Remembering Bahudaka Prabhu
by Akruranatha dasa
Posted March 26, 2003


His Voice. That's what first comes to mind when I remember Bahudaka Prabhu. Not only his beautiful singing of kirtans, but the rich baritone with which he gave classes, announced the daily book distribution results, joked with devotees, and gave fatherly advice, encouraging us all in our service. Certain voices inspire confidence and a sense of well being. Bahudaka's kind, concerned voice and good humor made him a natural leader in the service of Srila Prabhupada's mission.

I had been in several temples and preaching centers before it was my good fortune to land in ISKCON Vancouver in early 1977. As soon as I got there, I felt as if I had found a home. The prevailing atmosphere in the temple was that of a warm, welcoming family. That atmosphere was fostered and nurtured by Bahudaka's genius for leadership. I remember marveling at how Bahudaka could control his young sons simply by his glance, without even speaking. When he gave a look that warned Bhakta dasa or Kunjabihari that he would be displeased if they did not watch their step, they would attentively obey his wishes, not out of fear, but out of deep respect and love.

Similarly, Bahudaka ruled the temple community through a mood of respect and love. The atmosphere was suffused with love for kirtans, love for Sri Sri Radha- Madanamohana, for the classes, for distributing Prabhupada's books, and for Their Lordships' excellent prasadam. Bahudaka took personal interest in each temple devotee's individual motivation, and tried to facilitate our favorable service in a way we were inspired to serve. He was genuinely concerned when we had difficulties, and tried to do what he could to assist us. That mood of personal concern and attention inspired a sense of loyalty and community that made ashram life very pleasing. One instruction I remember receiving often from Bahudaka was that Srila Prabhupada desired his disciples show their love for him by cooperating with one another. It was clear to me that Bahudaka had taken this desire to heart, although he became passionately involved in the whirlwinds of internal ISKCON politics.

I was very sad to hear that Bahudaka passed away on February 23, 2003. He was one of the great temple presidents. He loved to cook, to preach, and of course to chant the Holy Names. It was an honor and an inspiration to be able to serve Srila Prabhupada in Bahudaka's association in the late 1970s. Bahudaka, like most of us, was not beyond human frailties, but he taught us by his words and deeds to look for the good qualities in our godbrothers and godsisters. His good qualities were so prominent and so numerous that it is easy to overlook any discrepancies. I have heard that he had some difficulties in later years, but I am sure these are private, personal matters between him and Srila Prabhupada, and that Srila Prabhupada will very easily and quickly excuse any offense from such a sincere servant as Sriman Bahudaka dasa.