brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param

“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” —Bhagavad-gita 18.54

My dear brother Sridhar Swami Maharaja,

I feel so much separation today. What can I say? Now Mrs. Singhal, Srila
Prabhupada’s beloved daughter and our affectionate mother, has also left us here. Somehow her departure has served to awaken my feelings of separation from you, from His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami, and ultimately from our Srila Prabhupada.

We all shared so much together, especially the struggles at Hare Krsna Land—to get the land, to build the temple, to use the facilities as Srila Prabhupada would have wanted, according to his standards and priorities and mood.

We relished those struggles, because in them we came close to Srila Prabhupada, and close to each other. We came close, in fact, to pure love. And we knew that in the end Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Radha-Rasabhihari would be pleased, however successful we might or might not have been by external standards, by our effort to serve them—by their grace.

As Sandipani Muni told his disciples Krsna and Sudama: “My dear boys, it is very wonderful that you have suffered so much trouble for me. Everyone likes to take care of his body as the first consideration, but you are so good and faithful to your guru that without caring for bodily comforts you have taken so much trouble for me. I am glad to see that bona fide students like you will undergo any kind of trouble for the satisfaction of the spiritual master. That is the way for a bona fide disciple to become free from his debt to the spiritual master. It is the duty of the disciple to dedicate his life to the service of the spiritual master. My dear best of the twice-born, I am greatly pleased by your acts, and I bless you: May all your desires and ambitions be fulfilled.” (Krsna, Chapter 80)

And as Lord Krsna told his old friend Sudama: “If a man is sufficiently educated in student life under the guidance of a proper teacher, his life becomes successful in the future. He can very easily cross over the ocean of nescience, and he is not subject to the influence of the illusory energy. . . . As the Supersoul of the living entities, I sit in everyone’s heart and observe everyone’s activity in every stage and order of life. Regardless of which stage one is in, when I see that one is engaged seriously and sincerely in discharging the duties ordered by the spiritual master and is thus dedicating his life to the service of the spiritual master, that person becomes most dear to Me. . . . Both of us can realize that without the blessings of the spiritual master no one can be happy. By the mercy of the spiritual master and by his blessings, one can achieve peace and prosperity and be able to fulfill the mission of human life.” (Krsna, Chapter 80)

Our dear godbrother Bhurijana Prabhu recently quoted a statement by one of Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers. That godbrother, at an advanced age, was walking, with some difficulty, on his veranda, chanting softly. And under his breath he muttered, “Eleven years with Srila Prabhupada [Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati]; forty years without him.”

Even advanced souls feel separation—what to speak of us. I so much depended on your guidance and encouragement and friendship. Where will I find them now? Even till the end I would look forward to phoning you and talking with you. In your humility you called me your siksa-guru and asked for my guidance. But you were the one who was instructing me—and the whole movement—how to serve our spiritual master with all energy and resources, and how to encourage each other with love and good humor.

As a teacher you were heavy. “Guru means heavy.” Yet you were like an angel. “Angels fly, not because they know how, but because they take themselves lightly.” You took Srila Prabhupada and his mission most seriously. But you took your own bodily pains and pleasures lightly. And so you could easily give of yourself to others and be our guardian angel in service to Srila Prabhupada.

I wish I could just fly to you now, fly into your loving embrace. But I fear I do not have the strength. I am too strongly tied to the body and the world.

But I do have one hope: your mercy, in the form of your love, your care, your example, your instructions, and the strength and inspiration we get from them to continue to serve Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON to the end, whenever that may be.

You wished His Holiness Indradyumna Swami “Happy trails.” I wish mine could be happy too. And they will be, as long as they lead to you, in eternal service to Srila Prabhupada, Sri Panca-tattva, and Sri Sri Radha-Syamasundara.

Today is the grand opening of your samadhi-mandira. It is beautiful, just like your heart, befitting the king that you were—king of Srila Prabhupada’s staunch, surrendered, stubborn servants. May you and your samadhi give shelter to all who come to you.

On this auspicious occasion I, among many, pray to you:

Please bless me and keep me under your shelter. Teach me to serve as you did, without duplicity, with heart and soul. And teach me to laugh as you did, even in the face of death, convinced that “there is no utility in negativity” and that in the end “the joke is on me.”

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Nita-Gaura-premanande hari-haribol!

Your eternal servant,
Giriraj Swami

March 6, 2005