Letter to: Sir Padampat Singhania , New York , 1966-01-20
My dear Sir Padampat,
Please accept my greetings and blessings of Sri Sri Dvarakadhisa Maharaja. With thanks I beg to acknowledge receipt of your kind letter dated 14th January 1966 and I have noted the contents very carefully. The two points of difficulties as shown by you are quite right because without sanction of the Government we cannot proceed a step even in this connection. And as pointed out in my last letter I have full responsibility for this. I was almost certain to get this sanction from our Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who was personally known to me in connection with my publication Srimad-Bhagavatam. He was to come here in America and in New York on the 4th of February next and I arranged for an interview with him by negotiation with the local consulate General. The copy of the letter addressed to our late Prime Minister is also enclosed herewith for your perusal.
Now as soon as I came to know about the sudden death news of Shastri, I thought of the President Dr. Radhakrishnan as the next man to get the sanction because he is also personally known to me. I have already approached him through some mutual friend to get this sanction and I am awaiting the result sooner or later. And as soon as I hear of the sanction, I shall at once let you know the result.
I am very glad to learn it that you wish to construct a Temple of Sri Sri Radha Krishna with nice architecture and the idea is quite appropriate for a personality of your position. You are a great devotee of Lord Dvarakadhisa traditionally. Lord Dvarakadhisa exhibited His opulence at Dvaraka with sixteen thousands of queen and it is understood that He built up as many palaces for each and every queen and the palaces were so made with jewels and stones that there was no necessity of artificial light in the palaces. So your conception of building temple of Lord Krishna is in opulence. But we our residents of Vrindaban and Vrindaban has no palaces like your Dvaraka. Vrindaban is full of forest and cows on the bank of the Yamuna and Lord Krishna in His childhood played the part of a cow boy without any royal opulence as you people inhabitants of Dvaraka think. So when the Dvarakawalas and the Vrindabanwalas meet there may be a via media.
The thing is that the idea of constructing a magnificent Temple in New York quite befitting the first city of the world, will cost you not lakhs but crores. Because here the cost of land and other materials and the labor charges all are fabulous. The labor charges here is not less than 12 dollars a day i.e Rs 60/ per day. Besides that you cannot get a vacant land in the New York city. You have to purchase a constructed house then dismantle it and then construct a Temple of your liking. I know it very well that by Grace of His Lordship Sri Sri Dvarakadhisa and by the mercy of Laksmiji Rukmini devi, your honour is quite competent to spend even crores and crores for this purpose but we must remember the difficulty of Exchange. At this stage of critical hours the Government will hardly allow us to spend such huge amount. If they at all sanction the exchange they may allow for lakhs only and therefore I have suggested the estimate as seven lakhs only.
I have in view a very nice building for sale which is just the suitable for a temple to start with. The land of the house is about 19' x 100' and although it is two storied it has a basement under ground and therefore it can be taken as three stories. It is nicely built with air conditioning and heating arrangement with marble staircase brass railings just suitable for a temple. The whole area is about 450 sq. feet and they are asking for 100,000 dollars that is five laks of rupees. And after purchasing the house we can build another story upon it with temple dome and cakra etc. So the estimate is about seven lakhs of rupees and for the present let us start in such way. The place is very important in the city. As your Dvarakadhisa Temple is situated in very important part of the city so this house is also situated in very important part of the mid city. Here in New York city there are three divisions namely the up town the mid town and the down town. The down town is full of business houses and office buildings whereas the down town is inhabited by most employees and middle class of men. The mid town is in between the two and the house I have selected is approachable easily from both sides of the town. The situation is very important on account of stores, subway station, post office, buses, banks everything all at hand's reach. If however cash is paid immediately the owner may come down to lesser price. This is ready building and we can start immediately the Bhagavatam preaching work and worship of the Sri Sri Radha Krishna simultaneously in this house.
The house has to be nicely decorated for attracting men and philosophical topics on the basis of the Bhagavatam Philosophy has to be preached for the learned scholars and high grade men. As we get popularity so can get local sympathy for the temple also. And it will be built up step by step and I am sure they will be very glad to receive the message and the training as well if not by all but some of them.
The owner of the house is prepared to accept the following terms as I have talked with them. Immediately 20,000 dollars cash and the balance by suitable arrangement of mortgage with 6% interest on the amount I think we may pay him cash outright and reduce the price as far as possible.
Now taking for acceptance that Dr. Radhakrishnan will give us the exchange sanction, we have to decide whether to pay outright cash or to accept the proposal of installment. You may decide this in the meantime. And as soon as I receive the news of sanction, I shall let you know. If your man is to come here you may let me know the name and occupation of the persons so that I may arrange for his no objection certificate without which passport will be issued. I will have to find out some sponsor for him otherwise no P form will be issued. So pending the sanction let us be prepared for all these paraphernalia. In the future if circumstances changes, and we get the opportunity for spending more money, at that time we can sell of this or keep it as the circumstances allow. For the present let us begin in this small scale and let be grown up in the natural way. Your honour is a great business magnet and you know better than me. J.K Organization started by your grand father was increased by your father and under your management it has grown more than expectation by the Grace of Dvarakadhisa Maharaja. As the Pandavas were all devotees of Lord Krishna and thus in fields of activities they were victorious in spite much difficulties were put forward before them by the Kurus, similarly you are also always glorious because you and your family all are devotees of Lord Dvarakadhisa. Your good mother is just like Kuntideve.
The mission of Bhagavatam with which I have come here is altogether a new thing for the American. Still the most astonishing thing is that whenever and wherever I speak they take it very nicely. That is good sign for them. After my lecture they come to me and offer their thanks for the nice speech and accept the philosophy when they are spoken with human understanding.
There is great difference between these people and our Indian people. In India people are automatically taught spiritual life by tradition and these people are automatically taught to be materialistic. They are sincere undoubtedly but because they have no information of the Bhagavatam life, they appear to be different. It is the duty of every Indian to preach the cult of Bhagavatam in every part of the world and your cooperation in this attempt will be highly appreciated by Lord Dvarakadhisa. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita has said that one who helps in the matter of preaching the principles of Bhagavad-gita is the most favorite of the Lord. So this knowledge should be distributed systematically and we Indians specially the Hindus and more specially the Vaisnavites must abide the instruction of Lord Krishna to distribute the knowledge all over the world.
America is just in the middle. On one side of America is Europe and on the other side is Asia. So we can expand the Bhagavatam mission both wise. On one side towards England, Germany, Italy etc and on the other side towards China Japan etc. If we sincerely do this work Lord Krishna will help us in so many ways and because you are a sincere devotee of the Lord, you have very kindly responded to my humble call.
I am advising my man in Delhi to send you one set of my books (Three Volumes) of Srimad-Bhagavatam English version and I hope you will relish them with great interest. I shall request you to find our some time for it and see it how I have been able to present the Bhagavatam Philosophy for understanding of the common man.
Hope you are well and thanking you once more for your good cooperating spirit in the transcendental service of the Lord.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
Enclosure:Copy of the letter addressed to the Prime Minister of India.
By air mail.