Can you please give us some of your childhood background?
I appeared in the town of Kapurthala in Punjab on 2nd June 1932. At a very young age I left my parent’s home and was raised by his maternal grandfather, a devout Vaishnava and a renowned astrologer. Under his personal guidance, I memorised the details of the “Ramayana” at the age of eleven, and a few years later, by the mercy of my Guru Maharaja, I memorised all the verses of Bhagavad Gita. Right from a young age I was raised as a missionary. At the age of 16, in the year 1949, I was initiated into the Vaishnava Sampradaya by His Holiness Tralochandev Maharaja.
When did you come to the West?
I studied at the Punjab University and after qualification joined the Civil Service Education Board, serving as the Headmaster in a Secondary school, teaching English, Hindi and Social Studies. I was ordered by my Spiritual Master to renounce my Civil Servant duties and embark on a journey to the west with the aim to preach Sanatana Dharma. Thus on 3rd April 1966, I left Bharat for the UK and started preaching in London.
How did you meet Srila Prabhupada?
As destiny would have it, one day some ISKCON devotees visited my residence and invited me to the temple in Bury Place. The Temple president kindly requested me to give regular classes, both in English and in Hindi on Sundays and festival days.
Then, during the historical 1973 London Ratha Yatra, when Srila Prabhupada graced the occasion, I had the divine opportunity to take darshan of Srila Prabhupada and later I had a personal meeting with Srila Prabhupada at Bhaktivedanta Manor. At that very first meeting Srila Prabhupada suggested that I renounce the grihasta ashram and take up Sannyasa. Although I was the eldest of seven sons, and also father of three sons, I renounced my family attachments when the sons were old enough and accepted Srila Prabhupada as my Sannyasa Guru.
Are you still travelling and preaching Krishna consciousness?
I had a quadruple heart bypass operation in 1986, but by the Lord’s grace, I had been constantly travelling and preaching the message of Sanatana Dharma all over the world, including countries such Bharat, Mauritius, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Spain, Portugal, USA, Trinidad, Surinam, Grenada, Venezuela, Guyana, UK etc. Nowadays I mainly travel to South Africa, Mauritius and the UK, using Bharat as my base.
(In July 1987, the GBC appointed His Holiness Krishna Das Maharaj as an initiating Guru. Since then he has initiated over 400 disciples all over the world and is an inspiration to thousands of others.)
When did you first meet Srila Prabhupada?
My first face to face meeting with Srila Prabhupada was at Bhaktivedanta Manor after witnessing his incredible pastime at the famous 1973 London Rath Yatra where Srila Prabhupada danced along the whole route of the procession from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square.
Was that meeting important to you?
The meeting at Bhaktivedanta Manor was one of the most significant events of my life. I entered Srila Prabhupada’s room upstairs as a grihasta (living in household life) and a few hours later I left as a sannyasi (renounced order of life).
Wow. That is a big lifestyle change.
When I met Srila Prabhupada, he asked about my past. I explained that I was born in a Brahmin vaisnava family and had accepted initiation from a Vaisnava guru in 1950. Srila Prabhupada asked in what disciplic line was my guru. I answered the Brahma sampradaya and he was ecstatic and immediately requested me to help his movement. However he went further and asked me to accept sannyasa from himself. I was taken back by Srila Prabhupada’s bold preaching and after hours of discussion I was convinced.
However,I said that although I accept him as my siksa guru I would need the permission of my spiritual master before taking sannyasa.
After the meeting I wrote to my diksa guru informing of your extraordinary work and devotion. He immediately replied that I should assist Srila Prabhupada in every way possible and accept sannyasa from you. Since that amazing meeting at Bhaktivedanta Manor I accepted Srila Prabhupada as my siksa and sannyasa guru.