An Offering for my spiritual master,
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Srila Prabhupada on the 29th Anniversary
Of His Disappearance Day
by Saradiya dasi
aksnoh phalam tvadrsa-darsanam hi
tanoh phalam tvadrsa-gatra-sangah
jihva-phalam tvadrsa-kirtanam hi
sudurlabha bhagavata hi loke
“Oh devotee of the Lord, the purpose of the visual sense is fulfilled simply by seeing you, and to touch your body is the fulfillment of bodily touch. The tongue is meant for glorifying your qualities because in this world a pure devotee of the Lord is very difficult to find.”
As quoted in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 2, Chapter 9, Text 39, Purport.
On this special occasion of Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day, I would like to submit this offering. May the devotees bless me in my inadequate attempt to glorify our eternal spiritual master.
During the month of Damodara, we are reminded of the Holy Land of Sri Vrndavan Dham and my most fortunate association with my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
In 1972, we spent a blessed month in Sri Vrndavan Dham during the month of Kartika in Srila Prabhupada’s presence, listening to his famous Srimad-Bhagavatam and Nectar of Devotion lectures. Towards the end of that year, the devotees in Bombay (Mumbai), were preparing for the Cross-Maidan Pandal which was to take place in January 1973. Several of us stayed in an apartment in downtown Mumbai, where my service was to single-handedly paint a six foot by eight foot painting which was appropriated from the First Canto, Srimad-Bhagavatam book cover. This cover depicts the Spiritual Sky, the Vaikuntha Lokas, the Mahat-Tattva (material world), and Goloka Vrndavan surrounded by the whorl of a lotus flower. It was the largest painting I’ve ever attempted up to that time and since. This painting was to be an exhibit displayed within the Pandal tent. Thousands of people attended this outdoor program which was housed in a large tent that included a large stage for the Radha-Krsna Deities, a seat for Srila Prabhupada, and large area for kirtan. (Sometime later, Srila Prabhupada was photographed in a chair with this painting as a background behind him). With a deadline of two weeks approaching to prepare for the Pandal, time was crucial.
Srila Prabhupada was staying in the ocean side apartment of the life members, the Mahadevia’s. There were a couple of evening darshans (group visits) which I was able to attend. One evening, I was hurrying to clean up my painting area and catch the local bus for the long bus ride to the Mahadevia’s apartment. Somehow I missed the bus and had to wait for another. Moment by moment I was getting anxious, knowing that I was missing precious seconds of Srila Prabhupada’s nectarine talks. Finally, the bus arrived and I ran up to the apartment in the high rise building.
Quietly sitting down at the back of the room, which was filled with devotees, life members, and guests, I looked past the crowded room and saw Srila Prabhupada’s glowing presence. Arriving at the tail end of the darshan, I caught the following nectar: Talking about different kinds of worshipers; that “everyone is going to the Lord to worship Him in awe and reference ……” and Srila Prabhupada demonstrated by holding up his arm as if he were holding up a stick, as he continued, “…..but Krsna wants someone to show Him a stick!” As Srila Prabhupada spoke, with his expressive eyes and loving mood, he glanced over us as he illustrated how Lord Krsna’s devotee Mother Yasoda chastised her naughty boy, Damodara, with a stick in her hand. Thus, Srila Prabhupada mercifully transported us to the Holy Land of Sri Vrndavan Dham, where the Lord eternally resides in loving pastimes with His eternal devotees like Mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaj, the cowherd boys and cowherd girls, and our beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. May we remember him on this auspicious day of his disappearance, and every other day. May the devotees of the Lord be blessed by Srila Prabhupada’s divine transcendental sound vibration. Srila Prabhupada kijaya! Lord Damodara kijaya! The month of Kartik kijaya! All glories to all the devotees of the Lord! Hari Hari Bol!