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680824 - Letter to Roland Michener (Governor-General of Canada) written from Montreal

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

August 24, 1968

His Excellency the Right Honorable Roland Michener
Governor-General of Canada
Government House
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Your Excellency,

ISKCON (the International Society of Krishna Consciousness) is a non-lucrative organization, whose purpose is to promote the well-being of human society by drawing its attention to God. We are a non-sectarian society, and our members include people from Christian, Jewish and Moslem as well as Hindu faiths. The aim of ISKCON is not to found a new religious sect, but to invoke the living entity's dormant love of God, and thus provide the human society of all faiths with a common platform of clear theistic knowledge and practice. Members of ISKCON may retain their own respective religious faiths, as ISKCON is meant to establish a clear, practical common formulation of the common ideal of all theists, and to defeat the unnecessary dogmatic wranglings that now divide and invalidate the theistic camp. This common ideal of theism is to develop love of God.

We are following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya to invoke the dormant love of Godhead. The sum and substance of this teaching is that the living entity is eternally the subordinate servant of God, but unfortunately, being sophisticated by illusion, everyone in the human society is trying to predominate over others without accepting the Supreme Predominator. A case in point is the recent Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia.

ISKCON is trying to train people to be situated in that pure condition of life by simple methods, encouraging them to associate always in the matters of God consciousness or Krishna Consciousness, and actually I have good results in the sense that since I have come to the Western countries to preach this cult, my disciples have taken to this principle unhesitatingly although they belong to different faiths and cultures. So I think this propagation of love of Godhead can be pushed forward more and more with good results.

I came to Montreal in the month of June, desiring to stay here, and your Immigration department has kindly accepted me as a landed immigrant. As such, I wish to make Montreal my headquarters for this cultural or religious propaganda in the Western world. I was in search of a nice place in the city, fortunately, I have found one at 722 Sherbrooke Street West, and it is understood that Your Excellency is the ultimate disposer of this property.

If by suitable arrangement, this property is handed over to my society, I can very nicely organize its activities as follows: 1. Establishing a press to publish books and magazines. Many of my books are already published, and one Bhagavad-gita as it is is being published by Mssrs. MacMillan and Co., and is scheduled to appear by the end of October, 1968. Please see also enclosed photo of the late President L.B. Shastri of India accepting my Srimad-Bhagavatam. 2. Chanting, dancing, playing devotional music. 3. Feasting and distributing spiritually prepared food. 4. Training preachers. 5. Holding classes in the philosophy of God realization.

I enquired from Mssrs. Crown Assets Disposal Corporation of Ottawa, and I understand that they have fixed the price of the house at about $400,000.00 (four hundred thousand dollars). So far I am concerned, I cannot pay the whole amount at once, but I can accept whatever terms Your Excellency may be pleased to think proper. But as I am a missionary worker, I can take the responsibility of paying $12,000.00 (twelve thousand dollars) per year, each year in advance. If Your Excellency would kindly consider my activities as very essential for the human society at large, you can do something by which I can make proper utilization of the house as above mentioned. This favor will be a great deal of help to the cause of human society, and good name and fame for the Government of Canada.

Thanking Your Excellency in anticipation of your kind reply, I remain,

Yours truly,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami