~by Rukmini Walker
This is my vyasa puja offering to Srila Prabhupada for this year 2022.
**To listen to Rukmini’s audio recitation of this letter, please click here or on the video image below***
My Eternal Father and Master, Srila Prabhupada,
nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
This year 2022, is the celebration of the anniversary of Sri Sri Radha Govinda-ji’s arrival and installation in New York’s Brooklyn temple on Henry Street, where I was serving as pujari. I made grieves offenses to your Lordship at that time, and we heard that you were furious about all that we’d done at my instigation. I was ignorant, but as I have heard you say many times, ignorance is no excuse; fire will burn even an innocent child if she comes too close. I was that ignorant child, and I was so remorseful after hearing about your anger. I felt that my spiritual life was over and that I would surely die. I wrote you a letter expressing my grief and shame, but your compassion and forgiveness surpassed my comprehension and imagination. Your return letter never mentioned my offenses but rather stunned me with undeserved praise.
Here is a quote from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā verse 4.47 —
- “If by chance a servant falls down and goes somewhere else, glorious is that master who captures him and brings him back by the hair.
Later that year, you personally came to our Brooklyn temple. Sri Sri Radha Govinda-ji were dressed in a simple outfit. Govinda-ji in His classic yellow dhoti and Srimati Radharani in a Vrindavan style skirt and chuni. The temple room was crammed with guests eager to hear your Sunday lecture. You entered the long narrow temple room and walked to the front, where you stood with folded hands, gazing at your worshipful Lords for a very long time. I had just finished performing the aarti ceremony, and I hid behind the left had curtain trying to be invisible. As you started to bow down to offer your obeisances, I saw tears shoot out of your eyes like a syringe, just as we’d seen in pictures of Lord Caitanya at Ratha Yatra. The devotees on the right side of the temple room were splashed with tears. I saw them looking around to see where the water had come from. Had the pujari thrown water from the aarti ceremony over their heads? As you so humbly bowed down, I jumped off the side of the altar, telling my friend Palika, those are Srila Prabhupada’s tears. We both gathered your precious sacred teardrops up from the floor and smeared them on our heads again and again.
When shall my eyes be decorated with tears of love such as yours? When shall my heart be decorated with compassion and forgiveness such as yours? When will that day be mine?
Thank you for your glorious, divine, amazing grace and forgiveness, which is fathomless and beyond my comprehension, without which my life would be meaningless.
I beg to remain your servant eternally.
Rukmini devi dasi