Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lila...in our thoughts and prayers

Like so many devotees around the world I have been following what has happened in Vrindavana to Lila. I don't her very well, but she has become a familiar face from all my trips to India and Vrindavana more specifically. A smile and haribol when we passed each other - nothing more, but enough to leave an impression in my mind.
Initally when I heard what had happened I found it hard to digest that something like this could happen to someone I know, however vaguely, and that it could happen in Vrindavana of all places.

Now that I've learnt that Lila has infact left her body, amidst a wonderful kirtan, surrounded by devotees, so many important things come to mind.

Lila loved Vrindavana. That on its own is an amazing thing. The Vedas urge us to take shelter of Vrindavana and develop love for this place, which is so dear to Krsna. In his Vrindavana Mahimamrta, Prabhodananda Saraswati Thakur says, "May I love Vrindavan, where at the base of a kadamba tree on the cool shore of the Yamuna a dark complexioned, amorous, divine youth dressed in yellow garments plays a flute as He glances at Radha's lotus face."

Just to be allowed to enter into Vrindavana means that one has the blessings of Srimati Vrinda-devi and Srimati Vrindavanesvari, the Queen of Vrindavana. What to speak of living there, for years and years? Some of us hope and pray to be able to go to Vrindavana for Kartik every few years, but Lila was fortunate enough to have lived there most of her life there.

"Vrindavan is like the incomparable essence of the ocean of pure love of Krishna, or it is like the sweetest island-bracelet decorating that ocean of love, I pray this land of Vrindavan, which the great sages experience sweet as nectar, give me shelter until the moment I leave this body."

It is so, so unfortunate that this had happened in the first place, but how amazing is it, at the same time, that Lila has left this world in Sri Vraja Dhama? The sastras state that one who leaves his body in Vrajabhumi Vrindavana returns immediately to Vrindavana in the spiritual world. So Lila has left earthly Vrindavana and returned to Radha Shyamasundar. Devotees hanker to be in Vraja at the time of their deaths, and Lila achieved that.

Actually, on her Gurukuli profile, one of the last things Lila said was:

....just read this and it makes me think 'yes prabhupad is still here and i know it i always have ..'

May 17 : Note this was at a situation when Srila Prabhupada was critically ill and actually he passed away five months from then.

If death takes place, let it take here. There is nothing to be said now. Whatever I have to speak, I have spoken in my books. Now you try to understand it and continue your endeavor. Whether I am present or not present, it doesn’t matter. As Krishna is living eternally, similarly, living being also lives eternally. But ”One who has done service to the Lord lives forever.” So you have been taught to serve Krishna, and with Krishna we’ll live eternally. Our life is eternal. A temporary disappearance of this body doesn’t matter. Body is meant for disappearance. So live forever by serving Krishna .
srila prabhupada Vrindavan, May 17, 1977.

I don't understand why a 17 year old girl's life was ended so suddenly, but I understand that she had a most auspicious life and death, in the land of Vrindavana, surrounded by devotees and Krsna's sweet holy name.

I pray that Krsna gives her family strength during this time.

All glories to Lila!!

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