Next in Line|
by Shambhu das
Posted October 2, 2012
I first would like to offer my obeisance's again and again unto my friend godbrother Sikhi Mahiti das prabhu and All the devotee's at New Talavan sanga for helping to create a transcendental atmosphere for Srimam Ramakeli prabhu's glorious departure from this world. I never knew that Ramakeli prabhu's condition though we had just talked months earlier.
We always made a point over the years to keep each other updated and to encourage whether individually or collectively our service to Srila Prabhupada's mission which was always simple just preach and distribute His transcendental books and Krishna prashadam, and Kirtan!
He was so enthusiastic hearing about the book distribution network and thinking of ways to get some books for His program in New Orleans and had a plan to have some shipped to Africa never once did He mention anything about His physical condition but always encouraged to push on despite the difficulty that may be in our life but don't stop.
It's not surprising but every Year/Month/Week/Day I'm hearing information of my god brothers and sisters leaving us after considering the age and karmatic conditions of us all this will continue and at a more rapid rate than in the past. Srila Prabhupada preached and said so many times to us "Don't think this will not happen to you."
It's wonderful knowing that this Bhakti yoga knowledge is so profound and great and never sugar coats the Truth I just hope and pray I will be as fortunate to be prepared at the time of death because there is no dout we are Next in Line! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and His great servant Sriman Ramakeli das
Passing of Nanda Dasi
by Nirguna dasi
Posted September 25, 2012
After over 20 years of residence in the dham and twelve years of rarely leaving her room or bed at the MVT, Nanda devi dasi passed on yesterday.
After a very long haul, it was the gentlest passing. She was responsive till the last few seconds of her last few breaths, aware and able to acknowledge whatever was being done for her — or whatever we were all graciously allowed to do, and by which we had yet more glimpses of the reality of devotional life and the verity of the Truth told by our Mahajans.
She was cremated today on sacred Braj earth on the banks of Yamunaji. The elements of her body went onwards to their various sources, carried by the flaming orange fire, under a vast, brilliant, noonday sky and an ether resounding with Harinaam. These last memories will endure and inspire us ever onwards.
She often shared passages that inspired her, like this one: "O ocean of mercy, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! Let there be an awakening of Your auspicious mercy, which easily drives away all kinds of material lamentation by making everything pure and blissful. Indeed, Your mercy awakens transcendental bliss and covers all material pleasures. By Your auspicious mercy, quarrels and disagreements arising among different scriptures are vanquished. Your auspicious mercy pours forth transcendental mellows and thus causes the heart to jubilate. Your mercy, which is full of joy, always stimulates devotional service and glorifies conjugal love of God. May transcendental bliss be awakened within my heart by Your causeless mercy." (Caitanya-Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 10.119)
Departure of Bhakta Jerry
by Kirtida-Kanyaka devi dasi
Posted September 17, 2012
It is with great sadness in my heart that I am writing to inform everyone that on Friday morning, August 24, 2012, Kishore Kishori's beloved devotee, Bhakta Gerald Schutt, left his body. Although we have firm faith that he is in the hands of our dear Lord Krsna, we nonetheless will miss him tremendously. Bhakta Jerry joined Krishna Consciousness through the ISKCON Prison Ministry. He began chanting while in prison and after his release, came to our Chicago temple where his main service was working with the IPM. Jerry regularly wrote to inmates who were inquiring about Krishna Consciousness, he sent them Back to Godhead magazines in addition to Srila Prabhupada's books. He was also responsible for starting the IPM newsletter. Jerry was kind hearted, sincere, charismatic, and a loving father.
"My duties with ISKCON Prison Ministry include guiding and encouraging the inmate yogis around the country to come closer to Krsna. Sometimes I may correct
but I almost never chastise but I would chastise bhakta Jerry. He knew I loved him
and would visit my family and I periodically and stay in our home. He knew how
much I cared for him still, he would get angry with me and then later settle down
and say, "Everything you told me is true. It is coming from Srila Prabhupada. I
should show self-restraint and never be angry at the instruments of my karma.
I'm going to practice to do what you say." He would accept huge projects with IPM
benefitting inmates in prisons all over the States and I would wonder, "How will
he do it all? How does he do it all?" and he would. He was one of the few people
in my life who would chase me down, looking to talk to me...a younger brother
looking for some association, maybe a little guidance and our last few phone calls
were sprinkled with Krsna consciousness and laughter. He was a high-powered,
passionate rascal but I loved that rascal. I'm going to miss him deeply...as I do now."
I remember Jerry as a jovial fellow always willing to share some new realizations about Krishna Consciousness and his misadventures in the material world. He said,that after talking to the people in prison, He could see why they were there. He
could see that they were suffering. He could identify with their situation because his
situation was similar. He was empathetic, he was able to relate with the prisoners
and so he was dedicated to IPM.
"Bhakta Jerry was a fun loving devotee who helped in serving others all the time. He always gave his all to devotional service, which he loved. I first met him several years ago. During that time H. H. Candramauli swami had him engaged in working with the Prison Ministry. He was always "fired up" about his service and that is good because devotional service is eternal and beyond the modes of material nature. Bhakta Jerry attended our bhakta vriksa classes often with his family. He served Lord Jagannatha in our annual entry into the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic here in Chicago. I remember he arranged for the purchase of the first 500 ears of corn we gave away as Prasadam in the picnic area. We all will miss Jerry's bright eyes and warm smile along with his laughter. I pray for him as well as his son.
Kishore and Claudia, Kishore's mother. I remember when my wife Syama Priya devi dasi and myself were participants in Bhakta Jerry and Claudia's Vedic Wedding
at the temple here in Chicago. We both are very fond of Bhakta Jerry, Claudia and
little Kishore. May the Lord's mercy reign upon them. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare."
"My remembrance of Bhakta Jerry was that he was very good at engaging the energy of many, devotees and non-devotees alike, who might not otherwise come together
in the same environment. Upon moving to the temple, he immediately spearheaded
the ISKCON PRISON MINISTRY newsletter, which appeared to expand the influence
of Krsna Consciousness in the prisons around North America; the amount of letters
he would get would be inconceivable. To see to this, a total remodeling of a very
neglected part of our temple was required for which he engaged his brother. That
work turned out to be what are now the new book room and a very nice office space
for devotee work. The food for life program expanded to colleges, homeless shelters,
and hip areas around Chicago thanks to his enthusiasm; and most memorable
aspect of that experience was having facility for engaging many persons, some
new, some students, even some persons who felt inimical toward one another, etc.
all become engaged together. After he got married, I remember his enthusiasm
to invite devotees over for programs regularly and again devotees who might not
otherwise have "no time" to associate together would come together for simple
and sublime sanga. Aside from these technical remembrances, the most intimate
experiences I had with Bhakta Jerry saw us both laughing a lot until the stomach got
a good work out! I mostly remember laughing a lot in his association. I guess I even
got so inspired by his association that he felt genuinely concerned for my spiritual
welfare at one point because his sense of humor was kind of dark! Even though he
had many struggles during the course of pure devotional training, he had a good
bouncing back spirit and devotees were always open-armed with him due to his
guileless determination. Sri-Sri Kishore-Kishori is supremely merciful and I have
personally seen that Their Lordships NEVER forget one who has once rendered
sincere devotional service; they always make for further opportunities for the
guileless. Certainly Their Lordships arrangement for Their devotee is most suitable,
and in the word of the great mahajana, Bhismadeva, "No one can know the plan of
Sri Sri Kishore Kishori. Even though great philosophers inquire exhaustively, they
"I really appreciate from the very beginning how bhakta Jerry was a devotee who, when he wanted something to happen, did whatever was necessary to make that happen. When he moved into the temple he started his service for IPM under Candramauli swami and Candrasekhar prabhu's care. Both of us shared the same office in the temple basement. I did Spanish preaching services and Jerry would do IPM services and Prasadam distribution management. I had plans to renovate the office but didn't get things to happen fast enough so Jerry immediately called his brother for help. In a very short time we had a nice office that was good for planning, preaching and receiving guests. I remember that for improving his services Jerry took an intensive course on Microsoft office. With the skills he gained from that class, he made a program to manage IPM and our temple library. The library was really a mess before Jerry got his hands on it. He also started a beautiful newsletter for IPM. After that he started organizing and planning a program for prasadam distribution. By his enthusiasm, every week we were distributing free food in shelters around the city. When Jerry moved out of the temple to his fiancé's house, the two of them started doing nice programs especially for temple devotees. We used to go for harinam at the beach and then go to his house and take "organic" prasadam. While in the temple, Jerry learned the mrdanga drum and basic Sanskrit. He also loved to study the Srimad Bhagavatam. Jerry always used to encourage me in my services. Sometimes we would get into little arguments but just a short while later, Jerry would tell me in a humble mood 'I'm sorry for being a rascal.' We would laugh and he would say 'The false ego is such a silly fool.' Jerry was really in love with his little son Kishore. He would introduce him to the kirtan and dance with him. He looked very happy with Kishore in his arms...
Well Jerry, Vaisnava, I know that our journey home is a mystery. Thanks for all your service and kindness and for bringing Kishore into this world. Glad to meet you in the journey. I will take many lessons from you that will help me forever in my spiritual life. I will miss your presence and remember always your service and kindness. You did a lot of devotional service and that's what will remain. In the mood of Sri Isopanisad, a book that you really appreciated, I just offer this prayer on your behalf: O my Lord, as powerful as fire, O omnipotent one, now I offer You all obeisances, falling on the ground at Your feet. O my Lord, please lead me on the right path to reach You, and since You know all that I have done in the past, please free me from the reactions to my past sins so that there will be no hindrance to my progress.
Wish you all the best in your eternal existence,
I remember Bhakta Jerry heading out until late at night with extra plates of prasadam to distribute them down on Belmont with a group of the younger
devotees when we first started coming to the temple. He also showed that same
enthusiasm whenever he and mother Claudia invited everyone over for a Sunday
brunch, which definitely had more tasty preparations than I could eat. He had an
enthusiasm for doing things big, and I'm sorry that we won't get to see him utilize
that to the fullest extent in Krishna consciousness.
I remember going to Bhakta Jerry's wedding. He and Claudia were standing outside of the wedding hall waiting for everything to begin. His Holiness Candramauli
Swami walked up to Bhakta Jerry, and like a father, fixed his tilak (sacred body
markings), making sure that he looked proper before his marriage. I was really
touched by that. During the wedding, which was conducted by Maharaja, Jerry and Claudia were sitting in front of the fire sacrifice. When it came time for Bhakta
Jerry to give Claudia the ring, he didn't have one. All of a sudden, from his pocket,
Maharaja pulled out a small box. Jerry and Claudia looked surprised. Maharaja
opened the box to present to them their wedding ring. Maharaja was a loving
father to Bhakta Jerry. I also remember regularly attending their home programs.
Everyone was always so excited to attend their programs because they would
always have the most amazing prasadm and they took care of us so nicely. They
would have different varieties of home made ice cream, cookies, scrambled tofu,
enchiladas, cakes, pizza, avocados and they always used organic ingredients. I
really felt that they wanted to offer the best to the devotees. Bhakta Jerry also
used to love prasadam distribution throughout the city of Chicago. Just a couple of
weeks ago, Jerry was sitting on the floor in the gift store reading a story about Lord
Nrsimhadeva, the half man half lion incarnation of the Lord to his son. I remember
that he was very patiently reading the story to Kishore and Kishore was very
attentive, asking many questions and Jerry prabhu would reply very lovingly.
When I first came into the association of the Devotees, I slowly started to understand the concept that we must do everything for Krishna's pleasure. Because
of so much material conditioning, it was a difficult paradigm adjustment. I distinctly
remember that Bhakta Jerry was very instrumental in teaching me that I should
do things to satisfy Krishna's senses, and not my own. The first time I ever entered
into the Chicago Temple kitchen, Bhakta Jerry was leading the other devotees in
cooking for a food-for-life program. I walked in, and after about 5 minutes I said
to Jerry, "wow this food looks really good!" Jerry looked at Bhaktin Claudia in
amazement. He then smiled and said, " It looks good for Krishna!" This was the
first time anyone had ever told me that we should not try to enjoy anything before
offering it to Krishna. This lesson came again when Jerry, Claudia, and I went to the
plant store to buy some herbs for cooking. Jerry found some basil plants and after
selecting the best one, handed it to me to look at it. I immediately smelled the plant
and commented on its wonderful aroma. Jerry looked at me with disappointment,
put the plant back where he found it, and grabbed a different plant that had not
become a victim of my uncontrolled senses. These two moments will forever stand
in my mind, and are fresh as ever, even seven years later. I would like to thank Jerry
for teaching me this valuable lesson, one that we all must learn as new aspiring
devotees. I will always remember his kindness and friendship, and I pray that he
may find the shelter Krishna's lotus feet.
On Sunday's, Jerry would come to the bake sale table with his son Kishore. I would always give Kishore a cookie and a cake. A few minutes later, Kishore would come back for more and I would ask him, "How is it that you have eaten so many sweets so quickly and still you want more?" He would reply that actually his father ate
everything and now he would like some for himself. Jerry would actually help me
set up the bake sale just so he could get free cookies and cakes. He was really a fan
of Krishna's sweets. I remember the first time that he met Claudia. He came to me and said that he has fallen in love. He just stood there for at least one hour talking
about her. He couldn't stop talking about how she grew tomato plants in her
kitchen and her cooking. He asked me what he should do. I told him to speak to His
Holiness Candramauli Swami who for Jerry, was a second father. Maharaja always
kept Jerry engaged with work from ISKCON Prison Ministry. Jerry was always
working on the newsletter, writing to prisoners, and sending them Srila
Prabhupada's books. The quality that I find most remarkable about Bhakta Jerry is
that despite the fact that he had struggles of his own (as we all do), he was dedicated
to reaching out to persons who were in similar situations. Regardless of where he
was in his life, he always took the time to give Krishna to others. I also remember
attending his home programs. He and Claudia would have the best prasadam. I
remember going there one New Years Eve. We had such an amazing feast of
Enchiladas, salad with avocados, home made ice cream, smoothies, varieties of nuts,
Spanish rice, and this fabulous fruit tea with tamarind and special Mexican fruits.
Afterwards, Jerry played the game Krishna Land with my son Krishna das. Bhakta
Jerry was and will continue to be very dear to so many devotees. He is a
compassionate, loving, and sincere soul who will no doubt, continue to inspire
others wherever he goes. May Krishna bless him for all of eternity.
by Gopal Das
Posted June 3, 2012
I just want to send a little prayer request for New Brijbasi, Bhakta Adam, who recently took his own life. Bhakta Adam spent time, like I did, in New Vrindaban around 1994-1998. He was a very hard worker in the goshalas. With intelligence that made him fit only for the farm labor that New Vrindaban was famous for. He had problems; he was a little insane and could've used some professional psychiatric help. But he was a very sincere soul looking for help; like all of us were at one time. Looking for a cure to his insanity, he took shelter of Krishna at one time in his life, and Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Candra, and I hope that he got it. I sincerely pray that he received their grace: Click Here
We are a big broad family, and we need to pray for our own regardless of their sins, as we hope others will pray for us when it's all said and done. Hare Krishna my friends.
Kisora Krishna Prabhu Passing|
by Yajna Murti das
Posted October 17, 2012
Today, October 12, at 17 h, hours Mayapur, Kisora Krishna Prabhu left his body while 15 devotees chanted the holy names in his room. He was lucid until the last moment, with a Tulsi leaf in his mouth he left his body peacefully. I witnessed everything. Kisora Krishna Prabhu was one of the first devotees I met and I owe much, for being so loving and patient with me since the beginning of my spiritual life. I was very happy for him, as did something all devotees crave, leaving the body in the holy Dhama of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Pray that Krishna bless me to have the same good fortune and hope that he would preach to me again in my next life.
Kishora Krishna left his body in the holy dham of Sri Mayapur.
We will be publishing more material on the activities of the life and preaching of this great soul.
ALL DEVOTEES WORLDWIDE REMEMBER YOU
Srila Prabhupada in relation to Krishna Kishora. He told one of the senior devotees there, "This boy is very intelligent”
Krishna Kishora Das joint the Hare Krishna movement 1973 in Argentina. He received his first initiation from His divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 1974 in Buenos Aires. The next year 1975, Krishna Kishora Das received his brahminical initiation in Mexico personally by Srila Prabhupada during his visit there.
Krishna Kishora was temple president for many temples in South America; he made many devotees in those countries. He was a great devotee and show us how to preach. He was one of the first Argentinean to join with Hanuman Swami (first Sannyasi in Argentina)When Krishna Kishora went to Srila Prabhupada he was receiving his second initiation, Kishora Prabhu use to accompanied Srila Prabhupada on morning walks. One day he was Kishora Krishna looking for the devotees and thought they were with Srila Prabhupada.
He went to the place where Srila Prabhupada was staying and it seemed that everyone should be with Srila Prabhupada. He opens the door and there was nobody there, Krishna Kishora told Srila Prabhupada “Sorry," Srila Prabhupada said, "Come in." Krishna Kishora was shy and could not believe it, and sat a little away from Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada called him again come closer "Come here, please." Than he sat next to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Prabhupada put a Brahmana treat to him and begin chanting the Gayatri Mamtra in his ear. Srila Prabhupada was happy to bestow His mercy to his disciple.
Today Kishora Krishna showed how a devotee of the Lord should leave his body
Dvadasi an auspicious day. Is explaining on a particular sentence in Sri Isopanishad:Vayu anilam amrtam athedam bhasmãntam śárīram Om krato smara kritam kritam Smara Smara Smara krato Agne naya supathã Raye visvãni should vayunãni Vidvan Asman Asmaj Yuyodhy juhurãnam bhuysthãm nama-ene Uktim vidhema you.
... It should be understood that a person who is engaged in devotional service in full Krishna consciousness, is providing the best service to the world, and everyone gets benefits. Furthermore not only benefits human society even trees and animals, they also benefit. "(Padma Purana)Sriman Ramakeli Prabhu Has Passed Away
by Sikhi Mahiti das (acbsp)
Posted September 28, 2012
At 11:40pm est, September 27th, the Appearance day of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, at ISKCON New Talavan, Carriere, Mississippi, Sriman Ramakeli das, disciple of HDG Srila Prabhupada, left this mortal world.
He was surrounded with the chanting of the maha mantra by his family and well wishers. Srimati Tulasi devi was at the head of his bed, Giri Govardhan sila was on his chest, Nrsimha, Varaha, Gopal, and Dwaraka silas were within his vision. A garland from Sri Sri Radha Radha Kanta of New Talavan was around his neck. He took a small bite of prasad and carnamrita before he began the final journey.
A brief history of service performed by HG Ramakeli das as I remember it.
His Grace Ramakeli das was accepted as a disciple of HDG Srila Prabhupada in December 1974 at ISKCON Chicago (Evanston temple). He tells the tale of how he said he would make the final decision to surrender after seeing His Divine Grace on Yadubara's "Following Srila Prabhupada" DVD series. Srila Prabhupada was coming to attend the Rathayatra celebration on State St in Chicago. After seeing his Divine Grace, Ramakeli said he immediately surrendered.
Ramakeli prabhu served in Chicago from 1974 - 1980. He was a book distributor, as was most devotees at that time, and became a world class cook after taking 2nd initiation from Srila Prabhupada in Detroit 1976. His eggplant prakoras and tomato chutney were to die for.
I recall how many Chicago sankirtan devotee would schedule their day off to coincide with the day Ramakeli prabhu would cook the 4:00 offering. This offering was very elaborate. Full cakes, pies, milk sweets, and nectar drink. The devotees would plan how to steal the maha or use their connections to get a nice portion from the TP, pujari, or the cook - Ramakeli. I usually had the inside connection since we were friends and sankirtan partners.
Another highlight of his service to Srila Prabhupada was getting a prison preaching program established in Cook County Jail of Chicago around 1978. . This was the largest jail in the USA (not prison which is different from a jail). It took about a year to get permission from the authorities. They finally relented (the Catholic priest were the real problem) because they thought no one would attend our program.
Our program became the most popular weekly event in the jail. A prisoner had to be on the "good behavior" list to be able to attend. And, that list was no guarantee of entry because it was long also. They would only allow 50 or so prisoners to attend at one time. We would have kirtan, halva, and cookies made by Ramakeli. The prisoners loved it.
Ramakeli prabhu served in East and West Africa. He was the Temple President of Nairobi in the 80's and Regional Secretary during that period also. He attempted to establish temples in Kisumu, Kenya and Kampla, Uganda.
In the 90's and later, he ran a orphanage in West Africa for many years. He would take the youth and train them as devotees. Ramakeli prabhu also served at ISKCON Boston before going to Africa.
During the last six year he has battled the effects of Hepatitis C which destroyed his liver with cirrhosis and a tumor. The disease was most likely contacted during his African service.
A memorial service is being planned at New Talavan. Most likely it will be Saturday, October 6th. Please check with New Talavan or email me for information if you would like to attend.
Ramakeli prabhu's passing was not full of pain. As he began to fade from this world he was calling out to Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. He said, "Bhaktivinode... I'm ready to go..." I whispered in his ear "Please go... you have completed your service here... Srila Prabhupada and Krsna are waiting for you somewhere. Please go... your family will be OK. Thank you for training me in Krsna Conciousness in the early days. Thank you for you service to Srila Prabhupada. Please go.. don't hold on to this useless body." He didn't speak anymore for about two hours... and then stopped breathing.
We wish him well in his service to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
Prayer request for Ramakeli prabhu
by Bhushaya Dasa (ACBSP)
Posted September 20, 2012
We are requesting all Vaisnavas and well wishers of Ramakeli prabhu and family, to pray for his swift and easy transition to Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet. Prabhu is suffering from advanced liver cancer, and has taken shelter at the New Talavan farm community in southern Mississippi, USA, where he is surrounded by devotee friends and a loving family.
Peru Devotees Grief-Stricken Over Murdered Daughter
by Ananda Mittal, Originally posted July 29, 2012
Posted August 4, 2012
A family of Peruvian devotees living in Lima has suffered a terrible loss. Subhadra Martinez-Vargas Espada, 26, was killed Sunday, July 15 in a house on Calle Cangallo in Barrios Altos. She was beaten to death, allegedly by Roger García Rivas, 39, a man with whom she had lived for the last two years. According to charges against him, he had beaten Subhadra prabhu with sticks, then kicked and punched her repeatedly, until she died from internal bleeding caused by the many blows to her body.
Subhadra dasi was the daughter of Srila Prabhupada disciple Abhimanyu Suta das and his wife Sudhamrita Devi dasi, who is a disciple of H.H. Jayapataka Swami.
Prior to the day of the killing, Subhadra's parents had charged that García Rivas had forcibly kidnapped Subhadra prabhu and held her in a house in Lurigancho-Chosica. They had gone to the police at the time of the kidnapping to try to have her returned to their home, but had been unsuccessful.
The parents had also several times complained to police at the San Andrés station over incidents of domestic abuse committed against their daughter, but according to the mother, Sudhamrita Devi (Susana Espada), the police had "done nothing" to help free Subhadra from her alleged abuser.
Subhadra's family is devastated and in need of prayers, compassion and the mercy of the Vaishnavas. The family have struggled with financial problems for many years, and Subhadra's untimely death has aggravated their pain and struggle.
We are requesting devotees' prayers on Subhadra's behalf and for her family. We are also requesting donations to be sent to the family to alleviate their financial pressure. Please contact me for information about how to send donations to them through Western Union: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update Note: In the original posting of this article, Chakra editors had incorrectly reported that Subhadra prabhu's alleged killer had once been a devotee. We now know this not to have have been true, and formally retract that erroneous statement. Chakra regrets the error, and offer our deepest sympathies to Subhadra's parents and to the Lima devotees so deeply affected by this tragedy.
Ananda Mittal prabhu further comments: I have been trying to get friends to help this family. I have set up a Facebook page Demandemos justicia para Subhadra Martinez with this purpose, but not much has happened in the community. I am also setting up a petition to ask the authorities to sentence her killer, if convicted, to life imprisonment, the maximum punishment possible in Peru, but I still have to get some data from the family. I live in the United States, and phone communication with this family has been very slow, so progress been hindered due to lack of communication
A YouTube news video (in Spanish) has been posted about the arrest of
her alleged killer: América
Noticias - 16.07.12 - Hombre mató a su conviviente.
We wish to inform all devotees, especially those who have served or will serve the Vancouver temple, of the sad departure of Kapila das about three weeks ago there. He had been suffering from cancer for more than three months.
A lot can be written about this dedicated devotee. But firstly, I met Kapila das (then Keith) when I saw him walking into the temple property sometime around 1985. At that time, he was around 40. He quickly joined the fold and started to practise devotional service. There was no turning back to material life, nor did he exhibit desires to do so. Later he received formal initiation and was given the name Kapila das.
At the outset, Kapila das gave me the impression of a matured man, and he proved that to me, especailly with his tolerance. I once offended him on the travelling road "sankeertan" painting business (and later apologised), I re-organised his room without his permission, and once I even took pleasure reporting him to the then temple president Dharmarupa das for smoking, but he never complained, confronted me or even discussed a word about the incidents with me.
Lest one point fingers to his smoking, there is something "wonderful" about it. It wasn't an accidental fall, but in fact the last spin of the wheel of his former smoking habit. As Prabhuppad writes in the purport of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, 3:31, "Because one is not resentful of the injunctions of the Lord and works sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be promoted to the stage of pure Krishna consciousness." True to this teaching of Prabhupad, Kapila das afterwards served Prabhupaad and Shri Shri Radha Madana Mohan in his deity service with pure bhakti for the next twenty-five years.
When I used to live in the Vancouver temple in the company of the ex-Vipramukhya Swami, he used to tell me how Krishna has never described a sannyasi in the sixth chapter as someone like him, carrying a danda and dressed in saffrron, and that anyone who is surrendered with his mind, body and words is a sannyasi. The same point was repeated by Prabhupad in a lecture I listened to recently. It seems he always has some guidance — if one wants it — as to what one may be experiencing at the moment. Fittingly, in that lectiure, which I heard during Kapila's illness, I heard him saying of Arjuna, a military man: "sa sannyaasee ca yogee ca — he is a sannyasi and yogi." The same can be said of Kapila das, as he was a soul fully surrendered to Krishna.
There is one outstanding quality that Kapila das possessed (along with some other devotees) and that was his freedom from envy. It was this quality and the encouragement I knew I would get from him that made me want to complete an article, "A Night in Salzburg "- — having spent a night in that city — and which would be a reply, I hope, by Prabhupad's mercy, to Ilana Kirchberger prabhu's Sampradaya Sun article "What have Austrians done wrong"?
Though I had joined the temple about three years earlier, Kapila das was the first devotee to explain to me, while we were in a van somewhere in Saskatoon in the province of Saskatchewan, who Srimati Radharani is.
While in hospice, he was well taken care of by my close friend Revatipranatha das (ACBSP 1973) and his British fiancée and other devotees in the Vancouver temple.
Throughout his sickness, Revati prabhu kept me informed about his condition though texting me. One day last month I was fortunate to speak to Kapila for a good ten minutes. In the conversation, he was quite happy, despite his sickness and impending departure from this mortal world. In a typical Canadian way of speaking, he said, "Oh yeah" repeatedly, in response to me.
In 2009 I attended Rathayatra in Vancouver, and of course, I ensured I took pictures of Kapila das. Here are two temple photos of him for the pleasure of those devotees who know him and are living in other parts of the world.
When Revati das told me that Kapila prabhu was about to leave his body, I texted him, saying: "Let's hope Mahaprabhu takes him back to His abode." What else can we wish for this great soul?
Kapila das was cremated recently, and then another Vedic ceremony was held in the Vancouver temple for his departure.
Many of us will miss his company. All glories to Kapila das!
Chakra has just learned that three beloved devotees, Nitai das, Gopinath das and Yadupati das, were killed in a crash with a semi-truck in the early morning hours of February 1, on their way back from a kirtan, near Jacksonville, FL. We extend our thoughts and prayers to their families and loved ones.
Most Revered Sri Srimad Bhakti Kumud Sant Goswami Maharaj leaves his dear disciples, associates and followers in separation grief today. This is a great loss not only to the Gaudiya Vaishnavas but to the entire world. One of the brightest stars in the Gaudiya sky, Srila Bhakti Kumud Sant Goswami Maharaj took his last breath at 1.05 AM IST on January 7th, 2012 in a private nursing home.
Earlier Srila Maharaj was admitted to the hospital as he had problem in respiration due to severe cold few days ago. Doctors also diagnosed that he had fever, sugar and liver problem. He is the last disciple of Nitya-lila Pravista Om Vishnupad 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupa, Founder of Gaudia Math.
At 9.45 AM IST Srila Maharaj's transcendental body was brought to the Math in Behala, Kolkata and was placed in front of the Deities. He was performed Arati, Pushpanjali. Countless devotees of various organizations visited the math and offered flowers to his body. Later he was shifted to the bhajan kutir in the 2nd floor where devotees stood in queue to get their turn to have darsan. The grief of the devotees cannot be phrased and expressed in any language of the world.
The Maha Samadhi of His Divine Grace Nityalila Pravista Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Sri Srimad Bhakti Kumud Santa Goswami Maharaj was established at Sri Gouranga Math in Keshihari, Midnapur Dist. W. Bengal - India.