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Srila Prabhupada's Hardships





By Subhag Swami




I would like to tell you a pastime of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada went to America at an age of 69, at the fag end of his life. Many asked him not to go. At this age, one should stay at a dham and concentrate completely on bhajan so that he can prepare for his journey back to Godhead. It is common in India for old people. Men or women who were once mothers or fathers, having done their duty towards their family, by bringing up their children, educating them, getting them married and having distributed their property, money, etc. equally among their family members, think that their duty is done and they have become free. Thus, they decide to go to a dham (like Vrindavan) to stay there, being completely absorbed in hari bhajan till the end of their life. Occassionally, their family members visit them, feeling obliged towards their Mother or Father, to make sure that they are properly taken care of and to give them monetary support for their maintenance. They may chastise their son or daughter as to why they had come there to see them.  This is a common practice in India. I have seen some cases personally. Still this tradition is there in India.



Once, Mrs Morarji (the owner of Jaladuta ship) asked Prabhupada, "Swamiji, why are you going at this age? Why are you not staying in Vrindavan?" Then Prabhupada gave the following argument.  Prabhupada said, "The Spiritual Master's desire, his order, is final and you cannot separate it from your spiritual life. You have to do it; do or die. So I am going." Then she had to accept. She was also a pious lady. She then asked Captain Arun Pandia and his wife to take care of Swamiji properly, he was a sadhu and was going to America for preaching Krishna consciousness. She also informed the Captain that Swamiji hadn't been to a foreign country before, and in case he is not able to survive there and something happened to him, or if he wanted to come back, then the Captain should bring him back as Prabhupada did not have enough money.



Prabhupada once wrote a letter to one of his Godbrothers, who was a little intimate to him and was also an authority on scriptures, "Now I am here, no money, no proper shelter. Just for a few days I am staying in somebody's house and after that, no money, no visa. So I don't know, but I have come here to carryout the order of my Gurumaharaj. If anything happens to me, (In India, usually when people say like this, 'if anything happens to me', they mean if they have to leave the body but hey don't say it directly) what will happened to me? What will be my destination?" Then his God Brother wrote back, "You are carrying out the mission of our Gurumaharaj, this is your life and soul. He will take care of you. You are already in Vrindavan. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, since you are giving your time and energy and are trying to fulfill the desire of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu under the guidance of your Spiritual Master,  you are always in Vrindavan. As long as you carry out his order, your destination is sure. So, you are already in Vrindavan and will also go back to Vrindavan."    


Transcription: Bhakta Anirban

Editing: Bhakta Kunal


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