Chapter 11: Farewell

October 15, 2007
By Indradyumna Swami

Dear Nirguna prabhu,

Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I am following the news of your departure from this world due to cancer through the Dandavats website, as well as through devotees who are coming to Vrindavan from Mayapura Dhama. The website has a telephone number and an invitation to call you and say farewell. However, it is too painful for me to say goodbye that way. I prefer to write. In this way it’s easier for me to reveal my thoughts and express the way I feel.

Like all devotees, I’m saddened by your imminent departure. Although you and I have known each other for only a few years, I feel we have developed a strong bond of affection. I remember when I visited Prabhupada Village in North Carolina a few years ago you gave me a gift of several thousand dollars. It was a significant donation from a simple householder like you, and I was very touched. You spoke highly of my services and I was humbled. I remember inviting you to visit our festival tour in Poland. Like many, you expressed an eagerness to attend; my experience has been, however, that few actually do. So I was delightfully surprised when a few months later you wrote to say you were actually coming that summer.

Curious, I began asking various devotees more about you. I am happy to report that each and every devotee I contacted in America had only praise for your many years of service to our beloved spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. Time and again I heard you glorified as a long-standing book distributor, humble devotee, loyal ISKCON follower, and, most significantly, a Prabhupada Man. I became elated that you would join us on the tour. And join us you did! As soon as you came you were giving classes, going on harinama, preaching in the Questions and Answers tent, and helping in any way requested of you. Many tour devotees remarked how enthusiastic you were. It was our good fortune that you visited several times over the years. On behalf of all the Polish festival tour devotees, I thank you very much.

As I hear about you going through this final challenge, I can only admire the example you are setting. Your courage and your faith in Krsna at this momentous hour is outstanding. I noticed the same in our godbrother Sridhar Maharaja before his departure. It gives me confidence that I, too, can follow in the footsteps of such godbrothers and be fearless at the time of death. I believe such fearlessness is due to detachment from all the temporary things of this world and a genuine love for the spiritual master and Krsna. Such realizations come only after a lifetime of sincere and dedicated service.

I remember also seeing the same courage and faith in my disciple Vraja Lila dasi when she left her body a few years ago. Her words to me, just days before she passed away, remain in my heart like a beacon of light illuminating the path from this world to the next. I offer them to you as a meditation in your final hours:

My dearmost Spiritual Master,

I bow down to your lotus feet. All glories to you.

Everything is going away from my hands; every material hope which I had. But I am still a child in spiritual life. I wish I had a little love or spiritual bhava within my heart. But I have deep, firm faith in you. I am happy because of this faith, and I’ll be keeping it as a great treasure. It gives me another kind of faith to be back in the spiritual world and attain the service of the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Syamasundara. And this kind of faith is faith in real things which, I am sure, are existing and are just waiting for me at that side of the door. I am indebted to you so much that you are guiding me in my spiritual life, although I feel so much separation from you.

Your servant,
Vraja Lila dasi

* * *

My dear Nirguna prabhu, we have only our guru maharaja, Srila Prabhupada, to thank for guiding all of us safely back to the spiritual world. And for the service you have rendered in this lifetime you can be assured of eternal service to his lotus feet in that transcendental abode. Therefore, you have nothing to lament as you prepare to leave your diseased and pain-ridden body. It is for those of us who will remain to lament our prolonged existence in this miserable world. But while we are here, let us try to follow your wonderful example in preaching the glories of the Lord until the end.

Please tolerate any pain and inconvenience you will endure in these final days. It is something we must all experience, without exception. Know for sure that Srila Prabhupada is waiting for you. He once wrote me, “Yes, I am also missing my guru maharaja, but I always feel that he is watching over and protecting me.”

Thank you for your brief association in this lifetime. I only wish I had had the honor to meet you earlier. I hope to be blessed with the good fortune of serving with you in a future lifetime. Or perhaps, by the causeless mercy of Srila Prabhupada, we may meet again soon in the spiritual sky . . . where all walking is dancing, all talking is singing, and there’s a festival every day.

I love you and will miss you dearly.

Your servant,
Indradyumna Swami