On 13th July 1966, exactly 50 years ago today, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. It was a humble beginning with a grand vision.
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
I often look at your photos and wonder what you were seeing. What does the world look like through the lens of a pure devotee? What is the vision of someone whose eyes are anointed with the salve of love? What must it be like to perceive the presence of Krishna at every moment? Every aspect of your deep spiritual vision captures my imagination.
You arrived in a foreign land as an elderly and penniless mendicant, to compassionately offer people a message completely contrary to the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll they were accustomed to. You never saw impossibility or impracticality, but saw an undeniable order from your spiritual master. Thus you came.
You wandered into a New York park, sat cross-legged and closed-eyed, chanting from the core of your heart, as bemused onlookers stood on in complete amazement. You never saw danger, awkwardness or rejection, but saw the irresistible power of the holy name that would penetrate their heart. Thus you chanted.
You triumphantly founded an International Society with a worldwide manifesto, though living in a decrepit storefront in the Lower East Side, in the company of a handful of fledgling followers. You never saw obstacles or limits, but saw the inevitable and unstoppable prediction of providence. Thus you thought big.
You made your disciples into pioneering preachers, gurus, sannyasis and powerful leaders, sending them in all directions, despite their troubled backgrounds and internal struggles. You never saw weakness or shortcomings, but saw sincerity, devotion and a spark of potential to fan. Thus you empowered and encouraged.
You met with colossal success, making the Hare Krishna a household word, while thousands waited on your every instruction, ready to surrender their life to please you. You never saw it as your ability, purity or power, but saw everything as a product of Krishna’s divine grace and mystic potency. Thus your glory expanded.
I don’t have such vision, and can’t imagine that I ever will. Nevertheless, by meditating on you, I hope I’ll get a glimpse of what you see. I often stop and consider, “what would Prabhupada do?” I’ll keep that mantra central to my life, as I navigate the chaos of the world and try to do my little bit for your glorious mission. Thanks for displaying the vision of eternity. Thanks for making my life a purposeful, exciting, transcendental adventure. I can never repay you.