My Aindra Story
Posted July 29, 2010
Theres much to be sad about these days, but so many good memories to cherish. As I write this I constantly listen to the amazing recordings of his, that can only give a small taste of what it was like to sit beside him while he poured his heart out to their Lordships.
I remember the day I first heard his Vraja Villasa cd. The voices of many laughing started one track, wherein Aindra cut in saying, " OK, now be serious!". This was to me, the sum of the personality and character of him. Years after hearing his CD I was able to meet Aindra personally, and one of the first times he saw me he called out to me as he was singing, waved me over to play the mrdunga and asked the devotees to make some space for me. That day he sparked a burning passion for bhajan within me.
My brother Dhruva had become very good friends with Aindra over the years, and so I was given a very close look into the real intricate personality of his. I experienced the Ugra Aindra personality that many of you know what I am talking about. This usually came out during his bhajans due to his strong desire for perfection and firm encouragement when needed. "Chant loudly", he would say. "HARE KRSNA!!", he would shout out directly at you if you were caught sleeping or holding back on your vocal chords.
I then remember the Shanti Aindra that he would become as soon as he finished the kirtan, went in front of Radhe Syama and folded his hands. His love for Radharani and her companions was apparent to me when my brother Drdha was asked by Aindra to draw a picture of Radharani for him. Drdha presented the wonderful drawing to him in his room one evening late. I remember Aindra taking the drawing and looking at it for several minutes, which seemed like hours. He didnt say a word, his eyes transfixed on the paper. His mood then transformed into that of a child in front of his Lord. He turned to Drdha and me and said over and over in a tone that sounded like he was on the verge of tears, "She is so beautiful, isnt she?" I felt like he was no longer on this earth, but his mind had completely gone to a place that was so dear and close to him.
One day my brother Dhruva and I went to pay respects to Aindra in his room and hopefully sit with him for some time. He opened the door, with mics set up everywhere and a computer with chords connecting all the mics. "Can you sing?", he said to me. "Not really", I responded knowing where this was headed. "Its ok sit down, you will do fine, just let it all out, dont hold any of it in and sing LOUDLY", he convincingly said. Without any objections Dhruva and I were mic'd up together along with some other devotees, that REALLY knew how to sing! Aindra sat in the middle of the room with his laptop harmonium that was so powerful and so vibrant that it sounded like it was singing along. He would sing a verse and we would repeat back, trying to not only follow his very elaborate tunes, but also attempt to sing out with all our breaths for each word, KRSNA- would stretch out an entire minute it seemed sometime. He proceeded to replay the recording back after each time we were not "Loud enough". I opted to drop out but he kindly mentioned that he could edit us out later on if it doesnt work ( which he did ). I dont remember the exact words he used to describe me and my brothers singing, but "Sound like a dying cat", followed by a huge laugh is pretty close to accurate.
I also remember during the installation of Pancatattva in Mayapur when Aindra first ever left Vraja in 20 something years. I remember all the amazing bhajan singers that sang before him such as B.B Govinda Swami and his amazingly powerful voice. When Aindra sat down surrounded by the 10 or so mrdunga players and hundreds of instruments, everything went silent for a few minutes. Aindra began to pound on the harmonium keys that made it sound like he had 20 fingers, powerful and strong like Bhima. His voice cut through the hearts of all present, bringing the mood and love of Vraja Dham to the Mayapur temple.
When I think of Aindra Prabhu I dont just think of the music he gave our movement. Of course his recording I have and CD's ive listened to over the years has changed my life I can say. But when I think of Aindra and what i will miss the most is who he was as a devotee. His love for Radharani and Krsna and the holy dham is inspiring and uplifting. He had no care in politics, had little care in appearance and being flashy. He didnt sing to impress one person other than the Lords themselves. He gave so much to our movement and asked for very little.
What I hope for and often wonder now is who will take the place of our fallen leaders such as Sridhar Swami, Tamal Krsna Swami, and now Aindra? As I mourn for the loss of such a great devotee and leader we had, I begin to think what can I do myself to give to this great movement we have and how can I help keep the burning joy for bhajan and kirtan fresh and vibrant just like every time Aindra Prabhu did everyday of his life.