Meditations On Bhakti Svarüpa Dämodara Swami
Posted October 6, 2006
My Dear Maharaja,
Dandavat. All glories to you. Jaya Srila Prabhupada.
Although I have met you several times up until March 2006, I have never written any letter to you. I hope and pray that you will accept this posthumous offering at your lotus feet.
An e-mail from my dear godbrother in Calcutta, Shyamaramana das, brought the untimely and unexpected news of your passing away. For a long moment I cast away all the work that I was doing and meditated on the lesson that you were teaching me: we have to be Krishna conscious every moment. It might be my turn next. Who knows? You are an acharya in your glorious passing as much as you were while you walked this planet.
Maharaja, faint memories come flooding back as I meditate on your glorious passing. It is so wonderful that despite not being our bodies we take such pleasure in the philosophy of personalism through the intimate association of Vaishnavas. Your life was a living lesson. Although I didn't get your association the way some of your disciples, friends or well wishers did, I salute you from a distance with a pained heart. You are, in more than many ways, my hero. You are an acharya in your glorious passing as much as you were while you walked this planet.
I don't remember the first time I met you. It was probably in the Mayapura Chandrodaya temple, probably back in the early '90s. I have seen you many times since then. I do, however, remember you the last time I saw you. You had walked out of the Bhaktivedanta Institute bus at the Chandrodaya temple. Although I had been re-introduced to you by Shyamaramana prabhu, your disciple Shyamarani's brother, I had not been able to talk to you at the time. I took the opportunity to talk to you when I saw you coming out of the bus. I never thought that it would be my last meeting with you. You had asked me about my service and I remember you hearing, thinking and responding back when I said that HH Tamal Krishna Gosvami, my spiritual master, had encouraged me to "follow up" his academic work and preaching. I remember your encouragement, and am thankful for your blessings for being able to do this service at Oxford University right now. I look up to you as one of the first academic preachers in ISKCON, and understand through your example how much Srila Prabhupada wanted some devotees to talk to professors, scholars and scientists, presenting them pure Krishna consciousness in their own language. You are an acharya in your glorious passing as much as you were while you walked this planet.
Beyond all that, Maharaja, I know your heart is always with Krishna and His dear devotees, especially Srila Prabhupada. Please bless me that no matter how much I may falter in my attempts to be a steady devotee, one day I can follow your footsteps and make my life successful by remembering Krishna intensely with loving devotion when I leave my body.
You have set an example for everybody in your passing: like your own spiritual master you were in the battlefield till the last moment. Like Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada you left your body in Calcutta while preaching. I admire you as my shiksa-guru and look up to you with awe and reverence. You are an acharya in your glorious passing as much as you were while you walked this planet.
The next time I see you on this planet, you would be situated in
samadhi in your well-deserved and rightful place on the banks of Radha
Kunda. The next time I shall perform circumambulation of the holy dhama
of Vrindavana, I shall surely come and pray for your inspiration that I
may never be diverted from my service or be diverted from Krishna by
making my service a material affair. Please bless me so that one day I
can become perfect and join you and your other godbrothers in
nitya-lila as a subservient assistant, for you are an acharya in your
glorious passing as much as you were while you walked this planet.