His Grace Bhima Prabhu left his body
His Grace Bhima Prabhu left his body.
A very sweet Aussie devotee from a family of devotees left his body today.
This is from his sister:
This morning at 4.30am, on Amalaki Ekadasi, His Grace Bhima Prabhu left his body. He was with his immediate family: his wife Subuji – his life partner since they were teenagers – and his children Lilamrita (who went to school here in Mayapur and Vrindavan), and his daughter Tilakini, who cared for him all through his illness since last year. The whole family – my mother and sisters, and my older brother, who most of you know, Ramanuja Prabhu – were due to land tomorrow, Monday. When my sister told me they were arriving Monday, I turned to my husband Jahnu Prabhu and said, “Bhima will leave his body this weekend, then. Before they arrive.” And he did. This was his way: humble, no trouble to anyone. More than that, he was ready to go, and I know he didn’t want the loving yet distracting presence of anyone but those he’d spent his life with: his immediate family. They were a close, loving, supportive family of kind, sweet people, all so much a representative of Bhima’s humble character and deep, constant devotional strength.
After the note of his imminent passing was posted on the Mayapur Forum and fwd’d by Radha Sundari Devi to the GBC conference, I began to receive streams of emails from so many: leaders telling me they would ask their yatra to pray for Bhima; individuals saying they were praying all through the day for him; others sending the most wonderful verses of Krishna’s grace for one about to return to Him; so much love from the collective community of worldwide devotees.
Bhima was moved to tears; he couldn’t believe this was happening. When I’d asked him a few days ago if he wanted me to come back, he said that what he wanted more than anything was to know someone was in the dhama praying for him. And so I desired to fulfil his request a thousandfold, and all of you did that. It moved him, and he asked his daughter, “Who are these people I don’t even know, praying for me…”
And then this morning Tilakini wrote and told me it was Amalaki Ekadasi, and she had read the meaning of this day after his passing; a long story but in the end a king is saved from death and when he wakes, he looks at all those who fought to save him and he asked, “Who are all these people I don’t know who fought for me?” A voice says “You ask who has saved you? It is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
So it is within the worldwide community of devotees. That everything comes together beyond any fathomable expectation is of such comfort; that we are all there for each other at the most important time in our lives is all that matters, it is, as Prabhupada taught us, our “birthright,” to be able to depend on the mercy of the devotees.
I know it is normal to hear only glorification of departed devotees. But ask anyone about Bhima Prabhu, and there was always only ever glorification. He was a kind and gentle person, a humble and consistent and deeply sincere man, and he never stopped serving. His life was a struggle, when the rest of the family lived comfortable material lives. We could never understand how, when he was the most obvious devotee in the family, how he had the hardest life…just constant struggle and always only ever having “just enough” to get through. Still his attachment to Srila Prabhupada never waned. He was a Prabhupada man through and through. I mentioned that Bhavananda (then) Maharaja had given him the name “Bhima” for “performing Herculean tasks on sankirtan,” but he also mentioned at the yajna that Bhima deserved this name for having to bear all through his life til now the most humble of names as his christened name, Neil: which sounds the same as “kneel.” As Bhavananda said, a “most humble name for a humble person.” It made everyone in the yajna laugh (in Bhavananda’s usual fashion), and today, on this auspicious day of his departure, we all understand, and have experienced this devotee of Herculean strength whose humility was equal to barely none.
Bhima was moved by your care, your love and affection, your prayers. You hastened his journey back to Krishna, and I, and my 90 yr old mother, and Ramanuja, and my sisters, we are all indebted to you all for responding in such a gracious way. His last words were to his daughter: “Tell Ramanuja I’m sorry I couldn’t wait for him.” Minutes later, he left.
All glories to His Grace Bhima Prabhu!
your humble servant
Braja Sevaki dd