first draft of The
Hare Krishna Explosion was written
in July, 1969, just after Srila Prabhupada's first visit to New
Vrindaban. At that time, I realized that the details of the beginnings
of the Krishna Consciousness Movement had best be recorded while events
were still fresh. Working from notebooks, diaries and memory, I
compiled the first draft within a month. Then the manuscript remained
packed away, until Srila Prabhupada left this mortal world in November,
1977. During those interim years, both the manuscript and my mind had
accumulated some dust, but convinced of the value of anything dealing
with Srila Prabhupada, I began again, and completed the second draft in
1979. For the next five years, as the Hare Krishna Movement continued
to expand, I kept polishing and expanding the manuscript. Clearly, the
Hare Krishna explosion was not about to fizzle. "Just as Krishna is
always expanding," Srila Prabhupada had said, "anything related to
Krishna is also expanding." In 1966, unknown to us, Prabhupada had
truly launched a dynamic world religion.
on the eve of the Twentieth
Anniversary of Prabhupada's
International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and the Five Hundredth
Anniversary of the appearance of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, The
Hare Krishna Explosion—by the grace of Sri Sri Guru and
Gauranga—is finally ready. In this endeavor, the Palace Press staff at
New Vrindaban has been of inestimable help: Sriman Sundarakara dasa,
production manager; Srimati Ragamathani dasi, composing; and Srimati
Tulasi-devi dasi, layout. Without their selfless assistance, the dust
would still be accumulating.
at first we called him
"Swamiji," we eventually changed to the
more respectful "Prabhupada," a Sanskrit word meaning "one who takes
shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna."
is the proper form of
addressing the spiritual master," he humbly
suggested one day.
the strange word rang
true, and from then on it was always
"Prabhupada," a word that conjured for us the omnipotent Lord Sri
and Krishna are like
two rails of the same track," he
said, "always side by side. By the grace of Krishna, you get guru.
And by the grace of guru, you get Krishna."
was this great master called
Srila Prabhupada, and what was he
like? To answer this is to answer the question Arjuna asked Lord
Krishna millenia ago:
sthita-prajnasya ka bhasa
sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta
kim asita vrajeta kim
"What are the symptoms of one
whose consciousness is merged in
Transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he
sit, and how does he walk?"
real identity defied
analysis. I was surprised to learn
that he had once been a pharmacist with a wife and children. Because
worldy motives and passion never touched him, it was difficult to
imagine him as a householder, as anything but the saffron-clad
spiritual master, the paramhansa floating over the world like a
swan over water.
you are drowning in the
middle of the ocean," he said, "and someone
throws you a rope, you do not stop to enquire, 'Oh dear sir, why are
you throwing me this rope? What is your name? What country are you
from? Why are you here?' No. The drowning man grabs the rope
for dear life."
we were all drowning, few
of us asked those questions. We grabbed
the rope any way we could, assured of some ultimate victory in
Vikuntha, a faraway spiritual universe.
the closing words of Bhagavad-gita:
yatra yogeshvarah krishno
yatra partho dhanur-dharah
tatra srir vijayo bhutir
dhruva nitir matir mama
"And wherever there is Krishna,
the master of all mystics, and whever
there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be
opulence, victory, extraordinary power and morality."
wherever there is Srila
Prabhupada, there will certainly be Lord