Remembering Sadaputa Prabhu

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By Danavir Goswami

We are shocked and very sorry to hear of the sudden departure of Sriman Sadaputa dasa Adhikari (Dr. Richard L. Thompson).

His work in establishing Krishna consciousness through science was brilliant and effective. As a submissive disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Sadaputa Prabhu put aside all of his Western academics in favor of studying the Vedas and practicing their tenants. However, at the request of his spiritual master, he agreed to utilize his scientific education and sharp intellect for supplying supporting evidence to Vedic teachings. He ventured into many subjects-the soul, consciousness, the spiritual world, as well as refutations of commonly-held modern theories of evolution, the Big Bang Theory, etc.

It was Sadaputa Prabhu who fearlessly led many attacks against the godless myths in the form of so-called science. His writing and speaking were so eloquent that no one could defeat him. Once in 1984, we invited Sadaputa Prabhu to speak at the prestigious Eindhoven University in the Netherlands (home to many Phillips Corporation scientists). The topic of the lecture was “Consciousness,” and the audience was made up entirely of science professors, including the chancellor of the university, a reputed scientist himself. Sadaputa Prabhu used a slide show demonstration and explained each slide thoroughly. He presented a convincing argument in favor of consciousness being a component of a living being rather than an outcome of material interactions.

The audience was in rapt attention and quiet until the questions and answers period afterward. These professors contemplated every word he said and they were determined to dismantle his arguments. They asked questions like, “Dr. Thompson, are you familiar with the work done by such and such scientist in the field of such and such?” Everyone was amazed at how Sadaputa Prabhu knew all about every subject that was asked. Not only that but he was able to synthesize and critique the work under discussion in light of the superior Vedic conclusions.

By the time the questions were over, the audience was spellbound. The best of scientists were unable to find any holes in his presentationithey became completely silent. Following the discussion, a wondrous prasadam feast was served and everyone honored it with gusto. Several professors, including the chancellor, stayed on longer and asked Sadaputa Prabhu questions of a more personal nature. One question was, “Dr. Thompson, how should we deal with the question of evil.” Sadaputa Prabhu answered all the submissive inquiries to their full satisfaction. That was one of the most striking preaching engagements I have ever witnessed.

Sadaputa’s work of debunking Darwin’s Theory of Evolution will go down as one of the history’s greatest acts of scholarship and kindness to a misguided civilization. Seeing him featured on NBC television’s The Mysterious Origins of Man, hosted by Charlton Heston, was exhilarating beyond description.

In the 1970’s Sadaputa and I spent many an hour together discussing a preaching strategy-a traveling Vedic planetarium in a tent. We envisioned taking it to universities all over America. I hope that dream of ours can still take place.

Sadaputa had the unique ability to explain extremely complex scientific subjects in a manner that most moderately-educated laymen could understand. Sadaputa was our movement’s big artillery. When doubtful questions arose from new bhaktas, we sent them to Sadaputa. When science challenged the faith of the devotees, Sadaputa answered and answered with scientific authority as well as Vedic knowledge. Armed with transcendental knowledge and firm faith in guru and Krsna, Sadaputa was invincible.

That powerful preacher has departed and we are very, very sorry that we will no longer be able to see him thrashing the demoniac speculators, providing us inspiring insights into understanding the Vedas and fulfilling the desires of Srila Prabhupada with expertise. After the departure of Srila Prabhupada, Sadaputa served thirty years as a vital resource for discerning Vedic and Western sciences.

Sadaputa Prabhu, we thank you with great sincerity for being there when it was most needed.

Your servant and friend,
Danavir Goswami

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1 Japa Jim

Is there some reason why we are never given any explanation of how or why a Godbrother has passed away. Why is it that in these announcements of deaths that there is never given any explanation of how it happened. Is there something wrong with an explanation of how it happened?

Comment posted by Japa Jim on September 20th, 2008
2 pustakrishna

A man after the heart of Srila Prabhupad…he tried to use Krishna conscious vision to defeat materialistically determined Godlessness. Srila Prabhupad always felt that innocent people are being cheated by leaders in various fields, not the least of which is science. Sadaputa Prabhu, although I did not know him as a friend, I respected his passion to follow the example of Srila Prabhupad in exposing the misdirection offered by atheistic conceptions. You will no doubt be received with an embrace from His Divine Grace upon your arrival home, home sweet home, Sri Goloka Vrindaban. Hare Krishna.
Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on September 20th, 2008
3 Akruranatha

Wow. This is so sudden. I had no idea Sadaputa Prabhu was even in ailing health. I had lost touch with him over the years. How did it happen?

Did he have wife and children who survive him? I knew him when he was not married, but I heard later that he was married and living around Alachua.

He was truly a unique genius who applied his considerable intellect to proving the truth of Srila Prabhupada’s books. But everybody knows that.

When I was in college at the University of Maryland he came (around 1982) and gave a talk on his information theory work from “Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science.” My friends from the Philosophy department and their professors came to mock.

(We had advertised with flyers showing a monkey contemplating a human skull–a la Hamlet with Yorick’s skull– and Sadaputa told us he did not like the flyers, that it was a kind of anti-Darwinist cliche that suggested his talk would be unscientific. He would prefer some cutting edge scientific illustration — I forget the specific suggestion or its significance — some kind of crystal or something that illustrated some specific weakness in the mechanistic world view.)

Anyway, my friends and their professors, though still wedded to their atheistic ideologies, went away impressed. I think my friends were influenced and the professors were threatened. They knew he had to be wrong (their careers depended on it), but they could not figure out how, and they all had to admit he was brilliant (though one disgruntled Sociobiologist prof. was heard to mumble that he should stick to Mathematical Physics and leave Biology to Biologists. Hah! The cad.)

I later had the fortune of listening to his Bhagavatam classes at the Carl Street temple in San Francisco, and his talk on virtual reality and the mind-body connection at Stanford (which went very well).

(At the end of the Stanford talk, a man who could tell there was a religion behind this “philosophy” begged that he was terminally ill and wanted the straight answer. Sadaputa gave him Bhagavad Gita As It Is.)

I also enjoyed his books and videos on archeology, cosmology, UFOs, and BTG articles over the years. He left behind an impressive legacy. There must be many in the anti-Darwinism community and the UFO community and the Scientific Anamolies community who, though not devotees, have read and admired his books.

He was truly a unique force in the BI, a real shining light, and will be sorely missed.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on September 20th, 2008
4 Unregistered

Sadaputa Prabhu and I were at Cornell University during the same time period, although we did not really know each other. I was speaking with him several years later, at the Lake Huntington Gurukula, about how he came to Krsna Consciousness, and how he even finished his academic studies, knowing about Krsna and being surrounded by the “circus” that was Cornell in those days. He told me that when he began to see everything in existence as a product of wave function, he knew he was in trouble! He asked me if I remembered the BBT poster and book display at the Triangle Bookstore in the college town of Ithaca, and I told him that I did. He said that he felt his spiritual life began when he was in that store and one of the BBT posters had fallen over and that he had picked it up and fixed the display. He revealed to me that he had always, as far as he could remember, been attracted to Lord Caitanya, and that he would spend hours in the musty stacks of Olin library at Cornell studying anything related to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He felt that he intuitively knew which ones held some truth and which ones didn’t, but that nothing was giving him conclusive information. He finished his studies as he was very close to completion, but I left the university, seeing so much hypocrisy and having so many unanswered questions about the meaning of life. I joined the temple on Henry Street in Brooklyn, NY, and Sadaputa Prabhu began coming as a guest. As he related to me, he was cleaning the floor in the men’s prasadam room, and one of the brahmacaries greeted him with “Welcome to the sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu!” Sadaputa Prabhu, was thrilled. He exclaimed, “This is about Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu?” It all fell into place for him. He is already deeply missed. My love and condolences to his family.

Comment posted by Kamra devi dasi on September 20th, 2008
5 Unregistered

Dear Japa Jim,

That is exactly how I feel also. Sadaputa was an old friend of mine and I had just seen him in Alachua for Gaura Purnima. I am shocked to hear he passed away and it is disturbing to me not to have the slighest details.

It seems that Dandavats.com should make it a requirement to have a minimum of information when making a death announcement. I think the devotee community would appreciate that. Hare Krishna.

daso ’smi,

srutadeva das

Comment posted by Shrutadev on September 21st, 2008
6 Unregistered

I would like to pay my obeisances to Sriman Sadaputa Prabhu for all the wonderful association he gave me during his time here and I had often cherished to contact him lately to progress the work in Vedic Mathematics and Cosmology and the Planetarium and the Bhaktivedanta Institute. Krsna has now taken him away but many will follow in his footsteps. Jai Vaishnava Thakura!

Comment posted by karanodakasayi visnu on September 21st, 2008
7 Praghosa

Dandavats.com has been waiting for a more comprehensive report on the departure of Sadaputa prabhu. The choice we were faced with was whether to publish nothing at all or whether to publish his departure with scant details. I hesitate to write this in case of inaccuracy but as I understand it Sadaputa prabhu suffered a heart attack while swimming in a pool and either passed away directly as a result of that heart attack or as a result of drowning.

Your servant, Praghosa dasa.

Comment posted by Praghosa on September 21st, 2008
8 Administrator

Some more information can be found here.

Here are some more nice letters about Sadaputa Prabhu from Free Forum:

————————-

I am sad that Sripada Sadaputa Prabhu has become unmanifest from this
world. Before I joined ISKCON as a temple resident, I was grappling with
various considerations on “to do, or not to do”. But then I had got hold
of a book named “Mechanistic and nonmechanistic science” by Sadaputa
Prabhu. That book was one of the last few straws that broke the camel’s
back and I joined ISKCON fulltime and never regretted my decision.

I wish that Sadaputa Prabhu’s talks be made available on the Internet so
that the Vaishnava community can benefit from the vani of Sadaputa Prabhu.

Luckily _Mechanistic_ and _Vedic cosmography_ are still in print. Motilal
Banarsidass has published both of them. I’m happy about that. At least his
books have entered the mainstream market.

With regret, I beg to remain

A servant of the Vaisnavas,
Vidvan Gauranga dasa

—————————-

Anyone who hopes to emulate such geniuses as Sadaputa prabhu with a view to developing qualities like theirs has to serve, hear from and read their writings. I did render some service to him: In the mid-nineties he was invited by the director of the Birla Science Institute in Hyderabad to chair one of the sessions of a conference on “India Chronology”. Meeting him in the temple I became his research assistant, discovering and collecting the writings of Pt. Kota Venkatachelam, on the basis of which he wrote an article on Indian history according to its own sources for Back to Godhead magazine challenging the prevalent histories written by biased, speculative and irresponsible “indologists”. Later I urged Sadaputa prabhu to, as the director of a wing of BI, make a project of re-presenting Venkatachelam’s work: something that he was favourable to, but for lack or resources or otherwise, did not take up. His heart was more into attacking modern science with arguments from physics and chemistry. His appearance on ‘Mysterious Origins of man’ on NBC was so effective: thousands of calls after the show resulting in thousands of CDs of the show and copies of his powerful classic “The Hidden History of the Human Race” being sold… and the mighty NBC being threatened by rabid, hard-line materialists with having their broadcasting licence revoked!

All glories to Sadaputa prabhu.

Rasananda das

Comment posted by Administrator on September 21st, 2008
9 varahanarasimha

Sataputa Prabhu has shaken the materialists with his wonderful preaching and wonderful books. He is one of Srila Prabhupadas most intimate disciples because he fulfilled Srila Prabhupadas desire, to expose the many useless theories of the karmis,that life is created from matter, that other planets are lifeless, that human civilizations is only around 10,000 years old etc, his constribution to humanity is permanent as he was a true vaisnava:Srila Bhaktivinoda has glorified Haridas Thakura in this way;

“He reason ill who tells that Vaisnavas die When thou art living still in sound!The Vaisnavas die to live, and living try To spread the Holy Name around”

I offer my prostrated obaisences to Sadaputa Prabhu, and thank him for assisting Srila Prabhupada in such an amazing way to expose the atheists

your servant
Payonidhi das

Comment posted by varahanarasimha on September 21st, 2008
10 gargamuni

In 1982 my brother Kesisudana and I were new devotees, still living at home. Two of our friends had been deprogrammed and some of the ammunition the deprogrammers had used was to mock the idea that man never went to the moon. Agrani Swami drove us to New Vrndavana from our home in Connecticut yhat summer. On the way, we stopped at the Binghamton, NY center, where Sadaputa Prabhu lived at the time.

We were delighted to hear Agrani Swami ask questions about the moon landing to Sadaputa Prabhu for our benefit. With great care, Sadaputa explained each detail in a very understandable and interesting manner. He was a true gentleman who kindly took the time out to dissipate possible doubts in young devotees.

Over the years in Alachua, I was fortunate enough to have a few discussions with him. Although, I was obviously ignorant about whatever I asked him and he was a great scholar, he never acted as if I was beneath him in any way. His air was always that of genuine humility. You could see the excitement in his eyes whenever he shared knowledge with others.

Sadaputa was often socially shy and awkward. But when it came time for him to speak, whether in front of a large audience or one on one, he spoke with great confidence and authority. Whenever he took up the microphone, I always had the overwhelming impression that no one could possibly defeat him in a debate.

I was always proud that Sadaputa Prabhu was a part of the same movement that I was. Like so many other devotees, I will miss him very much. We have to accept that Krishna sees the overall picture much better than we do, and wanted him to go somewhere else for the benefit of the conditioned souls.

Comment posted by gargamuni on September 22nd, 2008

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