[In reference to Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja]
He became ready and took sannyāsa where you are sitting, in the middle of this room, in front of the Deities. His own Deity, Mahāprabhu, is also here with Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. I was the priest. I made his daṇḍa, uttarīya (sannyāsa upper cloth), and all other items; and I taught him how to use them. Though he was so much senior to me, though he was my śikṣā-guru, I also became his śikṣā-guru in this—how to take sannyāsa and how to use all these paraphernalia.
I met him in 1946 in Calcutta, when there was no ISKCON. He was apparently simply a gṛhastha Vaiṣṇava. He had been a friend of my Gurudeva since 1923. My Guru Mahārāja was somewhat senior because he joined Śrīla Prabhupāda in 1916. He left his university studies and everything else in 1918, and at that time he fully joined. Then, in 1923, Śrī Abhaya Caraṇa De was initiated by Śrīla Prabhupāda—first harināma and then dīkṣā initiation. In 1941, our Guru Mahārāja established Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti, and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swami Mahārāja was also one of the establishers. When I met him in 1946, there was no ISKCON. He was alone, but he was serving his Gurudeva, Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, in so many ways.
September 28, 2004 Mathurā