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The sdstra declares that one should associate with a saintly personality, even if just for a moment, a lava-matra. (A lava is one eleventh of a second.) This association can change one's entire life. Shrila Prabhupada used his own life as evidence of this statement. Shrila Prabhupada was not interested in hearing from some ordinary sddhu when he first went to see Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta SarasvatI, because Shrila Prabhupada had experienced the different sddhus who came to his father's house. They were engaged in illicit activities like smoking ganjd or eating meat, and he was not enthusiastic to meet another one. But his friend practically brought him by force.
At first Shrila Prabhupada started to argue with Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta a little, saying, "How can India take interest in spiritual practices if it is a nation subordinate to the British? First we must gain our freedom, and then we can have Krsna consciousness." But Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta did not accept this argument. He said that winning independence from the British was a material affair; it had nothing to do with Krsna consciousness. Rather, one should depend on Krsna and serve Krsna, and then all material problems of life will cease, including the problem of dependency on a foreign power. Shrila Prabhupada realized that this sddhu was right and that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mission was safely in the hands of an expert. Although it was not a long meeting, Shrila Prabhupada was completely convinced and took the mission to heart.
If You Ever get Money
When Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta SarasvatI Thakura organized a large parikrama of the Vrndavana area, Shrila Prabhupada met him at Radha-kunda. While they were walking and talking together, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta stated to Shrila Prabhupada confidentially, "I regret that I have built this temple in Bagh Bazaar, because there will be fire within these walls. Already in my presence they are fighting over who will get which room in the temple, and after my departure everything will be ruined. I would rather take down the marble from the walls and floors, sell it, and print books. If you ever get any money, print books."
Distributing books in India at that time was difficult. If a disciple went over to Navadvlpa and distributed even one magazine, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta would heap praise upon him. It became obvious to Shrila Prabhupada that books were more important to his spiritual master than temples, and he became fixed on what was important, although he was living outside the Gaudlya Matha. From the outside he could observe what his spiritual master was constantly stressing. The others living inside were thinking about the politics and sense gratification concerning their residence and surroundings. There were many problems. That is why Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta called it "fire within the walls." But Shrila Prabhupada, watching his spiritual master act, could see that printing books was the real point. Later, when Shrila Prabhupada was expanding his Krsna consciousness movement, again and again he always repeated, "Print books! Print books! Print books!" because that is what he had learned from his spiritual master. That is called parampard—learn the most important activity from your spiritual master and make it your life's mission.
Taking Up the Mission
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati made the mission of his father, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his mission and spread that mission throughout India. Then Shrila Prabhupada took up that mission and spread it all over the world. The mission was tenderly passed down from one dcdrya to the next. Others may claim that they too were responsible for wonderful things in Krsna consciousness, but we don't see it. We see how one pure devotee can create another, how one nitya-siddha awakens another, and how the mission is given from guru to disciple. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta told Shrila Prabhupada on their first meeting, "You are intelligent. Preach this mission in the English language for the benefit of the world." Shrila Prabhupada had not even been to the temple yet, but the instruction that eventually led to Shrila Prabhupada's coming to the Western world was already given. He just walked in, bowed down, listened a little while, made some argument, and got the mission of his life. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta cut out the formalities and got to the point, because he knew he was talking to a nitya-siddha.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta was pleased with Shrila Prabhupada. When Shrila Prabhupada did the preaching that established the Bombay temple in 1935, the devotees said, "He is expert. He should be the temple president." But Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta replied, "Do not push him for this now. In the future he will do everything." Nobody understood the meaning of this statement. Some thought Shrila Prabhupada was too attached and could not do it, but they did not know that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta knew Krsna's plan. He used the word "everything." What did that mean? It meant exactly that Shrila Prabhupada would do everything needed to bring Krsna consciousness to all the conditioned souls all over the world. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was so powerful that after his disappearance, nobody was there to replace him. So many problems arose, because his disciples were not working together for the preaching mission. Shrila Prabhupada once wrote in one of his Vyasa-puja offerings, "The world looks empty in the absence of you." The world looked vacant, for his spiritual master was the only one who could tie together the disjointed forces. Shrila Prabhupada tried to bring these forces together, but he could not, so in due course of time he took up that mission by writing and publishing books. Shrila Prabhupada was producing books twenty years before he came to America. In the 1940's he started "Back to Godhead," an English magazine that presented the philosophy in an understandable way. He started to translate the Chaitanya-caritdmrta, which he printed serially in his magazine. He wrote more than one thousand pages of commentary on the Bhagavad-gitd, which were unfortunately lost somehow. His grand opus was Srlmad-Bhdgavatam. When he finished the first three volumes of the First Canto, in which he included everything necessary to make one Krsna conscious, the time was ripe to fulfill the mission of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and go to the Western countries.
Shrila Prabhupada was having dreams in which his spiritual master would come to him and say, "Come with me! Take sannydsal" Shrila Prabhupada would wake up from the dream and think, "Take sannydsal Oh, how terrible!" But after a while he realized that this might be the only means to preach. One of his Godbrothers, Shrila Kesava Maharaja, told Shrila Prabhupada that unless one becomes a sannydsl, it is not possible to preach everywhere. Therefore Shrila Prabhupada entered the renounced order of life, started producing the Bhagavatam, and prepared to go West.
Law Books For the Next Ten Thousand Years
Regardless of where you are in the line of followers of Shrila Prabhupada, it is your responsibility to print and distribute his books in mass quantities throughout the world. This was his desire, the desire of his spiritual master, and the desire of all the dcdryas, and therefore it is also our desire. Shrila Prabhu-pada's books are not just for one generation. He said that he was writing these books as the law books for the next ten thousand years. That doesn't mean you put them on the shelf in some lawyer's office; it means you give them to everybody. Shrila Prabhupada wrote these books to be read by all people, in all places, and at all times. They are eternally relevant because they contain all the instructions necessary for spiritual life from the mahdtmds, and thus they will be the basis of the future Krsna conscious civilization. Mahat-sevarh dvdram ahur vimukteh—if you associate with a mahdtmd and read these books, the door to liberation is thrown open to you.