The “Last Six Months”; Was He Systematically Poisoned?
A Introductory Mix of the Last Six Months of Srila Prabhupada Being Present
This interview was recorded by a devotee with initials “Rbd”, whom I have not been able to identify. His or her questions or comments are in bold & italic Font
Then from London Prabhupada again returned to Bombay, and from Bombay he came to Vrndavana. Then again, he called for the GBC. I went from Delhi to see Prabhupada and went into his room. We could see his condition was very much deteriorated physically, and practically he could not recognize us. We came into his room, but his vision was poor and he was not so aware. He was just speaking quietly in a low voice to Tamal Krishna, and he would ask who was there in the room with him. He would ask about different devotees. He just happened to ask if I was there. Of course, everyone loves himself the most so I remember that. Prabhupada asked if Trivikrama was there. And Tamal Krishna said,
Tamal was little surprised that Prabhupada was asking for such an insignificant devotee like myself. I said,
“Yes, Prabhupada, I am here”.
The devotees were singing at the time. Tamal asked if he would like me to sing. So, I sang for Srila Prabhupada for a few minutes; but it was not so pleasing. Then other devotees sang. Hamsadutta Maharaja, I Think. Like this so many devotees were coming in. Gurukrpa was arriving and it was very sober. We could see that Prabhupada’s condition was very grave. This must have been the beginning of October, end of September.
Prabhupada left London just a little after Vyasa Puja, which was September 7th. He did not stay long in Bombay. T: For the next two months Prabhupada remained in Vrndavana. I was there for that whole time. In the beginning, all the devotees were there for that whole time. In the beginning all the devotees were there and again it was the same feeling that Prabhupada was needed, therefore how could he think of going? He had not finished the Bhagavatam, everybody was re questing that he stays and recuperate. Prabhupada would say,
“Yes, I did not mind recovering”.
Of course, there was talk of the doctors and they tried different doctors, but none seemed very satisfactory. Prabhupada liked the devotees to come and sing. Every day it would be scheduled. I was in charge of scheduling devotees to be in Prabhupada’s room. They would come throughout the night actually. 24 hours a day someone was always there. The singing was not always going on, but allot of the time he would ask for singing in a soft voice. He liked a soft voice.
I admitted one incident that occurred when Prabhupada first came to Vrndavana in June. I was called from Delhi to come by, Prabhupada, and when I arrived there, I talked to Tamal Krishna Goswami and Bhakti Caitanya, and they explained that Prabhupada was going to have me …… So we were called in a meeting, I suggested that instead of me being sent to Chandigarh, why not allow Bhakti Caitanya to be GBC for Delhi as well? Delhi was a very important city. Gopal Krishna was the GBC, but he was in Bombay for the most part with his BBT work. In Vrndavana he was also GBC there as well, so there was not very much time for him to give attention to Delhi, and I thought Delhi was being neglected; it was the capital, an important city. Bhakti Caitanya had more time to cultivate it, because he was only the GBC of Chandigarh, one small city. Prabhupada agreed with that and Bhakti Caitanya was made GBC for Delhi at that time. Then we suggested,
“Well will not Gopal Krishna become angry?”
And Prabhupada said,
“No, that is not the idea. Everyone should cooperate for Krishna’s mission. Not that it is my mission or my zone. But if Krishna’s mission can be facilitated in this way or that way or that way, no one should be resentful”.
So, in this way it was established that Bhakti Caitanya would be GBC.
Again, relating to the last two months Srila Prabhupada was in Vrndavana. During that time Prabhupada would request our chanting so we had scheduled that there be chanting practically twenty-four hours a day. Prabhupada appreciated the devotees singing. But gradually the leaders began to go back to their respective zones. Prabhupada would sometimes encourage them. I remember Dhrstadyumna Maharaja was going back. He went and got permission from Srila Prabhupada and Prabhupada said,
“Yes, go out and preach vigorously”.
Prabhupada was still encouraging us to preach. But at the same time, he seemed a little sad that devotees again were leaving. So, there was a mixed feeling whether the devotees should stay, and possibly neglect their duties in the West, or whether they should go back and continue their activities. As time went on, more and more devotees left, and there were only a handful of senior devotees who had remained. Bhavananda Maharaja became Prabhupada’s nurse. Abhirama was relieved. He went back to the West Hamsadutta Maharaja came to stay. Tamal Krishna Goswami was there, myself, Bardaraja, some other less senior devotees. Even the devotees there, were not coming into his room. It was a little austere. Prabhupada did not talk much, and he slept, and he was a little cranky, from my material vision. But it was not the same as being in Prabhupada’s room a year before, when he was perfectly healthy. He was always enlivening the devotees, and telling jokes; and now it was a graver situation. Some devotees did not have attraction for it. Prabhupada complained on one accession,
“My body has become poison; therefore no one is coming. They did not want to be poisoned by me”.
We all felt very morose, ungrateful that Prabhupada was thinking like that, so we tried to encourage the devotees to stay, and invite devotees to come. At that time Tamal Krishna Goswami circulated a lette,r that devotees should come for chanting from the West. Some did come as the weeks went by. Although most of the leaders had left. Some good kirtan men came and sang different at times. There was much talk of Prabhupada’s health all the time, and some astrology were mentioned ,and different Kavirajas were tried. I think these things must all be on tape. I must be skipping some remembrances, but I remember near the end, Lokanatha swami came. He had been travelling on his bullock cart, on raveling sankirtan. they had just come from a place where Grandfather Bhisma had given up his body near Kuruksetra. Right after that Prabhupada seemed to be interested in this subject matter, of going out to give up his body. That is my speculation somewhat. But factually he did say that to me.
I was singing for him in the morning. I had been somewhat sick, so I did not come up very close to Prabhupada. He did not know directly that I was there still. So, when I sang again that morning he said,
“Oh, you are still here”.
Prabhupada recognized my voice. Then he spoke in a very humble way,
“I am simply a botheration. By my being here I am causing you all to stay.”
“No, Prabhupada. It is a blessing. You are teaching us how to be patient. How to remain simply without aggravating feverish mentality to go this way or that way, but just to remain at the lotus feet of the spiritual master”.