The following article is dedicated to our beloved spiritual master His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who eternally lives with his disciples through his infallible words.
"Once, while preaching at the temple book counter, I met a young visitor, pretty much curious to know about the ‘Hare Krishnas’. Taking this as an opportunity to introduce Srila Prabhupada, I explained him about Srila Prabhupada’s struggle and unmatched contribution to this world. In the course of discussion, the anticipated question arose, “Is he (Srila Prabhupada) still living? Does he meet people?” “He left his body in 1977, but he still lives through his message; his books are there, his lectures are there…yeah,” I answered, expecting the peculiar reaction that usually follows this reply. Next moment he sprung up in astonishment, “1977??? Then how did you meet him, Swami? I don’t think you would have ever met him. You look so young.” “No. I never met him personally as such. I wasn’t even born when he left the planet. My contact with him is just through his words. And that’s how we always remain connected with him. We just follow his instructions and he is there with us showering all his guidance and love.” Amused with my own self for surprising him with such an answer, I showed him my shika with a friendly smile, and added further, “Just by the power of his message, see what he has turned us into!” That gentleman, not left with much to say or do, nodded his head in partial consent, and replied, “Interesting!!!” He stood there silent for a moment, reconciling his ideas with mine…
It has never been easy for a commoner to accept and understand that a pure devotee can live through his words the very same way as he did when physically present. And it is totally out of question to imagine, that, just by the influence of words one can fully surrender to someone without having ever seen or met personally. What is that potency in a pure devotee’s words? The answer is that he personally lives in it, as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains:
He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas die,
When thou art living still in sound!
The Vaishnavas die to live and living try
To spread the holy name around.
There is an interesting pastime of Srila Narada Muni, in this context. Once, Narada Muni came across Mrigari, the hunter, who was mercilessly killing the forest animals. That was his only means of livelihood. Narada Muni advised him to give up hunting and instructed him to break his bow and take to devotional life by chanting the holy name. An obvious question came to Mrigari’s mind as to how he will sustain. In reply, Narada Muni asked him not to worry and assured him that he will provide sufficient food everyday. Having made the poor hunter break his bow and depend upon a simple word of his, the great sage disappeared from the scene for good. For a layman, it may seem that Narada Muni left his disciple high and dry with the solace of just one statement, “Don’t worry, I will take care.” But after many days sage Narada visited Mrigari again, not to supply grains and gold, but to show his celebrated friend Parvata Muni how well his disciple was doing. Now, here is the question; how was the disciple doing so well both materially and spiritually? What happened during all these days of Narada Muni’s absence? How did the hunter survive, or to say, how did the hunter flourish? It was nothing but simply the miracle of Narada Muni’s promise. Everything got arranged automatically. It so happened that the glories of the hunter turned to a Vaishnava, spread all over the country and people started visiting his hermitage with plentiful alms of food; so much that Mrigari had to distribute huge quantities of it everyday as he and his wife could not consume it all. His life became all wonderful for he vested his full faith in a pure devotee. Irrespective of Narada Muni’s physical presence, his words did it all. Srila Prabhupada explains, “Although when a pure devotee speaks, the articulation of his voice may resemble the sound of this material sky, the voice is spiritually very powerful because it touches the particles of saffron dust on the lotus feet of the Lord.” Krishna takes full charge upon Himself to make the words of His devotee come true.
In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna asked Arjuna to declare to the whole world that His devotee is never vanquished because He wanted to establish that His devotee’s words never fail, or to say that He will never let His devotee’s words fail. If Krishna Himself had promised that, then people would have doubted His credibility for His notorious nature of breaking promises. Thus, He made a pure devotee declare so that the world knows this assurance is concrete and beyond failure. Then next doubt; because Krishna Himself is asking Arjuna to declare, so He will have to fulfill the promise to save His as well as Arjuna’s glory. What if a devotee promises independent of Krishna?
Krishna’s love for His devotees and their words are so great that He doesn’t hesitate in going to any limit to uphold their inviolability…doesn’t matter, whatever the words may be. During the battle of Mahabharata, Bhishmadeva, a pure devotee of the Lord, took a dreadful vow of killing Arjuna or at least making Krishna to break His promise of not taking any weapon in the battle. From an ordinary perspective Bhishmadeva’s vow was not only unsupported by Krishna but also derogatory towards Him and moreover, it was fatal towards Arjuna, whom Krishna was supporting in the battle. In spite of such a malicious vow taken by Bhishmadeva, Krishna honored it merrily by breaking His own, and lifting a chariot wheel as weapon. Krishna couldn’t have let Arjuna got killed as He is the one who made Arjuna announce, in the same battlefield, that His devotee is never vanquished. Krishna who is also called Achyuta or the infallible one couldn’t be made to act against His will. Considering these factors, the fulfillment of Bhishmadeva’s vow was apparently impossible. But then how could Krishna let a pure devotee’s vow dud? Without worrying even a bit about the blemish upon His universally renowned ‘Achyuta’ reputation, He joyfully took the weapon, and made His devotee glorious. Krishna can tolerate personal infamy but when it comes to His pure devotees, He can never withstand any disgrace coming upon them.
Srila Prabhupada, the dearest devotee of Krishna, lives forever through his words. And Krishna protects those.. unconditionally. Through his vani, he is constantly associating with, guiding, loving and blessing all his devotees, no lesser than how he did during his physical presence. Every devotee, for sure, has experienced him through his books, lectures, association of other Vaishnavas, etc., in the form of appreciation, chastisement, instruction, encouragement, caution and so on. When Prabhupada says that if we follow his instructions, our lives will be successful in every aspect, then one need not have a slightest doubt about it. Even though it may appear materially impossible, it will happen because it is Krishna’s responsibility. All that we need to do is this - vest full faith in the infallible words of Srila Prabhupada and sincerely follow his instructions; what more… just chant and be happy.
Jaya Srila Prabhupada!