Even though I am not such a friend of huge crowds, nevertheless, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with devotees and distribute my books. I also enjoyed inviting devotees for lunch in the MVT restaurant while sharing thoughts and realisations.
Due to my cold I did not manage to visit any temples around Vrindavan - I had kept that plan for the last few days of my stay, and now I didn't feel so well. Instead, I enjoyed spending time every day in Srila Prabhupada's house while chanting japa. And attending the morning program and chanting in front of the Deities was a daily must...
This is profound mercy, as Krishna gives us another opportunity to take to the internal path and deepen our Krishna consciousness. Krishna wants to push us to cultivate an unconditional mood, which Mahaprabhu expresses in the eighth verse of the Sri Siksastakam prayers:
"I know no one but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me broken-hearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally."
All these tests and calamities have, no doubt, a deeper meaning. They are highly purifying if we can accept them in a Krishna conscious way, seeing them as His mercy for intense purification of our heart. As we use them to take ever deepening shelter of the Lord and His devotees, Krishna responds by becoming more tangibly present within our lives. This in turn nourishes our faith and dedication and gives joy to His sincere devotee in the midst of the greatest challenges.
Srila Prabhupada explains in the Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 4.186):
"An intense lover of Krishna does not care for any number of material discomforts, scarcity, impediments or unhappiness. It is said that when one sees apparent unhappiness or distress in a perfect Vaishnava, it is not at all unhappiness for him; rather, it is transcendental bliss."
Srila Prabhupada set an exceptional, fully transcendental example for us on how to leave this world. Following in his footsteps as one of his devoted disciples, His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja’s departure showed us how to leave one’s body in fearlessness. He had put aside all designations such as guru maharaja and ‘Bhakti Tirtha Swami’, requesting his disciples not to address him this way. During his last weeks when associating closely with His Holiness Radhanatha Swami in concentrated sravanam kirtanam, he came to a point when he exclaimed in great bliss: “Life cannot become any better than this! We are not merely reading the Chaitanya-charitamrita – we are entering it! For nothing in the three worlds I would want to exchange my present situation for any other!”
Even though his body was falling apart, he had transcended the bodily platform and was enjoying transcendental bliss connecting with the Lord, in the association of his Godbrother. Such transcendental experience is inconceivable to a materialist. He cannot perceive how one can be blissful while facing death in the painful last stage of cancer. He is trapped in the bodily concept of life, overwhelmed by lamentation and grief.
In this way, a spiritualist and materialist are facing old age, disease
and death in a very different frame of mind. What is most horrifying and unwanted for the materialist is Krishna’s loving embrace for a Vaishnava.
A devotee may grow old, but he is not subjected to the symptoms of defeat experienced by a materialist in the same situation. Consequently, old age does not make a devotee fearful of death, like a common man fears death. For Krishna’s devotee, old age is the last chance for intense purification, which he will joyfully accept while patiently and fearlessly hoping for the moment to board the plane back home, back to Godhead.
On the 2nd of November I took a taxi to visit Noida...
Your servant, Devaki dd
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