Dear Disciples of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Late Saturday evening, I was informed that your Guru Maharaja had left this world. I cannot imagine the devastating pain of separation you must be going through, but I do know the pain that I am suffering, and it is intense. I am reminded of the conversation between Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya:
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked, “Of all kinds of distress, what is the most painful?”
Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya replied, “Apart from separation from the devotee of Kṛṣṇa, I know of no unbearable unhappiness.”
Your Guru Maharaja’s departure has brought out emotions in me similar to those I felt when Srila Prabhupada wound up his manifest pastimes in 1977. We all knew that Srila Prabhupada would leave us soon, but when he did, time stopped, and the earth stood still. All we could do was chant and weep, chant and weep.
Your Guru Maharaja was an ISKCON luminary, who offered extraordinary service, all for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada, his very life and soul. His purity, good qualities, expertise, dedication and surrender attracted Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, and he was blessed by his spiritual master to accomplish herculean tasks.
I had the good fortune of associating with your Guru Maharaja during the 2019 GBC midterm meetings held in Tirupati. Numerous times throughout that visit he would give me a long, warm and loving embrace and say, “My dear old friend, my dear old friend.” And he would reminisce about the times he visited our Hong Kong yatra in the 1980’s when we worked closely together to publish his series of books for children. He called these happy days, when he cooked for the devotees, led kirtan and gave classes to our newly recruited Chinese devotees. He was always very liberal with his association and enlivened one and all.
My association with Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja was in no way unique. Everyone who met him had the same experience. He was a highly cultured Vaisnava gentleman, with very refined good qualities. He attracted everyone with his kind and loving heart. Everyone loved him because he loved everyone.
Nothing pleased him more than to serve the devotees, especially his godbrothers and godsisters, by hosting them for prasadam, arranging for their accommodation and taking care of their each and every need.
Numerous times throughout the years, His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja and I would stay with him in Kolkata, and he would personally arrange for every detail imaginable for our stay. He was the most gracious and expert host that I have ever met.
All of us will sorely miss Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja’s physical association, but we take solace in the fact that Srila Prabhupada and Radha-Madhava have called him to rejoin Them in Their eternal pastimes.
Now is the time for you to fully embrace your Guru Maharaja’s instructions, take shelter of his godbrothers and godsisters and keep the sanga strong amongst yourselves. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja worked tirelessly on behalf of Srila Prabhupada to create an ISKCON where devotees were well cared for, fully enlivened, and worked together harmoniously. We will all honor his legacy by following in his wake.
I am already in contact with some of you directly. But if there is anything, anything at all that I do for you in this difficult time, please don’t hesitate to write or call.
All glories to His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja!
Hare Krishna and I pray this meets you well.