June 6, 1995
By Indradyumna Swami
While I was brushing my teeth this morning, one of my teeth fell out. I took it as a sign that at 46 I’m not getting any younger. Srila Prabhupada says in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that old age begins at 50. I also heard a lecture tape recently of Srila Prabhupada in New York City in 1969. “This body is no longer like a young man’s body,” he said. “As soon as you are 50 years, old age begins. And when you are seventy years, you are completely old.”
I suppose if I’d taken things easier throughout my life, my body would be in much better shape than it is now. But I have no regrets. As the Bhagavatam says, “What is the value of a long life inexperienced by years in this world? Better one moment of full consciousness for that begins one on the path of perfection.” Being a traveling preacher is a demanding service and takes every ounce of one’s energy.
Canakya Pandita says:
“A garment becomes old by being left in the sun, a horse becomes old by being left tied up, a woman becomes old from lack of attention from her husband, and travel brings old age upon a man.”
But despite the difficulties, the happiness in being a traveling preacher is unlimited. Not because one gets to see the world—I’ve seen enough of that— but because it is an opportunity to please Srila Prabhupada by completely devoting one’s body, mind, and words to his mission.
Srila Prabhupada wrote the following to Prabhavisnu Maharaja in London in January of 1973:
“I can understand that it is not an easy manner to travel extensively over long periods of time without proper food, rest, and sometimes it must be very cold there also, and still, because you are getting so much enjoyment, spiritual enjoyment, from it, it seems like play to you. That is advanced stage of spiritual life, never attained by even great yogis and so-called jnanis. But let any man see our devotees working so hard for Krsna, then let anyone say that they’re not better than millions of so-called yogis and transcendentalists, that is my challenge. Because you are rightly understanding through your personal realization this philosophy of Krsna consciousness, therefore in such a short time you have surpassed all the stages of yoga processes to come to the highest point of surrendering to Krsna. That I very much appreciate. Thank you very much for helping me in this way.”
This morning I gave a lecture to 100 university students, and in the afternoon I lectured to 300 people at a public program, some of them from the university program. During Govinda Maharaja’s question-and-answer session, I did a television interview for the biggest television network in Kirghistan. They had heard last night’s radio program and came to film our lecture program. This evening I gave a lecture at a devotee’s apartment, where Govinda Maharaja installed Gaura-Nitai Deities. The day was packed full of preaching programs from morning to night.
“Oh Prabhupada, how happy I am to serve you like this, “Always preaching and traveling on,
“As a ﬂowing river remains always clean,
“I pray to remain always pure.”
(Vyasa-puja offering, 1990)