A farewell darsana – the greatest gift

Prabhupada was preparing to leave Melbourne. Madhudvisa Swami, to encourage the sankirtana devotees, arranged for Prabhupada to meet them just prior to his departure. The sankirtana devotees entered Prabhupada’s room and I went in too.

Prabhupada was somber. The devotees asked questions and Prabhupada dutifully answered them as his servant finished packing. Still sitting, Prabhupada reached over his desktop to the vase and presented each devotee with a yellow daffodil. Burly Ugrasrava, the sankirtana leader, then stepped forward with a dark saffron case in his hand. He eyed Prabhupada’s white case.

Prabhupada used that white case to carry his valuables – his travel and other documents, money, and keys. When Prabhupada stayed in hotels, he carried the case with him on his walks, not trusting to leave it in his room.

Ugrasrava had bought Prabhupada an expensive new suitcase, suitable for Prabhupada to carry while traveling and slightly larger than the white case. “Prabhupada,” Ugasrava said, “we’ve bought you this new, better quality case for your valuables.” Prabhupada was amused. It was clear that Ugrasrava wanted to trade Prabhupada for his white case.

“Oh,” Prabhupada said, his eyes opening wide. “You are giving me?”

Ugrasrava smiled widely. Prabhupada was accepting his gift. “Yes, Prabhupada,” he said, and his eyes turned to Prabhupada’s white suitcase.

“Very good,” said Prabhupada. He then proceeded to place the white case inside the new, bigger case and zip it closed. Ugrasrava’s mouth fell open.

Prabhupada’s eyes laughed, but he remained silent. He looked up at Ugrasrava and slowly unzipped the saffron case. He held up the white one, “Did you want this?” Ugrasrava nodded his head sheepishly. After emptying its contents, Prabhupada presented the white case to Ugrasrava.

My Dear Spiritual Son Bhurijana dasa:

Please accept my blessings. I am very glad to receive your letter dated 8/7/74 from Singapore. I am very pleased that you have gone to that place simply on my order, alone, to preach the message of Lord Chaitanya. I like this kind of spirit in you very much. You know I went to your country also alone, in old age, because of the order given to me by my spiritual master. So I get great pleasure when I see my own disciples from America going to far off places leaving their rich nation with all facilities and their families, to preach. The secret of success in spiritual life is to satisfy one’s spiritual master. This is the essence. You have captured this. So now go on in this way and do not falter. Follow the regulative principles and devotional practices I have given you. This will keep you fit. Be patient and determined, and ask everyone you meet to please chant Hare Krsna. I shall be very glad if you send me regular reports of your attempt.

I hope this meets you and also your good wife in best of health.
Your ever well wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami