… The disciple and spiritual master are never separated, because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of vani (words). Physical presence is called vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.
Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita 52: “I HAVE DONE MY PART”
“So I am not going to die,” said Prabhupada. “Kirtir yvya sa jivati. One who does something substantial, he lives forever. He doesn’t die. One has to accept another body according to his karma, but for a devotee there is no such thing. He always accepts a body for serving Krsna, so there is no problem.”
Srila Prabhupada continued to talk, but with occasional reflections on his present condition. “What is the problem?” he asked. “We are talking about Krsna. So if all of a sudden I collapse, then what is the problem? Krsna tvadiya-pada-pankaja…* Ordinary dying is kapha-vata-pitta, choking. But if in the kirtana you die, oh, it is so successful. Not the injection and operation-that atmosphere. But in krsna-kirtana. That is glorious. Not oxygen, gas, dying, and so much trouble. Chant Hare Krsna-bas. And let me die, Krsna. Never be disturbed. chant Hare Krsna. For chanting you have got so much material. Now read something from this book.”
CONVERSATIONS WITH KIRTANA GROUPS MAY 29, 1977, VRNDAVANA
Prabhupada: Yes. No, I am very much confident of this medicine because nobody is prepared to die, but I am prepared to die. That much strength I have got. Generally people do not like to die. But I will be very glad to die if Krsna wants. This is… And I shall stay with you. I have no objection either way. But I am not afraid of death. That much strength I have got. Why shall I be afraid? There is no cause of…
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. Bhakta-sane bas. Such a great opportunity. You are all pure devotees. To live with you and to die while you are chanting, such a great opportunity. So there is no question of being afraid of death. [break] Hm?
Tamala Krsna: Yes, of course, we have our preference.
Prabhupada: I have no objection. I have no… [break] Whatever His desire is, I… (end)
ROOM CONVERSATION — OCTOBER 6, 1977, VRNDAVANA
Prabhupada: Check out. (pause) We want kirtana. (soft kirtana starts) [break]
Tamala Krsna: You’re a pure devotee. But as you are always saying, “You should pray,” therefore we’re not very strong in praying. But you are a pure devotee. So Krsna will hear your prayers. If you desire to live, then Krsna can make it happen.
Prabhupada: You are all pure devotees, because you have no other desire.
ROOM CONVERSATION — OCTOBER 18, 1977, VRNDAVANA
Prabhupada: Yes. Hm. Hare Krsna kirtana.
Tamala Krsna: Kirtana? Do you want some kirtana?
Prabhupada: Soft kirtana.
Tamala Krsna: Okay. [break] Prabhupada: …thakur re.(?) I want association of Vaisnava. You are all pure Vaisnavas. You have sacrificed everything, material comforts, for Krsna’s sake. That is Vaisnava. Anyabhilasita-sunyam [Brs. 1.1.11]. You have no other desire. You Europeans, Americans, you are born amongst material desires. And when you become free from material desires… Therefore you are all Vaisnava, anyabhilasita-sunyam [Cc. Madhya 19.167]. So you are so merciful.
My Dear Uddhava,
Please accept my blessings. I am just in receipt of your letter forwarded from New York. Please be happy in separation. I am separated from my Guru Maharaja since 1936 but I am always with him so long I work according to his direction. So we should all work together for satisfying Lord Krishna and in that way the feelings of separation will transform into transcendental bliss.
You write to say, “I really miss Swamiji and my God-brothers’ association so much.” But I may remind you that I am always with you. And so wherever I am there, and you are there, all your God-brothers are there. Please remember always the humble teachings that you have received from me, and that will make you always associated with me, and with your other God-brothers.
You write that you have desire to avail of my association again, but why do you forget that you are always in association with me? When you are helping my missionary activities I am always thinking of you and you are always thinking of me. That is real association. Just like I always think of my Guru Maharaja every moment, although He is not physically present, and because I am trying to serve Him to my best capacity, I am sure He is helping me by His spiritual blessings. So there are two kinds of association: physical and preceptorial. Physical association is not so important as preceptorial association.
You are expecting to see me, but I also expected to see the London Rathayatra, but you made no arrangement so what can I do? So let us meet by Sankirtana. I also do not feel separation from my Guru Maharaja. When I am engaged in His service His pictures give me sufficient strength. To serve the Spiritual Master’s word is more important than to serve him physically.
Pleasing the spiritual master is the most important principle in spiritual life so go on acting in such a way that the spiritual master may be pleased. Always chant at least 16 rounds daily and follow the four principles without fail. Then you will be strong in your spiritual life. By always following the principles, chanting, and performing regulated worship of the Deity, one can make steady advancement.
So you must be sincere, always strictly following the principles and work with determination and patience. The secret of success in spiritual life is to please your spiritual master. Then, and only then can you be sure that Krsna is pleased.
To feel separation from the Spiritual Master or Krishna is very good position. That means one who is in pure love with Krishna and His Representative, Spiritual Master, he thinks always of Them. And this thinking process is Krishna consciousness. If we can think always of Krishna even in separation, that is Krishna Consciousness. And in the absolute platform, there is no difference of separation and meeting. The separation is also meeting, rather in separation one relishes the loving relationship more tasty. So don’t be disappointed that you are separated from me, I am also always thinking of you how you are making progress there. And I am always expecting your letters that you have already opened a center there, and you are working very nicely.
Your eagerness to get me back in the states will surely be a success because I’m also eager to return. Tears for Krishna is as good as associating with Him personally. In the spiritual world separation is more valuable than meeting. So your feelings and tears of Krishna Consciousness will make you more enriched in spiritual advancement.
So there is no cause of becoming sad. Our meeting and separation in the material world is like the flowing tide of the river. During the flowing tide of the river, so many different floating articles meet together, and with the flowing, they again become separated by the movement of the waves. That is the way of the material life. But our separation, although it resembles exactly in the material way, it is completely different. In the spiritual world, separation is more relishable than meeting. In other words, in spiritual life, there is no separation. Separation is eternal, and meeting is also eternal. The separation is simply another feature of meeting.
Devotees in SF
I understand that you are feeling my absence. Krishna will give you strength. Physical presence is immaterial; presence of the transcendental sound received from the spiritual master should be the guidance of life. That will make our spiritual life successful. If you feel very strongly about my absence you may place my pictures on my sitting places and this will be source of inspiration for you.
To all students
I am always thinking of you, and I am feeling separation. I wish to return at the earliest opportunity. I cannot stop my western world activities and I have taken leave from you for only six months; and it may be that on or before I will come to you again. So continue your activities with great vigor. I shall always pray to Krishna for your steady advance, but try to follow the principles which are necessary to strengthen oneself in the matter of spiritual advance. Never think that I am absent from you. Physical presence is not essential; presence by message (or hearing) is real touch. Lord Krishna is present by His message which was delivered 5,000 years ago. We feel always the presence of our past Acaryas simply by their immutable instructions. I hope you will understand me right and do the needful.
To Bhakta Don
The Spiritual Master is present wherever his sincere disciple is trying to serve his instructions. This is possible by the Mercy of Krsna. In your attempts to serve me and in all your sincere devotional sentiments I am with you as My Guru Maharaja is with me. Remember this always.
You do not require to worry as I shall never leave you, you are my disciple and I am your spiritual master, so there is no question, as long as you follow my instructions, that I shall ever leave you. Just remember under all circumstances to chant sixteen rounds of japa daily, offer your prasadam to Krsna, and do all of the things which you already know, as you are senior disciple. These things will protect you under all conditions, without any doubt.
Regarding your question about instruction, spiritual life is different from material life. The instruction given in my books is supposed to be personal instruction. When we read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, it is understood that we are receiving personal instructions of Krsna. No physical barrier is there in the case of spiritual affairs. It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam: