H.H. Lokanath Swami offering to Srila Prabhupada on his 117th Vyasa Puja

My most beloved Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my most prostrated obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet on the most auspicious occasion of your Vyasa-puja celebration. All glories to Your Divine Grace!

At the commencement of a GBC meeting, the letter you wrote to His Excellency the president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasada, dated 21 November 1956, was read. It is with this letter in mind that I write this offering to you, Srila Prabhupada. I was amazed and overwhelmed by the conviction and compassion in your statements about the crucial matter of going back to Godhead. I was equally amused by your simplicity and candor.

In India it is quite common to read or hear the slogan “chalo Delhi,” “chalo Mumbai,” “chalo Kolkata” (“Let’s go to Delhi,” etc.) These terms are popularly used when arranging to get to places to protest for people’s demands. For politicians, escorting masses of people to Delhi, Mumbai, or Kolkata to stage a protest is the furthest destination they would generally try to reach. They cannot think beyond this journey, although going to heaven is accepted because karma-ka??a is a popular concept.

When a family member dies, a beautiful frame is swiftly made 92 Tributes bearing a caption “swargiya such-and-such,” which means the soul has departed to heaven. For these individuals, heaven is the supreme destination. There is a real possibility that the deceased soul might have gone to hell, but they always wish and believe that the departed soul has gone to heaven.

The mukti-kamis, followers of the jnana-kan?a, honor their spiritual leader with the slogan “Brahma-leen such and such.” For this group, merging into Brahman is the highest goal. The idea of going to Vaiku??ha or Goloka, going back to the spiritual kingdom,
going back to Godhead, is rarely heard. Although the concept of going back to Godhead is eternal, we only occasionally hear and read about some great souls going back to Godhead. People are astounded when they hear that a person has gone back to
Godhead. But, my dear Srila Prabhupada, you started a “back to Godhead” campaign, making it a common goal and not a feat that is to be achieved by a rare and privileged few. In your letter, you boldly write:

Believe me or not, I have got the clue of going “Back to Godhead’’ just after leaving my present material body, and in order to take along with me all my contemporary men and women of the world, I have started my paper “Back to Godhead’’ as one of
the means to the way.

Please do not think of me as a wonderful or mad man when I say that I shall go “Back to Godhead’’ after leaving my present  material body! It is quite possible for everyone and all of us.

Srila Prabhupada, I read in these lines your excitement about having a clue for going back to Godhead, and you wanted to share this  precious formula with the head of the state, the president of India. I feel deeply inspired about how you transmitted this exceptional knowledge to the president of India with the hope that he would,through his authority, propagate the idea to the people of India.

When an ant comes across a grain of sugar, it gathers other ants, and together they have a feast. There is no selfish intention, as the finder of the grain invites others to join him. A compassionate mood of sharing your knowledge is reflected in the following words:

I am therefore very eager to broadcast the secret of my success to all men and women of the world as a natural consequence and I am seeking Your Excellency’s help and co-operation in this great attempt of transcendental service.

Srila Prabhupada, you are the great visionary who, as far back as 1956, wanted the then president of India, the administrator or ksatriya, to implement your ideas of how to go back to Godhead. This significant notion of going back to Godhead is not a whimsical creation but one for which you bring Sastric evidence, your authority being the Bhagavad-Gita. Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His mission are captured in the words patita-pavana hetu tava avatara (“Your incarnation is just to reclaim the fallen conditioned souls”). My dear Srila Prabhupada, you are His representative, Lord Caitanya’s senapati bhakta, the commander in chief of the sa?kirtana army. Your sense of certainty about the process given by Lord Caitanya to deliver all the living entities is demonstrated in the following words you wrote:

I have simply adopted the easy method of Caitanya Mahaprabhu just suitable to the modern people in general. As such I am feeling as sure of going “Back to Godhead’’ as I feel without any doubt after taking my dinner that I have eaten to my satisfaction. This feeling is a necessary concomitant factor of the great science of devotional service in the approved line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

In this historic letter, you are appealing for assistance from the president of India—not for yourself or as a personal favor, but for the topmost welfare of all your fellow world citizens. Your dependency on the instructions of K???a is unalterable, as you suggest in the letter:

In the Bhagavad-gita it is said very clearly that whosoever may adopt the specific principle of accepting Sri K???a, the Personality of Godhead, will be able to achieve the highest transcendental goal of life—never mind what he is, either a born untouchable, a fallen woman, a laborer, or a man dealing in rupees annas paisa. His being so, what is the difficulty for a pious “Brahmin” and devoted king for going “Back to Godhead?” Everyone should therefore adopt this principle of going “Back to Godhead” in order to get released from the world of miseries, with temporary existence.

In the above words it is evident that your confidence in this transcendental process is unyielding. Your assurance that anyone 94 Tributes can go back to Godhead shows your complete conviction and reliance upon Lord Caitanya and His magnanimity.

I fondly recall an incident in Delhi when you were on your morning walk in the vicinity of the Gateway of India. The devotees could see the president’s house towering over the skyline, and one devotee said to you, “Srila Prabhupada, you should be the president of India.”

You responded, “I would rather be spiritual master of the president of India and not be the president of India.” And indeed, in this letter take on the role of a spiritual guide for the president of India.

You started Back to Godhead magazine in 1944, and this periodical was the core of your preaching till 1960, and also later, after you established your ISKCON movement in the West. You once called Back to Godhead magazine “the backbone of the International Society for K???a consciousness.” In ISKCON the clarion call has been to go back to Godhead. Srila Prabhupada, you have made “back to Godhead” a spiritual household notion in this world. It has become the mission and vision statement for this organization.

During Gandhi’s time, a leading freedom fighter aiming to motivate his countrymen to fight for their birthright would cry out, “swaraj hamara janam sidha adhikar hai!” (“To live in an independent nation is my birthright. I will have it! I will fight for it!”) I cannot but help think of the shallowness and temporality of this statement, because this cannot be the goal for the soul, in comparison to your “back to Godhead” program. Unfortunately, the president of India you addressed in the letter was also a freedom fighter. The general trend for most Indian leaders at that time was that they were veterans of the struggle to release their countrymen from the shackles of British rule. You, Srila Prabhupada, stand apart—eminent and distinguished—from the rest of the leaders. You want to release not only your countrymen but all of humanity at large from the shackles of maya. You want to offer them the ultimate freedom by ferrying them back to Godhead, dispatching them all to the spiritual world in a single sweep! You pointed out to the president that going back to Godhead is not an exclusive right of Hindus or Indians but that everyone is included in your transcendental design.

Srila Prabhupada, your thoughts are like K???a’s thoughts. Like father, like son. The Vedic aphorism vasudeva kutumbakam means that for those who live magnanimously the entire world constitutes a family. Your compassion for everyone is all-encompassing.

I beg to submit herewith that by the Grace of Sri K???a through His mercy personified—my spiritual master—I have realized it most thoroughly that going back to Godhead is the highest privilege of mankind and is the supreme perfection of human life.

Srila Prabhupada, your strategy to engage people at the highest level and invoke the president to become involved in serving his people is evidenced in your eloquent appeal to him near the end of your letter:

To make a worldwide propaganda for this most essential service to humanity, it is necessary that Your Excellency will stretch the helping hand necessary in this matter.

I pray to you, Srila Prabhupada, to please help me in this noble cause that you have established and to keep me enthused to serve you by attracting people to go back to Godhead.

Your most insignificant servant,
Lokanath Swami
Noida, India


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