An excerpt from a public talk given by Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj on the disappearance day of Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Prabhupād in 1991.
I am very happy to join this function specially for my Śikṣā-gurudev Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Prabhupād, who taught me from my childhood. His disappearance day is very painful for all of the devotees and also myself. I heard the description of his disappearance time and situation from Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Bābājī Mahārāj, Charu Swāmī, and Bhavānanda Mahārāj. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj, was also very shocked when he heard.
One day will come for everybody. We all must leave this mundane world. It is the natural flow. When we take birth, then death will come to us. But the birth and disappearance of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His associates are not the same as mundane persons. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa comes to fulfil His own desire, and His devotees also come to fulfil His desire.
In Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa said:
janma karma cha me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
“My birth and My activities are not like mundane births and activities.”
We say āvirbhāv and tirobhāv. We do not say ‘birth’ and ‘death’. Āvirbhāv means appearance, and tirobhāv means disappearance. The sun rises in the east. We can say it is ‘appears’ there. The sun sets in the West; it ‘disappears’. The sun is always bright, but in our vision, he goes away.
I cannot speak properly, but if you will follow my heart, then you can also understand what I want to say. We cannot properly understand the glories of the devotees, the associates of Kṛṣṇa, or the Deity, or the Vaiṣṇavas, or Guru. We look at our Gurudev like ourselves, as a mundane man. He eats, he sleeps, he works, he passes stool. Everything looks mundane, but it is not the same as me and not like mundane persons.
Actually Gurudev appeared for me to rescue me from the illusory environment. Where will he take me? Up to Goloka Vṛndāvan. That is his position. Kṛṣṇa Himself appeared for me, because I am a very fallen soul, a conditioned soul. Kṛṣṇa is always searching for me, and if I give my intention and attention, then He can happily take me. Kṛṣṇa gave us freedom. Why? So we can freely serve Him, with our free choice we can serve Him.