By: Svayam Bhagavan Keshava Swami
As expected, HH Kadamba Kanana Swami’s health situation is gradually declining. Every day, however, there are encouraging reports of the kirtans, readings and beautiful interactions he has with devotees in Vrindavana during this time.
Below are the reports from the last 4 days:
March 1st, 2023
Yesterday when Maharaja’s door was slightly closed to give him some privacy and quiet, he quickly told the devotee to keep it open. Perhaps that summed up much of Maharaja’s life, in which he made himself so available, accessible and approachable. So many hours of lectures and kirtans and so many hours of personal time with devotees, guiding, inspiring and empowering. Now, however, in order to conserve energy, he is having to limit personal contact with others.
The reality is that Maharaja’s health continues to decline. His breathing is strained, and holding a conversation for more than a few sentences becomes difficult. During the day he usually has a lecture or bhajan of Srila Prabhupada playing, he rests when he can, he spends time with HH Jayadvaita Swami and his personal attendants, and in the afternoon devotees do kirtana for him in his flat. At night he listens to Caitanya-caritamrta. And every day he continues to chant his sixteen rounds.
Even though he is in heavy pain, his consciousness remains clear and sharp. Maharaja always had an ‘eagle eye.’ He has been a strategist and visionary for various ISKCON projects around the world. A couple of days ago, Hrday Caitanya Prabhu commented, “Now Maharaja is strategising and planning his own departure from this world.” Maharaja said that as a child he always liked the game “Musical Chairs.” “Something of life was reflected in that game,” he said, “because in the material world nothing remains a constant and we’re forced to keep changing positions and situations.”
Maharaja was happy to learn that a final book he wanted to publish has now gone to print. Entitled “Forever Present,” it will contain pertinent and striking insights and instructions he has given to his disciples, especially in the last year.
HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Health Update – March 2nd, 2023
Maharaja’s breathlessness has increased, so he is speaking much less. In the last two or three days he has been feeling an uncomfortable heat in his system, and so he has asked that chandan and wet towels be applied on his head. Maharaja is aware, alert and fully lucid, but he has instructed that someone should now constantly be present in his room, since he feels his departure is imminent.
Today Maharaja chose a playlist of Prabhupada bhajans he wants continuously played in a loop, including “Vibhavari Sesa,” “Yasomati Nandana,” and the Hare Krsna mantra. We are keeping the atmosphere in Maharaja’s apartment more quiet and subdued.
At this stage, Maharaja doesn’t have the energy to meet with visiting devotees.
Over the past week Maharaja has discussed how he would like his final rites conducted. He has added details as the days have gone by and that time grows closer.
HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Health Update – March 3rd, 2023
After resting for a while last night, Maharaja awoke at midnight, got up, sat in the chair in his room, picked up his beads, and chanted for an hour. Then he got up again at 4:30 a.m., sat in his chair in the large room, and chanted again with energy for over an hour.
That said, his continuing decline is evident. Maharaja now spends most of the day lying down and communicating very little. He recently said, “The will is still there, but the body is fading away.”
Through everything, you can constantly hear the recording of Srila Prabhupada’s singing coming from his room.
This evening B.B. Govinda Swami, Kavichandra Swami, and Badrinarayan Swami came and joined in the kirtan. Badrinarayan Swami said to the assembled devotees, “This man has led a noble life. He has given everything to Krishna. The temple presidents around the world know him. GBC’s know how he saved the Spanish yatra, how he went to New York City in a most difficult situation, how he was shot in Vrindavan. That’s real love. That’s real service. Bhajan in some kunj—that’s easy. This is bhakti. Noble life. Hare Krishna.”
Devotees around the world have been holding special kirtans for Maharaja. Below is a recent prayer kirtan held in Berlin for Maharaja, led by HH Sacinananda Swami.
HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Health Update – March 4th, 2023
Today there was very little activity in Maharaja’s room. He rests, listening to Srila Prabhupada, saying only a few words if he has some essential need.
This morning as usual he got up in the middle of the night, sat in the office chair in his room, and chanted on his beads for maybe an hour. And around 4:30 in the morning he came and sat in the large chair in the outer room and chanted an hour more. Every day he has been unsteadily walking to that outer room. Today, though, he had Nitai roll him in on the office chair and place him in the larger chair.
Later in the morning, while lying in his bed, he said, “in the mind,” and made a gesture surrounding his head. That is: Chanting externally is now becoming more difficult, so he is chanting more in his mind. One way or another, he goes on chanting.
This evening Rtadhvaja Swami, Kavicandra Swami, Bhakti Prema Swami, Srutakirti Prabhu, and Panca-gauda Prabhu joined in the kirtana in Maharaja’s room.
Feb 26th, 2023: In June 2022, HH Kadamba Kanana Swami announced the news that a recent health check indicated cancer that had metastasized into the prostate and lungs from the colo/rectal region. At that time doctors indicated that Maharaja’s life span was now limited.
Soon after, Maharaja decided to make his final visits to many countries he had been visiting over his decades of preaching. In September 2022, Maharaja arrived in Sri Vrindavana Dham to conduct a parikrama with hundreds of devotees. Since then, Maharaja has remained in the holy dham.
Over the last several months it has become increasingly difficult for Maharaja to eat and clear from the body. Over time it has gradually diminished to the point that it’s no longer tenable to eat. Now Maharaja is only drinking water. Thus, his health has reached a lower phase. Though he does have times when he seems to spring back, the signs of decline are there. Predicting is hard, but realistically, it looks like the duration of Maharaja’s life span is now in weeks rather than months.
There are daily kirtans in Maharaja’s apartment, but due to his diminished health, he is having restricted contact with devotees. There are, however, regular public kirtans and sanga that anyone can attend, as well as nightly Krishna Book readings led by HH Jayadvaita Swami.
Dec 06, 2023
Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer
Dec 06, 2023
Rati Gopika Devi dasi
Dec 03, 2023
Dec 02, 2023
Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer
Dec 01, 2023
Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer