Chapter 6: In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Volume 11, Chapter 6

July 21, 2010


Dearest Aindra prabhu,

Please accept our most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

We, the members of the Festival of India in Poland, would like to express our extreme sorrow and lamentation over your untimely departure from this world. We know that the Lord has a plan for all His devotees, but nonetheless we are finding it most difficult to accept that you are no longer here.

For many of us, especially the ISKCON youth, you were a shining example of a true kirtaneer: one who relishes chanting the holy names. You nurtured that attraction by careful and attentive japa throughout your devotional career. You further increased your ardent desire to chant the holy names by engaging in many years of sankirtana before coming to Vrndavana in 1986. In the holy dhama you took Srila Prabhupada’s desire as your life and soul, and you took charge of the twenty-four-hour kirtana in front of your beloved Sri Sri Radhe-Syama.

Because of your purity of purpose, those kirtanas became legendary. Each year, during the month of Kartika, devotees would come from all over the world to chant with you and your kirtana crew. It is said that the main purpose of visiting the holy dhama is to associate with the saintly persons living there. You were one of those saintly persons because you relished chanting and you made others chant and become mad after the holy names.

During the early days of our movement, whenever you and I would meet we would talk about our favorite activity: the loud chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, and we would enjoy sharing the new melodies we had learned along the way. I remember sitting in your room in the gurukula one morning as you taught me a melody you had just learned from a visiting sadhu. You told me to lead the kirtana that evening and introduce the melody to the devotees.

Sometimes I would visit your room and talk with you about deity worship. Because of your eagerness to serve and your pure heart, the Lord came to you in many forms: Gaura-Nitai, Govardhan silas, and an uncountable number of Salagrama silas. Devotees would often bring you silas, sometimes because they had lost the taste for worshiping them, and you would never refuse. You accepted each and every one that came your way, and what’s more, you worshiped each and every one with undivided devotion.

I admired you for your zeal in sharing the holy names with others, but also for your internal mood of awakening your own Krsna consciousness. You were absorbed in Vraja bhakti and were never too shy to say that you wanted to serve the Lord one day in the mood of a gopi. Some may have said that it was premature, but I could see that you had understood the siddhanta of our process and were determined to achieve it.

And I miss you especially because you showed yourself to be a kind and loving friend. When my disciples celebrated my Vyasa puja several months ago in the Krsna-Balarama Mandir, you went and spoke for a long time about my service and my success in Krsna consciousness.

I assure you that I am not at all the devotee you thought me to be, but I thank you for encouraging me to become so by your kind words. I heard that you then led a long and blissful kirtana to honor me.

Now it is my turn, and the honor goes to you, but the circumstances are different. Never again in this lifetime will any of us have the good fortune to see you in your rightful place: at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radhe-Syama, singing your heart out to Them in intense devotion. My dear godbrother, the month of Kartika in Vrndavana will never be the same without you and your rickety old harmonium, surrounded by an expert group of kirtaneers hanging onto your every note of the mahamantra.

My dear Aindra prabhu, how we all miss you! Though you were often outspoken, even fiery on issues within our movement, you were detached from management and politics. You were loyal and independent – very much an ISKCON man, very much a Prabhupada man – with an understanding of the essence of Krsna consciousness: that after all is said and done, ISKCON and Krsna consciousness means chanting the holy names with every fiber of one’s body, with as much devotion as one can muster, for as many hours as possible each day. You embodied that spirit in your kirtanas, and that is why the young people looked up to you so much. That is why we all looked up to you so much. That is why we are all lamenting today.

I have no doubt that you are now in Goloka Vrndavana. You once told me that someone who is born in Vrndavana, lives in Vrndavana, or dies in Vrndavana is immediately transported to Goloka upon leaving the body. Because you yourself lived and died in that holy dhama, you have surely achieved the highest destination.

But I know you have achieved that goal mostly because you made the Hare Krsna mantra so popular all over the world. And you did it by sitting in one place. That’s the amazing thing: you made kirtana and bhajana popular just by sitting on the marble floor of the Krsna-Balarama Mandir, not far from the sacred tamala tree in the courtyard. You inspired us all with your endearing melodies, along with the intense drumming and kartala playing. Because of your devotion-filled voice, the whole world became captivated by those kirtanas. I know, because I hear your kirtanas in temples all over the world.

You have left a void in our hearts that can never be filled in this lifetime. We can only pray to have the good fortune to serve with you again if you decide to take another birth. In the meantime we will try to follow in your footsteps and develop a genuine attachment for the holy names, our worshipable deities, and the holy place of Sri Vrindavan dhama.

Please look kindly upon us devotees here on the Baltic Sea Coast this summer. We too are trying our best to give the holy names to others. If you, from your transcendental position, are merciful to us, we may succeed in our efforts.

We submit this letter to you, confident that it will reach you through some transcendental medium, and we hope you have heard our glorification and prayers.

Your servants,

Indradyumna Swami and the members of the Festival of India in Poland 2010.