Śrī Subhas Chandra Bose, the famous freedom fighter of India, came to Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha along with many distinguished personalities to meet Śrīlla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
During their meeting, Śrī Subhas Chandra Bose told Śrīlla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, “Having taken a vow to free our motherland from foreign rule, I have declared a slogan throughout the country: ‘Give me your blood and I promise you freedom.’ I have recently come to know that many young men have taken your shelter. Please entrust some of these men to me, so that they may fight for the freedom of this country.” In reply, Śrīlla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura asked him, “Have you read Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā?”
Śrī Subhas Chandra Bose replied, “Yes, I have.”
Śrīlla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura further inquired, “Do you remember this verse:
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā (8.6)
O son of Kuntī, without fail, a person attains the state of being he remembers at the time he gives up the body.
“Then you must definitely believe in reincarnation.”
“Of course I do,” Śrī Subhas Chandra Bose answered. “Which Hindu in this world does not believe in reincarnation?”
Śrīlla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura then asked him, “If incidentally you happen to die today and are born in England in your next life, will you continue to fight for India’s freedom, or will you fight to maintain dominance over India?”
Śrī Subhas Chandra Bose replied, “I understand your point, but we must certainly think about the freedom of our motherland.”
To this, Śrīlla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura said, “You are concerned merely for the temporary, worldly freedom and liberation of a few persons who at the moment happen to possess the material designation of being Indian. I, however, am concerned about the liberation of not only the whole human race, but of every living entity in this world from the bondage of this material world.”
Śrī Subhas Chandra Bose replied, “I have never heard anything like this before. Before meeting you, nobody had ever described to me such meaningful explanations of the teachings of the Gītā. But I fear I have come a bit too far in my struggle for freedom to look back.” Saying this, Śrī Subhas Chandra Bose left the maṭha without making any further requests for Śrīlla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura to provide him with men to fight for India’s independence.