Monday Morning Greetings 2022 #36 – A Decade of Tears

September 5th, 2022

The phrase struck me. I was talking with Bhūrijana Prabhu after the passing of Śrīla Bhakti-caru Swami. We began to reflect on the fact that practically all of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples have just turned near seventy when this decade began, if not before, and that it was evident that as the decade proceeds, the number of our god-siblings that leave us will exponentially increase. We shared some pain at the thought. As our discussion ended his parting comment struck me: “It will be a decade of tears.”


Honestly, I never felt this deep sense of upcoming loss before. Maybe it comes with age, or maybe as I mature in spiritual life my heart is softening. I am not sure. What is certain, however, is that as one is advancing in Krishna consciousness, those who sincerely represent that should be valued more and more. It’s śāstra:


“Śrī Caitanya asked, ‘Of all kinds of distress, what is the most painful?’

Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya replied, ‘Apart from separation from the devotee, I know of no unbearable distress.’” (Cc. Madhya-līlā 8.248)


True friends and well-wishers should be missed when they pass from this world. They add so much to the development and comfort of one’s life. When they are dedicated Vaiṣṇavas they add even more. They nourish the soul. Their loss to the world and our lives is incalculable.


I remember over twenty years ago before The Bhakti Center was secured, we used to host programs in 26 Second Avenue. You can imagine how packed it was when Śrīla Radhanath Swami visited and gave class. I invited one young Jewish lady from Brooklyn to the program whom I had been guiding for the past year. She was a budding professional comedian who even appeared several times as a guest panelist on the very popular television improvisational comedy show Whose Line is it Anyway with Drew Carey.[1] I had introduced her a few months back to Mahārāja, so she was very anxious to see him again, but at the end of the class Mahārāja was mobbed in the front of the room. She was also by nature a very self-conscious person, so she hid towards the back in a little corner where the wall suddenly veered off to the right. When Mahārāja finished giving audience, however, and began walking towards the door, he noticed her to his right. He slowly walked towards her to greet her. She immediately broke down in tears but managed to sob, “I am so fallen, but I feel such relief that people like you are traveling around the globe helping others!” Later Mahārāja shared with me how much he appreciated her sentiment of humble appreciation for devotees. We should also.


We may not be attracted to every senior Vaiṣṇava we meet. Some have even failed to live up to the standards we expect and disappoint us, or it may just be that we just fail to see the inspired spiritual and dedicated side of an advanced Vaiṣṇava because they are not like-minded with us. This young lady, hardly a practitioner, however, got it right. There is something very special about sincere devotees who have given their whole life to God whether we are like-minded with them or not. It will certainly a sad day when any of them leave us.


Even more tragic is the loss of those people who are not just more dedicated than us, but those whom we deeply relate with and who have affection for us. If we have such people in our lives, whether as friends or mentors, we should consider ourselves very fortunate. When they leave a part of our life will be missing. I do have such people in my life. Sadly, their time with us is in a sense numbered, and as these next ten years go on, more and more of them will sadly leave us.


It is an unfortunate phenomenon that often we most appreciate the important people in our lives after they have left us. Let us all now think of the blessings we have and are receiving from those dedicated devotees who have given their lives to uplift others for decades and who have personally touched our hearts. Let this next decade therefore not just be a decade of tears but an epoch of increased appreciation of and service to those who have carried the mission of His Divine Grace into our lives.


“Then Śrī Caitanya asked, ‘Out of all auspicious and beneficial activities, which is the best for the living entity?’

Rāmānanda Rāya replied, ‘The only auspicious activity is association with the devotees of Krishna.’’ (Cc. Madhya-līlā 8.251)



[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whose_Line_Is_It_Anyway%3F_(American_TV_series)


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