Volume 11, Chapter 8
September 3, 2010
By Indradyumna Swami
“Fulfilling Your Desires”
Dearest Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All
glories to you!
On this auspicious day 114 years ago, you appeared in this world to bestow
causeless mercy on the fallen souls of this age. At the time of your
appearance your glories were unmanifest like a lotus flower that remains
closed in the darkness of night. But by the time you left this world your
glorious deeds heralded an age of enlightenment and were applauded, just as
everyone appreciates the beauty of the lotus which opens at the light of
I feel greatly fortunate to have been part of your pastimes both then and
now. In the beginning I had the chance to hear from you personally, to join
your morning walks and to render you personal service. Such is your merciful
nature that once when I gave you a mere $10 bill, you responded by writing
me a letter encouraging me to chant the holy names, remain strict in my
vows, and follow in the footsteps of advanced devotees.
In the short note that accompanied my donation I mentioned how I would feel
intense separation from you as you continued your travels around the world.
In response you wrote: “I am also feeling separation from my Guru Maharaja,
but I feel that he is always watching over and protecting me.” How prophetic
those words were and how much they’ve come to mean to me after your
inevitable departure from this world.
In the naivety of my spiritual youth I somehow assumed you would always be
physically present amongst us. Your visits to the temples in which I served
in those days were momentous occasions and I thought they would go on
forever. In June of 1974 the temple president in Geneva promised that the
winner of the upcoming book marathon would have the privilege to lead kirtan
at the airport upon your arrival the following month. Eager for such mercy I
distributed books twelve hours a day throughout the competition and won by a
large margin. I can still see your face as you acknowledged the enthusiasm
of the kirtan party and our love for you upon your arrival at the airport.
We continued the kirtan in our van all the way back to the temple, arriving
just before you. Jumping out of the vehicle we greeted you again with a
kirtan that seemed to shake the heavens. As you passed by, you paused for a
moment and smiled at me. At that very moment my life became perfect.
Knowing your heart – how you intensely desire the deliverance of fallen
conditioned souls – I have continued with the spirit of that kirtan to the
present day. For twenty one years we have held a festival tour along the
Baltic Sea coast in Poland that attracts literally hundreds of thousands
people each summer. Well-organized, professional and attractive it has truly
made Hare Krishna a household word in Poland. We have introduced a smaller
but no-less-potent form of the festival in three other continents around the
world. And this year we will take the program in full force to Brazil! You
often spoke of your desire for a World Samkirtan Party. I pray this festival
program has indeed fulfilled that dream.
Srila Prabhupada, your International Society for Krsna Consciousness is
first and foremost a missionary movement. It is our duty as your followers
to keep the flame of that mission burning for the next 10,000 years. As your
disciples we cannot ask anything more of you until we successfully execute
the instructions you have given us to spread Krsna Consciousness all over
the world. By fulfilling your desires in this world, we qualify ourselves to
serve your desires in the absolute world.
“O all-merciful spiritual master, representative of the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, when will my mind be completely surrendered unto your lotus
feet? At that time, only by your mercy, I shall be able to get relief from
all obstacles to spiritual life and I shall attain spiritual bliss.”
[Srila Sridhar Swami, quoted in Krsna Book].
Srila Prabhupada, I know the path of pure devotional service is not easy and
that there are many challenges along the way. But I want you to know that I
am fully satisfied in my service to you and I feel more enthusiasm as each
day passes. I love fulfilling the prophecy of Lord Caitanya that Krsna’s
holy names will be heard in as many towns and villages as there are on this
planet. Is it wrong then to say that I sometimes feel more Krsna conscious
standing on the asphalt streets of Kali Yuga loudly chanting the holy names,
than I do singing and dancing on the marble floors in our temples? Have
those streets not become hallowed ground due to the constant presence of Sri
Nama Prabhu? And isn’t it ironic that the waves of pedestrians and rush hour
traffic with its toxic fumes and blaring horns seem like nectar to my
senses, for all of these remind me of the many blissful years I spent
spreading your message in such surroundings.
Some may consider me mad. In my youth I would hanker for the calm and
peaceful atmosphere of a charming countryside. Now I favor brothels, bars
and discos in cities teeming with the darkness of ignorance. Why? Because
these are the places where people are suffering the most and, as a result,
they are the places where people are ready to hear the timeless wisdom of
Vedic knowledge. How is it possible that such fallen souls addicted to
sinful activities can even begin to understand the higher values of life? It
is possible by the causeless mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who takes
special pleasure in redeeming fallen souls through the sublime process of
chanting, dancing and feasting on food offered to the Lord. To observe such
daily miracles while preaching is to experience the highest pleasure that
life can afford. No one should be amazed by this fact, for it was predicted
in the words of our acrayas centuries ago:
“Everywhere saintly men and women are laughing, the stone-like hearts of the
materialists are melting, and the uneducated are defeating a host of learned
atheists. All this is happening now that the most wonderful and glorious Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu has descended upon the earth.”
[ Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Sri Caitanya-candramrta, Text 120].
Dearest Srila Prabhupada after diving into the nectarine ocean of Sri Krsna
Samkirtan for as many births as you desire, I pray one day to surface in the
eternal realm of Sri Vrindavan Dhama where you now sport in a land of love
and bliss far beyond this world of birth and death. It is a lofty goal and
surely fraught with the many dangers of this mortal world. Nevertheless, I
have firm faith that by following the words that flowed from your pen into
my heart to always chant the holy names, remain strict in my vows, and
follow in the footsteps of advanced devotees I will be assured of success.
Srila Prabhupada in all honesty I do not feel myself be a very competent
servant of yours. I am not an advanced devotee like Sivarama Swami; I am not
a devout scholar like Kesava Bharati Goswami. I can’t lead kirtan like B.B.
Govinda Swami, nor can I give a class like Niranjana Swami. Nevertheless, I
can assure you there is no risk too great for me to accept in my desire to
please you, no challenge so daunting that I will refuse your order and no
danger so ominous that I will ever abandon my duties to you.
On this auspicious day my thoughts are deeply immersed in your divine
personality, your noble deeds and your sublime message. I am missing you
Srila Prabhupada just as I was many years ago when I handed you a token of
my budding appreciation, only now the feelings of separation are stronger.
Such is the result of service to a saintly person who is indeed always
watching over and protecting me.
My dear spiritual master, savoir of my soul, my promise to you on this
auspicious day is that I will continue to do my best in helping you reclaim
the fallen souls of this age. In so doing I beg just one favor of Your
Divine Grace: please be so kind as to pause for a moment and smile at me
again, just as you did on that very special day in Geneva many years ago.
Surely such a benediction will allow me to continue my blissful service to
you now and forever more.
Your grateful servant,