September 8, 2023
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to you!
My dear spiritual master, as we find ourselves in the twilight of our lives, my godbrothers, godsisters and I are coming face-to-face with the harsh realities of material existence that you so poignantly warned us about in the innocence of our youth: birth, disease, old age and death. The stark experience of these sorrows serves as a sobering reminder that your words of wisdom about the material world always ring true. However, even more significant to us – and indeed to devotees of any age – is the positive alternative you compassionately bestowed upon us all: the path back home to the spiritual world, where life is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. If there is any advantage to growing old, it is that we now hold this alternative closer to our hearts than ever before!
I am eternally grateful for your direct guidance and blessings. Your instructions to “preach boldly and have faith in the holy names” have been the guiding principles of my life in Krsna consciousness. Your unwavering faith in the power of the Hare Krsna mantra has instilled a deep conviction within my own heart. Your dedication to spreading Krishna consciousness through large-scale events has been the source of inspiration for the same service I offer to your lotus feet. And your profound love for Vrindavan, that sacred abode which you so mercifully revealed to us all, has been the motivation for my ongoing research efforts and weekly lectures on the dhama. Through your grace alone, I have spent the last 50 years sharing the joy of Krsna consciousness with others; my goal has been to make your divine presence felt in every kirtan I lead, in every lecture I deliver, and in every soul I meet on this sacred journey.
My dear spiritual master, your arrival in the Western world was a turning point – a pivotal moment – in the history of spirituality on this planet. Your journey from the shores of India to the distant land of America was not just a physical one; it was a transcendental voyage on which you carried the eternal wisdom of our scriptures to the eager hearts of seekers across the globe. Your Bhagavad-Gita As It Is has become a timeless classic, and your Srimad Bhagavatam will continue to illuminate the path of bhakti for many generations to come. May your words continue to resonate in the hearts of all those who encounter them and may your legacy shine eternally as a ray of hope and love in this world. Your literary contributions are a veritable treasure trove of spiritual knowledge, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to share these jewels with others. May I always remain a faithful servant in your divine mission to spread the glories of Krsna far and wide, as I know this pleases Your Divine Grace.
Srila Prabhupada, I long for the day I can be with you again in person. But I know I must earn that privilege through the medium of service to your lotus feet. Throughout this past summer, amidst the exhilarating kirtans we held with the many guests who attended our festivals along the Baltic Sea coast in Poland, I often gazed towards the heavens and wondered if you were watching. I earnestly prayed for a sign that you were aware of our efforts to please you.
Then, one night, I had a dream that I was chanting japa while strolling through a picturesque park. Suddenly, you were there! You were walking towards me in the company of several of my esteemed godbrothers. Overwhelmed, I prostrated myself at your feet. As I rose, you passed by and turning towards me, you kindly said, “You are doing well. I am pleased with you. Continue as you are.”
I took great inspiration from that dream, Srila Prabhupada. My godbrother Hayagriva dasa recounted in his book, The Hare Krsna Explosion, that you told him that although most dreams are simply functions of the mind, dreams of the spiritual master are of spiritual significance.
“If the guru gives instructions in a dream,” you said to him, “the disciple is supposed to follow them. When I came to the West my spiritual master repeatedly advised me in a number of dreams.”
Srila Prabhupada, I am determined to continue “doing well” so that you will be “pleased with me” and so that my cherished desire to be with you again will come true. Honestly, nothing else matters to me in this world. I stand prepared to accompany you to any corner of the three worlds in order to propagate Krsna consciousness. I beg you, my dear spiritual master, to please be present with me when I leave this mortal frame one day. Please take me by the hand and lead me to my next service. I promise wholeheartedly to try to make you proud! And sometime in the future, when the day arrives that your mission in this world has been achieved, perhaps you will take me home to Sri Vrindavan dhama to serve you eternally in that transcendental abode.
Until then, I will keep memories of days spent with you locked safely within my heart. From time to time, I will unlock those treasures and gaze upon them with relish. One time you left your chaddar on the vyasasana after a lecture on a grassy lawn in New Mayapura in France. Seizing the opportunity, I grabbed that chaddar and carefully carried it back to your quarters in the chateau. After knocking softly on your door, I entered to find you motionless, staring out the window at the large assembly of devotees and guests starting to take prasadam on the lawn. After a minute, you turned around and with tears flowing down your cheeks, you said softly, “Let them take Krsna prasadam!”
Srila Prabhupada, I miss you more than words can express. I relive that moment again and again in hopes of meeting you once more.
The Vrajavasi poet, Rasika dasa, has written:
kabahu dekhun ina nainana, udata upraina sundara cala, nasata tapa hridaya te bhapa
kabahu dekhun ina nainana, sundara-mukha daya jhalakata hai, kripa sisya pe karata rasala
kabahu sunu jhankara sri-mukha ki, sravanana milata rasa jhalakata hai
rasikadasa-vira kabahu men calatahu pache, prita-rita me punha-milana ki bata
1) When will I see again the glorious gait of my guru who, with his chaddar flowing in the wind, removes the distress in the hearts of his disciples?
2) When will I again behold with these eyes the beautiful and merciful face of my guru, whose eyes are dripping the most condensed form of mercy which melts the hearts of his disciples?
3) When will I again hear his nectarian words which reveal the blissful pastimes of the Divine Couple in my heart?
4) The poet Rasika dasa says, “Oh brother, tell me please, when will that day come when I will walk beside my guru again, relishing our sacred reunion?”
Srila Prabhupada, I am and will always be,
Your eternal servant,