September 26 – November 8, 2005
By Indradyumna Swami
Dearest Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to you!
My glorious master, on this auspicious anniversary of your departure from the world, I once again find myself in the holy land of Vrindavan. It was here that you retired from family life and in your old age began your mission of taking Lord Caitanya’s message to the West.
I too have retired from family affairs, and now I am beginning to feel the effects of aging. Each year, following in your footsteps, I come to take shelter of this holy dhama, and in time I return to my preaching in the West.
My youthful energy and bodily strength have long disappeared, and without your example I might think of relaxing now, but you showed that the latter part of life can be the best time for preaching. As one grows older, the senses, weakened and humiliated in their attempt to enjoy this world, become submissive to the desires of the Lord. The mind, disciplined by decades of chanting the holy names, finds peace and joy in those sacred sounds. And above all, the satisfaction of years of devotional service at last overwhelm one’s attraction to the beauty of this world, and one abandons all that is not essential to devotional service to the Lord.
Srila Prabhupada, a recent illness has forced me to rethink my priorities and has renewed my appreciation for the gifts you’ve given me: your merciful shelter, the Mahamantra, service to the Vaisnavas, and the privilege of being part of the sankirtan movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
During my recuperation, I remembered how you had once given me a piece of your own clothing. “A gift from a Vaisnava is a very special thing,” you said. As love is reciprocal, I want to return your kindness and give you what I know pleases you the most: the spreading of Krsna consciousness throughout the world.
My illness was a mixed blessing. Although it forced me away from the field of preaching for over a month, it has made me see more clearly that life is full of suffering, not just my own but that of others as well. Now is not the time to become inactive. On the contrary, my health has been rejuvenated, and I am duty bound to use whatever years remain for sharing my good fortune with others. Though my pace may slacken, please bless me that my words and realizations may deepen, enabling others to obtain your mercy as well.
On this auspicious day I pray for the determination to preach your sublime message until my final breath. In the end, if my heart is purified and you feel it appropriate, please let me assist you in your eternal service in the spiritual sky. By your grace alone is such mercy possible.
vettha tvam saumya tat sarvam
bruyuh snigdhasya sisyasya
guravo guhyam apy uta
And because you are submissive, your spiritual masters have endowed you with all the favors bestowed upon a gentle disciple. Therefore you can tell us all that you have scientifically learned from them.
[ Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.8 ]
In a few days, I will follow your example and leave Vrindavan. Though I come to this transcendental abode each year, I have yet to fathom its wonders. It is said that all the opulence of Vaikuntha cannot compare to even one particle of dust from this holy realm. I am certainly not qualified to stay here, but I know that by preaching the glories of Vrindavan in separation, I may one day develop the qualification to serve here forever. Certainly this will be your greatest gift upon me.
I thank you for everything.
Your eternal servant,