"Everybody Go Home."
Chuckles bounce around the room as Tamal Krishna Goswami teasingly announces the end of evening kirtana. It's 9:00 P.M. in Mayapur, and for the past two hours, two hundred devotees have been chanting together. Our host, Tamal Krishna Goswami (TKG to many), sits on the corner of a six-foot-square white mat with ten Godbrothers.
The 7:00 P.M. kirtana at TKG's has become popular. TKG orchestrates everything. Senior sannyasis take turns leading. Men, women, boys, and girls from India, Taiwan, Europe, and America pack the flat.
The chanting, sweet and focused, comes in timeless enchanting melodies. Electric failures turn lights and fans on and off. No matter the chanters are in another dimension, beyond the complaints of a scrunched body in a muggy room. Powerful, penetrating waves of devotion bathe the chanters as they pour out their hearts to Krsna.
Departing guests each receive a sweet. TKG invites his Godbrothers to stay on for light prasadam. Relaxed, he talks about kirtana and his plans.
In pursuit of a doctoral degree in religious studies, TKG has missed the past six annual meetings in Mayapur of ISKCON's governing body (GBC), of which he is the senior member. He has excelled in his studies, winning numerous awards, publishing two books, and earning respect and admiration in the academic community for Srila Prabhupada. Now he's back in Mayapur.
TKG's life touches everything and everyone in ISKCON. He bought the first land in Mayapur. His loving disciples span the globe, from Taiwan to America, England to India. Devotees everywhere enjoy his books, dramas, and taped lectures. Now, fifty-five, and nearly a Ph.D., he's ready for his next service for Srila Prabhupada.
The next day, after the tedious GBC meetings, TKG says, "The GBC should all go to the Ganga together every day before lunch. We'd get more done. Then in the evening we should all come together for kirtana.i
That evening, the kirtana crowd outgrows his room.
TKG announces, "Tomorrow we'll move to the temple."
The following evening, in the temple, he's in his corner of the white sitting-mat with the usual guests, playing karatalas, eyes shut in concentration.
A day and a half later, TKG leaves this world in a car accident in Phuliya, a holy place where the saint HaridasaThakura used to chant Krsna's name 300,000 times a day. Shocked, his Godbrothers and disciples take his body for a final tour of Mayapur's holy places and inter him in the shadow of Srila Prabhupada's samadhi. Memorial events continue day and night. A wonderful unity prevails, as if TKG has disappeared from external vision and entered everyone's heart.
Lord Krsna allowed TKG to come back to Mayapur, to smile and talk and chant with his leading Godbrothers. And the Lord let them serve TKG a final time by taking him on parikrama and placing him in samadhi. Had he left this world at any other time or place, all this would have been impossible.
This dear Vaisnava has a new world to conquer in some other place. We are unexpectedly bereft of his friendship, wisdom, and kindness. May we remember his parting lesson: Kirtana in the association of loving devotees solves every problem. And someday, may you and I meet in TKG's room for kirtana.
– Kalakantha Dasa