Reflections on the Older Brother
By Giriraj Swami
HH Tamal Krishna Goswami played the role of the older brother to so many godbrothers and godsisters in ISKCON, and he played it exceedingly well. He was loving, caring, expert, and resourceful in many, many ways. He could give expert advice and practical support on the physical plane—medical, architectural, financial; on the emotional plane—psychological, social, marital; and on the spiritual plane—chanting japa, singing bhajanas and kirtana, studying and teaching sastra, associating with devotees, worshiping deities, going on parikrama, preaching, distributing books, writing books, engaging different kinds of people, and so much more. As our older brother he reminds me of Lord Balarama, Krsna’s elder brother. Lord Balarama’s desire to serve Krsna was so strong that He served Him in all five rasas, or mellows—santa (peaceful), dasya (as a servant), sakhya (friendly), vatsalya (parental), and even madhurya (conjugal, by expanding Himself as Ananga Manjari, Srimati Radharani’s younger sister).
And Tamal Krishna Goswami’s service continues. His example and advice constantly guide me in my service to Srila Prabhupada, my spiritual father. Similarly to how I think, “What would Srila Prabhupada want me to do?” I also think, “What would Tamal Krishna Goswami say or do in this situation?”
Almost all of my closest friends were close friends of his, and our common history of association with and service to our older brother, and our common love for him and commitment to his ideals and projects and people, make our relationships with each other even deeper and sweeter. And his disciples have been taught by him to respect his godbrothers and godsisters as they respected him—and many serve and assist senior devotees most expertly, reflecting his good training and example.
Everywhere I look in my life, I see him. He is present in every place I visit or stay, in every word I speak or write, in every thought and emotion and desire I have in Krishna consciousness. He is an older brother like no other.
That is, unless we extend the search to the spiritual world, to Lord Balarama and Lord Nityananda. But how can we separate them? Lord Balarama and Lord Nityananda manifest their power and mercy in Srila Prabhupada, and Srila Prabhupada invested it in his loyal, expert servant, our older brother and friend, Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja.