In October 1970 Bhaktivedanta Swami arrives in Bombay with twenty Western disciples to revive Krishna Consciousness in India, where Krishna’s Name had gone nearly extinct. Over the next two years, in an unimaginable display of pure magic, Prabhupada quickly establishes ISKCON as a major spiritual force in India. Follow Shyamasundar’s eye-witness account, from Prabhupada’s first months in Bombay–to Amritsar, Surat, Kumbha Mela, Juhu, Delhi, Vrindaban, Calcutta, Mayapur, Madras, Vizag—as Prabhupada lays the foundations for Krishna’s movement in the land of His birth. In June 1971, Shyamasundar becomes Prabhupada’s personal secretary and travels with him for years around the globe—all over India, to cold-war Russia, to Africa, Australia, the Pacific Rim, across Europe and America—witness to Prabhupada’s incredible achievements. As they travel, Prabhupada and Shyamasundar share a rare blend of philosophy, action, and humor, debating Western philosophers and storming the citadels, laughing all the way. At last, here are Shyamasundar’s never-heard-before, action-packed stories in 500 pages, with 180 rare photos, describing in factual, poetic, and intimate details this most exciting episode in Prabhupada’s amazing journey!
“TO UNDERSTAND PRABHUPADA’S MISSION IN INDIA, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!”
——– H.H. Radhanath Swami
About Author –
I was born in the body of Samuel Speerstra, in Salem, Oregon in May ,1942. From early childhood I thrived on adventure and risk. After graduating from Reed College in 1965, I met Bhaktivedanta Swami in San Francisco in January 1967, and immediately became his disciple Shyamasundar Das. The Swami wed me to my girlfriend Melanie (Malati Devi Dasi) in a smoke-filled storefront in Haight-Ashbury we called the Radha-Krishna Temple. In 1968, to please Swamiji, I traveled with five chosen devotees to London. There, we witnessed firsthand Krishna’s magic display; we befriended the Beatles and, courtesy of Apple Records, spread Hare Krishna Mantra around the world. In October 1970, the Swami took twenty of his Western disciples to India, and together–as Prabhupad and his Dancing White Elephants–we barnstormed the country. In June 1971, Prabhupad accepted me as his Personal Secretary. I was by Prabhupad’s side, day and night, in Europe, USA, Africa, Asia, Australia-even behind Brezhnev’s Iron Curtain. I never saw him sleep, I never saw him make an error of any kind. How did I get this lucky, to observe close-up the life of the Perfect Person? Srila Prabhupad, the Magic Man himself!