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Srimad Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami Srila Sripada.
“Entering Rasa Lila”
The Glorious Departure of
Srila Sripada Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami
Vijaya Dasami, 2006
Written by: Sripada Maharaja’s servants
attending Him in Calcutta

Srila Sripada Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Maharaja, beloved spiritual son of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, disappeared from this mortal world during the Ratrilila period of Lord Sri Krishna’s Astakaliya lila on Vijaya Dasami, which according to this year’s Panchangam, is the most auspicious day of this calendar year, 2006. Sripada Maharaja’s disappearance took place in Calcutta, the holy appearance place (Janmasthan) of his divine master Srila Prabhupada. Calcutta is also the holy site from which His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur chose to disappear. Due to Sripada Maharaja’s deep and intense love for his divine master Srila Prabhupada, he not only chose Calcutta as his place of work but also as his place of disappearance.

Sripada Maharaja’s unwillingness to compromise on Srila Prabhupada’s instructions is well known and we hope that his dedication to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions will serve as an illustrious example for the world-wide devotee community, now and for all times to come.

As most of you may have heard, there was a serious bomb blast inside of ISKCON Manipur’s temple complex on August 16, 2006, Sri Janmastami day. Six devotees including two children left this world and over forty devotees were seriously injured. Sripada Maharaja’s body was also injured during this blast. He had a deep cut and a fractured bone in his left forearm, a small puncture in his left eardrum and a tiny shrapnel burn on his back. After preliminary treatment in Manipur and performing the sraddha ceremonies for the departed devotees, Sripada Maharaja came to Calcutta on August 25, 2006 where he was admitted into the Apollo Hospital. There, he underwent successful operations on his forearm and ear. He was discharged from the hospital on September 9, 2006. On September 19, 2006 Maharaja visited the hospital for a routine checkup. At that time the burn on his back had almost healed and the doctors were surprised by how quickly the fractured bone in his forearm was setting. The cut on his forearm was also healing well.

While returning from the hospital to his flat Sripada Maharaja asked us to search his room and find his Manipur Nat Sankirtan (Rasa Lila) audio cassettes. From September 10, 2006, until the day of his disappearance, Sripada Maharaja’s mood and behavior was different from what we had previously experienced. Everyday, he would listen to and sing along with these cassettes for the entire day except for when he was taking his medicine, prasadam or a little rest. We thought that Maharaja was taking it easy during his recovery, as his normal schedule was very active and he never previously took the time to listen to Kirtan cassettes. The Manipuri Nat Sankirtan cassettes that he was listening to are Kirtans sung in the Manipuri language, which describe the pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani. Since we do not understand the Manipur language, Sripada Maharaja, during his lunchtime, would sometimes explain to us what was being sung on the tapes. He said that the songs describing the Rasa Lila are so absorbing that one can completely forget this world. He said, “This world is on one side and that world is on another side.” He was always in an extremely happy mood and said he was feeling more enthusiastic than ever.

One afternoon, Sripada Maharaja explained to us that one of the Manipuri songs described Srimati Radhika’s walking to be like that of a graceful female elephant. Sripada Maharaja expressed many other details about the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, however, due to our unfortunate lack of qualification we could not understand them nor did we make any recordings of Sripada Maharaja during this time. Sripada Maharaja described how the Rasa Lila is performed according to the ancient Manipuri tradition. He also told us that once he discussed the Manipuri Rasa Lila with Srila Prabhupada and said that Srila Prabhupada was very pleased with the profound Manipuri Vaishnava culture.

We asked Sripada Maharaja how the Gaudiya Vaishnava culture and these peculiar Manipuri tunes originally came to Manipur. Sripada Maharaja said that the songs and devotional culture are from Narottam Das Thakur whose disciples came to Manipur and initiated King Bhagyachandra Maharaja. The tunes were developed by Bhagyachandra Maharaja himself and some subsequent Manipuri kings. While explaining more, Sripada Maharaja described how the performance of Rasa Lila is done in the Manipuri tradition. It first begins with the glorification of Gaura Lila wherein Lord Gauranga is requested to come and be the principal witness of the Rasa Lila. The glories of the Yuga Dharma Hari Nam Sankirtan are extolled, and prayers are sung to Lord Nityananda. Then only does the Rasa Lila begin.

A week before his disappearance, Sripada Maharaja, in a deep mood, wrote down a wonderful transcendental song in the Manipuri language. He then sang and recorded it for all of the devotees. Many devotees now have a recording of this wonderful transcendental song. It was sung in what we, his disciples, call “his gopi voice”. Sripada Maharaja’s written words for the song and translation by him are as follows:

VRAJAPREMDA LUPPE
ANGAOBAGUMLE
RADHABU THIRAKLE
SRI GAURANA
Translation: Immersed in the loving thoughts of Vrajaprema, Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu is searching for Srimati Radhika like a mad man.

KEIDANO BRINDAVAN
KEIDANO KUNJAVAN
KADAIDA LEIKHRE
SAKHISHINGDUNA
THIRAKLE RADHABU
SRI GAURANA

Translation:
“Where is Vrindavana
Where is Kunjavan
Where are Sakhis?”
Crying again and again uttering these words Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu is searching for Srimati Radhika like a mad man.

HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA
KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA
RAMA RAMA HARE HARE

On October 1st, 2006, Sripada Maharaja discussed with some of his disciples from IIT Kharagpur about the upcoming conference in Jagannath Puri entitled: ‘All India Students’ Conference on Science and Spiritual Quest’. The speakers and session topics for the conference were finalized during this discussion. That day, he also wrote a letter inviting the President of India to the conference. Around 8:30 - 9:00 PM Sripada Maharaja took a little soup as his dinner and after that he went to take rest, as did we. About an hour later Sripada Maharaja got up from his bed and walked to his connected office room where some of his assistants where sleeping. He woke one of them and asked him to come to his room. He was extremely jolly. He asked, ‘What is the time now?’ His assistant said it was 10:35pm. Sripada Maharaja then requested to have some ice put on his left fingers as they were feeling a little hot and on his left shoulder where he felt some pain. Sripada Maharaja then called in Manipuri language for his elderly Manipuri assistant, who was also resting nearby, to come and massage his shoulder. We were surprised that although Sripada Maharaja stated he was experiencing some pain, he was simultaneously exceedingly blissful and joyous. It was just a moment later that Sripada Maharaja tilted his head back slightly and disappeared from this world. One of assistants cried out ‘No Sripada! You can’t do this!’ We were shocked by what was happening. We immediately called two assistants who were in the next room. We all started rubbing Sripada Maharaja’s feet and hands hoping our most beloved Guru Maharaja would awaken from his Samadhi. But Sripada Maharaja had already entered Lord Sri Krishna’s divine Rasa Lila.

The following day, Sripada Maharaja’s transcendental body was brought to Sri Sri Krishna Balaram temple in Sri Vrindavan Dham for one night. There, many devotees had his darshan before the Samadhi ceremony that took place the next day, October 4th, 2006. As per Sripada Maharaja’s desire, he was placed in Samadhi at the Gopaldeva Mandir just on the bank of Sri Radhakunda, on the auspicious disappearance day of Srila Raghunathadas Goswami (our Prayojan Acharya), Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami and Srila Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami.

For the disciples and friends of Sripada Maharaja we feel his desire to enter Samadhi in Sri Radhakunda has now opened an eternal residence for us in Sri Radhakunda. For the disciples, the Guru’s Samadhi is the place to meditate on the pastimes of their Guru Maharaja and their respective personal association with him. During Sripada Maharaja’s pastimes in this manifest body, he arranged for us to have many wonderful pastimes with him at his Sri Gopaldeva Mandir in Sri Nabadwip Dham. Now as we begin his un-manifest lila, he has brought us all to Sri Radhakunda and we cannot express our gratitude in words. Sripada Maharaja used to say that it is not about how much money you have collected, how many temples you have built or how many men you have, it is about how pure you have become.

Sripada Maharaja’s Manifest Lila Overview

Sripada Maharaja appeared in a Gaudiya Vaishnava family in Manipur, India. He was a naishtika bramachari and was always absorbed in the Rasa Lila performances that he grew up with in Manipur. From the first day Sripada Maharaja met Srila Prabhupada in Los Angeles in 1970 to his last manifest days on Vijay Dasami 2006, every minute of his life was dedicated to carry out Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. Srila Prabhupada gave more personal instructions to Sripada Maharaja than to any other disciple.

In the picturesque valley of Manipur, in a village known as Toubul, a beautiful child was born on Thursday, December 9th, 1937, to Sri Yogendra Singh and Srimati Keinahanbi Devi. Being Vaishnavas, they named their child Damodara, one of the holy names of Lord Sri Krishna. Sri Yogendra Singh was a devotional singer in the Nata Sankirtan tradition. From the very moment of Damodara’s appearance in this world, his father, Sri Yogendra filled his ears with the devotional sounds of the holy names and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Srimati Keinahanbi Devi, Sri Yogendra’s faithful wife and Damodara’s loving mother, also provided her son with a spiritual atmosphere of remembrance of and reverence for Lord Sri Krishna.

The Second World War greatly affected the quiet and peaceful valley of Manipur. It created many difficulties for the people of Manipur and forced Damodara to face a series of unfortunate incidents. In the early summer of 1945, the concluding phase of World War II wreaked its havoc on the villages of Manipur. Damodara was a mere child of seven years when circumstances compelled his family to uproot from their humble and peaceful valley home. Damodara’s father A Brief Sketch of Maharaja’s Childhood and Student Life brought his family to a barrack on the bank of the Yangoi River, which runs into Loktak Lake, in order to shelter them from the bombs and other dangers of warfare. Not long after relocating to the barrack Damodara’s father abruptly passed away of typhoid.

The war eventually came to an end, and shortly thereafter, by the will of Providence, Damodara was separated from his mother and two sisters and went to live with an uncle. His uncle was very poor and struggling to pay even the medical expenses of his daughter who was seriously ill. Although only a child, young Damodara could see his uncle’s helpless economic situation and not wanting to be a burden on anyone Damodara insisted that he be allowed to live alone. His uncle was reluctant, yet due to his financial condition he was obliged to consent.

At the age of twelve, Damodara was living on his own, depending on the income from the cultivation of the paddy field left to him by his father. Working in the fields to maitan himself, Damodara could not find the time to devote to his studies. Young Damodara faced all these difficulties with great courage and determination. He was never heard to complain about anything.

A couple of years later, by the loving effort of Sri Yadav Singh, Damodara’s primary school teacher, arrangements were made for Damodara to be taken care of by a distant uncle, Sri Kerani Singh. Sri Kerani Singh was a colleague of Sri Yadav Singh and he showed Damodara much affection and took care of his every need. At that time, being fully provided for, Damodara was able to resume his studies. His teachers found him to be a bright, diligent, sincere, humble and dedicated student. They all loved him dearly.

When Damodara was fourteen years old he became seriously ill with typhoid. The village physicians unanimously announced that Damodara would soon die. However, by the mercy of Sri Krishna, under the care of his uncle and a naturopathic doctor from the city of Imphal, Damodara, after fasting for forty days and drinking only whey, miraculously recovered.

From his early childhood Damodara was very attracted to hearing the pastimes of the Lord. On one occasion he spent the entire night watching the Divine Rasa Lila dance and consequently missed his final examination of 5th standard mathematics, which took place the following day. He would also regularly participate in the Deity worship of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and Sri Sri Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra Who were installed in his village’s local temple.

Being a diligent student, in 1957, Damodara passed his matriculation exam in the first division. Damodara then started college at D. M. College, one of the most prestigious colleges in Imphal, Manipur. He obtained his senior secondary education in 1959, and graduated with First Class Honors in Chemistry in 1961. He later acquired his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology in 1963 and further obtained his Master of Technology degree in Pharmaceutical Science from Calcutta University in 1964. Shortly thereafter, Damodara was awarded an overseas scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Government of India, to further his studies in the United States.

A Momentous Meeting with Srila Prabhupada

In 1969, Damodara was a student at the University of California, Irvine, doing his Ph.D. research in Physical Organic Chemistry. One day, the secretary of the chemistry department handed a telegram from India to Damodara informing him that his mother had passed away. He had not seen her for more than four years and was unaware that his mother was suffering from any ill health, so the news was unexpected. He wanted to return to India in order to perform her shraddha or funeral ceremony, but he had no money for his flight to India. However, he managed to borrow some funds from the University and made arrangements to leave for India. Just before leaving, he received a letter from his uncle, Sri Kerani Singh, advising him not to return to India for the shraddha ceremony. His uncle wrote, “Being a Vaishnava, you should lament neither for the living nor for the dead.” His uncle reminded Damodara that the body is temporary but the soul is eternal. Sooner or later there will be a time for everyone to leave this temporary body, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita. He instructed Damodara not to waste any time worrying about the temporary body, but to concentrate on his studies and return to India after graduation and that he would arrange for the shraddha ceremony. So, Damodara cancelled his ticket to India but at the same time began to lose interest in his studies. He spent the succeeding nights meditating on the flickering nature of this material world. In life, incidents that act as a catalyst for introspection and inquiry about the purpose of life happen to individuals by the inconceivable mercy of the Supreme Lord. In this regard Srila Prabhupada states, “...it is a special reasoning power to inquire ‘Why am I suffering’? This is special reasoning. …Bhagavad-gita says, out of many thousands, someone may develop this reasoning power... When there is some impetus to awaken this reasoning power, it is called brahma jijnasa.” This is confirmed in the first verse of the Vedanta Sutra, which asserts that this human form of life is meant for asking the questions of what is the Absolute Truth and how to solve the problems of suffering.

Hearing the sad news of his mother’s passing, Damodara’s friend, Dr. Ravindra Pratap Rao, came to see him. Dr. Rao suggested that they go for a drive. They drove along the Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach and upon arrival began to take a walk. While walking along the coast they saw some ISKCON devotees chanting Harinam Sankirtan. Out of curiosity, they followed the devotees to find out their destination. One of the devotees noticed them following the Sankirtan party and stopped to invite Damodara and Dr. Rao to the local ISKCON temple in Laguna Canyon. The devotee explained to them that everyday they were performing chanting of Lord Krishna’s Holy Names and partaking in delicious sanctified food offered to Lord Krishna. He asked them to visit the temple and join them in the singing, dancing and feasting programs.

The following day, Dr. Rao went to the temple alone and on his return reported to Damodara that the devotees were wonderful and everything in the temple was pleasant. Everyday Dr. Rao urged Damodara to accompany him to the temple. Damodara, citing his academic pressure, declined each time. One day Dr. Rao told him that he had learned that Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, was staying in Los Angeles and he said, “Let us go and see Srila Prabhupada in Los Angeles tomorrow.” However, Damodara refused, saying that he was extremely busy in his academic work and could not go with him. Nevertheless, Damodara encouraged Dr. Rao and requested him to report about the visit. Dr. Rao drove to Los Angeles and when he reached the temple, because he was a stranger, he was not allowed to see Srila Prabhupada. Dr. Rao told Damodara, “I was extremely disappointed. I decided to wait in my car and pray to Lord Sri Krishna. A little later, a devotee came and informed me that Prabhupada wanted to see me. I felt my prayer to Lord Sri Krishna had been heard and immediately went to Srila Prabhupada’s room. When Prabhupada saw me, he said, ‘You have been sent by Lord Krishna. I have been praying to Lord Krishna to send me at least one Indian boy to help me in my mission. Krishna has sent you to me.’” Dr. Rao then again requested Damodara, “Let us go tomorrow to see Srila Prabhupada”. Damodara again declined. This incident recurred for a few days – Dr. Rao would go and meet Srila Prabhupada and on returning would request Damodara to join him the following day. Damodara would refuse to go and see Srila Prabhupada on the plea that he was busy with his studies. Finally, one day, Dr. Rao presented Damodara with an ultimatum, saying, “If you do not accompany me tomorrow morning to see Srila Prabhupada I will never come and see you again in this lifetime. Our friendship will be finished forever.” Damodara was surprised at his friend’s seriousness. He did not have a good opinion of the Indian Swamijis in the USA having heard of some of their activities. He wrongly thought that Srila Prabhupada would also be like them. However, out of friendship he decided to accompany Dr. Rao the next day. Something similar to this took place before Srila Prabhupada’s first meeting with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Srila Prabhupada later recounted the event, “…in 1922 I met my Guru Maharaja through the insistence of my intimate friend, Mr. Narendranath Mullick. I did not wish to go, but my friend forced me. He told me, ‘There is a nice sadhu. Let us go and see him.’ I did not like these sadhus in those days due to my national spirit. So I said, ‘I have seen many sadhus. They used to come to my father’s house. I was not very pleased with their behavior.’ But my friend dragged me forcibly saying: ‘No, I have heard this person speak and he is very exalted.’ So I went.” (Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita).

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krishnaa-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija

"According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service." (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 19.151)

In this regard, Srila Prabhupada mentions in his purport of the Srimad Bhagavatam, verse 2.2.30, “A sincere soul is helped by the Lord through meeting a bona-fide spiritual master, the representative of the Lord. By the instruction of such a spiritual master, one gets the seed of bhakti-yoga.” This meeting of the prospective disciple and spiritual master is not an ordinary encounter. It is by the divine arrangement of the Supreme Lord.

That night Dr. Rao slept in Damodara’s apartment. Both of them woke up at 4:00 A.M., took their baths and drove to the Los Angeles temple. On the way, Dr. Rao revealed that he was going to be initiated that morning by Srila Prabhupada. Damodara surprised by the sudden change in his friend’s life asked, “Will you shave your head? Will you wear a saffron dhoti in the lab?" Dr. Rao replied, "It would be my pleasure". Damodara was struck by his friend's determination, enthusiasm and sincerity. He said, "I admire your great courage. You must be blessed by Srila Prabhupada."

Damodara clicks his first glimpse of Srila Prabhupada as Dr.Rao looks on

They reached the temple in Culver City. Srila Prabhupada was just leaving for his morning walk. He returned from his morning walk after about an hour. He took darshan of the Deities and sat on the Vyasasana. Damodara was standing near the Deities, facing Srila Prabhupada, exactly opposite the Vyasasana. Damodara and Srila Prabhupada looked intently at each other's eyes for a few moments. Srila Prabhupada started singing - Sri-krishnachaitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadigaura- bhakta-vrinda. Damodara's mind was captivated by Srila Prabhupada's sweet, melodious and intense devotional singing. Immediately after the song, the initiation ceremony commenced. Dr. Rao was initiated and was given the spiritual name, Ramananda Ray Dasa. Srila Prabhupada went to his room after the ceremony.

Ramananda Ray said to Damodara, "Let us go upstairs to Srila Prabhupada's room and see him." At this time, Damodara became both eager and enthusiastic to see Srila Prabhupada.

Ramananda Ray had carte blanche for entering Srila Prabhupada's room. Srila Prabhupada had given the instruction that whenever Ramananda Ray came, he could come to his room. After entering Srila Prabhupada's room they both sat before him. Ramananda Ray introduced Damodara to Srila Prabhupada informing him that Damodara was from Manipur and was currently working on his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. Srila Prabhupada was extremely happy and remarked, "Manipuri people are descendents of Babhruvahana, the son of Arjuna. They have been Vaishnavas since the time of the Pandava's and Manipuri kings have established Sri Krishna temples in Vrindavan, Radhakund, Nabadvip, etc." Srila Prabhupada appreciated the Vaishnava culture of Manipur, especially its devotional music and dance based on Sri Krishna's pastimes. Srila Prabhupada then asked Damodara, "Being born in a Vaishnava family, why did you come here, crossing the ocean?"

Ramananda Roy introduces Damodara to Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada added, "You, young scholars and students, have come here to the U.S.A. as beggars to beg scientific knowledge and dollars. But I have not come here to beg. I have come here to give the Americans something very valuable, which they do not have - Bhagavata Culture. Why don't you do the same as I am doing? Why are you simply taking?

Why don't you also give something?" This statement by Srila Prabhupada to Damodara, at their very first meeting, affected him greatly and is similar in nature to the statement made by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur to Srila Prabhupada upon their first meeting - the instruction to present Bhagavata Culture to the Western countries.

After that momentous meeting Damodara started visiting Srila Prabhupada in Los Angeles almost every day and after a short period of time he received spiritual initiation. At the time of initiation, Srila Prabhupada gave him the spiritual name, Svarupa Damodara Dasa. Later, after taking sannyasa initiation the prefix Bhakti was added and since that time he has been known as Sripada Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Maharaja.

The ISKCON Los Angeles temple is known as New Dwarka and it served as Srila Prabhupada's headquarters in the 1970s. While visiting Srila Prabhupada in Los Angeles, Maharaja began to ask him questions on subjects such as 'What is the nature of this material world? What is the nature of life? What is the Absolute Truth?' Whenever a sincere spiritual aspirant of the Absolute Truth meets a genuine spiritual master, this type of inquiry is natural. Srimad Bhagavatam recounts the story of Vidura meeting his spiritual master, Maitreya Muni, where Vidura similarly inquired from Maitreya Muni about the nature of life and the universe. Srila Prabhupada elaborates on this in his purport of the Bhagavad-gita verse 7. 3, where he says, "There are various grades of men, and out of many thousands, one may be sufficiently interested in transcendental realization to try to know what is the self, what is the body, and what is the Absolute Truth."

Shortly after his initiation, Sriman Ramananda Ray Dasa moved to Gorakhpur, India and opened an ISKCON center. Unfortunately he left this world in 1976.

Maharaja is eternally grateful to Sriman Ramananda Ray Prabhu for his spiritual friendship and for having introduced him to Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada personally made Sripada Maharaja the GBC and International Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute. The Bhaktivedanta Institute is a preaching institute for making scientific presentations of Krishna Consciousness. As International Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, Sripada Maharaja organized four major International conferences (Mumbai, San Francisco, Calcutta & Rome), exposing leaders of the scientific community to the Bhagavata viewpoint. He organized hundreds of seminars and symposiums and personally met with and interviewed several Nobel Laureates, statesmen and leading thinkers of the world. Sripada Maharaja opened what is now the ISKCON Tirupati temple as the first Bhaktivedanta Institute center. Sripada Maharaja published dozens of books on science and spirituality. This year, in order to satisfy Srila Prabhupada who asked him, ‘You are a scientist, prove scientifically that God is a Person’, he published a book entitled, ‘God is a Person’ containing his dialogue with two of the world’s most prominent Nobel Laureates. Today, Sripada Maharaja is recognized in all the major scientific and religious circles of the world and is considered to be one of the leading authorities on ‘Science and Spirituality’. Sripada Maharaja also wrote a scientific commentary on the first four verses of the Vedanta Sutra, which are the summary of the whole Vedanta Sutra. He also edited and published ‘Savijnanam’, the journal of the Bhaktivedanta Institute.

Sripada Maharaja inaugurated and is constructing the marvelous jewel-like temple in Manipur, which he named ‘The University of Bhagavata Culture’. He also established the Ranganiketan Manipuri Cultural Arts Troupe, for the purpose of cultural preaching. Through Ranganiketan, the Bhagavata culture has been presented throughout the world in venues not generally accessible by traditional preaching methods. Sripada Maharaja is the founder and director of Bhaktivedanta Institute Mission Schools as well as the Sri Krishna Mission School in North-Eastern India that have over 3,000 students. He also opened a Nature Cure Hospital in Manipur for devotees.

Sripada Maharaja gave some of his time to the important subject of inter-religious dialogue. In this line, he participated in hundreds of scientific and religious, peace-making and inter-religious conferences around the world. He is a global council member (Trustee) of the United Religions Initiative (URI), one of the largest inter-religious organizations in the world.

Once when Sripada Maharaja was asked by one of his God-brothers, ‘Could you please tell us one thing about Srila Prabhupada that you remember most prominently?’ Sripada Maharaja responded that when anyone was in the presence of Srila Prabhupada, they always felt Srila Prabhupada’s overwhelming sense of concern for them. Sripada Maharaja had numerous disciples throughout the world and he was always equally concerned for all of them. He had an open door policy with his disciples and friends. Tirelessly and mercifully he was and will always be giving himself to those who seek his shelter.

Sripada Maharaja was constantly traveling in order to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to him. He has left with his disciples many instructions, both general and personal to facilitate the Seva to Srila Prabhupada. Sripada Maharaja will continue to guide his sincere disciples in serving Srila Prabhupada.

Sripada Maharaja’s disappearance has been as glorious as his life. It is not possible for us to properly glorify him in this brief account, nor would it be possible for us to list the numerous instructions he has left with his followers. We pray that what we have written will remove any misconceptions or misinformation that has been recently published on the internet, by providing a first hand account of Sripada Maharaja’s transcendental disappearance. We have also included a brief overview of his Seva to Srila Prabhupada for the pleasure of the devotees.

A couple of years ago his disciples published a book called ‘Bhagavata Sevarpanam’ which depicts in greater detail the ways Sripada Maharaja is fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to him. If devotees are interested they may contact the Bhaktivedanta Institute, Kolkata, to acquire a copy.

Sripada Maharaja has said that all of his Seva, whether it was the Bhaktivedanta Institute, cultural preaching, inter-religious dialogue, the Manipur temple, or traveling and preaching, they were all equal and simply his offering to Srila Prabhupada. We see all these activities as different petals of the lotus flower that Sripada Maharaja is offering to his divine master Srila Prabhupada.

We beg the mercy of the Vaishnavas that we can continue our service of assisting our beloved Guru Maharaja, Srila Sripada Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami, in his service to Srila Prabhupada. For us he has not left, but has simply decided to now give guidance to his sincere followers in a different manner than before.
All glories to Sripada Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami!
All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!
Hare Krishna!


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