Published On: Mon, Nov 8th, 2021

“I Have Done My Part”

from Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta – Volume Two

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa mentioned that Prabhupāda would sometimes become upset if he was not informed about ISKCON management, but Prabhupāda said better not to inform him. “Now take it that I am dead,” he said. Tamāla Kṛṣṇa took this remark to mean that the leaders of ISKCON should manage all problems just as if Prabhupāda were no longer present. They should relieve him so he would be free to think of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. And Prabhupāda confirmed that this was the right idea. “Give me that chance,” he said.

After one day in Vṛndāvana, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote,

I was staying in Hrsikesha hoping to improve my health, but instead I have become a little weaker. Now I have come back to my home, Vrindavan. If anything should go wrong, at least I will be here in Vrindavan.

Śrīla Prabhupāda called for Tamāla Kṛṣṇa Goswami. “There are two things,” he said, “ – trying to survive and to prepare for death. It is better to plan for the worst. Arrange to always have three or four men with me. Have kīrtana and read Bhāgavatam all the time. Now I am trying to take little food. Parīkṣit Mahārāja would not even take water.”

Seeing Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mood, Tamāla Kṛṣṇa mentioned the need for a will, and Prabhupāda agreed. A will, he said, was simple enough. Whatever he spoke, several men could sign as witnesses. He recalled how his spiritual master, just before a hernia operation, had made a very simple will on a scrap of paper. Although he never underwent that operation, years later the same will was presented in court and was accepted as evidence against the plots of some of the disciples.

“He was the original founder,” said Prabhupāda, “so whatever he wills, that is accepted.” When Tamāla Kṛṣṇa asked why Prabhupāda’s Guru Mahārāja had not undergone the operation, Prabhupāda replied, “Everyone has their sentiment. He thought that the doctor was paid to kill him.”

“Yes,” said Tamāla Kṛṣṇa, “because sometimes people were actually paid off to kill him. Actually, Śrīla Prabhupāda, you and your Guru Mahārāja were the greatest enemies of modern civilization in this century.”

Śrīla Prabhupāda explained, “This is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission. Bhārata-bhūmite haila … . This is India’s culture. The whole world is in darkness, and they are risking their life in the transmigration of one body to another. He does not know that he is eternal and that in a few years this fragment is passing away, this life is just a passing flash. This is the Vaiṣṇava’s concern. What these rascals are doing? They are jumping like monkeys, wasting time. That is the Vaiṣṇava’s compassion, para-duḥkha-duḥkhī.”

When some other devotees gathered in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s room, Tamāla Kṛṣṇa explained Prabhupāda’s recent decision. “So Śrīla Prabhupāda has decided that the best medicine would be Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and kīrtana, and no need of any doctors who have promised to help save the life. We shouldn’t bring them. And no outsiders.”

“No medicine for the body?” asked a devotee.

“Oh, whatever medicine I am taking,” said Śrīla Prabhupāda, “Yogendra Ras.”

“He has tried so many medicines,” Tamāla Kṛṣṇa said. “Every doctor has come, and they have each given their medicine. And he has tried them. This medicine always works: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and kīrtana.”

“Bhavauṣadhāc chrotra-mano-’bhirāmāt,” quoted Śrīla Prabhupāda. (He had been quoting it again and again.) “It pleases the ear and the mind, bhavauṣadhāc chrotra-mano-’bhirāmāt, ka uttama-śloka-guṇānuvādāt. Make glorification of Bhagavān, and everyone will appreciate it – except the animal.”

At Śrīla Prabhupāda’s request, kīrtanas by a group of no more than four or five devotees and Bhāgavatam readings went on constantly, whether he was in his room, on the veranda, or on the roof. In the morning from five to ten and in the evenings from three to nine he would sit with his eyes closed, absorbed in the kīrtana, “the medicine for the disease of material existence, which gives pleasure to the mind and ear.”

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa promised to Prabhupāda he would read him no letters and bring him no visitors. Prabhupāda had long wanted this, and now it at least would come to pass.

The writing of the will would not be done with the attitude that the end had come, but in the spirit of “preparing for the worst.” It also meant finishing things so they would not have to be done at the last minute. Prabhupāda was concerned that his movement continue securely, with all ISKCON properties in the possession of his disciples within the institution and all his instructions made clear for the future. These matters should be dispatched now in a will, and the G.B.C. men should gather in Vṛndāvana to make these last arrangements and to be with him. Once these things were settled, Prabhupāda would be free to continue writing his books with no worries.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa later asked Śrīla Prabhupāda whether his new decisions indicated that he was losing his desire to fight to live. Śrīla Prabhupāda indirectly admitted it was so. “Therefore,” he said, “I do not wish to leave Vṛndāvana. If, by Kṛṣṇa’s desire, I survive, then we shall see later on. Otherwise … . ”

Even though his secretary did not read him letters or bring him news, Prabhupāda went on thinking. “What about the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple?” he asked. He had been renting his rooms there for years, and the temple proprietors had often challenged his rights. This was just another of his multifarious worries in maintaining his preaching around the world. Prabhupāda advised that his disciples always live in the Rādhā-Dāmodara rooms; that would prevent the landlord from trying to use them for something else. Even while lying quietly, resting, Prabhupāda would turn over such problems in his mind.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa wanted to double check to see that Prabhupāda actually wanted all the G.B.C. men from all over the world to come. It would be costly and demanding, so he wanted to be sure that Prabhupāda really wanted it. When Śrīla Prabhupāda assured him that he did, Tamāla Kṛṣṇa, who saw his service as responding to whatever Śrīla Prabhupāda desired, also spoke in favor of the idea.

“Because they love you,” said Tamāla Kṛṣṇa, “I am sure they will all want to come and be with you.”

“Your love for me,” said Śrīla Prabhupāda, “will be shown by how much you cooperate to keep this institution together after I am gone.”