My Dear Spiritual Nieces and Nephews/Disciples of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami.
I write with a very heavy heart. I can only imagine the sense of grief and pain you must all be feeling today, experiencing the separation of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami.
Your Guru Maharaja was truly an exceptional Vaishnava, spiritual master, and human being. All who knew him, including all his God-brothers and God-sisters, were affectionate towards him and inspired by his presence, his warm, friendly nature, his genuine caring for all those he met, and his deep love and commitment to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON.
I cannot help myself today from remembering the deep pain and emotional and spiritual sense of loss and distress I experienced when His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada passed from this world in 1977. I was a very young devotee, perhaps like some of you, and I found myself bewildered, confused and broken hearted.
After years of searching, I had found and surrendered to a bonafide guru only to have him leave this world just two years later. The pain was too great.
In the same way, I am sure your hearts are heavy with a sense of loss. Some of you may be feeling a sense of anguish (as I felt at the time of Srila Prabhupada’s departure), why couldn’t I have done more to serve my guru while he was here? Why didn’t I better express my dedication and love to him? Why didn’t I surrender more sincerely to those instructions and desires he expressed to me either in person, or by his many lectures?
I write to reassure you of what is written in our sastra, and what I have experienced as a fact: The presence of the spiritual master is never lost to the disciple who does their best, by whatever humble ways they can, to continue to serve, honor and carry out the mission of the guru.
Srila Prabhupada has now been “gone” from this world for more than 40 years. But, still his inspiration, his instructions, his will, his vision, his love and yes, his presence, is giving solace and enthusiasm to all of his disciples even today. And, not just for Prabhupada’s own disciples, but as all of you are proof, his presence is inspiring the next generation of devotees, and the next.
During these next few days, you may feel moments of great anxiety. And, you will also feel moments of elation. Those are natural. Those are all spiritual emotions that may come upon you like waves.
Because, along with acknowledging that your Guru Maharaja is no longer physically present, you will also be remembering him more intensely. And your dependence upon him. You will remember those times you were with him. Those special instructions, that part of his mission–Srila Prabhupada’s mission–that you have taken as your own, those times when he made you laugh, or cry, or deeply contemplate his instructions, or chastisement, his good humor, his love, and his wonderful Vaishnava qualities.
Please know that as you love your Guru Maharaja, we, the older generation of devotees, also love him. And, through him, because of him, we love you also, each and every one of you. You are sacred to us because you are Maharaja’s sons and daughter, and you are Srila Prabhupada’s grandchildren.
We, of the first generation, have given our lives to try to build a home, a loving ISKCON home for each of you, and for your children, and your children’s children.
Maharaja gave his life in serving Prabhupada, and serving you, and building that same ISKCON home. He was practically the personification of the spirit of cooperation. Almost every time I saw Maharaja solve a problem or address a conflict, he would stress: Can’t we all just get along?
I pray that we will all do our best to keep alive the spirit of Srila Prabhupada and Bhakti Charu Swami’s love and dedication to Guru and Gauranga and the mission of sharing love of Krishna with every soul in the material world.
In that spirit, please know that your spiritual aunts and uncles (and cousins) are all here for you, to support you, and help you in your spiritual practice and in overcoming your material hurdles.
Together, let’s continue to build “a home in which the whole world can live.” A spiritual, Krishna conscious home as envisioned by Srila Prabhupada, and as expanded by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami.
We are all one family, and we pledge to do our best to help you feel protected, and inspired, and to know that your connection with your guru is eternal, transcendental, and never to be lost.
With affection and gratitude to each and every one of you, I remain,
ISKCON Minister of Communications