much addicted to so many forbidden things according to our Vedic conception of life. So out of sentiment I wrote a long poetry addressing Lord Krishna as to what was His purpose in bringing me to this country.
At that time, I was sponsored by a friend's son, Gopala Agarwal, who is settled up in this country by marrying an American girl, Sally. I was their guest, and I feel very much obliged to Gopala and his wife Sally for their nice treatment and reception. I was with them for three weeks in Butler, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then I came to New York. I was getting some money by selling my Srimad-Bhagavatam, thus I was maintaining myself in New York. After some time, I rented one apartment at number 100 71st Street West, but after a few months, all my things—typewriter, tape recorder, books—were stolen. Then for some time one of my students gave me shelter at Bowery Street.
I then rented one store-front and an apartment at 26 Second Avenue for $200 per month, but without any source of income. I started my classes and sometimes, on Sundays, I used to chant Hare Krishna Mantra in Tomkins Square Park from three to 5 P.M. During this time, all the young boys and girls used to gather around me, sometimes poet Ginsberg would come to see me, and sometimes a reporter from the New York Times came to see me. In this way, the Hare Krishna Mantra chanting became very popular on the Lower East Side.