After leaving London, Prabhupada’s condition quickly deteriorated. He was unable to eat anything solid, without it causing great difficulty, and he has been drinking only a glass of fruit juice, a glass of mung-jala, and another glass of liquid each day.
When he was in Bombay, he was in such a weak condition that he was unable to move around. Prabhupada could only lie on his bed all day. His body condition has reduced so much, that he must be helped even just to roll onto his side. On the afternoon of the September 29th, Prabhupada called all the GBC’s into his room and considered whether he should remain in Bombay for another three weeks until the opening and then go to Våndavana and perform parikrama with all his devotees, or go immediately to Våndavana.
After due consideration and discussion, everyone felt that it would be better for Prabhupada to return to Våndavana. Prabhupada was in complete agreement with this and instructed us to immediately arrange for his going there. Arrangements were made in Delhi, and due to a plane strike,
Prabhupada traveled by train from Bombay to Mathura junction. He arrived at Mathura junction on the morning of the October 2nd and was greeted by devotees from the Krishna Balarama Mandira.
Upon arrival at the temple, we lay Prabhupada on his bed, and he lay there for a long time very quietly, and hardly moving. Tamal Krishna Maharaja commented.
“Now you are at home Srila Prabhupada?”
After a while, Prabhupada moved his hands to his chest and clasped them together, and said,
It was a great relief for him to have returned. Tamal Krishna continued,
“Now you are in the care of Krishna Balarama”.
Prabhupada smiled and said,
And then he quoted the Sanskrit,
This is from the prayers of King Kulasekhara.
“My dear Lord, may I die immediately now that I am healthy so that the swan of my mind may enter into the stem of Thy lotus feet”.
Prabhupada just quoted the Sanskrit for this. Later that day, Prabhupada was expressing some concern that things would go on nicely after his departure. Tamal Krishna reassured him.
“Oh yes, all you have to do is think of Krishna and Balarama”.
“Yes, give me that chance, is that all right? In this condition, even if I cannot move my body on the bed. Only chance if you give me, let me lie a little peacefully without any anxiety. I have given in writing everything, whatever you wanted. My will is there. Disaster will be there if you cannot manage this”.
Prabhupada was reassured those things would go on and he continued,
“I must thank you that you took me to London and again brought me back without any difficulty. That is a great credit for you. That I am thanking you. In this condition, simply a bundle of bones, still you did it. Krishna will bless you”.
Prabhupada spent a restful night.
October 3: One kaviraja came to treat Prabhupada. He described different medicines so Prabhupada said that he would try them at least. He told us afterwards, that his life was finished, and he was simply living by the grace of Krishna; so, while there is still life at least let us try the medicine. Tamal Krishna asked him,
“So, you feel a little hopeful?”
“For me, either live or die I do not mind, but if you are trying for my life, try it very seriously, that is my point. Do not be negligent of whatever he advises”.
In this way Prabhupada was encouraging us to be very serious if we want him to stay with us.
Later, Prabhupada called for Hansadutta Svami, who just arrived from Sri Lanka. Prabhupada was very pleased with Hansadutta’s preaching activities there, and had him explain how he was preaching.
Although his health was not actually improving, from the body point of view, Prabhupada became a little livelier upon reaching Våndavana. That evening Prabhupada had a very disturbed night, and in the morning explained that the Kaviraja’s medicine, had caused havoc, and so we stopped the treatment.
Around this time, some of the GBC members started to arrive and Prabhupada was very satisfied to know that his leading disciples, were coming to chant and have kirtana for him.
On the evening of the October 5th, Prabhupada asked what the astrologer’s opinion was. We had, had a chart made for him in Delhi the previous day, and it was explained to him that the astrologer had advised one maha-mrtyu mantra. It should be chanted to Lord Siva, by ten brahmanas, for twenty-one days, and this would produce an immediate result of better health, and longevity. When Prabhupada heard about the mantra he immediately said,
“We have the maha-mantra”.
And when he heard the details of this chanting, he said again,
“The maha-mantra is sufficient. There is no need of others”.
It was explained that until next March, it would be a very difficult time, but if Prabhupada passed over that period, then for the next three or four years, his health would be good. Prabhupada was silent. Then after being asked whether these charts were very much applicable to a devotee, Prabhupada replied, “No’. He called Tamal Krishna, and asked him not to spend any money having these astrological charts done.
“It is useless. We can arrange as many hours as possible to chant kirtana. That is best”. Remark Prabhupada.
Tamal Krishna then asked Prabhupada whether he would like the chanting just throughout the day, and then stopped in the evening so that he could rest. Prabhupada replied.
“I can hear day and night”.
“So, we should arrange starting in the morning going until the night?” Asked Tamal.
“That is according to your convenience. But kirtana is very sweet”. Said Prabhupada.
“Last June we were doing twenty-four hours”.
“That is real business”. Said Prabhupada.
October 6: In the morning, Paramananda prabhu arrived from Gita-nagari farm. Prabhupada had told him,
“So, organize these farm projects. Simple living. Human life is meant for God-realization. Try to help them. This is my wish”.
Paramananda replied that they were always feeling Prabhupada’s presence very strongly, simply by his teaching and instruction. Prabhupada smiled and said,
“Thank you, that is real presence. Physical presence is not important”.
They presented him with a shawl that was hand woven from the wool of sheep, which live on the farm. Prabhupada was very very pleased to see it, and took rest and covered himself with the shawl to keep warm. A little later at about eleven o’clock, Prabhupada decided to go for darsana in the temple. This was very encouraging for us, and we were very pleased to carry him into the temple before Their Lordships Sri Sri Krishna Balarama. Prabhupada was so very happy to see the Deities, and he remained in the temple courtyard for about fifteen minutes, while the devotees chanted ecstatically around him. Later in the morning, Prabhupada sent for Gopal Krishna prabhu, and he explained to him that he wanted him to print as many books as possible.
“My point is, that I do not wish to keep money in the bank. Invest in printing”.
Although Prabhupada has been gradually withdrawing himself from any kind of management or external preaching activity, still he is constantly thinking about his books, and how we should go out and print and distribute, as much as possible. Gopal went on and described how many different books; they are printing in different languages, and how in the past month, they have sold more than one thousand Bhagavad-gitas by mail-order. Prabhupada was very pleased,
“Yes, it is very good. So, follow this policy. Do not keep idle money in the bank”.
In the afternoon we were discussing with Srila Prabhupada about the Kaviraja. Prabhupada had decided not to follow his advice, because the medicines he had given had caused so much difficulty. So Tamal Krishna mentioned that previously Prabhupada had said,
“Still some husband must be there. We should have a doctor. After all we are not doctors”.
So Prabhupada replied,
“No, we are taking the help of Dr ……….. Yogendra Ras”. Yogendra Ras is a medicine that Prabhupada has taken for several years but has stopped about six months ago. Tamal Krishna mentioned.
“But you are just beginning that again now of course, but tomorrow you may give it up, then what will be our position?”
After a short pause Prabhupada replied,
“Then I will be a widow”.
He laughed very much and then said,
“Krishna is the ultimate husband”.
Now we have started the chanting in Prabhupada’s room. Hansadutta came in and chanted in the evening. Prabhupada was listening very intently. When he left a word out in one of the verses, Prabhupada immediately corrected him. Prabhupada is more and more becoming absorbed in the kirtana. Prabhupada also began to reduce the amount that he was drinking during the day, and at one point in the evening, he called in Tamal Krishna and told him that no more doctors should come. Prabhupada said,
“These doctors will come and give something to try and save. I do not want to be saved”.
Tamal Krishna asked if the two Våndavana doctors should come. Prabhupada said,
“No. Better to take your advice for kirtana”.
Tamal replied that that was best because than we can ask Krishna for His saving. Prabhupada replied,
“Better you do not pray to Krishna to save me. Let me die now”.
Later, Prabhupada was sitting up and suddenly he asked,
“Is there anything to ask before I depart?”
In this way Prabhupada was indicating more and more, that he had come to Våndavana apparently to wind up his activities in the material world.