To Dispel All Doubts
Posted April 17, 2005
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Mulaprakriti's book, "Our Srila Prabhupada, A Friend to All," has recently become available for widespread distribution in the West. Bhaktistore.com, Krishna Culture, and Krishna.com are some of the locations from which you can order the book.
It seems proper, at this time, to lay to rest an unfortunate misunderstanding regarding Mulaprakriti's relationship with Srila Narayana Maharaja. Therefore I am releasing the following letters, written last summer and fall, that clarify the situation. The first is from Mula's husband, Gopavrindapal prabhu, to myself; and the second is a retraction from the person who began the rumor. I have taken the liberty of deleting that person's name.
This incident brings to mind the interview of Jita Krishna prabhu, in Mula's book, in which he talks about how Srila Prabhupada, though innocent, was misunderstood, and how easily confusion arises even in dealings between Vaishnavas who should have respect and affection for one another. Jita Krishna concludes that we cannot judge devotees of the Lord. The unfortunate misunderstanding at hand will have value only if in our hearts it bears testament to this principle.
On July 25, 2004, M_____, a friend and great supporter of Mula in her last days, wrote to me. She was very sorry and upset that a portion of something she had written to a few friends (which included a paragraph about Srila Narayana Maharaja's visit to Mula at the end) was under scrutiny by ISKCON GBC men. She did not want them to make an issue of it. The words in question are these:
"I was not there when NM came to visit her, but it has become public news what transpired. He was asking her "Who are you thinking of?" She replied, "My Prabhupada." And he said she could think of him and he would help her. She replied, "No, I just want to think of my Prabhupada." Again, he told her she could think of him and he would help her. And again she said and Gopa said, they just wanted to focus on Srila Prabhupada. At some point, he told her that she would go to Goloka or that she would take birth in Vrndavana to help him with his mission! You can just imagine how all of us devotees from ISKCON felt inside. But I was impressed how mature we all decided to be for the purpose of seva to Vaisnavas. I pray Srila Prabhupada was pleased with the few of us there, who were trying to represent His Sacred Mission of ISKCON, the BBT and all the other Sacred Insitituions that Prabhupada left us to maintain, despite problems."
As M_____ admits, she was not there at this meeting. Her description is inaccurate. Nevertheless, I deeply appreciate M_____'s devotional participation and concern for Mula in her last days. I refuse to blame her for this mistake, and I don't want it said that I do. She is just repeating what she heard from someone else who was also repeating what they thought they heard.
I immediately wrote to M_______ and the GBC men that the exchange between Mula and Maharaja was not as she portrayed it. I corrected them by describing the facts.
It was just after Guru Purnima that Srila Narayana Maharaja visited Mula, a time when so many thousands of people are clamoring for his company. Both Mula and I were deeply grateful he took the time to come when he was so busy elsewhere.
Maharaja urged Mula not to fear, and she responded she was not afraid of anything, which made him happy. She volunteered, without being asked, that she was thinking of Srila Prabhupada, which also made him happy. He encouraged this, adding innocently that he would also try to help. (I suppose this could be misconstrued, but many people told Mula they would try to help during those weeks, including me. Are we all to blame for "distracting her from Srila Prabhupada"?)
Contrary to M______'s description, neither of us countered or questioned anything Maharaja said during the conversation. At some point he ventured that she may have a chance to take birth in "Braja, Goloka Braja", and naturally the very thought cheered Mula. He said nothing about "his mission."
A few other things were discussed, but this covers the points in question. Maharaja showed great kindness in visiting, and he left Mula comforted and happy.
I clarified this in my letters to M_______, the GBC men and others who've asked me about it. They all seemed sympathetic and agreeable. M______ was especially sorry for the misunderstanding.
For me the important thing is that in the many weeks and days up to her final breath, Mula showed an example of Krsna consciousness I will cherish forever. She realized her life's dream by seeing devotees of all persuasions gather in Srila Prabhupada's name. From Hawaii to Los Angeles to North Carolina to India, wherever she went they came, forgot their differences, and wept tears of love for the unique stories of his life she had uncovered. Once we got to Vrindavana, Mula passed out of this world like a brave hero without a hint of fear or distraction, fully embracing her destiny as divine mercy. Her heart was rapt in Srila Prabhupada who, as you know, came to her personally.
The devotional sincerity she lived without wavering for over thirty years came to bear in her last moments. As you remember, her final offering (a book of the Prabhupada kathas she'd gathered) sat over her head. Girijiu (her beloved Govardhana sila) perched directly on her forehead. Srila Prabhupada's last translated words (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.13) lay on her heart. With bead bag in her hand, Tulasi leaf on her tongue, bathed in Radha Kunda water and surrounded by devotees and the holy name of Krsna, Mula took Srila Prabhupada's outstretched hand and breathed her last.
These are the vivid images Mulaprakriti left us. I am proud to say they will inspire me for the rest of my life, and I am forever in her debt. Nothing else need be brought up about her passing; indeed there was nothing else. Srila Narayana Maharaja helped Mula in this process as he had helped her in her service to Srila Prabhupada for many years. Any rumor to the contrary is horribly mistaken.
Pamho Agt Srila Prabhupada who has so kindly given us the shade of His Lotus Feet. All glories to all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord.
It has sadly come to my attention that a PERSONAL letter I sent to like-minded friends in my PERSONAL address book has become global news. I would like to confirm that I was not in the room when Narayana Maharaja came to visit Mulaprakriti during her final days in Vrndavana. I heard this story from a devotee who was visiting her regularly, but the facts are misconstrued according to Gopa and others who WERE there.
I am deeply sorry for the problems this has caused. Truly sorry. As I shared in my original letter, the mood I am aspiring to cultivate is trnad api sunicena...."ready to offer respects to all". I may not agree with the divisions that have happened in Prabhupada's family, but I am more than willing to offer my heartfelt prayers and obeisances that we all try to cooperate and "see Krsna in everything and in everyone." (BG 6.40)
I am so sad about all of this, but sometimes this is the way to learn very huge lessons about expressing oneself... especially in writing.... I ask everyone to forgive me for speaking in any way that has caused controversy and hurt any devotee. May we put more energy into our sadhana, 6 loving exchanges, seva, etc. instead of churning up disagreements and creating more divisions within Srila Prabhupada's universal family. I hope this will end all further discussion on this matter and we can focus our energy into developing cooperative relationships as Prabhupada asked us to do.
Hoping this finds you healthy and enlivened in your seva,