Chakra Announcements

The Passing of Samba Das

by Karuna Purna dasi

Posted March 28, 2007

On Saturday, March 24, 2007 Samba das passed away in London, England.

Samba had arrived from Sri Dhama Mayapura one week earlier. He was in very good spirits and making plans to spend more time in the holy Dhama. A couple of days after his arrival, Samba felt ill and was taken to hospital where he remained until he gloriously passed away. We would like to share this beautiful event with the assembly of devotees.

During the day of Saturday, devotees visited Samba who was apparently unconscious and breathing with the help of a ventilator. Around 6:00 p.m., four or five devotees joined others who were already visiting Samba. Some of Samba's family members were present and requested the devotees to leave the ward a few minutes after our arrival. Only Samba's close friend, Rama Nrsimha, was allowed to stay with him.

Disappointed devotees waited in the corridor. Three-quarters of an hour passed with no sign of our being allowing in again. Finally Samba's family decided that they preferred to have privacy with Samba. The atmosphere started to become tense. We felt frustrated, as we feared that Samba would pass away surrounded by his material family and away from the devotees. Amongst the devotees' comments we could hear: 'It is unfair...the way in which they are keeping Samba with all these tubes...' and 'This is a lesson to all of us. We all need to write our wills, so that families do not come in between us and the devotees at such a crucial time.' Someone said: 'Prabhupada never wanted to go into hospital. Why should we allow doctors to sedate us in this way?'

Tension was building up as we were away from Samba, who was dealing all alone with his family. We all knew that Samba could pass away at any moment. Devotees felt powerless. As time went by, devotees started praying to Krsna to intervene for His devotee.

After nearly two hours Samba's father opened the ward door, saying that devotees could re-enter. We all rushed in to be with Samba. Then, the Lord arranged for a most beautiful and auspicious passing away.

Surrounding Samba's bed were about twenty devotees. Most devotees were singing beautifully the Maha Mantra, whilst one devotee put Radha Gokulananda's flower garland on Samba. Then, some holy water arrived. Soft singing went on whilst one devotee spontaneously started singing the Sri Nrsimha-kavaca-stotram and another devotee was reading Lord Krsna's pastimes from the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam to Samba. Then more devotees arrived, joining the singing of Krsna's name. This time devotees brought Sri Radha London-iswara's garlands, as well as dust from the holy Dhama. Someone put a photo of Radha and Krsna on Samba's chest and another placed Tulasi leaves on his mouth.

After one hour of such a spiritual atmosphere, the Lord decided that the time for Samba to leave his body had arrived. As we saw Samba peacefully passing away, devotees felt that Krsna had orchestrated Samba's departure. It was beautiful; it was glorious; it was spiritual. Krsna's words: "After all, I have taken a vow to protect My devotees" (Bhag. 10.25.18) were repeated three times for Samba to hear, and they felt so real.

Krsna played a magic trick. Whilst some devotees had been waiting in anxiety outside the ward, the artificial apparatus for keeping Samba alive had allowed time for other devotees to bring more auspicious maha-prasadam from Radha London-iswara. Krsna was also arranging for more devotees to chorus around Samba.

We felt that Samba was conscious of what was happening around him, and we kept singing and accompanying him when the nurse turned the machines off. Only when we felt that Samba was not there any more did we leave him with a beautiful and peaceful smile on his face and his chest, wrists and hands receiving the maha garlands and a Harinam chaddar covering one part of Samba's head.

Srila Prabhupada must have been so pleased seeing his devotee surrendering to Krsna in these ways. Thank you, Srila Prabhupada, for teaching us to assist other devotees in passing away in this glorious way.

When we left the hospital, Jyesta dasi mentioned that devotees from Mayapura, Vrindavan and other parts of India and the UK had been holding kirtans to assist Samba in his passing away.

Three hours earlier, we had forgotten that Krsna is always in control and we had been anxious about Samba being left without devotees around him. Krsna magically turned a bad situation into a perfect condition, thus protecting His devotee.