Copyrights by His Grace Vaiyasaki Dasa, Radha Damodara Vilasa II, Eleventh wave. No grand opening, Vrndavan India August 1974

Vrindavan, India, August 1974

Living in India in the ‘70s is very difficult because there are no modern facilities for western devotees. They all struggle to survive, and they all get sick. The illnesses are usually jaundice, malaria, dysentery, and rashes over the body. On top of the physical discomfort of building temples for Srila Prabhupada and having to sleep in very austere conditions, devotees are too focused on their own survival to be gracious and understanding in their interpersonal relationships. They are under tremendous strain and hardly anyone reveals their minds in confidence. They never tell each other, “I’ve got a problem.”
Yamuna is dealing with the oppressive Vrindavan summer heat while trying to meet a deadline to open the Krishna-Balarama temple. She’s feeling overwhelming pressure. She used to think that there’s no reason to live if I can’t serve Krishna, but now she thinking there’s no reason to live even if I can serve Krishna! She tries to confide in her husband, Gurudas, about her crisis and he is able to enliven her and save her from complete depression. But then he goes to Prabhupada to disclose the situation.
Srila Prabhupada immediately says, “I want to see her.”
Yamuna dd: I remember walking from our place in Raman Reti to the temple and chanting one round of Hare Krishna. When I walked in the door Prabhupada said, “You look so beautiful chanting Hare Krishna.” That just stunned me. Immediately he said, “Do you think it is not difficult for me?” I didn’t say anything.
“Do you hear that noise on the roof?” Of course I did. I was involved in Vrindavan’s construction from the beginning. There were 25 brick masons carving stone – chink chink chink, chink chink chink – 24 hours a day. There were 25 of them on his roof.
“The offenses of my disciples are as loud as this pounding on the roof. All day long it is pounding on my head.” Those were his words.
“All day long it is pounding on my head, but I must tolerate.”
After a moment’s pause, Prabhupada says, “Suicide is not an option.” Yamuna is shocked to hear Prabhupada address this subject. “No one has the right to take their life. Do you know why?”
“No,” she responds meekly.
“Because there are so many living entities inside of us who are dependent on us, and for our Krishna consciousness. We would be killing them as well.” This statement completely blows Yamuna’s mind. She takes it that many micro-organisms, little cells, and all kinds of things, are dependent on the heart’s functioning. The words sink deep into her consciousness.
The whole perspective of Prabhupada’s talk is really profound for Yamuna. He explains that when we surrender to the Lord, it means surrendering our body, mind, and words for His service. Some people may think of suicide as an option to relieve undue stress, but Prabhupada wants to prevent this kind of thinking. He knows how traumatic it is for his young disciples to cope with the hardships of rural India in the early ‘70s. His compassion for his disciples and for other living entities is paramount.
Yamuna dd: It was a difficult time in India. Prabhupada said to Saurabha and Gurudas, “Don’t you know your fighting is killing me?” We were doing Prabhupada’s work, but the fighting between us was so severe and that’s why the temple didn’t open. We were stopping Prabhupada’s service by this insanity that was covering us at the time. That was the mood and that’s why I couldn’t take it anymore. I wasn’t a man and I was supposed to take it. At a certain point I snapped. I saw the futility of it in its entirety, and I thought, Maybe it’s better to die. There’s nothing else but the service, and if you can’t do the service, why live?
Gurudas: It’s very important for devotees to find someone to reveal their mind to if they have something to talk about. There’s usually only one or two special devotees that you feel comfortable with that you’re able to do that with. But it got less and less as we got people more and more into judging behavior.
In the lives of the acharyas, even pure devotees sometimes feel that life is no longer worth living.
“After the passing away of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Svarupa Damodara, Raghunatha Das, unable to bear the pain of separation from these objects of his complete devotion, traveled to Vrindavan intending to commit suicide by jumping from Govardhana Hill. In Vrindavan, however, he encountered Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami, two of the most confidential disciples of Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu. They convinced him to give up his planned suicide and impelled him to reveal to them the spiritually inspiring events of Sri Chaitanya’s later life.” [CC, Madhya-lila 6.169, purport]
In this example, Ragunatha Das is given a reason for living. Moreover, Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami was also living in Vrindavan at the time and Raghunatha Das spent a lot of time providing him with a complete conception of the transcendental life of Sriman Mahaprabhu. By rendering further service to his beloved Lord, all of Raghunatha’s reasons for giving up his life vanished.
In another incident, Srila Sanatana Goswami developed a disease due to bathing in bad water and getting insufficient food while traveling in the Jharikhanda Forest. His body began to itch and he was suffering from itching sores. So he resolved to throw himself under the wheels of Lord Jagannath’s chariot in the presence of Lord Chaitanya, and in this way commit suicide. But one day out of the blue, Sri Chaitanya challenged Sanatana Goswami.
“Your decision to commit suicide is the result of the mode of ignorance. One cannot get love of God simply by committing suicide. You have already dedicated your life and body to My service; therefore your body does not belong to you, nor do you have any right to commit suicide. I have to execute many devotional services through your body. I want you to preach the culture of devotional service and go to Vrindavan to excavate the lost holy places.” [CC, Antya-lila, Chapter 4, Introduction]
From this example we can understand that when we surrender our lives to the Supreme Lord, then the body can no longer be used erratically. It belongs to the Lord and the Lord has every intention to use our body for spreading His mission on earth.


Copyrights by His Grace Vaiyasaki Dasa, Radha Damodara Vilasa II, Eleventh wave. No grand opening, Vrndavan India August 1974

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