When Srila Prabhupada was in his last weeks, practically last days, during his physical pastimes with us in this world, his body was heartbreaking for any devotee to see it. It was so thin and so frail. When many beloved disciples, Godbrothers, well-wishers of Srila Prabhupada saw him in that condition, just prior to his disappearance, they would cry because Srila Prabhupada’s body was transcendental and it was the vehicle by which he could shower the divine grace of Krishna and parampara throughout the world. Devotees loved Srila Prabhupada. Devotees understood in their heart of hearts that Srila Prabhupada’s grace coming through his instructions, coming through his eternal person would always be with us, if we carefully tried to serve him. But seeing the body and that condition was a very personal difficulty.
One time, one of his disciples, who was a scientist started to cry when he saw Srila Prabhupada’s condition. Prabhupad smiled. He said,”You are a scientist. You require evidence. I have been telling you for all these years that we are not these bodies; we are the eternal souls, part of Krishna. So now you see, my body is almost gone but I am still here. That is evidence; scientific!” Srila Prabhupad never stopped giving Krishna consciousness.
Our beloved God brother Yadubar Prabhu, who is with us this evening, he is making a updated documentary film on Srila Prabhupada’s life. But soon after Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure, he produced and created one of the most beautiful films that has ever been made, ‘Your ever well-wisher’, which gives the glimpse into Srila Prabhupada’s life and his contributions to the world. And toward the end of the film, Srila Prabhupada is laying on what we call in this world a death bed. He was unable to sit or stand. He was just laying physically incapacitated and His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami Maharaj was holding a Dictaphone really close to his mouth and Yadubar Prabhu was filming it. Srila Prabhupada was translating Srimad Bhagvatam and giving purports to the 10th canto. Up until the last moment, he was simply giving Krishna.
When he was in that kind of state, just before he was invited to London and to America, he said,”Take me.” And all the doctors were saying,”No you cannot go. You will die!” Srila Prabhupada said that it will be a great honor to die on the battlefield! What was his battlefield? On a very personal level we can understand that he was fighting against the Maya within each of our hearts. He was going place to place to inspire us to be spiritually strong. Practically he was dictating his books till the last moment. Through his prayers, through his books, through his travel and his inspiration, through his brilliant organization of the Society of the community of Vaishnavas, he was fighting the battle of illusion, the whole world and on a personal level within each of our heart, he was there, as our general, giving us all the weapons: the holy name, the holy books, devotional service, the strength to use them and the association of devotees. And he actually went to England, but he had to return because his health was making it impossible for him to go anywhere else.
And he came back here to Vrindavan. He told the devotees,”I want to do Govardhan parikrama,” one of his last-most desire. The doctor said, “Without doubt he will die if he’s put on an ox cart on such rough roads.” Some of Srila Prabhupada’s devotees said,”Yes it is guru Maharaj’s wish and we must take him on parikrama.” They got the oxen. They got the cart ready and others were crying and begging Prabhupada, “No. Please don’t go. You will die.” Srila Prabhupada smiled. He said,”What better way will be there than to die in the Govardhan parikrama!” But some of the devotees were thinking, ‘We are fulfilling Prabhupada’s order by taking him. If he wants to die that way it is his decision.’ And others were saying, ‘But still, out of our love, it’s almost like killing him by putting him on that cart.” It was a very difficult condition. At the time when Srila Prabhupada was inevitably going to leave us, he created attention, attention of love. Whatever opinion they may have had, it was with deep love for Srila Prabhupada because in bhakti, love is not always one way or another. Hanuman loves Rama by carrying out his order. The gopas love Krishna by having Krishna carry them on their shoulders. Mother Yashoda loves Krishna by feeding him and protecting him and sometimes chastising him, and tying him up to punish him. Gopis love for Krishna is to dance, to remember and embrace him in the core of their hearts, forever. So, Srila Prabhupada was churning, churning the love of his devotees, in such a tangible powerful way. And when his dear Godbrother, Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj came to visit him, Srila Prabhupada smiled at him and said, “Babaji Maharaj, see how much they love me.” The devotees were crying, “Prabhupada, you are driving us mad,” and so to fulfill the wishes of his devotees, Srila Prabhupada he did not go. But after he passed from this world, devotees did parikrama with his murti around Govardhan Hill.