Sridhar Maharaja is entombed
Posted March 17, 2004
As most devotees know by now, His Holiness Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Sridhara Swami Maharaja passed away conscious of Krsna and Srila Prabhupada at 6:10 am on March 14, 2004, while hearing kirtans from 4:00 a.m., as per his request.
His Holiness felt considerable pain the night before, but during the day time and on previous days he had showed a little strength. Two days ago I went to give him a CD, as per his request, of the Deity installation pictures, including his favorite pictures, already on mayapur.info ( where His Holiness is garlanding Lord Nityananda after abhisheka). At that time i saw him talking by phone with HH Radhanath Swami and he looked healthier, even telling me that he is willing to go and preach in Italy before May. I was happy to hear that he was feeling better, but it seems Lord Krsna had a different plan and took him today to His abode, on this very auspicious day of the appearance of Srivas Pandit ( the perfect Devotee of Lord Gauranga) and in the highest of all tirthas, Sri Mayapura-Navadvipa Dham with devotees beside him chanting Hare Krsna, at the same time as a big poster of Srila Prabhupada given to him by HH Jayapataka Swami was placed before him so he was looking at this poster of his very beloved and divine Gurumaharaja, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, at the time he passed away. At 6:10 am His Holiness entered the eternal Lila of Sri Sri Radha Madhava and Panca Tattva Bhagavan as well as His Beloved Lord Narasimhadeva.
His disciple Mayapur das was with him until 2:00 a.m., while at 4:00 Maharaja sent Acyutanada das to call him again. When Mayapur das came to see his Gurumaharaja his guru requested, "Please do kirtan; I need it now more than ever." Maharaja was showing symthoms of heavy pain and the pain killers were not enough to decrease the pain Maharaja had. Two devotees from Bombay Chowpatti temple were present, as well as a doctor, but in fact The Supreme Lord was calling him. At 5:00 a.m., Maharaja showed weakness and had to be helped to be placed on His bed since he was much weaker and his physical state was worse than at the time he once mentioned to Mayapur das, "What do you think, should i go now?" He had recently told me, "Soon I will be there as a neighbor of Tamal Krsna Maharaj," pointing to the picutre of the three Samadhis that we have in Mayapura and that was in the Mayapura photo exhibition during the festival.
When we came to know of his passing, I went to his room and saw devotees performing kirtan beside Maharaja, who had, almost one hour before, left his body (Hansaduta prabhu was present) and took a few pictures and posted them in our website (mayapur.info. Then His Holiness was taken in a special decorated chair full of flowers that Ganga das prabhu prepared for this occasion, while Sadbhuja prabhu was taking care of the Samadhi preparation and Harisauri prabhu was coordinating today's program. At 10:00 a.m. HH Bhakti Purusottam Swami came from Calcutta to help in the ceremony with HH Sridhara Maharaja's disciples as well as Brajahari das prabhu, the temple president of ISKCON Bombay.
Jananivas das prabhu and the devotees from the Bhaktivedanta Academy were assisting Maharaja's disciples with the proper rituals for the passing of a Vaishnava (bathing, putting on candana (sandalwood paste), mantra recitation, etc).
At 11:20 a.m., Maharaja was taken to the temple in a big procession from his room with all the devotees present in ISKCON Mayapurh dham with kirtans. On the way to the temple at the court yard they remained for a few minutes; afterwards he was brought into the temple before Srila Prabhupada, Sri Sri Prahlada Narasimhadeva and Sri Sri Radha Madhava - Astasakhis, who were very opulent today as They were during Gaura Purnima festival with the same outfits. At the end Maharaja was taken to the Sri Sri Panca Tattva temple facing the altar, to be present during the Abhisheka to Sri Srivas Pandit.
After the Abhisheka and during the darsan of Sri Panca tattva Bhagavan, HH BHakti Caru Swami arrived and offered his respects, then garlanded him and followed up the ceremony until the last moments. After the Darsan of the Panca Tattvas, Sridhara Maharaja's body was taken for parikram around the deities in the Main temple, then in procession to Srila Prabhupada's Bhajan Kutir, where he was placed before Sri Sri Gaur Nitai, then to Srila Prabhupada's Pushpa Samadhi. Before entering the Samadhi, devotees did Parikram around the whole samadhi building.
At the Samadhi of Srila Prabhupada His Holiness Sridhar Swami was placed in front of Srila Prabhupad, then there was nice bhajans until 3:30 p.m., led by Bhakti Caru Swami and Hari Sauri das. At the end a parikram around Srila Prabhupada was done three times and, after that, Maharaja's body was taken to his last place beside the Samadhis of Their Holinesses Tamal Krsna Goswami and Gaur Govinda Swami. At this place a complete ceremony was done with arati, prasad offering etc., while Their Holinesses Lokanath Swami, Gopal Krsna Goswami and Subhag Swami arrived and offered their respects to Maharaja and participated in the arati that was done by Mayapur das prabhu. Lokanath Swami led the kirtan at this moment. After the body of Maharaja was taken to be interred by his disciples, the last rituals were performed acordingly, considering that Maharaja was a sannyasi and guru. After inhumation and performing the final rituals salt was packed around his body and then earth. After that, all the devotees did puspanjali with a lot of flowers like a rain over the sepulcher. Projecting from the hole was a stick in the middle marking the place of the head of Maharaja that was facing Srila Prabhupada's samadhi (north), that also was to hold the garlands placed by the devotees, (today there were a lot of petals since all were remnants of Srivas Pandit's abhisheka). Before the sunset the complete rituals were finished according to the Vaishnava tradition.
For those who wish to see more images of the funeral, many pictures of
this event are posted at mayapur.info. Parents are strongly
cautioned that some of the images may be unsuitable for their small
children to view.