[ Interview by Baladeva Dasa. His questions and comments are in Bold & Italics &Underlined & Blue Font.
I have Prabhupada’s last letter, to me, in a frame. It was written right before he passed away. Two months before; in fact. I wrote him a letter saying that I felt like he would be passing away soon, and that I have no real connection in this ISKCON society with any devotees. I explained to him that when he departs; I would just fall away from Krishna consciousness, because I have no attachment for any devotees in the movement or any service in the movement.
Therefore, I said you should instruction me with something to do. Something that will take my whole life time to accomplish. Or something to dedicate my whole life to. So that when you leave, despite all these problems, I am going to have, I will have something to fix my mind on.
Here is the letter. You can look at the letter if you want.
[Srila Prabhupada VedaBase searched for this letter found, Letter to: Bhaktijana—Vrindaban 25 September, 1976, New York:
My dear Bhaktijana,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated 14th. Why not make preaching with black people in America your lifetime preaching goal? Yes, limit to this. You preach—that is sannyasa. What is the use of changing dress? Do, actually. Regarding my leaving, I will not leave the planet until you order.
Hoping this meets you in good health. Your ever well-wisher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.]
Adi Kesava Maharaja made me put it in a frame so I would not forget it or lose it. Which is strange, because one of the things Prabhupada instructed me to do; is to start temples in black neighborhoods, in all the big cities in America.
Adi Kesava Maharaja said,
“There will never be a separate black temple. These things, like that, never work out. You just have to get your own money, and your own people.
You have to do that, and you should not care what everybody, ISKCON authorities, says; just try to please Prabhupada.
Then you will become a big shot, because you defied everybody. Then they will say, oh, you are really fixed up. I always used to think that we had to listen to all these people all the time; they never respect leadership.”
Can I just read this on to the tape?
Yeah, it is a nectarine letter.
Baladeva reads the letter,
My Dear Bhaktijana:
Please accept my blessings.
I am in due receipt of your letter dated 14th instant. Why not make preaching with black people in America your lifetime preaching goal? Yes, limit to this. You preach. That is sannyasa. What is the use of changing dress? Do actually. Regarding my leaving, I will not leave the planet until you order.
Hoping this meets you in good health, Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami.
It is from Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir, Vrndavana. Dated September 25, 1976.
That is very nice.
Prabhupada passed away very soon after that. So I was really lucky to get a letter like that. Of course, he did not leave the planet until I ordered so. Prabhupada cared a lot about me. So when he wrote that in the letter, it was so good for me because I felt like what it meant was that to order Srila Prabhupada to leave; we would have to forget about Krishna consciousness. That would be ordering him to leave. I took it on a very kind of mystical level. Which I am sure Prabhupada understood where I was coming from. Devotees surely do not. I am probably the most misunderstood devotee in the movement. I am not trying to be a crybaby; but devotees really do not understand me at all. Nobody does. I am strange and other people see me that way. But devotees surely do not see me that way; and I understand them.