My dear , today is the day according to the Vedic calendar that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada departed from this world. It happened 44 years ago on November 14, 1977, in Vrindavan, India, in his rooms at the Krishna-Balarama temple, surrounded by hundreds of his disciples chanting Hare Krishna. Up until moments before his passing, he was dictating commentaries on the tenth canto of the
In this regard Satsvarupa Maharaja has written:
"As part of his instruction and example, Srila Prabhupada knew he would have to show people just how to die. He had escaped death a number of times-by Krishna's grace, by the prayers of his disciples, and by his own pure and powerful will to propagate his movement. But from the signs given to him by Lord Krishna in 1977, Srila Prabhupada began decisively and conclusively endheing his mission in the material world. And among his final duties was his giving
complete guidelines on how to die. He was perfectly showing how to do that which everyone has to do, but which is most difficult to do successfully: die."
I still remember what I was doing when I got the horrible news of my most beloved Srila Prabhupada's departure. As the head cook of our ISKCON temple in Houston, Texas USA I was in the kitchen doing some devotional service when I got the devastating news. With a heavily grievous heart I immediately entered the temple room and bowing down at the lotus feet of our life size deity of Srila Prabhupada in which Srila Prabhupada was fully
present I offered my offered heart-felt obeisances by chanting:
nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine
namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
(Translation: I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, who is very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.")
And then I sang this song by the great Vaisnava acharya, Srila Narottama Das Thakur:
je ānilo prema-dhana koruṇā pracur
heno prabhu kothā gelā ācārya-ṭhākur
He who brought the treasure of divine love and who was filled with compassion and mercy—where has such a personality as Śrīnivāsa Ācārya* gone?
kāhā mora swarūp rūpa kāhā sanātan
kāhā dāsa raghunātha patita-pāvan
Where are my Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rūpa Gosvāmī? Where is Sanātana? Where is Raghunātha dāsa, the savior of the fallen?
kāhā mora bhaṭṭa-juga kāhā kavirāj
eka-kāle kothā gelā gorā naṭa-rāj
Where are my Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa and Gopāla Bhaṭṭa, and where is Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja? Where did Lord Gaurāṅga, the great dancer, suddenly go?
pāṣāṇe kuṭibo māthā anale paśibo
gaurāṅga guṇera nidhi kothā gele pābo
I will smash my head against the rock and enter into the fire. Where will I find Lord Gaurāṅga, the reservoir of all wonderful qualities?
se-saba saṅgīra saṅge je koilo bilās
se-saṅga nā pāiyā kānde narottama dās
Being unable to obtain the association of Lord Gaurāṅga accompanied by all of these devotees in whose association He performed His pastimes, Narottama dāsa simply weeps.
Of course, to think that the spiritual master dies is only a superficial understanding. The fact is that the spiritual master lives forever in the hearts of his followers and his followers live with him.
His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada flooding the whole universe with a tidal wave of pure transcendental bliss ki jaya!
Sankarshan Das Adhikari
P.S. When I was a young brahmacari Srila Prabhupada wrote me in a letter from London on 7 September 1971 the following most sublime and encouraging instructions:
"I can see also that you are a very sincere and enthusiastic boy and are anxious for spreading this movement. Those are first class qualifications for making advancement in Krishna Consciousness. So continue enthusiastically as you are doing and Krishna will surely bless you."
Srila Prabhupada resides eternally in my heart giving me this most sublime instruction at every moment. By my maintaining on Srila Prabhupada's order a constant enthusiasm for making the whole world Krishna conscious Lord Sri Krishna is showering me with an ocean of unlimited loving mercy at every minute.