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The International Society for Krishna Consciousness was established in New York in the year 1966. After my arrival in the United States in September of 1965, I personally underwent a difficult struggle, and in 1966 I rented a storefront and apartment at 26 Second Avenue. When ISKCON was incorporated, a boy named Chuck Bassett joined me, along with a few others, to form the nucleus for the institution's future development. At this time I used to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra underneath a tree in Tompkins's Square Park in New York. Sriman Burnett and another boy, Bruce, were the first to begin dancing in front of me, and others in the audience joined them. The New York Times published a report of this, with our picture and a headline declaring that I was attracting the younger generation to the Hare Krsna movement.
Later both Chuck and Bruce, along with others, became my initiated disciples, and still later, in 1970, both took sannyasa, receiving the names Acyutananda Svami and Brahmananda Svami. Now Brahmananda is preaching in Africa, and Acyutananda is preaching in India.
When I became sick in 1967, I left the United States and returned to India. Sriman Acyutananda could not remain separated from me, and therefore he joined me in Vrndavana when I was staying there. Since then, Acyutananda Svami has worked very hard in India. He has preached extensively in Calcutta and other parts of Bengal, he has learned how to sing in Bengali and play mrdanga like an expert professional, and now he has compiled this book of Bengali songs with English explanations.
I am greatly pleased to see this collection of songs composed by Thakura Bhaktivinoda, Narottama Dasa, and other great acaryas of the Gaudiya Vaisnava community (sampradaya) . Songs composed by the acaryas are not ordinary songs. When chanted by pure Vaisnavas who follow the rules and regulations of Vaisnava character they are actually effective in awakening the Krsna consciousness dormant in every living entity. I have advised Sriman Acyutananda Svami to sing more songs of the Vaisnava padavali and record them in books so that my disciples and others in the Western countries may take advantage of this chanting and thus advance in Krsna consciousness more and more.
I confer all my blessings upon Acyutananda Svami for his genuine attempt to advance in Krsna consciousness. I hope he will thus advance more and more and never be hampered by maya. We should always remember the danger of Maya's influence and endeavor to save ourselves from her great power. We must therefore always merge in the transcendental mellow of kirtana-rasa, for kirtana-rasa is the safest situation within this material world. Hare Krsna.
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