Open in App
Open in App

I'm not a man to be disappointed

Satsvarupa : Srila Prabhupada received a reply to his letter of November 8 to Tirtha Maharaja in Calcutta. Prabhupada had explained his hopes and plans for staying in America, but he had stressed that his Godbrothers would have to give him their vote of confidence as well as some tangible support. His Godbrothers had not been working cooperatively. Each leader was interested more in maintaining his own building than in working with the others to spread the teachings of Lord Chaitanya around the world. So how would it be possible for them to share Srila Prabhupada's vision of establishing a branch in New York City? They would see it as his separate attempt. 

Yet despite the unlikely odds, he appealed to their missionary spirit and reminded them of the desires of their spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Their Guru Maharaja wanted Krishna consciousness to be spread in the West. But when Prabhupada finally got Tirtha Maharaja's reply, he found it unfavorable. His Godbrother did not argue against his attempting something in New York, but he politely said that the Gaudiya Math funds could not be used for such a proposal. 

Prabhupada replied, "It is not very encouraging, still I'm not a man to be disappointed." In fact, he found a little hope in Tirtha Maharaja's reply, so he described to his Godbrother the property he had recently found for sale at 143 West Seventy-second Street. The building, only eighteen-and-a-half feet wide and one hundred feet deep, consisted of the first-floor store, a basement, and a mezzanine. Prabhupada presented Tirtha Maharaja the price - $100,000 with a $20,000 cash down payment - and remarked that this building was twice the size of their Research Institute in Calcutta. Prabhupada conceived of the basement as a kitchen and dining area, the first floor as a lecture hall, and the mezzanine as personal apartments, with a separate area for the Deity of Lord Krishna. 

Appropriately, Prabhupada had described himself as "a man not to be disappointed." He was convinced that if there were a center where people could come hear from a pure devotee, the genuine God conscious culture of India could begin in America. Yet because he had made his plans dependent on obtaining an expensive building in Manhattan, his goal seemed unreachable. Still, he was persistently writing to prominent devotees in India, though they were not interested in his plans.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Volume 2 - Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami