This is an incident which happened in the 1930s. There was a disciple of Srila Prabhupada Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur who got initiated in 1933. He was from Guwahati, Assam. He followed all the principles of devotion and chanted Harinaam on the chanting beads given to him by Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur disappeared from this world on 1st January 1937.
After the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, the disciple started to deteriorate in his devotional practices until he got engaged in anti-devotional activities of consuming meat. It was his downfall that he even stopped chanting Harinaam. But laws of karma had some other plan for him that within a few years he had fallen sick and died. As per Hindu-Indian tradition, the dead body is burnt in the cremation ground. Hence, the body of this person was also lying in the cremation ground within the wooden logs which were supposed to be set to fire.
Suddenly the dead man came to life and started shouting his beloved Gurudev’s name “Prabhupada! Prabhupada! Prabhupada!”. People present there were astonished to see this unnatural incident and started to flock away thinking him to be the ghost. He went to his home immediately and told his family that is renouncing from the material life to serve his Gurudev’s words.
Life after death had changed him completely. He shared his amazing experience of life after death. He shared his story as follows.
When he died he saw two gigantic and horrifying figures (YAMDUTAS) who came and took him away from this world to another unknown world – YAMPURI. On the way to YAMPURI, he felt thirsty because the way to YAMPURI was deserted and with the scorching sun on his head. When he asked for water from YAMDUTAS, then they showed him a pond to quench his thirst. But when he went near to the pond then he found it full of vomit, blood, and pus. On complaining to them that how could he ever drink such filthy things, they replied that he can get only vomit to drink on his way to YAMPURI and nothing else due to his past karmas. Feeling depressed he moved on with them to YAMPURI.
After reaching YAMPURI, he was made to stand in a queue where Chitragupta, the assistant of YAMRAJ, was opening the accounts of karmas for all standing in the queue. He was horrified to see that every other person standing in before him were immediately sent to hell by Chitragupta upon seeing their accounts. At last, when it was his turn, he was sent to YAMRAJ as a special case. He was astonished. When he was brought to YAMRAJ, the devata of death, asked him if had performed any good deed in his life ever which he could recollect. He answered that he got initiated from Srila Prabhupada. Upon hearing Srila Prabhupada’s name YAMRAJ closed His eyes and remembered Srila Prabhupada and the most amazing thing happened that Srila Prabhupada appeared in YAMPURI even for such a disciple who had betrayed Him by not following His instructions. YAMRAJ asked Srila Prabhupada for the next course of action to be taken for His disciple. Before answering to YAMRAJ, Srila Prabhupada directly chastised His disciple for ignoring Harinaam and getting involved with anti-devotional activities of consuming restricted things. Upon hearing Srila Prabhupada’s chastisement, he asked for forgiveness. His Grace Srila Prabhupada showed mercy to his disciple upon asking forgiveness and ordered him to go back to earth and again accept Harinaam from His beloved disciple Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Maharajji in Kolkata.
As soon as Srila Prabhupada asked to take re-initiation, he came didn’t remember what happened after that and he got up in cremation ground shouting Prabhupada! Prabhupada! Prabhupada!. After that, he renounced his worldly life and immediately went to Kolkata to see Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Maharaj Ji for accepting Harinaam from Him. When he went into the room where Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Maharaj Ji was present and started to narrate his story of life after death, Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Maharaj Ji stopped him from narration saying that He was already aware of what had happened and gave Him Harinaam mala(chanting beads) to chant. He stayed in the math after that and kept chanting Harinaam always for 8 years until he again left this world.
We have seen so many insurance policies in this world but such an insurance policy of saving a fallen soul from hell is not possible for anyone to provide. This incident proves the eternity of Guru’s relationship with His disciple and His boundless mercy upon his disciples.
Does this story ring a bell in our life of what we are supposed to be doing in contrast to what our engagements are in our daily life? Guru can show the path and mercy but a disciple has to follow His instructions to chant Harinaam and stay away from anti-devotional activities to save himself/herself from hell.
– Excerpt from a lecture given by a saint at Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya math in Sri Jagganath Puri on the holy disappearance day of Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Maharaj Ji
15 Feb 2018.(translated from Bengali)