If I become sick, do not take me to the hospital. Simply let me chant Hare Krishna and die.
In Montreal Prabhupada often sang a Sanskrit prayer composed by a great Vaishnava, King Kulasekhara. While walking around his room, sitting at his desk, or roaming through the house, he would sing to himself, and the others would hear him. He would chant it-it is a Sanskrit mantra-but to a tune of his own in a voice that dropped to a deep, low tone at the end of a line.
krishna tvadiya-pada pankaja-panjarantam
adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsah
kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te
In India almost twenty years ago, Prabhupada had translated and written commentary on this and several other verses-"The Prayers of King Kulasekhara"-for his Back to Godhead newspaper. Now, during the summer of 1968, while still recovering from his heart attack of a year ago, he sang this particular verse often. And several times he explained its meaning to the devotees gathered in his room in the evening.
"Swans have a proclivity to stick their long necks underwater and wrap them around the stem of the lotus flower. So King Kulasekhara is praying, "My dear Krishna, may the swan of my mind enter the network of the stem of Your lotus feet.' He is praying to do so now, at the present moment, while he is healthy and can chant Hare Krishna and entangle his mind in Krishna thought. Therefore, King Kulasekhara wishes that he may die immediately, because he fears that if he waits until later, when the time of death comes, he will be choking. The elements of his body will be disturbed, and there will be a death rattle, like "gar, gar.' How will it be possible then to remember Krishna?"
Prabhupada's health, however, had improved. Rising early, dictating Srimad-Bhagavatam, going for morning walks, taking full lunch-he was the healthiest he had been in months. After lunch he would nap. (At least he would try, although many of the floorboards in the house would squeak loudly when stepped on.) Later in the afternoon he would often ask for watermelon or cantaloupe. And in the evening, either he would meet with devotees in his room or go to the temple for kirtana and a lecture. After returning at night he would call for "that puffed rice set": puffed rice, fried peanuts, fried potatoes, and slices of cucumber.
So Prabhupada was well, yet more than once he remarked to his servants, "If I become sick, do not take me to the hospital. Simply let me chant Hare Krishna and die."
Reference: Prabhupada Lila
Author: Satsvarupa Das Goswami