Merciful Chastisement

 Dear Srila Prabhupäda,

Please accept my prostrated obeisances at your divine lotus feet. All glories to Your Divine Grace.

Some years ago I wrote:

“I do not think that separation from Srila Prabhupäda is possible at any moment, provided we want to keep his association. He is ready and waiting. Any time we turn to him, he is there—there to guide us and help us in any way. Mainly he is there to give us instructions in service—and to chastise us if we disobey. But we should never go away.

“He always gives us the chance to leave him—if we want—if the chastisement is too heavy. But leaving him is the greatest loss, complete disaster. It is better to accept the chastisement and try to improve, difficult as it may seem, and win his favor again, rather than try to run and hide, avoiding or, still worse, trying to forget.

“Of course, Srila Prabhupäda loves us even when he chastises us. In fact, his chastisement is proof that he loves us, that he cares for us, and that he wants us to improve and become good servants of Lord Krishna”

Now, years later, I have realized even more deeply the import of these words. Reading the following verses in Srimad-Bhägavatam, I thought of myself and Your Divine Grace:

“I committed a great offense against you, but you are so kind that instead of withdrawing your mercy you have done me a great favor by punishing me. … I did not know your full glories. For this reason, I threw arrows of sharp words at you in the open assembly. … I was going down to hell because of my disobedience to you, who are the most respectable personality, but you took compassion upon me and saved me by awarding punishment.” (Srimad-Bhägavatam 4.7.13, 15)

In the purport you explain, “The insulting words used by Daksa against Lord Siva were enough to have him thrown perpetually into a hellish life. But Lord Siva, being kind toward him, awarded him punishment to neutralize the offense. King Daksa realized this and, feeling obliged for Lord Siva’s magnanimous behavior, wanted to show his gratitude. Sometimes a father punishes his child, and when the child is grown up and comes to his senses, he understands that the father’s punishment was not actually punishment but mercy. Similarly, Daksa appreciated that the punishment offered to him by Lord Siva was a manifestation of Lord Siva’s mercy.”

Srila Prabhupäda, your chastisement is actually your mercy; neglect would really be punishment. Thus I am forced to conclude, “Who could be more merciful than you?”

Thus I also thank all your sincere disciples and followers who have chastised me on your behalf. I thank even those who are not considered your followers but who may also act on behalf of the Lord. Through their chastisement I hope to become a bona fide disciple:

“A sincere devotee willingly accepts the Lord’s merciful punishment and continues offering respects and obeisances to the Lord. Such a bona fide servant of the Lord, considering all hardship a small price to pay for gaining the personal association of the Lord, certainly becomes a legitimate son of God. Just as one cannot approach the sun without becoming fire, one cannot approach the supreme pure, Lord Krishna, without undergoing a rigid purificatory process, which may appear like suffering but which is in fact a curative treatment administered by the personal hand of the Lord.” (Srimad-Bhägavatam 10.14.8 purport)

Srila Prabhupäda, you are my lord.

Now our process is to humbly serve and favorably please the Vaisnavas. So on this occasion I pray to them to continue to give me their mercy and guidance so one day I may learn to please them with some service—and thus please you and your Lord, Sri Krishna.

Hare Krishna.

Your ever grateful, degraded servant,

Giriräj Swami