The Passing of Vibhucaitanya
Posted December 26, 2007
Last night on the 22nd of December at 9:43 in the evening Vibhucaitanya Prabhu passed from this world. Kirtan had been going on in his room for around eight hours led by various devotees as it was apparent that he was ready to leave.
Finally Aindra Prabhu came and began a very slow sweet kirtan that went on for hours. Almost all the senior devotees in Vrindavan came at one time or another to take part in the kirtan. Since the day before, it appeared that he was no longer conscious and he was sleeping peacefully with very shallow breathing. We were all very sad, but also happy that now he would be joining Those Lords for whom he had cooked for so many years.
Probably most of the younger devotees who come to Vrindavan knew nothing about him as for the last several years his legs did not allow him to come out of his room. He was so humble he didn't want to trouble anyone to carry him for darshan either. But his room had been transformed into the spiritual world. At the head of his bed, there was a small altar and all around there were pictures of Srila Prabhupada, Gaura Nitai, Krishna Balarama, and Radha Shyamsundara. It really felt like you entered as special kunja in the spiritual world when you came to visit him. Outside of the temple room it must have been the most transcendentally wonderful place in our temple complex.
In the beginning he used to cook for These Lordships every day from early morning to late at night. He would chant very sweetly while he cooked, such that Srila Prabhupada told him that there was no need for him to chant rounds, he should just chant and cook for the Deities. And so it was that he rose every day at 2:30 AM to go and cook for the Lords. Then he would come back after the noon offering for a while and again go back till late in the evening.
He was always so happy and joyful and never seemed to be disturbed by anything. All the devotees loved him with great affection. He would often be seen after the noon offering outside his room feeding mahaprasadam to the birds. They knew he would come and every day they would be waiting and chirping up a racket until he came to feed them.
I remember when I was Temple President, often he would come in my office and bring me mahaprasadam. then I knew that I had gotten Krishna's special mercy. I'm sure all the devotees here had their special interactions with him.
He never ever left the temple premises. Only one time to go to the doctor. Srila Prabhupada had told him that there was no need for him to go anywhere. He never even went to the other temples in Vrindavan, what to speak of Nandagram or Varsana. Later when we would take him to the Yamuna, we passed by the gaushala and I realized he had never been to see where all the milk from which he made delicious sweets for Their Lordships came from. As we paused, a small white calf came galloping around the corner to see what was the commotion. Someone scooped her up in his arms so that Vibhu could see her.
Eventually he became too old and his legs were paining him so he could no longer go to the kitchen to cook. Then we would see him sitting on the border to the garden around the temple parikrama marg just outside the kitchen chanting his rounds. He was so attached to his service. Everyone always remembers that the mahaprasadam was very special when he cooked, and we all miss that wonderful taste since he left that service.
After some time then he began to sit right near the door to the Deity room where he served for so many years, giving out the caranamrita of Their Lordships to all the pilgrims coming for darshan. But finally his legs would no allow him to come down to do even that simple service.
Eventually the Gurukula took that special room where he stayed for their expansion programs and he finally ended up in this room no. 5 around the back of the Krishna Balaram Guesthouse. Here is where Aindra's kirtan was reaching a crescendo. Vibhucaitanya's breathing was now becoming a little bit labored. At one point, he finally stopped breathing, but then at 9:43 he gave one more breath and passed on to join his Lordships in Their eternal abode.
There was a bit of debate about whether to put him in samadhi or cremate him. Finally a compromise was worked out that he would be taken on the final trip to the bank of the Yamuna and with his ashes and prasadam garlands we would make a samadhi in the Gaushala nearby Narmada Maharaja's samadhi.
This morning we took him from the room just before 8 AM with all the devotees chanting. His palanquin was gloriously covered with flowers. We just happened to reach the temple parikrama marg, when the devotees were carrying Srila Prabhupada on his daily parikrama of the temple. My eyes began to tear as I saw how Srila Prabhupada had come to see his very dear disciple. Prabhupada's procession stopped for a few moments as Srila Prabhupada put his merciful glance on Vibhucaitanya Prabhu.
Then we circumambulated the temple and stopped near the gate of the temple for everyone to circumambulate him and take his foot dust. Someone nudged me and pointed out a middle-aged Bengali gentleman sitting near Vibhucaitanya's head and told me that was his son, Bhudhara. He had arrived the night before just as his father left this world. More and more garlands were piled onto the palanquin. Then we continued with kirtan down to the bank of the Yamuna where his last rites were performed.
Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki Jaya!
Sri Sri Krishna Balarama ki Jaya!
Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundara ki Jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!
His Grace Vibhucaitanya Prabhu ki Jaya!
In service of Srimati Vrinda Devi,
Deena Bandhu dasa