At the age of 69 when most people retire and prefer a peaceful life, he decided to go on a voyage to a distant land where he had never gone before. His mission was very clear. He had to fulfill a dream of a great soul. Although he would have preferred to go long back but alas he had no money with him. At last one kind lady, who was the owner of a cargo company, allowed him to board her ship, Jaladuta.
Now he had a ticket and a seat in Jaladuta which would take him to the distant land, America. But he had almost no money with him. While boarding the ship his possessions were: a suitcase, an umbrella, supply of dry cereals, a Bengali copy of Caitanya –Caritamrta and Rs 40. But his greatest possession was several trunks of his books on Krishna Consciousness which he had painstakingly written.
This was the first time he would be travelling outside his beloved country Bharatvarsha.
While boarding the cargo ship at the Kolkata port he was not sure if he will ever return back alive. In fact when he had revealed his heart to his near and dear ones about his mission, no one encouraged him. Everyone thought that he is treading on a wrong path. But he did not bother because he knew Lord Krishna is with him.
He boarded Jaladuta on 13th August 1965.His journey wasn’t smooth. On board he suffered 2 massive heart attacks. He would have left his body if the 3rd would have come.
On board he composed a Bengali Poem ‘Markine – Bhagavata – dharma’ . Some of the verses are :
After 35 days of journey he finally reached America. His mission was to spread the message of Krishna Consciousness all over the world. This was also the desire of his beloved spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. He had the mercy of his guru and the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna.
During his initial days in USA he had to struggle a lot. However soon his hard work, his dedication, his determination, his supreme sacrifice started bearing fruits. And in a short span of 12 years he changed the face of the world, the Hare Krishna movement reverberated in every nook and corner of the world.
Some of his greatest achievements are:
Today not just the Indians but people from different parts of the world like Siberia, Russia, Greece, Australia, China, Japan, USA, Brazil, Fiji, Africa etc have taken up to Krishna Consciousness.
He introduced the Rathyatra festival in other parts of the world. Today apart from the grand Rathyatra festival in Puri, Orissa (India), this glorious event is celebrated in more than 100 major cities of the world such as Dublin, Belfast, Birmingham, London, Budapest, Melbourne, Montreal, Paris, New York, Singapore, Toronto, Antwerp, Kuala Lumpur, Venice, Dhamrai.
This great soul is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is also known as Srila Prabhupada.
He is verily called a Charismatic leader. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu had said that the name of Lord Krishna will be chanted all across the globe and his prediction came true when Srila Prabhupada took up the mission of spreading Krishna Consciousness. By the mercy of Srila Prabhupada the Hare Krishna movement is still growing and will continue to grow for thousands of years.
(Reference: Prabhupada: by Satsvarupa Das Goswami)