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Memories of Bhakti Svarupa Damodar Swami
by Anuttama Das (acbsp 1971, Non-GBC, Husband of Rama Tulasi)
Maharaja has suddenly left us without any time for us to say good bye. We are all crying and are feeling bereft without him. When saints are with us we must associate with them and we must serve them. Although a number of godbrothers went to Manipur with Maharaja after Gaura Purnima, the rest of the year he was alone.
I traveled to many places in the world with Maharaja. Over the last 15 years that I spent with Maharaja there were several special comments that he made to me that I wanted to share:
“ISKCON is proof that Krsna is God because ISKCON is still going on.”
“ISKCON is unity in diversity.”
“When you are a Guru you must be carful of what you say.”
“Srila Prabhupada always talked about science with me.”
“I am nonconfrontational”
“I never saw a begger till I came to Calcutta. [In Manipur no one begs or passes in public]”
“I learned to sing by practice.”
“Bali is a very special place. The devotees love Kirtan there.”
“When I was on night watch with Srila Prabhupada in his last days he use to speak so many things with me in Bengali. About his family and the early days of his life.”
I asked him what he thought about the troubles in ISKCON. He said,”I don’t think about them, I have my service given to me by Srila Prabhupada.”
Maharaja was always careful to put on his seat belt while in the car. So I asked him why he was so careful, did you have an accident once?
He said, “No I learned it in drivers education that one must use his seatbelt.”
Maharaja alway brought us gifts, a chadder from Manipur, a bell from Bali. When he was coming to see our one year old grandaughter (Revati Prema) for the first time he made a special stop at the store. He bought her flowers and a balloon that said “you go girl” He picked this out himself. He is the only Sannyasi that gave gifts to others.
I always loved to take him shopping at K Mart for gifts to bring back to the devotees in India. Maharaja would push the cart and say what he wanted. He would buy sleeping bags and socks for the Manipui devotees. He said you can’t get good socks in India.
Maharaja would never take prasadam until you came and ate with him and he would not get up until he asked for your permission.
Once we took a two day boat trip between islands in Indonesia rather than fly, I was his cabin mate. He said,” I took the boat because I wanted to see what boat trips where like.”
He was like a child at times. I loved that simple nature of his.
Yes, he was my best friend, I was looking foward to retiring from work and spending all my time with him, now I will have to wait and see what Krsna’s plan is.
Krsna das Kaviraja writes “To meet a devotee for a second is a great fortune. Krsna is always with the devotee, and the heart of a devotee is the abode of Krsna. Without the association of devotees no one can attain Krsna.”
So let us not wait till our godbrothers are gone to speak well of them and lament their departure. We should make it a point to travel and preach with each other and enjoy each others company. Don’t think that only your own assocation is valuable or that you have no time be cause you are too busy preaching in your field. Time is short let us not waste any more time and then lament.
If anyone would like to share their thoughts my Email is firstname.lastname@example.org
» Posted By Anuttama Das On Oct 27, 2006 @ 6:45 pm
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