The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Devotees Around The World Offer Their Appreciation and Affection for Bhakti Charu Swami

By: for ISKCON News on July 4, 2020
Obituary
Photo Credits: Rupini Springer

Bhakti Charu Swami

 From Madhu Sevita Das, GBC, Italy: 

“Where will I find that loving smile filled with care and affection that made you feel so important though you are worthless...., that caused you to remember Prabhupada in any circumstance..., that was pure sweetness… I am so angry at you for leaving me here unprotected.

Why did you decide to go back to Srila Prabhupada's Lotus Feet not caring for how we would be unable to tolerate you departure?

With whom shall I laugh reading those signs in Italian that have a strange meaning in Bengali?

Are you going to tell Srimati Radharani that I treated you harshly when you were Bhakta Kishor? Or that you had to cook for me your "monk delight” recipe day after day when we were together in Calcutta?

Oh my most beloved brother, can you please plead my case with the Acaryas so that I may join you again in the intimacy of our Prabhupada family?

I won't forget you; even if Krishna gives me a long span of life, I will imprison you in the core of my heart and cultivate the ardent desire to hug you again.

Your devastated servant, brother and friend,

Madhusevita das"

 

From Kalakantha das ACBSP:

"My dear Bhakti Charu Maharaja,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

When you first met Srila Prabhupada he recognized you as a special soul, so much so that within a short time he accepted you as a sannyasi disciple. For the next 45 years you faithfully kept your difficult vows, travelling constantly, promoting Krishna consciousness in service to Srila Prabhupada. Your astonishing, flawless legacy will forever inspire all of Srila Prabhupada’s followers. Today, hearing the devastating news of your departure, I remember your unbroken loyalty and determination.

When you first came to America in 1979 I picked you up at the LA airport and set up programs for you in New Dwaraka and other temples. One of the temple presidents asked if this new sannyasi spoke English. Thus began your preaching in America, where you touched so many hearts from coast to coast, just as you did in Europe, India, and everywhere. Today, hearing the devastating news of your departure, I remember you as a fearless, blissful preacher who saw the whole world as his family.

Your book, “Ocean of Mercy,” beautifully recounts your relationship with Srila Prabhupada. Your lectures reflected an understanding of Srila Prabhupada’s book with depth that could only come from translating all of them into Bengali. In your joyous kirtans and bhajans, your voice, unpretentious and pure, intoned the powerful vibration of selfless devotion. In the last of your bhajans I had the privilege to attend you sang the Damodarastakam in a lilting melody that has engrained itself in my heart forever. When you kindly invited me to lunch with you, your disciples served simple but exquisite dishes prepared under your watchful guidance. Today, hearing the devastating news of your departure, I remember you as the unassuming master of all the Vaishnava arts.

“ISKCON is constipated,” you once told me, lamenting the slow delegation of spiritual leadership in our sanga. Capturing the mood of Lord Caitanya, you wanted as many devotees as possible to serve as spiritual masters. Despite your profound personal spiritual advancement you said that ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada’s ashram and that every initiating guru in ISKCON, including yourself, was empowered only under his authority via the GBC. You set the standard for taking great responsibility and accomplishing great things in your guru’s service without becoming proud. Today, hearing the devastating news of your departure, I remember your natural humility.

“My true disciple is a perfect gentleman,” Srila Prabhupada said. No one exemplified this quality more than you. Whomever spoke to you felt like the most important person in the world. Regardless of the problem or question they would bring to you, you would listen carefully and reply with wisdom, compassion and tact. In the sometimes heated GBC meetings your voice was always measured, thoughtful, calm and loving. You never offended anyone, but if you thought you had, you would beg their forgiveness. Now that Lord Krishna has taken you, who will we turn to for a living example of perfect Vaishnava behavior? Today, hearing the devastating news of your departure, I remember you as the impeccable Vaishnava gentleman, a disciple of whom Srila Prabhupada was truly proud.

Lord Krishna has blessed us with your association. Now, for His own sweet reasons, He has taken it away. With tears in our eyes and broken hearts, we simply pray to Lord Krishna to bless us to once again have your association when we leave this world.

Your servant, Kalakantha das ACBSP"

 

From Garuda Das:

"My heart aches for the loss felt by so many, but delights in knowing how he has touched the hearts of so many.

He lived a full life of serving Śrīla Prabhupāda and was very loved. 

In his own book, his memoirs, entitled Ocean of Mercy: A Search Fulfilled, for which I wrote the Preface, I wrote the following words, which, I feel offer my vision of Swamiji that I now ponder today with an aching heart: 

“Bhakti Chāru Swami’s words are a testament to his discovery of a source of love that would, in effect, fulfill his search for lost loves in the earlier portion of his life.  . . .   I would suggest that the author is ultimately led to finding such an ocean in his own heart through the various loves in his life, culminating in the love of his spiritual master, for his search would be comprised of unlimited acts of grace (kṛpā-sindhu). These shifts between his different loved constitute his “search,” and the fulfillment of such a search would bring our author to the point of realizing that this ocean of love is within his own heart. Although Bhakti Chāru Swami lost his spiritual master’s physical presence so many years ago, I am very aware that the Swami has offered himself very lovingly more and more as a spiritual father to so many who wish to tread the path of kṛṣṇa-bhakti.”

I will miss my dear friend. Whenever we would see one another, after long periods of time, we would embrace and neither of us would be able to let go of one another. 

I cannot let go of him even now, as I recall my last joyous time with him at Henry’s house in Washington, DC.

Swamiji! I say to you that I wish your journey back at Śrīla Prabhupāda’s side, where you feel the greatest pleasure, where you feel you can find your true home, be a swift and joyous journey. 

I want to thank you for all the sweet times we spent together,and all that we shared with one another. 

Thank you for allowing me to assist you in the writing of your memoirs,and the opportunity to appreciate your whole life in the Preface I wrote. 

I will miss you terribly. I didn’t expect you to leave, as I was expecting to see you many more times.

Ramananda Raya warns us the state in which all of us find ourselves: 

‘duḥkha-madhye kona duḥkha haya gurutara?’

‘kṛṣṇa-bhakta-viraha vinā duḥkha nāhi dekhi para’

“What is the most miserable type of suffering  among all types of suffering?”

“Separation from the devotee of Krishna— beyond this, I know of no greater suffering.”CC 2.8.248

Good bye, old friend! 

While you have departed from me and this world, the love between us will always stay in my heart. 

And I thank you for that gift.

I thank Śrīla Prabhupāda for that gift. 

I thank Krishna for that gift. 

Embracing you from afar, your friend Garuda Das"

A Letter to the Disciples of HH Bhakti Charu Swami Fom Anuttama dasa ISKCON Minister of Communications GBC Member:

 "My Dear Spiritual Nieces and Nephews/Disciples of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

All glories to His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami. 

I write with a very heavy heart. I can only imagine the sense of grief and pain you must all be feeling today, experiencing the separation of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami.

Your Guru Maharaja was truly an exceptional Vaishnava, spiritual master, and human being. All who knew him, including all his God-brothers and God-sisters, were affectionate towards him and inspired by his presence, his warm, friendly nature, his genuine caring for all those he met, and his deep love and commitment to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON.

I cannot help myself today from remembering the deep pain and emotional and spiritual sense of loss and distress I experienced when His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada passed from this world in 1977. I was a very young devotee, perhaps like some of you, and I found myself bewildered, confused and broken hearted.

After years of searching, I had found and surrendered to a bonafide guru only to have him leave this world just two years later. The pain was too great. 

In the same way, I am sure your hearts are heavy with a sense of loss. Some of you may be feeling a sense of anguish (as I felt at the time of Srila Prabhupada’s departure), why couldn't I have done more to serve my guru while he was here? Why didn't I better express my dedication and love to him? Why didn't I surrender more sincerely to those instructions and desires he expressed to me either in person, or by his many lectures?

I write to reassure you of what is written in our sastra, and what I have experienced as a fact: The presence of the spiritual master is never lost to the disciple who does their best, by whatever humble ways they can, to continue to serve, honor and carry out the mission of the guru.  

Srila Prabhupada has now been "gone" from this world for more than 40 years. But, still his inspiration, his instructions, his will, his vision, his love and yes, his presence, is giving solace and enthusiasm to all of his disciples even today. And, not just for Prabhupada's own disciples, but as all of you are proof, his presence is inspiring the next generation of devotees, and the next.  

During these next few days, you may feel moments of great anxiety. And, you will also feel moments of elation. Those are natural. Those are all spiritual emotions that may come upon you like waves.   

Because, along with acknowledging that your Guru Maharaja is no longer physically present, you will also be remembering him more intensely. And your dependence upon him. You will remember those times you were with him. Those special instructions, that part of his mission--Srila Prabhupada's mission--that you have taken as your own, those times when he made you laugh, or cry, or deeply contemplate his instructions or chastisement, his good humor, his love, and his wonderful Vaishnava qualities.  

Please know that as you love your Guru Maharaja, we, the older generation of devotees, also love him. And, through him, because of him, we love you also, each and every one of you. You are sacred to us because you are Maharaja's sons and daughter, and you are Srila Prabhupada's grandchildren. 

We, of the first generation, have given our lives to try to build a home, a loving ISKCON home for each of you, and for your children, and your children's children.  

Maharaja gave his life in serving Prabhupada, and serving you, and building that same ISKCON home. He was practically the personification of the spirit of cooperation. Almost every time I saw Maharaja solve a problem or address a conflict, he would stress: Can't we all just get along?

I pray that we will all do our best to keep alive the spirit of Srila Prabhupada and Bhakti Charu Swami's love and dedication to Guru and Gauranga and the mission of sharing love of Krishna with every soul in the material world. 

In that spirit, please know that your spiritual aunts and uncles (and cousins) are all here for you, to support you, and help you in your spiritual practice and in overcoming your material hurdles. 

Together, let's continue to build "a home in which the whole world can live." A spiritual, Krishna conscious home as envisioned by Srila Prabhupada, and as expanded by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami. 

We are all one family, and we pledge to do our best to help you feel protected, and inspired, and to know that your connection with your guru is eternal, transcendental, and never to be lost. 

With affection and gratitude to each and every one of you, I remain, 

Your servant, 

Anuttama dasa

ISKCON Minister of Communications, GBC Member"

  

Below are a series of sastric references and Srila Prabhupada's commentaries sent to us by Virabahu Das, GBC Member and god-brother of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami, to help us all cope with the passing of Maharaja, and to better understand how we may not understand the almighty will of the Lord, but we continue to take shelter of Him, knowing Him to be our best friend, and protector.

"When something is arranged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should not be disturbed by it, even if it appears to be a reverse according to one's calculations. 

 For example, sometimes we see that a powerful preacher is killed, or sometimes he is put into difficulty, just as Haridasa Thakura was. He was a great devotee who came into this material world to execute the will of the Lord by preaching the Lord's glories. But Haridasa was punished at the hands of the Kazi by being beaten in twenty-two marketplaces. Similarly, Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, and Prahlada Maharaja was put through so many tribulations. The Pandavas, who were direct friends of Krsna, lost their kingdom, their wife was insulted, and they had to undergo many severe tribulations. 

Seeing all these reverses affect devotees, one should not be disturbed; one should simply understand that in these matters there must be some plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Bhagavatam's conclusion is that a devotee is never disturbed by such reverses. He accepts even reverse conditions as the grace of the Lord. One who continues to serve the Lord even in reverse conditions is assured that he will go back to Godhead, back to the Vaikuntha planets.

SB 3.16.37

TRANSLATION

Bhismadeva said: Oh, what terrible sufferings and what terrible injustices you good souls suffer for being the sons of religion personified. You did not deserve to remain alive under those tribulations, yet you were protected by the brahmanas, God and religion.

[...]

TRANSLATION

As far as my daughter-in-law Kunti is concerned, upon the great General Pandu's death, she became a widow with many children, and therefore she suffered greatly. And when you were grown up she suffered a great deal also because of your actions.

PURPORT

The sufferings of Kuntidevi are doubly lamented. She suffered greatly because of early widowhood and to get her minor children brought up in the royal family. And when her children were grown up, she continued to suffer because of her sons' actions. So her sufferings continued. This means that she was destined to suffer by providence, and this one has to tolerate without being disturbed.

 TRANSLATION

In my opinion, this is all due to inevitable time, under whose control everyone in every planet is carried, just as the clouds are carried by the wind.

PURPORT

[…] Everyone has to bear the actions and reactions of time as long as one is within the conditions of the material world. Yudhisthira should not think that he had committed sins in his previous birth and is suffering the consequence. Even the most pious man has to suffer the condition of material nature. […] One should not be disturbed by the tricks of eternal time. Even the great controller of the universe, Brahmaji, is also under the control of that time; therefore, one should not grudge being thus controlled by time despite being a true follower of religious principles.

TRANSLATION

O how wonderful is the influence of inevitable time. It is irreversible-otherwise, how can there be reverses in the presence of King Yudhisthira, the son of the demigod controlling religion; Bhima, the great fighter with a club; the great bowman Arjuna with his mighty weapon Gandiva; and above all, the Lord, the direct well-wisher of the Pandavas?

PURPORT

[…]Despite the power of pious acts, the power of personalities, the power of expert management and the power of weapons under the direct supervision of Lord Krsna, the Pandavas suffered so many practical reverses, which can only be explained as due to the influence of kala, inevitable time. Kala is identical with the Lord Himself, and therefore the influence of kala indicates the inexplicable wish of the Lord Himself. There is nothing to be lamented when a matter is beyond the control of any human being.

TRANSLATION

O King, no one can know the plan of the Lord [Sri Krsna]. Even though great philosophers inquire exhaustively, they are bewildered. 

PURPORT

The bewilderment of Maharaja Yudhisthira over his past sinful acts and the resultant sufferings, etc., is completely negated by the great authority Bhisma (one of the twelve authorized persons). Bhisma wanted to impress upon Maharaja Yudhisthira that since time immemorial no one, including such demigods as Siva and Brahma, could ascertain the real plan of the Lord, and so what can we understand about it? It is useless also to inquire about it. Even the exhaustive philosophical inquiries of sages cannot ascertain the plan of the Lord. The best policy is simply to abide by the orders of the Lord without argument. 

SB 1.9.12-16

Tags:
[ bhakti ] [ charu ] [ swami ]
Disqus