The best thing that ever happened to me in any lifetime was coming to ISKCON and being accepted as Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciple. The worst thing that ever happened to me was Prabhupāda’s leaving us in our infantile stage. The worst day in the history of this Kali-yuga will always be 14 November 1977. But at that time my appreciation of Śrīla Prabhupāda was so paltry that I didn’t realize the extent of the calamity that had occurred.
Śrīla Prabhupāda once said that one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness is fortunate, and that one who doesn’t take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness is unfortunate, but that the most unfortunate is one who has taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness but again leaves. Similarly, we are so fortunate to have got Śrīla Prabhupāda, but so unfortunate that he has left us. Of course, we understand philosophically that Prabhupāda is still with us. If we don’t appreciate that he is still with us now, then our whole endeavor in Kṛṣṇa consciousness becomes meaningless. Still, I miss Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal presence so much that I can’t really understand why we observe his disappearance day as a festival. Philosophically I understand, but from the sentimental or emotional platform, it seems to make no sense. This is the day on which Prabhupāda left. In this lifetime, you will never see him again. We are supposed to be celebrating Śrīla Prabhupāda’s “return” to the spiritual world, but I don’t really see much to be happy about.