This page is dedicated to remembering the disciples of Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja who have left their bodies. We have tried to arrange this in order of the date they left our association. There are several more godbrothers and sisters we will be adding to this page shortly. If you have any photos or stories about any of our Guru Maharaja's departed disciples please contact me.
Sri Tapana Misra prabhu
Srimati Yamuna devi dasi
Sri Misra Purandar prabhu
Sri Simhanana prabhu
Srimati Kamala devi
Sri Bhakti prema prabhu
Sri Rangunath prabhu
Sri Swayambhu Maharaja
Sri Syamasundara prabhu
Sri Raghubar prabhu
Srimati Aparajita devi dasi
Sri Jaya Gopal prabhu
SRI SADHU HRDOYA PRABHU 'SADHU PRABHU'
Sadhu prabhu at the Bhubaneswar Temple
The associate of Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami, the great 'Sadhu prabhu' departed this world on Friday the 5th April 2013 at 2.30 a.m.
Sadhu prabhu was a simple-hearted village devotee. In his youth he decided that he would dedicate his life to serving a sadhu. He went to the Siva Temple just outside his village and prayed that the Lord would kindly direct him to a sadhu-acarya. He fasted for 21 days in the temple to please Lord Siva and would sleep there at night also. Finally Lord Siva came in a dream and instructed him to go to Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar and surrender to a great sadhu staying there and serve him. Getting that instruction from Lord Siva Sadhu prabhu came directly to that place and surrendered to Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja. He never left him, and became his associate, his dedicated cook and servant.
(thanks to Pradosh and Jagadish Pandit prabhus for the information).
Sadhu Prabhu’s remembrances of the early days in Bhubaneswar with Srila Gurudeva (originally printed in the Ananda samvada newsletter)
Recalling the earliest days in Bhubaneswar Sadhu Prabhu explained how Guru Maharaja would daily speak Bhagavat to an audience of devotees who would come from ‘outside’, but sometimes if the weather was bad and it was raining heavily, then the devotees wouldn’t come. So Guru Maharaja wouldn’t speak. Such occasions he would become extremely disappointed. Guru Maharaja would say that ‘today my life has left me ! I haven’t spoken, so I will not take Prasad.’ He would actually fast on those days. If he wouldn’t speak Bhagavat, then he would not eat.
Even in these early days, every morning he would speak Bhagavat and in the evening he would speak from Bhagavad gita. In these evening classes usually only a few devotees would come, including Kalakantha Prabhu - and during the kirtan Sadhu Prabhu would play khola, even though he knew only one beat !
When Sadhu Prabhu first came to Guru Maharaja only a few devotees were at the temple; Vaisnava dasa, Braja kisore dasa, Yadavendra and Guru Maharaja’s son Abhaya. (One time Abhaya, Guru Maharaja’s youngest son from his purvasrama became very sick. Bhagavat Prabhu heard about this and brought, actually carried him to the temple, where he stayed for a year. Years later he also took initiation from His Divine Grace and became Aniruddha dasa.
At that time Bhagavat class was spoken straight after mangala arati. First mangala arati, then hear Bhagavat, then do seva. First hear Bhagavat then do seva.
Every morning Guru Maharaja would wake up at around three, he would lead kirtan and perform arati. Later he would chant japa, do some translation work and then go out for bhiksa, collecting funds for the temple. Others would also go out for collection. Lagudi Prabhu would go into the city and sit outside the legislative buildings, spreading a cloth before himself and with closed eyes do kirtan. People would throw all sorts of items onto his cloth, paise, bidis etc ! He wouldn’t look, just sing with his eyes closed. Then he would gather up his cloth and it’s contents and take it all back to the temple.
Even at this time Nityananda trayodasi was a big festival. Sadhu remembers how like a bull, with such force Guru Maharaja would sing, do kirtan. He would sing the same bhajans as he did during later festivals, and he remembers specifically Guru Maharaja singing nagare nagare nitai nece nece bhai re.
When Guru Maharaja would go to Mayapur they would put him in the brahmacari ashram, he would be sharing with the brahmacaris. Sadhu Prabhu would organize Prasad for Guru Maharaja. Even here regularly His Divine Grace would receive visits from various Iskcon leaders who would come to ask him questions - Tamal Krishna, Gopal Krishna, Bhakti caru swamis and others would come with their notebooks, right down his answers and then leave. But Guru Maharaja was not allowed to give Bhagavatam class at the temple.
Later on - in the mid 1980s at the Bhubaneswar temple some nasty politics was sometimes going on. Though it was Srila Prabhupada’s wish for Guru Maharaja to run the temple there, another person was placed in charge by the GBC. And politics was going on. Sadhu Prabhu was cooking, the deities were eating. Guru Maharaja had asked Sadhu how much money was required by him to cook for the month, ‘1000 rs’. So Guru Maharaja would give the money, and Sadhu Prabhu would cook.
Unfortunately the pujari at the time became unhappy with the simple prasadam he was getting, so one day he decided not to offer the bhoga, rather he would just offer some water and tulasi. When Guru Maharaja found out what had happened, that the deities had not been fed, he cried. From then on the management stopped Sadhu Prabhu from cooking (!). So Sadhu would go out do some bhiksa, and he would cook it, offer it and give it to Guru Maharaja.
From that time he became Guru Maharaja’s cook. Guru Maharaja told Sadhu not to take trouble with his cooking - that he should just put the vegetables in with the dahl and make dalma, rather than cooking so many different preparations. For him, dalma was enough, he would say. But if Sadhu Prabhu would make different preparations to offer, the devotees would eat it, and Guru Maharaja would just taste a little. But so long as dalma and rice were there, he was satisfied. And maybe a little chenna.
When Guru Maharaja developed his ‘illness’ and apparently became quite sick, Sadhu Prabhu would make pomegranate juice for Guru Maharaja as the doctor said it was good for his health. Even though Srila Gurudeva didn’t like it, still Sadhu made sure His Divine Grace would drink it !
One time Guru Maharaja told Sadhu he should never get married. Sadhu replied that he had come to Guru Maharaja only after already deciding that thing - that he would not get married and would just live in the ashram.
Before Sadhu Prabhu came to Guru Maharaja, Guru Maharaja would sometimes go to Sadhu’s village to hold programs there and he would carry the mrdanga with him, but after Sadhu joined His Divine Grace, Guru Maharaja stopped carrying it, ‘now that you are here… it is very heavy, I won’t carry it any more.’ But Sadhu never really understood why.
Also in the beginning a couple of times Guru Ma came to the temple, at the same time her youngest son Abhaya was there. Guru Maharaja saw her out of the corner of his eye and asked Sadhu, ‘Why has she come here ? Send her away and tell her she should never come back here ! I am a sannyasi, what will people say ! Tell Abhaya he should keep her away from this place.’
Sadhu Prabhu explained that there was no question of Guru Ma ever speaking with Guru Maharaja - she could not even come anywhere close to him. So it is not true that she once asked him for initiation.
Sri Tapana Misra prabhu
On the auspicious Appearance Day of Lord Nityananda (23rd February 2013) our dear Godbrother, Tapana Misra Prabhu left this world.
He had been a long term dialysis patient and diabetes sufferer. Due to the diabetes he started to lose feeling in his fingers and he was no longer able to render the last service he felt he was able to perform which was playing his guitar and singing. Feeling that his body was useless for any kind of service and that he was only being kept alive artificially by spending hours on a dialysis machine every second day, he made the courageous decision to cease all medical treatment in order to leave his body. The doctors said that on average when a patient ceases dialysis he will live for only 5-7 days.
He transferred himself to Murwillumbah hospital to leave his body in the association of devotees. He was given his own room in the palliative care ward which devotees decorated with beautiful maha garlands and pictures of Krsna, divine Holy Masters and the Holy Dharmas; had transcendental music and lectures playing continuously; where sumptuous prasadam was delivered regularly and a continuous round-the-clock flow of devotees visited him, showering their love and affection and best wishes on him.
Three and a half weeks after stopping his dialysis on the divine appearance day of Lord Nityananda he departed from this world. Devotees had visited him in the morning to find that he was not in his bed but was strolling down the corridor looking surprisingly buoyant. They brought the lecture spoken by Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja (Tapana Misra's diksa Guru) on Nityananda Triodasi in 1996. It is recounting the story of Lord Nityananda and the thieves and is a very ecstatic lecture with Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja breaking into song and laughing throughout. After taking prasadam, he lay down on his bed, absorbed in listening to the lecture, with a big smile on his face. Later in the day, when another devotee visited, although he was a little drowsy, every now and then he would speak to say "good day, it is a very good day". The lecture was played again for the third time. At 10pm, another devotee visited and brought him mahagarlands from Radha Govadandari and placed them around his body. Not long after that he left his body.
DEPARTED DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
SRIMATI YAMUNA DEVI DASI was a devotee originally from Madagascar, who lived in France and was the wife of Pushkaraksa prabhu. She was totally dedicated to the service of Srila Gurudeva and left this world in 1992, on Papamocana Ekadasi. His Divine Grace revealed that she entered Krsna's service as a manjari upon leaving this world.
Yamuna devi dasi at the lotus feet of Sri Guru
Sri Puskaraksa prabhu writes about her - Yamuna devi dasi, a disciple of Srila Gour Govinda, whom I had the good fortune to serve as her husband, became a pure devotee, in the course of the trial (cancer) given personally to her by Krishna, as stated by our Gurudeva...
She had the personal darshan of Krishna twice, Srila Prabhupada came to her, she reached a stage where she was constantly chanting the maha mantra... "Even at night", she said, "when I sleep, I hear the Hoily Name", which Srila Gurudeva commented by saying to me "you see, this is samadhi...". She had a vision of the spirtual world ("of where she was going", commented Gurudeva) and bathed in the water of mercy, along with Srimati Radharani and the gopis...
A couple days before leaving her body, she had me ask our Gurudeva what her spiritual rasa was, in the spiritual world...
He told me: "she is a gopi, manjari, maid servant of Srimati Radharani"
This was no surprise to me... She had herself mentioned, moving her two little fingers, while lying in bed... " I have two desires... cooking and dancing for Krishna..."
When she passed away, while chanting the Holy Name, along with her father and mother and your servant doing the same around her, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja declared "she went straight back to Krishna..."
After her passing away, when I brought back the ashes of her body back to India, throw them in the ocean in Puri, the Ganges in Mayapura and the Yamuna in Vrindavana, as per the instruction of Gurudeva, he told me publicly : " My Guruship is now successful, that one of my disciples has gone back to Godhead...".
She left a beautiful poem in French, riming as "please, do not cry about me...", which I still did for a long time...
SRI MISRA PURANDARA PRABHUJI
**Srila Gour Govinda Swami holding Sri Misra Purandar prabhu's arm
in Nakuru, Kenya in January 1995
SRI SIMHANANA PRABHUJI
**Sri Simhanana prabhuji in Mauritius with Srila Gurudeva, 1995.
** SRIMATI KAMALA DEVI DASI left her body on the 2nd of December 2005 in Singapore. She was 68 years old. She had been a devotee from birth and took initiation from Srila Gurudeva in 1994. In her last few years she was chanting 32 rounds daily and worshipping her beloved deities of Sri Sri Gour Nitai.
**SRI BHAKTI PREMA PRABHUJI passed away in Sri Vrindavan Dham on Monday the 29th of November 2004.
At the time of his departure, Bhakti Prema was only 36 years old. Raised in
the UK in a pious Indian family, he came to India to take shelter of Sri
Srimad Gour Govinda Swami. Bhakti Prema stayed in Bhubaneswar for several
years and during that time he received a lot of merciful attention from
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja.
After Maharaja's departure, Bhakti Prema took initiation from Srila Bhakti Svarup Damodar Maharaja. Since 1996, Bhakti Prema kept the ISKCON Gadeigiri temple in Orissa as his base. There, he rendered various services as a
kirtan leader, preacher, and laksmi collector for Sri Sri Radha Gopal Jiu,
the beloved deities of Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami. He was a well-known
traveling brahmacari preacher and gave many classes in Europe and South
Shortly before his departure, Bhakti Prema Prabhu was attending the Vraja
Mandala Parikrama of Sri Ramesh Baba of Barsana. For nearly the whole month
of Kartika he was daily absorbed in hari-katha, blissful kirtan, dancing and
taking darsan of different deities and holy places of Vraja. Devotees have
told us that he was having stomach problems due to some water he had drank
on the parikrama. Kartika finished on the 27th of November and the next day
he went to Srila Bhakti Svarup Damodar Maharaja's temple at Radha Kund to
recuperate. However his condition worsened and he started suffering from
severe dysentery. The next day when he began badly shaking and vomiting
blood the devotees took him to the hospital at Govardhan. They said they
could not help him and referred him to the hospital in Vrindavan. He was
admitted to hospital in Vrindavan and that afternoon, sometime between four
and five PM he left his body there.
**SRI RANGUNATH PRABHUJI, Bhubaneswar
**The Departure of HH Sripad Swayambhu Swami
by Sri Madhavananda dasa
When speaking of the glory of the Vaishnavas, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja would often quote the following Bengali verse from the poet Vaishnava Das:
vaisnavera guna gana, korile jivera trana
suniache sadhu-guru mukhe
"I have heard from the lips of sadhu-guru, if you glorify a devotee, you will be delivered very easily. Krishna will be very pleased and you will get his mercy very easily."
Svayambhu Maharaja was born in a ksatriya family on 17 December 1935 as Subhas Chandra Nayak in the Orissan village Garaam. Subhas attended school in the nearby town of Kujanga. A teacher in one of his fourth grade classes was an effulgent Vaishnava only five years older than Subhas. This young teacher was named Braja Bandhu Manik. Subhas found Braja Bandhu to be a sober serious person, very dedicated to reading Vaishnava literature, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, and worshiping his family deity of Sri Sri Radha Gopal Jiu. Braja Bandhu was his teacher from the 4th to the 7th grades. At that time he didn't know that his tutor would one day become known as Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja and would become Subhas' spiritual master.
Subhas married when he was 19 years old, and like his revered instructor Braja Bandhu, he became a school teacher in the subjects of math and Oriya literature. Subhas was there on the 10th of April 1974 when Braja Bandhu left home. He later recalled:
I heard that Gurudev had left his family life and his position as a teacher and had gone to the Kakudia Math. The day after he left home I went to Kakudia Math to see him. When I arrived he was sitting and looking at a picture of Gopal and singing over and over again, "Gopal, Gopal, Gopal, Gopal, Gopal, Gopal, Gopal." In the afternoon a group of teachers and students from the high school arrived to meet him. They were stunned by his sudden renunciation. They asked him, "Why have you left your job and your home?" Gurudev then asked me to recite Manabodha-cautisa, Instructions to the Mind, a song by the Oriya vaisnava Bhakta Charan Das:
kaha-i mana are mo bola kara
kalasrimukha bare dekhiba calare
kete dinaku mana bandhuchu anta
ki ghenijibu tora chutile ghatare
khandi je khandi tora panjara kathi
khauna thibe svana srgaÿa bantire
khat palanke mana sejai sou
khala durgandha heba e tora dehure
galeni to sangaru jeteka jana
ganthire banddhinele ke kete dhanare
guru gobinda nama tunde nabolu
gadhe majjina nitye dhana arjilure
gharaboli arjichu jete padartha
ghata chutile tote bolibe bhutareg
ghara gharani deha kilauthibe
gheni bandhu kutumba suddha hoibere
I say to you, O mind: Obey my order!
Let us go and see the beautiful black-faced one [Lord Jagannath]!
For how long will you remain bound in material life?
At the end of your life, what will you take with you?
Piece by piece your ribs will be distributed
Amongst the dogs and jackals.
O mind, you are now sleeping comfortably on a nice mattress,
But after death your body will give off a terrible smell.
How many of your friends and family have already died?
How much of their wealth could they bind in a cloth to take with them?
You have never uttered the names of guru and Govinda!
Always deeply absorbed in thinking how to gather wealth,
You are acquiring so many things like house and family!
But when your life is gone, all will cry, "Ghost!"
The ladies of the house will close up the doors.
And only after the recommended period of purification will your relatives be considered freed from contamination.
Gurudev was listening intently to the song. When I came to the last line he fainted and fell back unconscious against me. Seeing that his jaw was clenched tightly shut, I took a piece of bamboo and pried open his mouth.
When the teachers saw him faint in this way, they became convinced that Gurudev was no ordinary person and that he was truly qualified to leave home and take to spiritual life. The students, however, still wanted him to return. Seeing the mood amongst the students, I told them, "Now he is unconscious. We can easily take him back to his home. Go and get a motor rickshaw." As soon as they left I carried Gurudev away where they could not find him. Later we came back to the matha. That evening Gurudev's wife Srimati Vasanti Devi came. Gurudev had her sleep inside the room while he and I slept outside on top of some coconut palm leaves. In the morning I pointed out to Gurudev how there was an imprint on his body from the leaves. He said, "Yes, renounced life is like this." His wife was unable to convince him to return, and he sent her back home that morning. He stayed there at Kakudia Math for five or six days, during which time he called for his younger brother Kripa-sindhu and asked him to take care of his family. Then he left Kakudia Math and walked 14 kilometers to Gadeigiri to request Gopal's permission to take sannyasa.
After taking to the renounced order of life, Braja Bandhu asked Subhas to give him bhiksa or donations for a sannyasi. He told him, "Just as Buddha after leaving home first begged alms from his disciple Chandika, you please give me my first alms as a renunciate."
Subhas had two sons and three daughters. During this time he lost contact with Braja Bandhu and became interested in Buddhism. After some years he left home and became a Buddhist sannyasi. In that position he traveled and preached in Tailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and various places in India. Although traveling extensively and preaching, Subhas never forgot his mentor Braja Bandhu.
In 1979 Subhas was visiting Bhubaneswar. While there he went to the Buddhist shrine known as Dola Giri. On his way back he went to get a bus. At the bus stand he was approached by a white skinned westerner, dressed in a dhoti with Vaishnava tilak. That devotee gave him a magazine in Oriya called Bhagavat Darshan. Seeing that Subhas was interested, the westerner began explaining some things about Krishna consciousness. He showed Subhas an article in the magazine written by an Orissan sannyasi, whom he said was living at their center in Bhubaneswar. The devotee's name was Bhagavat Das, and he invited Subhas to come to meet that sannyasi. When Subhas later arrived at the ISKCON property, he was astonished to see that the sannyasi, now known as Gour Govinda Swami, was none other than Braja Bandhu -- the mentor of his youth.
Gour Govinda Maharaja explained that he and Bhagavat had received initiation from His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; and that his name was now Gour Govinda Swami. Subhas started coming every day to see Gour Govinda Maharaja, who patiently explained to him the principles of the Bhagavad-gita. Due to Maharaja's strong preaching Subhas gradually gave up his interest in Buddhism, and became a follower of Srila Prabhupada. In 1984 he took intitiation from Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja and received the name Svayambhu Das. From that day, under the guidance and instruction of his spiritual master, Svayambhu began strongly preaching to the pious village people of Orissa. This remained his focus for the rest of his life. He became well-known for his learned discourses during which he would frequently sing traditional Oriya Vaishnava songs. He converted many sahajiyas in Orissa into pure followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada. After Gour Govinda Maharaja left this world in 1996, Svayambhu waited a few years and then took sannyasa from Srila Bhaktisvarup Damodar Maharaja in 2003. After taking sannyasa, he became known as Svayambhu Maharaja, and became even more enthusiastic to preach.
Around 2008, Svayambhu Maharaja started becoming frequently sick. His condition became acute in early August 2010, and the devotees took him to a local hospital. There he was treated for a few days and then passed away on the 11th of August 2010 at 4:15pm. A few minutes before his departure, Svayambhu Maharaja's eldest son Mahendra came to visit. He gave his father some caranamrita and Jagannath maha-prasadam from Puri. After giving his father those items, Mahendra started playing a recording of Srila Prabhupada singing the maha-mantra; at which time Svayambhu Maharaja peacefully left his body.
Svayambhu Maharaja was 75 years of age when he departed from this world. He had no formal disciples, but he will be remembered by thousands of villagers all over Orissa whose lives he transformed by giving them the maha-mantra and the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Maharaja is survived by his purva-asrama wife Malati Nayak (initiated as Manjulata Devi Dasi), his two sons Mahendra and Bipin, and his 3 daughters Sangha Mitra (initiated as Su-prema Devi Dasi), Sujata (initiated as Suvarna Manjari), and Sakuntala, all of whom, with the exception of the youngest Sakuntala, were initiated by Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja.
The devotees in Bhubaneswar fondly remember Svayambhu Maharaja as being close with Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja. They are in the process now of making a svayam samadhi (full samadhi) for Svayambhu Maharaja at the ISKCON farm project in Atala, and a puspa-samadhi at his birthplace in Garaam.
**SRI SYAMASUNDARA PRABHUJI from Gadei giri village served at the Bhubaneswar Temple for a number of years before passing on the 17th October 2008.
**SRI RAGHUBAR PRABHUJI left his body at the Bhubaneswar Temple aged 85 on the 22nd March 2009
**SRIMATI APARAJITA DEVI DASI (Adwaita acarya prabhu's mother) left us on 22nd June 2009 aged 81 years old.
** SRI JAYA GOPALA PRABHU
The following is taken from HH BV Bhagavat Maharaja's facebook post on Sunday 16th September 2012
A VAISHNAVA HAS LEFT THIS WORLD! I RECEIVED WORD THIS MORNING THAT MY DEAR FRIEND & BROTHER OF MINE JAYA GOPAL PRABHU LEFT THIS WORLD ON PARAMA EKADASI IN VRNDAVAN SURROUNDED BY KIRTAN. HE WAS THE TWICE INITIATED DISCIPLE OF MY DEAR GOD BROTHER SRILA GOUR GOVINDA SWAMI. HE WAS A SIMPLE MAN WHO HAD FEW POSSESSIONS AND S
PENT A GOOD PORTION OF HIS TIME READING AND CHANTING. ONE OF THE LAST SERVICES HE PERFORMED BEFORE HE GOT ILL WAS TO TAKE ME ON A PREACHING TOUR OF FLORIDA. HE WAS SO HAPPY TO TRAVEL AND PREACH WITH ME AND WE HAD TALKED ABOUT DOING MORE OF THE SAME IN THE FUTURE. NOW THAT FUTURE WILL NOT HAPPEN. GOOD BYE MY DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER I PRAY THAT WE MAY SEE EACH OTHER SOMEDAY ON THE FIELDS OF VRAJA.
MY HUMBLE REQUEST IS THAT EVERYONE WHO READS THIS PLEASE SAY A PRAYER FOR JAYA GOPAL PRABHU. THANK YOU.