Disappearance Day of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

BY: ROCANA DASA - 17.11 2023

Srila Prabhupada's Disappearance day is observed this year on November 16th.

On November 14, 1977, in Vrindavan, India, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada departed from this world. As Srila Prabhupada explains below, the appearance and disappearance of the Lord and his pure representatives from this world is a cause for celebration. While there is no need to lament the disappearance of the Lord's pure nitya-siddha representative, at the same time the devotees feel great pangs of separation due to the manifest physical absence of His Divine Grace.

"So at the time of death... Of course, those who are devotees, their position is different. People may say, "The devotee is also dying, and the nondevotee, sinful man, is also dying. What is the difference?" So there is much difference. The example is given: just like a cat catching a rat in his mouth and at the same time carrying his cubs in the mouth. Superficially, we can see that the same mouth is being used, but one is feeling comfortable being carried by the mother, and another is feeling the death knell. Similarly, at the time of death, the devotee's feeling that they are being transferred to Vaikuntha, whereas the ordinary sinful man is feeling that the Yamaraja, the dutas, the constables of Yamaraja are dragging him to the hellish condition of life. So one should not conclude simply by seeing that he is dying. No. The process is different.

Janma karma ca me divyam. As Lord Krsna's appearance and disappearance are all spiritual, transcendental, they are not ordinary things, similarly, Lord Krsna's devotee, His representative, who is sent to this material world for preaching the glories of Lord Krsna, their appearance and disappearance is also like Krsna's. Therefore, according to Vaisnava principles, the appearance and disappearance of Vaisnava is considered all-auspicious. Therefore we hold festivals. Just like yesterday we had the disappearance day of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada. So we offered our respects and observed a festival, Avirbhava, Tirobhava. Tirobhava."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 6:1:27-34, Surat)

In 1896, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made his appearance in Calcutta, Bengal. He was given the name Abhay Carana by his Vaisnava father, Gour Mohan De, whose principle desire for his son's spiritual future was for him to become a pure devotee of Lord Sri Krsna, the ultimate goal of Vaisnavism.

Srila Prabhupada exhibited all the telltale symptoms of a nitya-siddha shaktavesa avatara. Such divine Personalities are sent/chosen by The Supreme Personality of Godhead to advent in a body so as to fulfill the mission of the Lord, namely, to impart the Absolute truth to the ignorant, forgetful embodied beings in human form. Abhay Carana's ultimate destiny and mission would remain unmanifest to the unenlightened until the last few years of his life. Twenty-five years after his disappearance there are still many who are confused over His true exalted spiritual identity, even amongst those who consider themselves to be His followers.

In 1922, Srila Prabhupada's spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, naturally recognized the true shaktavesa identity of his new disciple. He immediately indicated that Abhaya Carana's assigned mission was to be the vehicle by which the transcendental message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was to be taken to the western world.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and His Divine father, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, had laid a firm foundation for A.C. Bhaktivedanta's western preaching venture. All three Acaryas spoke and wrote extensively in excellent English. Just prior to His Spiritual Master's departure, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami's divine mission was again revealed, when Srila Bhaktisiddanta told Him to focus on preparing himself for western preaching. He advised Srila Prabhupada to avoid getting distracted by instructing him not to get too involved in the Gaudiya Matha's administration. Wise advice, as the mission soon divided with great controversy into many variegated missions. Instead, Srila Prabhupada wrote an English commentary on the Bhagavad-gita. In 1944, he started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine.

In 1950, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, adopting the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. In 1953, he received the name/title Bhaktivedanta. He established himself in the holy city of Vrndavana at the historic temple of Radha-Damodara. There, he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. It was there that Srila Prabhupada began work on his life's masterpiece - a multi-volume commentated translation of the eighteen-thousand-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote "Easy Journey to Other Planets".

In September 1965, after publishing three volumes of the Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada journeyed by steamship to the United States. Subsequently, His Divine Grace wrote more than fifty volumes of authoritative commentated translations and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India.

In July of 1966, he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Over the course of the next eleven years, until Srila Prabhupada's departure in November 1977, millions of His Books were distributed throughout the world, translated into many different languages.

Despite all the temples, farms, schools, and many other programs that manifest through ISKCON, the founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada insisted that his disciples focus as a top-priority on the printing, translating, and distribution of His many books. Today, Srila Prabhupada's books are highly respected by scholars for their authority, depth, and clarity. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature, and culture.

After the departure of each successive Acarya, namely Bhaktivinode, Bhaktisiddhanta and Bhaktivedanta, their preaching missions deteriorated due to falling into the hands of unrealized, pretentious, institutional authorities. Fortunately, their writings remain for all sincere seekers to take shelter of for many thousands of years to come. These Acaryas literal presentations have even been 'tampered with' by foolish editors, on the excuse of improving their grammar. One should try to find the original books whenever possible, and avoid these edited versions.

The advent and pastimes of these great souls are in an exclusive class of their own, and they should never be misidentified as ordinary conditioned souls who have been forced to accept a material body as a result of previous karmic activities. In order to serve their Divine Master, God, they willingly and enthusiastically accept an appropriate birth so as to facilitate the desire of the Lord, that the conditioned embodied spirit souls who are suffering due to ignorance be made aware of their spiritual identity and their eternal loving relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Jaya Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Asttotara Sata
Sri Srimad His Divine Loving Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada
Ki Jai!