All glories to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari
Sripad Rsabdev Prabhu's Disappearance Day
June 24, 2005
web-page by Vaidehi Devi Dasi
"That sincerity can be found in the books. Srila Prabhupad told: 'I'm
in the books' and if we read them clearly with the purpose for hearing
from Srila Prabhupad, not from understanding words, accumulating knowledge,
or philosophical wrangling, but simply to contact the author who is simply
giving you connection with his source, then we will get that connection.
It is guaranteed. It is necessary to get the help of the higher Vaisnavas."
This picture is of Rsabdev Prabhu's departure from California at the
Oakland Airport. It was taken in June, 2000.
On the evening of Rsabdev Prabhu's Disappearance, the devotees gathered in the temple room to watch a video of Rsabdev Prabhu in which he spoke his realizations of the Holy Name, Srila Govinda Maharaj, and the mercy that we have been given. He also recalled the first time he ever saw Srila Prabhupad at the airport. Tears flowed out of his eyes, uncontrollable.... This film was brought to the Ashram by Krishna Mohini Devi Dasi.
The many devotees present that evening, including Kum Kum Devi Dasi, (Rsabdev Prabhu's wife) and Bharat Chandra Prabhu (his son) with his children Anjali Devi Dasi and Jambhavan Das.
"From the beginning, what Srila Gurudev always told me was that he was
amazed at my husband's desire. In one sense that seems like a given -
somebody has a desire for Krishna consciousness then we can definitely
know that - but after five years, that is what comes back to me the most.
That the accordance of the perfect desire and I think that's why Srila
Gurudev always emphasized that. There is certainly no consideration of
how many Sanskrit verses someone knows, or whether their head is shaved
or whether their service is always directly in the temple or in some other
way. But from the very beginning, those who knew him so long ago know
that the essence of his motivation for everything was a perfect desire.
Everything that he proceeded with in his life he accepted as a means to
help him progress loving heartedly from the very beginning. I heard other
great devotees also talk about when they first saw Srila Prabhupad tears
uncontrollably shot out of their eyes like crocodile tears. I think these
devotees are very very special. Srimati Bhakti Lalita said to me recently,
she was quoting from Srila Sridhar Maharaj, 'Sincerity is invincible.'
This is a perfect example of how sincerity is truly the only thing that
we need to try to find within ourselves, or beg or steal if we don't find
"I have this experience with Srila Gurudev from time to time, when we're
alone in India especially. He likes to sort through something at a peaceful
time, a quiet time when it's usually just the two of us. He'll go through
his almira, take everything out, sort through everything, tell me a little
description of the various items, and gradually put everything back. I
guess the original intention is that he is going to sort it out and move
it and maybe throw some things away, but in the end he just sorts through
things, tells me a little something about each thing, who gave him this
particular camera, how long he has had it, and then puts everything back
just as it was before. So one of these times he did that with his briefcase
when we were in Kolkata. He took out that brown briefcase that he travels
with also. There were many varieties of things in that briefcase and he
started taking them out one at a time. He then reached into a compartment
of his briefcase and said: 'Whenever I feel down, I use this for encouragement.'
He gave it to me to read and it was a letter from Rsabdev Prabhu. I read
that letter. It was a very nice letter, no doubt, and after reading it
I gave it back to Srila Gurudev. He folded it back the way it was, and
put it back in that compartment and said: 'When I'm down I read this for
encouragement.' So there is a great hope for all of us. Rsabdev Prabhu
had such an inconceivably glorious thing happen to him that could only
be by divine causeless mercy. It gives hope to the rest of us who are
still struggling in material existence that yes, such a things is possible.
Mercy exists, mercy can happen. Mercy happens to people that we know,
it happens to people likes us. It is a possibility that we can get such
mercy, and that gives us great hope. That one of us, one of our peers,
one of our groups, had such a thing happen to them - such an inconceivably,
beyond auspicious, beyond transcendental thing happen to them. So we can
only pray that some drop of that kind of good fortune will come in our
"My memory of Rsabdev Prabhu was that he was a wonderful, surrendered
soul that always connected me with Srila Govinda Maharaj in so many ways.
He is always so present in our lives. It is impossible for us to separate
our spiritual life from the divine presence of Rsabdev Prabhu because
he connected us with Srila Gurudev. Due to my ignorance, my false ego,
my envy, and innumerable disqualification I was always feeling very far
away from Gurudev. I would think, 'Gurudev is for THEM, Gurudev is there
with THEM, I am very far away and I don't have any connection with him.'
Rsabdev Prabhu was that breach - that wonderful Vaisnava who saw my ignorance
who gave me hope, gave me a hand and walked by my side. I always remember
his words: 'Gurudev is in your heart, Didi. Gurudev is with you. Gurudev
is HERE!' He talked so wonderfully about how Gurudev comes out of his
affection, his inconceivable mercy, and gives so much to us. He would
say: 'Some of the devotees are just open and receiving like Bhakti Lalita
Devi Dasi, Sita Devi Dasi and Bimala Devi Dasi. But others close their
hearts and think: 'Is that mercy there or is it not?' 'Is it possible
or is it not?'' After such a long time, I realized that he was talking
to me. That was my case! I had such a realization of that and he was that
breach that connected me with Srila Govinda Maharaj. I remember that when
he would talk about Gurudev he would say: 'We have such a wonderful Guru,
Didi.' The way he said it, it was like he was transmitting that reality
"Rsabdev Prabhu was able to give so much satisfaction and happiness
to Srila Govinda Maharaj. It's astonishing the unlimited mercy that he
got to depart in such a divine beautiful way and how fortunate we are
to have some connection with such an exalted soul."
"My experience with him was completely knowing him as a manager of the
temple and it was the most wonderful time of my life. Kamala and I lived
up the hill and we just got so much association from him all of the time.
It always felt like he was so concerned about not just us, but everybody.
He was so concerned about everybody that came to this Ashram and how they
were doing. I remember he would sometimes talk to me about how he was
worried about this person, that person, this child and that child. He
was like an extension of Srila Gurudev, he had such a big heart and it
was a wonderful experience. I was very fortunate to have ever come in
contact with him... and it's like Kalindi Devi Dasi was saying, he made
Srila Gurudev more real to me and my relationship with him was really
increased because of Rsabdev Prabhu's association."
"Rsabdev Prabhu said in that video: 'I don't know anything about Krishna
but I know something about Sri Guru and His Grace.' Rsabdev Prabhu fully
got that grace. Like both Kum Kum Devi Dasi and Srutasrava Prabhu said,
it was so much encouragement to see just what is the mercy of Sri Guru
and His Grace and what that can do. Gurudev gives the example that once
one is siddha, it's like, if you turn the light on in a room, you don't
talk about the room before, when it was dark, because the light is on.
So you see, he gave this siddha to Rsabdev Prabhu. And at the end, Rsabdev
Prabhu was taking pain medicine and whatnot but he gave such a wonderful
lucid talk (referring to the video of Rsabdev Prabhu viewed in the temple
room) and high realizations. When he was here as the leader of the Ashram,
he taught by his example. It was such a wonderful time. He was so loving,
so enthusiastic, and so giving of Krishna consciousness and he would always
let anybody come and join the Ashram. No matter how whacked out they were
or whatever, he would give them a chance. One time I was in Puri with
Srila Govinda Maharaj and some nice gentlemen came to the Math and said,
'You know I've been to every Math in town but no one will let me join.
Can I join here?' So, Srila Gurudev asked me what I thought and whether
he should join and I said: 'Well I like to give them a chance' and he
said: 'Yes. That's my mood too.' So the boy got initiated, stayed for
a year or two, did some nice service.... So Rsabdev Prabhu was like that.
He always let everyone try - he would give them a chance. You had to prove
yourself wrong, not the other way around. So Rsabdev was merciful in that
"Rsabdev Prabhu used to come down and give lectures and I would always
come down and listen. I always felt really welcome. Two things made me
feel welcome. I was kind of new and didn't really know what it was all
about, but every time I would give my dandavats he would pat me on the
back. It made me feel welcome, he was glad to see me. It made me feel
good that someone was glad to see me because I didn't really know too
many people here. So then, I had some crisis in my life and would come
to the Ashram here. Whenever I saw Rsabdev Prabhu I was glad to see him
and to have his association knowing that he would take good care of me
here. But then he told he was having some physical problems and that he
would be leaving. I felt disappointed because I thought that I would spend
some time with him here, but he was going to leave. After he left, I did
stay here for an extra year and it was very nice but I missed his presence
"I didn't really know who he was and I didn't really know what to think
about all of this. When I left he said to me: 'And please, come back.'
I thought, wow! That's so beautiful how he asked me. How could I not come
back? And then I came back. And I'm still here."
After the program, Jagadanda Prabhu led "Viraha Giti," a song written by Srila Narottama dasa Thakur and sung on disappearance days.
Jahnavi, Devaki and Krsna Priya Devi Dasis present for the ceremony.
Afterwards, the Prasadam prepared by the cooks in honor of Rsabdev Prabhu was distributed. Amrita Moyi Devi Dasi making samosas before the offering was placed on the altar.