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FOREVER BY HIS SIDE by Hrsikesa Powered By Docstoc
					                            Preface by the Author
     This essay was written after I had visited my unconscious spiritual master in the Intensive Care Unit
of Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he lay in a coma after a horrible head
injury which had been inflicted a few days earlier on October 27, 1985, by a crazed madman who was
visiting New Vrindaban at the time. 1
     This article was an expression of love from a sincere disciple for his guru, and was appreciated by the
New Vrindaban residents. Umapati dasa said it was the best piece I had ever written.
     We discovered later that our idolism of Bhaktipada as a self-realized soul was not based on his actual
spiritual realization, but never-the-less at this time we derived great inspiration and strength from our love
for him. Love is an extremely powerful and wonderful emotion, and I will never forget that love for him.
It was one of the most fulfilling loves of my life.

Hrishikesh dasa (Henry Doktorski)
October 2008

                                  Forever By His Side
                                    Hrishikesh dasa brahmachari
     All glories to our eternal Lord and Master, His Divine Grace Kirtanananda Swami Srila Bhaktipada.
     It is stated in the scriptures that the pure devotee of the Lord is always transcendental to matter. He
realizes himself to be spirit soul and does not identify with the body. He is not affected in the least by any
material impediment and his consciousness is eternally fixed in the Absolute Truth, in love with Lord
     Although he may appear to be unconscious, or even in a comatose state or trance, the spiritual master
is always engaged in the service of Lord Krishna. He is eternally preaching the sankirtan mission of Lord
Caitanya, and helping his disciples advance in love of God.
     Let me offer a few conclusive examples of Bhaktipada‟s great strength and determination. On
Monday night Nityodita prabhu visited Bhaktipada and relayed the following pastime: “When I saw him I
didn‟t really know what to do or say. Bhaktipada was lying in bed, apparently unconscious, and the nurses
informed me that he can‟t respond to us.”
     “One nurse demonstrated by grabbing Bhaktipada‟s hand and speaking rather loudly, „Can you hear
me? Please squeeze my hand. Can you hear me? Squeeze my hand.‟ There was no response.”
     “But after the nurse left the room, I held Bhaktipada‟s hand myself and told him, „Bhaktipada! It‟s
me, Nityodita dasa! We miss you Bhaktipada!”
     Immediately Bhaktipada began vigorously pumping my hand!”
     Nityo concluded, “Bhaktipada is not dependent on doctors or hospitals, but is simply dependent on
Krishna. He doesn‟t like these nurses, but he does love his devotees and reciprocates with them as they
love him. Not only that, but he wants to finish Sri Sri Radha-Vrindaban Chandra‟s temple very soon.
Bhaktipada is very much with us and fired up!”
     Another example is Adwaita prabhu. He and Sudhanu were reading Krishna Book to Bhaktipada
while he was quietly resting. After a while Adwaita said, “Bhaktipada, we brought some bath water from
Sri Sri Radha-Vrindaban Chandra.” He sprinkled a few drops on Bhaktipada‟s forehead and gently rubbed
the bath water on his skin. Suddenly, Bhaktipada surprised them by lifting his right arm straight up in the
air! Adwaita and Sudhanu were in bliss and grabbed Bhaktipada‟s hand and held it tightly.
      Another devotee, Radha Ramana, related this to me, “I told Bhaktipada that we need him, that we
can‟t live without him. I explained that all the Brijabasis were working very hard on the brick marathon
and were chanting twenty-four hours a day to Lord Nrsimhadeva for his speedy recovery. After a while, I
fell silent. Thinking how I could serve Bhaktipada, I spoke out loud, „Maybe I can massage your feet,
Bhaktipada.‟ Immediately he kicked his foot out from beneath the blanket, fulfilling my desire!”
      Our dear godbrother, Bhaktipada‟s personal servant, Kumara prabhu, relates, “I was holding
Bhaktipada‟s hand and reading Krishna Book when my throat became dry and I wanted a drink. However,
as soon as I started to leave Bhaktipada‟s side, his grip tightened on my hand and I couldn‟t go! I said,
„Bhaktipada, I just want to get a drink of water. I‟ll be right back.‟ Only then did Bhaktipada relax his
      Finally, let me describe my own pastime with Bhaktipada. By Krishna‟s inconceivable mercy, I was
on the night crew with Kumara early Wednesday morning. Ordinarily, except for Kuladri and Umapati,
who are with Bhaktipada twenty-four hours a day, devotees are only allowed a 15-minute darshan, and
then only once every two hours. Kumara and I had the privilege of spending the entire night with our
beloved Lord and Master.
      He had the first shift with Bhaktipada, beginning at 10 p.m., while I remained outside in the intensive
care waiting room. At 1 a.m. Kumara returned and asked me to relieve him. Together, we entered
Bhaktipada‟s partition and I asked, “What should I do?” and he replied, “You can read softly to him if you
like, but whatever you do, always remain forever by his side.”
      As Kumara left to take rest, I closely studied Bhaktipada as he lay resting in the hospital bed. His
head was bandaged and his eyes were shut due to swelling. Although he was breathing on his own, there
were many tubes and wires everywhere, to monitor and assist his bodily functions.
      Suddenly my head began to spin and perspiration appeared all over my body. I was fainting! My
system had taken quite a shock, after seeing Bhaktipada in such a condition and I couldn‟t maintain my
balance. Luckily, Bhaktipada‟s male nurse, caught me slumping over and helped me recover my senses.
“I‟m such a basket case!” I thought. “What kind of a servant am I?”
      The nurse then took Bhaktipada‟s temperature and offered to answer any questions I had. I asked him,
“Is Bhaktipada sleeping now? Umapati says that when Bhaktipada is taking rest, his breathing is steady.
However, it seems that his breathing is slightly irregular now, and he is moving a little bit.”
      But he evidently did not understand my question. He began telling me that Bhaktipada was neither
sleeping nor awake. He was in a coma. I dismissed him. “These hospital people!” I thought to myself,
“They don‟t understand that the pure devotee is beyond the laws of the material world! He is always
conscious of Krishna!”
      “Not only that, but the loving relationship between spiritual master and disciple cannot be impeded by
any so-called impediment. Spiritual communication is not like material communication. Love cannot be
limited or suppressed, even though apparently separated by great time or space.”
      It was obvious that Bhaktipada was right here with me, completely awake in pure Krishna
Consciousness and transcendental to the material world. How could I embarrass him by talking about his
body right there in his presence? I just wanted to serve him, to please him. But how?
      I decided to take the chance that he was awake and glorify his wonderful qualities. I began softly
chanting the Bhaktipadastakam prayers, which are very beautiful and inspiring. 2

       chaitanya-sankirtan-dhama navya-
       vrndavanam dhama praksitam tu
       yenaiva tam sri-prabhupada-prestham
       sri-bhaktipadam satatam stumas tam

       prajanukarsam prabhupadadeva-
       prasadam adhyam vilasantam eva
       vaikuntha-dhameva manim tu yasmat
       sri-bhaktipadam satatam stumas tam

       sri-krsna-varta-cayam aprameyam
       ajnapayaj jiva-kulam krpaluh
       gurupadesanugatir ya eva
       sri-bhaktipadam satatam stumas tam

       bhaktam prasantam para-tositam tu
       subhotsaham suddha-matim sukham ca
       sri-bhaktipadam satatam stumas tam

       dharmam param bhagavatam nibodhan
       bhaktan sada sasti sutarka-nathah
       sri-krsna-padambuja-samsrito yah
       sri-bhaktipadam satatam stumas tam

       saubhagyavan rupa-sanatanadi-
       siksayutatma prabhupada-dasyah
       bhaktaih stuto yah paramarjavo vai
       sri-bhaktipadam satatam stumas tam

       samsarinas carvita-carvanan yah
       sammajjavaty eva krpambudo vai
       sri-krsna-premabdhi-vare ‘mrte tu
       sri-bhaktipadam satatam stumas tam

       santis tu yasya prabhupada-siksa-
       nisthapi daksyam tapa isa-bhaktih
       sarvesu lokesu suhrt-svabhavah
       sri-bhaktipadam satatam stumas tam

     I began gently massaging Bhaktipada‟s hand and speaking the English translation to him, glorifying
his wonderful attributes.

       Let me sing about your unlimited transcendental qualities, Srila Bhaktipada! You are very dear to Srila
       Prabhupada because of your spontaneous love and devotion, the mature fruit of which is the New
       Vrindaban project, which is boldly preaching the glories of Lord Caitanya all over the world!

       This love that you have for Srila Prabhupada has blossomed as the gem of Srila Prabhupada‟s Palace, the
       effulgence of which shines brilliantly throughout the universe. In this way you are attracting every
       conditioned soul to the spiritual world by manifesting the opulence of Vaikuntha right here on this earth.
       Let me sing about your unlimited transcendental qualities, Srila Bhaktipada!
       Let me offer prayers in worship of you, Srila Bhaktipada. You are delivering the message of the absolute
       realm to every soul in this world by fulfilling the order of Srila Prabhupada to establish New Vrindaban
       as a model Krishna Conscious community in the western world.

       You possess all the qualities of a pure devotee, you are always self satisfied and you always carry Sri Sri
       Radha-Vrindaban Chandra in the core of your heart. In this way you enliven and enthuse us in the blissful
       service of their Lordships. Let me always glorify your transcendental qualities, Srila Bhaktipada.

       Let me sing about your unlimited transcendental qualities, Srila Bhaktipada. You fully know the meaning
       of the scriptures and you always enliven us in the transcendental science of Krishna Consciousness. By
       your undefeatable logic, you firmly establish the truth of bhagavata dharma and defeat all concocted
       interpretations of the Absolute Truth.

       Let me sing about your unlimited transcendental qualities, Srila Bhaktipada. You appeared in this world
       simply for the purpose of helping to spread the mission of the gosvamis. From the very beginning, you
       were the first to help Srila Prabhupada in every aspect of his preaching.

       Let me sing the glories of Your Divine Grace. You are overflooding the dry desert of this world with
       krishna prema, which is pouring unlimitedly from the ocean of your heart, like the great rain cloud which
       refreshes all living entities.

       You are completely fixed in the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, determined to execute them, fully
       controlled, an ocean of wisdom, always peaceful, expert, grave, effulgent, friendly, and completely
       detached. All these are simply a drop in the unlimited ocean of your transcendental qualities, Srila
       Bhaktipada. Please let me remain forever by your side.

     As I was offering these prayers to my spiritual master, sitting next to him and holding his hand,
suddenly I realized, “His eyes are open! Bhaktipada‟s eyes are open!”
     His eyes, which were shut due to swelling, were now open about half way, and I could see his pupils
gazing at me I Blissfully, I glorified him and dedicated myself eternally to his service.
     Suddenly, a gaggle of nurses entered to run some routine tests and one of them noticed that
Bhaktipada‟s eyes were indeed open. She moved her hand in front of Bhaktipada‟s face and he blinked.
“Did you see that!” Everyone was gladdened by this simple indication of Bhaktipada‟s gradual recovery.
     Unfortunately, they then proceeded to perform their bothersome tests on Bhaktipada, some of which
are annoying and even painful. He tries to resist by twisting and moving about. His breathing is labored
and heavy, but he is much to weak to stop them.
     When they were finally finished and left us alone, I thought, “Bhaktipada needs some rest. Can I help
him to relax? Why not play a tape of Prabhupada singing Hare Krishna?” I tried to turn on the tape
recorder, but couldn‟t reach it without letting go of Bhaktipada‟s hand. However, when I tried to pull
myself away, his grip tightened and I was unable to leave his side.
     “Perhaps, he doesn‟t want me to play the tape just now,” I thought. I still wanted to soothe him, so I
began softly singing:

       namah om visnu padaya krsna presthaya bhutale
       srimate kirtanananda swamin iti nomine
       namaste bhaktipadaya prabhupada priyayate
       lilaksetram param dhama stapitam yena pascime

       jaya sri krsna caitanya prabhu nityananda
       jayadvaita gadadhara srivasadi gaura bhakta vrnda
       hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
       hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

     I chanted for an hour or so while Bhaktipada rested. Looking at my watch, I noticed it was 4 a.m..
“Oh, it‟s time for arotika at Prabhupada‟s Palace,” I thought. “Why not take Bhaktipada on a little tour?”
     So I began describing to Bhaktipada how the devotees were assembled in the kirtan hall at the Palace,
chanting japa. I described the blowing of the conch, the ringing of the bells, the dimming of the crystal
chandelier, and the opening of the heavy wooden doors to Prabhupada‟s altar.
     “Jaya Srila Prabhupada!” the devotees cried out after seeing their spiritual master sitting regally upon
his throne. How glorious Srila Prabhupada is, dressed in satin and velvet garments, decorated with jeweled
tilak and dazzling ornaments, garlanded with pearl necklaces, bedecked with golden mace and crown!
     Then I began softly chanting:

       samsara davanala liddha loka tranaya karanya ghanagana tvam
       praptasya kalyana gunarnavasya vande guro sri caranaravindam

     I was hoping to bring a little pleasure to my spiritual master, and Bhaktipada accepted ray offering
and reciprocated with me by resting peacefully. How can I describe the transcendental emotions I was
feeling for him?
     After mangala arotika was over, we left the palace and drove to the temple for Sri Sri Radha-
Vrindaban Chandra‟s arotika. We entered the temple room as all the beloved residents of New Vrindaban
offered heartfelt obeisances to their Lord and Father, Srila Bhaktipada.
     Suddenly the conch sounded, the pujari bells rang, and the altar doors dramatically parted, revealing
the divine forms of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Vrindaban Chandra. We blissfully prostrated ourselves
on the floor and offered our reverent obeisances.
     Upon seeing the Deities, I painted a picture in words for Srila Bhaktipada describing the incredible
beauty of Vrindaban Chandra. I described the gorgeous array of His garments, their rich colors, His jewels
decorations, the turban on His head and the peacock feather in His hair. I described His flute, and the
beautiful melody which is so enchanting that upon hearing it‟s vibrations all moving entities become inert,
and all non-moving entities dance.
     I also described the dress and incomparable beauty of Srimati Radharani, Krishna‟s dearmost
confidant and lover. I described Radha‟s inconceivable love for Krishna, and the highest degree of
surrender that the gopis express for Krishna.
     As I was relating these descriptions of the spiritual world, Bhaktipada began stirring his arms and
legs. In fact, he began kicking so much that I had to constantly pull his blanket back over his chest.
     After a while, I began the samsara prayers, thinking that Bhaktipada was in trance, appreciating the
beauty of Krishna and His beloved Radharani. There is no doubt that Bhaktipada is situated in the topmost
position of pure love of God and that he is relishing the association of the beautiful cowherd boy in
Goloka Vrindaban. He knows Krishna. He plays with Him, dances with Him, and serves Him selflessly,
faithfully, for all eternity.
     Out of compassion, he is trying to teach me what he already knows: “Give up this miserable world of
suffering! Renounce your silly desires for sense gratification, honor, independence and liberation, and just
surrender to Krishna! Chant His holy name, engage in His devotional service, and go back to Him, back
home, back to Godhead!”
     “Come with me! Follow me and we will journey to Goloka Vrindaban, back to our beloved Friend
and Master, Govinda, who is sitting on the bank of the Yamuna playing His flute so wonderfully! Can‟t
you see Him, frolicking with the cowherd boys, chasing their calves through the verdant fields?”
     “Why do you not give up your petty desires for comfort, your foolish enviousness of your
godbrothers, and your stubborn persistence to be independent? Don‟t you know that you are only
needlessly prolonging your misery? Time is running out! When will you learn?”
     “Become humbler than the grass, more tolerant than the tree, and only then will you chant the holy
name in ecstasy and all your offenses cease. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy.”
     “Preach strongly and never compromise the pure teachings of Lord Krishna and His confidential
ambassador, Srila Prabhupada. Remain loyal and faithful to God and guru, for only by pleasing the
spiritual master can you please Krishna. Worship the spiritual master as good as God, for this is instructed
by Krishna Himself, and forever become his menial servant.”
     “Won‟t you help me build a magnificent temple for Radha and Vrindaban Chandra? Won‟t you go
out and reach the poor conditioned souls, rescue lakshmi and participate in Lord Caitanya‟s sankirtan
     “Won‟t you become an upstanding citizen in our New Vrindaban Community, upright in character
and strict in behavior? Only when our residents exhibit the qualities of a first-class Vaishnava, will our
model Krishna Conscious city shine like a beacon in this dark age of kali, proclaiming the glory of God
and rescuing all of suffering humanity from the deadly clutches of the maya witch. Let‟s help to fulfill the
prophecy of Lord Caitanya, so His name will be chanted in every town and village!”
     “Come with me, together we will glorify Lord Krishna and once again go back to Him, to eternally
love and serve Him in His own abode. Follow in my footsteps, remain forever by my side, and I will
guarantee-you a place with Him. Do not fear, for He is our very dear friend.”
     Just then Umapati walked in and announced, “Hrishikesh, it‟s five o‟clock and you must be very tired.
You‟ve been up all night. Please take rest. I‟ll take over now.” He insisted.
     Reluctantly, I left Bhaktipada‟s side and returned to the waiting room where Kuladri and Kumara
were still sleeping. I collapsed on the sofa, not realizing how tired I actually was. I lay down and thought
of the great love all the devotees at New Vrindaban have for Srila Bhaktipada.
     I lamented about my inability, after many, many years of chanting Hare Krishna, to surrender myself
cent per cent to the lotus feet of my spiritual master and taste this love which is so apparently relished by
my godbrothers.
     Before it is too late, let me vow to seriously take the instructions of my spiritual master in my heart,
and follow in his footsteps with my life and soul. Let me strive to dedicate myself to his mission, and not
to embarrass or hinder him by my immaturity. Let me eagerly take on more and more austerities and more
and more responsibilities and more and more headaches for his pleasure.
     For it is only by becoming completely pure in heart, word and deed, that one can completely satisfy
the spiritual master by spontaneous loving service. Only then can we remain forever by his side, and
follow him back home, back to Krishna.

All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktipada!
 See “Bhaktipada Is Struck Down” at
 The Bhaktipadastakam prayers were eight Sanskrit verses in glorification of Bhaktipada which had been
written by a devotee poet, Kusakratha dasa, who lived at New Vrindaban for some time in 1981.

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