At present, everywhere, we are all praying for Sri Srimad Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj. As everybody knows, his condition is very critical. He is affected by Covid-19 and is in an ICU near Deland.
According to the latest updates about his health from time to time, devotees all over the world are praying for him because he is very dear to all ISKCON devotees and outsiders as well. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj is very dear to Srila Prabhupada. So, G.B.C. and his well-wishing devotees are performing sacrifices, praying and chanting harinama Japa for his health recovery.
We all know that previously also we got very good results of such prayers for some ISKCON leaders and Krishna bestowed His mercy. Everybody knows that Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj is very dear to devotees irrespective of his disciples or other devotees. He can make everyone feel like his own very easily. He can easily make somebody feel at home. I have seen from the very beginning. Some say that he came to ISKCON in 1977. But within this short time, he became very dear to everybody in general. ISKCON means service. Prabhupada says, “Service is very important.” Not only that, in other fields also, he did outstanding tasks according to our leaders’ assessment. As an example, he constructed Ujjain temple within one year. It is not heard usually that within one year someone can make a huge temple. I went there and it’s really very wonderful. The film he made on Prabhupada serial- ‘Abhay Charan’, I liked it. I expressed my appreciation to Maharaj one time. He is very expert in collecting donations. Once G.B.C. very badly required a nice hall for Gaura Purnima meeting, And he arranged that by collecting lakhs of rupees donations. He made conch building.
Maharaj was taken to Mayapur first. Then Bhavananda took him to Allahabad. At that time, very famous festival, Kumbha Mela was going on. And Maharaj saw Srila Prabhupada there. Maharaja says that Prabhhupada gave him instructions to translate his books. And I know that he has translated many of Srila Prabupada’s books into Bengali. And we can see that he has translated Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, Prabhupada’s Shloka book and many more books within a short time. I remember that Bhavananda arranged one compact electric machine like tape recorder. BBT made him an editor for back to godhead magazine.
I liked his Prabhupada’s serial- ‘Abhay Charan’. And it was dubbed into different languages of the world so that people of different languages can understand this. Even Indian government television showed our ‘Abhay Charan’ film as a serial in television. I remember that I also watched and liked that.
As it is the prayer of Narottam Das Thakur, ‘ebe yasha ghushuk tribhuvana.’ it is the duty of a disciple to spread glories of spiritual master all over the world. Maharaj has done it very beautifully without any doubt. By spreading the glories of the Spiritual master, God becomes pleased. Lord will be pleased if his devotee is glorified. And he did it very wonderfully. That is the secret of success. As we all know- ‘guru krishna Prasade paye bhakti lata bija’. He met Prabhupada in January 1977 and till November 1977, he was very near to Prabhupada. He went to Haridwar with Prabhupada. He used to cook for Prabhupada many times. Everybody knows that Bhakti Charu Maharaj is a very good cook. And everyone gets delight by eating whatever he cooks. I also ate his cooked prasad many times. While cooking for Prabhupada, he used to make ‘Baati charchari’. Prabhupada was very fond of that dish. It was spicy and at the same time has a lot of oil mixed with turmeric to make potol and potatoes like charchari.
Bhakti Charu Maharaj wrote one book which is very nice and essential. It is about ‘Vaishnava shishtachar’ (Vaishnava behavior). Because of his ideal behavior, he was made other than G.B.C. as culture minister also. We know this is culture of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Everybody knows. You can call it Gaudiya culture, Vaishnava culture or Bengali culture. And whole world accepts this. Everybody knows that culture relates to dressing, clothing, dance, drama etc. Maharaj used to do lot of these things. Everybody likes his singing. Sometimes he leads chanting and mantras of pranam in Mayapur.
Maharaj cooks very nicely. I ate many times his cooking. Especially once he asked me in Kolkata, “What do you like to eat?” I said, “Monk’s delight.” That is nothing but just like ‘Khichari’, adding a lot of ghee and large sized potatoes in it. It is sadhu’s diet.
Prabhupada gave him initiation and Brahmin initiation very quickly. And also before Prabhupada went away from our vision, he got Sanyasa from Prabhupada. He is very fortunate. Definitely he has many qualifications and qualities. That’s why Prabhupada gave him so many responsibilities. And comparatively, within very short time, he did lot of services. I remember once a festival was going on in Black Sea, Russia. And I saw Maharaj there. I was giving a seminar on the pastimes of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When there was break time, I was just walking to see what Prasad is being distributed to devotees. Suddenly I saw Maharaj sitting in one corner. I asked Maharaj what happened. That time a lot of disturbance was going on concerning New york temple. One person wanted to sell it off. And ISKCON G.B.C. president did not want that. Maharaja’s role was very prominent in leading to organize meetings of devotees to control the situation. Some would create so many disturbances in organizing meetings. But still, Maharaj was fixed up in his endeavors. I asked Maharaj, “What happened.” He didn’t say anything. Then I heard that temple is in our hands. And Maharaj was inviting all to visit there. One Prabhupada disciple from America, who was previously serving in Mayapur, was new President there. In this way, Maharaj faces very nicely many challenging situations. He is very determined. Whatever tasks he takes in his hand, he performs very nicely. I appreciate Maharaj as Prabhupada’s man. He established the siddhanta that Prabhupada’s position in ISKCON is distinct as an Acharya. Maharaja’s role was very prominent in it.
Maharaj made deities of Bhakti Vinod Thakur, Gaura Kishor Das Babaji, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, and our Guru Maharaj, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I liked it very much that Prabhupada will be on focal point. Prabhupada’s special position must be there in centre. He is shiksha Guru to everyone. Whoever may be guru or shiksha guru, Prabhupada is the original shiksha guru of everyone. He gave great emphasis on this consideration.
He made Prabhupada’s deities. I saw previous deities of Prabhupada resembling Prabhupada a lot. But when I saw his Prabhupada’s deities, he asked my opinions about that. I said, “This seems to me more perfect as I saw Prabhupada directly. I got a good fortune to see Prabhupada, got his association for many years.”
He is a gifted person. Among G.B.C. he has a special position. That’s why everyone is requested all over the world in all ISKCON temples to chant extra mala (japa), pray and perform yajna for his health recovery. Our spiritual leaders are asking everyone to pray in this condition of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Maharaj, who is beloved of all ISKCON devotees and thousands outsiders in general.
And we are getting some news that he is getting better sometime. But still his condition is critical. it’s not that he has completely recovered. But they are trying their best. So we require intensifying our prayers. We heartfully pray to The Lord. There is a vaishnava song- ‘Vaishnaver avedane Krishna daya-moy’. God hears request of a vaishnava. Previously also it was done in many situations. In Prabhupada’s time and his other disciple’s time also, this is done. That is the expression of our love and affection. God is watching. Everything depends on God’s desire. Without his sanction, nothing happens. But if we pray, not officially, but heartfully, then definitely Krishna will consider our prayers so that we can have his association for a long time to come, for inspiration and encouragement to ISKCON devotees. Thus, we can jointly push Prabhupad’s movement to fullfil Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction and thereby make everyone’s life joyful, peaceful and happy. This way we can please Prabhupad and Acharyas
Srila Prabhupada has spread all over the world the flow of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakura’s prediction about the distribution of sankirtan movement for coming 10,000 years. And his disciples are also doing this with responsibility. And their grand disciples are getting inspiration. That’s why there is a need of many qualified preachers. Prabhupada has told that those who are G.B.C. and leaders, they should set up examples, take responsibilities and inspire others. Here we can see all these qualities in the personality of Srila Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj. We hope that all those inspired from him and others also together pray for his quick recovery. Hare Krishna. Gauranga. Nityananda. Haribol.