Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Conclusion
Today, Sunday, November 10, 1974 — corresponding to the 10th of Kārttika, Caitanya Era 488, the eleventh day of the dark fortnight, the Rāma-ekādaśī — we have now finished the English translation of Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī's Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta in accordance with the authorized order of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Gosvāmī Mahārāja, my beloved eternal spiritual master, guide and friend. Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vāṇī, his words. There are two ways of association — by vāṇī and by vapuḥ. Vāṇī means words, and vapuḥ means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vāṇī continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vāṇī, not the physical presence. The Bhagavad-gītā, for example, is the vāṇī of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Although Kṛṣṇa was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, the Bhagavad-gītā continues.
In this connection we may call to memory the time when I was fortunate enough to meet His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda, sometime in the year 1922. Śrīla Prabhupāda had come to Calcutta from Śrīdhāma Māyāpur to start the missionary activities of the Gauḍīya Maṭha. He was sitting in a house at Ulta Danga when through the inducement of an intimate friend, the late Śrīmān Narendranath Mullik, I had the opportunity to meet His Divine Grace for the first time. I do not remember the actual date of the meeting, but at that time I was one of the managers of Dr. Bose's laboratory in Calcutta. I was a newly married young man, addicted to Gandhi's movement and dressed in khadi. Fortunately, even at our first meeting His Divine Grace advised me to preach the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in English in the Western countries. Because at that time I was a complete nationalist, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi's, I submitted to His Divine Grace that unless our country were freed from foreign subjugation, no one would hear the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu seriously. Of course, we had some argument on this subject, but at last I was defeated and convinced that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's message is the only panacea for suffering humanity. I was also convinced that the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was then in the hands of a very expert devotee and that surely the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would spread all over the world. I could not, however, immediately take up his instructions to preach, but I took his words very seriously and was always thinking of how to execute his order, although I was quite unfit to do so.
In this way I passed my life as a householder until 1950, when I retired from family life as a vānaprastha. With no companion, I loitered here and there until 1958, when I took sannyāsa. Then I was completely ready to discharge the order of my spiritual master. Previously, in 1936, just before His Divine Grace passed away at Jagannātha Purī, I wrote him a letter asking what I could do to serve him. In reply, he wrote me a letter, dated 13 December 1936, ordering me, in the same way, to preach in English the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as I had heard it from him.
After he passed away, I started the fortnightly magazine Back to Godhead sometime in 1944 and tried to spread the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu through this magazine. After I took sannyāsa, a well-wishing friend suggested that I write books instead of magazines. Magazines, he said, might be thrown away, but books remain perpetually. Then I attempted to write Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Before that, when I was a householder, I had written on Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and had completed about eleven hundred pages, but somehow or other the manuscript was stolen. In any case, when I had published Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto, in three volumes in India, I thought of going to the U.S.A. By the mercy of His Divine Grace, I was able to come to New York on September 17, 1965. Since then, I have translated many books, including Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Teachings of Lord Caitanya (a summary) and many others.
In the meantime, I was induced to translate Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and publish it in an elaborate version. In his leisure time in later life, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura would simply read Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. It was his favorite book. He used to say that there would be a time when foreigners would learn the Bengali language to read the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. The work on this translation began about eighteen months ago. Now, by the grace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, it is finished. In this connection I have to thank my American disciples, especially Śrīmān Pradyumna dāsa Adhikārī, Śrīmān Nitāi dāsa Adhikārī, Śrīmān Jayādvaita dāsa Brahmacārī and many other boys and girls who are sincerely helping me in writing, editing and publishing all these literatures.
I think that His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is always seeing my activities and guiding me within my heart by his words. As it is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye. Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramātmā feature, is always sitting with all His devotees and associates. It is to be admitted that whatever translation work I have done is through the inspiration of my spiritual master, because personally I am most insignificant and incompetent to do this materially impossible work. I do not think myself a very learned scholar, but I have full faith in the service of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. If there is any credit to my activities of translating, it is all due to His Divine Grace. Certainly if His Divine Grace were physically present at this time, it would have been a great occasion for jubilation, but even though he is not physically present, I am confident that he is very much pleased by this work of translation. He was very fond of seeing many books published to spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Therefore our society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has been formed to execute the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
It is my wish that devotees of Lord Caitanya all over the world enjoy this translation, and I am glad to express my gratitude to the learned men in the Western countries who are so pleased with my work that they are ordering in advance all my books that will be published in the future. On this occasion, therefore, I request my disciples who are determined to help me in this work to continue their cooperation fully, so that philosophers, scholars, religionists and people in general all over the world will benefit by reading our transcendental literatures, such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, dated November 10, 1974, at the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Hare Krishna Land, Juhu, Bombay.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness