From that day on, arrangements were made to always have several devotees in his room. Whether he was resting, awake, eating or bathing, whatever he was doing, there were always devotees chanting Hare Krishna. Sometimes he would ask us to chant louder. Sometimes he would ask us to stop chanting. When he would ask us to stop chanting, the devotees would chant silently on their beads.
A few days afterwards, he said that this doctor had failed, and his medicine has failed. He said,
“What is the use of living like this? I have become simply a lump of matter’.
Actually, throughout these days of treatment, he always made some objection.
Either he would say it was too much botheration for him to be constantly taking medicines, or he would say that the medicine is making him drowsy and he is not able to hear, and to be awake, or do anything.
Prabhupada was sleeping a lot at this Time. He would say that the medicine is causing him to lose energy more and more.
But it was very difficult for those who were tending him, and for those who were responsible for carrying on with his treatment. Prabhupada was transcendentally reciprocating to whatever was being presented. Prabhupada was being intensely requested to carry on with his treatment. He would agree, and then sometime later he would announce something like.
“What is the objection to a man leaving this world peacefully, hearing Hari-nama. Is there something wrong with that? Is there some harm?”
At one point he refused to take any more medicine. Some devotee and the doctors were pleading with him to. Actually, Tamal Krishna was saying,
“But this medicine, we are seeing improvements, we have faith in this doctor, he is very sincere, and he has knowledge, and we are seeing some improvements’.
Of course, this was the standard argument, that was constantly brought up to Srila Prabhupada; that there are improvements, therefore Prabhupada should continue with the treatment. But now that I think back on it, it was just wishful thinking. Actually, Prabhupada was not improving, and in fact, all these symptoms that we thought were improvements, were actually further symptoms of deterioration. But we could not imagine Prabhupada was slowly but surely departing. Simply no one wanted to think about that. Prabhupada would rarely talk like this, because it was too painful for us to hear. But every once in a while, either Bhavananda, Hansadutta or Tamal Krishna, would realize that Prabhupada is hinting that actually he just wants to be assisted, to depart. Prabhupada was requesting us to make his departure as effortless, as sweet as possible. In other words, Prabhupada previous decision to depart, which he had practically announced almost six or eight months before, had already been made, and could not be changed or altered. But to reciprocate with the feelings of love that the devotees had for him, when they begged him to remain, Prabhupada agreed to remain for some Time.
Of course, there is so much controversy as to the reason why he departed, after all that Prabhupada was accomplishing, so soon and untimely, and without warning. It seemed that way because of the fact that many devotees had departed Vrndavana so quickly.
After Prabhupada had rejected the second doctor, there was another incident. There is a story that leads up to this. After rejecting his first doctor, the very next day, Prabhupada announced that he had a dream. I do not know if this story is known. Rameswara Maharaja, was there. Anyways, in his dream, Prabhupada had seen some Ayur-Vedic doctor preparing medicine. He was marked with Ramanuja tilak and he was very puccam, a Vaisnava, a very first-class Vaisnava. And he was mixing the medicine, and in his dream Prabhupada was directing. Krishna was directing Srila Prabhupada that this medicine will cure you. So, the next day Prabhupada announced this dream to the devotees. I was not there when he made the announcement. I heard about it later. But I was there when the Kaviraja was found in Mathura who was a Ramanuja Vaisnava, and he was brought to see Srila Prabhupada. But as soon as he walked in, we all knew that this man was actually bogus. He came in and he offered to make the medicine, the specific medicine that Prabhupada was referring to. It was called makhara-dvaja.
This makhara-dvaja is a very very powerful medicine that restores tissues, and gives strength. Two of the ingredients in it are gold and mercury. The doctor said, “yes”, he would make the medicine and it would take about ten days to prepare, and it would cost thirty-five hundred rupees. As soon as he gave that figure, everyone knew he was a rascal. After he left, Prabhupada said,
“Why this medicine should cost so much? He is running free dispensary where so many poor sadhus are coming every day. So, if some poor sadhu like me came with my trouble, how could he ask me for thirty-five hundred rupees’.
So, the search went on to find this Ramanuja Kaviraja. Preparations were made to dispatch Smarahari to the Balaji temple in south India. There he could try to contact the pundits and find the proper man.
While the search for the Ramanuja Kaviraja was in progress, Prabhupada developed, seemingly had developed, some kind of a phobia and he kept asking whether there was any plan to put him in a hospital. He said,
“Do not put me in a hospital’.
Later on, the first doctor had been dispatched. The doctor was very attached to curing Srila Prabhupada. The doctor’s opinion was that it was simply a nuisance for Prabhupada to remaining in Vrndavana. Prabhupada should go to a hospital, and be treated fully with tubes and syringes etc. Prabhupada was very much apprehensive that in spite of his desire not to go. His disciples, in their zeal to try to cure him, would take him to the hospital. And he kept insisting over and over again, not to be taken to a hospital. Prabhupada would not be pacified with any amount of promises that he would not be placed in a hospital.
While this was going on, news came from New Delhi. Adikesava Maharaja on his way back to New York, apparently had contacted some friend of his who was a very famous pundit, and kind of a yogi, a popular yogi (Chandra Swami). He in fact was kind of the spiritual advisor to Indira Gandhi. And he was a very influential person. He had known some Ayur-Vedic vaidya in Delhi who had just prepared this makhara-dvaja. Miraculously this person had just prepared this makhara-dvaja, and offered to give it to Srila Prabhupada. All of it and immediately deliver it for his treatment. It was immediately brought from New Delhi, and administered to Prabhupada. Prabhupada was given only half a dose. Apparently the medicine was quite powerful. There was a particular treatment described that this dose should be administered twice a day. But after taking the first dose Prabhupada called in Tamal Krishna. I was there. And he asked to see the medicine. Prabhupada said,
“Where is the medicine?”
And Tamal Krishna said that it was locked in his ………..
“Why have you locked it?” Asked Prabhupada.
“Well, as far as we are concerned, this is the medicine that is going to save your life, so I do not want anything to happen to it’.
“Bring it to me immediately’. Said Prabhupada.
So Tamal brought it in and Prabhupada tried to look at it, but he could not see it from the lying position, because it was a reddish powder on the paper. So, he was looking and looking, and I said to Tamal.
“Well, why do not you bring a mirror, you can hold a mirror to it and Prabhupada can see it’.
So, we tried to hold the mirror in front of the paper, in different ways and Prabhupada said,
“I cannot see it’.
Therefore, it was described to him, and he said,
“There is another medicine that is very similar, but it is not as expensive. It is called shalana-sindhu, gold, an ocean of gold. My father used to take that medicine’.
Then Prabhupada became very thoughtful, and by the evening he said,
“Do not give me any more of this medicine’.
The devotees were pleading,
“But you had a dream, and in this dream this medicine was there and this kaviraja and everything was right’.
“This medicine is acting like poison’.