(Srila Prabhupada descending from the Jaladuta, September 17, 1965)
After a thirty-five day sea journey from Calcutta, Srila Prabhupada reached Boston's Commonwealth Pier on September 17, 1965 on the Jaladuta. This painting by Dominique Amendola depicts Prabhupada's arrival, as he descends from the boat.
"When I landed in Boston, I wrote one Bengali poetry to Krishna that I do not know why You have brought me to such a distant place where everything is opposite number, and how will I be able to convince them about this Krishna Consciousness Movement?"
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 25, 1969)
Devotee: Then you had a dream?
Devotee: What was that, Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: That is...(laughs) The dream was I must come here.
Devotee: It was some instruction that you got?
Prabhupada: The dream was that Krishna in His many forms was bowing the row. What is called?
Devotee: Rowing the boat.
Prabhupada: And when I arrived in Boston I wrote that poetry.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Los Angeles, June 8, 1976)
"With great difficulty, I was able to get the 'P' Form passed by the Controller of Foreign Exchange, and, someway or other, I reached Boston on 17th September, 1965. I was thinking, while on board the ship 'Jaladutta,' why Krishna had brought me to this country. I knew that Western people are too much addicted to so many forbidden things according to our Vedic conception of life. So out of sentiment I wrote a long poetry addressing Lord Krishna as to what was His purpose in bringing me to this country.
At that time, I was sponsored by a friend's son, Gopala Agarwal, who is settled up in this country by marrying an American girl, Sally. I was their guest, and I feel very much obliged to Gopala and his wife Sally for their nice treatment and reception. I was with them for three weeks in Butler, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then I came to New York. I was getting some money by selling my Srimad Bhagavatam, thus I was maintaining myself in New York. After some time, I rented one apartment at number 100 71st Street West, but after a few months, all my things—typewriter, tape recorder, books—were stolen. Then for some time one of my students gave me shelter at Bowery Street.
I then rented one store-front and an apartment at 26 Second Avenue for $200 per month, but without any source of income. I started my classes and sometimes, on Sundays, I used to chant Hare Krishna Mantra in Tomkins Square Park from three to 5 P.M. During this time, all the young boys and girls used to gather around me, sometimes poet Ginsberg would come to see me, and sometimes a reporter from the New York Times came to see me. In this way, the Hare Krishna Mantra chanting became very popular on the Lower East Side.
In this way, the younger generation became attracted, and gradually many branches were opened one after another."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 5, 1970)
Prabhupāda: I came here alone in 1965 without any help practically. Where to live, where to sleep, there was no destination. Sometimes some friend's house, sometimes some friend's house, practically loitering on the street. And in this way were passed more than one year. I arrived here in 1965 in September, end of September, 17th of September, in Boston. Hmm. Is it Boston?
Devotee: Yes, Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Then, in Boston, I stayed on the sea, on the only, but I saw the Boston city. Then I was brought to New York. So I had one friend in Butler, Pennsylvania. Hmm. After my arrival, I was received by some representative of my host. So he took me to Butler, and there I stayed for twenty days. Then I came to New York. (break) ...one introductory letter to one Dr. Mishra. So that is the beginning of my life in New York. Then struggling. Then gradually, when these boys came to me, I got some relief. And in this way we are propagating, opening branches, and the movement is going forward.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Los Angeles, June 4, 1976)
"Since I have come to America in September 1965, I have traveled many parts of the country specially Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Butler, Slippery Rock, Monroe, Boston and now I am situated in New York the biggest city in the world. I have started a small Ashram at the above address and young American students are taking very great interest in the philosophy of Vaisnavism based on the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. My books are selling here and I have published many small books also since I have come here. My fortnightly magazine 'Back to Godhead' is also being regularly published and my lectures and kirtana have been recorded in Phonograph. The important papers have given me publicity and things are growing nicely. I have established a Society here under the name and style INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS INC and the Trustees of this society are all American and my disciples. They are going purchasing house in New York and as soon as the house is purchased I shall establish in New York a Temple of SRI SRI RADHA KRISHNA for the first time. Sir Padampat Singhania of your city of Kanpur was ready to spend lakhs of rupees for this temple in New York but Govt. of India did not sanction exchange from India. So I am trying locally to start the temple and most probably I shall be successful to start one not only in New York but also one in California and the other in Montreal (Canada) in both cities there are my disciples who are already working there. I hope you will be pleased to learn about considerable success in my preaching activities."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, December 15, 1966)
Prabhupāda: Nineteen sixty-five, 17 September, I landed at Boston.
Devotee: You've done a lot of things since then.
Devotee (2): Changed the world.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Vrindavan, September 17, 1976)