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Room Conversation

June 8, 1976, Los Angeles
Trivikrama: Jaya Srila Prabhupada.
nama om visnu padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
namas te sarasvate devam gaura-vani-pracarine
nirvisesa-sunyavadi pascatya-desa-tarine
Srila Prabhupada, today I made arrangements for my tickets. I'll be leaving Saturday. So you're leaving Friday, so it's just nice.
Prabhupada: You're going to?
Trivikrama: Hong Kong first, make sure Dai Nippon gets printed nicely.
Prabhupada: They have got a press in Hong Kong?
Trivikrama: Yes. At least an office. I'm not... Tamala Krsna said there was a press, but I'm not sure.
Prabhupada: What is this?
Hari-sauri: It says here that this is possibly the very first newspaper article of your arrival in the West. This is, er, this was written at the time that you, the very first month you were there.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Butler.
Trivikrama: It says you may stay for one month (laughs).
Prabhupada: Hmm?
Hari-sauri: It says you have come for one month as a commissioner to preach bhakti-yoga in the West.
Prabhupada: Called me "Ambassador." It is a very old article. Where you got it?
Trivikrama: From one... Candanacarya had a copy.
Prabhupada: Oh. It was in Butler in 19...
Devotee: You were staying in the YMCA.
Prabhupada: Yes. [break] So I did not say anything seriously, but perhaps he took it very seriously, Gopal's father. So he might have written to Gopal that "Swami Bhaktivedanta wants to go to America. If you sponsor, then he can go." So whatever the correspondence was there between the father and son, I did not know. I simply asked him, "Why don't you ask your son Gopal to sponsor so that I can go there? I want to preach there." So after some months, three, four months, the No-Objection Certificate from the Indian embassy in New York, Gopal sent to me, yes, that he had already sponsored my arrival there for one month. So all of a sudden I got the paper, No-Objection Certificate by the Indian embassy. After so much inquiry, I learned that so much inquiry was done and so on, so on. Then I tried to take a passport and paper process. So I got the passport. Then I approached that Srimati Morarji. She once gave me five hundred rupees in exchange of my Bhagavata book, so I approached her, that "Give me one ticket." They have got their shipping company, Scindia Navigation. So she said, "Swamiji, you are so old, you are taking this so responsibility. Do you think it is right?" "No, it is all right." (laughs) At that time, I was seventy years old. So all the secretary, they thought that "Swamiji is going to die there." Anyway, they gave me the ticket, one return free ticket by their ship. Then arrangement was going on. So there is another process to get a P-form. You know.
Guest: P-form.
Prabhupada: P-form sanctioned by the state government, yes, state government. So it was applied for. It was... No sanction was coming. Then I went to the State Bank of India, the officer Mr. Bhattacari. So he told me: "Swamiji, you are sponsored by private man. So we cannot accept it. If you are invited by some institution, then we could consider, but you are invited by a private man for one month, and, after one month, if you are in difficulty, and there will be so much obstacles and so on." "Well, I have already prepared everything to go." So I said that "You, what you have done?" "No, I have decided not to sanction your P-form." "No, no, don't do this. You better send to your superior. It should not be done like that." So he took my request and he sent the file to Chief Officer of Foreign Exchange, something like that. Anyway, he is the supreme man in the State Bank of India. So I went to see him. So I asked his secretary that "You have got such file? You kindly put to Mr...."his name was Mr. Rao"I want to see him." So the secretary agreed, and he put the file and put my slip that I wanted to see him. I was waiting. So Mr. Rao came personally. He said, "Swamiji, I have passed your case. Don't worry." (laughs) In this way.
Hari-sauri: He knew you from before, or...?
Prabhupada: No. He did not know me. So somebody saw him in Bombay, so he reminded that "I know Swamiji when he went to USA." Somebody was telling me.
Hari-sauri: He remembered.
Prabhupada: Hmm. The name is there, he remembered. After all, he is officer. He knows so many things. So it is a great history. (laughs) There was two days I was attacked in heart on the ship. So hardship.
Trivikrama: Then you had a dream?
Prabhupada: Hmm.
Hari-sauri: What was that, Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: That is... (laughs) The dream was I must come here.
Hari-sauri: It was some instruction that you got?
Prabhupada: The dream was that Krsna in His many forms was bowing the row. What is called?
Hari-sauri: Rowing the boat.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Prabhupada: And when I arrived in Boston I wrote that poetry.
Hari-sauri: If you were only sponsored for one month, how is it that you were able to extend your visa all the time?
Prabhupada: I was extending. The immigration officer came in Boston in my boat. He inquired about this. So he asked me, "Sir, Swamiji, how long you want to stay?" So I thought that I have no shelter, I have no money, but I have got the return ticket. So I did not know how long I... (laughs) He asked me, "How long you want to stay?" So I thought, "In these circumstances, I can stay at most two months, because I have no means where to stay, how to eat, and where shall I go? So I may struggle for two months." So I told him: "I may stay at most two months." He immediately, two months, sanctioned immediately. I could not think that I shall be able to... (laughs) That one month were there, sponsoring. So I thought "Another one month, that's all," that "This gentleman has sponsored for one month. So that is guaranteed. Then I can stay another one month. That's all." So after that, so I was staying here and there without any fixity. So I was extending the visa. Each time, I was paying ten dollars. Another three months, another three months, like that. And when one year was finished, they refused: "No extension."
Hari-sauri: But by that time you had some kind of...
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hari-sauri: ...organization going?
Prabhupada: Yes, hmm, at that time I was at Second Avenue. So then Raya Rama took the help of a lawyer. He took the case, that he'll give me permanent residence. So he was extending only, and each time he was taking hundred and fifty dollars. So in this way, I entered in 1965, September, up to Julyno, up to Mayand in the May, month of May, there was heart stroke.
Hari-sauri: That was when, '67?
Prabhupada: '66. Yes. '66. Yes, after one and a half year.
Hari-sauri: No. That was '67 then.
Prabhupada: Because the time was taken, extension. Then, in 1967, in July, I thought, "Now the health is broken." I was very sick after heartstroke. So I thought "Now I shall not exist. So let me go to Vrndavana and die there." So I came back in July 1967. So this Brahmananda and others, they were crying when I got on the boat. Hm? The heart was so weak...
Pusta Krsna: You went back to India by boat?
Prabhupada: No, by plane. I think...
Pusta Krsna: From San Francisco.
Prabhupada: Hm. At that time, I got some money. Five thousand was given by Jayananda. He gave me five thousand, and Brahmananda also gave me. So I spent some money for acquiring some... I had about six thousand. So then I purchased ticket coming back with Kirtanananda. In this way, came back to India.
Hari-sauri: You were just saying...
Prabhupada: And again I paid five thousand rupees to Kirtanananda to come back. (aside:) What is that?
Radhavallabha: Kirtiraja Prabhu bought this for your rocking chair.
Prabhupada: Oh.
Radhavallabha: Should I put it on?
Prabhupada: Rock and roll. (devotees laugh)
Hari-sauri: So when did you come back again?
Prabhupada: I came back in 1968, no '67, December.
Hari-sauri: Oh, you weren't gone long then.
Trivikrama: Six months.
Prabhupada: Yes, July to December.
Trivikrama: And your health was better?
Prabhupada: Not very good. So many troubles. When I came back there's always a bad sound going on, gong gong gong, in my brain. Very disturbing, in this Los Angeles. I was staying in some... I forgot.
Trivikrama: La Cienega?
Prabhupada: Yes, huh?
Trivikrama: In La Cienega?
Prabhupada: No, no, La Cienega, later on. I was staying near Pico, is that Pico? There was a... I think Washington Boulevard? Near there. I forgot that quarter. It is black quarter. And this boywho is he now? Aniruddha? What is his name?
Devotee: Gurukrpa?
Prabhupada: No, no. Aniruddha.
Devotee: Gaurasundara?
Prabhupada: No, Aniruddha.
Devotee: Oh, Aniruddha.
Prabhupada: Yes, he was taking care of me here in Los Angeles. And they used to come from San Francisco. First of all, I came to San Francisco from India. Then I came to Los Angeles, to start a center here. I think Dayananda took charge of this center.
Hari-sauri: So Los Angeles center was opened on your arrival back from India. And up to that time there was New York and...?
Prabhupada: San Francisco.
Devotee: And Montreal?
Prabhupada: No, Montreal later. I think, maybe, Montreal first. (end)

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