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Disappearance of Sripad Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja

Monday, 02 October 2006 / Published in Editorial, GBC, In Memoriam / 14,240 views

Dear Devotees,

By the GBC Chairman 2006-2007

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

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the disappearance of Sripad Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja due to a massive cardiac arrest. He passed away around 12:15 am today, Monday, October 2nd, in Calcutta, Srila Prabhupada’s place of birth.

We the members and servants of the Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, express our profound bereavement on the passing of our dear Godbrother and fellow Governing Body Commissioner Sri Srimad Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja, the beloved disciple of ISKCON Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada gave special attention to Sripada Maharaja, even up to his last days in Vrindavana in November of 1977. He would sometimes refer to Sripada Maharaja affectionately as, “Our Dr. Svarupa Damodara” and “our scientist, Svarupa Damaodara”, and there were hours of conversations between Prabhupada and Sripada Maharaja.

Sri Srimad Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja dedicated his life to fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s order to spread Krishna consciousness throughout the world especially through the medium of the Bhaktivedanta Institute. Maharaja tirelessly worked to publish literature, develop relationships with leading scientists and organize elaborate conferences that brought the scientific community together to hear the message of Krishna Consciousness in a language they could appreciate. While doing that, he simultaneously established Krishna Consciousness in his native State of Manipur. He spread the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada throughout that area. He was always a gentle, humble soul who worked tirelessly in Srila Prabhupada’s service. Even at his advanced age, he was traveling the globe attending conferences, meeting top scientists, preaching at ISKCON temples and program. In this time of their great grief, we pledge ourselves to the service of his disciples and followers who are determined to carry on his great service to the mission of Srila Prabhupada.

Signed (on behalf of the GBC Body),

AC Bhaktivaibhava Swami
GBC Chairman 2006-2007


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    Gopijan Ballab das ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dandavat Pranam to all Vaishnavas,
    Please accept my humble obeisences. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    Please find the photo of Sripad Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja taken in
    Kolkata today. Kindly visit for details.

    Yhs/Gopijan Ballab das

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    Madhusudan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This kindhearted and dedicated servant of Srila Prabhupad will be missed in this earthly sphere. He is surely with our lord and master, Srila Prabhupad.

    Madhusudan ACBSP

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    Pita das ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    All Glories to His Holiness Srila Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja the dear son of Srila Prabhupada .Krishna has brought him home away from the danger of battle.Prehaps one of the most prefected of all of Srila Prabhupada disclips .
    Of all of the faith I process in Krishna and Srila Prabhupada I have the same faith that His Holiness Bhakti Svarupa Damodara is now serving them again directly .
    It is our greatest misfortune to lose the assoication of such a devottee.
    my humble obeisances at his Holy Feet.

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    Phalini devi dasi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    All glories to Srila Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Maharaja, the beloved spiritual son of Srila Prabhupada, and our dear Godbrother. We will miss his unbelievably sweet bhajans and his from-the-heart preaching. We are so proud of him for his work with the scientific community, and for spreading the rich Manipuri dance culture around the world. He left a sweet impression in our family’s memory–once when he was visiting our temple in Fullerton, California, he was sitting in our backyard taking prasadam. He looked over toward the house and asked, “Do you know you have a neem tree growing here?” We were so pleased to find out that there was a neem tree in our yard, and His Holiness Bhakti Svarup Damodar Maharaja revealed it to us! After that, when our son was born under that very neem tree, and whenever we used the bitter, medicinal leaves and berries of that tree or offered its beautiful flowers to our Deities, we always remembered Maharaja fondly for showing us that tree. He used to come to our house along with his Manipuri dancers back in the late 80’s, and it was always a pleasure hosting them. Our heartfelt condolences to all his disciples and beloved admirers. We honor him along with all of you at this time of your deep grief, and pray to Lord Krsna and Srila Prabhupada for your strength in continuing your Guru Maharaja’s great mission. Hare Krsna. Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
    Haripada dasa (ACBSP) and Phalini devi dasi (ACBSP)

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    varahanarasimha says:

    Dandavat pranams

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada

    In honor of Svarupa Damodara Maharaja entering the pastimes of Sri Krishna, I hope devotees will kindly take time to remember some of the famous moments he spend with Srila Prabhupada as recorded in “Life comes from life”.I say moments as in the face of eternal time they are moments.Srila Prabhupada instructed one devotee in Vrindavan in 1977, “Do not think this will not happen to you”.Ante Narayana smrti, the goal of life is to remember Krsna at the time of death.Srila Svarupa Damodara Maharaja certainly did this.Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote in his poem about Haridas Thakura

    He reasons ill who tells that Vaishnavas die
    When thou art living still in sound
    The Vaishnavas die to live and living try
    To spread the holy name around!

    your humble servant

    Payonidhi das

    The First Morning Walk:
    April 18, 1973

    Recorded on April 18, 1973,
    In Cheviot Hills Park, Los Angeles.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda is accompanied by Dr. Thoudam Dāmodara Singh, Karandhara dāsa adhikārī, Brahmānanda Svāmī and other students.

    Life on Other Planets

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Even on the sun and moon there are living entities. What is the opinion of the scientists?

    Dr. Singh: They say there is no life there.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is nonsense. There is life there.

    Dr. Singh: They say that there is no life on the moon because they did not find any there.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Why do they believe that? The moon planet is covered with dust, but within that dust the living entities can live. Every atmosphere is suitable for life—any atmosphere. Therefore the Vedas[1] describe the living entities as sarva-gataḥ, which means “existing in all circumstances.” The living entity is not material. Although encaged in a material body, he is not material. But when we speak of different atmospheres, we refer to different material conditions.

    Karandhara: They say that the moon’s atmosphere is unsuitable for life, but all they can legitimately say is that it is unsuitable for life as they know it.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: The Vedas say that the living entity has no connection with material things. He cannot be burned, cut, dried up or moistened. This is discussed in Bhagavad-gītā.[2]

    Dr. Singh: Scientists extend their knowledge about life on this planet, thinking that it must apply to life on other planets also.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. They are thinking foremost of their own selves. They are thinking limitedly, in terms of their own circumstances. This is what we call “Dr. Frog’s philosophy. [Laughter.]

    Once there was a frog in a well, and when a friend informed him of the existence of the Atlantic Ocean, he asked the friend, “Oh, what is this Atlantic Ocean?”

    “It is a vast body of water,” his friend replied.

    “How vast? Is it twice the size of this well?”

    “Oh, no—much, much larger,” his friend replied.

    “How much larger? Ten times the size?” In this way, the frog went on calculating. But what is the possibility or ever understanding the vastness of the great ocean in this way? Our faculties, our experience, and our powers of speculation are always limited. The speculations of the scientists only give rise to such frog philosophy.

    Karandhara: The basis of what they call “scientific integrity” is that they talk only about what they can directly experience.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: You may talk about your experience, and I may talk about my experience. But why should I accept your experience? You may be a fool, so why should I also become a fool? You may be a frog, but suppose I am a whale. Why should I take your well as all in all? You have your method of acquiring scientific knowledge, and I have mine.

    Dr. Singh: Because the scientists haven’t detected any water on the surface of the moon, they’ve concluded that no life could survive there.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: They haven’t seen the whole surface of the moon. Suppose someone were to come here from another planet, drop into the Arabian Desert and then return home. Could he come to a complete conclusion about the nature of the whole earth? His knowledge would not be complete.

    Karandhara: They have a device that senses water. They say they’ve had it orbit the moon, and they’ve concluded that the moon has no water and therefore no life.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Even if, as on the sun, there is apparently no water, still there are living entities there. How does a cactus grow in the desert, apparently without water?

    Karandhara: It gets water from the atmosphere.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, because the atmosphere contains all the elements needed to sustain life: earth, water, fire, air and ether. In anything material, all these elements are present. For example, in my body there is water, although you cannot see it. Similarly, you don’t see fire in my body, yet my body is warm. Where does this warmth come from? You don’t see any fire. Do you see any fire burning in my body? Then where does the warmth come from? What is the answer?

    The Universe in the Atom

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: All matter is a combination of five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) and three subtle elements (mind, intelligence and false ego).

    Karandhara: According to the Vedic science, material energy begins with the false ego and then develops into the intelligence, then the mind and then the gross elements—ether, air, fire and so on. So the same basic ingredients are present in all matter. Is this right?

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. The creation of the material universe is like the growth of a great banyan tree[3] from a tiny seed. No one can see the tree within the seed, but all the necessary ingredients for the tree are there, including the required intelligence. Actually, everyone’s body is simply a sample universe. Your body and my body are different universes, small universes. Therefore, all eight material elements are present within our bodies, just as they are within the whole universe. Similarly, an insect’s body is another universe.

    Karandhara: How about the atom?

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: The same formula applies: all these constituents are within the atom. Aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1.2.20). This means that whether something is extremely large or infinitesimal, it is still made of the same basic elements. This is true everywhere in the material world. Just as a woman’s small watch has all the requisite machinery for its smooth functioning, so an ant has all the necessary brain substance to manage its affairs nicely. How is this possible? To answer this properly, you must minutely examine the brain tissues in the ant. But this you cannot do. Moreover, there are innumerable insects smaller than the ant. So there must be a mechanical arrangement for all this detailed activity, but scientists cannot discover it.

    Relativity and Knowledge

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: All living entities possess the required intelligence to execute four principles: eating, sleeping, sexual intercourse and defense. These four principles exist even in the atom. The only difference in the human being is that he has the extra intelligence with which to understand God. This is the difference. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca samānam etat paśubhir narāṇām. Eating, sleeping, sex life and defense are to be found everywhere. You have seen trees growing. Wherever there is a knot, the bark does not go this way; it goes that way. [Śrīla Prabhupāda gestures to show that a tree’s bark grows not over a knot, but around it.] The tree has intelligence: “If I go this way, I will be blocked, so I will go that way.” But where are its eyes? How can it see? It has intelligence. That intelligence may not be as good as yours, but it is intelligence. Similarly, a child also has intelligence, though not as developed as his father’s. In due course of time, when the child gets a body like that of his father, the child’s intelligence will be fully developed and exhibited.

    Dr. Singh: Then intelligence is relative.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Everything is relative. You have your body, your duration of life, and your intelligence, and the ant has his. Both we and the ant live for one hundred years, but the length of our hundred-year life-span is relative to our bodies. Even Brahmā, the longest-living entity in this universe, lives for one hundred years. To us the ant’s life-span may seem only a few days. In the same way, on other planets with atmospheres different from the earth’s, there are life-forms suited to those conditions. But the scientists try to view everything according to the relative conditions of planet earth. This is nonsense. Why are they doing that? If the whole cosmic manifestation follows the law of relativity, how can the scientist say that the conditions of this planet must apply to life on other planets? The Vedas instruct us that knowledge must always be considered in terms of deśa-kāla-pātra. Deśa means “circumstances,” kāla means “time,” and pātra means “the object.” We must understand everything by taking these three elements into consideration. For example, a fish is living very comfortably in the water, and we are shivering on the shore of the sea. This is because my deśa-kāla-pātra and the fish’s deśa-kāla-pātra are different. But if we conclude that the sea gulls will also shiver in the water, that is nonsense; their deśa-kāla-pātra is again different. There are 8,400,000 different species of life in the material cosmic manifestation, and each species must adjust to circumstances differently. Even on this planet, you cannot go live comfortably in Alaska, although it is America. Similarly, the living entities enjoying life in Alaska do not come here.

    Karandhara: Relativity, then, is based upon our individual situation.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Therefore it is said that what is food for one is poison for another.

    Brahmānanda Swami: Because scientists cannot survive on the moon, they think no one else can.

    The 8.6-Billion-Year Day

    Dr. Singh: The problem with the world is that practically everyone is thinking only in terms of his own circumstances—and that is nonsense.

    Student: Someone who has never gone out of his village thinks that his village is the whole world.

    Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. The frog is always thinking in terms relative to his well. He has no power to think otherwise. The ocean is great, but he is thinking of the ocean’s greatness in terms relative to his own greatness. Similarly, God is great, but we are thinking of God in terms of relative greatness, greatness relative to our own. There are certain insects that are born at night, and they grow, bear offspring and die—all before daybreak. They never see the morning. So if they conclude that there is no morning, that is nonsense. In the same way, as soon as we hear from the śāstras [revealed scriptures] that Brahmā’s duration of life is equivalent to millions of our years, we do not believe it. We say, “How can it be?” But Bhagavad-gītā (8.17) says, sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ: “Four billion three hundred million earth years equal Brahmā’s twelve hours.” Even a leading Indian politician who was known as a great scholar of the Gītā could not accept this information. He said it is mental speculation. Such a rascal! Yet he is passing as an important scholar. This is the problem. Rascals and fools are passing as scholars, scientists and philosophers, and therefore the whole world is being misguided.

  6. 0
    herbart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Truly sorry about the passing of His Grace Svarupa Damodar Maharaj. Every time that I saw him, he was always smiling. I will miss him. Some how or other, I think I will see him again. ys Gour Hari das

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    srimati.dd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    All glories to HH Bhakti Svarup Damodara Maharaj and his immense contribution to the service of his spiritual master through his preaching in the scientific circles. All glories to this wonderful humble Vaisnava and may his disciples and close associates have the strength to cope through this time of grief.

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    JALEBI Music ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I remember HH Bhakti Svarup Damodara Maharaj with great admiration and respect for his very intelligent and Krsna conscious use of the knowledge contained in Vedic science to encourage materialistic scientists to at least consider spiritual or “metaphysical” energy and concepts as intrinsic parts of the human experience. These spiritual concepts are so important that they not only complement the human experience but actually define and ultimately give true meaning to our human existence.

    Several years ago I had the honor of interviewing HH Bhakti Svarup Damodara Maharaj twice when I was engaged in devotional service at Radio Krsna Central in Italy. I was very impressed that he did not need to speak with notes in order to explain highly elevated subject matters and was nevertheless still able to speak in such a simple, clear and concise way that our translator was able to make our listeners understand and appreciate the basic points of Vedic science and its application to the world in which we live……without any difficulty! It was truly amazing!

    >p>I also remember that HH Bhakti Svarup Damodara Maharaj blessed my service and Radio Krsna Centrale by saying that we were using technology and science in a positive and correct way….to spread transcendental sound vibrations around the globe. He further encouraged us to broadcast programs that spoke about Vedic science in simple and interesting ways to attract those who are intellectually inclined towards science…… to help bring them to Krsna consciousness …..and by following his suggestion and advice we did!

    All glories to HH Svarupa Damodara Maharaja and his transcendental service!

    Your humble servant,
    MiraBai Devi Dasi

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    Hari Jaganath ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    All Glories to His Grace Bhakti Svarup Damodhar Maharaj
    Please Accept My Humble Obeisance’s At Your Lotus Feet

    My Dear Maharaj, when the news of your passing reached my ears I immediately felt a void in my heart. Your lila on this planet at such an opportune time could not have been by accident. As an ambassador to our Our Jagad Guru Srila Prabhupad, you have done so much to prove through your scientific processes that Krishna is God. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is definitely satisfied with your accomplishments.

    Even though we understand that the Vaishnavas never die, your separation is deeply felt by all. This unfortunate soul is totally indebted to Vaishnavas like good yourself.

    Every time I hear your melodious voice on your KRSNAPREMA- TARANGINI, I would offer my dandavats at your Lotus Feet.

    Thank You Maharaj

    Your Eternal Servant

    Harry Jaganath, Edison, New Jersey

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    Luxshmi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear Hari Jaganath Prabhuji

    Hare Krishna! PAMHO AGTSP and Srila Sripad Maharaj!

    I can very much relate to your emotions. This unfortunate soul here was very much inspired by Maharaj’s Krsnaprema Tarangini and that was how my longing to meet him increased over a period of two years after which i finally met him in 2004.

    I had the opportunity to talk to Guru Maharaj three weeks ago and he was so happy and enthusiastic. I have not yet taken shelter of his lotus feet, but over the past four years, i was totally inspired and strengthened by his mercy and his wonderful presence in my life.

    Even on Sunday evening, i was listening to Krsnaprema Tarangini and i was looking forward so much to seeing Maharaj in Puri next month.

    As i said, i can relate to your void and most certainly feel very very insignificant to have received Maharaj’s mercy in my life. I knew i wasn’t worthy of it in any way but he still gave his mercy without hesitation. That mercy will most certainly keep me going in remembering Maharaj’s teachings.

    Jai Srila Sripad Maharaj!

    Your unworthy servant
    Luxshmi, Singapore

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    mpcd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear Sripad Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja

    I am another unfortunate soul who laments your passing. I have had only brief moments with you. I was present at some kirtans sung by you and later also present at a small lecture you gave in Bangalore at a devotee’s house. Your style was so warm and personal. You were so humble and also urging everyone to take up scientific preaching and do good to others.
    You appeared so shy and humble but when you had to smash a point you were fierce. Your devotion to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON is so wonderful and the achievements in organising such wonderful conferences and giving recognition to ISKCON in scientific circles is legendary. We have lost a great general but I pray that inspired by you and recognising your desires all other devotees will double their efforts.

    I pray that by the mercy of your lotus feet, I too may do some service to your cause.

    Your humble servant in service to Guru and Gauranga
    Mahaprabhu Caitanya Das JPS

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    Gauranataraj das ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Scientific Basis of Krishna Consciousness was the first ISKCON book I read and immediately decided to join ISKCON. I am eternally grateful to Srila Bhaktiswarup Damodar Maharaj for showing me the path to Krishna Consciousness.
    I did not have the foresight to personally go and thank His Holiness.

    Later, after many years I sent him an email via another devotee because I was not able to get his email address. I was hoping that one day I would be able to personally thank him. Now I have been deprived of that opportunity.

    I offer my dandavat pranams and thank him for his years of tireless service to Srila Prabhupad and ISKCON and for being my patpradarshak guru.

    Gauranataraj das

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    vallabha ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear Bhakti Swarupa Damodara Swami!
    Please accept my most humble obeisance in the dust of your lotus feet.
    All glory to Srila Prabhupada!

    Only I know the extent of love and affection that I felt towards you. The day before yesterday I was heard that you have left your body and went back to Krsna. I was moved to tears when I heard this news. I was both awestruck and dumbfounded. I did not want to believe it. But this is the bitter reality. I have the most compassion towards your disciples, who are selflessly preaching all over the world. Especially to those twenty disciples who are currently preaching in Iran. They love you so much and they missed your association the most. Iran is very fanatic country and you, in order to cross the border and preach the glory of Krsna, had to change from your sannyasi clothes to a karmy outfit and thus enter the country. In his time, Srila Prabhupada said that he would gladly take the dist from the feet of those devotees who distribute the glory and opulence of Krsna in Muslim countries and place it upon his head. You could not legally preach in Iran, because by the law of this country, only Islam can be preached on the Iranian soil. Nonetheless, you were doing it and Krsna was assisting you, like He assists all those, who desire to preach of His glory and opulence. All the devotees and I, are most grateful to you for performing such sacrifices. You left this world and for you it’s just a change of body. Now, you received the spiritual body and already enjoying the association of Lord Krsna. But your disciples lost their spiritual master, who was both their teacher and their friend.
    I first saw you in 2003 in Denver. When I first laid my eyes upon you, it happened in a house of a devotee, I thought that I actually saw Srila Prabhupada. You looked so much like him! You height, you complexion, your smile, the educated way you talked about Krsna, your kindness and simplicity reminded me of His Divine Grace. You were such a learned preacher. All the questions about God you answered not only from a spiritual point of view, but also supported your answers with scientific facts. I both saw and had the privilege to associate with many spiritual masters, who were sannyasis. Being in the presence of each and every one of them filled my heart with joy, but you left such unforgettable emotions in my heart of hearts. I fell in love with exalted vaisnava that is you, from the first time I saw you. It is impossible not to love you. Srila Prabhupada himself lovingly called you “My learned Damodara” and that means a lot. I am very grateful to you that you sanctified the soil of Baku with the touch of your lotus feet. All the devotes from Baku temple offer you their humble obeisance. They will always remember you, your nectar-filled kirtans and your especially sweet melody that you sung for them right before they went to take their rest for the night.
    I can not understand the actions of those people who sought bodily harm to the devotees during the Janmastami Festival in Mayapur. This shows just how fast the Age of Kali progresses and just how repulsive this material world is. As Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami said “This world is no place for an educated man. It needs to be abandoned as fast as possible”. Your departure proves and illustrates this statement.
    The same feeling of pain in separation, which you felt after the departure of Srila Prabhupada, is now felt by all your disciples. I offer my obeisance and a ‘Hare Krsna’ to all of them. I pray to the Supreme Lord to give them all the strength that is needed to bear the pain of separation with you. We will always miss your association, both like a vaisnava and an experienced mridanga player.
    I am grateful to you for organizing a group of expert mridanga players among your disciples. Mridanga is an instrument that Lord Sri Gauranga held in His hands and blessed it. You were able to show us the grandeur of this with your intricate knowledge of this instrument. Your Divine Grace glorifies the greatness and lilas of Krsna Himself by your sweet singing. Only a true vaisnava can give us a gift of a pure name of the Lord. And only after this vaisnava departs, one can realize what the association of the said vaisnava meant for him and what he had lost.
    As Srila Bhaktisiddhanta also said “Who said that a vaisnava dies? After his death, he lives and when he lives, he spreads the glory of the Lord…”

    You eternal servant,
    Vallabha Candrica devi dasi.

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    Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear god family, Please accept our most humble obeisances at your lotus feet.

    All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga. It is with great shock that we received the sad news of H.H. Bhakti Svarup Damodara Swami’s departure from this sinful material world.

    Evidently, ISKCON has yet, again lost one of her foremost generals in the army of Lord Caitanya. This is a devastating blow that we all must have to bear, bearing in mind that Krishna is the ultimate cause of all causes.

    We say adieu to the great Swami and others who had lost their lives as a result of the grenade explosion, as they go back to rejoin Krishna in his eternal pastimes in the spiritual world.

    We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the Swamiji’s material relations, spiritual God brothers and sisters, disciples etc and the Vaisnava community in general and all those who had lost their relatives or dear ones as a result of the blast and pray for the quick recovery of those who were wounded and are in the hospital.

    Your humble servant,
    Bhakti Dhira Damodara swami on behalf of West African devotees.

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