‘Publish books not throw away newspapers’, a librarian advised, confirmed by an army officer and accepted by you as the words of your spiritual master.
When will your words be my soul purpose?
With much discomfort you commuted from Vrndavan to Delhi. No fixed residence, no one to help and with one desire--to publish.
Bhagavatam, it must be Bhagavatam; the most comprehensive and foundational book of Krishna. Not a small place to start, but what could you do, self admittedly—-you could not think small.
A secure place to write books was required, but where in the labyrinth of gullies and streets in old Delhi.
Hari-bhaktanudas you called him, otherwise known as Pandit Sharma. Inspired by your mission, he gave you help. Sri Sri Radha Krishna were there, down the narrow streets on the boundary of the towering Jama Musjid at the Chippiwada temple. They gave you shelter.
You left what you then called your ‘H.Q.’ at Kesi Ghat Vrindavan, to spread the ‘cult of devotion’ and now had a residence cum office for your ‘literary activities’ here at Chippiwada.
One light bulb hung from the ceiling, stonewalls and floors, a matt, a table and a gifted picture of Radha Krishna, Chippiwada--was this the beginning of the BBT?
Struggling to write amidst the noise of families in residence, you wrote: ‘Temples are not meant for ordinary householders…those who are actually engaged in serving the Lord Deity…can only be allowed to remain, otherwise not’.
The writing began. Your Times of India article on ‘anti-matter’ gave birth to the first book: Easy Journey to Other Planets…but you have no money to publish.
“When he spoke he spoke distinctly” Dr Bannerji stated.
Writing to Pandit Nehru you expressed a surprising level of current international knowledge: “The unbridled youngsters of those countries, under the name of ‘Teddy Boys’ in England, the ‘Rebels without a cause’ in America, the ‘Leather Jackets’ in Sweden, the ‘Children of the Sun’ in Japan, and the ‘style boys’ in the USSR are some of the by products of a godless civilization”.
Chippiwada, walking from the Delhi station through narrow lanes you enter the small archway to the temple. Through the altar room and up a narrow stairway, there on the first floor your room with the altar dome emerging from the floor.
At 3am and your typing began: ‘everyday he was typing…his main activity was typing many hours of the day’.
You sat on this open veranda courtyard with your dark rimed spectacles, beads in hand and grave demeanor. Before you on the rug, the newly published first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. You meditated: ‘If the Lord keeps me physically fit, then in fulfillment of Srila Prabhupada’s will I will complete this work’.
Printed by the O.K. Press, proof read three times in Chippiwada, sponsored by the Dalmia Trust, hand bound, with colored dust jackets from Radha Krishna press, just how did you do it? An exasperated Hitsharan Sharma remembered your words: ‘What is this sharma ji, time is going, time is going. Quick do it...you have not done it even now?...Then you have wasted my day’.
When will I stop wasting your days?
One hundred copies arrived in your room. Single handed you took to the streets to sell- the birth of ISKCON book distribution. Against all odds you felt blessed and reassured that Krishna was pleased. Three volumes complete…written, published and funded entirely by your sole determined effort...you left for Mumbai to raise funds for publications and to acquire your ticket to the west.
Chippiwada temple, who would have imagined that from here would emerge six international publishing divisions, producing the works of the Swami you sheltered, in over eighty languages reaching distribution figure of more than half a billion.
I bow repeatedly on the stone floors of the Chippiwada temple, before the altar of Radha Krishna in the humble temple room where you spoke.
I bow to your room many times, staring at the temple dome emerging from the floor. I feel your presence, your towering determination, your unfaltering resolve to please your spiritual master and Krishna, your unfailing desire to share the message of Krishna with others. And I pray for that day when your words will be my soul purpose.