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.

Prabhupada had to pass through U.S. Immigration and Customs in Boston. His visa allowed him a three-month stay, and an official stamped it to indicate his expected date of departure. Captain Pandia invited Prabhupada to take a walk into Boston, where the captain intended to do some shopping. They walked across a footbridge into a busy commercial area with old churches, warehouses, office buildings, bars, tawdry bookshops, nightclubs, and restaurants. Prabhupada briefly observed the city, but the most significant thing about his short stay in Boston, aside from the fact that he had now set foot in America, was that at Commonwealth Pier he wrote another Bengali poem, entitled “Markine Bhagavata-dharma” (“Teaching Krishna Consciousness in America”). Some of the verses he wrote on board the ship that day are as follows:*

 

My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me.

But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place?

Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vasudeva [Krishna]. I do not know how they will be able to understand it.

But I know that Your causeless mercy can make everything possible, because You are the most expert mystic.

How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message.

All living entities have come under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion.

I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message…

How will I make them understand this message of Krishna consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and the most fallen. Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own.

Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure, as You like.

O spiritual master of all the worlds! I can simply repeat Your message. So if You like You can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding.

Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts, they will certainly feel gladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life.

O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like.

I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Krishna. I have been designated as Bhaktivedanta, and now, if You like, You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedanta.

Signed—the most unfortunate, insignificant beggar,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami,
On board the ship Jaladuta, Commonwealth Pier,
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.