Chapter 17: That Is My Good Luck

That Is My Good Luck

Vyasa Puja Offering 2018

September 4, 2018


Dearest Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to you!

Today we are celebrating my favorite day of the year: the day of your advent within this material world 122 years ago. In a moment of intimacy, you once shared with one of my godbrothers the reason for your appearance. You were sitting in the quarantine hall at Bombay airport after arriving from Africa. Immigration officials had denied you entry because your servant had forgotten your yellow fever vaccination card.

“I did not want to come to this nasty place,” you commented. Your servant fervently apologized for his mistake, but you clarified your meaning. “I do not mean Bombay. I mean this material world. I did not want to come to this place. It is a horrible place. When Krsna asked me to come I said, “I do not want to go.” But Krsna said, “No, please. Don’t worry. You go down and write books. I will take care of everything!”

And so on His order and with His assurance of protection, you came and expanded His name and fame throughout this planet. Having accomplished this feat which is unparalleled in the history of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, Lord Krsna made You famous throughout the three worlds.

ebe jasa ghusuk tribhuvana

“Your fame is spread all over the three worlds”

[ Narottam das Thakur, Sri Guru Vandana ]

Srila Prabhupada, you told Gurudas in London in 1972: “One day scholars will note how this movement saved the world in its darkest hour.” My dear master, please allow me to expand upon your prophecy: One day scholars will note how you, Srila Prabhupada, saved this world in its darkest hour, for this great ISKCON movement is non-different than you. You created an army of devotees who continue to hold back the advance of Kali Yuga even to this present day!

“Victory! Victory! Victory! I behold something wonderful! All the inauspiciousness of the living entities is destroyed. No one is going to hell. Yamaraja has no more work to do and the effects of Kali-yuga have ceased to exist. This is because all over the world an increasing number of Lord Visnu’s devotees are singing His names while dancing and playing musical instruments.”

[ Divya-prabandha, Tiruvaymoli 5.2.1 by Nammalvar, one of the twelve great
Vaisnava saints from South India ]

Srila Prabhupada, I am always in awe that somehow or other I was swept up in the great tidal wave of mercy you created in your preaching. The saint, Srila Narottam das Thakur, often lamented that he had just missed the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He wrote:

se-saba sangira sange je koilo bilas
se-sanga na paiya kande narottama das

“Being unable to obtain the association of Lord Gauranga accompanied by all of these devotees in whose association He performed His pastimes, Narottama dasa simply weeps.”

[ Lamentation Due to Separation from the Lord and His Associates, from
Prarthana ]

I consider myself most fortunate that I didn’t miss your pastimes on this planet, Srila Prabhupada. To my mind, these are as relishable as the Lord’s, being in direct service to His lotus feet. I feel no lamentation whatsoever in my life, for I was present during your earthly pastimes and somehow you accepted me as your disciple, guaranteeing me an eternal life of bliss and knowledge.

Of course, after your departure, I, like Narottam das Thakur, had to taste the bitterness of separation. But you had prepared me for this situation. Once, I handed you a letter as you were leaving the Detroit temple. I had concluded that letter by saying how much I would miss you. You so kindly wrote back:

“I can appreciate your feelings of separation. I am also feeling separation from my spiritual master, but I always feel that he is watching over and protecting me.”

One time in Cambridge, I shared the contents of that letter with HH Tamal Krsna Goswami. He smiled and showed me a similar letter you had written him in 1977:

“I shall remain your personal guide whether I am physically present or not,
just as I am getting guidance from my Guru Maharaja.”

Srila Prabhupada, I feel your guidance in my life every day. The more I dedicate myself to your service and instructions, the closer I feel to you. During this summer’s festival tour in Poland I felt particularly close to you as our 300 devotees worked together to bring hundreds of thousands of people into direct contact with Krsna consciousness. Several thousands of your books were distributed and over 160,000 plates of prasadam were sold.

All this is not to say that I don’t miss you, because for sure you are very far away in the spiritual sky, relishing confidential pastimes with your beloved Lord. I would like to join you there one day. But I know that to qualify for such confidential service I have to first complete my service to you here in the material world.

yatha yatha gaura padaravinde
vindeta bhaktim krta punya rasih
tatha tathot sarpati hrdya kasmad
radha padambhoja sudhambu rasih

“To the degree that we surrender to Lord Caitanya’s service, to that degree we acquire qualification for service to Radharani’s lotus feet in Vraja.”

[ Sri Caintaya Candramrita, text 88, Srila Prabhodananda Saraswati ]

You instructed me: “Preach boldly and have faith in the holy names.” Srila Prabhupada, despite all the lectures I have given over the years, despite the myriad of places I have visited on this planet on your behalf, and despite all the thousands of festivals we have conducted in your honor, I feel I have only just begun to fulfill those two most valuable instructions you gave me. As a result I must share with you a frustration that is now burning within my heart: with the arrival of old age it is becoming physically more difficult to execute your orders. On top of that, with my own demise not far down the road, I feel I won’t have time to fulfill your instructions.

That being the case, my dear master, I want to say here and now, standing directly before you in the midst of so many exalted vaisnavas, that I am prepared to take as many births as necessary to bring to fruition your desire that all the people of this world receive the holy names. Even now, their spiritual welfare is my constant meditation. During this year’s festival tour my favorite activity was watching people as they entered our festival grounds. One by one, or in groups or families, they would enter, curious and eager for the festivities to begin. Unknown to them, however, in my mind I was offering
each and every one of them to your lotus feet! This is a most suitable offering to one who was requested by the Lord Himself to come and deliver the fallen souls of this world. I wish to continue this service to you for many lifetimes to come.

“O swan gliding in the lakes of the Vraja-vasis’ love, I wish that I may wander everywhere always chanting and drinking the nectar of Your names. Those most sweet names arise from the ocean of Gokula and spread the glories of Your infinitely varied dress and ways of acting. As I wander, behaving like a madman, may I distribute joy to everyone in all the worlds.”

[ Narada Muni, Brhat Bhagavatamrta 1.7.143 ]

Srila Prabhupada I know it would please you if I also developed pure and unalloyed love for the divine couple. It wasn’t that you only wanted us to spread the teachings of pure devotional service, but you desired that we, as your disciples and followers, also achieve that esteemed goal. In a lecture in San Francisco in 1975 you said: “My position is that I want to see that at least one disciple has become a pure devotee. Of course, I have got many sincere and pure devotees. That is my good luck.”

And my “good luck”, Srila Prabhupada, is that you are my spiritual master and that by your mercy I can become a pure devotee of the Lord. It is in that mood that I happily chant my rounds, follow the principles and regularly go on samkirtan to share my good fortune with others:

“I have been immersed for many lives in this ocean of birth and death. Oh Lord Gauracandra! Oh golden moon-like master! If You bestow upon me continuous service to Your brilliant lotus feet, I shall chant and describe to others the glories of Sri Hari forever.”

[ Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Susloka-Satakam, text 99 ]

And in that mood I also associate with my godbrothers and godsisters, those sincere and pure devotees you spoke of back in 1975. It is by their mercy only that I can understand you and your mission in this world.

Therefore, I am also meditating on my good fortune on this auspicious day to have the association of so many sweet devotees, and especially, my wonderful godbrothers, Giriraja Maharaja, BB Govinda Maharaja, Kesava Bharati Maharaja,
Guru Gauranga das and Bada Haridas, five godbrothers who are particularly dear to me and instrumental in perfecting my service to you. By following their example in pleasing you I am assured of success, for you also wrote to me in the early years to “always follow in the footsteps of advanced devotees.”

Srila Prabhupada, I am praying that by such service and association I will truly become your qualified disciple and that in some distant lifetime I will be with you again. Next time it will be especially sweet, as I will be serving you in that world where every step is a dance, every word is a song, every day is a festival and the flute is the constant companion. My dear master, I cannot wait! Please reveal to me that divine abode!

“The Vedas say that to a loyal disciple one may speak the confidential secret. Therefore, O most fortunate one, now please hear the glories of Goloka.”

[ Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Part 2, Chapter 1, text 6 ]

I am now and forever …

Your eternal servant,
Indradyumna Swami