Letter to: Dr. Chaudhuri , Los Angeles , 1969-02-06
Dear Dr. Chaudhuri,
Please accept my greetings and blessings of Lord Krishna, and offer the same to Srimati Bina Chaudhuri and your sons and daughters. I am so glad to have received your letter dated January 27, 1969, and I have appreciated your comment about my book that it is "without doubt the best presentation so far to the western public of the teachings of Lord Krishna". Actually that was my purpose to write another commentary on the Bhagavad-gita. I think I have explained this matter in my introduction.
You have written to say "Vaisnava tradition in India", and that is the real cultural standing of Vedic civilization. In the Rigveda you will find the mantra, tad visnu paramam padam sada pasyanti suraya. In the Visnu Purana also it is said, visnu bhakti bhovet deva. So Vedic civilization means the civilization of the devas, or the demigods, and the whole purpose is to understand Krishna. As it is said in the Bhagavad-gita, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyam [Bg. 15.15], the whole purpose of the Veda is to understand Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, if we wish to present the real traditional cultural ideas of India to the western public, we have to present to them the teachings of Lord Krishna as they are. That is my mission, and I am pleased to inform you that I am getting good response in America especially and also in London and Germany.
For the last five months, our kirtana movement is going on in London. Our office is situated there at 22 Betterton Street, WC 2 London, England. The people are appreciating our movement very much there. You will be surprised to know that I have sent there for preaching work 6 boys and girls, married couples, and they are neither elderly nor very much conversant with Vedic philosophy. But still, by their character, behavior, and devotion, they are attracting many people in London, including the High Commissioner of India and others. One gentleman, Mr. Parikh, is a Doctor in Education and was formerly the principal of a college in Kenya. He is actively working with our students there, and very soon they should have a Radha-Krishna temple there in gorgeous style.
Some time before in your letters you expressed a desire that we should jointly present Indian cultural ideas in this country. I think you will remember this proposal, and I replied that if we want to present the real Indian cultural traditions, then we must present the Vaisnava philosophy as it is. Poet Tagore became very popular in the western countries by presenting his Gita Anjali which is full of Vaisnava sentiments. We have immense literatures, especially in the Gaudiya Sampradaya of the Vaisnava sect which is enriched by the contribution of the Gosvamis. These should all be presented to the western world. Similarly, Vedanta commentary by the Vaisnava acaryas like Ramanuja, Madhva, Baladeva., Sridhara Swami, etc. can all be presented successfully. You are a learned philosopher, and your Cultural Integration Fellowship Institute advocates universal religion and cultural harmony. I think if you will turn your attention to the Vaisnava literature you will find all of these ideas in complete fulfillment.
Your invitation for me to go to San Francisco is very much welcome. You have been requesting me for practically one year to give some discourses on this Vaisnava philosophy in your institution, but for want of time I could not comply with your request. I will let you know immediately when I know I will be going next to San Francisco. Of course, now I am in Los Angeles, and I have no serious business at present. But your mid-term quarter is already occupied by Dr. Framroze A. Bode, the Zoroastrian High Priest from Bombay.
In the meantime, I wish that you may stock a few copies of our books in your bookstall and just have a test how the members of your institution will like this Vaisnava philosophy. Generally, people are not very much inclined to accept Vaisnava philosophy because for the common man it is not very easy to understand. In the Bhagavad-gita we find the statement that out of many thousands of people, one may be interested in the values of human life, and out of many persons who have understood the values of life, only one may be found who can understand Krishna. It is further stated that Krishna can be understood only through devotional mysticism. Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah [Bg. 18.55]. On hearing from you I will ask my San Francisco temple to deliver you some copies of Bhagavad-gita As It Is if you so desire.
Thanking you once more for your kind letter. I hope this will meet you in very good health.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami