Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
This is in continuation of the previous offerings transcribing the wonderful offering by H.G. Devakinandan Prabhuji on the occasion of the memorial service for our beloved Guru Maharaj held in Sydney, Australia on 24th April 2010.
9. Personal attention to everyone: The first time I met Maharaj was when Maharaj came to Singapore and I introduced myself and he asked me what is my name, who am I, who is my family, how many brothers and sisters I had and what my parents were doing. Nobody had asked me these questions before when I was in the temple for nine years. I was in the temple from 1983 and all I did in the temple was either wash the toilets or wash the pots and whenever I wanted to sit down and read Bhagavad Gita, all the temple president would say was that I was not ready for it. He would say, "Go back and wash the pots." The temple president never knew where I came from, who I was. Sometimes he would forget my name also. And for the first time Maharaj asked me what is my name and at the end of it, he told me to open the catursloki Bhagavad Gita 10.8. He explained the four verses to me in just five minutes and I found that no one had explained to me Bhagavad Gita this way. At that moment I thought this is the person to whom I must surrender my life. It was a spark and Maharaj encouraged me and today somehow by his mercy, I am very fortunate to have the association of Maharaj and all the wonderful devotees.
10. Always seeing the good everywhere: I remember one time, in a very famous lecture, one devotee stood up and said, "Maharaj, I have been in ISKCON for 20 years and I see so much of trouble in ISKCON. How can you continue to stay in ISKCON? You are very old and you have been in ISKCON for thirty years." Maharaj said, "I have been in ISKCON for thirty years but not even one day I have seen a single complaint in ISKCON and I have not seen a single problem in ISKCON. The problem is with our eyes." When he said that, I realized that we all wear different hats but ultimately what is important is whether we are following the instructions of Srila Prabhupada and Maharaj showed us that.
11. Renowned for his sadhana: Maharaj was renowned for his sadhana. In Dwaraka, he would wake up at 1.30 or 2 o'clock in the morning daily. When he was shaving, he would finish reciting half of Bhagavad Gita and by the time he finished his bath, the other half was on the way. He was so fast with chanting. Sometimes I would be just putting my ear to the bathroom door, trying to catch up with the verses Maharaj was chanting. By the time he was ready to start chanting, by 2.30 or 2.45 he would have finished all the important verses. By Mangala arati, he made sure, he finished his rounds. He always told me to try to finish 16 rounds before Mangala arati so that when you stand up for Mangala arati you won’t fall asleep. Otherwise when you wake up for Mangla arati, you are half asleep. By the time you start chanting your rounds, you are fully asleep. So it is better to wake up in the morning. I asked Maharaj how to wake up in the morning. He said, "the problem is we are thinking we are waking ourselves but the Supersoul wakes us up. If the Supersoul knows that we want to wake up and we sincerely pray to Supersoul, why will He not wake us up for the morning Mangala arati?"
When Maharaj had the stroke in the year 2000, he was actually in London and it was the exact stroke that H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj had recently. The doctors gave 24 -72 hours maximum and said that this is the most important time. If he does not come out of it, then he would be a vegetable or he will leave and within 48 hours when I flew in, I was not sure whether Maharaj will be there or he would not be there. But the moment I rushed up to the hospital, I found that Maharaj had put both the hands up and he was saying "Haribol!" and that was the hand that was supposed to be paralyzed and he couldn’t wait to come out of the hospital. He fought with all the doctors. I remember one night, he was told by one Indian lady doctor, who was very young that, "You must take this tablet. If you do not take it, the chances of a stroke coming or clot coming are going to be there!" I think that tablet was for thinning the blood. But Maharaj told her, "It is not the medicines that save us. It is Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. Now if you want, you take the medicine. You may need it for your brains!" She said, "You have to take it because, if you do not take it, then you will not be alive in the morning." Maharaj said, "If I am not alive in the morning, it is because you said this to me. You doctors are supposed to encourage us to live but you are telling us we are going to die. What is the point of being in a hospital!" This lady doctor came to me very shaken and said, "Is he your grandfather?". I said, "Yes. He is my grandfather." She said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you sign an indemnity form absolving the hospital because we are very sure that in the next 10 to 12 hours, something is going to happen." I said, "Okay. I will sign it." I told Maharaj about this. Maharaj just asked me to keep quiet and go to take rest.
I was literally under the bed because there was no other place and at around 3.30 or 4.00 in the morning, Maharaj started banging the bed. I woke up and asked Maharaj what is it? He said, "Devaki, what time is it?" I said it is at 4 o'clock. Maharaj said, "Let us do Mangala arati now." I said, "Maharaj, you are supposed to have a stroke. Maybe you can take a break." Maharaj said, "If you want, you take a break. Don’t tell me that I want to take a break. If you are tired, say that you are tired. Don’t tell me that I am tired!" So myself and Amogha Prabhu were there and we started doing Mangala arati. After Mangala arati, Maharaj chanted. Maharaj could not use his hand very well. So he was using other hand to chant and at the end of the chanting, the lady doctor came again and Maharaj said, "Daughter, I am waiting for you to come. I am alive. You see, I am alive. You may be whatever, but always remember not to forget your culture. Don’t forget that your culture is Krishna consciousness. Those who are not afraid to die, they don’t die. But those who are afraid to die, they are the ones to die first. I am very strong. See, my hands and legs are very good" (laughter). The lady doctor was bewildered and said that it was time for her to leave. While leaving she told me, "You have one hell of a grandfather. I never had a grandfather or patient like that!"(laughter). Maharaj’s dedication to devotional service never stopped in any condition of life. Any condition of life, it never stopped.
Krishna willing, the transcription of this offering shall be continued in the ensuing mail.
Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi,
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