Conclusion of the Jaladuta Diary

September 19, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

The transcendental journey of Srila Prabhupada on the Jaladuta.

Sunday, September 19

“Today is the 38th day of our journey and we reached New York Port at 12/30 p.m. about three hours later than the scheduled time.”

Today marks the conclusion of the Jaladuta Diary series, as Srila Prabhupada describes the 38th and final day of his epic transcendental journey aboard the steamship Jaladuta.

Srila Prabhupada’s ‘Jaladuta Diary’ contains a few entries following this date, wherein he made note of various organizational activities and contacts, but September 13th concluded his westward travels.

In an address he made at Gorakhpur in February, 1971, Srila Prabhupada talked about how the printing of his 3-volume Srimad Bhagwatams were a focus point, both at the beginning and the end of his journey:

    “So after publishing three parts [of Bhagavatam], then automatically, Guru Maharaja gave me indication that, “Now you can start for America.” So some way or other, in 1965 I went to America, with great difficulty.

    But I took about two hundred sets of books. The customs clearance was done. I told them that “Oh, I am taking these books for distribution. Not for sale.” Anyway, they passed, and with these books I reached America.”


During a Room Conversation in Vrindavana on September 9, 1976, Srila Prabhupada pleased the devotees by re-telling the story of his experiences immediately upon arriving in America:

Prabhupada: …because as soon as the ship stopped, Commonwealth Pier, Boston, the immigration department came and took their papers. So I entered America in Boston. There was no checking in New York. The ship stopped in Boston. The official entrance was done there. Then when I came to New York, it is just like one day’s travel.

Guest1: And then you went directly to Pennsylvania? By bus?

Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. Then one agent, appointed by my host, Gopal Agarwal…He was in Butler. So he arranged with some professional, what is called, host.

Guest1: Travel agent?

Prabhupada: Maybe travel agent. He came to see me, that “I am sent by Gopal Agarwal, so I’ll arrange for your dispatch. You come with me.”

Guest2: Dr. Agarwal was your sponsor?

Prabhupada: Yes. His father came to see me some time in Agra. Agra. His father, mother came.

Guest2: And then they suggested that he be your sponsor.

Prabhupada: It was all by chance. I was for a few days guest at his father’s place in Agra. I did not know that his son is in America. So he was talking about his family. He was little sorry that his eldest son went to America to study electric engineering, and he was entrapped by an English girl, and he married and settled there and did not come back. In this way…So I took the opportunity, that “Why don’t you ask your son to sponsor me?” I wanted to go to America. So I did not know how seriously he took it. But I simply told him that “Why don’t you ask your son to sponsor me at least for one month? So I am thinking of going to America.” Then that was talking, beginning and end, that’s all. I did not know that he took it very seriously.

Then after two, three months, some documents came. I was receiving my letters in a postbox. So when I left Delhi I used to keep my key of postbox with some nice bookseller, Atmaram, he was manager. So he opened that, he got that documents. That is No Objection Certificate, Sponsor, and everything. I was out of Delhi. Then when I came back I took it. So everything was there, that sheet (indistinct) from the Indian Consulate, No Objection Certificate. Then I applied for a passport. In this way I had to go. So Gopal was unknown to me, but his father was, his father was known to me. His father was…Then his agent got me on the bus. So on the bus (I) went to Pennsylvania.

Guest2: That’s a long drive.

Prabhupada: Yes, nine hours on the bus. And I took a little chipped rice, and whatever I had with me. So I got down from the ship about one o’clock. Then I had to wait for the bus till five o’clock. Then at five o’clock the bus started. About two o’clock, three o’clock in the morning, I went to Pennsylvania, and just in front of the bus Gopal was standing with his car, that…What is called? Van car?

Guest1: Station wagon.

Prabhupada: Station wagon. So he took my luggage, and from there thirty miles off, the Butler County. So I went there. Then at night he took my (indistinct). The next day, he had no many rooms in his apartment, he arranged for my stay in the YMCA nearby them.

Guest2: You never actually stayed with him, then.

Prabhupada: I was going. I was taking my meals there.

Guest2: Oh. And just keeping a room at the YMCA.

Prabhupada: Because he had no room, so I was staying there.

Guest2: And then he arranged programs, speaking programs?

Prabhupada: His wife, Sally. His wife, Sally, she was arranging. A very intelligent girl. They were of the same age, about thirty. Gopal was more than thirty and she was (indistinct). I saw that she was feeding her child, one boy, meat powder.

Guest1: Beef bouillon?

Prabhupada: I do not know what is the name. But I asked. She said, “It is meat powder.” That is the system?

Guest2: When they’re very young and they can’t eat solids.

Prabhupada: With hot water.

Guest2: Yes, they have instant meals for children. All different kinds of things.

Prabhupada: So Gopal was very much pleased that he could get some Indian capatis, like this.

Guest2: So he had you cook for him. You took your cooker with you? Is that the same one?

Prabhupada: No. So I lived with him for twenty-one days. Then I came to New York.

Guest2: Yes, that picture in the Butler Eagle. It’s in the Vyasa-Puja book this year.

Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Butler County, it is good (indistinct), there were many churches, (indistinct) people have got so many churches (indistinct) (break) …some time, that one piece of wire Iying in one place, one piece of bamboo was Iying in another place, and one dry shell of a squash was Iying. So one intelligent man collected. So this dry shell became the tambura’s what is called…

Guest2: I don’t know. Like sound chamber. What do you call it?

Prabhupada: Sound chamber may be called. So with that dry squash he made the sound chamber. The bamboo he fixed up and the wire upon it, and then it became a “tin, tin, tin, tin…” (laughs) Our organization is like that. I was loitering in the street. Somebody was over there, somebody was there. Not combined together. International Society String Band. Yes. Separately we are all useless. Eh?

As we conclude the ‘Jaladuta Diary’ series, we offer a note of appreciation to Vicaru dasa, who conceived of this excellent series, for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada and his followers.

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