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Chapter 105: Prabhupāda Pleases Disciple; Illness After Sandalwood Massage

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 105
Prabhupāda Pleases Disciple; Illness After Sandalwood Massage

February, 19-24, 1973, ISKCON Auckland,
New Zealand

From the beginning, Siddha Swarupa had a unique relationship with the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Before meeting Śrīla Prabhupāda, he had been a "guru" who surrendered to His Divine Grace, bringing with him some of his own "disciples." Many ISKCON devotees had difficulty accepting the distinction awarded to Siddha Swarupa. Consequently, some members of ISKCON did not get along with him, and apparently, the feeling was mutual.

Siddha Swarupa did have a great deal of association with Śrīla Prabhupāda, however, and His Divine Grace encouraged him to spread Lord Caitanya's sankirtana movement.

"Work under the direction of the GBC," Śrīla Prabhupāda told him. "But, if you cannot do that, then work directly under me."

It was clear to me that Siddha Swarupa had a great deal of love for Śrīla Prabhupāda and His Divine Grace reciprocated.

One morning in Auckland, Siddha presented Śrīla Prabhupāda with a large, aluminum bottle of Mysore sandalwood oil just before Śrīla Prabhupāda was to take his massage.

"Please use this sandalwood oil for massaging your entire body," Siddha said.

"No," Śrīla Prabhupāda replied. "Sandalwood oil is for cooling the head only and mustard oil is for the rest of the body."

Siddha Swarupa did not understand the ayurvedic significance of what Śrīla Prabhupāda was saying. Out of love, he wanted the best possible oil used to massage Śrīla Prabhupāda.

"Please, Śrīla Prabhupāda, just this once!" Siddha insisted.

Seeing Siddha Swarupa's determination to please him, Śrīla Prabhupāda reluctantly consented. That day I massaged Śrīla Prabhupāda's entire body with sandalwood oil as Siddha joyfully watched.

As usual, Śrīla Prabhupāda took a bath after his massage, honored lunch prasadam and took a nap. After his nap he called for me. I hurried to his room and offered my obeisances.

"I am not feeling well," he said, looking very serious. "I think it is because of the massage. The sandalwood oil cooled the body too much."

I was overwhelmed with disappointment because I had not taken proper care of my Gurudeva. The natural warming property of mustard oil was always used on Śrīla Prabhupāda's golden body. I understood the healthy effect of keeping His Divine Grace warm. Generally, Śrīla Prabhupāda did not let health problems interrupt his devotional service. He rarely went to bed when he was not feeling well unless his illness continued for weeks. He never took aspirin for headaches.

During an episode of illness the only changes I saw in Śrīla Prabhupāda's daily schedule were dietary adjustments. Also, if Śrīla Prabhupāda was not well enough to take a bath, he would ask me to massage him without oil. On a few occasions when he had a cold, he told me to put a little camphor into the mustard oil and then heat the oil.

"Make the oil as hot as you can and still be able to touch it," he instructed.

It was remarkable how much difficulty Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted for the pleasure of his disciples. He knew that using the sandalwood oil could cause difficulty. However, just to satisfy his disciple, he accepted it. Clearly, Śrīla Prabhupāda underwent hardships to satisfy his Guru Mahārāja, but he was also willing to accept difficulties for the pleasure of his devotees. He was eager to encourage us in our devotional service even if we put him into difficulty.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, I pray that I may someday understand your instructions, so I can serve you according to your desire and not according to my whim. Please forgive me for failing to protect you. I knew it was not a good idea to use the sandalwood oil. I should have explained it to Siddha Swarupa. He would have understood because his only desire was to please you.