The Passing of Vijay Das
Posted October 21, 2009
In Memoriam: Vijay das (May 1, 1952 - October 7, 2009)
Vijay das, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, passed away on Wednesday, October 7, in Houston, Texas, from complications of diabetes.
Vijay prabhu joined ISKCON in India and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in Mayapur in 1976. He was instrumental in enrolling many life members in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and all over India. He participated in morning walks with Srila Prabhupada in Mumbai, and served with many senior devotees, like H.H. Giriraja Maha raja, H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami, H.H. Lokanatha Maharaja and H.H. Hanumat Presaka Maharaja.
He travelled throughout India in travelling Sankirtan buses and had lunch with Srila Prabhupada on two occasions in recognition of his outstanding service. In 1982 he won a trip to the USA for recruiting the most life members. He went to Berkeley and served there as the temple treasurer for several years.
Since 1986 he had lived in Houston, taking care of his family. He used to quietly sit in the back of the temple during Bhagavatam class or attend the Sunday feast program. Vijay prabhu had a very good memory.
Several years ago he was diagnosed with diabetes, and over the years his condition gradually became worse. His eyesight was bad, he had trouble walking, but he never wanted to be a burden for anyone. Nor did he ever complain. He just took it all as Krishna's arrangement and surrendered to the situation.
Last year his godsister Manukanya dasi came to Houston from Vrindavan. She encouraged her brother to come to the temple at night and she helped him both spiritually and materially by arranging for someone to walk with him or drive him home in the evening.
Since June this year he had been going in and out of the hospitals, where doctors began kidney dialysis. His condition was serious, and only the dialysis kept him alive. Volunteers of the Houston Vaisnavas Care team started to visit Vijay prabhu in the hospital. Devotees were amazed at how tolerant he was and how he appreciated everyone coming to visit.
Against medical advice, he decided to go to India. His family sent him a ticket and he left, despite his already extremely frail health. Manukanya prabhu arranged through the Ahmedabad temple that devotees would visit him, and he started Ayurvedic treatment and also visited allopathic doctors. However, he had to be hospitalized in India as well, due to his deteriorating health after he stopped regular dialysis treatment, and after two months he went back to the USA to get better treatment for his leg and foot circulation.
Arriving in Houston on September 5, he was immediately admitted to hospital to resume dialysis and other treatments. However, Vijay prabhu decided against continuing with regular dialysis. The Vaisnavas Care team visited him again, and he started revealing his memories of Srila Prabhupada. Very appreciative for every little service we did for him, he just talked about Prabhupada. Finally he stopped eating, and his fluid intake was little. Over the next few weeks his condition further deteriorated, although his consciousness was sharp and fixed on his memories of Srila Prabhupada.
More devotees came to visit in the hospital, and he kept talking about his memories of Srila Prabhupada. He said his "body machine" was very sick, and he wanted to leave it very quickly. He mentioned the glorious passing of H.H. Gaura Govinda Maharaja, who left while talking about the pastimes of Lord Jagannatha.
On October 7, the hospital staff decided to move prabhu to the hospice section of the hospital. That evening more devotees came to see him, and he was again talking about his pastimes with Srila Prabhupada. After most of the devotees left, prabhu asked the two women who had stayed if they could help him turn on his side. He had never asked for help before, but they helped him turn and also called a nurse. At that point Vijay had difficulty breathing and did not respond. The devotees started chanting and sprinkling Ganga water. They called his family and more Vaisnavas Care volunteers. Srila Prabhupada's bhajan CD was playing in the background. When we arrived, we all started chanting japa and praying, and about 15 minutes after our arrival Vijay prabhu peacefully passed away. All glories to Vijay prabhu, who set a perfect example how to leave this body.
A memorial service is scheduled for October 22 at 7 p.m. in the Houston ISKCON temple (Gauranga Hall).