My dear Srila Prabhupäda,
Please accept my prostrated obeisances at your lotus feet. All glories to Your Divine Grace!
During the past year I discovered I had a heart condition called angina. At first I was shocked.
How could someone my age have angina? Old people get angina.
I did not know much about the condition. I had one old friend in India who had angina and died of a heart attack within two years. I also felt I could die at any moment. I considered,
What should I do with the rest of my life?
Obviously I had to do what is most important to you and me. I thought of your instruction to me to write. Yes, I must write. And I must take shelter of the holy name of Krishna and develop love for Him. I must prepare myself for the time of death.
Then I came across a letter you wrote to me in which you seemed to confirm the same conclusions: take care of your health, chant the holy name—and write.
If you are feeling tired, you may take rest. Your body is very valuable. It is dedicated to Krishna, so you must take care of the body very carefully. The best medicine is to rest and chant Hare Krishna mantra, along with the doctor’s prescription. Hare Krishna mantra is bhavausadhi, the panacea for all material disease.
In the same letter, you continued:
Keep on with the practice of writing articles; in the midst of your heavy duties go on writing something glorifying the Lord and put our philosophy into words. Writing articles means to express oneself how he is understanding the whole philosophy. So this writing is necessary for everyone. [Srila Prabhupäda letter, 12 August 1971]
Still, I felt bad I would not be able to travel and preach and serve as before. Then a Godbrother phoned and quoted you: “The duty of a sannyasi is to write transcendental literature for the benefit of others.” At least I could offer you some service.
And you have been so kind. A nice couple south of Los Angeles have given me complete use of their town house, which also accommodates their beautiful Deities of Sri Sri Krishna-Balaräma, Sri Giri-Govardhana, and Your Divine Grace, while they stay nearby. They cook exactly according to my requirements, accompany me on my walk, and facilitate my service in every way.
You have given me the support and love of sincere and competent devotees. Even my former family, who were never very favorable to Krishna consciousness, have come forward with all kinds of help. And my dear Godbrothers have given me their sublime association and sagacious advice even from afar. In fact, you have manifested yourself in all of them, as your Guru Mahäräja explains:
My Gurudeva is residing in many different personalities. If he does not reside in many different personalities, then who will protect me? Those whom my Gurudeva considered close to him are my saviors. But I hope I never have to see the face of such evil-doing rascals as those who have criticized the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, or those who have somehow supported such criticism. [Srila Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati Thakura]
My health program includes strict diet, regular exercise, and the loving shelter of Giri-Govardhana and the holy name. The same program is also most conducive to spiritual life and to what may be my best contribution to you and your mission—writing about you and developing my relationship with Krishna and Your Divine Grace.
“I will never die,” you said. “I will live forever in my books, and you will utilize.”
Over the past year you have given me many important instructions through your books and recorded talks. Today I wish to share some of the significant passages that appeared to guide me, in the hope that they may serve to encourage and enlighten others as they did me.
In Bombay you told me, “If you sincerely try your best to please Krishna, Krishna will be satisfied—even if others are not.”
Still, we do want to please others. Yet they may not be happy. Still, you give us hope:
Just like there was a clique. There was a brahmana. His name was Bhagavän. So he had some enemies. So the enemies, ten enemies, they sat down in ten places, and wherever he was passing, “Oh, you have become ghost! You have become ghost!” “Oh, how I have become? I am living. How I have become ghost?” Next post he goes, he also says, “Oh, you have become ghost! You have become ghost!” In this way, when he passes ten posts, he thinks, “I might be, I have become ghost. Otherwise everyone says I have become ghost.”
So dasa cakre bhagavän bhüta.
So if everyone says I am lowborn, I am lowborn, so I also think I am lowborn. But I am not lowborn. Aham brahmäsmi. I am brahmäsmi. I am spirit soul. I am born of Krishna Krishna is my father. Take like that. Think like that. That is twice-born. That is twice-born. So Krishna says, mäm hi pärtha vyapäçritya: “Anyone who takes shelter of Me, never mind what he is…Never mind he is. He may be lowborn, he may be a shudra, he may be woman, he may be whatever he may be.” Te ’pi yänti param gatim: “He can also go to My kingdom.” [Srila Prabhupäda lecture, 29 July 1966]
When people speak of varnashrama-dharma, you tell us the conclusion is to serve you:
The Aryans [follow] these Vedic principles, varnashrama-dharma.
puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
What is the purpose of varnashrama? Now, Vishnu ärädhana. Why Vishnu ärädhana?…That is also answered by Lord Shiva. When he was asked by Parvati, “What is the best form of worship?” he recommended, ärädhanänäm sarvesam: “There are many different types of worship.” Sarvesam. Vishnur ärädhanam param….Here Lord Shiva says, vishnur ärädhanaà param. Then again he stresses, tasmät parataram devi tadiyanam, tadiyänäm ärädhanam: “Vishnu ärädhanam is the best, but better than this best there is another ärädhanam.” What is that? Tadiyanam aradhanam: “To worship the Vaisnava.” Vishnu ärädhana is the topmost, but Vaisnava ärädhana is still more. Narottama däsa Thakura therefore says, chadiya Vaisnava-sevä, nistära päyeche kebä. The Vaisnava ärädhana is so important.
Therefore Krishna says [Bhagavad-gita 4.34],
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jñanam
[Srila Prabhupäda lecture, 18 September1975]
When darkness seems to engulf us, you explain why, and indicate that light may come:
Lord Krishna said to King Yudhisthir, “My devotee is not deterred by any adverse conditions of life; he always remains firm and steady. Therefore I give Myself to him, and I favor him so that he can achieve the highest success of life.” The mercy bestowed upon the tried devotee by the Supreme Personality is described as brahma, which indicates that the greatness of that mercy can be compared only to the all-pervasive greatness. Brahma means unlimitedly great and unlimitedly expanding. That mercy is also described as paramam, for it has no comparison within this material world, and it is also called sükñmam, very fine. Not only is the Lord’s mercy upon the tried devotee great and unlimitedly expansive, but it is of the finest quality of transcendental love between the devotee and the Lord. Such mercy is further described as cin-mätram, completely spiritual. The use of the word mätram indicates absolute spirituality, with no tinge of material qualities. That mercy is also called sat (eternal) and anantakam (unlimited). Since the devotee of the Lord is awarded such unlimited spiritual benefit, why should he worship the demigods? A devotee of Krishna does not worship Lord Shiva or Brahmä or any other, subordinate demigod. He completely devotes himself to the transcendental loving service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead….
When after the dense, dark night there is finally sunrise in the morning, it is very pleasant; when there is scorching heat, cold water is very pleasant; and when there is freezing winter, hot water is very pleasant. Similarly, when a devotee, after experiencing the distress of the material world, relishes the spiritual happiness awarded by the Lord, his position is still more pleasant and enjoyable. [Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter 88]
And when separation breaks our hearts, you assure us that if we follow your instructions we will serve you and Krishna eternally:
There is a rasa, mellow—every änanda. Just like if you take a nice fruit, mango, the taste is pleasing. That is called rasa, that taste….So this picture [of Rädhä and Krishna with the gopis] is änanda-cinmaya-rasa. Here we have got that taste of rasa in a perverted manner. But cinmaya-rasa means it continues. This Rädhä-Krishna with the gopis, they are enjoying, dancing, chanting. That is eternally; that is never stopped. It is not that they become old and there is no more enjoyment or they are separated or somebody, Krishna goes somewhere and the Radharani goes to somewhere. No. Everything is eternal….
So when you enter into the Krishna science you get so much volumes of transcendental knowledge, and we are trying to present before you this knowledge in so many ways, by cleansing your heart from this material contamination….When one is not contaminated, he’s relishing this Hare Krishna mantra by associating with Krishna Just like Rüpa Goswami, he’s also chanting. Caitanya Mahäprabhu is also chanting, but His chanting and my chanting, there is little difference. That chanting is on the transcendental platform, actually relishing with Krishna My chanting…In the beginning there are three stages: offensive stages, liberated stage, and relishing stage….So we have to defend ourselves from the offenses….Then our chanting will be purified. And when the chanting is purified, immediately you are liberated. And after liberation? Brahma-bhütaù prasannätmä: your life of devotional service actually begins. Then you relish reciprocation of love with Krishna…
So keep on chanting, you keep yourself purified, mäyä cannot touch you….So this mantra, apavitraù pavitro vä sarvävasthäm, any condition of life, you can simply remember Pundarikaksam, Krishna As soon as you chant “Krishna,” you remember everything.
So this remembering is the whole thing. If you have got always within your heart Krishna, by sound or by mental thoughts, by work, some way or other, by reading books, any way, if simply you keep your consciousness in Krishna, then your life is successful. That’s all. [Srila Prabhupäda lecture, 16 July 1969]
Thus we take shelter of the holy name in any condition.
You have left so many instructions for us all. But how do we know which apply to us? On the auspicious occasion of your appearance day, we pray you will appear in our hearts and give us the intelligence to know which instructions are meant for us, and how to apply them in pure devotional service.
“To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
So, you teach us to love, you and Krishna:
We have a propensity to love, but we do not know how to make our love perfect. That perfection is possible when we love Krishna Now, in my old age, I am wandering all over the world teaching that everyone can become happy by practicing Krishna consciousness. It is not that I love only my countrymen, only Hindus or Bengalis. I love everyone, even the animals.
[The Quest for Enlightenment, 7.2]
We learned to open our heart to you and Krishna:
Guhyam means “very confidential things,” and äkhyäti means “disclosing.” You must disclose your innermost thoughts to your beloved, and he’ll disclose his innermost thoughts to you….These are the six ways of increasing love. If you act in these ways with Krishna, you will develop love for Him. [The Quest for Enlightenment, 7.1]
Thus you teach us bhägavata-dharma, or prema-dharma, following Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu:
The mission of our Krishna consciousness movement is to teach people how to love Krishna
Only then will they be fully satisfied. As it is said in the Srimad-Bhägavatam [1.2.6]:
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihatä yayätmä suprasidati
“The supreme occupation for all humanity is that which awakens loving devotional service to Krishna When such devotional service is uninterrupted and free of selfish motives, it completely satisfies the self.” Teaching this truth is the mission of the Krishna consciousness movement. If people will accept it, all their problems will be solved, and they will be happy.” [The Quest for Enlightenment, 7.2]
Srila Prabhupäda, we are yours.
Your eternal, dependent servant,