Chapter 97: You Saved My Life. Yes, Regain Your Health

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 97
You Saved My Life. Yes, Regain Your Health

September 1973, ISKCON Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Mandir,
Vrindaban, India

As Śrīla Prabhupāda's health improved, I became more conscious of my own bodily discomfort. I hadn't been as careful as I should have been in India. As a result, I contracted malaria, had difficulty with digestion and developed colitis. Śrīla Prabhupāda noticed I lost weight. My spirits were low. Undoubtedly, some of my weakness was due to the stress of being responsible for Śrīla Prabhupāda's well-being during his illness. Subsequently, I developed an aversion to living in India after losing my energy and strength.

I went to Śrīla Prabhupāda's secretary, Brahmānanda Mahārāja, and discussed the possibility of me returning to Los Angeles to regain my health. I asked him to talk with Śrīla Prabhupāda. I was ashamed to speak to His Divine Grace myself, because I couldn't reconcile the idea of leaving his personal service. I knew in my heart it was wrong. Brahmānanda Mahārāja spoke with Śrīla Prabhupāda about my desires.

Later, Śrīla Prabhupāda called me into his room. I nervously entered his room and offered my obeisances. He was sitting behind his desk. I was so ashamed of myself, I hung my head and was unable to look at him.

"So, you are not feeling well?" he asked.

"No, Prabhupāda," I said. "I have been feeling ill for some time."

"You want to go back to Los Angeles and regain your health?" he asked.

"Yes, Śrīla Prabhupāda," I timidly said. "If it is all right with you?"

"Yes, of course," he said sweetly. "You have kept me alive for the last month. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here now. How can I not want you to be healthy? You have done so many things. You must take care of yourself. There is no problem in getting someone. There are so many people here in India. Anyone can do your service."

I couldn't believe my ears. His humility was overwhelming. I offered my obeisances and walked out of his sitting room filled with emotion. I was on top of the world. Hearing Śrīla Prabhupāda say that I had been responsible for saving his life filled me with ecstasy. I knew he was constantly protected by Lord Kṛṣṇa, but nonetheless, the recognition he showered upon me was undeniably sweet. Simultaneously, I felt lower than a worm in stool. How could I leave such a magnanimous personality? My mind was reeling the rest of the day.

That evening I accompanied Śrīla Prabhupāda to the temple courtyard where he sat down under the tamal tree. As I sat by his lotus feet, I began thinking how crazy I was. There was no sweeter place in the entire universe than sitting at his golden lotus feet.

"Śrīla Prabhupāda," I finally said. "I can't leave. It isn't the right thing to do. I should just remain here and depend on Kṛṣṇa."

"Yes, this is very good," he said smiling broadly. "Because you are sincere, Kṛṣṇa will give you all facilities to perform your service."

I felt great relief knowing I was doing the right thing.

I remained in India with Śrīla Prabhupāda for three more months before leaving his personal service for the second time.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, every day, as I write, I become sad thinking of all the opportunities I missed by not having your personal association only due to my lack of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Today, I am happy knowing that no matter what service I render, you are transcendentally pleased, provided my desire to serve you is sincere.