Dear Gopinatha Acarya,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
It was with great sadness that I learned of your sudden departure the day before yesterday. Though we never served together, we had a number of nice exchanges over the years whenever I would visit Australia and New Govardhana in particular.
In your long career as a devotee, two contributions stand out in my mind. The first is your dedication to book distribution in the early days of the Australian yatra, and the second is your service to Lord Krsna’s cows over many years. In these two valuable services you acted as a proper brahmana: you distributed transcendental knowledge and you gave great pleasure to the Lord by protecting and maintaining his dear-most cows. Through such service you exemplified what is most dear to the Lord as explained in the following verse from the Visnu Purana:
govindaya namo namah
“My Lord, You are the well-wisher of the cows and the brahmanas, and You are the benefactor of the entire human society.” ( Visnu Purana 1.19.65 )
In this connection, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained, and without brahminical culture the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.”
[ Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.24.5 Purport ]
Thank you for being the perfect example of fulfilling this purport written by our spiritual master.
As a vaisnava, you illuminated this world of darkness by sharing transcendental knowledge and rendering service to the sacred cow. Thus, unbeknownst to most people, the world became a little darker the day before yesterday because the light of your seva was extinguished.
But our loss was others’ gain, for upon your demise you were no doubt greeted by joyful devotees eager to have your association on your next assignment in service to our beloved lord and master, Srila Prabhupada, be it in this world or the world of transcendence. Either way, you are blessed. When our godbrother Visnujana Maharaja passed away early in his devotional life, HH Tamal Krsna Goswami asked Srila Prabhupada where he was and how he was doing. Srila Prabhupada sat back and smiled. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he is doing very nicely.”
The many devotees who loved and appreciated you may lament they didn’t have the opportunity to be with you at the time of your death. Leaving this body is never easy and can be a great challenge. But as devotees we have no need to worry. Once Ramanujacarya asked the famous Ranganatha deity, “My Lord, what happens if Your devotee cannot remember You at the moment of death?”
Lord Ranganatha replied, “If My devotee cannot remember Me at the moment of death then I shall remember My devotee!”.
No doubt the Lord remembered you, surrounded as you were by so many cows. And we will also remember you. You were a pioneer in the history of the Australian yatra. We should remember and discuss your sustained service for many years to come, lest we forget.
Though you are no longer amongst us I know this message will reach you through the transcendental medium of our guru parampara. We wish you well on your path back to the spiritual world. And if you have attained that goal please look down lovingly upon those of us who remain behind. In reality we are the ones to be lamented, for we remain within this world of birth and death, whereas you are now safely on the other shore by the side of Srila Prabhupada, serving him to your heart’s content.