Basu Ghosh Das:
[pictures of our visit to Parjanya Maharaj Das at Surat at the above URLs]
On Saturday, December 17, 2011, long time ISKCON devotee Parjanya Maharaj Das left his body at ISKCON Surat. He was 80 years old.
Parjanya Maharaj Das, aka Ratilal Patel, was a motelier, who migrated to the United States of America, many years ago ā Iām not aware of the exact details - and ran a motel at Syracuse in āUpstateā New York State, for many years. He grew up at Navsari, 30 kilometers South of Surat, in South Gujarat.
It was in the USA that he came in touch with ISKCON devotees and that led to his taking initiation from within ISKCON from Satsvarupa Maharaj. He was known for accommodating devotees at his motel when they visited Syracuse, and for attending various ISKCON festivals in the East Coast (of the USA) area.
Later on he sold his motel and purchased another motel in Virginia, which he later on handed over to his son. He moved with his wife to Alachua, where he lived simply in a rented flat in the āAlachua villaā complex. He led a devotional retired life there, regularly attending ISKCON Alachua temple programs.
After a few years at Alachua, his wife, Lakshmidevi, passed away. He decided to donate all of his personal wealth to various ISKCON temples, after having provided for his children, and he moved to India, seven years ago. First he was residing for sometime at Dwarakadham. Then he moved to ISKCON Surat.
ISKCON Surat, located on the outskirts of Surat city, is situated on a plot of two and a half acres of land, right on the bank of the holy Tapati (locally known as āTaapiā) river ā the sister of the Yamuna river, the other daughter of the Sun god, Suryadev. The place is quite peaceful considering itās proximity to bustling Surat, now a city of between four to five million, housing Indiaās largest textile āmarketā ā more than one lakh (one hundred thousand) wholeale cloth (mostly synthetic, regrettably) sarees and dress material, shops.
Parjanya Maharaj Prabhu donated two million rupees (Rs. twenty lakhs) to the Dwaraka temple construction project of the late Mahavishnu Goswami (that temple was completed and inaugurated some 8 years ago). He also made generous contributions to ISKCONās major temples in Gujarat ā Surat, Ahmedabad and Baroda.
Earlier this year, he became ill with a stomach ailment that led to a surgical operation. During his recovery from that operation, due to weakness he had to use a āwalkerā to help him move about.
One day about a month back, he fell down while thus walking, and suffered a brain hemorrhage. He was hospitalized, operated upon, but then removed from life support and taken back to his room at ISKCON Surat. The hemorrhage paralyzed his left side. He was also unable to speak, and the doctors heavily sedated him.
Close to three weeks ago, Madhuha Das, of the āFestival of Indiaā ātraveling tentsā program, arrived at Ahmedabad, with the express intention of visiting Parjanya Maharaj Das, due to his health situation, which he was informed of when he met Jasomatinandan Prabhu at Vrindavan. Along with Jasomatinandan Prabhu, ISKCON Gujarat chief, they came to Baroda and I joined them on a short, overnight visit to Surat.
Parjanya Maharaj Prabhu was barely able to speak, could hardly recognize us, and his condition was pitiful. However, it was not known how long he would be able to pull on. He was able to chew and eat his meals and was not on IV drip nor receiving foodstuffs through a pipe, so we had hope that he might possibly recover.
However, he wasnāt to survive for long. His material body wasnāt fit for further life ā he had reached the end.
Devotees of ISKCON Surat performed his last rites. His son has arrived from the USA to perform the pinda daanam/shraadh and other vedic ceremonies related to the death of ones father.
We pray to Sri Sri Radha Damodar, the presiding Deities of ISKCON Surat, to bless his eternal soul with everlasting bhakti to Their divine feet!
Basu Ghosh Das: