Chakra Announcements

Swami philosophical about amputation

by Bhakti Tirtha Swami

Posted December 26, 2004

Some of the devotees have written and called me inquiring about what my present existence looks like at this time. I guess they are reflecting on how I used to maintain a schedule of having four to six preaching engagements in a day, I rarely ate more than once in a day and rarely slept up to six hours. Anyway, that's another lifetime ago.

Now I try if possible to eat three times in a day; most times I do not have much appetite because of underlying nausea. I think I now have a handle of what works best with my sugar diabetes. Now I eat twice and have a light snack in the evening. As far as sleeping, I doze and wake up every hour or so, either from the shaking and pain from the cancer in the foot, the high fever at night, or from my accelerated prostate problem, which has got worse since the cancer. Now I find myself painfully passing urine every hour and a half. Most nights, due to high fever, I am constantly wiping my body off to avoid lying in a puddle of sweat.

In the mornings, getting to the bathroom is most difficult, since I am not able to walk now, but I bounce on a walker. Doing things like brushing my teeth, shaving and showering is so tiring that I have to constantly pause to catch my breath to avoid seemingly fainting.

On another note, each morning I receive great blessing through the mercy of H.H. Purusottama Maharaja. Several months ago when he was in Washington, D.C, he gave me the most sublime package that included a very special cloth, oils, prasadam from Mayapur Deities and rice directly from Jagannatha Puri.

I especially take one grain of rice each day to remind me that all the other medicines and treatments are secondary to Lord Nrsimhadeva and Jagannatha's mercy. I chant my japa; of course, this is later in the morning. Each day I try to listen to a tape of one of the leaders as a way to get your association and to feel like I am still in the battlefield with you, then I start my IV's which go on and off during the day, in addition to other medications.

Most of the day I am lying on my back in bed; later in the day I am also on my back, but reclining on the couch. During the day, I have different devotees to read to me. I do very little reading and answering of emails, and of course when I can, I am receiving your phone calls. Every moment that I can grab, I pray to Srila Prabhupada (even though my discomfort seems more than I can bear) that he please continue to allow me to experience whatever is necessary for my own purification and for the benefit of the Society.

Now that I have taken time to explain about my situation, when we communicate on the phone or other means there will be little need to talk about my bodily condition, but we can look deeper to discuss our realizations and ways that we can better serve each other in the mission of Srila Prabhupada. I have no idea what the near future holds for me, but I am simply praying that, with all of your prayers, the ultimate outcome of my present situation will be for Srila Prabhupada's satisfaction and pleasure.

Sometime after the amputation when I am more stabilized I will send a personal update. Again I must thank all of you for moving with me through this difficult journey. I guess this is a part of what real Spiritual Community is for.

The amputation was scheduled for Thursday, December 23rd at a hospital in Washington, D.C. As always, your prayers are very much appreciated. I am most grateful for all your encouraging and loving letters.

Many years ago at the Mayapur festival, Srila Prabhupada called the leaders to his room and asked them to pray for me. Jayapataka Maharaja wrote about this in his congregational preaching magazine. At that time I was Ghanashyama brahmacari; I was distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and taking many risks in Communist countries.

Jayapataka Maharaja mentioned that the leaders said: "Srila Prabhupada, your prayers and blessings are more than sufficient." Srila Prabhupada replied, "No, Krsna will respond to the prayers of the Vaisnavas." Obviously this was Srila Prabhupada's humility. My understanding was that Srila Prabhupada was also empowering the leaders as they came together to do service.

As everyone knows, I am a utilitarian as well as an opportunist, so I am seeing an opportunity here. I will be praying to Srila Prabhupada and Krsna to allow this amputation to help me to deepen my own spiritual life, and to free me of unnecessary attachments. I will also ask Srila Prabhupada to please allow the pain from all the hurt and disappointments that I may have caused any devotee, including ISKCON leaders, to go into the foot that will be amputated. I hope this will allow us to open up a bright chapter in our spiritual lives. This prayer particularly includes the Gurukulis.

Actually, I am requesting that we all see how to forgive those who have hurt us, not to forget, but to learn from the past, while we look forward to a brighter future. This is also a special time for me to ask forgiveness from those whom I have offended or agitated by my style of serving Srila Prabhupada.

We do not know the outcome of this operation, whether it will be successful, or how many months or years it wlll add to my life. Some of the present astrological evaluations from the devotees, are suggesting that I will probably get better for a while, but up and down for sometime, then later this year I will most likely depart. Of course we all know that ultimately the final decision is up to Srila Prabhupada and Krsna.

Srila Prabhupada himself said, "Krsna considers the prayers of His devotees." Personally, I am prepared to accept any outcome as an expression of Srila Prabhupada's love.