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of March 15
By Tusti Mohan Krsna das
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Mayapur, March 15th, 2002
I am sorry that I have to give a sad report about HH Tamal Krishna Goswami's physical disappearance. Since I am sending always reports to conferences and websites, most of the news is good and devotees feel encouraged in Krsna Consciousness, but when I came to know today early in the morning about the car accident where His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami and her grace Vrndavanesvari dd passed away, I couldn't believe it. Just yesterday, I saw His Holiness in an excellent mood and enthusiastic about going back to quickly finish his PHD.
I asked HH for a meeting to record an interview yesterday, and He kindly promised me about 30 minutes, but somehow it couldn't happen because whenever I would go to his room in the Conch Building, the room was packed full with devotees (Godbrothers and Godsisters and disciples) so I felt that I should not disturb him. But somehow I felt that I will not have a chance again if I do not do it (I had some reasons to feel that, which I can say later on).
I couldn't accept it easily since we are were expecting to see him active again in the GBC, giving his experience and guidance because HH was absent for seven years due to his studies at Cambridge University, but anyway, we are devotees and we have to accept the plans that the Lord has for us, which are always better than our personal plans. So Krsna wanted him back and this happened.
One curious thing for me is that when I asked him many days back in the GBC conference room about when His Holiness was leaving, He told me it was March 14th, but somehow His Holiness didn't go due to some problems that he wanted to stay and help with. In fact, it was Krishna's plan to have him here in Gaura Mandala at the moment of leaving His body.
The Vaishnava community and all the family of ISKCON here in Mayapur and all over the world are feeling deep sorrow because of the passing away of His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami. Everybody is in shock, and no one wanted to accept it. Just imagine his recently initiated disciples, who were almost all the time crying and lamenting this tragedy. May the Lord bless them to be always under the protection of their Gurumaharaja and Srila Prabhupada! All the seminars were suspended for today and tomorrow morning.
I came to know the news that early in the morning at 4:15 am as Sacidulal prabhu ( Disciple and personal assistant of Maharaja while was in Mayapur) His Holiness left for the Calcutta airport, and everything was normal, but suddenly after one hour they received a call that HH had had an accident at Phuliya, one hour from Mayapur, which is part of Gaura Mandala (the place were Srila Haridas Thakura lived in a cave and chanted the holy name 300,000 times a day) and was in the hospital and also that Vrndavanesvari dd (her birthday was today )also was in the Anulia Hospital in Ranaghat, but then again a call came and was that HH passed away, and devotees didn't want to accept it, so I had to make 10 calls with the hope that the news was wrong information but everyone was confirming it.
When all was confirmed we were going from one room to another, and disciples and well-wishers of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami were present in HH Bhakti Caru Swami's quarters, chanting and glorifying Maharaja, and after that I went to our office (JPS Office) and got a call from Dallas that they wanted to talk with HH Giridhari Swami. This was the disciples of Maharaja, so since the line was not good in HH Bhakti Caru Swami's quarters, I took the handset phone and went to the quarters and found that many sannyasis were in a meeting discussing what to do, but finally thanks to this call, things were clarified, and it was that HH Tamal Krishna Goswami had written his will, and it was there in the Dallas temple. So the will was dictated by phone, and I had the mercy of having to write it, and then HG Keshava Bharati prabhu read it to all the present devotees and was crying many times since HH Tamal Krsna Goswami mentioned him in his will as his personal friend along with HH Giriraj Maharaj who is not present at the moment.
We spent the morning talking to each other and waiting to hear any news from the hospital to see when they are coming with the body, but everything was delayed because His Holiness is a foreigner and has to be cleared with the authorization from US so he can be buried here in India, and it seems everything went ok. So after 1:30 it was allowed them to bring them back— HH Tamal Krishna Goswami and HG Vrndavaneswari dd, who passed away on her birthday, March 15th. Also, it is important to mention that today is the disappearance day of Srila Jagannath das Babaji and Rasikananda Prabhu, so is it very auspicious since it is also during the festival time.
At 3:15 pm, March 15th, the bus arrived with the bodies of these great devotees, and hundreds were waiting outside the main gate to receive them with kirtan. Everyone was always glorifying the qualities of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami and HG Vrndavanesvari dd. The procession went up to the Conch Building, where there were rooms prepared to receive them. On the ground floor, coming with them from the Hospital were HH Jayadwaita Maharaja, Sivaram Maharaja, BV Govinda Maharaja, Niranjana Maharaj, and Jayapataka Maharaja (sorry if I have forgotten anyone).
HH Tamal Krsna Goswami was bathed with Ganga water by His Godbrothers and was given a new set of clothes by our Gurumaharaja, HH Jayapataka Swami, and many flowers were covering his body (please see pics in www.mayapur.info). Only his face was left uncovered. The devotees took him on bamboo sticks in procession to the temple entering from the courtyard after taking darsan from Sri Garudadeva. So the body entered on the arms of the devotees and immediately went to receive darsan from Srila Prabhupada and than Lord Nrishimhadeva, and than Sri Panca Tattva Bhagavan, and then Sri Sri Radha Madhava, where the transcendental body of Maharaja was kept for darsan and flower offering from all devotees present until beginning of sunset. The arati was performed by HG Gaura-Narayan prabhu (authorized to take sannyasa this year and a senior disciple of HH Tamal Krishna Maharaja), and after that the procession to Srila Prabhupada’s Puspa Samadhi, with kirtans.
Inside the Samadhi there was also a procession (parikram around the Srila Prabhupada Murti and than went to the place nearby the Srila Prabhupada Samadhi and housing area entrance, where he will be kept. A samadhi was built for His Holiness. For this service, Keshava Bharati Prabhu and Giriraj Swami were delegated in His will to take care of this building. The ceremony had hundreds of devotees and there were Arati Bhoga Offering and Srila Prabhupada flower prasada and then there was puspanjali, and after, they started placing salt under his body. Later it was placed over his body, and than one devotee placed a big yellow flower from the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Madhava over his face and then covered it with clothes and over that they put salt to complete covering all His body.
After that, all the devotees had to refill the place, and now it is there with a tulasi plant over it and big garlands of Sri Sri Radha Madhava. After that, the disciples of Maharaja went to the Ganges to take bath and to be present at the last moments of Vrndavanesvari's body, which was cremated beside the Holy Ganges. Her husband, Kalasamvara das (Auckland temple president), was there (see pics in the website of him), and the devotees offered condolences to him.
Devotees in Mayapur will have a special day for HH Tamal Krsna Goswami and also for her grace Vrndavanesvari dd, and glorification and remembrance will be going on during the morning. Devotees will be fasting until noontime. HH Tamal Krishna Goswami is very dear to Srila Prabhupada and did a lot of service for ISKCON from all the levels of service (academics, preaching, secretariat, writings, etc.). He is very well versed in the sastras and was studying for his PHD about Srila Prabhupada at Cambridge University, so we can see that even in the academic level and environment, he was always with Srila Prabhupada and serving him.
When I asked him few days back when His Holiness will finish, he said in six months but not to write about this yet. He was telling me since I had the intention of making a video recorded interview with His Holiness, but it was not possible at that time. Every night, we use to hear harinam kirtans in the room of Maharaj with many senior devotees and disciples. Keshava Bharati Prabhu told us that Maharaja was in a great mood and very pleased with his visit to Mayapur. These kirtans were giving much spiritual strength to him, and he wanted to be here more frequently.
His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja is one of the most senior disciples of Srila Prabhupada and was initiated in 1968. He had been a GBC member since long time back. I think HH was the most senior member of the GBC body until his departure, and he preached in very difficult places. HH was the last secretary of His Divine Grace Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
We pray to the Lord and Srila Prabhupada for protection to all the devotees around the world.
Please see more than 50 pics about HH Tamal Krishna Goswami and the ceremony of His disappearance in Mayapur Dham at www.mayapur.info.
© CHAKRA 16 March 2002
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