Chakra Announcements

B.T. Swami prepares for imminent departure

by Bhakti Tirtha Swami

Posted January 5, 2005

Today, we received the latest report regarding the present status of my cancer situation. This report has come after five months of intense treatments, holistic as well as allopathic.

After three blood transfusions, four operations, including amputation of the leg, several emergency visits to various hospitals, weeks of residing in different hospitals with different types of treatments, tens of thousands of dollars in medical treatments, over a dozen examinations (which included sonograms, MRIs, CAT scans, PET scans and biopsies), the most recent biopsy report has found cancer in both of the lymph nodes in the groin area. These nodes were dissected the same day that I had the leg amputated.

The survival rate for melanoma at this stage is extremely low -- less than 10 percent. The surgeons and the oncologist will be suggesting more surgery and (most likely) chemotherapy, radiation, etc.

I will not have any more operations; we have done all that is feasible in trying to check and eradicate the cancer. This means that, by rational considerations and from the biopsy report, I will most likely be leaving the body soon.

What is ironic is that I already knew this, for I, as well as everyone else who has taken birth, will be leaving the body in the near future, so the doctors have confirmed what was already known. Whether I have weeks, months, or years is up to guru and Krsna, for they can arrange to take me out of this body before the cancer fully take over. They can allow the cancer to go its normal course, or they can also take the cancer away completely, even at this point.

I am now focusing my consciousness on an early departure. Once again, time will reveal Krsna's plans. Some may wonder, with all the thousands of devotees making prayers on my behalf, why I am in this precarous and suffering condition. Please do not allow this way of thinking to weaken your faith in prayers; if anything it should strengthen it. Rather than pray for me to stay, I had asked people to pray for whatever would be best for my service to Srila Prabhupada's mission and to let whatever would be best for my spiritual purification take place; still, many of you did pray for me to stay.

Ultimately prayers are good for me, whether I leave sooner or later, for the prayers are expressions of your compassion and love for this wretched soul. Even more important, our prayers are for self-purification and they collectively bond us together as spiritual warriors in a profound and magnificent way.

Now the time that we do have together is most significant, for we must make it first-class, quality association. After all, as Vaisnavas, we are not really concerned with quantity or longevity, but with quality and purity.

Every devotee has his or her special relationship with Guru and Krsna, and each devotee will have things arranged for their personal purification, so let us all be excited and eager to experience what Krsna has in store for us to bring us back home to His abode.

Yes, there is still so much work to be done on this planet and it does seem to become harder when so many senior devotees leave, but Srila Prabhupada and higher authorities are dealing with a much bigger picture than we may be sensitive to. We should each get ready for our own opportunities for growth, purification and expanded services.

Until our next communication, let me leave you with my trite but profound mantra: "I am blessed by the best, would not settle for anything less, and continue to pray to be able to pass the remaining tests."