By Deena Bandhu das
On Sunday September 25th the ashes of His Grace Gopiparandhana Prabhu were placed in Samadhi by his son Gaura Mohan at the foot of Govardhana Hill just in front of the Bhaktivedanta Ashram. Earlier at the ashram there was a Smriti Sabha, Memorial Service, where many senior men and women offered their fond remembrances of him and the great service that he rendered to Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON, and the world.
First his wife Archa Murti shared with us the history of how he became a devotee and the various service he rendered. He had dropped out of Colombia University and became a hippie in New York. Being a bit of a bookworm, one time he descended into the subway with his books and stayed there for several days reading without bathing or eating! When he came up, he saw the devotees on the street chanting and one approached him. “Hey you look hungry! Come with us we’re going to the Sunday Feast at the temple in a few minutes!” So he followed them back to the temple, but there was one devotee posted at the door checking out everyone who entered. When he smelled the bad odor coming from Gopi, he refused to let him enter saying that he had to go bathe and put on fresh cloth. Gopi protested that he had no where to go. While they were discussing, Yadurani happened by and noticed that he looked like and educated fellow. She began to ask him about his education. When he mentioned that he had studied various languages, she said great, now you can learn Bengali as we are on a marathon to publish 17 volumes of a Bengali scripture that my Guru Maharaja in translating.
She grabbed his hand and took him to the BBT had him take a bath and take the Sunday Feast. She got someone to give him a place to stay and told him to meet her in the morning in the BBT offices. Thus began an illustrious career of devotional service that culminated in finishing the translation of Srimad Bhagavatam and finally in publishing Brihad Bhagavatamrita of Srila Sanatan Goswami!
All the devotees who spoke consistently praised the humility that so naturally radiated from his personality. Never a person to put himself forward despite his great learning and scholarship. At the same time, though being an amazing scholar, who are generally caught up in their books and learning, he was a very warm and real person. Everyone praised his dedication to Srila Prabhupada and his ISKCON. Archa Murti revealed that Srila Prabhupada, being very pleased with his work, personally told him to correct the word for word translations and touch up the verse translations, but not to touch his purports as they were his personal ecstasies! Everyone unanimously agreed that his untimely demise was an unfathomable loss to ISKCON and the world.
When the Smriti Sabha was concluded, Deena Bandhu Prabhu led a kirtan and procession to the side of Govardhana Hill. There his son Gaura Mohan lovingly placed the urn with his father’s ashes into a small samadhi next to the pushpa samadhi of Padma Locana Prabhu. Everyone came forward and reverently placed sand from Govardhana into the samadhi.
After the procession the devotees returned to the ashram where one of his students, Krishna Balarama Dasa, led artika with a heartfelt rendition of Gurvastakam. Then pushpanjali was performed after which all the devotees sat in the front gardens and enjoyed a sumptuous feast that was sponsored by His Holiness Gopala Krishna Goswami. The devotees remarked how every single preparation was excellent! And everyone revealed that their hearts felt a very special peace and happiness after the auspicious samadhi ceremony!
Srila Gopiparanadhana Prabhu ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Sri Krishna Balarama ki jaya! Bolo Sri Giriraja Maharaja ki jaya!
Pictures thanks to Saci Gaurasundara Dasa:
1. His wife Archa Murti relates his history.
2. Gaura Mohan places the ashes in samadhi.
3. Delicious feast relished by the devotees.
Anyone on Facebook can see more pictures at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2438432285409.141774.1389817588&type=1