Śivarāma SwamiLetters by Sivarama Swami
Letter To Devotees of the Hungarian Yatra, 4 July 2013
Please accept my blessings, all glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I write this brief letter to put into perspective how I see the result of what could be called a year of health crises for me—harvest festival 2012 to harvest festival 2013.
Please consider the following varied ailments and treatments I have passed through in the last year by Radha-Syama’s grace: prostate inflammation resulting in urinary retention; 1 month catheterization; hernia; hernia operation under general anesthetic; prostate biopsy; a resection of the prostate under general anesthetic; further urethral stricture; urethrotomy under general anesthetic which indirectly led to a month in hospital, kidney failure, double vision, hearing loss and another hernia; double operation under general anesthetic for hernia and for sinus surgery.
When in hospital for the month of April, I came to the understanding that my normally strong constitution had collapsed. It was not an easy thing to admit or to accept.
Today I am leaving the hospital after a final consultation and returning to Hungary. However I am still taking with me some of those listed ailments and I will live with and manage those ailments for the rest of my life.
Thus, although I am feeling better, the purpose of this letter is to communicate that I will not, I cannot, be “back to normal”—, as devotees, with their love and support, have wished me to be over this past year.
Why? Because to most devotees “normal” means to continue doing at 64 what I did at 44. But this health crisis is a message from Their Lordships that “normal” now is to live like a 64 year old who has multiple anatomical weaknesses and problems.
To make that change of lifestyle I need to make real adjustments.
One is that I need to decrease the time involved in stress associated management and leadership. Thus I propose to you that I have a 5-day week, and on the weekend, other than giving class and preaching, I am not involved in any non-emergency management issues.
Another, is that the role of a replacement GBC becomes more of a priority for all effected. I have given notice to the GBC body that—after 30 years—I will retire as a GBC member in 2015. I intend to stick to that deadline.
Lastly, until I can shift my attention from management to more preaching and devotee care, devotees in general need to be aware that general personal needs and service issues are the domain of the counselors and department authorities respectively. I need to be relieved of the sheer volume of such things and be allowed to use my time for priority management and weighty devotee issues. I have full faith in the yatra’s leaders to deal with more day-to-day matters. And holding meetings with groups of devotees to answer questions and discuss Krsna consciousness—darshans—will be one of many new ways by which I can stay in touch with everyone.
Our society in Hungary is growing and there are many wonderful opportunities for realizing Lord Caitanya s mission. I am eager to serve here until my last days. And, I look forward to being involved more in devotee care and preaching, while handing management to other competent devotees, and staying in the background in an advisory capacity. I am doing this after 25 years in Hungary and 45 years in ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada did that after 7 years.
Dear devotees, whatever progress I and the leaders of the yatra make in achieving the goals outlined above, we shall communicate as that progress is made. And as always, I will remain enthusiastic and determined to serve devotees in the Hungarian yatra to the best of my ability, which as we can see, changes with the inevitable influence of time—the instrument of Radha-Syama’s will.
Hoping this meets you in the best of health and Krsna-consciousness
I remain your ever well-wisher in the service of Srila Prabhupada.