The big news around the temple is that Tamal Krishna is leaving for London. Everybody is talking about it. Tamal is excited about the prospect of being with Prabhupada, meeting the Beatles, and maybe even chanting with them. With the Beatles' help, the devotees had become famous throughout Europe, and the maha-mantra was still the number one song. Prabhupada had also mentioned the World Sankirtan Party. From the beginning Mukunda had always been considered for the party. Mukunda had started the San Francisco temple with Shyamasundar and Gurudas, and along with their wives, Janaki, Malati, and Yamuna, they have now opened up Europe and made Hare Krishna famous. Of all the devotees, they had impressed Tamal the most. "They are all in London, and Prabhupada is calling me too! He is linking us up. Soon he will take us around the world, chanting and dancing in ecstasy."
Dina Bandhu: I was in LA when Prabhupada asked Tamal Krishna to go to London. All the devotees knew that Tamal and Vishnujana had asked Prabhupada that they should always be able to do service together, that they should never be separated. So it was a big thing that Tamal was going and Vishnujana was staying. It was a big thing that they were being separated. They were in San Francisco together, they were in LA together, and there was some promise that they could always do service together. They had always been inseparable, always attached to one another. There was Tamal Krishna the administrator, and Vishnujana the kirtan leader. Someone had to take charge, and Tamal Krishna did. He managed everything. He was ambitious. Vishnujana distributed the taste of chanting Hare Krishna by tasting it directly himself. They both had the realization of devotional service and the confidence to carry it out. Vishnujana was like the mother and Tamal Krishna like the father. Together they had carried the La Cienega temple.
Tamal begins winding up his affairs in Los Angeles. He is prepared both physically and mentally to leave for a new frontier, a new adventure, side-by-side with his spiritual master. Final instructions quickly arrive from London. "A two-way ticket is being sent to New York for you to come to London, so you may go to New York as soon as possible and do the needful. At least if you remain so long as I am here, then we can return back together. Regarding Los Angeles business, for the time being you can entrust this to Gargamuni and Stoka Krishna. So far as corresponding with the other West Coast presidents, that can be done from here also. Here you can talk with Mukunda and others about the World Sankirtan Party. There is good possibility. Simply it requires some good organization. Therefore you are called. So far as I am concerned, as I already told you, after this European tour I am going to retire from active work and retire for writing books. So any place suitable I shall stay and give you directions. I am now confident that at least one dozen of you have understood the philosophy and the matters by which it can be handled. So from the background if I give you some inspiration, the whole society shall run on nicely. We shall talk of these things when you come." Letter to Tamal Krishna, November 4, 1969
Tamal is elated reading this letter. "Prabhupada wants to speak to me confidentially when I arrive in London!" For months he had dreamed of going to Europe to join the preaching. Now Krishna has fulfilled this desire. Prabhupada is not only expressing confidence in his leadership abilities, but considers him among the few devotees who have understood the philosophy. He is thinking of entrusting the running of the whole society in the hands of these chosen few. Tamal has risen quickly within the ranks and stands poised to accept responsibility at the pinnacle of ISKCON leadership. He had always been in the vanguard of the West Coast preaching activity, along with Vishnujana, who had a magnetic way with kirtan and people. The balance had been very successful and Tamal loved that balance. What would happen now? Vishnujana never desired to take a management position. He was fully satisfied by kirtan. Originally, he had joined the hippie movement looking for enlightenment, searching for a spiritual solution. The promise of the hippie movement, with its strictly alternative lifestyle, had seemed to be the answer. Now he has left that behind. Prabhupada has placed him on the platform of transcendence, and he wants to share this consciousness with others.
Kesava: Tamal Krishna was the administrator and Vishnujana was the champion of the people. Tamal always dominated, but we understood that he was from New York and that was the way he dealt. They had known each other before. They had been in Morning Star together and had a real attachment for each other. Vishnujana was never going to betray the principles of the hippie movement; of a purely alternative solution. He was a true product of the hippie movement in love and peace. That was something that connected with Krishna consciousness, and he wasn't going to lose sight of that. And he wasn't going to prevent other people from coming to the same conclusion. He couldn't have done that ever, because then he wouldn't have been the Vishnujana that we knew. He proved to us that there was more pleasure in chanting than anything else. Ecstasy and bliss was our goal. Vishnujana was the example of that more than anyone else. He made a point of seeing that individual people got the taste. Prabhupada was giving the taste, and Vishnujana was making sure that people got the taste. He had the patience to stop and help devotees with problems. "Oh, you're not feeling well?" He could tell just by looking at people. He'd help them understand what this is all about. Vishnujana is a great help to Prabhupada by his service of making sure people experience the taste of sankirtana. In this way, he is a link in the parampara and frees Prabhupada to concentrate on other important aspects of the movement. By this mood he becomes the transparent via medium of his spiritual master. Similarly, Tamal Krishna relieves the burden of management from Srila Prabhupada's shoulders.
On the day of his departure, Tamal calls the devotees together for a last meeting. He praises them for all the service they have done and encourages them to carry on expanding the sankirtana movement as he is doing by going to London. From his personal collection, he distributes photographs of Prabhupada to each devotee, trying to match the mood of the picture with the mood of the individual. Individual pictures of Srila Prabhupada are considered treasures. There are few magazines to cut them out of and even fewer actual photos, so not every devotee has a picture. Because they are so hard to come by, devotees who have their own picture treasure it. Each photo carries with it the love of the person who gives it and remains the special individual photo of Srila Prabhupada that nobody else has. Prabhupada is there in his picture, and some devotees say that they can even see him moving or speaking in these pictures! By distributing his Prabhupada pictures as gifts, Tamal's loving gesture endears him to every devotee. Tamal experiences an intimate loving exchange as he prepares to leave. All of a sudden, he realizes he is leaving home and family. They are all that he has. They have grown up together in Krishna consciousness, some even going back to those first days in San Francisco. Vishnujana had been his best friend even before they joined the movement. He was the best friend he ever had. They had both accepted Prabhupada's lotus feet and been delivered from the material ocean of repeated birth and death. They had sworn to always stay together the first moment they met in the forest at Morning Star Ranch. Now they are separating. But it is all for a higher cause. Steadying his mind, Tamal fixes his consciousness on Prabhupada's order.