Over the years I've often received comments from our readers stating how lucky they think the first generation of devotees was to have seen Srila Prabhupada while he was physically present on the planet. "What about us?", they ask despondently. Startled by hearing such remarks by newcomers who should be brimming with hope and enthusiasm in Krishna consciousness, I try to explain that Srila Prabhupada is, in fact, as present now as he has ever been. Throughout Prabhupada's books, letters and conversations, he has emphasized this point again and again, so there should be no cause for misunderstanding.
When asked by a reporter in July of 1975 what would happen to the movement after he departed, Srila Prabhupada replied: "I will never die. I shall live from my books, and you will utilize." And in his purport to Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 1.35, Srila Prabhupada explains: "There is no difference between the spiritual master's instructions and the spiritual master himself." Further assuring us, Prabhupada spoke the following words just a few months prior to his departure in 1977: "I will remain your personal guidance, physically present or not physically present, as I am getting guidance from my Guru Maharaja."
Fortunately, we don't have to go far to hear this same message repeated for our benefit. A Vaisnava is an ocean of mercy, and no matter how much one may drink from that ocean, the mercy is always available. There is no shortage or deficiency on the spiritual platform and therefore we can all rejoice in our shared good fortune. Srila Prabhupada is forever offering his spiritual blessings to one and all.
"As far as my blessing is concerned, it does not require my physical presence. If you are chanting Hare Krishna there, and following my instructions, reading the books, taking only Krishna prasadam etc., then there is no question of your not receiving the blessings of Lord Caitanya, whose mission I am humbly trying to push on."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 30, 1974)
Everywhere we look in Krishna consciousness we can see the mercy of Prabhupada. He personally delivered to us the Hare Krishna mantra, the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta, Krishna Book, Nectar of Devotion, the arca-vigraha (Deity form of the Lord), the holy dhamas, numerous temples around the world, Vaisnava association, Krishna prasadam, over 7,000 letters—the list goes on and on. In fact, we can't escape the network of Prabhupada's causeless mercy upon the fallen souls of Kali-yuga. Srila Prabhupada has personally flooded the entire world with Krishna consciousness. Our cup runneth over.
Although it might appear that such a great personality has come and gone from the world stage, Srila Prabhupada has consistently promised us that we can still have his personal association if we remain faithful to his words and instructions.
"But always remember that I am always with you. As you are always thinking of me, I am always thinking of you also. Although physically we are not together, we are not separated spiritually. So we should be concerned only with this spiritual connection."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 13, 1969)
As we hear more and more from Srila Prabhupada himself, and as we accept him into our hearts, we will experience his transcendental presence and love. Prabhupada used to say that when we eat to our full satisfaction we don't need a certificate from others saying that we are full. We will know it ourselves. Similarly, when we have made the Prabhupada connection in our own lives, there is no room for doubts or uncertainty.
"He lives forever by his divine instructions and the follower lives with him."
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.