(Srila Prabhupada with a photo of his guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Vrindavan, 1972)
Prabhupāda: So when I was seventy years old I decided, 'Now I must do and execute the order of my Guru Mahārāja.' And thus this movement was started in 1965 from New York. And I was not very much hopeful, because it is very difficult task, just opposite the European and Western culture. I came... When I first came, I had no money. So I got a free passage through some Indian steam navigation company. So I came by ship. So when I was on the ship at Boston port, Commonwealth port, I was thinking that "I have come here. I do not know what is the purpose, because how the people will accept this movement? They are differently educated, and as soon as I'll say, 'So, my dear sir, you have to give up meat-eating and illicit sex and no intoxication and gambling,' they will say, 'Please go home.' " (laughter)
Because that was the experience of one of my Godbrother. He went to London, and he had the opportunity to talk with one big man, Marquis of Zetland. Marquis of Zetland was formerly governor of Bengal. At that time I was student. He was Scotsman, and I was student of the Scottish Churches' College. So he came to see our college, and he was standing in front of me in the second-year class. So he was very nice, good gentleman. So he proposed to my Godbrother, "Whether you can make me a brāhmaṇa?" So my Godbrother proposed, "Yes, we can make anyone brāhmaṇa provided you follow this principle: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling." So that Lord Zetland immediately replied, "Impossible." (laughter) So I was thinking that "I will propose something which is impossible. Anyway, let me try."
Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!
Prabhupāda: So now, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa and Caitanya Mahāprabhu and in the presence of my Guru Mahārāja, you are so nice boys and girls. So in front of Caitanya Mahāprabhu you are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and you are taking part in it very seriously. So my Guru Mahārāja will be very, very much pleased upon you and bless you with all benefits.
So he wanted this, and he is not... It is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even ordinary living being, he does not die. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). And what to speak of such exalted, authorized personality like Bhaktisiddhānta. He is seeing. I never feel that I am alone. Of course, when I came to your country without any friend, without any means... Practically, just like a vagabond I came. But I had full faith that "My Guru Mahārāja is with me." I never lost this faith. And that is fact. There are two words, vāṇī and vapuḥ. Vānī means words, and vapuḥ means this physical body. So vāṇī is more important than the vapuḥ. Vapuḥ will be finished. This is material body. It will be finished. That is the nature. But if we keep to the vāṇī, to the words of spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up. It doesn't matter.
Just like Bhagavad-gītā. It was spoken five thousand years ago. But if you keep to the words of Kṛṣṇa, then it is always fresh and guiding. Not that because Arjuna personally listened to Kṛṣṇa about the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā, therefore he knew it. That is not the fact. If you accept Bhagavad-gītā as it is, then you should know that Kṛṣṇa is present before you in His words in the Bhagavad-gītā. This is called spiritual realization. It is not mundane historical incidences. If we keep...
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
If you don't keep in touch with the original link, then it will be lost. And if you keep touch with the original link, then you are directly hearing Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's representative, spiritual master, if you keep always intact, in link with the words and instruction of the superior authorities, then you are always fresh. This is spiritual understanding.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's Appearance Day, Atlanta, March 2, 1975)