Despite showing no interest in spiritual life, an old man receives Krishna’s mercy during his last moments.
It is too early to retire. I have so much work to do.” These were the words of my 75-year-old father-in-law when my spiritual master, His Holiness Gopala Krishna Goswami Maharaja, asked him to take up spiritual life seriously. Maharaja smiled, taking pity upon the old man. He chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and requested my father-in-law to follow him, which he fortunately did, unaware of the causeless mercy he was receiving.
Shortly thereafter, my father-in-law was diagnosed with stomach cancer. The doctors said he won’t live for more than six months. As devotees of Krishna within the Krishna consciousness movement, my husband, Rasapriya Prabhu, and I knew the importance of the moment of death on a person’s destiny. We decided to prepare him to face the eventuality. Gopala Krishna Goswami Maharaja advised that we give him caranamrta, the water that has washed the lotus feet of the Lord, and make him chant the Hare Krishna mantra daily. Srila Prabhupada describes the immense spiritual potency of caranamrta in his Nectar of Devotion by quoting from the Padma Purana: “Even a person who has never been able to give in charity, who has never been able to perform a great sacrifice, who has never been able to study the Vedas, who has never been able to worship the Lord or, in other words, even one who has never done any pious activities will become eligible to enter into the kingdom of God if he simply drinks the caranamrta which is kept in the temple.” With each passing day, my father-in-law’s health deteriorated. He was totally bed-ridden, becoming more miserable with increasing pain. Our chanting and prayers intensified.
Then one day at 3 am my husband’s phone rang; it was my father-in-law’s caretaker. He asked Rasapriya Prabhu to immediately come to the hospital as his father wanted him by his bedside. My husband rushed to the hospital, not forgetting to carry his beads and a small chip recorder of Srila Prabhupada chanting japa. On reaching his ailing father’s bedside, he caressed his forehead lovingly. His father said that it seemed that he was leaving. Rasapriya Prabhu asked him not to be afraid and requested him to chant with him. Both of them chanted for about twenty minutes.
My husband then took out the caranamrta from the refrigerator and poured a few drops into his mouth along with a small tulasi leaf. He removed a copy of the third canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam and touched to his forehead. And he turned on the chip recorder of Srila Prabhupada chanting japa and placed it next to his ears. Rasapriya Prabhu sat next to him on a chair and started chanting his japa softly and clearly so his father could hear the divine sound. After some time, his father appeared calm and relaxed, the anxiety and fear that he felt earlier gone from his face. He peacefully went off to sleep. My husband too came back home room to take a little rest. He made sure Srila Prabhupada’s chanting machine was still playing his voice.
Two hours later, both of us went again to the hospital. On reaching there, Rasapriya Prabhu touched his father on his forehead it was cold. The doctors soon came and confirmed that he had passed away. Although the cancer had given him terrible pain, he appeared happy with his face showing no sign of pain. He left his body listening to the pure divine voice of Srila Prabhupada chanting Krishna’s holy names. And the last thing that went down his throat was the sacred caranamrta.
We were satisfied. The mercy of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna had touched him. It was sure he would attain an auspicious destination.
Radhika Krpa Devi Dasi is a disciple of Gopala Krishna Goswami. She stays in New Delhi along with her husband, Rasapriya Dasa, and two children. She and her husband travel all over the world spreading the message of Krishna consciousness.