Today is a day of intense mourning, the day that Srila Bhakti Charu Swami left this mortal world, and has gone to serve in His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada’s pastimes. For a pure devotee such as Bhakti Charu Maharaj there is no lamentation, as he is continuing his service in another location. However, for those of us who will be bereft of his association, it is hard to imagine continuing our lives without him.
Maharaj was my dearest friend. Once a devotee inquired from me as to who was my closest friend in this world, and I immediately replied Bhakti Charu Swami. When Bhakti Charu Maharaj heard my reply from that devotee tears came to his eyes. In my personal will and health care power of attorney I have listed Maharaj as the person who would legally be in charge of deciding about my health care if I happened to be incapacitated, and well as the person who would be the executor of my will.
Maharaj is one of Srila Prabhupada’s eternal associates. There are many proofs of this. Almost immediately upon personally meeting Srila Prabhupada, Prabhupada give him both initiations, and then three months later gave him sannyasa and posted him as his personal secretary for the India mission. Prabhupada recognized Bhakti Charu Maharaj upon that first meeting. Then during the final days of Srila Prabhupada’s pastimes Bhakti Charu Maharaja and Tamal Krishna Maharaj were the ones who Srila Prabhupada most trusted to care for him.
Aside from his Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, Bhakti Charu Maharaj is the most cultured person I have ever encountered. By his example and precepts one can learn the finer points of Vaisnava etiquette. When one is with Maharaj one experiences the same care that one would get from a loving mother or father. When ever I was with Maharaj I felt like a “bull in a china shop” in comparison. It is amazing that Maharaj tolerated me as friend with all my rough edges. That is an attestation to his unlimited compassion.
Above all is Bhakti Charu Maharaj’s dedication to the mission of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. Continually he stressed the importance of being loyal to Prabhupada and Prabhupada’s society. He was always willing to forgot his own plans in order to serve Srila Prabhupada’s society in accordance with the direction of the GBC. This was clearly shown by his requesting his Godbrothers on the GBC to decide on the course of his medical treatment. He is the personification of Srila Prabhupada’s wish that all of us lovingly cooperate. I can truly say that he is an “ISKCON Man.” This is same as saying he is a “Prabhupada Man”.
By Prabhupada’s grace I had Maharaj’s association and I am sure that by Prabhupada’s grace I will have it once again as we are eternal brothers. Our physical separation is only temporary. By my being engaged in serving Prabhupada’s mission, which is the most dear thing to Maharaj’s heart I can always have his association and the association of all our brothers and sisters. I pray to Srila Prabhupada that somehow or other I will be able to manifest some of the good qualities that Bhakti Charu Maharaja always displayed in order to help others come to Prabhupada’s mission. I also pray that I can be of some service to Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s disciples.
Bir Krishna das Goswami
July 5, 2020