In Search of the Ultimate Goal of Life was written by our Divine Guide and Master, Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada just after his entering the renounced order of life in the autumn of 1959. At that time, Srila Prabhupada was living in Sri Vrndavana-dhama and would sometimes practice madhukari. Madhukari means to collect a little food door to door for one’s maintenance just as the bee collects a little pollen flower to flower. Srila Prabhu- pada, however, often requested the householders whom he called upon to give pen and paper for his writing rather than the rice, dahl, and chapatis traditionally sought by holy men practicing madhukari.
On those papers that he received as alms, Srila Prabhupada wrote page after page, prepar- ing his messages of Godhead for the world. Some of the manuscripts he published in his Back to Godhead magazine, and others, like Easy Journey to Other Planets, he printed as small booklets. Although unable to publish everything he wrote, Srila Prabhupada never- theless continued to write and stockpile his manuscripts. Unfortunately, some of the early writings of His Divine Grace were lost after Srila Prabhupada left Sri Vrndavana-dhama to conduct his worldwide campaign of spreading Krsna consciousness.
In 1977, just on the eve of our Divine Master’s departure for the eternal abode of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, I found a handwritten manuscript at the bottom of an old metal trunk in the Radha-Damodara temple. The handwriting was easily recognizable as Srila Prabhupada’s. After the disappearance of His Divine Grace, I carried the manuscript with me wherever I went, showing it to interested devotees. On several occasions, my godbrothers suggested that I publish the manuscript for wide-scale distribution.
The original manuscript of more than two hundred pages was entitled Lord Caitanya: His Sannyasa and Sankirtana Movement. Unfortunately, 40 pages were missing from the middle section. For several years, we searched for those missing pages but were unable to find them. The manuscript was therefore divided into two parts. The first part describes Lord Caitanya’s traveling from Navadvipa-dhama to Jagannatha Puri immediately after His accepting the sannyasa order, the Lord’s visiting the temple of Ksiracora Gopinatha, the pastime of the Gopinatha Deity stealing the offering of condensed milk to satisfy His pure devotee Sripad Madhavendra Puri, and the pastime of the Saksi Gopala Deity ap- pearing as a witness to defeat the atheists. The second part of the manuscript describes the talks between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya when the two met on the banks of the river Godavari in South India.
In the second part of the manuscript, Srila Prabhupada preaches very enthusiastically – discussing the varnasrama system, chastising the materialists, condemning the imperson- alist conception, exposing the imitationists, praising the virtues and characteristics of pure devotion, and entering into confidential descriptions of the nature of rasa-tattva, the transcendental mellowness of spontaneous love of Godhead.