In late January 1996, Gour Govinda Swami mentioned, “Srila Bhaktisiddhanta said that this material world is not a fit place for any gentleman. Therefore, because he was disgusted, he left this world prematurely. I may also leave. I don’t know. Let me ask Gopal. I will do whatever He wants.” The next day he went to Gadeigiri to see Gopal. After returning, for the next four days he lectured before thousands of people at the Prabhupada Centennial festival in Bhubaneswar. Then he left for the annual ISKCON management meetings in Sridham Mayapur.
Ghanashyam recalls his discussion with Gour Govinda Swami during this last visit to Gadeigiri:
"We were talking about Gopal’s new temple and installing large deities of Radha Gopal to go with the existing small ones. Suddenly Gurudeva told me, 'I won’t see this deity installation. You will see it, but I won’t.' I said, “How is that? You are ten years younger than I am. If you won’t see it how will I?
"Gurudeva said, 'No, no. You will see the inauguration of the temple and the deity because you have served Gopal so nicely. Uncle [Gopinath Giri] died thirty years ago and you went through so much difficulty to take care of Gopal. You continued all of the festivals, sarat-rasa, vasanta-rasa, etc. That is why Gopal is kind to you. So you will see Gopal’s new temple.' That was the last discussion I had with Gurudeva. After that he went to Bhubaneswar for a few days and then to Mayapur where he stayed forever."
In Mayapur on 9 February 1996, the holy appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, two senior ISKCON devotees requested an appointment in the early evening to see Gour Govinda Maharaja. They inquired, “Why did Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stay in Jagannath Puri?” He enthusiastically began to explain the confidential significance of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in Puri. He described the pains of separation felt by Radha and Krishna when Krishna was away from Vrindavan. He gradually unfolded the pastime to the point where Radha and Krishna were finally united after Their long separation. He described how Krishna became so ecstatic upon seeing Radharani that He manifested a form with big round eyes and shrunken limbs, Lord Jagannath. At that time the devotees noticed that tears had come to his eyes and his voice had become choked up. Barely audibly, he said, “Then the eyes of Krishna fell upon the eyes of Radharani. Eye-to-eye union.” Unable to continue, he apologized with folded hands, “Please excuse me. I cannot speak.” He then gave his final instruction: “Kirtan! Kirtan!” The devotees present began to chant as he calmly lay back on his bed, breathing slowly and deeply. Upon his request a servant placed a picture of Gopal Jiu in his hand. Then, gazing lovingly at that picture of his worshipable deity, Gour Govinda Swami said, “Gopal!” Then his eyes closed and he lost external consciousness. One devotee quickly ran to bring a doctor. Kaviraj Dr. D. K. Brahma M.D. recalls:
"Just before sandhya arati a devotee came to my residence and told me that Gour Govinda Swami was having some problem breathing and could I come to see him. When I arrived, Maharaja was lying down. Some doctors had come before me and had said that Maharaja had already passed away. Others were saying that we should take him to Krishnanagar and give him treatment in the Government hospital. I took his pulse and found that he was still alive.
"I told them, 'Just wait. Give me another twelve minutes time, then I may tell you to take him.' If they would have taken him to the Government hospital it means they would have been pumping his chest, thinking it was a heart attack. However, according to his pulse there was nothing wrong with him. His pulse only showed that he was taking rest. The Ayurvedic science teaches how to diagnose a patient by taking his pulse. If something is wrong we can feel it. But I never found anything wrong with Maharaja. According to his pulse everything was normal.
"By the second or third time I read Maharaja’s pulse it had become clear that he had left. Some say that he had a heart attack, but if someone dies from a heart attack generally we find that they suffer a lot. They also generally have some previous history of a weak heart. In Maharaja’s case, none of these things were there. Maharaja had the symptoms of asta-sattvika-vikara, ecstatic transformations, on his body. One kind of vikara is that one doesn’t want to stay here any longer, they want to go back to the spiritual abode, back to Krishna. Nothing in Maharaja’s body failed, he just left. I am 100% sure of that. I’ve never seen this kind of death before."
Srila Gour Govinda