The passing of Vrsabhanu das in Vrndavana
ISKCON VRNDAVANA: Vrsabhanu das (May 8, 1986 – August 11, 2012)
After a glorious Janmastami Celebration followed by an inspiring Vyasa Puja. honoring Srila Prabhupada’s Divine Appearance, devotees of ISKCON Vrndavana’s Krsna Balaram Mandir were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of young Vrsabhanu das, or “Bhanu” as he was lovingly known.
Only 26 years ago, his mother, a dedicated Bengali devotee named Brajanayika dd, had given birth to Vrsabhanu here in Vrndavana. He grew up around the influence of our Vrndavana Temple programs and developed into an enthusiastic participant of the 24 hour Kirtan. Bhanu was also a gifted flute player.
Vrsabhanu turned to the Holy Names of Krsna for protection and solace in various situations throughout his short life. He had a jovial nature and relished participating in the Krsna Balarama Temple Festivals. Vrsabhanu, a disciple of Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja, is survived by his mother Braja Nayika devi dasi, his brother Gauranga das, the grandmother and his 6 year old daughter Madhurika.
Vrsabhanu spent a majority of his childhood and adult life in Vrndavana. He was known and loved by the devotees for his gentle nature and humorous disposition. For some time, he worked in video editing and helped to shoot a video on Jagannatha Puri Dhama, Dwarka Dhama, and the animals of Vrndavana. He and Govinda das also captured footage of the Vrndavana Parikrama Path, videoed from a motorcycle! In the last years, he managed a restaurant every summer in the village of Kasol, located in the Parvati Valley of Himachal.
On Janmastami evening, he complimented his mother on how beautiful she looked and told her that he would be spending the entire night chanting with friends. They arrived at 8pm for the Janmastami Kirtan. Kirtaniya Gopal das remembers that Bhanu was in “good consciousness” and happy. Vrsabhanu played the karatals as they chanted shoulder to shoulder in the ecstatic Janmastami Kirtan until the Deity doors closed at 1 a.m.
The next morning, which was Nandotsava and Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Day, it is believed that Vishabhanu’s body was brought to the Ram Krishna Mission Hospital. His body was confirmed dead on arrival by the attending Dr. The cause of his death and surrounding details is as yet unknown and an investigation is pending.
On the afternoon of August 13, Vrndavana Temple president Panca Gauda das was informed about the tragic incident of Vrsabhanu’s passing. Deena Bandhu and Panca Gauda with other senior devotees immediately went to give comfort to Bhanu’s mother and grandmother.
Bhanu’s brother, Gauranga das, was already with Saranga Thakura das (from the Temple) to identify the body, initiate the subsequent medical examiner’s report and then ultimately, Gauranga travelled with the transport of Bhanu’s body from the morgue in Mathura to the Yamuna for cremation.
The assembled devotees softly chanted Hare Krsna so heartfully for four hours to give comfort to Bhanu’s mata and his 73 year old grandmother, who couldn’t understand “why Krsna took our Bhanu before me.” Some Prabhupada disciples from MVT stayed with Braja naika and her elderly mother until midnight while waiting for Gauranga’s return from the cremation.
The Vrndavana Temple arranged for many details to give proper care to Bhanu’s body as a loving service to the family, as well as arranging for the practical details of the Yamuna cremation. On Wednesday, August 22, the Temple management and a group of devotees are arranging for a feast and memorial service for Vrsabhanu das.
The cause of death is still unknown. The family will pursue the medical examiner’s report and investigation. It is wonderful to see all the Vaisnavas coming together to support this grieving family at such a time of need.
Vrsabhanu was loved by devotees in Vrndavana and all over the world. Around the globe, there have been Kirtans offered in his name and for the welfare of his family. Please continue to pray for Bhanu’s mother, Braja Naika dd and his dear younger brother, Gouranga das, to have the strength to bear this loss and continue their journey in Krsna consciousness.
Respectfully on behalf of ISKCON VRNDAVANA