That night Prabhupada began to pass a great deal of feces, and it was disturbing him and he said he was losing strength. So, he said,
“Do not give me any more of this medicine’.
The devotees really did not know what to do at that point, everything just seemed hopeless. And in a loving sentiment, they kept on pressing and insisting that Prabhupada should go on taking this medicine. And some devotees had a different feeling and opinion. Some though that Prabhupada should go on taking the medicine, and some thought that if Prabhupada felt that the medicine was destructive, then we should immediately stop giving it to him. He individually asked the devotees what they thought should be done. Then it was my turn to say something.
I said that perhaps this medicine is proper, since Prabhupada was directed in his dream to accept it, and it was made by the Ramanuja vaidya medical doctor, but that perhaps this medicine should be administered under close care and scrutiny of the doctor who should be present to watch if there is any side effect. Some things had to be adjusted. So, I said that I felt it was dangerous to continue taking this medicine without the presence of the doctor, and then Prabhupada said,
“Yes, this is right. So, bring a doctor immediately’.
Just at that moment, Tamal Krishna had remembered that they had located some doctor in Calcutta who was very famous among Marwatian businessmen, and he was a gentleman. So Tamal immediately called for this doctor.
So somehow or another, in the middle of the night, we were able to immediately get a direct connection to Calcutta from Vrndavana by telephone. I was there when Satadhanya Maharaja was making this call. A few hours later the devotee who was in charge of the Calcutta temple had immediately gone to see this doctor. Now we were waiting for a call from Calcutta.
Prabhupada had called everyone in again and said,
“Where is this doctor?”
This was only an hour and a half later. So, everyone said,
“Srila Prabhupada, we are waiting to hear’.
“There is no news?” Prabhupada asked.
Then it was explained to him that the devotee in Calcutta was going to see the doctor, and he must convince him to come, and he had instructions to immediately get on the next plane out of Calcutta, and bring him. And Prabhupada said,
“Ah, I think this is another bluff. I do not think the doctor is coming’.
Everyone assured him that we were doing everything in our power to bring him, we were just waiting. In the meantime, we did not get any response from Calcutta, so we tried calling. We finally got through to Calcutta. It was actually and practically impossible, in the middle of the day, to call Calcutta from Vrndavana. However, the call was completed, and we got the information that the doctor had already left on the 12 o’clock flight; which was the earliest out of Calcutta, and a devotee from the Calcutta temple was personally bringing him here.
In the due course of Time, the doctor arrived. I took longer than we thought. It took twelve hours for him to arrive. He arrived in the middle of the night, and examined Srila Prabhupada, and he confirmed Prabhupada’s conclusion.
He said you should immediately discontinue this treatment. We asked him why?
“Well, because this is not makhara-dvaja. It is some kind of poison’. Said the doctor. “It is acting like poison’.
He said he did not know what it was, but he said it is not makhara-dvaja. Therefore, it was immediately stopped and the doctor began to treat Srila Prabhupada. He gave his assurance that within fifteen days Prabhupada would be strong enough to sit up, and eat. But then at the same Time, he diagnosed that Prabhupada’s condition was very critical. As a consolation he said,
“I have seen patients in worse condition who were revived and recovered’.
He then proclaimed that he was quite confident, that he would cure Srila Prabhupada, and this was announced to Srila Prabhupada.
The doctor was a very nice man, and he seemed to become very attached to Srila Prabhupada right away, and he was very respectful. But at the same Time, I do not know about anyone else, but I had a feeling that Srila Prabhupada was simply accepting him for some Time. When the doctor departed back to Calcutta, as soon as he left, Prabhupada said,
“This medicine is useless. Let us not continue. Everything has failed’.
And again, there was pleading by the devotees. This is a familiar scene. After some hours of discussion, Prabhupada would agree to accept some other alternative proposal. Let us call the doctor back, but in the meantime, you should go on taking this medicine. Prabhupada said,
“All right, I do not mind taking for a few more days, but you have to get this doctor back’.
So, he agreed like that.
I had a shift to be in Prabhupada’s room in the middle of the night. Although I used to be in Prabhupada’s room most of the time, this particular time, it was my duty to be there, and not to go anywhere else. In the middle of the night,
Prabhupada called for Tamal Krishna, who was already taking rest, as was Bhavananda Maharaja.
Prabhupada announced to them that he wanted to go on parikrama. Parikrama is circumambulation of a holy place. ‘. immediately everyone thought that it was more or less suicidal. So, he announced it in such a way, that there was no question of denying him the privilege of doing it.
He asked several devotees who were there, Hansadutta Maharaja was also asked, and others; what they thought of it. And again, the devotees gave their different opinions. But the final consensus was that Prabhupada said that he wanted to go. He said,
“If I live, that is all right, and if I die, that is all right. I want to do this. I think that it will cure me’.
Again, the devotees were skeptical as to what Prabhupada means by “cure’. We were all very much aware of the fact that Prabhupada was undergoing a great deal of physical discomfort, and some thought that this “cure” means that Prabhupada was going to give up, be freed from his physical pain, which was difficult to bear.
The nature of that pain was little understood, nor did we understand the extent of it. But one night I got a little hint of it, by Krishna’s grace. Prabhupada had one very close friend, Visvambhara Babaji. Visvambhara had been trusted by Srila Prabhupada to take care of many things in Vrndavana.
He was an older Brijbasi. And many Times, Prabhupada would call for him. If Visvambhara did not ‘. immediately come due to being busy, or being out somewhere, Prabhupada would ask, why he is not coming.
We would make considerable efforts to locate him, and have him come to see Prabhupada. Prabhupada would engage in conversation with him. Most of the Time it was in Hindi, and most of the Time there was no one to translate it. Later on, devotees would ask Visvambhara what Prabhupada had said, and Visvambhara would translate.
One-night, Prabhupada called for Visvambhara and conversed with him in Hindi. I was listening intently, and I was able to pick up a few words. Later on, I asked the Babaji and he confirmed what I had heard. Prabhupada said,
“Do you see how I am suffering?”
Babaji listened, but did not say anything.
“It is on account of the sins of many disciples’.
Babaji ‘. immediately made an objection. He said,
“I do not believe that Srila Prabhupada. How is it possible? The sastra says that anyone who chants Hare Krishna even once becomes free of all his offenses and he is free from all sins, and your disciples are always chanting Hare Krishna. How is it possible?”
Prabhupada did not reply to that, then he said,
“Anyways, Lord Caitanya has forbidden to accept innumerable disciples. For this reason, ’,.
That was the end of that conversation.