Archive for the 'Godbrothers' Category

Q&As #7 Did HH Visnujana Swami have disciples?
8 April 2009

April 8 2009

This one is from Bhakta Iskatel about one of early ISKCON’s favorite preachers:

“Hari Sauri Prabhu, can you clarify one point regarding Visnujana Maharaj.

visunjana.jpg

Did he initiate anyone or just brought new people to Srila Prabhupada? If he did initiated anyone are they still in the movement and what are they doing?”

Answer:

HH Visnujana Maharaja disappeared in March 1976. By 1977 Srila Prabhupada accepted the likelihood that he had committed suicide by drowning in the Ganga at Allahabad.

You can read about Visnujana Maharaja’s last personal exchange with Srila Prabhupada in Transcendental Diary Vol 1, March 11th:

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the last photos taken of Visnujana Swami before he disappeared in March 1976

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Visnujana Maharaja, the tall, charismatic co-leader of Radha Damodara TSKP, who was listening in the background, spoke up for the first time. “Srila Prabhupada, how did Chota Haridasa achieve perfection by killing himself after apparently pouring water[sic] on his devotional creeper by talking to a woman?”

He was referring to the close associate of Lord Caitanya who drowned himself in the Ganga after being rejected by the Lord.

Prabhupada’s reply was very grave. “His instance was that even an associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu can fall down. And if one falls down, his punishment is that, suicide. There is no other punishment. He must commit suicide. This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instruction. Otherwise he is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s personal servant. He cannot fall down. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed this instance that ‘Even one is My personal servant, he can fall down.’ And if anyone by any cause he falls down, his punishment is he must commit suicide. This is instruction.”

Everyone’s eyes widened as they took in the statement.

Srila Prabhupada elaborated. “This falldown, there is possibility in any moment because we are very small. We can be captivated by maya at any moment. Therefore we shall be very, very careful. And if you fall down, then punishment is you make suicide. That’s all. Then next life we shall see.”
[end quote]

After this conversation, Visnujana Maharaja left Mayapur without telling anyone and was never seen again by any ISKCON devotee.  In April 1977 the co-director of Radha Damodara TSKP and Visnujana’s closest friend, Tamal Krishna Goswami, reported to Srila Prabhupada that some information had been received about a tall western sannyasi who had paid a boat man in Allahabad to take him out into the middle of the Ganga and that he had jumped in the waters and didn’t come up again. Since Visnujana Swami had not been seen for over a year, Srila Prabhupada accepted the likelihood that it was him. When asked what his fate would be, Srila Prabhupada was reported to have said that “Now he is preaching on the heavenly planets.”[note: this story was told to me by Tamal Krishna Goswami].

As far as your question goes as to whether he had any disciples, no, there was no question of his having any disciples of his own since he left his body  before Srila Prabhupada.

In the presence of one’s own guru one is not supposed to make disciples of his own. It is against the etiquette as Srila Prabhupada stated in this letter to Tusta Krsna Swami December 2 1976 sent from Vrindavana:
Read the rest of this entry »



Jayapataka Swami
10 November 2008

November 10 2008

Some very good news for the last two days, that Jayapataka Swami has become fully conscious. He is able to recognize his visitors, and even communicate with them despite not being able to talk yet. But he can move his head around and has limited movement in all his limbs which indicates there is no paralysis.

Things are looking a little hopeful for the first time for three weeks. May Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada grant this wonderful servant of His a full restoration of his health so that he may continue to serve Him for many years yet.

One of the nice things during offering of lamps in the temple room is to be able to offer one’s lamp to Jayapataka Maharaja.

JPS photo

We hope it will not be too long before we see Jayapataka Maharaja back here in Mayapur.



H.H. Jayapataka Swami -Srila Prabhupada’s Victory Flag
24 October 2008

Ocotober 24 2008

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Now we have another major crisis with HH Jayapataka Swami in hospital in Mumbai with a severe stroke caused by brain aneurysm. His condition is very critical, and the doctors have admitted that there is not much they can do, and the main thing now is our prayers for Maharaja’s well being.

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At this moment I can’t describe my feelings. The apprehension of the loss of this very dear friend is not something I want to contemplate right now. And despite his current crisis, as Ravindra Svarupa prabhu just put to me, Maharaja has more prana than anyone he has ever met. He is a fighter and he has tremendous strength of constitution.

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We have clearly entered the era where the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples is going to be a regular affair. That’s the material world, always hankering and lamenting. Our consolation is Srila Prabhupada’s statement that we shall have another ISKCON in the spiritual world and that our spiritual relationships are all eternal. 

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I was just with Jayapataka Maharaja in Mumbai. We had our MVT meeting in Chowpatty on the 18th. He appeared to be very tired and didn’t look well, but like everyone else, I thought it was simply the symptom of the almost perpetual jeg-lag that Maharaja suffers due to his intense and continuous travels. I thought with a few days in one place he would catch up his rest and be back to his usual energetic self.

It only takes a second and everything changes.

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I first saw him in 1975 but I didn’t get to know him until early 1976. Srila Prabhupada had arrived in Mayapur on January 17 and stayed for just over two months. Jayapataka Swami was his stalwart assistant in developing the Mayapur project. I remember one particular incident that nicely summed up their relationship:

[TD 1] January 18, 1976 – Sri Dhama Mayapur 

With the festival only six weeks away, Jayapataka expressed doubts how it [the Long building] could be completed in time. Prabhupada told him if they engage at least one hundred men it could be done. Then Bhavananda Maharaja raised the objection that there was no money. Prabhupada told him that if that was the only problem, he would give him the money. But he said they must start immediately. Jayapataka, however, was still apprehensive. He said there was a shortage of bricks. Nevertheless Prabhupada pushed him to begin construction. He told them that they should do whatever they can, but the work must begin immediately.

Leaving the pukkur we hesitated to go down the steep incline of the embankment. Jayapataka, however, had no problem running down, even in his wooden shoes. Srila Prabhupada laughed. “Victorious flag — Jaya-pataka,” he called out, appreciating his disciple’s dexterity.
 

Since those days Jayapataka Maharaja has been carrying the flag of victory all over the world on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, spreading the glories of Sri Mayapur Dhama far and wide and increasing the family of ISKCON devotees for the pleasure of his spiritual master. Now that seems to be at the end of an era.

We can simply pray that Srila Prabhupada’s victorious flag is not lowered to half mast any time soon.



Just in time
2 October 2008

October 2 2008

Here’s an interesting question from Vishal Gauranga prabhu. He’s been reading Kurma prabhu’s excellent book The Great Transcendental Adventure (If you haven’t read it, beg, borrow or steal it; its as good as his cooking).

 Great Transcendental Adventure

Respected Kurma prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, all glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

I was going through this passage as mentioned below ..

“Srila Prabhupada had been booked on a flight to Honolulu via Fiji that was scheduled to leave that afternoon. After deliberation, however, considering travel on Thursday afternoons to be inauspicious, Srila Prabhupada decided to extend his stay in Melbourne for an extra day.

“Madhudvisa Swami requested Srila Prabhupada, since the devotees and congregation were so eager to be with him, that he allow them a special darsana before he left for overseas. Prabhupada agreed on an afternoon meeting in his room. Such an open darsana would be the first of its kind in Australia, and the devotees eagerly looked forward to the special event.”

**************************

I  would like to know what this inauspicious time here means?? Travelling on Thursday afternoons?
It may certainly not be “Rahu kala “ since that time falls between  1:30 to 3PM (on thursday’s). It’s bit confusing for me to understand this one as we all know that Srila Prabhupada is transcendental, how can these things affect HDG?.
Did Srila Prabhupada followed “rahukala” times through out his world travel? If not, why only in Melbourne? Sorry prabhu for taking your time, I appreciate very much in advance your time taken for answering this one ..

PS: Marking HG Harisauri prabhu just in case he has any add on to this scenario…

ys, Vishal Gauranga das

Kurma prabhu provided a good reply. (see his blog http://www.iskcon.net.au/kurma/)

Kurma 

He confirmed the inauspicious time as Thursday afternoon and commented:

“Why ‘it may certainly not be Rahu Kalam?'”

“According to my understanding, there are different calculations of Rahu Kalam. Some talk about a fixed time, others talk of a different calculation, which is calculated in connection to sunrise: Rahu Kalam on a Thursday falls 7.5 hours after sunrise. So if we calculated Rahu Kalam for Thursday in mid-summer, it would be at a very different time to mid-winter.

“As I said, this is my limited understanding of a vastly complex system. Shyamasundara dasa ACBSP the Astrologer has a lot to say on the topic of auspicious and inauspicious times, and in comparison to him, I know little more than what I have just said, so I will keep my mouth shut.

“By the way, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also did not like to travel on Thursday afternoons.

“One could extend your question and say that if he was ‘transcendental’, why bother to look after the body at all? So why did Srila Prabhupada take medicine, take massage, and go on morning walks?

“I’ll pass this one over to Hari Sauri, because I know he’s itching to answer ;)”

So on the request of my dear Godbrother, here’s my ‘two cents’:

“I have forwarded your comments to Shyamasundar prabhu for his insights. He knows a lot of the technical details on this topic.

> By the way, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also did not like to travel on
> Thursday afternoons.

 So much so that if he absolutely had to travel on Thursday, he would have a suitcase placed at the door on a Wednesday and that was considered an indication that the journey had started.

 Your answer is fine Kurma prabhu. Pure devotees still work within the general laws of material nature. Otherwise why do their bodies grow old, get diseases and become subject to the same physical laws as everyone elses?

The main reason is that they exhibit their pastimes within the framework of the conditioned souls. If they didn’t, noone would follow their teachings. If we had an acarya that could leap over skyscraper buildings in defiance of ‘gravity’ a la Superman mode, it might attract a big following, but who would bother to pay attention to his teachings? Then you get a great personality like Jesus who is made into an icon and a bunch of followers who say, “Only Jesus can walk on water. Only Jesus can multiply the loaves and five fishes. Only Jesus can die on the cross and be resurrected. Only Jesus can be pure. We don’t need to do anything because noone can be like Jesus.”

 In this regard I recall Hayagriva prabhu’s dream at Dr. Misra’s asrama in 1966:

Read the rest of this entry »



audio link for glorification of Sadaputa prabhu
22 September 2008

September 22 2008

I gave a class here in Mayapur on Saturday September 20 in praise of Sadaputa prabhu. This has now been placed on the Mayapur website. If anyone would like to hear it please click on the following link:



Sriman Sundararupa prabhu
22 September 2008

September 22 2008

Sundaraupa prabhu with godbrothers

Keshava Bharati Goswami, Sundararupa Prabhu, Tamal Krishna Goswami

It is with great regret that we have to acknowledge the passing of another senior member of ISKCON, Sriman Sundararupa prabhu. Husband of Sudharma dasi he had lived in Alachua FL for many years. He had a history of heart problems and about ten years ago had a heart valve replacement. Then again this year he had to undergo a repeat of the same operation. Unfortunately his health problems continued and he was hospitalized a few days ago and put on life support. At around 8.00 PM on Saturday September 20 he departed.

I am glad I had one last opportunity to see him. On June 7 2008 I was visiting Alachua and I sent the following email to my wife Sitala:

 ”Yaduabara and I drove up from Alachua yesterday to Atlanta. It was pretty smooth going and took five hours. Before we left we went to see Sundararupa, who had just gotten out of hospital after an open-heart surgery to replace a major heart valve. He was happy to see us even though we couldn’t spend more than 15 mins. because we were running late. He showed us his scar which ran from his throat down to his gut. The doctors literally take a power saw and cut right through the rib cage, pull it apart and pin it back and then do the replacement. Its pretty traumatic for the body but as Sundararupa told us, its like going to sleep and waking up with a new body. You go in with intense chest pains, breathlessness and thinking you could die at any moment, and you wake up with normal functions, albeit with some operational trauma to get over, but the heart works normally and you feel like you have been given a new body. ”

Sundararupa told us at that meeting that his previous heart valve was artificial and only had a limited life span. This new one was real and would “last the rest of this life.” An ironic observation to say the least.

Sitala had replied my email:

“Glad to hear you took the time to visit Sundararupa. What a heavy operation to go through. I  remember years ago, he was told by an astrologer that he would die fairly young (can’t remember the
prediction) due to heart failure. Maybe his karma was minimized by Krsna.”

Through a competent astrologer it is possible to know how long we can expect our lifespan will be, but our actual life span is in the hands of Krsna:

Bg 18.61

 ”The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.”

In the general scheme of things according to the Lord’s sweet will and in response to our own desires and activities, we move from one situation to the next. But for a devotee, there is nothing inauspicious nor is the movement of a devotee dictated by karma. It is directly arranged by Krsna Himself.

There is no doubt therefore that Sundararupa prabhu has moved to a most auspicious destination. When he left his body he was surrounded by devotees chanting the holy names. Krsna was therefore personally present and there is no doubt that He has rewarded his servant for his many years of dedicated service. 

As proof that devotees are always in the direct care of the Lord, I recall an interesting story Sundararupa told me many years ago. In the early 80s, Sundararupa was in charge of our operations in Italy. He would also go to Israel to preach. On December 27 1985 he and several other devotees (maybe as many as seven) were standing in line at the Israeli airline EL AL ticket counter at Rome airport waiting to check in. The line was moving slowly and somehow or other, for different reasons, every single one of the devotees wandered off, leaving their luggage in the line. While they were away, disaster struck:

(from BBC ’On this day’ news service) 

December 27 1985: Gunmen kill 16 at two European airports

At least 16 people have been killed and more than 100 injured during simultaneous twin terrorist attacks at Rome and Vienna airports. Gunmen opened fire on passengers queuing to check-in luggage at departure desks for Israel’s national airline, El Al. The attacks were indiscriminate and started within minutes of each other at about 0815 GMT today. No group has yet admitted carrying out the attacks.At least 13 people were killed, three of them gunmen, after six men, described by witnesses as being of Arab origin, fired bullets at travellers waiting in the main departure hall at Rome’s international airport.Chaos broke out during what is reported to have been a five minute attack as passengers fell to the floor for cover.Italian police returned fire as bullets rang out across the concourse leaving a trail of blood and broken glass.

Some unconfirmed witness reports describe having heard two “bombs” explode before the gun fire.

Warnings

Two gunmen, in their twenties and of Arab origin, were captured alive.One of them was taken to a military hospital for surgery and a third attacker is said to have escaped.

In similar scenes in neighbouring Austria, three gun men threw four hand grenades into crowds of passengers queuing to check-in for a flight to Tel Aviv.

It is understood they then pulled out Kalashnikov submachine guns as Austrian police returned fire.

They escaped by car but were pursued by police who opened fire.

One of the men is reported dead, the other two were severely wounded and eventually surrendered to police.

It comes amid reports airport authorities received warnings Arab militant groups were planning a pre-Christmas terrorist campaign at terminals across the world.

El Al counter after the attack

El Al counter after the attack

 In all, the attacks, which were carried out by notorious terrorist group Abu Nidal, killed 18, including a child, and wounded around 140. Yet none of our devotees were harmed. I remember Sundararupa telling me that he had to dive for cover as bullets flew around and explosions rocked the air.

The moral: Rakhe krsna mare ke mare krsna rakhe ke. If Krsna desires to kill somebody, nobody can save him. If Krsna wants to save somebody, nobody can kill him.

Sundararupa prabhu has now been taken by Krsna to a new destination. We sincerly wish this dedicated servant of Srila Prabhupada an all-auspicious life in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord and His pure devotees and offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife and children.

A recent photo:

(lft. to rt.) Matsya Avatara prabhu, Narada Muni prabhu and Sundararupa prabhu

Sundararupa prabhu with Matsya Avatar and Narada Muni prabhus



In memoriam: Sriman Sadaputa prabhu
21 September 2008

September 20 2008

                           Sriman Sadaputa prabhu – A Personal Tribute

                    BI with Srila Prabhupada

July 9 1976 : members of the Bhaktivedanta Institute seated with Srila Prabhupada in Washington DC (lt. to rt): Svarupa Damodar das, Sadaputa das, Rupanuga das, Madhava das

Vedic culture dictates from the very beginning of our lives that we understand one central point: that life in this material world is temporary and precarious and our real business lies elsewhere. We should understand from the moment we can walk and talk that our tenure in these bodies is like ‘a drop of water on a shaking lotus leaf’ that there is ‘danger at every step’ and that as soon as we are born we are already ‘one day towards death’.

drops on a lotus leaf

It should come then as neither surprise nor shock when we hear of the departure of yet another soul from one body to the next. It is expected and can come during any movement of time.

Yet despite this knowledge we do expect that all of us average human beings will live the normal course–a full life of ‘three score and ten’. And beyond that there are some whom, because of their personal qualification and abilities, because of their contribution to our own lives and because of their importance to human society at large, we earnestly hope and pray will live to a ripe old age. Sadaputa prabhu falls very squarely into this latter category.

It is with great dismay, shock and lamentation then that we have face the loss of his association at the relatively young age of 61.

The work of a great man will touch the life of more people than he himself can know. It will edify, uplift and improve; it will set a foundation on which future generations can live a better quality of life; it will provide sustenance and positive direction to a multitude of souls. In Sanskrit such a person is called ‘mahatma’.

Read the rest of this entry »



His Grace Sadaputa prabhu
19 September 2008

September 18 2008

HG Sadaputa prabhu

I just heard the terrible news that Sriman Sadaputa prabhu, one of the foremost thinkers in our society, has just departed this world. I have no detailed information at this moment other than that his body was found in the bottom of his swimming pool at his home in Alachua FL, USA. He was a personal friend and like many other devotees around the world who knew him, this news has come as body blow.

I am including here a brief biography from the Bhaktivedanta Institute website:

Sadaputa Dasa (Richard L. Thompson) was born in Binghamton, New York, in 1947. In 1974, he received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Cornell University, where he specialized in probability theory and statistical mechanics. He went on to do research in quantum physics and mathematical biology at the State University of New York at Binghamton, Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, and the La Jolla Institute in San Diego. He is the author of seven books and the producer of six videos on science and philosophy, and he has written many articles for scientific journals and for Back To Godhead, the magazine of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. His most recent book, Mysteries of the Sacred Universe, discusses evidence of advanced astronomical knowledge in India’s ancient texts known as the Puranas. He has designed exhibits using computer animation and multimedia techniques to present the Vedic cosmology and the Vedic world view to the general populace, and he is presently writing a book discussing the laws of physics and the nature and origin of life.

My sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and children.

I will be writing a memoriam soon to this brilliant devotee, who Srila Prabhupada once praised as a ‘real mahatma.’



August 27 2008 – dealing with grievances
29 August 2008

August 27 2008

Here’s question from Bhakti Vikash Swami: Did Srila Prabhupada ever encourage, discourage, or comment upon devotees taking internal grievances to the police or otherwise taking legal action?

Here’s one incidence that comes to mind:

[TD 4] — September 5, 1976 – Vrindavana The second letter came from Australia. It was a report suggesting that Madhudvisa may have misappropriated a large amount of money — $250,000 — when he left there. However, this has not been proven, nor is it even confirmed that the money is actually missing because the Australian temples are not in the habit of keeping accurate accounts. There has been no word from the GBC, Gurukrpa Swami, and, according to Harikesa Swami, no one knows where he is at the present moment.

Prabhupada is obviously concerned and disturbed by these different reports, but he is not saying very much. His comment after the letter from Australia was simply, “Money and women.”

When I asked if any prosecution should be filed against Madhudvisa if the suggestions prove correct, he said that the GBC should decide.

A little later Srila Prabhupada discussed the allegations against Madhudvisa with Harikesa Maharaja. Prabhupada told him that even if the reports are true, he should not be prosecuted. “After all,” he told him, “he is our own man.”

PS I should add here that it was definitely established that Madhudvisa prabhu did not take a cent from the Australian yatra when he left. They simply didn’t keep proper accounts in those days.



Question time
12 August 2008

Here’s something that sometimes puzzles newer devotees. I got this from Bhakta Ilya on the Krishna.ru forum: 

 ”Many sannyasis left the movement and I heard that Shrila Prabhupada had known that this would happen. Where did he speak about that? Or was this an assumption made by his disciples?”Thank you. Your servant Ilya.”

My answer:

Srila Prabhupada was well aware that he was giving sannyasa to young, untrained men. It was a risk that he took for expanding the preaching.  Read the rest of this entry »



Nirguna Krishna prabhu goes back to Godhead
1 May 2007

On November 3, 2007 at 1.21 PM Nirguna Krsna dasa prabhu left his body and returned to the Lord’s eternal abode.

Nirguna prabhu a few hours before he left

Nirguna a few hours before his departure

A dearly beloved godbrother, Nirguna Krishna prabhu, left his mortal coil in Sri Dham Mayapur in November 2007. It was a singularly ecstatic event, a perfect departure of a saintly devotee, after a life of sincere service. I wrote a series of postings on Dandavats.com which I am reproducing here, in honour of Sriman Nirguna Krsna prabhu. I thought this would be an auspicious way to start my blog…

Read the rest of this entry »



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