(Srila Prabhupada at Commonwealth Pier, Boston, 1968)
Srila Prabhupada arrived in Boston on September 17, 1965. He carried within his heart the order of his spiritual master to spread the teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to the Western world. The following poem, written on board the Jaladuta, perfectly illustrates Srila Prabhupada's total humility and dependence on the Supreme Lord Krishna for the success of his great mission.
boro-kṛpā kaile kṛṣṇa adhamer prati
ki lāgiyānile hethā koro ebe gati
My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me.
āche kichu kārja taba ei anumāne
nahe keno āniben ei ugra-sthāne
But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place?
rajas tamo guṇe erā sabāi ācchanna
bāsudeb-kathā ruci nahe se prasanna
Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vāsudeva. I do not know how they will be able to understand it.
tabe jadi taba kṛpā hoy ahaitukī
sakal-i sambhava hoy tumi se kautukī
But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible because You are the most expert mystic.
ki bhāve bujhāle tārā bujhe sei rasa
eta kṛpā koro prabhu kori nija-baśa
How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message.
tomāra icchāya saba hoy māyā-baśa
tomāra icchāya nāśa māyār paraśa
All living entities have become under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion.
taba icchā hoy jadi tādera uddhār
bujhibe niścai tabe kathā se tomār
I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message.
bhāgavater kathā se taba avatār
dhīra haiyā śune jadi kāne bār bār
The words of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are Your incarnation, and if a sober person repeatedly receives it with submissive aural reception, then he will be able to understand Your message. It is said in the Srīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.17-21):
śrnvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ-stho hy abhadrāṇi
vidhunoti suhṛt satām
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī
kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye
ceta etair anāviddhaṁ
sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati
kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi
"Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramātmā [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. By regular attendance in classes on the Bhāgavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature's modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy. Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness, the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material association. Thus the knot in the heart is pierced, and all misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the self as master."
rajas tamo hate tabe pāibe nistār
hṛdayer abhadra sate ghucibe tāhār
He will become liberated from the influence of the modes of ignorance and passion and thus all inauspicious things accumulated in the core of the heart will disappear.
ki ko're bujhābo kathā baro sei cāhi
khudra āmi dīna hīna kono śakti nāhi
How will I make them understand this message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified and the most fallen. Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own.
athaca enecho prabhu kathā bolibāre
je tomār icchā prabhu koro ei bāre
Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure as You like.
akhila jagat-guru! bacana se āmār
alaṅkṛta koribār khamatā tomār
O spiritual master of all the worlds! I can simply repeat Your message, so if You like You can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding.
taba kṛpā ha'le mor kathā śuddha habe
śuniyā sabāra śoka duḥkha je ghucibe
Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts they will certainly feel engladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life.
āniyācho jadi prabhu āmāre nācāte
nācāo nācāo prabhu nācāo se-mate
kāṣṭhera puttali jathā nācāo se-mate
O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like.
bhakti nāi beda nāi nāme khub daro
"bhaktivedānta" nām ebe sārthak kor
I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. I have been designated as Bhaktivedānta, and now, if You like, You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedānta.
Signed-the most unfortunate, insignificant beggar
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami,
on board the ship Jaladuta, Commonwealth Pier,
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
dated 18th of September, 1965