HH Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja
Remembering Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja
je ānilo prema-dhana koruṇā pracur
heno prabhu kothā gelā ācārya-ṭhākur
kāhā mora swarūp rūpa kāhā sanātan
kāhā dāsa raghunātha patita-pāvan
kāhā mora bhaṭṭa-juga kāhā kavirāj
eka-kāle kothā gelā gorā naṭa-rāj
pāṣāṇe kuṭibo māthā anale paśibo
gaurāńga guṇera nidhi kothā gele pābo
se-saba sańgīra sańge je koilo bilās
se-sańga nā pāiyā kānde narottama dās
Nitai Gaur Premanande Hari Haribol. Srila Prabhupada ki jay.
Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja Tirobhāva Tithi Mahotsava ki jay!
Yesterday after the news of Bhakti Caru Maharaja’s departure, I wanted to hear Maharaja, so then I came across this song that Maharaja had sung on one of the Acarya’s disappearance’s Tithi. Now we are ending up hearing the same song on the occasion of Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s disappearance day, the day after the disappearance.
Today we are celebrating Vyasa Purnima, Guru Purnima in India, in Pandharpur. I just heard that in America yesterday was Vyasa or Guru Purnima. Maharaja departed on Vyasa Purnima. It is a very auspicious departure in that sense. Today is the appearance of Srila Vyāsadeva here. One is an Appearance and another one is a disappearance. But it is also not like that. They only appear. Acarya or Gurus do not disappear. They keep appearing with their Vani, their life, and teachings. They will never disappear. They are eternal. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, “He reasons ill who thinks that Vaisnavas die or disappear”. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says this is not true. They live on and on with their life and teachings, with their vani.
kīrtir yasya sa jīvati
One who has done service to the Lord lives forever.[ Cāṇakya Paṇḍita]
Sa jīvati. He lives forever who is kirtimaan. With the glories of that person, he lives forever. Maharaja has not disappeared. He is here in the form of his vani, his exemplary life and his teachings. In Marathi also there is a saying:
Marave Pari Kirti Rupi Urave
Of course, you have no choice. You have taken birth so you have to give up the body. But saying that, he should remain behind in the form of kirti. We cried and prayed to the Lord. The atmosphere was globally surcharged with prayers. There was Srila Bhakti Caru Maharaja Consciousness all around the world.
ebe jasa ghushuk tribhuvana
Your fame is spread all over the three worlds.[ Guru Vandana verse 4]
Literally, we were experiencing how Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja was on the mind of millions of devotees all over the world. prthivim sa sisyat. He has disciples all over the world. Some are his Diksa disciples, and some are Siksa disciples. My disciples are also Siksa disciples of Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja. Srila Bhakti Caru Maharaja was a Jagat Guru, not less. He represented Srila Vyāsadeva perfectly. He was the representative of Srila Vyāsa deva that we can understand by knowing, seeing, experiencing, how perfectly he was representing Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada represented Srila Vyāsadeva. Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja represented Prabhupada so it is the same as he represented Śrīla Vyāsadeva.
We were talking yesterday also, remembering Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja, I said how in a very short time he became Prabhupadised, as we say Krishanised and Iskonised. He came in contact with ISKCON in 1977, at Kumbha-mela in Prayagraj. Eleven months association, but very intense association, It became a marathon. Being in close proximity to Srila Prabhupada he captured Srila Prabhupada’s Spirit, imbibed Srila Prabhupada spirit. In some ways, Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are a little like Prabhupada, representing Prabhupada. He was acting on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, following the dictation of Srila Prabhupada. He was completely Srila Prabhupada conscious. He was born near Kolkata and studied in Kolkata. Certainly he was born in the same state where Srila Prabhupada was born, in the same state where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. The name Vyasa means one who expands. While representing Srila Vyāsadeva and Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja certainly expanded Krishna consciousness, expanded Vedic literature which is the main contribution of Srila Vyasadeva, the compiler of all the Vedic literature.
vedaiśh cha sarvair aham eva vedyo
That literature is meant for knowing the Lord. Srila Bhakti Caru Maharaja certainly expanded. “You preach in the English language” was the instruction of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. That instruction Srila Prabhupada certainly followed. Then Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja also followed to expand and spread Krishna consciousness. He spread the message of Sri Krsna Caitanya and spread the holy names around.
“Translate my books in as many as languages as possible.” Srila Prabhupada wanted to further expand that body of knowledge. Different devotees stepped forward and translated Srila Prabhupada’s books in various languages. Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja gets the credit for translating all Srila Prabhupada’s books into Bengali. There is the expansion. He is known for his own preaching in English. He traveled. That’s what he was doing mostly and lately. He was traveling to all the six continents and representing Srila Vyasadeva and Srila Prabhupada wherever he went. Last time he went to America for the same purpose – to expand and spread Krishna consciousness.
As Srila Prabhupada left India and went to the West, Maharaja was following in his spiritual master’s footsteps. Risking his life, he went to America. Srila Prabhupada arrived in America in 1965 on September 17. The day on which Prabhupada arrived, our Sundar lal was also born on the same day. Prabhupada arrived in America and Sundar lal arrived in Mauritius. Srila Bhakti Caru Maharaja also appeared on the same date ie September 17. What I do know is how Prabhupada conscious he was. I have attended several Vyasa pujas. I had the good fortune and for my own purification, I was with him. He celebrated his Vyasa puja as Srila Prabhupada Memorial Day.
He is the one. No one else on the planet thought of making a documentary on Prabhupada’s life, Abhay Charan. He wanted to see Srila Prabhupada’s life and teachings immortalised. As we were celebrating Srila Prabhupad’s Centennial anniversary each disciple was making his contributions. The translation of all Srila Prabhupada’s books was a major contribution. The other one was the documentary. We had a grand celebration of Srila Prabhupada’s 100th birth anniversary in the Netaji Subhas stadium in Kolkata. On that occasion, the Abhay Charan documentary was released. Maharaja dedicated Abhay Charan, as his offering to Srila Prabhupada.
What about the Ujjain temple? ISKCON Ujjain ki jaya! ISKCON Ujjain Temple and his glorious disciples, we are with you, Prabhus! We are right behind you. He built Ujjain temple within 10 months. That was another record. We know this. It seemed that the Bureau had just approved his purchase of land and building the temple and the next thing was that we received the invitation for the temple opening. On Nityananda Trayodasi of that year, before the GBC Meetings all the GBC’S landed in Ujjain and we had a grand temple opening celebration. I was thinking, he built a temple in Ujjain, Avantipur, in Lord Krsna’s Guru Sandipani Muni’s home town. In that town, Srila Bhakti Caru Maharaja opened the ISKCON temple, continuing the tradition. Avantipur is the place where Krsna and Balarama underwent their studies and then Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja installed Krsna Balarama on the altar and in the temple hall there is a Sandipani Muni murti. The only temple which has a Sandipani Muni murti.
Yesterday Prana Govinda Prabhu from Alachua was rushing to the hospital where Bhakti Caru Maharaja was hospitalised. Prabhupada understood that Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja wanted Prana Govinda Prabhu to do something with his final rites. I spoke with Prana Govinda Prabhu. He was still on the way. Soon he would be reaching Maharaja and he wondered whether he was going to reach the hospital and speak to Maharaja. Since Maharaja would only listen, he asked me, “Is there anything you would like to convey to Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja?” I said if you could manage to please convey to him not to leave us behind. Please come back and join us. Be amongst us. We are missing you. And I also said that if Krsna doesn’t want this to happen and Krsna wants him, has some plans for him, then I said, “Please convey to Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja that he may leave peacefully, happily, and we will take care of his zone, his services, especially his direct disciples.”
The last talk I had with him was just before he left for America. It was during the Pandemic lockdown period when Maharaja called me. I was surprised to receive his call and wondered why he is calling me. Then he disclosed the reason. He had some free time during the lockdown. He was talking and preaching for months. I was also preaching, but he did so much. It was a marathon. Every day for weeks and months he was giving English talks and Bengali talks. He was really giving himself to the world. He called me and told me that he had just finished watching the Lost Village documentary. The Lost Village is my village and he was so pleased to watch the documentary. He said to me that he got to know me more. He was really appreciating and congratulating me for my upbringing in a simple, natural village. He went on. Maharaja said to me, “Promote this video. Especially during this pandemic time that type of simple living was needed.” We were both talking that it would be good to do something so that we do not lose the villages and the culture. How we could revive, promote and propagate the spirit of Simple living and High thinking, and natural living. I had also invited Maharaja. He asked me, “Where are you?”
I said, “In Pandharpur.”
I also invited him to Pandharpur. I told him, “You could also visit my village which is not far from Pandharpur.” He was asking how far it is. So I extended that invitation to him to visit Pandharpur, and to visit the village that is getting lost. He had kindly accepted the invitation. We also talked about talking over the phone more often. I think of that meeting now and realise talking is only possible on another plane.
Srila Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja Tirobhāva Tithi Mahotsava ki jay!
Srila Prabhupada ki jay.
Gaur premanande!Hari haribol.
HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja
My dear godbrother Lokanath Swami.
Please accept my humble obesiances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada
I wish you a very happy Vyasa Puja on this day of sayana ekadashi. I’m glad that you observed your 69th Vyasa Puja today. I know for sure that you are very dear to Srila Prabhupada. You have shown tireless dedication and continuous enthusiasm in Srila Prabhupada’s service. Maharaj you came to Mumbai for perceiving your higher studies but got captivated by Srila Prabhupada’s movement. Since then you have shown a great example for all ISKCON devotees. When you asked Srila Prabhupada about taking sanyasis he said ” you are preaching so you are already a sanyassi”. Later he did give you a sanyass in Sri Vrindavan dham. You were fortunate.
You are our padayatra minister I remember you being instructed by Srila Prabhupada to take padayatra all over India.I was in Dwarka when you started off your padayatra, eventually you happened to come with deities to Mayapur and I requested you to take another set of deity along and keep yours in Mayapur, as the deities became unfit, sort of loose on bullock cart. You agreed and left Krishna Caitanya and Nityananda pr with us which we still worship in Srila Prabhupada bhajan kutir.
I remember Srila Prabhupada inquiring from you about going on bullock cart ride in Sridhama Vrindavan circumambulating Sri Govardhana. There were two parties and you happened to lead one of them to carry out Spiritual master’s instruction. You all arranged a bullock cart but circumstances started becoming unfavorable since Srila Prabhupada became even more sick so you dropped the plan.
You are not only a Great support of our movement but even outside Sadhus celebrate you as a Mahanta- at kumbha mela. You are a needed leadership in our ISKCON movement. Your are leading us in various ways. You are specialist on taking devotees in ecstacy by your kirtan crescendo. Everyone relishes your melodies kirtans.
In 2007 you were kind enough to host our annual SAFARI YATRA at your place- Arvade, maharashtra. Welcoming devotees from all over the world with blissful heart and welcoming smiles. A perfect gesture of vaisnavism. Everyone was so joyful. I thank you for being present in this year’s SAFARI at Bangladesh and giving your valuable discourses to enlighten all who were present. Also very thankful that you were present in annual Malaysian convention this year to give your association.
I pray to Sri Radha Madhava, Sri Panchattava, Sri Prahlada Narasimhadeva for your good health and unstoppable services to Srila Prabhupada.
HH Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja
My Dear Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaja,
Please accept my most humble obeisances at your eternally spiritual Lotus feet.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada, our savior.
I have written down a few of my thoughts which I would like to share with all of you who are gathered here today.
So finally the inevitable has happened.
The thought that we would not meet again together in Mayapur, at Gita Nagari or at the Divnomorsk festival in Russia is unbearable. I had read the announcement of your ambitious travel plan sometime at the end of the last year. To my sorrow, that didn’t materialize. Then you also surprised me by choosing to end your manifest pastimes in the West; you didn’t come to Mayapur. I had planned a trip to come to US in the beginning of June, but that was cancelled. In the meantime you departed, so I never got a chance to see you. And I was full of woe. It was overwhelming. But you read my mind; you knew how I was feeling, that I did not pay you a visit or even speak to you on the phone prior to your departure, so instead you kindly came to me, you paid me a visit in a dream. There were just the two of us honoring prasadam. When I saw you next to me, my first surprised question to you was, “Maharaja, what happened? We just had the news of your departure. Was that real? How come you are still here?” And you responded, “I am on my way out”. You did not say, but I understood, that you were there not because you needed to be, but because I needed you to be there. Then I took advantage of your presence and, knowing that it was my last chance, I started glorifying you. Although you were unwilling, I made you hear me speak of your extraordinary contributions.
And the dream ended there.
The next morning, I was startled to read the report on Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s latest conversation with you wherein he quotes you, “Don’t worry, even after I leave, I will come to you. We will continue to communicate with each other. You know that the physical plane is not the only plane for us to relate to each other.” Thank you, Maharaja, for taking the time to pay me a visit on your way back home. You read my mind and paid me that much needed visit. I was relieved.
I would like to tell of another of my recent dreams about you. That was around Nirjala Ekadasi time. The dream started with a temple inauguration somewhere on this planet. Gradually that led to an experience of the spiritual world. I was in a place with temples everywhere, surrounded by forests and gardens. The grandeur and beauty was spectacular. I have seen so many temples like that, in South India and elsewhere, but this was another kind of experience altogether. It was out of this world. Many devotees were there, some of them ISKCON devotees. I especially remember Ravindra Svarupa prabhu and Devakinandan prabhu. Everyone was in an ecstatic mood, jubilant and blissful. Sri Sri Panca Tattva was there. Then, the scene changed, to another temple, another scene, another set of Deities, bright and effulgent; a sublime scene that I had never seen in my real life or in any dream experience. So while I was experiencing this scene, thinking that also to be the spiritual world, then suddenly at some distance, I heard loud and clear – you were speaking. In a deep and grave voice you were addressing a large assembly of devotees. I was jubilant to know that you had attained the spiritual world. I started exclaiming, “Oh, he is here! He has reached! And in the dream you were the resident and I was just a visitor. I came back down to the earth and the dream ended.
As I got up, I was wondering whether this dream was an indication of your departure. Then immediately I downloaded the daily update from your website.
I was relieved to know that you were in Gita Nagari having a pizza party with Radhanath Swami Maharaja.
I had been thinking of communicating or writing to you for another reason. Since I knew that you were on the way to Krishna, I thought that you could take a message or complaint back to Him: “why are you taking away our best men?” They are needed the most as they are contributing the most.
As I have been composing this letter, I have been thinking, how pleased Srila Prabhupada must be with you. In every way, you have fulfilled your duty to him; as a preacher, as a public relations man, as an author, as a guru, and as a Godbrother, you have set an example for us to aspire to.
Your departure is going to cause a vacuum. For the first time, I am realizing how much of a vacuum. The things that you did are things that no one else could do. You were truly unique. Who else could do such kind of PR amongst the dignitaries — I mean who else could sit down with Nelson Mandela and talk to him, give him a piece of advice? Who else could be the adviser for so many kings in Africa, and statesmen and professionals all over the world? Who else is going to do so many radio talk shows, or dynamic TV appearances? And who else is going to write the books for becoming a spiritual warrior and providing enlightened leadership? And who else is going to dance in kirtan just like a bolt of electric lightening? And you used to be beaming as you smiled. Who else is going to match your smile on the backdrop of the black complexioned face, with the reddish lips and whitish teeth? – that was unique to your style. We are going to be bereft of all these things and many more.
Especially I am going to miss you during the kirtans, the long kirtans. I am sure you remember that historic chanting and dancing in that kirtan in New Vrindavan some ten years ago. We had Mangala arati and Tulasi puja and the kirtan continued. It had to continue because you were the leading dancer inspiring everybody. Although I was leading kirtan I was just a puppet in your hands. And it was the good size kirtan hall, good number of devotees. You were unstoppable, moving and running from one end to another end and making rounds causing waves and turbulences in that spiritual nectarean ocean of devotees. In the beginning, some devotees were getting ready to sit down for japa after Tulasi Aarati. You and others lifted them up, gave them the boost, threw them in the midst of the kirtan. There was no japa period that morning. You had stolen the show. It went on, merged with the greeting of the Deities and Guru puja and then the kirtan was further continued and that went on and on. That kirtan was what it was, it went on the way it did, because of you. Your enthusiastic dancing was compelling me, inspiring me to go on and on and on. You were contagious. There was no class that morning and the kirtan continued till breakfast mahaprasade govinde prayers. And I can recall many many such kirtans all over, that we did together. If you were in the kirtan, no dull moments were there. You would naturally take charge of the dance aspect of that kirtan. The very last time we were together was in New York June 2004, Rathyatra kirtan. I was leading kirtan, you were leading the dance. That is my final memory of you.
Such a high spirit of dancer — you were put in a very awkward situation for the last almost one year. However that didn’t dampen your spirit a bit. On the contrary it was going higher and higher. I think you must have been anxious to get out of that uncooperative body, so that you could continue your dance with the Lord.
You have set the highest example of our experience of Vaisnava departure. Especially the trials and tribulations you were put through and how boldly, with a smile on your face, you have faced it all. You will be a difficult act to follow.
“Dhiras tatra na muhyati”- A sober person is not bewildered by such a change. You have translated that statement of Sri Krishna into action. All is well that ends well. You have passed all the tests including the hardest test of death. You have closely followed the example of the final lesson set by Srila Prabhupada. Of all the outstanding services you have rendered, your departure service, if it could be so described, is the most outstanding of all. This is going to increase the faith of the devotee community globally, giving them a spiritual boost, and confidence in the progress of their Krishna Consciousness.
You have left a legacy of Love behind. Your love and compassion for the devotees and for humanity at large was made clear in all your statements. In your last class, your final public appearance, you said, “Since I’ve tried to publicly love everybody. Remember, my basic posture and prayers was to experience whatever was necessary to become totally pure, to encounter whatever could help me to impact upon the society in a more, for lack of a better word, effective way, so that I could help minimize suffering for a quantity number of devotees. Mainly to somehow be used to make spiritual life a little more joyful, a little easier, to help devotees to have a little more faith and literally to take on sufficient karma that would allow me to take on that that could remove some of the blocks of many devotees. I tried to enter somewhat more into the mood of Vasudeva Dhatta. My perception of that was as to die as randfather Bhismadeva, up to the last breath, to try to be sharing, hearing, learning, and giving, and to allow my life hopefully, and most importantly my process of death, to be a major amendment to the Vaisnava community.”
When you ended each one of your letters, you were always writing – “With love – Bhakti Tirtha Swami”. And when you wrote that, it was not just words; it was the real feelings of love.
You have left behind the treasure of your books, which will continue to inspire the devotee community as well as the public at large.
In your letter to the GBC and in your final class at Gita Nagari, you listed your concerns. I have duly noted the contents of those addresses, and I will do my part in a humble way to address those issues or concerns to the best of my ability.
I want to express my admiration and appreciation for all those who were around you, who were assisting you, all your disciples and other devotees. And especially I want to thank Radhanatha Maharaja and what he did, how he sacrificed everything else that he had on his agenda to remain with you. Radhanatha Maharaja was in the right place at the right time; I wish I had been there too. That kind of association is very much needed, and Radhanatha Maharaja provided that. We all couldn’t be there with you, but at least he was there on our behalf.
I love all your disciples and followers. If I could be of any service or any help to assist them in any way, I would be more than to willing do so. I will consider it as my service to you.
Krishna is yours, you are with Krishna. Please keep us in your prayers to Krishna.
With all my love & affection,
Your insignificant brother,
HH Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja
My dear devotees,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!
All glories to HG Aindra Prabhu!
My assistant called me from India, when I was on the way to the airport in Burma, and asked whether I heard about Aindra Prabhu. With the kind of tone in which he enquired, I thought of the worst, and it was true. Aindra had left us behind. I was shaken, shattered and shocked. I thought of flying to Vrndavan, but the arrangements could not be made in time.
Unfortunately I couldn’t be there today also with you all who have assembled in front of Krsna Balaram to remember and glorify HG Aindra Prabhu. So, yesterday I appealed to HG Panca Gauda Prabhu to share my offering with you. After hearing the news of Aindra Prabhu’s untimely departure, I just took shelter of his kirtans – I immediately put on my ipod, and throughout the flight I listened to his kirtans and talks, and while doing so, I felt his presence.
I was with him more than ever before as I was hearing his voice – his body language, lip movements etc were there – although audio, it was visual as well for me. One talk I heard was in Vrndavan, on the appearance day of Srimati Lalitha Sakhi. It was a long talk, and he ended the talk by 10.15 that morning. He was really relishing talking, and I would like to share short excerpts from that talk about 2 traits of his personality – one is the Kirtan and the other one is his internal private bhajan. He shared how both of these came to him as instructions from Srila Prabhupada through the medium of dreams. He was sharing that in the beginning he had been a Srila Prabhupada book distributor for 8 yrs in New York and then he had a desire to organise Harinaam Festival there. He had come to India to get instruments and other paraphernalia.
While he was residing at one life members’ home in New Delhi, he dreamt of Srila Prabhupada and shared it with the devotees present during the appearance day celebrations. The dream prepared him for the Harinaam Festival in New York for a while and subsequently for nearly a quarter of a century of service doing the 24 hour kirtan in the Krsna Balaram temple. “The reason why I’m bringing this up is because that night I slept outside in the courtyard and I had a dream where Prabhupada comes to me in a dream and he says, “Aindra, what are you doing?” Because it’s the first time that I ever slept off of the legitimate ISKCON controlled property – even in America we would pay rent to the motels or whatever so in that sense because we were paying rent and establishing a temple as such in a motel room and doing our morning program etc in a motel room – so it is legitimate. But this time I was like, the first time in 8-9 or 10 years or so that I had slept off of Prabhupada’s legitimate, you know, properties. So Prabhupada came to me in a dream and he said, “What are you doing?” And then I began to enthusiastically describe to him how I was making a Harinaam Sankirtan festival program, and as I was saying that, suddenly it dawned on me that I had given up my book distribution. In the presence of Prabhupada, when he was saying like that and then I started enthusiastically explaining about my project – it just kind of like overwhelmingly dawned on me that I had given up, you know, my most important number one priority service to Srila Prabhupada – kind off assisting him in the doubling and redoubling of his book distribution as we had done in previous years. So I immediately broke down and started crying and crying. And Srila Prabhupada, he took my head on his shoulder – because this is just a dream, right? (Ha ha ha) – but it was real for me (ha ha ha). Lots of you had such dreams; but he took my head on his shoulders and he was patting me on the head and was telling me – it’s ok, you do it very nicely – so he was encouraging me to do my Harinaam festival program and that I should do it very nicely because he knew my intentions – my intentions were to at least make some kind of small humble attempt to rebuild, revitalise Harinaam Sankirtan which had been so terribly neglected in our society for so many years. You, know, so still I’m trying to do something in that regard in a humble way – I don’t know how effective it is. Srila Prabhupada also told me in another dream, “Our real business – this will also blow some people away – our real business is to become bhajananandi” I’m sitting in front of Srila Prabhupada and in front of the Deities so I’m not making it up and its not something which is just a figment of my imagination, you know, manifesting like, u know, sky flowers or banana hairs or horse eggs or something like that” “Reading and distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books facilitates one to become bhajananandi. Jiva Gosvami defines ghostianandi as a bhajananandi who likes to share the realisations amongst the family members. Goshti means family, one who experiences ananda, on the anandamoy platform, relishes the spiritual substance, association with the spiritual substance. When we say goshtianandi R Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur says the best gosthianandi is the bhajananandi who preaches” So, Aindra Prabhu was bhajananandi and goshtianandi.
I would say also Naamanandi. The kirtans which he performed and relished in front of Krsna Balaram are resounding all over the planet. His sound travels all over. His kirtans are everywhere, and in many places they play his kirtans during Aartis also, as I have personally witnessed during my travels all over the world. When there is no one to lead kirtan, they put on his tapes. So many try to learn by imitating his unique style of kirtan. His fans and followers are everywhere, so in sound, a Vaishnava never dies, and he remains in his sound resounding – Bhakti Vinode Thakur states that he reasons ill who thinks that a Vaishnava dies, as he is always present in his sound vibrations. That certainly applies to Aindra prabhu, whose sound vibrations would perpetuate for all time to come. Aindra and his kirtans have become household words. He has disappeared from our vision but he has not left Vrndavan, and he will continue to stay in Vrndavan singing the glories of Radha Shyam. Another special dimension to his personality that we all remember him for is his love for dressing Radha Shyamsundar, in which he would put all his heart and in which he would express all his love and strength and artistic talents. I am going to dearly miss him.
We shared platform together as we were team members, during kirtans during Kartick in Vrndavan and in front of Pancatattva in Mayapur during Gaura Purnima festival. He used to always be next to me inspiring me and backing me up. He was also one of my spiritual heroes. My dear Aindra, the best tribute we could pay to you is to pray for spiritual strength to carry on your high octane kirtan spirit with all the missionary spirit you exhibited. I offer my obeisances at your spiritual lotus feet and beg for forgiveness for any offences committed. I hope to imbibe your spirit for at least a little while till I’m here in this body, and hopefully we will meet again somewhere, and hopefully I will join you wherever you are and we will do kirtan together.
HG Gopiparanadhana Prabhu
I arrived in Vrindavan yesterday and I was not expecting to be sitting here and talk about him. I would love to talk about him but not now. As I arrived yesterday the first person I met was Matsyavatara Prabhu, right hand man of Gopiparanadhana Prabhu, serving with him for many years at the Govardhan School, and Gopiparanadhana Prabhu did become topic of our talk. His Laghu Bhagavatamrta is also ready and the Sandharbhas are ready. It was just around the time when he left us, that we were talking about him, and soon after the news spread. I think Srutakirti Prabhu was the first one to break the news and he posted something on the Face book and one of my disciples read it and called me and I received the very sad news of his departure. The devotee told me that I have a very sad news for you and I asked how sad and he told me very sad and then I told him oke go ahead and say it and then I had to hear this very sad news. I was there in the late afternoon around 4:00 ‘o clock for the final rites.
Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam Mudha Mate. Sankaracarya had said this to some Sanskrit scholars, you fools when are you going to serve Govinda, you are just busy with the grammar, Bhaja Govinda, worship Govinda. We had the best scholar, a Sanskrit scholar amongst us in the family of Srila Prabhupada. In the morning he got up and he worshipped his Govardhan Sila as he always did and he also chanted japa on his mala and at some point it was concluded that the asthma was the problem, he was suffering from it since long time, and then the devotees arrived and the kirtan started. They bath his body and put on new dress and did bhoga offering and arati, and when the devotees were carrying him for the procession, the local residents, many of them knew him, had love and affection for him, as he was a local Vrajavasi, he was a Govardhanvasi. So many people came out of their homes and shops to offer respects to Gopiparanadhana Prabhu. I know he used to write his address as MANASI GANGA, GOVARDHAN. As he wrote Introduction to Jaya Vijaya’s book and my book SANSKRIT PRONUNCIATION GUIDE BOOK, he wrote MANASI GANGA, GOVARDHAN, and he was cremated on the banks of Manasi Ganga.
As we were carrying him and circumambulating him, it started raining. It was amazing, very auspicious. The breeze started coming from the Kusum Sarovar side, right from the water, which made it very very auspicious. One GBC Member said, “Yes, sad for us all, very good for him.” He was a very unique personality. Unique means not many are like him. I said to Srutakirti Prabhu yesterday that many of us are similar but he was different. What he knew, what he could do, only he could do and most of us couldn’t do what he was able to do. He had access to not only as a technical knowledge of Sanskrit grammar and Sanskrit language, many could have that, but he was dealing with Bhagavatam, and then leave us. Face will disappear, Thoughts would remain, his thoughts. So the body is not always there and the face has not much value. The speech is the essence of a person. What is inside only comes out of the person and his thoughts were very deep, very high thoughts of what is the highest thinking, thoughts of Bhagavatam. He dealt with Bhagavatam, he dealt with Brhad Bhagavatam and recently he dealt with Laghu Bhagavatamrta. So Bhagavata, Bhagavata, Bhagavata all the way. What Sanatana Goswami had to write and what Jiva Goswami had dealt with, those were his thoughts, he was absorbed in those topics. Jayadeva Goswami writes in the beginning of his GITA GOVINDA, MUNI JANA MANASA HANSA. The Munis they swim, they become like swans in the lake, and they swim in the thoughts of Krishna Lila. So did Gopiparanadhana Prabhu, that’s what he was doing, always absorbed in the highest thoughts, contemplating, churning, having access to them and had blessings of Srila Prabhupada and had the finer thoughts of the Acaryas and their commentary, and the scriptures got revealed to him. He was not only writing but also talking. Some write but do not preach much and some preach but do not write. I was thinking of Gopiparanadhana Prabhu, he wrote and spoke also.
He had just returned from his tour from Europe and just now he was prepared to leave for his tour for China in two days time. I was there last year and I saw the Chinese books on his table and I asked him what are you doing with the Chinese books? He said, I am studying them. From one end to the other the Chinese, he was already a master. I am just a student. I thought, I had a very close tie with him and I belong to that group, doing something with the Sanskrit, but I am just a little student and he is the master. I used to consult him a lot while I was working on my Sanskrit Pronunciation Guide Book. He gave me lot of input, he wrote the introduction to that book. He was pride less.
I think he had a body but no ego, which is a childlike innocence. A kind of Avadhuta, absorbed in his own world. Sometimes when we would talk to him and address him he would get shocked, he wasn’t there, he was not ready to talk, he was somewhere else and as I would say Gopiparanadhana Prabhu, he would kind of come out from wherever he was in deep within, not external, not superficial not at the surface level, he was deep within. No puja, no labha, no pratistha, no traces of this, which is the hardest thing to do, hardest thing to achieve. We can follow the four regulative principles of no meat eating, no intoxication, this and that, but no puja, no labha no pratistha. This is yet another level to be achieved and we can all witness, he never aspired for all that stuff, dirty business. PUJA, LABHA, PRATISTHA are SUKARERA VISTHA. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur compared that with the pig stool. Going to that pratistha is compared to that vistha, so he was free from all that.
I think a couple of years ago I also stayed in Govardhan for some Book Project and I wanted to see him, so I said that I have a vehicle and I can come over, but he said, “Oh, I also have a vehicle and then I said come over. So he was driving in his vehicle, driving on his vehicle and not in his vehicle and as he was closer I looked through the window and I saw him a kind of floating or flying in and when I went outside to receive him, he was not even on his scooter. Have you seen his vehicle? A scooty? The tiniest vehicle I have ever seen. He was kind of a big body but sitting on that tiny vehicle, and when I asked, is that all your vehicle? He said, LOW MAINTAINENCE Maharaja, LOW MAINTAINANCE “. So if his vehicle was of that kind, then everything else and even his maintenance was very very simple. Well, people like to show their life style, then they come driving in, what they have to show, who they are, this is my identity, this is me and with that there are so many things attached. You could imagine when I saw (you might have seen also) him driving on that little not even scooter. Then everything else, his residence, his clothing, his needs, we could imagine the simple life, SIMPLE LIVING HIGH THINKING, that he practised. And he preached what he practised. (To Srutakirti Prabhu) There was a statement that you quoted yesterday. It was right on his desk. It said, that close the door and first preach to yourself. Don’t preach to the world. First preach to yourself. So this is him, this is his ID, this is his meditation and this are his thoughts. So this is his vani, and he stays with us. WHO SAYS VAISNAVAS DIE, THEY LIVE. In his words they live forever, so these words and tons of words he has put on paper, as he worked on Srimad Bhagavatam, Laghu Bhagavatam and Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Sad Sandarbhas and his talks.
I used to hear his lectures all the time. I have an I-Pod which has many of his talks, and whenever I heard that, it was different. Although I have been hearing and reading Bhagavatam from last 40 years, but when he spoke it was a different angle. He had a different dimension, another realm. I always relished what he had to say. It’s too bad. He had a big mission. He had a lot to do on his way. It was just a beginning. I don’t know why the Lord does this. Of course He is Independent and can do anything and everything He likes to. But we all wanted him. The world was in need of Gopiparanadhana Prabhu. And as I said, we could find many managers, fundraisers, many temple openers, this and that, but where are we going to find another person to
match his calibre, all that he stood for? So as I was hearing YE ANILO PREMA DHANA by Narottama das Thakur, he had also experienced that he has gone, he is no more, he is no more, he is no more….I am the only one staying behind so it’s like that. From our generation so many are leaving and Krishna has always surprises for us. EVERY SAD NEWS OF THIS NATURE IS A SURPRISE. So the Lord is going to surprise us again, one of these days. It’s a big list. In the next 15-20 years, there are going to be several thousands of departures. This wasn’t happening 10-20 years ago. But the time has come to move on.
It was also his wish and he had spoken to his good wife that his ashes be put into Samadhi at the foothills of Govardhan, just opposite to our Bhaktivedanta Ashram, ISKCON Govardhan project, where H.G. Padmalocan
Prabhu’s Samadhi is. And he also wanted it next to him. He also wanted to reside there, to be there, so he was praying, VILASA KUNJE DIO VASA, MORA AI ABHILASA VILASA KUNJE DIO VASA, TULASI KRISHNA PRIYASI…. So he did not only stay at Govardhan hill but he stayed like a Govardhanvasi. With the mood and life style he wanted to be there. It was also Srila Prabhupada who wanted to be there. One of his last desires was to go to Govardhan and do parikrama. A few days prior to Srila Prabhupada’s departure, he had discoursed, “BRING ME TO GOVARDHAN, I WANT TO GO TO GOVARDHAN”. So he just disappeared from our vision but he is eternally with us, especially through his thoughts, his vani, which has contributed a lot. So many are benefitted, and he has left the legacy behind. I don’t know where he was in the middle of doing things and who will continue? Who is competent? So a vacuum, a big vacuum has been created. I was getting different comments and realisations of different GBC Members. They all are in great distress with this news.
GOPIPARANADHANA PRABHU KI JAYA !
HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja
My dear Jayapataka Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Wish you a very happy 63rd Vyasa Puja day. Considering your size, your stature and most importantly, your achievements, I always thought that you were much older than me. Now I find that we are of the same age – I’ll also be 63 in a few months from now.
As I always thought, his size and his stature and his achievements, I always thought that he was much older than myself. Now I find out that we are of the same ageiI’ll also be 63 in a few months. You are the very epitome of “Jnana vriddha” – full of realised knowledge and experiences.
mükaà karoti väcälaà
paìguà laìghayate girim
You have the special kripa of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Though practically invalid, you are still the same globe trotter – crossing mountains and oceans in the cause of Gaura vani pracarine – broadcasting the glories of Gauranga. You are a great Gaura bhakta and are always engaged in revealing Gauranga’s Dham and pastimes.
When the going gets tough the tough get going – as goes the saying. During the recent Navadwip Mandal Parikrama, you were crisscrossing islands and rivers and making it a point to visit every single parikrama every day. It was putting “us” – the so-called healthy devotees – to shame. You are just unstoppable, so you may keep going for Gauranga!
While I’m extremely happy that your speech now is much clearer and intelligible, I pray to Gauranga for further and faster recovery.
Thank you for your understanding and friendship as also for all the encouragement and inspiration that you have given me.
Your humble brother and servant,
His Holiness Jayaptaka Swami Maharaja reply
My Dear Godbrother Lokanath Maharaj,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta swami Prabhupada was a great general (senapati) of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He spread Krishna Consciousness to every continent of the world. In 1968 Srila Prabhupada told me to be a member of Lord Krishna Caitanya mahaprabhu’s army. I joined this transcendental army.
I got wounded but in spite of this I am still serving in Lord Krishna Caitanya’s army under Srila Prabhupada. We don’t use weapons of violence. We should try to give out the mercy of Nitai Gaurasundar. I am trying to do this in spite of physical impediments. It would be great spiritual bliss to be able to do anything in service to guru and Gauranga.
You have qualified me but I can’t do nothing without blessings of Lord Krishna Srila Prabhupada. If I do anything it is only due to theirs mercy. I take this opportunity to offer my heard felt obeisances to you. I am very grateful you remember me I hope I can have your prayers and blessings to serve our spiritual father with every breath until I breath my last in this body.
I hope this finds you healthy & blissful in Krsna Consciousness.
(letter is transcribed by Dhanya Nimai Das brahmacari)
Date : 11-Apr-12