Srila Prabhupada’s Murti takes away all our suffering
This is an inspirational, and as far as I know, previously untold story about a private conversation between Srila Prabhupada and a Pancaratriki Pandit named Sampat Kumar Bhattacarya.
The story is told by HG Atma Tattva Das in a Bhagavad Gita class on 9.34 in Los Angeles on the 20th of March 1993. I found it in our old tape collection.
He was not there when the conversation took place, since it was private. However, a tape recorder (which was later lost) was left recording, which he heard; and Sampat Kumar told him what happened straight after.
This story has two parts – the background is common knowledge, and recorded in the Lilamrta. The conversation is the new addition.
It was the beginning of 1977. Prabhupada was in Bombay temple. He was very sick. He had stopped all food intake – he was taking 1/4 a cup of orange juice per day. His body had only bones left – there was no flesh. And yet, he was insisting that he wanted to go to London. The doctors had given up responsibility. But as always, he was adamant.
At this time, one Pancaratrika Pandit from Bangalore named Sampat Kumar Bhattacarya came to know about Srila Prabhupada’s situation. So, he took a flight from Bangalore to Bombay – which in those days was a huge thing for a Brahmin priest – and met Prabhupada, and asked for a private meeting. Generally, nobody was allowed a private meeting, but when he said that he specially came by flight from Bangalore to meet Srila Prabhupada, he was allowed a private meeting.
So, everybody was asked to go out, and they talked. The conversation was like this:
Sampat Kumar: ‘Swamiji, I am feeling very pained that you are suffering like this.’
Prabhupada (laying down, in broken words): ‘The whole world is meant for suffering. Dukhalayam asavatam.’
Sampat Kumar: ‘But still Swamiji, there are so many people depending on you. So when you suffer, they suffer.
Prabhupada: ‘What can I do?’
Bhattacarya: ‘Swamiji, I want to tell you something. In Vrindavan temple, they are having your deity on the altar. And all kinds of people are coming and praying to it, and offering flowers to it, and you are still living. According to Pancaratra, when the Acarya is living, if he puts his deity on the altar, then all the sufferings people are having come to his body through the deity. So you please tell your disciples to worship your deity only after you leave your body.’
He was speaking as if he was giving some information to Prabhupada, which Prabhupada did not note.
Prabhupada: ‘I know. I came here to take their suffering.’
Bhattacarya was shocked. He was not giving any new information. This was well known to Prabhupada; and he was determined to suffer for others.
Prabhupada: ‘Do you have anything else to say?’
Bhattacarya: ‘Swamiji, if that is your wish, what can I say? I am only a priest.’
Prabhupada: ‘Even when I leave, I will keep continuing taking their suffering, and make them free so they can keep chanting Hare Krishna.’
So, for 10,000 years, Prabhupada’s deity is going to be sitting in temples around the world, and taking all our sufferings, and making us free so we can chant Hare Krishna.
He is not fiberglass; he is really there, accepting our prayers, obeisances, and suffering. Let us hope this little anecdote reminds us of this, and never lets doubt creep into our minds.Hare Krishna
My dear Karandhara,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to thank you for your letter dated January 21st, 1976.
The photos of my murti are very nice. The murti of the Spiritual Master should be treated as good as the Deity. Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair, uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih/kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya **, The guru should be treated as good as God. This is stated in all the sastras. The difference is that God is master-God and guru is servant-God. So, the installation ceremony for such a murti should be similar to that done for other Deities. All Temples can have this Deity if they like. But Temples which have only Panca–tattva painting worship should not be given this Deity.
You should make a murti of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and then they may be worshiped together as is now being done in our Krishna Balarama Temple. They should be placed with Gaura Nitai—Guru Gauranga.
I hope this meets you well.
Your ever well-wisher,A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
ACBS/tkg Srila Prabhupada letter to Karandhara January 29, 1976″The photos of my murti are very nice. The murti of the Spiritual Master should be treated as good as the Deity.” Srila Prabhupada Letter to: Karandhara Mayapur 29 January, 1976
“A gosvāmī, or the bona fide representative of Śrī Vyāsadeva, must be free from all kinds of vices. The four major vices of Kali-yuga are (1) illicit connection with women, (2) animal slaughter, (3) intoxication, (4) speculative gambling of all sorts. A gosvāmī must be free from all these vices before he can dare sit on the vyāsāsana. No one should be allowed to sit on the vyāsāsana who is not spotless in character and who is not freed from the above-mentioned vices.” Srimad-Bhagavatam 1/1/6
“This throne is called vyāsāsana, sitting place of Vyāsadeva. So, one who is representative of Vyāsadeva, he can sit on this throne. So, guru, by paramparā system, guru is seated on the vyāsāsana because he is the representative. Just like in the high-court, the bench, it is called bench. Actually, the bench is to be used by the head of the executive power, the king or the president. But the high-court judge is the representative of the head executive; therefore, he sits on that bench.”Bhagavad-gītā Lecture [2.16], London, England. August 22, 1973
“This āsana where they have seated me, it is called vyāsāsana. The guru is the representative of Vyāsadeva. Every one of you have heard the name of Vyāsadeva, Veda Vyāsa. So, anyone who represents the great ācārya, Vyāsadeva, he is allowed to sit on the vyāsāsana. ” Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā Lecture. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. August 19, 1976
“Śrī Vyāsadeva is the original spiritual preceptor for all men. And all other preceptors are considered to be his representatives. A representative is one who can exactly present the viewpoint of Śrī Vyāsadeva. Śrī Vyāsadeva impregnated the message of Bhāgavatam unto Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī heard it from him (Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī). All bona fide representatives of Śrī Vyāsadeva in the chain of disciplic succession are to be understood to be gosvāmīs. ” Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.5
“…the Ācārya is the living representative of Vyāsadeva, the divine compiler of the Vedas, the Purāṇas, the Bhagavad-gītā, the Mahābhārata, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.” ssr/2 /the_absolute_necessity_of_a_spiritual_master
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “One point,” he says… “One point I would like to clear up in connection with our distribution of mūrtis. I have had many requests and inquiries about placing the form of Your Divine Grace on the vyāsāsana along with or instead of on the altar for worship. Is this permissible? In some temples the altar is too small and will not accommodate the present size of the…”
Srila Prabhupāda: No. Vyāsāsana is good.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So, either one is all right.
Srila Prabhupāda: No. If there is picture in the middle and vyāsāsana.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So, these mūrtis can be placed on the vyāsāsana.
Srila Prabhupāda: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada.Room Conversation-Recent Mail. July 14, 1977, Vṛndāvana
“The photos of my murti are very nice. The murti of the Spiritual Master should be treated as good as the Deity.” Letter to: Karandhara Mayapur 29 January, 1976