November 14, 1996
By Indradyumna Swami
Today is the anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance nineteen years ago. The occasion always causes a devotee to reflect on the mercy of his spiritual master, and his duty towards him. I end this volume of Diary of a Traveling Preacher with this offering to my beloved spiritual master:
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to you, my beloved lord and master.
Srila Prabhupada, you once said that everyone is your disciple, though some know it and others don’t. My understanding of this statement is that everyone is benefiting from the sublime process of Krsna consciousness, which you alone spread throughout the entire world. People of all races, nations, and creeds continuously come into contact with the many varieties of programs you established to spread the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu.
Your greatness is shown when we speak of the results of your preaching, for we must always speak in terms of millions: millions of books gone out, millions of plates of prasadam distributed, millions of people who have heard the chanting of Hare Krsna, and millions who have seen or heard about Krsna through the public media.
Thus, who can dare challenge the fact that you are the most empowered devotee ever to appear on this planet? Of course, you will not take such credit, for you are the perfect example of humility. Whenever you were glorified for your successes, you would always bow your head and say, “It is all the mercy of my Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati.”
Yes, that’s true, Srila Prabhupada, but just as Krsna empowered His most beloved devotee, Arjuna, to fight on His behalf, so Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati empowered his most faithful and beloved son—you—to execute his will. By his grace, you are the most successful of all in spreading the glories of the holy name.
Actually, once you did acknowledge your special position. In 1974, H.H Tamal Krsna Maharaja underwent a hernia operation in a hospital in Bombay. Without his knowledge, you came to the hospital during the operation and waited for him in the patient’s ward. When the operation was over, he was taken back to his hospital bed and was surprised to find you there. He immediately exclaimed, “Srila Prabhupada, during the operation I had the most amazing dream about you.”
“O yes?” you said “What was it?”
He replied, “I dreamt that all the previous acaryas asked you to come before them to give a report on your preaching. You then appeared before Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thäkura, shining like the sun. You began your report by saying that preaching is very difficult on this planet, because of the strong influence of the age of Kali. You explained that most people are addicted to sinful activities and are unable to perform the austerities necessary for spiritual life. You said that due to their gross ignorance they can’t acquire any transcendental knowledge.
Exasperated, the previous acaryas inquired from you, “Is there any hope for them?”
“Yes,” you replied, “there’s hope. They seem to be attached to my lotus feet.”
Srila Prabhupada, that “dream” has come true for countless souls throughout the world. By your grace only, so many people, like my fallen self, have been given the opportunity of serving your lotus feet.
Last week, however, I nearly lost that service by coming very close to death. I almost had to give up my life. It was most fearful, because this is a very special life: it is the life in which I met you, my eternal lord and master. It is the life in which I have been given the greatest privilege to serve your sankirtana movement. When you almost lose something you love, that person, or that object, becomes even more dear to you. Now you and your service are even more dear to me.
For now, I must rest and recuperate my health. But I vow to you on this most auspicious day, that the very minute I can walk again, the very moment I can move, I want to work hard with renewed conviction and determination to help you spread the holy names of Krsna to every town and village. I want to use every ounce of energy I have to spread the glories of devotional service far and wide. I want to help you organize huge programs that will show people the real nature of the spiritual world, where all walking is dancing, all talking is singing, and there’s a festival every day.
Srila Prabhupada, I want to bring hundreds and thousands of conditioned souls to you, so that they may also feel relief from the miseries of material life and the happiness of devotional service to your lotus feet. Those lotus feet alone are the shelter for all conditioned souls, for you are the spiritual master of everyone and the refuge of all the worlds. May all of your disciples, those who know they are and those who don’t, bow down to your lotus feet on this most auspicious day.
Your eternal servant,