Because the next day was Goverdhana Puja, Prabhupada had decide to go to Govardhana. It was a very intense Time and afterwards we all remained in Prabhupada’s room, and performed kirtana and he slept. Then later on, after everyone has gone, in the middle of the night, Krishnadasa Babaji came, and a conversation took place between him and Prabhupada. The only witnesses to this conversation were Tamal Krishna and Bhavananda. After talking with Krishnadasa Babaji Prabhupada changed his mind, and decided not to go. He was also being implored by Tamal Krishna and Bhavananda not to go and Krishnadasa Babaji also expressed his opinion, that there was no need to go since Prabhupada was already glorious and famous all over the world. The Babaji said,
“Even if you are thinking that it is a glorious way to die, there is no reason to do it. You are already glorious wherever you are, so what is the difference where you die’.
Then Tamal Krishna said,
“If you go on this pilgrimage we will simply be in too much anxiety. I am losing my mind because of this anxiety. I cannot bear to see you do this’.
Then Prabhupada said,
“All right, I will not go. I cannot. You have gone through so much suffering on my account already’.
He then spoke to Bhavananda.
“I cannot do this to you’.
So Prabhupada gave up his plan. Then all of a sudden that night, Prabhupada developed pain in his leg, and it was very severe. The doctor was called, and he prescribed some compresses. The compress was made from heated urid dahl. At the same Time, the doctor administered some medicine for the pain, and some medicine to make Prabhupada’s heart stronger. After administering the medicine, the doctor asked Prabhupada if he felt some relief. Prabhupada said “Some relief’. Then he fell asleep.
The next day at six o’clock in the morning I went into Srila Prabhupada’s quarters again. Prabhupada was sleeping, so I started chanting japa softly. Giriraj was attending to Prabhupada at that Time. I was a little surprised, because Giriraj was not very experienced in attending to Prabhupada needs. Prabhupada was having so many difficulties at that Time. However, Prabhupada all of a sudden said something. It was very hard to understand what he had said, so we all rushed towards the bed. He was saying something, but we could not understand it. I asked Giriraj.
“Who is attending Prabhupada?”
“I am’. Said Giriraj.
Then Giriraj bent over Prabhupada’s ear, and tried to hear what Prabhupada was saying, and he thought that Prabhupada said that he wanted to pass urine. So, he ran for the bottle and tried to arrange it so that Prabhupada could relieve his bladder. But Prabhupada kept on saying something, and he was making very curious motions with his arms. This was the first Time he started making this unuseal motion with his arms. Throughout the rest of the day, this motion was recurring constantly. And we had difficulty understanding what he meant by it. He also became more or less non communicative, not opening his eyes or mouth. He would make some sounds, which no one could decipher.
The doctor had just gotten up from resting, and he came down and examined Srila Prabhupada, and with great apprehension, said that Prabhupada’s heart was weaking and he was dying. Jayapataka Maharaja began to chant Hare Krishna. He was chanting very softly. The rest of the devotees were stunned so much by this, that it took a while for us to take up the chanting, we simply did not know what was going to happen. So, we began chanting, and a few moments after the chanting began Prabhupada fell asleep, and he slept peacefully for about one hour and a half. When Prabhupada fell asleep, the doctor came down and looked at him, and took his pulse. The doctor said that since Prabhupada was sleeping, he did not want to disturb him. He requested to be called when Prabhupada wakes up.
An hour and a half later Prabhupada woke up, and again the same symptoms were there, this Time it seemed somewhat more intense, and Prabhupada was not communicating, but he would make a sound, something like this.
“mmm mmmmmm mmmmmmmm’.
This sound he would make over and over and over again, to the point where everyone was simply crying in frustration and trying to accommodate him. Those attending him were thinking that maybe he is asking to be turned this way or that way. But we were helpless, and did not know what to do. The doctor came and took his pulse, checked his heart, and he was very much apprehensive. Then the doctor gave an order to mix up some medicine. He was carrying some small black case with him that seemed to contain very special medicines, super, extra strong medicines. He took out one and gave to ………., and said,
“Mix it up”.
After it was mixed up Bhakti Caru tried to administer it to Srila Prabhupada, and Prabhupada would not open his mouth to accept it. Prabhupada simply kept on making this “mmm” sound, and making motions with his hands. Then somehow or other they managed to put some of the medicine in his mouth. Prabhupada was sat up, and at one point his mouth dropped open slightly, and Bhakti Caru managed to put some medicine and a little water in Prabhupada’s mouth, and Prabhupada swallowed it.
Whenever Prabhupada was called by the name, “Srila Prabhupada”, or when the Kaviraja would call him “maharaja”, Prabhupada would reply by nodding his head.
But whenever he was asked about something, or when he was asked to cooperate by opening his mouth or whatever, he would not reply.
It was very difficult to get any information on Prabhupada’s state of being. Then the medicine seemed to take some effect. The medicine was for his leg pain. When the medicine seemed to have taken some effect, Prabhupada opened his eyes and looked around at everyone as he lay back. Then he said, loud and clear,
And everyone started chanting right away, and we chanted very loudly over and over again, while Prabhupada laid there until he fell asleep again. About eleven thirty Prabhupada again woke up in the middle of the kirtana, with a very loud moan and again the same activities began.
We all surrounded Prabhupada, and began to chant. Then the doctor came down and he checked Prabhupada’s condition again, and then he looked up, and he said there was nothing he could do anymore. He said Prabhupada was leaving. The doctor asked if Prabhupada has passed any urine. The answer was no. He had not passed urine for thirteen hours. Then the doctor said that after thirteen hours, the urine held in becomes poison and it will kill. Then asked whether he could administer the medicine for Prabhupada’s heart, the doctor said,
“My medicine will not do anything at this point’.
We began chanting prayers to Lord Nrshimhadeva, over and over and over again, helplessly watching Srila Prabhupada departing. All the devotees came, everyone came. The doors were open, anyone who wanted to come, they came. The chanting went on continuously. The chanting was not responsive. It was in unison. Then Prabhupada began manifesting some symptoms, which we could recognize, the final symptoms. Then his God brothers came, and they all surrounded him. Bon Maharaja bent over his ear and he said,
“We have come here to be with you’.
He named everyone who had come, but Prabhupada would not respond. They asked him if was there anything he wanted, or wanted to tell them? Prabhupada did not respond, but instead folded his hands in pranams to them; offering obeisance’s to his God brothers.
Prabhupada was tossing here and there, there was a growling sound in his throat. Then he fell asleep, and he slept for about four hours; every peacefully. We all sat there and they administered Ganges water and Radhakunda water into his mouth; whenever Prabhupada’s mouth open. A tulasi leaf dipped in candan was placed on his forehead,, and different prayers were chanted. We were directed by Narayana Maharaja to chant different kinds of prayers. And we were simply waiting, waiting for Prabhupada to depart from this world. Prabhupada slept very peacefully as we chanted. Then around seven twenty, Prabhupada slightly opened his eyes. I could see his diaphragm was moving, but he would not get any breath. Then he said,
And that was the last thing that he said, And we were watching Prabhupada as he gave up his body. Then Prabhupada became very still. He opened his mouth very wide. All the devotees began to cry, and wail very loud. But we were til chanting at the same Time. We were chanting “Jaya Srila Prabhupada, Jaya Srila Prabhupada’. However, some devotee was shouting.
“Do not cry! Why are you all crying? Prabhupada had gone back to Vaikuntha’.
Then we felt that Prabhupada had entered every one’s heart. He had become closer to us than he had ever been. Prabhupada’s great mercy.
Then his Godbrothers came, and we began making preparations for the last services to a departed Vaisnava. He was placed in a lotus position in the palanquin. Prabhupada was dressed very nicely, and garlanded with fragrant flowers. We all simply watched. We could not believe that Prabhupada was no longer here in this world. He looked so transcendental. He did not even look dead. Everything about him was still the same. He looked like he was peacefully sleeping. Then it donned on us and we understood that Prabhupada departure is beyond every one’s understanding, and it is rightfully said that it is samadhi, not death. He was taken to the temple to get the darshan of the Deities. The devotees surrounded him and chanted loudly. Using torches to light the way, we performed parikrama of the temple at night. There was a schedule, and they began at once digging the samadhi pit. Prabhupada was then placed on his Vyasasana and Vyasapuja was performed with flowers. Prabhupada sat very nicely on the Vyasasana. His God brothers were there and they began chanting.
“Jaya Prabhupada, Jaya Prabhupada, Jaya Prabhupada, Jaya Gurudeva, Jaya Gurudeva, Jaya Gurudeva’.
Narayana Maharaja led most of the kirtana. He chanted.
“Ye anIo prema-dhana karuna pracur heno prabhu kotha gela acarya thakur..’.
This was very significant. This song is offered to the departed acaryas, which means, more or less, that at least those devotees and God brothers who were there in Vrndavana, had accepted Prabhupada as the acarya.
Then some Brijbasis came, and they begged that the samadhi ceremony would be put off until the next day. There were so many Brijbasis that wanted to get the last darshan of Srila Prabhupada. So, in consultation with Narayana Maharaja, we agreed. In the morning, at the break of dawn, Prabhupada was taken in a procession throughout Vrndavana, and it was a very solemn procession. It went all over Vrndavana, to all the temples. All the different gosvami would come out, and garland Srila Prabhupada’s body and put dust from the different holy places upon his head.
Then we returned to the samadhi area at about 10 o’clock in the morning. There were thousands of people gathered in the front compound of the temple. They were packed so closely together, that it was very difficult to stand next to the samadhi pit. Practically everyone was afraid of falling in. Ceremonies were performed.
Prabhupada was bathed and dressed in fresh dhoti, garlanded, and there were some special mantras inscribed with tulasi manjari stems, and candan on his chest.
Prabhupada was then slowly placed down in the pit. Narayana Maharaja performed some offerings.
Full artik was performed to Prabhupada and then slowly he was covered with salt around his body.
Then the salt gradually flowed up to his chin.
I was struck with extreme sadness, knowing that this was the last Time I would physically see Prabhupada lotus like face.
Then he was covered completely with salt and then all the devotees contributed by putting sand into the pit.
A tulasi plant was placed eight feet above Prabhupada’s head, and another artik was performed to a picture of Prabhupada which was placed at that spot.
Prabhupada was offered prasada.
Then this maha-maha-prasada was then distributed to all the remaining devotees.
In this way, the last ceremony was completed.