Archive for the 'Family' Category

Srila Prabhupada Photo from 1965
14 September 2009

September 14 2009

The other day I visited Srila Prabhupada’s remaining family members, his youngest son Vrindaban Candra De, and his youngest daughter Bhaktilata mataji. It was the first time I have been to their flat since 1976 when Srila Prabhupada purchased it for them:

[From TD1]

January 12 1976 Calcutta

Sudama, Jayapataka, and Sridhara Swamis and other devotees met us at the airport.
Rather than going straight to the temple, Prabhupada first went to inspect a flat he is thinking of purchasing for his former family members. Then he traveled to the temple in our own bus.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => TD 1-8: Bombay and Calcutta

Sudama, Jayapataka, and Sridhara Swamis and other devotees met us at the airport.

Rather than going straight to the temple, Prabhupada first went to inspect a flat he is thinking of purchasing for his former family members. Then he traveled to the temple in our own bus.

January 14 1976

After breakfast prasadam Prabhupada and I went to see an apartment at Park Circus. He is thinking of purchasing it for his son and daughter, who met us there. Prabhupada didn’t say very much to them, and after a few minutes we returned to the temple.

January 15 1976

Later in the morning Prabhupada went to see another flat. And then just before massage time he sent me to show two friends of his the place we saw yesterday.

[end quotes]

Srila Prabhupada bought the flat near Park Circus and gave the keys to his son Vrindaban in February 1976 in Mayapur. They have lived there ever since. Under an arrangement made by Srila Prabhupada in 1977 shortly before he left us, the family receives a small allowance every month and the maintenance of the flat is paid for by the Mayapur Vrindavan Trust (MVT) of which I am the current secretary.

I went to inspect the flat and make preparations for some overdue repairs. While there I met Smt. Bhaktilata for the first time. Just like other members of the family, and especially Srila Prabhupada’s sister, whom we call Pishima (aunty), Bhaktilata looks strikingly similar to Srila Prabhupada:

Pisima on November 15 1977, the morning after Srila Prabhupada's disappearance in Vrindavana

Pisima on November 15 1977, the morning after Srila Prabhupada's disappearance in Vrindavana

I was happy to see the family worship small Radha Krsna Deities every day, along with a small murti of Srila Prabhupada. They have pictures on the walls and I was checking one out in particular:

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami-Chippiwada elhi 1964-5

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami-Chippiwada Delhi 1964-5

I knew it had been taken at the temple in Chippiwada Delhi and I was fasinated to see it on Vrindaban Candra’s bedroom wall. As I inspected it, Vrindaban informed me that he had taken the photo himself on a small box camera when he was visiting his sannyasi father for three weeks while he was in residence at the Radha Krishna temple of Pandit Sri Krishna Sharma.  I have seen the photo before in the Prabhupada Lilamrta but it was uncredited. I was very happy to finally find out who the photographer was and I surmised it must have been taken in early 1965, because Srila Prabhupada is sitting with all three volumes of the first canto of his English version of Srimad Bhagavatam, and the last volume had been publish in late 1964.

Satsvarupa Maharaja writes about Srila Prabhupada’s residence in Chippiwada in the first volume of Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta:

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Q&As: #4 Srila Prabhupada’s former family
2 April 2009

April 2 2009

Here’s an interesting two-part question about Srila Prabhupada’s former family (a sannyasi’s previous family relationships are always referred to as ‘former’)


Radharani De; Srila Prabhupada holding eldest son Prayag Raj; Gaura Mohan De; other family members


Srila Prabhupada, his brother, and three of his children-Prayag Raj, Mathura Mohan and Sulaxmana.

From Chanakya Pandit das:

a) “What kind of useful lessons can young members of ISKCON can take from Srila Prabhupada’s family life?”

This is a big topic. There are many angles of view on this. It is best always to have the positive view because all of Srila Prabhupada’s family were Vaisnavas of one kind or another. It is no small thing to be born in the same family as such an exalted devotee as Srila Prabhupada.

The main thing is that Srila Prabhupada demonstrated how to become Krsna conscious within family life. He did his duty of having a family and maintaining them while at the same time developing his eternal relationship with his spiritual master. The two are not incompatible but rather complimentary.

b)    “Have anyone from Srila Prabhupada’s physical children become real Vaisnava? How his children were brought up?”


Srila Prabhupada told me that all of his family were Vaisnavas, for many generations. Their traditional family Deity is still being worshiped after several hundred years.

On December 22 1976 Srila Prabhupada went by car from Poona to Mahabaleshwar. His hosts were the Malhotra brothers, Sat Pal and Harish Kumar:

[From TD 6 -unpublished]

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If its not jara, its vyadhi
21 November 2008

November 21 2008

Rasarani-priya self portrait November 2008

You expect to have to deal with health issues as you get older, but when they hit you when you are young, its a little more trying. I haven’t been blogging the last few days because my daughter Rasarani-priya has been rather sick and with her mother in Vrndavana, its been a bit of a trial.

She is no stranger to our constant companion, vyadhi. Since the age of three she has had pneumonia six times, and almost every year has serious breathing problems. But this time the symptoms were a little different.

She seemed alright when she returned from Indradyumna Maharaja’s kartika parikrama to Vrndavana, Jaipur and Hrishikesh last month.

train to Hrishikesh


girls in Hrishikesh

Ganga snana with Kamalakshi

Then a week ago she came back from the first winter procession of the Mayapur Deities with 101 deg. fever. I thought it was a 48 hrs. flu and she spent a couple of days in bed. But swelling behind and below her ears, a cracking headache and very sore throat all showed she had in fact contracted mumps.

Nothing to be done as far as treating a virus goes. All you can do is give some paracetamol to keep the fever down a bit and let the body fight it out. Once having been, it never comes again.

Unfortunately after three days her temperature suddenly shot up from 99 to 103, then 104 and then 105. We called the doc. and he prescribed some antibiotics. Not stuff we particularly like, but when its needed, its effective. We also had a blood test done and there results came back the same day. The big T, as in typhoid. I was glad we got the doctor in. I had typhoid once and its no fun. The doctor advised keeping the same treatment but for a longer period.

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September 8 2008 Radhastami at home
8 September 2008

September 8 2008


We don’t do much at home on festivals. We have our own Deities, Radha Madhava, Gaura Nitai, Srila Prabhupada, Bal Krsna and Balarama but we observe the festivities in the temple.

On days like Radhastami though, Rasarani-priya bathes her Deities and today she was able to offer Them beautiful new dresses which Sitala brought back from her trip to Vrndavan.

Sitala has worked with Ashok the jariwala for over 30 years, he’s like family. Ashok makes deity clothes for many temples in ISKCON as well as the Birlas etc. His men are expert and one of the side-benefits is that Sitala can occasionally get outfits made for our Deities.

Here’s the Radhastami outfit for Radha Madhava:

 Radha Madhava’s new outfit

new outfit

August 26 2008 – Mayapur
29 August 2008

August 26 2008

A wierd day. I think my house staged a protest for being left unoccupied for several months. The phone was cut off, the water mysteriously stopped flowing in the bathroom, our eleven-year-old fridge which has performed flawlessly since the day we bought it suddenly gave up the ghost causing the fuse box to shut off the whole house’s power, and my wife’s computer, which is riddled with viruses, finally refused to boot up any more. I was informed that the Foreigners Registration Office in Krsnanagar had suddenly changed the period of registering from 15 days to 7 days and so I had to rush off to register or face a fine (turned out to be incorrect info.) And my wife Sitala got news from the jariwala she works with in Vrndavan is having some kind of crisis and can’t finish some outfits that are due for delivery in the west before Radhastami.

I just realized that although touring is strenuous, it is relatively free of anxiety at least as far as maintenance is concerned. Everywhere you go, there are devotees who are only too happy to facilitate your travel, accommodations, laundry and prasadam etc. But at home, its all your own, and these things take up a fair bit of time.

Anyway, I got registered and because the FRO is in Krsnanagar I also bought a new fridge (not cheap at Rs. 15,000). Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what Sitala wanted. In fact, it was just the kind she told me not to buy. But when I got in the small store, I got bewildered by all the choices and though I was getting something she would like. Anyway, I have a great wife who is not too attached to material goods and we will live with it.

Ladies beware! Never let your husband go out and buy household goods. You won’t be satisfied because their brains work differently from yours.

Man and Woman brain comparison 

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August 21 2008 — Sri Dhama Mayapur ki jaya!
24 August 2008

August 21 2008

An easy morning, did the puja, went to the bookstore, had a decent meal at Little Italy, a modern restaurant just near our Albert Road temple with a fully sattvik menu (no meat, fish or eggs, except for a little onion in one or two of the minor dishes). And then it was back to home, back to Mayapur. The traffic in Kolkata is horrendous; I only realized how bad it was when I compared it to the many American and European cities I have visited recently. It took nearly 11/2 hours to get out to the airport from the city center-a half hour without traffic. And the road out to Mayapur is really disgraceful. Potholed, crumbling, rutted. I am surprised how the communist govt. gets away with it and still gets voted in. Finally, around 6.30 PM we pulled up outside our apartment in the Hati building. Its great to be back after 14 weeks on the road. We need a couple of days to settle in, and then its going to be Janmastami and Vyasapuja.

All credit to Rasarani-priya. She’s been away for two months. Most of her friends were just upstairs but instead of going straight up to see them, she shot out the door and went over to the temple for darshan of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, even as they spotted her through their windows and tried to call her back. After that it was an evening of unpacking.

I gained 8 kilos on the trip; extra luggage that is (although judging from the size of my expanding waistline, I could have easily done the same–I really must exercise. Yeah, right, I hear you say again. ‘We’ve heard that one before.’ No, seriously, I am going to do it…)

July 31 2008 Rasarani-priya’s birthday
31 July 2008

Mum and RRp  no looking!

Mexican jacket   necklace for her deities

she wanted whipped cream   a little at a time please!

gift from her Guru  thanks Gurudeva!

Haribol folks!

July 19 – 21 Alf and Chris
19 July 2008

July 19-20 – Cousin Alf’s

Alf and Chris have a pleasant little two story house out in the country, about 12 kms. from Trollhatten. They have been together for 32 years now and still find pleasure in each other’s company.  They are generous hosts and eager to please. Chris is a social worker and Alf is a teacher’s help at one of the local schools, so they are both open-minded and receptive to new ideas.  

Alf and Chris 

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July 8 – 10 Scunthorpe (What? Never heard of it? Half your life is wasted.)
8 July 2008

Tuesday July 8

I flew overnight from WDC and arrived in London around 10.30 AM. I hired a car at the airport and drove straight up to see my mother, still living just outside the small town where I was born, Scunthorpe, about 180 miles north east.  

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July 6, 2008 Baltimore
6 July 2008

Sunday July 6 

Baltimore is only 45 mins. drive from the WDC temple. The temple in DC had already booked Sri Nandanandan from Vrindavan to do kirtan and speak on Sunday afternoon, so the devotees from Baltimore asked me to come here.

The temple is the same one that Srila Prabhupada visited on July 7 1976 when he came to see Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. I didn’t recognize the building though because all the nice gardens it used to have are all gone, and the house has been painted very garishly in bright red, blue and yellow.  

Baltimore Read the rest of this entry »

Nirjala and my daughters
14 June 2008

I have two daughters, Rasarani-priya who is nearly 16, and Sachi, who just turned 23 on Gaura Purnima. Both of them are doing really well in their respective environments. 

Sachi is from my previous marriage and hasn’t been brought up as a devotee. She is a life-long vegetarian though and has her own belief in God. She’s a great person, ethical and hard working. She just informed me that she has graduated with distinctions after four years from her engineering course at Cambridge in England. She is the national training coordinator for Engineers Without Borders in the UK, a voluntary role that keeps her more than busy. Now she’s considering whether to go for her Phd. and has already been interviewed by a panel.

In the meantime she’s headed out to Brazil for the month of July. She has an interest in alternative power but she hasn’t yet decided what field of work she’ll go into.

 Rasarani-priya is also doing great. She took initiation from Indradyumna Swami in Mayapur on Gopastami in Nov. 2007, the one day of the year when Radharani’s feet are exposed for darshana.

 Congratulations!                                  Guru and family Read the rest of this entry »

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