The TOVP Celebrates the Prabhupada Paschatya Desha Tarine Centennial, 1922-2022: Receiving the Order to Preach
Many devotees may not be aware that this year commemorates the 100th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada receiving the order to preach in the West from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati (see the story below). This highly important and significant event and its eventual fulfillment should be the subject of our deepest contemplations. The words paschatya desha tarine are found in Prabhupada’s pranam mantra and literally mean he has come to deliver the Western countries:
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracharine
Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.
Where would we be right now and what would the world be like had Srila Prabhupada not come to preach Krishna consciousness? At the advanced age of seventy when most Vaishnavas retire to perform their bhajan, he left the divine abode of Sri Vrindavan, traveled across the ocean suffering two heart attacks, struggled to establish his movement, and sacrificed his health to travel across the earth a dozen times to preach the message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We cannot estimate or repay our indebtedness to him for saving us from the perpetual cycle of birth and death and bringing us to the lotus feet of the Lord.
To celebrate this centennial year, the TOVP has created the Paschatya Desha Tarine Campaign. Srila Prabhupada brought to the entire world, not just the West, the three most important angas of bhakti: Harinam, Bhagavatam, and Archa Murti. We have custom-designed three unique and exceptionally beautiful 3.5″ sized medallions, one for each of the three angas, that can be sponsored to show our love and express our gratitude to our Founder-Acharya, and also help fulfill his desire to build the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. These medallions are modeled after the 2021 Olympic medallions, including the ribbon, to represent the TOVP Now Marathon to open the TOVP by 2024.
To sponsor a medallion go to the Paschatya Desha Tarine page on the TOVP website and help win the race to open the TOVP by 2024.
This celebration is also part of the Radha Madhava Golden Jubilee Festival from March 2 – 5 commemorating four other anniversaries coinciding this year:
50th Anniversary of Chota Radha Madhava’s Installation
50th Anniversary of the ISKCON Mayapur Gaur Purnima Festival
50th Anniversary of Prabhupada Laying the TOVP Cornerstone
50th Anniversary of Jananivas Prabhu as Mayapur Head Pujari
Find out more about this festival at WWW.TOVP.ORG.
Receiving the Order to Preach
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Disappearance Day Lecture, December 13, 1973 – Los Angeles
Prabhupada: So, when I met Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura… It is a long story, how I met him. One of my friends, he dragged me. [laughing] [laughter] I was at that time Nationalist, and manager in a big chemical factory. My age was about twenty-four years. So, one of my friends, he asked me that “There is a nice sadhu, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura. He has come in Calcutta. So, let us go and see.” So, I was reluctant. I thought just like so, “There are so many sadhus. So, I am not very much…” Because I had very bad experience; not very good. So, I said, “Oh, these kind of sadhus, there are many.” You’ll be glad to know that even my in young age or early age—it was Kṛishṇa’s grace—even amongst my young friends, I was considered the leader. [laughing] [laughter] In my school days, in my college days, in my private friendship, some way or other I became their leader. And one astrologer, sometimes he read my hands. He said in Hindi, kukum chale na[?]. Kukum chale na means “Your hand speaks that your order will be executed.”
Prabhupada: So anyway, it was Kṛishṇa’s grace. I would not go, but their point of view was that unless I certified that sadhu, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura, he’ll not be accepted. Therefore, he dragged me. So, I went to see Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura on that day. On the first meeting, just we offer our obeisances. It is the practice. So immediately he began his talking that, “You are all educated young men. Why don’t you take up Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult and preach all over the English-knowing public? Why don’t you take up this matter?” So, I argued with him in so many… At that time I was Nationalist. So, I told that, “Who will accept our message? We are dependent nation. Nobody will care.” In this way, in my own way, in these younger days… But we belonged to the Vaisnava family, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda, Radha-Govinda. That is our worshipable duty…, er, worshipable Deity. So, I was very glad that Radha-Kṛishṇa cult, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s…, this sadhu is trying to preach. It is very nice.
So, at that time we had some talks, and of course I was defeated by his argument, my argument. [laughter] And then, when we came out, we were offered prasadam, very nice treatment, the Gaudiya Maṭha. And when I came out on the street, this my friend asked me, “What is your opinion of this sadhu?” Then I said that, “Here is the right person who has taken up Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s message, and now it will be distributed.”
Prabhupada: So, I was at that time a fool, but I opined like this. And I accepted him as my spiritual master immediately. Not officially, but in my heart. That was in 1922. Then, in 1923, I left Calcutta on my business tour, and I made my headquarter at Allahabad. Allahabad is about five hundred miles from Calcutta. So, I was thinking that “I met a very nice saintly person.” That was my thinking always. So, in this way, in 1928, there was a Kumbha-mela.
At that time, these Gaudiya Maṭha people came to Allahabad to establish a center there, and somebody else said, somebody informed them that “You go to that Prayag Pharmacy.” My drug shop was named as Prayag Pharmacy. My name was also there. “You go and see Abhay Babu. He is religiously… He will help you.” These Gaudiya Maṭha people, they came to see me. So, “Sir, we have come to you. We have heard your good name. So, we want to start a temple here. Please try to help us.” So, because I was thinking of these Gaudiya Maṭha people, that “I met a very nice, saintly person,” then as soon as I saw them, I was very much engladdened, “Oh, here are these persons. They have come again.”
So, in this way, gradually, I became attached to these Gaudiya Maṭha activities, and by the grace of Kṛishṇa, my business also was not going very well. [laughter] [laughs] Yes. Kṛishṇa says, yasyaham anughṛṇami harisye tad-dhanam sanaiḥ [SB 10.88.8], means if somebody wants to be actually devotee of Kṛishṇa, at the same time keeps his material attachment, then Kṛishṇa’s business is He takes away everything material, so that cent percent he becomes, I mean to say, dependent on Kṛishṇa. So that actually happened to my life. I was obliged to come to this movement to take up this very seriously. And I was dreaming that “Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura is calling me, ‘Please come out with me!’ ” [break] So, I was sometimes horrified, “Oh, what is this? I have to give up my family life? Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura is calling me? I have to take sannyasa?” Oh, I was horrified. But I saw several times, calling me.
So anyway, it is by his grace I was forced to give up my family life and so-called business life. And he brought me some way or other in preaching his gospel.
So, this is a memorable day. What he desired, I am trying little bit, and you are all helping me. So, I have to thank you more. You are actually representative of my Guru Maharaja [weeping] …because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja. Thank you very much.
May 15, 2022
Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium