H.H. Lokanath Swami offering to H.H. Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja


My Dear Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaja,

Please accept my most humble obeisances at your eternally spiritual Lotus feet.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada, our savior.

I have written down a few of my thoughts which I would like to share with all of you who are gathered here today.

So finally the inevitable has happened.

The thought that we would not meet again together in Mayapur, at Gita Nagari or at the Divnomorsk festival in Russia is unbearable. I had read the announcement of your ambitious travel plan sometime at the end of the last year. To my sorrow, that didn’t materialize. Then you also surprised me by choosing to end your manifest pastimes in the West; you didn’t come to Mayapur. I had planned a trip to come to US in the beginning of June, but that was cancelled. In the meantime you departed, so I never got a chance to see you. And I was full of woe. It was overwhelming. But you read my mind; you knew how I was feeling, that I did not pay you a visit or even speak to you on the phone prior to your departure, so instead you kindly came to me, you paid me a visit in a dream. There were just the two of us honoring prasadam. When I saw you next to me, my first surprised question to you was, “Maharaja, what happened? We just had the news of your departure. Was that real? How come you are still here?” And you responded, “I am on my way out”. You did not say, but I understood, that you were there not because you needed to be, but because I needed you to be there. Then I took advantage of your presence and, knowing that it was my last chance, I started glorifying you. Although you were unwilling, I made you hear me speak of your extraordinary contributions.

And the dream ended there.

The next morning, I was startled to read the report on Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s latest conversation with you wherein he quotes you, “Don’t worry, even after I leave, I will come to you. We will continue to communicate with each other. You know that the physical plane is not the only plane for us to relate to each other.” Thank you, Maharaja, for taking the time to pay me a visit on your way back home. You read my mind and paid me that much needed visit. I was relieved.

I would like to tell of another of my recent dreams about you. That was around Nirjala Ekadasi time. The dream started with a temple inauguration somewhere on this planet. Gradually that led to an experience of the spiritual world. I was in a place with temples everywhere, surrounded by forests and gardens. The grandeur and beauty was spectacular. I have seen so many temples like that, in South India and elsewhere, but this was another kind of experience altogether. It was out of this world. Many devotees were there, some of them ISKCON devotees. I especially remember Ravindra Svarupa prabhu and Devakinandan prabhu. Everyone was in an ecstatic mood, jubilant and blissful. Sri Sri Panca Tattva was there. Then, the scene changed, to another temple, another scene, another set of Deities, bright and effulgent; a sublime scene that I had never seen in my real life or in any dream experience. So while I was experiencing this scene, thinking that also to be the spiritual world, then suddenly at some distance, I heard loud and clear – you were speaking. In a deep and grave voice you were addressing a large assembly of devotees. I was jubilant to know that you had attained the spiritual world. I started exclaiming, “Oh, he is here! He has reached! And in the dream you were the resident and I was just a visitor. I came back down to the earth and the dream ended.

As I got up, I was wondering whether this dream was an indication of your departure. Then immediately I downloaded the daily update from your website.
I was relieved to know that you were in Gita Nagari having a pizza party with Radhanath Swami Maharaja.

I had been thinking of communicating or writing to you for another reason. Since I knew that you were on the way to Krishna, I thought that you could take a message or complaint back to Him: “why are you taking away our best men?” They are needed the most as they are contributing the most.

As I have been composing this letter, I have been thinking, how pleased Srila Prabhupada must be with you. In every way, you have fulfilled your duty to him; as a preacher, as a public relations man, as an author, as a guru, and as a Godbrother, you have set an example for us to aspire to.

Your departure is going to cause a vacuum. For the first time, I am realizing how much of a vacuum. The things that you did are things that no one else could do. You were truly unique. Who else could do such kind of PR amongst the dignitaries — I mean who else could sit down with Nelson Mandela and talk to him, give him a piece of advice? Who else could be the adviser for so many kings in Africa, and statesmen and professionals all over the world? Who else is going to do so many radio talk shows, or dynamic TV appearances? And who else is going to write the books for becoming a spiritual warrior and providing enlightened leadership? And who else is going to dance in kirtan just like a bolt of electric lightening? And you used to be beaming as you smiled. Who else is going to match your smile on the backdrop of the black complexioned face, with the reddish lips and whitish teeth? – that was unique to your style. We are going to be bereft of all these things and many more.

Especially I am going to miss you during the kirtans, the long kirtans. I am sure you remember that historic chanting and dancing in that kirtan in New Vrindavan some ten years ago. We had Mangala arati and Tulasi puja and the kirtan continued. It had to continue because you were the leading dancer inspiring everybody. Although I was leading kirtan I was just a puppet in your hands. And it was the good size kirtan hall, good number of devotees. You were unstoppable, moving and running from one end to another end and making rounds causing waves and turbulences in that spiritual nectarean ocean of devotees. In the beginning, some devotees were getting ready to sit down for japa after Tulasi Aarati. You and others lifted them up, gave them the boost, threw them in the midst of the kirtan. There was no japa period that morning. You had stolen the show. It went on, merged with the greeting of the Deities and Guru puja and then the kirtan was further continued and that went on and on. That kirtan was what it was, it went on the way it did, because of you. Your enthusiastic dancing was compelling me, inspiring me to go on and on and on. You were contagious. There was no class that morning and the kirtan continued till breakfast mahaprasade govinde prayers. And I can recall many many such kirtans all over, that we did together. If you were in the kirtan, no dull moments were there. You would naturally take charge of the dance aspect of that kirtan. The very last time we were together was in New York June 2004, Rathyatra kirtan. I was leading kirtan, you were leading the dance. That is my final memory of you.

Such a high spirit of dancer — you were put in a very awkward situation for the last almost one year. However that didn’t dampen your spirit a bit. On the contrary it was going higher and higher. I think you must have been anxious to get out of that uncooperative body, so that you could continue your dance with the Lord.

You have set the highest example of our experience of Vaisnava departure. Especially the trials and tribulations you were put through and how boldly, with a smile on your face, you have faced it all. You will be a difficult act to follow.

“Dhiras tatra na muhyati”- A sober person is not bewildered by such a change. You have translated that statement of Sri Krishna into action. All is well that ends well. You have passed all the tests including the hardest test of death. You have closely followed the example of the final lesson set by Srila Prabhupada. Of all the outstanding services you have rendered, your departure service, if it could be so described, is the most outstanding of all. This is going to increase the faith of the devotee community globally, giving them a spiritual boost, and confidence in the progress of their Krishna Consciousness.

You have left a legacy of Love behind. Your love and compassion for the devotees and for humanity at large was made clear in all your statements. In your last class, your final public appearance, you said, “Since I’ve tried to publicly love everybody. Remember, my basic posture and prayers was to experience whatever was necessary to become totally pure, to encounter whatever could help me to impact upon the society in a more, for lack of a better word, effective way, so that I could help minimize suffering for a quantity number of devotees. Mainly to somehow be used to make spiritual life a little more joyful, a little easier, to help devotees to have a little more faith and literally to take on sufficient karma that would allow me to take on that that could remove some of the blocks of many devotees. I tried to enter somewhat more into the mood of Vasudeva Dhatta. My perception of that was as to die as randfather Bhismadeva, up to the last breath, to try to be sharing, hearing, learning, and giving, and to allow my life hopefully, and most importantly my process of death, to be a major amendment to the Vaisnava community.”

When you ended each one of your letters, you were always writing – “With love – Bhakti Tirtha Swami”. And when you wrote that, it was not just words; it was the real feelings of love.

You have left behind the treasure of your books, which will continue to inspire the devotee community as well as the public at large.

In your letter to the GBC and in your final class at Gita Nagari, you listed your concerns. I have duly noted the contents of those addresses, and I will do my part in a humble way to address those issues or concerns to the best of my ability.

I want to express my admiration and appreciation for all those who were around you, who were assisting you, all your disciples and other devotees. And especially I want to thank Radhanatha Maharaja and what he did, how he sacrificed everything else that he had on his agenda to remain with you. Radhanatha Maharaja was in the right place at the right time; I wish I had been there too. That kind of association is very much needed, and Radhanatha Maharaja provided that. We all couldn’t be there with you, but at least he was there on our behalf.

I love all your disciples and followers. If I could be of any service or any help to assist them in any way, I would be more than to willing do so. I will consider it as my service to you.

Krishna is yours, you are with Krishna. Please keep us in your prayers to Krishna.

With all my love & affection,

Your insignificant brother,
Lokanath Swami


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