Prepared to live on boiled potatoes and cereal
Bhaktivedanta Swami, arrived in Calcutta about two weeks before the Jaladuta's departure. Although he had lived
Much of his life in the city, he now had nowhere to stay. It was as he had written in his "Vrindavana Bhajana": "I have my wife, Sons, daughters, grandsons, everything, But I have no money, so they are a fruitless glory." Although in this city he had been so carefully nurtured as a child, those early days were also gone forever: "Where have my loving father and mother gone to now? And where are all my elders, who were my own folk? Who will give me news of them, tell me who? All that is left of this family life is a list of names."
Out of the hundreds of people in Kolkata whom Bhaktivedanta Swami knew, he chose to call on Mr. Sisir Bhattacarya, the flamboyant kirtana singer he had met a year before at the governor's house in Lucknow. Mr. Bhattacarya was not a relative, not a disciple, nor even a close friend; but he was willing to help. Bhaktivedanta Swami called at his place and informed him that he would be leaving on a cargo ship in a few days; he needed a place to stay, and he would like to give some lectures. Mr. Bhattacarya immediately began to arrange a few private meetings at friends' homes, where he would sing and Bhaktivedanta Swami would then speak.
A week before his departure, on August 6, Bhaktivedanta Swami traveled to Mayapur to visit the Samadhi of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. "You have ordered me to preach in the west and now after so many years I am going. Please give me your blessings and pray to Krishna to protect me."
As the day of his departure approached, Bhaktivedanta Swami took stock of his meager possessions. He had only suitcase, an umbrella, and a supply of dry cereal. He did not know what he would find to eat in America; perhaps there would be only meat. If so, he was prepared to live on boiled potatoes and the cereal. His main baggage, several trunks of books, was being handled separately by Scindia Cargo. Two hundred three-volume sets-the very thought of the books gave him confidence.
Reference: Excerpts from Acharya book with illustration by Bhaktisiddhanta Dasa