This article "Krishna leader visits Sydney followers," was published in The Sydney Morning Herald, May 10, 1971, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
His followers chanted, then wept, and finally knelt at his feet when the aging founder of the Hare Krishna movement arrived in Sydney yesterday from Kuala Lumpur.
The slightly built Bengali, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, weary and with the support of a cane, paused in solemn appreciation of more than 30 devotees, who for over a year now have chanted his "mantra" ("Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna...") through the streets of Sydney.
Based in New York City, he spends his time visiting disciples in various parts of the world. The Sydney group raised the money needed to fly him here.
In saffron robe and with the traditional inscription on the bridge of his nose, His Divine Grace, now 75, explained that he was in the final stage of his present life - the Sanyas.
The softly spoken leader of more than one million Krishna supporters said there were four definite stages of life - according to his teaching.
• Brahmacary - the celibate life of the student, usually until about 25 years of age.
• Grihasta - the family life until about 50, the raising of children and the normal Westernised existence.
• Banaprastha - the age of retirement and the shedding of all family ties, taken at any age (in his case at 63).
• Sanyas - a spiritual time in preparation for the next life.
"This final stage," he said, "is a time when the spiritual consciousness of the Krishna movement has been realised and one can look forward to the same spirit living again in a different body."
"The spirit matures but does not change. The body, as you can see, does take on different forms."
His spiritual master - whose name it was not "necessary to know" - had been preparing him since 1933 in Bengal to begin this new movement.
"So in 1966 he sent me to New York to found this culture. It now has one-million followers in 52 branches throughout the world."
The Hare Krishna aim is to bring men to the original consciousness. In this way there can he no animosity, there is no difference. All are one. Everything is One.
"This is a great cultural movement and I hope your leaders from all areas will come and listen, and I hope, understand," he said.
He explained that he had left his family, a wife and grown-up children, in Calcutta in 1950 to continue his spiritual study under his mentor.
His stay in Australia will be determined by his general acceptance from all quarters and the "will of the gods."
Photo: Hare Krishna devotees prostrate themselves at the airport.