Written by Sesa Das
We see Srila Prabhupada would end his letters to disciples with “Your ever well-wisher” at the bottom. Many say that when they read or heard this line from Srila Prabhupada it touched them deeply & changed their life!
Kadamba Kanana Swami returned to Radhadesh from his Slovakia tour after a busy week of preaching. Unfortunately, the news came to us that Manisha devi dasi, one of Maharaj’s disciples, was in a very critical condition and close to leaving her body. Some months ago, Bhagavati Mataji (from Radhadesh) approached Maharaj telling him of this lady, who had been recently diagnosed as terminally ill, who for many years had done a lot of service in Radhadesh – from serving in the Boutique to cleaning – & she was very well known for assisting the Food for Life project in Liege. Her merciful spirit was ever present as she would always bring prasadam or request the devotees to bring it so she could distribute it to the staff members and nurses in the hospital. Amazing to hear her eagerness to preach & share the mercy.
The first day that Maharaj went to see her she didn’t look so well but still was very grateful to see Maharaj again. Maharaj & Mother Manisha spoke for 20 minutes or so and then Maharaj began to lead a mellow kirtan. After an hour of singing, Maharaj was saying a few final words before leaving her apartment. Suddenly Manisha grabbed the pull up bar above her head & raised herself. She was extremely grateful that Maharaj had come to see her & spend time with her. Although she wasn’t active and was forgetting many things, her desire was to see him before she departed. Maharaj told me he has no doubt that Lord Caitanya will accept & take her back to Godhead!
The following day after lunch, Bhagavati told Maharaj that Manisha was really bad and this looked like it would be her last day. Shocking news, to us it didn’t seem real or likely as the evening before we saw her pull herself up with so much eagerness & enthusiastic energy. We thought she had a week or more to go at the least.
As Maharaj entered the room, we saw many devotees gathered in the room singing the holy names. Manisha clearly was immobile and had much less energy that what we saw the day before. She couldn’t move or speak like the day before. Maharaj began singing a mellow kirtan which penetrated the core of everyone’s heart. You could feel the prayerful mood within the room. Around 4:45 pm as we all sat around Mother Manisha’s bed, suddenly she slightly rose up, her eyes opened very wide, she chanted with Maharaj and all the devotees and then departed…
A difficult sight for anyone to see, especially her daughter, grand-daughter and their husbands who were by her bedside during the departure. However, what a success story also as her dear Guru Maharaj was singing for her as she chanted until her last breath!
Later on Maharaj went up to her body, paid respects & stood in a deep praying stance. We then left the apartment as they had to attend to her body & Maharaj spent some time consoling the family members who all really appreciated him coming and singing for her at this time.
As we walked down, everyone was amazed at the surreal experience and I had some element of curiosity as to what Maharaj may have prayed for, however I thought it was too personal and not proper etiquette to ask so I left it. Then as we entered Maharaj’s room, he was telling me about her & how she really liked Nityananda Prabhu, how for years she had done so many services in Radhadesh and he was happy to accept her as a disciple & this was a wonderful way to leave with so many devotees around her chanting.
Then as we stood Maharaj turned and began telling me his thoughts and prayers as he went up to her body. He later said it in a few classes, so I felt it fit to share. He turned to me and very gravely & humbly said, “So I was praying to Krsna that I am no way qualified to request this but somehow I have masters who are the most qualified and I am trying to represent them so please, please accept her and give her Your association.”
At this point, I had nothing to say – just shocked & taken away by Maharaj’s humility. The only thought I had was that he is our ever well-wisher!
The following days, there were some gatherings and memories shared about Manisha Mataji & Maharaj sang ‘Je Anilo’ for her. Please check out the upcoming recordings for these & stay in tune for the blog entries about Maharaj on the build up to Janmastami! What fantastic classes he gave! Once you hear them your future Janmastamis will never be the same again!