Srila Prabhupada: I planned that I must go to America. Generally they go to London, but I did not want to go to London. I was simply thinking how to go to New York. I was scheming, “Whether I shall go this way, through Tokyo, Japan, or that way? Which way is cheaper?” That was my proposal. And I was targeting to New York always. Sometimes I was dreaming that I have come to New York.
Then Bhaktivedanta Swami met Mr. Agarwal, a Mathura businessman, and mentioned to him in passing, as he did to almost everyone he met, that he wanted to go to the West. Although Mr. Agarwal had known Bhaktivedanta Swami for only a few minutes, he volunteered to try to get him a sponsor in America.
Srila Prabhupada: Whatever the correspondence was there between the father and son, I did not know. I simply asked him, “Why don’t you ask your son Gopal to sponsor?” And now, after three or four months, the No Objection certificate was sent from the Indian Consulate in New York to me. He had already sponsored my arrival there for one month, and all of a sudden I got the paper.
Mrs. Morarji scheduled a place for him on one of her ships, the Jaladuta, which was sailing from Calcutta on August 13. She had made certain that he would travel on a ship whose captain understood the needs of a vegetarian and a brahmana. Mrs. Morarji told the Jaladuta’s captain, Arun Pandia, to carry extra vegetables and fruits for the Swami.
A week before his departure, on August 6, Bhaktivedanta Swami traveled to nearby Mayapur to visit the samadhi of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. As the day of his departure approached, Bhaktivedanta Swami took stock of his meager possessions. He had only a suitcase, an umbrella, and a supply of dry cereal.
The Jaladuta, under the command of Captain Arun Pandia, whose wife was also aboard, left at 9:00 A.M. on Friday, August 13. In his diary, Srila Prabhupada noted: “The cabin is quite comfortable, thanks to Lord Sri Krishna for enlightening Sumati Morarji for all these arrangements. I am quite comfortable.” But on the fourteenth he reported: “Seasickness, dizziness, vomiting—Bay of Bengal. Heavy rains. More sickness.”
On the night of the second day, Prabhupada had a dream. Lord Krishna, in His many forms, was rowing a boat, and He told Prabhupada that he should not fear, but should come along. Prabhupada felt assured of Lord Krishna’s protection, and the violent attacks did not recur.
After a thirty-five-day journey from Calcutta, the Jaladuta reached Boston’s Commonwealth Pier at 5:30 A.M. on September 17, 1965. The ship was to stop briefly in Boston before proceeding to New York City. Among the first things Srila Prabhupada saw in America were the letters “A & P” painted on a pierfront warehouse. The gray waterfront dawn revealed the ships in the harbor, a conglomeration of lobster stands and drab buildings, and, rising in the distance, the Boston skyline.
On the nineteenth of September the Jaladuta sailed into New York Harbor and docked at a Brooklyn pier, at Seventeenth Street. Srila Prabhupada saw the awesome Manhattan skyline, the Empire State Building, and, like millions of visitors and immigrants in the past, the Statue of Liberty.