April 1965: While approaching the Scindia Steam Navigation Company in Bombay to sponsor his passage to America, Srila Prabhupada received one of their complimentary diaries. He used it at first as an appointment book. Once his voyage to America on the Jaladuta began in August of that year, he made regular entries in the diary to record the events of the journey.
Subsequently, the diary was kept in the safe of the New York temple until 1972, when Srila Prabhupada requested Bali-mardana dasa, the temple president, to take personal care of it. Today it is still in the care of Bali-mardana dasa, and he is arranging for its permanent display and preservation.
Excerpts from the diary were first published in 1980 in Volume 1 of the Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, the authorized biography of Srila Prabhupada. Portions have also appeared in some of the annual Vyasa-puja books. With the approach of the Srila Prabhupada Centennial in 1996, we feel it is fitting that the diary be presented in its entirety.
Srila Prabhupada once wrote in a letter about the need to meticulously preserve the writings of the previous acaryas, especially their handwriting, as follows:
"...we may take care of them by treating them against insects and storing them in a tight, dry storage place where they may be preserved for future generations of Vaisnavas to see the actual handwriting and words of such great saintly persons. Treat this matter very seriously and thoroughly, and take all precautions to protect this wonderful boon of literatures forever.... These items are very, very priceless and are a great treasure house of Vaisnava lore, so be very careful in the matter and take all precautions to guard them.
Again, in the Caitanya-caritamrta there is a description of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu praising Rupa Gosvami's fastidious handwriting (C.c. Antya 1.96-7). Thus, the handwriting specimens of pure devotees are intimate momentos of their spiritual lives, and we must therefore consider ourselves most fortunate to have the remnants of Srila Prabhupada's handwriting.
This diary of the voyage of the Jaladuta is a personal account of the challenging journey that launched Srila Prabhupada's life mission. Readers will find it to be a remarkable document in the history of religious movements. It reveals the full measure of Srila Prabhupada's devotion, faith and self-abnegation, which qualify him as one of the world's few genuine spiritual leaders. We hope this book will inspire others to appreciate Srila Prabhupada's triumph over adversity and to follow in his footsteps.
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/diaries/jaladuta/preface