In the last couple of weeks I’ve lost three old friends and colleagues: Suhotra Dasa Tapovanacari, Puru Dasa, and Muktakesa Dasa. All three have now, as we say, left this world. (The prosaic world just usually says “died.”)
Some time back, Muktakesa, always generous, had seen I wasn’t wearing a watch, so he gave me one (a pretty fancy Seiko). And since sannyasis are sometimes known for not holding on to things, he made me promise not to give it away. I used to see him in New Vrindaban, where he was running a program to offer spiritual help to prisoners in different parts of America who’d turned towards Krishna.
This past January, Suhotra and I had shared a pleasant lunch together in Mayapur (we’d had a lovely little debate over Semantics or something or other), and some days later he came to visit me–really just wanting to get together–at the flat where I was staying. Dressed in saffron, with a bag of–whatever–slung from his shoulder, he resembled a large-framed Buddhist monk. But instead of contemplating koans and seeking a void, he was always intent on the transcendent person Krishna.
And also in Mayapur in December-January I met my old friend Puru Dasa again, after a long while. I think he’d expected me to be cross with him (we had our differences on more issues than one), but I was truly delighted to see him, and we spent a short but warm time together. He reintroduced me to his daughters, whom I hadn’t seen since they were kids: “This is your spiritual uncle, Jayadvaita Swami.” And we enjoyed talking together about things concerning Krishna.
I had affection for all three of these godbrothers, and I’ll miss them.
That’s how it is. You watch your friends go, one by one. Then those who are left watch you go.