THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSLATION OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY YAMUNACARYA DAS (BRAZIL) AFTER A RECENT VISIT WITH H.D. GOSWAMI.
Recently I was in Davidson, a small town in North Carolina, USA. The town was specifically chosen by Srila Acharyadeva, over many alternative locations, as his place to stay for some time. It is a heavenly town, and a very nice place to live. There is little crime, and the residents are well-educated, with the majority possessing degrees or PhD’s.
I had the opportunity, as I spent the month of October there, to see the arrival of autumn. With this comes a transformation of nature: the leaves change color and fall from the branches of the trees, creating a light shower which gradually gives the streets a beige tone. The sky is always clear and blue, and the temperatures are mild- varying between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius. The people greet each other in a happy mood, due to the end of the summer heat. It is a very pleasant season.
The house that Srila Acharyadeva rented, and where I stayed for 5 weeks, is very comfortable, with a steady temperature so you don’t feel the discomforts of the variations in the weather. Now I am in Brazil. Since I arrived I have been trying to write something about my visit, but only now have the chance.
What follows below is a brief report about the day-to-day activities of Srila Acharyadeva and about my experiences living daily with him.
Acharyadeva is a very productive person. All his time is dedicated to learning or producing something new. In this way, he doesn’t like to waste any time. From the moment he gets up to the moment he rests, he remains active. Whether he is eating, bathing, or walking, he always associates these bodily activities with his service to Srila Prabhupada.
For example, when we walked together, we always chanted japa or spoke about relevant topics. I always had to have a question ready to trigger, because when he would finish chanting his japa- or more specifically his “Hare Click” (clicker)- he would turn to me and say, “Ask me a question! I don’t want to just walk.” While bathing and changing his clothes, he would hear international news in French, as much to learn and practice the language as to keep up to date with the facts of the world. The same would happen during his meals.
His intense schedule would start between 4:30 and 5am, depending on the time he would retire the day before, which was generally between 9:30 and 10:30pm. Throughout the entire day, he would reply to many emails, attend to various local, regional, and international phone calls, participate in Skype meetings, give classes via Ustream, write his books and translate the Mahabharata, participate in academic forums, write philosophical texts to defend Srila Prabhupada from attacks from other Vaishnavas and mathas, advise disciples and godbrothers with regards to administration, shastric doubts, and their personal lives, and lead his Krishna West movement, while constantly receiving many devotees from various countries.
His sadhana of chanting 16 rounds, 3 gayatris, and the morning and evening programs was sacred. However, the hours in which he executed these activities were not regular, except for the gayatris, which he made a point of chanting at the precise times.
He lives a very simple life, exclusively dedicated to the service of Srila Prabhupada. There is no other reason for his life. Srila Prabhupada lives in his heart and is his source of inspiration and motivation for all that he does. Krishna has given him sufficient facilities for him to have a quiet and comfortable life, but he wears simple clothes, lives simply compared to the lifestyle of other Americans with similar means, and accepts many inconveniences for his service to ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada.
He was walking daily for about 2 hours. It was the time to chant japa, relieve his mind from the pressures of so many tasks, his moment of contact with nature and inspiration for writing his books. During the rest of the day he worked constantly to carry out his duties as a guru and spiritual leader. Every night he sang for Lord Damodara while playing the piano. He very much likes to sing for Srimati Tulasi devi and Lord Nrsimhadeva. In the mornings, his spiritual program included the singing of Sri Sri Guru-astaka, pranamas to Srila Prabhupada, Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya and the Hare Krishna maha mantra, finishing with a reading of the Srimad Bhagavatam.
He is very happy in his service to Srila Prabhupada, Sri Krishna, and the Vaishnavas, but his most intense desire is solely to satisfy his spiritual master. In this way, I have described for you the main activities of Srila Acharyadeva’s day-to-day life.
I wish you all the best.