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Chapter 98: Good News, Mr. Niar Has Died!

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 98
Good News, Mr. Niar Has Died!

February 1973, ISKCON Auckland, New Zealand

There was one name that never brought a smile to Śrīla Prabhupāda's face. That name was Mr. Nair. He was the "Kamsa" of ISKCON. He made the mistake of selling a piece of land in Juhu to Śrīla Prabhupāda for a small down payment. Mr. Nair's scheme was that, in the future, Śrīla Prabhupāda would not be able to pay the large balloon payment and, therefore, would lose possession of the land. Then, Mr. Nair would resell the property as he had previously done several times. Mr. Nair didn't realize with whom he was dealing. As soon as Śrīla Prabhupāda took possession of the land, he had his disciples build a temple on the property, install deities, and instituted full deity worship.

The history of the Juhu project is very long and I do not know all of the details, but I do know that everyone was ready to give in to Mr. Nair's antics, except for His Divine Grace. Śrīla Prabhupāda spent many days intensely chanting japa. He was determined to acquire this particular piece of land for Their Lordships. He worked to keep his disciples inspired to fight and not give up their acquisition efforts. Some disciples questioned why Śrīla Prabhupāda was so attached to this property, to the point of being offensive.

One beautiful day in Aukland, during Śrīla Prabhupāda's morning massage, things became very clear. I remember it like it happened yesterday. I was sitting on the floor behind Śrīla Prabhupāda vigorously massaging his back. Tusta Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja and Siddha Swarupa Mahārāja were also present. Tusta Kṛṣṇa went to answer a phone call. He told me to go to the phone. I spoke with the caller briefly and ran back into the room.

"Śrīla Prabhupāda," I said. "That was Bali Mardana on the phone. He wanted to tell you that Mr. Nair is dead."

Immediately, Śrīla Prabhupāda clapped his hands in prayer-like fashion and with a beaming smile, he jubilantly exclaimed, "Oh! Thank You, Kṛṣṇa!"

Confused, I sat down behind His Divine Grace to massage his back. I was surprised how happy Śrīla Prabhupāda was about someone dying. Normally, it was a time of mourning. I expected Śrīla Prabhupāda to respond differently. I realized that I understood nothing about spiritual life or the pure devotee.

"I prayed that Kṛṣṇa would kill him," he said. "He has caused us so much difficulty. I was praying that Kṛṣṇa would do something to this demon."

He then quoted a Sanskrit sloka from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and translated it into English.

"Prahlada Mahārāja said, 'Even the sadhu becomes pleased when a snake or scorpion is killed,'" Śrīla Prabhupāda explained. "Mr. Nair was such a serpent. Therefore, it is very good."

He read my mind and immediately corrected my bogus ideas. I felt great relief. Now, armed with the proper sentiment, I asked, "Śrīla Prabhupāda, Kṛṣṇa killed him? Does that mean he has achieved liberation?"

Śrīla Prabhupāda laughed at my foolish question.

"No!" he replied. "Kṛṣṇa didn't kill him personally. That only applies when Kṛṣṇa personally kills you. He was not such a great demon. Kṛṣṇa did not come personally to kill him."

As I continued to massage him, Śrīla Prabhupāda continued to clarify his attachment to the project.

"The Deities were installed on the property," he said. "Mr. Nair was making a great insult to Kṛṣṇa that I could not tolerate. He was insulting Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa was there and he tried to kick Kṛṣṇa off the land. We have money. We can buy property anywhere, but Kṛṣṇa was there at Juhu. Therefore, I was determined to have it for the Lord."

Śrīla Prabhupāda was silent for a few minutes.

"I remember when he came to visit me this last time in Bombay," he continued. "I knew then that Kṛṣṇa was going to kill him. I noticed he was limping. Generally, he was a very robust man, very strong. He was not at all ill, but on his last visit he was limping. Then I knew Kṛṣṇa would kill him. Actually, Kṛṣṇa has killed him."

My dear Śrīla Prabhupāda, your determination to serve the Supreme Lord is transcendental. It is apparent why you were chosen by Lord Caitanya to spread His glories to every town and village. You are fully qualified to be worshiped by all living entities on this planet for the next ten thousand years. I observed how you were resolute during the overwhelming difficulties connected with the Juhu project. You are fully surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. Please bless me with the determination to fully surrender at your lotus feet.