Vraja-līlā

<< Appendix 2 - Excerpts from Vraja Līlā’s diary >>

22 de Julio, 1993, Novorossisk, Rusia

Yesterday someone brought me a flower petal from a kalpa-vṛkṣa tree in Vṛndāvana. Such a desire tree is capable of fulfilling one’s sincere desires, and from that petal, which is non-different in potency, I got a chance to make a request.

Since being informed of my inevitable death due to my disease, I’ve had the wish to go to Vṛndāvana and leave my body there. I was desperately hoping that one day I would get a petal from the kalpa-vṛkṣa tree, so that I could ask for my desire to be fulfilled. But now there are other kinds of thoughts coming to my mind. I am thinking about the service which my spiritual master has given me. He wants me to become a pure devotee and go back to the spiritual world after leaving this body. He wants me to share my realizations as I get closer to the point of death. He instructed me to become a perfect example for others, which I will be able to accomplish only by getting into the fast lane and accelerating in my Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then, after my sincere appeals to Lord Kṛṣṇa, He will give me mercy which I will be able to share before leaving my body.

I am fixed in this desire, because it is service which I can do for my Guru Mahārāja and Śrīla Prabhupāda. They are waiting for me to do this service, and the only way I can please them is by doing it.

Now I have to place the lotus feet of my spiritual master and Lord Kṛṣṇa in my heart, and then the holy Vṛndāvana-dhāma personified will enter there also. In this way I will never lose the pure love and devotion brought into my heart by the lotus feet of my spiritual master himself. That goal can be achieved only by pleasing Śrīla Gurudeva. That is why I am so anxious to fulfill his order.

It was he who told me that the time will come when I will turn into the passing lane and move ahead at full speed. He said, “You will find yourself far beyond many of us by getting Lord Kṛṣṇa’s mercy at that time.’’ But it is not my goal to pass anyone or to just be transferred to the spiritual world (at least I am struggling against such a mentality). I wish that I was already driving in that lane, fixed in that desire, because it is the service which my Guru Mahārāja has asked of me and I want to please him. I know it will be extremely difficult to drive in that passing lane, for I’ll be forced to leave behind all material hopes. But I’ll accept those difficulties, because I have faith that my Guru Mahārāja will never leave me alone. He will definitely help me, because he himself gave me this service.

So appealing to the kalpa-vṛkṣa tree I ask, “Please let me fulfill the order of my spiritual master. I am so eager to place the lotus feet of my Guru Mahārāja in my heart. By pleasing Śrīla Gurudeva, I’ll also give Kṛṣṇa pleasure. Then maybe He will one day allow me to roll in the dust of Rādhā-kuṇḍa in Śrī Vṛndāvanadhāma. Let the desire to achieve perfection be present in my heart alongside the desire to fulfill my Gurudeva’s order. Please give me the strength to manage with my service to him. Let this desire be ever strong.”

24 de Julio de 1993, Novorossisk, Rusia

My dear Śrīla Gurudeva, my dear Lord Kṛṣṇa,

Please, I beg you for forgiveness. I am so foolish in my dealings with you both. It’s so painful to admit that while calling myself a devotee of yours, I still keep my own selfish interests. Looking ahead, trying to achieve the highest goal, I see that practically speaking my chances are quite miserable. Nonetheless, I can feel your guidance with me always.

Śrīla Gurudeva, once you told me that a job which takes one year can be done in seven days by someone who is enthusiastic. But my heart is so dirty that I cannot manage it within seven days. I am begging for your mercy to be able to do it as soon as possible.

In my thoughts Śrīla Gurudeva speaks to me, “I know for you it seems practically impossible. But I have faith that you can do it. Beg sincerely for Lord Kṛṣṇa’s mercy and you’ll understand how to go on with your service. Just chant, chant and chant, and keep begging for the same. Chant and open your heart to Krsna’s mercy.”

O Lord Kṛṣṇa, You are so kind. What I am doing now is simply a one-sided outpouring, but how badly I want to serve You! Please teach me! I hope that one day I will really be able to glorify You by chanting Your holy names, and will offer to You a pure, sincere prayer. But now I am so miserable.

In my thoughts Śrīla Gurudeva speaks to me, “Just go on with your practice. Where is your chanting? Go on! Just follow the process. Dedicate yourself completely to the chanting. Try it.”

(No. Last time he didn’t say “try it,” but “do it.”)

This morning the kīrtana at the temple was not very inspiring. It was enough to cause me to lose inspiration in my chanting. Actually, Kṛṣṇa was testing me. He wants me to see the pure vibration through chanting. He wants me to hear Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teaching within the most simple classes. I could not hear the holy name today only because of my impurity and anarthas.

O Lord Kṛṣṇa, O Śrīla Gurudeva, when will that day come that I will be able to appreciate your mercy?

July 25, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia
O Śrīla Gurudeva, my heart is as cold as stone. I am dry, without any devotional sentiments. I cannot appreciate the value of what you are giving me. But please, make me chant.

July 27, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia
Today I am again begging for my heart’s desire to be fulfilled—to follow my guru’s order.

I don’t know if I will ever go to Vṛndāvana to leave my body or not, but I hope that I can continue to aspire to fulfill the desire of my Guru Mahārāja. I pray to the Lord for that kind of mercy—to become purified to do what my Guru Mahārāja wants of me.

I pray to Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma, “Please become manifest in my heart, because I want the lotus feet of Śrīla Gurudeva to reside there. I want to have a chance to serve Lord Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet.”

O Lord Kṛṣṇa, that’s my appeal to You. Please make it possible for me to follow the order of Śrīla Gurudeva. He instructed me to surrender to You completely. Please allow me to do that. Help me get over into the passing lane. Give me the strength to make it. I don’t want to continue with this one-sided outpouring. Please Kṛṣṇa, let me appeal to You gently and sincerely.

Please dear Śrīla Gurudeva, dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, forgive me for crying out to you so dryly. I so desperately want to become qualified to appeal out of my heart to you both, keeping a clear remembrance of you and offering gentle, genuine prayers. Please never leave me.

July 28, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

Dear Śrīla Gurudeva, dear Kṛṣṇa,

You both are so kind to me. I do not know if I am right or not in my desires to serve you in a certain way.

Sometimes I think that in my desire to go to Vṛndāvana, I am thinking I am special because I will leave my body in a holy place and attain a special destination. I realize how bad this mentality is. These thoughts have been created by my false ego. But I hope to accept your higher will. O Śrīla Gurudeva, I am praying for this.

Yesterday Gāndharvikā told me that it might be possible to go with her to Vṛndāvana soon. But she has been warning me that to stay in Vṛndāvana will be very austere, that it might even make my life shorter and my bodily sufferings may become more intense.

O Gurudeva, you will not allow me to go there until I’m ready for the last test. But I know I am not ready, that’s quite obvious. O dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, I pray to You, please give me the strength to accept that decision. I am searching for something that I am supposed to understand in order to get ready. What am I lacking? What is it, that realization which is so necessary to obtain? I am seeing more and more how far I am from perfection. Dear Śrīla Gurudeva, I realize that I don’t even have the slightest understanding of, or attachment for the holy name which you gave me. I can do nothing alone, please help me. I am anxious to follow you in your devotional service.

The goal of the disciple is absolute surrender, which is born within one’s heart. That’s our goal as your disciples, to surrender from our hearts. You have the power to attract us by your purity and sincerity. You are calling us to follow you. If not for this mercy, where would I be now? Please let me really follow you. I am nothing without your help. On my own I have no strength. Please dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, dear Gurudeva, help me, O masters of my heart!

Watching the pure desire of your sincere devotees to please you both, I want to live as they do. Sometimes it’s so difficult. I want to become a real disciple who always keeps the lotus feet of Śrīla Gurudeva within my heart. Let this desire become stronger and stronger. Śrīla Gurudeva, please teach me how to do this.

O Lord Kṛṣṇa, although I know that my desires are proper I still have doubts about my sincerity. I know I am foolish and insincere, because I am still not able to properly chant the holy name. But I promise to keep trying. Just teach me how to chant, dear Lord Kṛṣṇa and dear Śrīla Gurudeva. Let me appeal to both of you over and over again. Please remove those ropes which bind me, help me to kill my anarthas. I want to improve myself. Please help me. Help me to keep in mind how miserable I am. Then I will be able to appeal to you with renewed strength each day.

July 30, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

Dear Śrīla Gurudeva, my dear Lord Kṛṣṇa,

Thank you very much for the mercy which you give to me daily. Actually it is my only support. I beg you please never stop this flow of mercy even if, due to ignorance, I am unable to appreciate it.

It seems to me that only an extreme situation, like serious disease or death, makes us fully surrendered to the Lord. I can see myself that if one is inattentive and lazy, Kṛṣṇa will kindly provide such difficulties for him. In this sense I realize that the test of living is much heavier than the test of dying. If I am not conscious of my fatal disease and forget my full dependence on the Lord, I become lazy and do not pray for Krsna’s mercy and shelter. Then Māyā takes up her work, “You are a rascal. You have turned away from your master, let me defeat you.” But I don’t want to be forced to surrender to Kṛṣṇa because I’m going to die. I want to be surrendered before that moment comes. I want to sincerely surrender.

Dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, you are kindly allowing me to stay alive, and my desire is to be able to appeal to You daily and to consider every day as the last. I want to appeal to my spiritual master as if I am already dying and he is the one who is most dear to me.

I really desire this—to make Lord Kṛṣṇa and Śrīla Gurudeva my dearest friends, to glorify the mercy which they are giving to me, to thank them from my heart. I know how difficult it is to be conscious every day of my shortcomings, the dust in my heart, and to always keep in mind how miserable I am. I am so weak, I may not make it.

I pray that I will never come to the point of complaining that you, Śrīla Gurudeva, are not attentive to me, or you forget about me, or other foolish thoughts like that.

O dear Śrīla Gurudeva, my only wish is to constantly water the seed of our spiritual relationship and carefully remove the weeds of offenses. My connection with you gives me life.

August 3, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

It was such a wonderful day yesterday. It was Lord Balarāma’s appearance day. He is the original spiritual master and all the other spiritual masters possess His potency. Therefore, I offered Him a prayer. I strive to water the seeds of the guru-disciple relationship, to become a servant of my spiritual master and develop a deep attachment to his lotus feet. I desire to have faith in his instructions. I was praying to Lord Balarāma to let me obtain that very sublime connection within my heart. Let me get into the same mood of servitorship which my Guru Mahārāja has for his beloved spiritual master, Śrīla Prabhupāda.

That’s the goal. But the reality is quite different. I am independent.How to change this? It’s practically impossible! How can I fulfill the order of my spiritual master and realize that I’m not the body? (He instructed me to do this the last time we met.) Recently, one mātajī with a small baby moved to our āṣrama, and the baby cries all day long. Different devotees around me are in anxiety about various things. Gāndharvikā is having a hard time and I am supposed to paint the backdrop for the altar, which is not coming out at all. What kind of devotee am I? I am completely bewildered by my anxieties, physical inabilities and weaknesses. It seems that this is a good time to appeal to Lord Kṛṣṇa.

August 4, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

The difficulties and anxieties surrounding me are still going on, but my heart, dry as a wrinkled pear, makes chanting mechanical. Shame on me!

My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, dear Śrīla Gurudeva, I wish to develop a drop of sincerity, to be able to appeal to you both, to open my heart to you. Do not neglect me.

I know only I am the cause of my troubles. By chanting neglectfully, I lose the taste for chanting. To please you I must chant much better.

O my Lord, how badly I want to appeal to You with a fully surrendered heart! Dear Śrīla Gurudeva, I need you to teach me how to always be connected with you by my thoughts. You did it once, one year ago when we were waiting for you at Kṛṣṇa Jīvanī’s apartment. You didn’t arrive for such a long time. Please remain in my heart.

August 10, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

It is a humbling experience to see myself unable to appeal to the Lord while chanting the mahā-mantra.

Dear Lord, have I lost that sublime taste of appealing to You? Does it happen because of my inattentiveness and laziness?

But dear Śrīla Gurudeva, dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, without internal appeals to you both I am nothing. It’s my fault, I know it.

August 12, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

Dear Lord Kṛṣṇa,

You are so merciful to me by giving me more and more opportunities to renew my understanding of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Today is the wonderful appearance day of Śrīla Prabhupāda. I have learned many things that will help me become fixed in devotional service.

Several days ago Gāndharvikā and Boris were speaking about me to a Christian lady who is a well-known psychic. She told them that I was cursed and I have only three months to live. Honestly speaking, I feel it myself that death is very close. When I first heard it I thought that my opportunity to fulfill my guru’s order was coming. The curse is my karmic reaction from previous lives. To go back to the spiritual world will be possible only when all my past karma is burnt to ashes. But do I have that kind of exalted devotion and spiritual realization which would burn my karma by the time of my death? Not at all.

Some devotees are saying I should take help from the psychic to counteract whatever curse is supposedly upon me. But I have lost faith in any psychics, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist or whatever. So many of them have already tried to treat me. It’s better to prepare for death. Although I am not sure what to do, I will ask Gurudeva. My ultimate desire is to obtain firm faith in guru and Kṛṣṇa and forget all this nonsense.

Today is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Vyāsa-pūjā. I realized today that now my hope and prayer must be to obtain firm faith in guru and Kṛṣṇa, especially because my life is going to be so short. This is what I am lacking.

I am praying, “O Śrīla Prabhupāda, Lord Kṛṣṇa kindly gave me the opportunity to fulfill the order of my guru, but I am not at all qualified to do so. Your disciples have such wonderful faith in you. Please let me obtain the same kind of faith in my own guru, your spiritual son. Let me establish a proper relationship with Śrīla Gurudeva, because that’s the only support for my spiritual life. Please Śrīla Prabhupāda, guide me. Right now I do not understand what Kṛṣṇa wants of me, but please let me know what His plan is. Give me proper vision to see His desire. O Prabhupāda, please give me your mercy to become as good a disciple of my spiritual master as he is of you.”

August 23, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

(written before I start to chant my rounds)

Dear Śrīla Gurudeva, dear Lord Kṛṣṇa,

Please give me your merciful glance, please listen to my prayer.

I am taking my beads and clenching them for a minute, full of hope. Those beads have been given to me by you, Śrīla Gurudeva. You gave me the holy name. You said, “The holy name is Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself.” But still I am just begging you, “Give me Kṛṣṇa.”

A lot of time has passed since my initiation, but still I remain in the same place—a beginner. The moment of death is getting closer and closer, but I am still inattentive while chanting the holy names. Soon the curtain will close and the actor will be thrown off the stage. The time is coming when everything will change. That thought is so terrifying for me. I will even be forced to abandon my own mind and everything that it composes. My dear Lord, then I will call You, but first I must realize that Your holy name is my only shelter. I continue to chant, all the while maintaining my material ambitions. I am so ignorant and neglectful. Will You still give me your causeless mercy? Please answer me. I should scream like somebody who is drowning, but where is that scream? Where is that hope against hope to be saved? How horrible it is for me not to have the desire to serve the holy name. O my Lord, I am terrified of loosing Your mercy. Although I am so wretched and miserable, please give me a drop of Your mercy. Forgive me, and let me have at least a spark of hope. When will I clutch desperately at Your lotus feet? My Lord, my heart is not at all clean. I am begging You, please pacify my senses and enter into my heart. I really want to change my heart into one made of nectar, but that is possible only by Gurudeva’s mercy. Being on my own I am drowning in the bog of my anarthas, and because of this vicious illusion I can’t chant. But my efforts are supported by you, O Śrīla Gurudeva.

My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, please accept this, my prayer—and I hope you are pleased by it, Śrīla Gurudeva. I pray that my desire to chant will increase. I want to become really absorbed by the nectar of the holy name, as you are. O Śrīla Gurudeva! Please Gurudeva, guide me.

August 24, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

This morning, because I cannot sleep, I am trying to offer the Lord prayers to the best of my abilities. It’s encouraging me a lot. I see how this affects my service. This is the most valuable thing for me—to be able to appeal prayerfully to guru and Kṛṣṇa, connected to them by the ropes of loving prayers. I want to achieve that goal. I want to take shelter of Lord Kṛṣṇa, to become absorbed in His service as much as my Guru Mahārāja is.

This morning I opened the Bhagavad-gītā, and the first verse I read happened to be, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto. I realized that this is the highest position—loving devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa and complete absorption, remembrance of Him. Gradually I came to the point of understanding that by doing this I am actually finding myself in the presence of guru and Kṛṣṇa. I see myself as a tiny being, praying at the lotus feet of my guru and Lord Kṛṣṇa. Will my unworthy prayers give Kṛṣṇa pleasure? Am I doing it to please the Lord or not? I am not sure if my dry way of crying out pleases Kṛṣṇa or not. But one day I want to become a qualified servant, and then I will chant my prayers for the real pleasure of Kṛṣṇa. I know that only they—Śrīla Gurudeva and Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, whom I am appealing to—can instruct me and guide me how to become qualified.

My dear Śrīla Gurudeva, whom can I approach but you? Please accept my service to you. Be pleased with my unskilled prayers offered to you. Lord Kṛṣṇa is so great, I simply do not know how I can please Him. Therefore I beg of you, teach me how to please the Lord. Dear Śrīla Gurudeva, help me in my attempts to appeal to you, because I want to have this connection with you. Now I am striving, by my prayers, to be absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness all day long and to be connected with you as well. Please guide me.



Thank you very much dear Śrīla Gurudeva, dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, for kindly supporting me in my daily service to you.

Today I’ve been doing everything as usual, including my art. But to spend half the day non-stop, painting the backdrop for the Deities, is too much for me. I am such a foolish girl. I’ve been told many times that I must take rest after working for a short time.

Dear Gurudeva, dear Kṛṣṇa, these days I am also working to cleanse my heart. In doing so I’ve discovered so many shortcomings. But I also see how both of you are encouraging and inspiring me. I want to hold on to this desire to serve you. Although these attempts of mine are not at all perfect, it is all that I can offer to you now. I suppose that you, Śrīla Gurudeva, will at least be slightly pleased by it and thus well-disposed towards me, because never before have I been trying like this. O yes, I remember I was when you were personally training me several months ago. But never before had I considered these attempts as my devotional service. Now I do. Śrīla Gurudeva, I beg you, let me be with you forever.

(Prayer composed after reading the chapter “Uddhava visits Vṛndāvana” in the Kṛṣṇa book.)

O you, the residents of Vraja, the most exalted associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who always remain in Vṛndāvana absorbed in remembrance of the prince of Vraja, I offer my obeisances to you. You ask Uddhava if Lord Śyāmasundara likes to remember His cows, His gopīs, His Govardhana Hill, His pastures in Vṛndāvana forest. You ask if he has forgotten everything. You ask if He will ever come back to His friends and relatives. You are always absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa, and you forget everything else. Just by following you, even slightly, we’ll become successful. As Śrīla Prabhupāda said, we can cultivate a desire to follow you, being greatly impressed by your love. Therefore I pray to you, please, grant me nectarean drops of your mercy.

August 26, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

Today was so intense. Many things happened. It was as if the whole day had crumbled into pieces. Gāndharvikā left for St. Petersburg to meet Śrīla Gurudeva and I had a really hard time with my backdrop painting. But I could see that in every situation I was guided by the Lord from within, and each situation produced some new understanding for me. I would like to remember this day when it will be necessary for me to do so.

I have to attempt to fulfill the order of my guru. O Śrīla Gurudeva, you can see today that although I am promising so much to serve you, although I am expressing my heart’s desire to serve you, still it is childish play. Today I feel in some ways I’ve failed. All the passing situations created a new turbulence within me. I was not able to concentrate on my prayers and I’ve barely read any of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. Shame on me! Please forgive me. I am frightened that my false ego is growing. I thought that I had already achieved something, but today I see that it has been nothing. Help me to see things as they are. Now I am reading the ninth chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, “The Most Confidential Knowledge.” It’s perfect, and I want to have this knowledge and live by it. But I see my complete disqualification. Even though I am still a toy in Māyā’s hands, please dear Śrīla Gurudeva, dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, don’t turn me away. Let me appeal to you over and over again.

September 10, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

My Dear Lord Kṛṣṇa,

Please rescue me from myself. By Your mercy I see how offensive I am to the holy name. I think the time will come when I’ll be asked to pay for those offenses. I realize also how badly I follow the instructions of my guru. Actually, to follow this practice of devotional service one must be absorbed in thoughts of the Lord. To do so I have to put aside my pretensions, otherwise I will just be an actor in a play. What is the use of this? I am just a miserable impersonator.

I am trying to obtain steadiness in following the instructions of my guru. I’ve been trying to examine my behaviour, my service attitude. By Lord Kṛṣṇa’s grace I’ve been shown my own shortcomings, but I have not lost hope. I am praying for the opportunity to improve myself. Now I see the Lord is giving me such an opportunity. I attempt to serve my spiritual master better. I wish I could do it.

When Gāndharvikā is not here with me it is very hard for me. Every time she goes somewhere I find myself falling from a sublime level into cruel reality. Each time I think that I’ll never get out of it, and I realize that I am completely helpless in devotional service. She will be coming tomorrow. She will tell me about her meeting with Śrīla Gurudeva in St. Petersburg.

September 12, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

Things have changed a bit. Gāndharvikā isn’t coming until tomorrow. I am missing her.

But Śrīla Gurudeva is coming here soon. He promised to come on September 19th. As usual, Kṛṣṇa is showing me my shortcomings right before Śrīla Gurudeva’s visit. I see how badly I’ve been serving him in his absence this time. He must be displeased with me. Now I want to write him a letter.

The letter to Śrīla Gurudeva (never sent):

“My Dear Spiritual Master,

I bow down at your lotus feet. All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.

I am worried that I am not a good disciple and not fully devoted to you. I am very sinful, and my heart is full of dirt. Please forgive me.

You were so merciful to have accepted me as your disciple, even though I had just come into the association of devotees. You made me promise then to serve you always. Very soon after, a few months later, you granted me second initiation, even though I am devoid of brahminical qualities. Soon I found myself amidst devotees who wanted to follow me, as if I were a senior devotee. You so kindly gave me your mercy, but my anarthas were unknowingly growing, even while chanting the holy names. What a shame!

I must tell you that recently I’ve been taking treatment from one old Christian lady here in Novorossisk who is interested in the occult. She told me different things about myself, how I was cursed and so on. Please forgive me. Whenever I associate with these kinds of people I become influenced by them and my bad qualities appear on the surface. I am quite unsteady and easily victimized by the materialists. I am frightened by them. I am trying to put my faith in the purifying strength of the holy name.

I am so unsteady and I am a cheater. I am committing nāmaaparādhas all the time. I have to ask you for forgiveness. I know that after committing an offense one must approach the offended person asking him for forgiveness. But how can I approach the holy name if I do not appreciate the auspiciousness of the holy names? So I am appealing to you, please forgive me. I am eternally indebted to you and I want to become your servant. But now I am drowning in illusion. Even though I secretly keep the desire to remain a toy in Māyā’s hands, please do not leave me alone.

I realize that I am not worthy enough to approach the holy Vṛndāvana-dhāma, but I desire your blessings to go there. Do not deprive me of this merciful opportunity only because of my unworthiness.

Your servant
Vraja Līlā dāsī”

September 25, 1993, Rostov-na-Donu, Russia

I am in Rostov. Śrīla Gurudeva arrived here, and we served him by hearing his lectures. This association of his is so valuable for me, it may be the last time I see him in this life. That’s why I’m so desperate to become inspired by his devotional service and to tightly attach myself to him. I am constantly praying that one day his lotus feet will always be present within my heart. I do not want to appear devastated after he goes. Let me become more determined in my service for him. I want to bow down at his lotus feet and remain there even after he goes. Let there be a spark of attachment within my heart. Let me remain able to appeal to you, Gurudeva, and by doing this let me always be safe, residing at your lotus feet.

Yesterday I got some wonderful mercy—the darshan of Śrī Śrī Nitāi-Nimāisundara. They were so beautiful. I prayed to Them. We were in the room, Mādhavī and I, and we were singing a few bhajanas for Their pleasure. When we started Jaya Srī KṛṣṇaCaitanya ... They seemed so close to me, and I was stunned by a sudden desire to sing Their glories over and over again, endlessly. Although I am not able to do so, I want to remain in a similar mood of attachment to Śrīla Gurudeva—then I will never be lost.

September 28, 1993, Novorossisk, Russiaz

I am again in Novorossisk. Śrīla Gurudeva has gone to Poland. But this time I will not feel devastated or heartbroken as usually happens. He has given me so much mercy. Yesterday he gave us permission to go to Vṛndāvana. After he granted us permission I asked him a question and was very impressed with his answer. I told him that I felt uneasy going to Vṛndāvana for the purpose of leaving my body. I felt that one should go to the holy dhāma with no material aspirations.

He replied that Kṛṣṇa manifests the holy dhāma in this world for our purification. When we are purified we are able to render better service. He also said that Vṛndāvana is the perfect place to leave one’s body. He instructed me to go there and prepare myself to die by becoming fully Kṛṣṇa conscious.

His answer to another question impressed me even more. I said to him, “In the seventeenth mantra of the Śrī Ÿśopaniṣad, a devotee is praying. ‘Let this temporary body be burnt to ashes and let the air of life be merged with the totality of air.’” I asked if this meant a devotee desires to leave his body. He replied, “In many ways this body is an obstacle to our service. A devotee desires to render uninterrupted service to the Lord, but the body gradually becomes diseased and grows old. So at the end of life a devotee happily relinquishes his material body to serve the Lord in a spiritual form.”

I was thinking about that for a long time afterwards. My desire to quit this world of mirages and attain pure service to Lord Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet is becoming stronger day by day.

The other night I dreamt of the Deities, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-GovindaMādhava. I could clearly see the lotus feet of Lord GovindaMādhava. They were shining like gold. At that moment, I thought, “This is the real treasure, which only a devotee can obtain. Materialistic people become crazy searching for that treasure, but they do not know what it looks like nor the proper place to look for it. How miserable they are!”

September 30, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

My dear spiritual master,

Thank you very much for supporting me and pushing me on my way back home. My dear Śrīla Gurudeva, let me again approach you. I am searching for your presence and attention, but this does not mean that you must immediately appear and answer my questions. No, you are the spiritual master and my appeals to you should not make you worry. Rather, it’s my duty to always remain at your lotus feet and become safe and secure in my spiritual life.

Recently we were reading your 1993 Vyāsa-pūjā book. I was amazed by Nṛsiṁhānanda’s offering, wherein he says, “You carefully guide us to our desired goal. My goal is to attain pure devotional service to your lotus feet.” I thought, “Wait a minute. What is my goal?’’ So many times I have said, “I want to chant purely, I want to become a pure devotee, I want to surrender to the lotus feet of my spiritual master.’’ But such thoughts appear just like memorized communist slogans. I repeat them hundreds of times, but what is there in my heart? Am I ready to abandon all material desires for that which is perfect? This is what I think about while I lie sick in bed.

My desire to go back to the spiritual abode is getting stronger. But what will I do there unless I am properly trained by my Guru Mahārāja? And what is the spiritual world without a proper service attitude? And where is my devotion to the lotus feet of my spiritual master? Yes, my desire to renounce the material world is quite strong, but where is my devotion? It is impossible to have spiritual life without devotion, isn’t it? Spiritual life appears only because we are striving for the satisfaction of both our guru and Krṣṇa.

O Śrīla Gurudeva, when I look into my heart I am terrified. I am so impure and my devotion is of little value. But tell me, is there anything more valuable than pure devotion and pure attachment to the lotus feet of the spiritual master?

Śrīla Gurudeva, I really want to realize that there is nothing more valuable than pure attachment to the lotus feet of the spiritual master. Let this be my desire. Realizing this will do away with all my material desires.

October 3, 1993, Novorossisk, Russia

It is said that the order of the spiritual master is the life and soul of the disciple. How many times have I heard it: “life and soul” and “faith in the guru’s order.” But looking at myself, I see how weak and tiny my faith is. Someone could say that the instructions which I got from my spiritual master are not so great. They are to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and read Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. But they appear great to me. In order to follow them I must purify myself constantly.

I was so foolish when Śrīla Gurudeva was here this time. I was bewildered by external circumstances and my own mind. Although I was so near to Śrīla Gurudeva, I was almost deaf: I don’t remember any lectures he gave. But the power of Gurudeva’s presence again gave me strong confirmation in the power of the holy name.

October 25, 1993, St. Petersburg, Russia

Since October 7th, I have here along with Gāndharvikā. She is busy selling her apartment, arranging papers, certificates, clearances and declarations. There are so many difficulties in getting to Vṛndāvana. I am training myself to be ready to accept whatever may happen as the Lord’s supreme will. As Gāndharvikā said, the only thing which is within our power is to have the right desire. She was preaching to me, “You pray, ‘O Lord Kṛṣṇa, just allow me to become a little bit closer to Your lotus feet. If You do not want to let us into Vṛndāvana, then just give us a place at Your lotus feet.’”

We’ll face many obstacles in the holy dhāma. But aside from the obstacles, there are many pure, elevated devotees in the holy dhāma and they possess the greatest treasure. They can guide you, help you to get into the dhāma, and give you the proper qualifications to reside in the dhāma. They are carrying on with their services there and they never become proud of their treasure: their love and devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. They never have a desire to enjoy this treasure by themselves.

Neither should I become proud. I want to have the desire to please the Lord, to serve Him rather than to enjoy myself in Vṛndāvana. Even though my heart is still dirty I should appear before the Lord as I am, and in this condition just try my best to serve Him and His devotees. My guru can carefully guide me in Vṛndāvana. I pray never to become proud of my progress, but rather strive for purity in order to serve guru and Kṛṣṇa more sincerely. By carrying on with this process, one day I will get the opportunity to enter the real Vṛndāvana and serve guru and Kṛṣṇa there with a perfected service attitude.

Dear Śrīla Gurudeva, when will I be able to serve you? I see that now the poisonous snake of personal enjoyment sometimes bites my heart. I know the mercy I got from you is meant for increasing my service to you, but this snake is attempting to enjoy even this mercy. O holy name, it is you who destroy the seeds of sinful desires.

November 14, 1993, Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma, India

We have arrived in the holy dhāma. O Lord Kṛṣṇa, it seems as though I am back home after a long, long time. Here, things slowly become familiar again. My heart’s wish is to develop attachment to Kṛṣṇa, which may some day turn into love by the grace of Śrīla Gurudeva.

My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, here in Vṛndāvana You are always present, here is Your home. I do not want to appear as a guest at Your house. Please accept me as Your own. Let me surrender unto You and approach You prayerfully. Please give me the strength to appeal to You with love, because I am completely unqualified to do it. I am so dirty. Be merciful. I need so much to be in Your presence. In my prayers I wish to glorify You, remaining at the lotus feet of my spiritual master.

November 20, 1993, Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma, India

Many days have passed. Everything has been changing so quickly. I am here catching drops of nectar from a great ocean of mercy. On November 16th we celebrated Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disappearance day. Because of the presence of his disciples, I could feel the presence of Śrīla Prabhupāda. I realize now how Śrīla Gurudeva took the instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda into his heart and how he fulfills his order in practice. Śrīla Prabhupāda always helps my spiritual master personally. Indeed, Śrīla Gurudeva is always with Śrīla Prabhupāda.

At 7.20 p.m., the time when Prabhupāda left this planet, a few sannyāsīs, his disciples, swiftly appeared in the samādhi, circumambulated the mūrti of Śrīla Prabhupāda and left for his house.

I also went there. The house was packed up with Prabhupāda’s disciples. By watching them I could feel the presence of their spiritual master. We were having the same kīrtana as it was 16 years ago. I saw one mātājī, a Prabhupāda disciple who takes care of his house, crying. I saw Govinda Swami. He was at Prabhupāda’s bedside, holding his daṇḍa with crossed hands and leaning his forehead against his daṇḍa. First he began the kīrtana, then someone else continued.

Śrīla Prabhupāda has gone, but at the same time remains forever in the hearts of his disciples. I was also thinking that on this day he is coming into our hearts too, if we stay close to the lotus feet of his disciples, our spiritual masters, in the association of other devotees.

January 11, 1994, Śrī V ndāvana-dhāma, India

Dear Śrīla Gurudeva,

Please excuse me for asking for your attention. You are so far away now, but I want to become closer and closer to your lotus feet. Here in Vṛndāvana, I find so many personalities who carry your mercy to me. By associating with them, by getting closer to them, I get closer to you. I hear from them, and my inspiration to serve you becomes stronger and stronger.

O Gurudeva, I know I am not pure and that I am quite foolish, but let me somehow serve these exalted Vaiṣṇavas, because by doing so I get closer to you. Let me know what I can do for them.

I want to thank you very much for kindly allowing me to stay in Vṛndāvana. I wish to stay here for the rest of my life and learn how to serve you and become purified. I desire to become qualified to enter Vṛndāvana in the spiritual sky. My dear spiritual master, I bow down to your lotus feet with the greatest respect, again and again.

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