Sri Vyasa Puja 1990
Daso asmi, Chapter 7
Dear Srila Prabhupada
Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet.
This year I write to you from the field, on mission for your Divine Grace in Western Samoa, deep in the South Pacific…somewhere between heaven and hell. Bother are here: the so-called pleasures of the celestial kingdom and the grim reminders of material life. Amidst the flowing palms and sandy beaches a cyclone has just hit, the worst in years, leaving a trail of death and destruction. Much that was here can never be replaced. I have arrived at a time when many have lost all hope. I never imagined I’d come to such a place; when flying in the other day I couldn’t even find it on the map.
And what a desolate place it is! Devoid of atma tattva, knowledge of the soul, the islanders lament the loss of their loved ones taken by the storm. The immense destruction and threat of disease combine to create an eerie atmosphere here, in which no one knows where to go or whom to turn to in their sorrow.
Yet the timely storm makes preaching potent. Reduced in the opulence of material life, people come forward to hear your message. Books are going out and I’m serving prasadam. Many people are coming back for more, unable to resist the comfort they have found in the few brief moments they have taken shelter of your lotus feet.
O Prabhupada! You are the Lord’s dearest servant in His swift deliverance of souls from this ocean of birth and death! Being here, I see your mercy transcending time. During your presence you saved the lives of thousands. Now, years later, present in your instructions, you continue to give shelter to so many conditioned souls. What is this miracle of yours that unfolds before my eyes?
The risks in being here are obvious; but within your instructions is the grace of God, so what is there to fear? This morning I wondered what would happen to me if I become sick in such a place as this. I thought perhaps I’d be safer at home. But where is home for me? And where is a safe place within this material world? Your service is my only shelter. You wanted that we all take risks to preach and learn to depend fully on the Lord. You said we should never feel alone- we should know that Krsna is always with us and that we’ll be protected by His grace.
You once said “If Krsna is providing for all living entities, then won’t He protect His fully surrendered devotee?” But I know I’m not surrendered, Srila Prabhupada; otherwise I’d feel no fear. Please grant me faith to remove all doubts, so that I may never hesitate in serving your instructions.
Here there are also many inconveniences: gnats, mosquitoes, and sweltering heat, and whooping cough is going around. Will I try to avoid it? Or will I push aside my own concerns and first consider your mission? Once, while visiting the Paris temple, you thanked us for al the inconvenience we had encountered on your behalf. Then, after pausing for a moment, you said, “Actually, there is no inconvenience…it is all service to the Lord.” And such service to you, Srila Prabhupada, is actually our greatest treasure.
In the beginning, I never imagined I could sleep under “a different tree each night.” Now I don’t know how I could accept another way of life! How quickly the years have passed, leaving little time between our first cautious steps in devotional service and the immense responsibilities we have inherited as your sons and daughters.
And so I realize that actually I have come home. Here on this desolate island are my brothers and sisters—fallen souls to be reclaimed through your books and your instructions. Just see now how they’re lining up for prasadam! For them it’s just a little time, and for myself perhaps a little inconvenience, until they too will understand: you are the Lord’s dearest servant and your mercy transcends all time.
All glories to you Srila Prabhupada!
Your servant, at home in Western Samoa,
Views: 414 • July 30, 2009 • Daso asmi