(I wrote this on March 16th in Mayapura, intending to read it at the memorial service that day; but not getting a chance to do so am instead sending it out by email, which may also be delayed in sending due to poor internet connections from Mayapura.)
Krsna has yet again shown that He is inconceivable. No one can be kinder than Krsna, and Krsna is particularly the wellwisher and protector of His devotees. Yet Krsna's arrangements are unpredictable and sometimes why and what He does is unimaginable and apparently even horrible.
Just as, yesterday Krsna decided to take Tamal Krsna Goswami to Him. Dozens of deaths occur on the Indian roads every day, but this was not just another statistic. Krsna personally cares for His devotees, and this event could not have taken place without His direct sanction. Why should Krsna take Tamal Krsna Maharaja so suddenly, prematurely, with his service unfinished, and in such a cruel manner? Krsna knows.
Krsna declares: kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhakta pranasyati, and it is the devotee's faith that no matter how nasty and intolerable or even absurd Krsna's arrangements may seem to be, they are always for the ultimate welfare of His devotees.
Again and again we ask ourselves, "Is this real? Has it really happened?" and again and again the events of yesterday reappear in our minds to convince us that they are indeed true. Yesterday afternoon as I intently looked in the face of Tamal Krsna Maharaja, a face as strong and firm as ever yet now peaceful as maybe never before previously, I realized that what we had heard that morning and which by the behavior of all present seemed must be true, but about which we were reserving a hope that it might nevertheless be some fantastic misunderstanding, was indeed a fact.
Hundreds of devotees had congregated in Mayapura, the very abode of happiness, for a blissful festival of chanting and dancing. Yesterday, however, there was another kind of festival. The chanting and dancing went on, yet on hundreds of faces accustomed to smile, we saw only sadness.
But happiness was not completely absent. When Sridhar Maharaja announced that Tamal Krsna Maharaja had gone to Krsna, a chorus of spontaneous wails went up from the womenfolk. Yet simultaneously there was a single joyful "Haribol!" Narasimha Maharaja, who had all these years so selflessly assisted Tamal Krsna Maharaja, in grief buried his head in Sridhar Maharaja's shoulder, yet he also joined the joyful chanting and dancing that ensued shortly thereafter; for the passing of a Vaisnava is a time of celebration as well as lamentation. Madhava was still smiling, as was His Radha and Her sakhis. And so surely was Tamal Krsna Maharaja, smiling down at us from his eternal abode in the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Madhava.
He reasons ill who tells that Vaisnavas die
when thou art living still in sound
A Vaisnava dies to live
And living tries to spread the holy name around.
Tamal Krsna Maharaja is still present among us in many ways, not least in the form of his disciples, some of whom are clearly very advanced souls. We request Maharaja's disciples to continue to spread the fame of your guru-maharaja by maintaining an exemplary standard that he-and we-can be proud of. Always pushing you to come to the highest standard, your guru-maharaja tested you in many ways, sometimes almost unbearably. But now is your greatest test, since the love of disciples for their guru is not known so much by how they serve him in his presence, as by how they continue to do so in his absence.
I'll also take this opportunity to thank all devotees present and not present for the wonderful services they have performed over all these years, and to beg forgiveness for all my offenses to them. We never know when Krsna will take His devotee to His abode, so it's better to say the most important things while we can.
Sri Sri Radha Madhava ki jaya.
Their eternal servant Srila Tamala Krishna Goswami Maharaja ki jay.