Srila Prabhupada was instructed by his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, to preach Krsna consciousness to the English−speaking peoples. Toward this end, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami published the first Back to Godhead magazine in 1944. He also began to write translations and commentaries on Bhagavad−gita, Srimad−Bhagavatam, Caitanya−caritamrta, and other Vedic literatures. In 1965, after publishing three volumes of Srimad−Bhagavatam, he approached the owner of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, Sumati Morarji, for a complimentary passage to the United States. After considering his request for some time, she finally agreed and issued him the ticket.
In the port of Calcutta on August 13, 1965, carrying only a small suitcase, an umbrella, and a bag of dry cereal, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, as he was known at the time, climbed up the steep gangway onto a cargo ship named the Jaladuta. The ensuing journey presented considerable hardship. Srila Prabhupada wrote of some sea−sickness, and on the thirteenth day of the voyage, during the passage through the Arabian Sea, he suffered a massive heart attack. He was concerned that he might pass away, but in his uneasy sleep that night he had a dream, a vision. Lord Krsna appeared.
The Lord was in an open boat, along with His other incarnations. Krsna was rowing the boat, and the boat was pulling Srila Prabhupada's ship with a rope. Krsna was smiling at Srila Prabhupada and was pulling the ship all the way to America! Srila Prabhupada did not write about this occurrence in his diary but simply drew a line through those troubled days, declaring that he had passed over a great crisis in the struggle between life and death. Years later he related these events to his followers.
After the crisis, Srila Prabhupada regained his strength and recommenced his entries in the diary after the ship docked in Port Said, Egypt. Then, after crossing the Mediterranean Sea, the Jaladuta passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic Ocean. Uncharacteristically, the ocean appeared like a placid lake. The Atlantic crossing was so effortless that the ship's captain remarked that he had never seen anything like it.
After a total of thirty−five days the ship at last berthed in Boston, at Commonwealth Pier, on September 17 at 5:30 a.m. The next day the Jaladuta continued to New York, where Srila Prabhupada disembarked onto a lonely Brooklyn pier to begin his mission in the West.
Prayer to the Lotus Feet of Krsna
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
on board the ship Jaladuta, September 13, 1965
krsna taba punya habe bhai
e−punya koribe jabe radharani khusi habe
dhruva ati boli toma tai
I emphatically say to you, O brothers, you will obtain your good fortune
from the Supreme Lord Krsna only when Srimati Radharani becomes pleased with you.
sri−siddhanta saraswati saci−suta priya ati
krsna−sebaya jara tula nai
sei se mohanta−guru jagater madhe uru
krsna−bhakti dey thai thai
Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who is very dear to Lord
Gauranga, the son of mother Saci, is unparalleled in his service to the Supreme Lord Sri
Krsna. He is that great saintly spiritual master who bestows intense devotion to Krsna at
different places throughout the world.
tara iccha balavan pascatyete than than
hoy jate gauranger nam
prthivite nagaradi asamudra nada nadi
sakalei loy krsna nam
By his strong desire, the holy name of Lord Gauranga will spread throughout
all the countries of the Western world. In all the cities, towns, and villages on the earth,
from all the oceans, seas, rivers, and streams, everyone will chant the holy name of
tahale ananda hoy tabe hoy digvijay
caitanyer krpa atisay
maya dusta jata duhkhi jagate sabai sukhi
vaisnaver iccha purna hoy
As the vast mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu conquers all directions, a
flood of transcendental ecstasy will certainly cover the land. When all the sinful,
miserable living entities become happy, the Vaisnavas' desire is then fulfilled.
se karja je koribare ajna jadi dilo more
jogya nahi an dina hina
tai se tomara krpa magitechi anurupa
aji numi sabar pravina
Although my Guru Maharaja ordered me to accomplish this mission, I am
not worthy or fit to do it. I am very fallen and insignificant. Therefore, O Lord, now I am
begging for Your mercy so that I may become worthy, for You are the wisest and most
experienced of all.
tomara se sakti pele guru−sebaya bastu mile
jibana sarthak jadi hoy
sei se seva paile tahale sukhi hale
taba sanga bhagyate miloy
If You bestow Your power, by serving the spiritual master one attains the
Absolute Truth−one's life becomes successful. If that service is obtained, then one
becomes happy and gets Your association due to good fortune.
evam janam nipatitam prabhavahikupe
kamabhikamam anu yah prapatan prasangat
krtvatmasat surarsina bhagavan grhitah
so 'ham katham nu visrje tava bhrtya−sevam
My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of my
association with material desires, one after another, I was gradually falling into a blind
well full of snakes, following the general populace. But Your servant Narada Muni kindly
accepted me as his disciple and instructed me how to achieve this transcendental position.
Therefore, my first duty is to serve him. How could I leave his service? (Prahlada
Maharaja to Lord Nrsimhadeva, Bhag. 7.9.28)
tumi mor cira sathi bhuliya mayar lathi
aji punah e sujoga jadi hoy jogayoga
tabe pari tuhe milibare
O Lord Krsna, You are my eternal companion. Forgetting You, I have
suffered the kicks of maya birth after birth. If today the chance to meet You occurs again,
then I will surely be able to rejoin You.
tomara milane bhai abar se sukha pai
gocarane ghuri din bhor
kata bane chutachuti bane khai lutaputi
sei din kabe habe mor
O dear friend, in Your company I will experience great joy once again. In the
early morning I will wander about the cowherd pastures and fields. Running and
frolicking in the many forests of Vraja, I will roll on the ground in spiritual ecstasy. Oh
when will that day be mine?
aji se subidhane tomara smarana bhela
baro asa dakilam tai
ami tomara nitya−dasa tai kori eta asa
tumi bina anya gati nai
Today that remembrance of You came to me in a very nice way. Because I
have a great longing I called to You. I am Your eternal servant and therefore I desire
Your association so much. O Lord Krsna, except for You there is no other means of success.