Tributes to His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami

Bhakti Caitanya Swami

My dear nephews and nieces in Krishna consciousness, disciples of Bhakti Caru Maharaja,

Please accept my best wishes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

At 8.30am this morning, Florida time, I received a phone call from one of your more senior Godbrothers who is currently there. He was in a deeply emotional state, and I immediately understood what he had called me about before he could even tell me. Your Guru Maharaja had departed from this world, back to Srila Prabhupada and Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna just one or two minutes before.

I am a member of the Executive Committee of the GBC Body, so I dutifully reported this information to our secretariat, for distribution throughout the ISKCON world, but as I did this I felt myself becoming more and more overpowered by feelings of loss.

It reminded me of the day our Temple President in Bhaktivedanta Manor, in England, called me into his office and informed me that Srila Prabhupada had left this world. The whole experience was quite unreal and practically undigestible. Today, when I got this news I wondered how Krishna could have allowed this to happen. It seemed so strange. Such an extraordinary devotee who had done so much for Prabhupada and seemingly still had a number of years before him to do more, suddenly torn away from us by this stupid virus, of all things.

But then I remembered that Krishna has His plan, and that plan takes precedence over all others. Srila Prabhupada said, “I have my plan, and you have your plan, but Krishna has His plan.” We all know which of those plans is going to take precedence. Sometimes it is beyond our ability to understand why Krishna does some things, but we must keep the faith that it is always for the best, one way or the other.

At the beginning of a class Srila Prabhupada gave on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12, verses 13 and 14 he says: “So this Krishna consciousness movement means how to become dear to Krishna: ‘How Krishna will love me.’”

Because Krishna loves. He loves those who serve Him and give their lives to please Him. And when someone has served Him and pleased Him in that way for many years, Krishna feels he cannot live without the association of such a devotee, and He takes the devotee to Him. I feel this has happened with Bhakti Caru Maharaja.

What an exceptional devotee. What an exceptionally kind and loving devotee. There are many wonderful devotees in Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON, but among them, Bhakti Caru Maharaja was one of the most, most sublime. I knew him from the mid-1980s when he came to South Africa at my request, and immediately I saw that here is a Vaisnava with a heart of gold. A gentle and affectionate devotee who simply exudes love for Srila Prabhupada, and gave that love to all he met, including me.

Over the years we spent so much time together, and never once was he ever anything other than extremely kind to me. Many times he invited me for lunch, which he would cook and serve himself. Many times I heard him give wonderful classes and lead amazing kirtanas and bhajanas. Many times I heard him preach to devotees who were having difficulty getting on together, and get them to put aside their differences and come together at Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet. 

It feels like part of my heart has departed today.

But we are all going to be together, eternally. Srila Prabhupada said that we will have another ISKCON in the spiritual world. One of the foundational concepts in Krishna consciousness that the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciples is eternal. So if you all keep engaged in your Guru Maharaja’s service in ISKCON, you will feel his presence in your life, and as has happened with Srila Prabhupada’s disciples who have continued in his service, you will find your pain in having lost your spiritual master will subside. You will become more and more inspired in your Guru Maharaja’s service, and become spiritually stronger as this happens. You will find that service in separation is actually the most blissful form of devotional service, contradicting material ideas of relationship. 

As Srila Prabhupada said once: “I thank you very much for your feelings about me, but you should know that you are always with me. Because you are sincere servitor of Krishna and following my direction sincerely, so you are always with me.” Another time a devotee asked Srila Prabhupada: “Prabhupäda, will you be our father eternally? Will you always be our spiritual master, eternally?” Jokingly, Prabhupäda said, “Yes, I think so.” Then he quoted a verse, cakhudäna dilo yei janme janme prabhu sei, but he said, “janme janme pétä sei. The one who has opened my eyes-he is my father life after life.”

Perhaps right now that may be difficult to digest, but please know that it is true, and through devotional service, it will be realized. 

Also please know that we, the Godbrothers and Godsisters of Bhakti Caru Maharaja are at your service. We will do anything we can to help you deal with this great challenge. We have been there, through the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, and we have survived to become completely happy in his service in separation.

So please call on us. We are ready to do our best to help.

Your humble servant, in the service of Bhakti Caru Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada,

Bhakti Caitanya Swami

 

Partha Sarathi Das Goswami 

Homage to His Holiness Bhakti Charu Maharaja 

I first heard Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja speak in 1987. He was giving a Srimad Bhagavatam class at the Krishna Balarama Mandir. I was immediately impressed by his speech, his deep empathy, compassion and narrative. After the class I followed him into the reception area of our Krishna Balarama Guesthouse to speak to him. I thanked him for the inspiring talk and invited him to South Africa. Over the coming years he would fondly remind me that I was the first to invite him to South Africa. 

Subsequently, if I remember correctly, in 1988 he was appointed the chairman of the GBC and he came to South Africa to unify the devotees and help with the spreading of Krishna consciousness here. His mood stressed co-operation and the most senior grand disciples of Srila Prabhupada, namely Sri Hari Prabhu, Tribhanga Prabhu and Srutakirti Prabhu took shelter of him and later became his disciples.

Over the years Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja personally helped me on various occasions when there were some misunderstanding or politics. I remember Maharaja as a sensitive and spiritually advanced gentleman. I accept him as an eternal associate of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and that his birth in Bengal and service to Srila Prabhupada from 1976 onwards was a direct arrangement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Prabhupada personally gave him sannyasa and he served Srila Prabhupada intimately, especially in 1977.  

Within my mind there is no doubt that he has now joined in the Lord’s pastimes in the  spiritual association of our beloved Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. All these acharyas are intimate associates in Goloka Vrndavana and by their arrangement Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja appeared in this material world for the express purpose of serving Srila Prabhupada and establishing Krishna consciousness in various parts of the world. 

Two weeks ago when I first got news that Maharaja contracted the virus and was hospitalized, I saw it as a lila of Maharaja’s and it reminded me of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s lila of leaving this world. At a time like this it is important to see through sastra, sastra-caksus. It is easy to feel desperation, despondency and despair. And while this is natrual as there is no greater pain than the pain of separation from the Vaishanvas, I immediately thought of The Passing of Haridasa Thakura as described in the Caitanya Caritamrta, Antya-lila Chapter 11. 

When you read the description of Srila Haridasa Thakura passing away there is jubilation, happiness, ecstasy, bliss, charm and sweetness. I humbly request the devotees to please read Antya-lila Chapter 11. I would like to quote Texts 57 to 64 in this offering to Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja

“Seeing the wonderful death of Haridāsa Ṭhākura by his own will, which was just like a great mystic yogī’s, everyone remembered the passing away of Bhīṣma.There was a tumultuous noise as they all chanted the holy names “Hari” and “Kṛṣṇa.” Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became overwhelmed with ecstatic love.The Lord raised the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura and placed it on His lap. Then He began to dance in the courtyard in great ecstatic love. Because of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s ecstatic love, all the devotees were helpless, and in ecstatic love they also began to dance and chant congregationally. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced for some time, and then Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī informed Him of other rituals for the body of Ṭhākura Haridāsa. The body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura was then raised onto a carrier that resembled an airship and taken to the sea, accompanied by congregational chanting. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced in front of the procession, and Vakreśvara Paṇḍita, along with the other devotees, chanted and danced behind Him. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bathed the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura in the sea and then declared, ‘From this day on, this sea has become a great pilgrimage site.’”

We can understand from the words of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj that at the passing away of Srila Haridasa Thakura there were no mundane sentiments of depression, material despair, nor hopelessness rather it was a way to ecstatic love of Krishna, prema-vista, to become absorbed in love of Krishna. Indeed, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was dancing with the body of Haridasa Thakura. 

Our ISKCON, as Srila Prabhupada has stated in a commentary in Caitanya Caritamrta, is non-different from the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Still, it’s natural for the disciples to feel separation from the spiritual master. And it’s sad that we can’t be together giving each other support, but you are all in my thoughts and prayers. It’s important that we all carry Maharaja’s mood and instructions in our heart and act in a way that will please him. Maharaja was so full of love and compassion, always enquiring about one’s welfare and making arrangements to accommodate devotees of all stature.  

If we see from a spiritual point of view as described in Caitanya Caritamrta there is no cause for lamentation but simply joy that Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja has now gained the personal association of Srila Prabhupada in his spiritual body in Goloka Vrndavana. This is the destination for all serious and sincere followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. 

I repeatedly offer my koti koti dandavats to the dust of Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s divine lotus feet and pray that I can try to please Srila Prabhupada and our guru parampara as he did. Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja will always remain my senior siksa-guru, a beloved intimate servant of Srila Prabhupada, an exemplary inspirational leader within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and the perfectly devoted disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. If in this lifetime, I can please Srila Prabhupada and our guru parampara even one-millionth of what Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja did then I will consider my life a great success. 

To Maharaja’s disciples, please know that you are not alone, Maharaja always had a family spirit and we are all one big family so please take shelter of those you have faith in. This would please Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja. 

Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja ki jaya!

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

Ananta Koti Vaisnava Vrnda ki jaya!

Your lowly and fallen servant,

Partha Sarathi Das Goswami

 

Vibhu Caitanya Das

nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale

srimate bhakti-caru-svamin iti namine

A Vaishnava saint sang that if Lord Caitanya had not come, where would we have been. Years later, Srila Jayapataka Swami changed the lyrics to: “Where would we have been if Srila Prabhupada had not come?” Today we lament: where would we have been if Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaj had not come into Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON and in our lives and hearts.

Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaj led an exemplary life of devotion as a sincere disciple to his beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Maharaja has thought us how to be a personal servant and cook for one’s guru and the Vaishnavas — a service that takes enormous amounts of tolerance and dedication. Srila Prabhupada once commented: “Aah Bhakti Charu, the famous cook!” By rendering this service one is then awarded with an Ocean of Mercy 

Maharaja translated Srila Prabhupada books from English to Bengali, Srila Prabhupada translated the Caitanya Caritamrta from English to Bengali and then instructed Maharaja to translate it back from English to Bengali. To study and be absorbed in the scripture, one dives deeper into spiritual life and is then awarded with an Ocean of Mercy.

Maharaja was creative in so many projects from building temples in a short duration to filming the life of his spiritual master, the Abhay Charan TV series. The purpose was to make his spiritual master famous and attractive so that the people of the world will enter the path of pure devotional service. By taking a bold step to glorify Krishna and to propagate the activities of Krishna Consciousness Movement, one is then awarded with an Ocean of Mercy.

In a leadership role, one has to protect the integrity and the purpose of the society, safeguarding the society’s properties and assets, protecting ISKCON from material influence, protecting the teachings and writings of Srila Prabhupada, wholeheartedly carrying on in the mission of the spiritual master, and most importantly, caring for each devotee which one is then awarded with an Ocean of Mercy.

Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaj is an ocean of mercy by whose leadership and devotion has made all our spiritual lives easier. We owe a high debt to Maharaja, which we can repay by our dedication to his Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada, by being a personal servant to the Vaishnavas, by being creative in attracting people to Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet and by caring for each and every devotee.

Thank you, Maharaja, for showering your ocean of mercy on all of us.

All glories to Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Subal Sakha Das (PSDG)

Dear Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaj,

Please accept my humble obeisances at the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to you, the soft-hearted personal servant of Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Who can estimate the joy and good fortune on first meeting you? For some unsuspecting lost souls in nondescript Newcastle of 1991, it was like being quickly ushered into the spiritual world for a brief tour. A world devoid of anxiety and worry. A world filled with safety and warmth, laughter and happiness. By your grace, you brought the spirit of Vaikuntha to us. What an unprecedented gift. Thank you.

The years in your company were to be filled with all things that make for joyous Krishna conscious memories. Dancing in your kirtans with carefree abandon, listening to engaging classes at academic retreats, honouring prasad and sweet darshan on warm nights at the Durban Ratha Yatra.

Once at a large festival celebrating the appearance of Lord Nrsimhadeva you gave the following definition of love. You stated that love was the energy or force that brings people together. You then demonstrated the principle when after the programme you carefully attended to a hurt and estranged ex-temple resident. You did not preach to that devotee but listened with focused attention and committed your support to help them. You brought the devotee and the community together again.

For a high profile international march held in Sandton, you implored that we make arrangements to have proper sound. Sure enough, the sound arrangements failed. This did not deter you in the slightest from have a strong impact on the two Ministers in attendance and delivering an impressive interview with a national TV station. Your regal aristocratic bearing and your knowledge tempered with a saintly sweetness allow you to make an impression on kings and queens.

Once I tried to express my conviction that it is not possible or practical to work with every type of devotee. We all are different after all. The thunderbolt of you glance sent the mountain of my so-called conviction crashing. So much so that I had to whimper into submission. Soft like a rose and hard like a thunderbolt. Naturally, my view has changed ever since.

As if Sri or opulence enjoys your company, you once auctioned off an original oil painting of Srila Prabhupada for R50000 at a Sunday programme. This was the biggest fundraising contribution to the development of ISKCON Lenasia. You did not stop there. You raised more funds and encouraged more people to commit to the project.

A fond and ever-fresh memory is of you walking out of Harinamananda and Bhagavati Prabhu’s home. It was a beautiful sunny day in a silent neighbourhood. You stepped out. Your robes flowing. Impeccable as always. You smiled generously as you strode to the car. For me, this simple memory is a summary of the joy of Krishna Consciousness – activities of a devotee are filled with serenity and grace. Although working tirelessly a devotee is devoid of hurried ambition. Your simple activity of walking to a car, your mere presence, seemed more significant and meaningful than the activities of the most powerful presidents on the planet at the time. I could live in that moment forever.

In May of 2020, at a very difficult time, I was looking to the leaders of ISKCON to spread a message of hope for the masses. Success came in the form of your 17-minute video. It was something I could send to work colleagues and friends of other faiths to allay their fears and anxieties. Especially important to me was your message that cowards suffer many deaths but heroes or devotees of the Lord have but one death.

Your disciples are my mentors, my guides, my friends. They are my family. Your absence is slowly seeping through our suspended disbelief. It is hard to comprehend you have left. We miss you dearly. Thank you for giving us the blessing of your intimate association. Now we the treasure of holding your lotus feet in our hearts forever.

Your aspiring servant

Subal Sakha Das (PSDG)

ISKCON Newcastle

Yavat Das (PSDG)

Dear Bhakti Charu Swami,

Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to you, our dearly beloved Maharaj.

We had just set up to do two hours of kirtan for your protection and well being, and I began chanting one of my favourite melodies when the news was shared with me. You had left this world, for your eternal abode, at the lotus feet of our beloved Srila Prabhupada. I felt my heart sink, and my hairs stood on end. I’m still in shock, especially after reading and seeing your dear godbrothers express their appreciation and love for you. Watching Jayadvaita Maharaj tearfully and emotionally remember you brought tears to my own eyes, and the magnitude of having lost you struck my vacant heart. With all my faults, I humbly beg before you dear Maharaj – please always allow me to remain in Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON, serving his dear devotees, with every breath I may have left in this temporary situation – just as you did.

All my love,

Your servant,

Yavat Das (PSDG)

 

Vashil Bhanoo Nowbuth & Family

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

All Glories to our Dear Spiritual Master Srila
Partha Sarathi Das Goswami Maharaj!

All Glories to Srila Bhakti Charu Swami!

Your departure has truly saddened devotees worldwide. We will miss you dearly but we must always remember that your presence is shadowed onto your disciples, so we should take advantage of receiving their mercy and so shall we receive yours.

Please continue to guide us in pure devotional service.

Srila Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj Ki Jai!

Hare Krishna

Your Das
Vashil Bhanoo Nowbuth & Family

 

Indirakshi  Devi Dasi (PSDG)
All glories to our Lordships  Sri Sri Radha Radhanath
All glories to Srila Prabhupad
All glories to Bhakti Charu Swami
To our dear  Iskcon  Yatra
A week before we got the news that Maharaj was ill, I had a beautiful dream of Him. I was preparing lunch in my kitchen and Maharaj came in and asked what I was preparing. I told him calabash and roti. He said its fine for now but later he wanted me to prepare pakoras and chutney.  He also very gently and with that glorious smile pointed out some of my flaws in the kitchen. I humbly replied that I will rectify them.
So when I received news of this horrible  covid19  has taken over Maharaj, s body I was very disturbed and consumed with anxiety, waiting for daily updates and praying immensely to Nrsinga Dev for His protection over Maharaj.
But Lord Krishna had His own plan for our dear Charu swami. Maharaj has left a great legacy of his dedicated service to Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON with his books, movies, drama, and music.
We are all deeply  saddened by this great  loss
But Lord knows best. Lord Krishna’s desire was our desire dear devotees.
Back home back to Godhead dear Bhakti Charu Swami.
Until we meet again
Have a safe  journey to your Lords lotus  feet
Your niece
Indirakshi  Devi Dasi (PSDG)
Ananga Sundari Dasi

To my most beloved spiritual master

Nama om Vishnupadaya Krsna presthaya bhutale
srimate Bhakti Charu swamin iti namine
Snigdha cetah supraneta
vagminam ca rasaplutam
Prabhupada gata prana
naumi Bhakti Charu padam
It is with such a broken heart that I type out this offering. Before and after your departure, during each year I constantly remember my association with you and all my experiences. This has all happened so quickly, 8 years down the line…
I clearly remember my first time upon seeing you at SSRR, a few years back. Just walking into the temple room with your disciples swept me off my feet, something about you gave me an instant hit to the heart. This was Krsna and Radharani’s mercy.
I have been hearing your kirtan for years even before practicing Krsna consciousness and never did I ever imagine that it was you and that you would eventually end up being my spiritual master. Something about your voice, appearance, and demeanor awakens my soul…
Listening to all you have taught us in the past few years has made me strong. It makes me stronger day by day…I feel so lucky and blessed to have had your association and the fact that you have accepted such an insignificant person such as myself to be your disciple. You are such an epitome of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, and I pray that as of this day, I receive your blessings to have the courage to learn from you for the rest of my journey.
In the Caitanya-caritamrta, Lord Caitanya states that it is a fortunate person who comes in contact with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. One who is serious about spiritual life is given by Krsna the intelligence to come in contact with a bona fide spiritual master, and then by the grace of the spiritual master one becomes advanced in Krsna consciousness.
Since the day I have met you and since the day you have accepted me, by your divine mercy I have made progress in my spiritual life, and I will continue to keep on trying because you have come to me by Krsna’s arrangement. I will strengthen my spiritual life and not do anything to let your name go in vain for you are HH Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj, my most beloved spiritual master. All I seek is blessings to continue with the time I have left here in becoming a good devotee until I someday get to meet and serve you again, which I will look forward to.
Please give me blessings dearest Gurudev that all my deep spiritual desires are fulfilled. You will always be alive in my heart…I will miss your physical association immensely.
Your most undeserving servant
Ananga Sundari Dasi

Rasaraj Das  (PSDG)

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All Glories to Bhakti Charu Swami

Jaya oṁ viṣṇu-pāda paramahaṁsa parivrājakācārya aṣṭottara-śata śrī śrīmad Bhakti Caru Swami

 

Oh fateful 2020 Guru Purnima

Devotees world afar

All chanting Hare Krishna Hare Rama

 

The year 2020 on the  04th of July

This Worlds Vaishnavas now do cry

(A merry can ) Independence day

Will be remembered as the day you went away

 

Tears are falling, the ISKCON is feeling great Separation

From you or Oh Dear Bhakti Charu Swami

 

The waves of Corona Virus

Has been the cause- the medical reason you left us

 

Now  we  travel life’s  course

Heavy hearts and full of remorse

Where is Arjuna?

Where is Sri Krsna?

His Chariot and the horse

 

Of faithful ISKCON Sri Gurun

I am just a  fallen disciple of Das Goswami Partha Sarathi

When will my task be up taken

My life has been miserable thus far,  issues, my struggle on this path of bhakti

Problems upon problems I am forsaken

Devoid of spiritual boon

Terrible at Maha Mantra  singing tune

 

Oh Fatal FULL MOON

On this day I feel our Bhakti Charu Swami was taken away too SOON

 

Oh Vaishnava, Oh holy Ujjain

Your departure for us all is a great  pain

Faithful to my initiating Guru, Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON I do remain

No meat-eating, No intoxication, No gambling and from illicit sex I do abstain

 

16 rounds Japa -Maha Mantra   Chant Chant Chant

Lord Krsna is the ringmaster and he can do as he wants

 

Forgiveness and Mercy with folded hands  is my begging

My initiated name Rasaraj – supposed to be relationship king

Das anu das

 

Remuna-priya Dasi

Hare Krsna Dear Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj!

I got to know of you during my university days in the early 90s. Staying with a family who would later become your disciples, I would awaken every morning listening to the soothing sounds of your Gopi Geet bhajans. That, I believe, was the stepping stone for my Krsna Consciousness.

Your melodious voice and astute recollection of your precious moments with Srila Prabhupada remained with me throughout my adult life. How fortunate was I then, that at the time I chose to visit the Ujjain Ayurvedic Clinic for treatment in 2016, you would be there too, celebrating your Vyasa Puja with your disciples but as a Srila Prabhupada Memorial Festival.

I recall so vividly the excitement of the devotees, anticipating your arrival – there was such a magical buzz in the air. Such extravagant preparations were being made – I was in absolute awe. Rangoli made out of flower petals, canopies of marigolds, and a stage set up with such opulence, fit so rightly for a king! It was my very first experience of your Vyasa Puja, and of being in a temple where the entire congregation was the disciples of one magnificent spiritual master. The daily classes you had were pure nectar, the evening kirtan in the temple was like balm to a broken heart and the smaller classes in your room were something that I could have never believed that I could experience. And that 71kg garland made by the Ujjain community for you – that was special beyond words.

When I heard of your illness, while it struck deeply, I was so convinced that you will recover, without a doubt and I prayed hard (like never before). As the days dragged on, my hope was slowly fading, but still, I remain convinced that Srila Prabhupada will want you to remain with us for longer. The moment of utmost despair arrived on 4 July while I was in a japa session with some of your disciples. Grief-stricken, I bared my soul and the torrents of tears flooded my vision and mind.

Your departure has created such a void in our world – to think that we will never see that glorious smile again, or hear your beautiful voice or your bashful laugh again. But I was so wrong, because like all our spiritual masters have been telling us since this past Saturday, our relationship with you is eternal. You did not know me, but I loved you and will continue to do so for the rest of my time in this material world.

Understanding your role in our movement, as HH Indradyumna Swami Maharaj said, as the General of ISKCON, you played your role to perfection in everything you did and words are so small that they cannot fully encompass the impact that you had on every single one of us – those who knew you and had personal association and even those who had a fleeting moment’s association with you from afar.

Your departure has triggered a desire in me to deepen my sadhana and take my Krsna Consciousness more seriously – without paying any lip service.

I am sorry that I will not see or hear you any more Maharaj, but I am grateful for the time that I did.

I shall always remain,

Your servant

Remuna-priya Dasi

 

Sudama Das (GRS)

“My Eternal Spiritual Uncle”

How do we even begin to deal with the departure and bare the separation of such a glorious Vaishnava…my eternal spiritual uncle? These words (from the Gopis Song of Separation – Srimad Bhagavatam 10.31.9), sung so sweetly by His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaj himself, bring tears to my eyes, and at the same time, the sheer depth of its meaning, bring solace to our aching hearts.

tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam

kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham

sravana-mangalam srimad atatam

bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah

“The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this material world. These narrations, transmitted by learned sages, eradicate one’s sinful reactions and bestow good fortune upon whoever hears them. These narrations are broadcast all over the world and are filled with spiritual power. Certainly, those who spread the message of Godhead are most munificent.”

My first association of His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaj was through Maharaj’s Krishna Bhavanamritam bhajan CDs, released in the early 1990s. I came to Krishna Consciousness in 1997 and as a new devotee, I was more inclined to listen to the faster-paced kirtans than traditional, mellowed bhajans. However, I was immediately attracted to hearing Bhakti Caru Swami’s CDs and it became a constant part of my daily life. Even while not directly listening to them, all those songs sweetly echoed in my mind.

Some years later, our nama-hatta devotees got a weekly slot with a local radio station, called Radio Phoenix, in Durban. And very soon many of our devotees were engaged in the weekly one- or two-hour slot to preach Krishna Consciousness on the air. We would broadcast from about 4 am to 6 am in the morning. We would start off by playing Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and we would play the Krishna Bhavanamritam CDs. Bhakti Caru Swami’s bhajans became a regular part of the broadcast and became a “hit” among the thousands of listeners in the greater Durban area.

At the crack of dawn, during the auspicious Brahma muhurta hour, thousands of people would wake to the melodious singing of Bhakti Caru Swami chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, which permeated the Durban airwaves and brought much needed, soothing relief to the suffering population.

I recall the many times I heard Maharaj speak at both the Durban temples (Sri Sri Radha Radhanath and New Jagannath Puri) and was always amazed by his dedication to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON. He re-affirmed with absolution conviction, that we should never leave the shelter of Srila Prabhupada and the boat of ISKCON. For this, I’m eternally grateful.

On two occasions I had the opportunity to co-ordinate the distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books at two of the biggest public preaching programs that Srila Bhakti Caru Swami arranged in Durban.

The first was in January 2010, at the Durban City Hall, where Srila Prabhupada himself had a program, back in the mid-1970s. Bhakti Caru Swami gave wonderful discourses on the Ramayan over two days. At this program, I was engaged by the devotees to put up an attractive display of Srila Prabhupada’s books for the pleasure of Maharaj. At short notice, I was scrambling for ideas on how to do this. By being in such anxiety and meditating very hard on how to get this together, the last minute, by Maharaj’s mercy, Krishna inspired me to use my mother’s solid oak wall unit as a display structure. This unit, which had an antique look with glass doors and built-in lighting, turned out to be perfect. The doors were removed, and we elegantly displayed the Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrita, and many other books of Srila Prabhupada.

The second was the Vedic Lifestyle Expo held at the prestigious Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) on 21-22 August 2010. We put up a bookstall outside the main auditorium where the Maharaj and other prominent international speakers would give discourses. This event at the time was a move away from our traditional preaching in ISCKON and a first of its kind on the African continent. This ingenious idea of Maharaj encouraged the devotees to think “out of the box” when it came to preaching and outreach. I am thus very grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve Maharaj at these very important and bold outreach programs.

To the dear disciples of His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaj, especially those that I have had personal association with here in South Africa, namely, Smita Krishna Prabhu, Prabanu Prabhu and family, Dwijavara Prabhu and family, Ramvijay Prabhu and family, Krishna Caran Prabhu and family, Himanga Caitanya Prabhu and many others, please accept my most heartfelt condolences. I am overwhelmed by the wonderful qualities you all imbibe. The qualities and abilities I see in all of you are a direct reflection of your Spiritual Master. They emanate from him and permeate your hearts and have empowered all of you to perform exceptional service over the years, for your Guru Maharaj and for ISKCON. I regret not having had a more direct and personal association with your Guru Maharaj. And I feel truly bereft and simply weep at not having had the opportunity to touch his lotus feet during the many times he graced us with his divine presence in Durban, especially during his Vyasa Puja celebrations. But I take some solace in having had the close association of all of you through the years.

Oh dear Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj, my eternal spiritual uncle and a most dear son of Srila Prabhupada, please accept my most humble obeisances at the dust of our lotus feet. I beg for your mercy. Please be kind upon me so that one day, I can please you and your beloved Srila Prabhupada. You will forever remain in our hearts. We miss you and we love you.

Your fallen nephew,

Sudama das (GRS) – Durban SA, 6 July 2020.

 

Sarvakanthie Devi Dasi

My Dearest Guru Maharajh,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.All glories to your wonderful achievements.

I write this tribute with a very sad heart.i was so much looking forward to working with you as you were very much into filmmaking as myself. I wrote you the last letter in Mayapur. This yr when you arrived. I wonder if you received the email. We were on lockdown thus I could not come and meet with you. There were detectives all over the place.

               However, I have very nice memories of you. You left a legacy
“Abahaycharan” movie.Not to mention the Ujjain project. You performed a miracle. You built the Temple in such a short time, it is said impossible is in a fool’s dictionary. You always made the impossible possible. I wanted to learn Animation from your film team. Hence I made a flight to Ujjain to learn animation.
           However, Abhay would not part or make copies of tutorials anyway I don’t blame him it was illegal. Such big Dahlia flowers I have never seen at the Ujjain temple. All smiling at the visitors. They were amazed, so was I.
           I cherish the gift you gave me the Abhay Charan Movie series. He knew I was into film making. However, it is on Video Tapes I have to transfer. You got Jamuna Das Prabhu to give it to me it was in a box in Temple Room. You were about to give a class. I looked at you and you smiled when Prabhu was about to give it to me.
             I wanted to make a film on Gurudev but alas he went away. So this time in Mayapur I thought I would like to travel with you. You are the sweetest Guru on this planet. Your voice is so sweet. I remember once in Mayapur you began singing. Gurudev said how sweet. I want to fall asleep I just have to hear you sing. So soothing like a lullaby. All your problems disappear.
             I remember the first time I saw you it was in Vrindavan in Lloyd Bazaar. The devotees and I were shopping. You came to pass us with some other devotees. I said to the devotees such a friendly sannyasi. You gave us a very big warm smile. Those days the sannyasis were strict not smiling much at us.when next I saw you it was at Radhanath Temple. I was standing with Nandini in my arms. You smiled at me and asked me if she was my baby. I said no Ananda Chandrikas.
              I have a framed picture of you in my Lounge. Perima left it in her room when she left for Johannesburg. I took it and brought it home. It is in my lounge but different positioning her before you left I took it and placed it by Srila Gurudev.
             I told Gurudev you please send your blessings from above. Also placed Lord Nrsingadev by you and my Dolls my Angel’s by you.
             Alas, Guru Maharajh I think sometimes it is too dangerous to be Sweetness personified. The Corona Virus latched on to you.
please forgive me. However, I think Gurudev was suffering from separation from you and wanted you to come and join you. He mentioned to Mahavishnu Swami You can’t go now. I will go first to welcome you all.
           I used to love it when you sang Gopi Gita. Your birth on this planet was exceedingly glorious.
You came with a purpose to give us Bhakti, a Culture that we did not know.
             Oh, My Dearest Guru Maharajh, you have repeatedly saved ISKCON from so many demons, You was there for my Gurudev when envious people were attacking him. Your Iskcon family was your life and soul. Preaching is the essence you said you cannot stop preaching. You died on the battlefield. However, we are the unfortunate souls suffering from separation.
                 I love Gulag Jamuna Iskcon Style.you are sweet. Your face is sweet, your eyes are sweet, your smile is sweet, your gait is sweet. Everything is sweet about you. I love Gulag Jamuna Guru Maharajh, I love You.
             Last but not least as I desired to travel with you and make Films, Krishna Willingham the moment very ill, I shall make a film on you.
            “Bhakti Caru Swami”
 A Saint of the Modern Era”
Bhakti Caru Swami ki Jai.
Your Loving Daughter,
Sarvakanthie Devi Dasi
Sucaru Das

Mukam karoti vacalam pangum langayate girim yat krpa tam aham vande Sri gurun Dina tarune

All glories to Sri Sri Radha Radhanath, all glories to Srila Prabhupada, all glories to Guru Maharaja. Hare Krsna Vibhu Prabhu thank you for this opportunity to express our 💓 felt feelings

for His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami.
When I think of my spiritual master I see the embodiment of love, he only exudes love, this love is direct from the spiritual sky and his smile is oceanic. Maharaj had so many magnanimous qualities, imagine if everyone in the world of Iskcon imbibes any quality of Maharaj imagine the impact it will have and how pleased Guru Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada will be. Gurumaharaj your name is bhakti Charu Swami the beauty of devotion, you make devotional service so sweet and beautiful and you are so eloquent you disseminate sastra in a manner which everyone understands, thank you, Guru Maharaj, for everything you did for me personally, you thought me surrender at my initiation you refused to initiate me coz I did not shave my head, you mercifully told me now is the time to show your surrender my dear godbrother Param Brahma Prabhu shaved me up then only you gave me initiation. Kindly forgive all my offenses Guru Maharaj, I will try my best to walk in your footsteps. Your servant of the Vaisnavas.
Akinchana Devi Dasi
My mum, Ramadevi Dasi, took diksha initiation from the saintly Vaisnava, Bhakti Charu Swami at Bhaktivedanta Manor, England in March 1992.
Maharaj, you took such good spiritual care of her throughout her life.
She also had the good fortune of hosting and cooking for you in her house. She was so grateful for that opportunity.
My daughter, Subhadra Clark was only 7 years old, and she helped to serve you prasadam.
You even sent her a handwritten letter thanking her for serving you.
We all benefited as a family from the loving exchanges we shared at different times.
I will never forget one in particular. You spoke with my brother Dharam and about his work as a lab analyst. You immediately called me over and said ‘ you have a very intelligent brother here, Akinchana’
Never failing to validate or give credit.
I have some very fond memories of being in your presence along with my mother, and they will remain very dear to me always
On your visits here to the UK, whenever we met, you took the time to enquire about my mother and ask how she was doing.
I am going to miss you, my very kind uncle.
Your whole life has been exemplary and an offering to Srila Prabhupada every step of the way.
Srila Prabhupada has called for you, and you have responded but still, I am very devastated to learn of your departure.

Because of your selfless service, you will attain the Lord’s lotus feet. Hare Krishna.

Your servant
Akinchana d d
From London
Gurukripa Das & Rasada Devi Dasi

My spiritual master opened my darkened eyes with the torchlight of transcendental knowledge.

The Gopis glories are broadcasted throughout the three worlds, for Their unalloyed love and devotion.
Today the world sings of their glories making it auspicious all around when the Vaisnavas distribute these wonderful glories.
Similarly, dearest Gurudev, devotees all over the world are singing your glories, making everyone come in contact with your most wonderful, transcendental feats during your stay on this earthly planet. Your glories are broadcasted all over the social media, technology the fastest means to bring the world updated and to keep everyone updated with worldly news..people are coming to know this great saintly person who lived his life for the sole purpose of saving the fallen souls, bringing them to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada  And what is this wonderful news, is how you made the teachings and instructions of your most dearest spiritual master Srila Prabhupada, your life and soul. You have expertly taken these instructions and teachings and successfully Distributed it out to masses of fallen souls and in doing so,  bringing them to the Divine lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, whose lotus feet emanates an ocean of mercy. Your whole existence was and is for His Divine Grace nothing else mattered, only that you please your spiritual master, sealing, securing your place at His Divine Lotus feet, a place where one should make one’s goal a resting place.
You have finally reached it, dear Gurudev, in this lifetime, where you become instrumental again in continuing the wonderful, transcendental feats of your Beloved spiritual master.
Leaving behind your legacy.
The hearts that you have touched, by bringing them to Srila Prabhupada.The eternally, grateful, and indebted disciples. Fallen souls who became fortunate were given the opportunity to know who Srila Prabhupada is, to serve and engage in devotional services. Hearts that were once broken, disillusioned, full of fear, frustrated, tormented, unhappy, suicidal, by just being in this material world, a place of blazing fire. You have saved and released these souls, by Distributing the pure knowledge and continuing the works of Srila Prabhupada.
What an achievement. One who makes the teachings and words of one’s spiritual master his heart and soul, his very existence, will surely earn his place in the spiritual kingdom.
Jai Gurudev
Glories, glories, glories to your Divine Lotus feet.
Your most insignificant
Son and daughter
Gurukripa Das & Rasada Devi Dasi
Veronica Panday  & Vrinda Prem

Hare Krsna Dear Guru Maharaj

When I first heard of your illness, it broke my heart and I prayed to our Dear Lord to remove your pain and suffering, and then It dawned upon me, Lord Krishna words in the Bhagavad-Gita, “my devotee never perishes”
What more to say about Srila Prabupadha right-hand Man
Srila Prabhupada and our sweet Lord have called. He is the final decision maker
Your purity and sweet Kirtan always gave me hope
Good luck, my Dear Guru Maharaj, till we meet again
Your servant
Veronica Panday
Vrinda Prem

Indrani Naidoo

SB 10.31.9 

tava kathāmṛtaṁ tapta-jīvanaṁ 

kavibhir īḍitaṁ kalmaṣāpaham 

śravaṇa-maṅgalaṁ śrīmad ātataṁ 

bhuvi gṛṇanti ye bhūri-dā janāḥ 

The nectar of Your talks as described by the great thinkers drive away the sins of the individual souls who suffer [in this material world]. Charged with spiritual power they are a blessing for everyone who hears them. Oh, how beneficent are the persons who with song spread those talks all over the world. 

In 2016, on the arrival day of Srila Prabhupada in New York, Bhakti Charu Swami delivered a class in Ujjain, India. His sweet melodious voice carried the transcendental song of separation of the Gopis to his audience. His voice changed the rhythmic beat of my heart and changed its desire forever. 

Guru Maharaj articulated how the Gopis predicated the appearance and activities of our Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada as he ventured to the West to spread the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to indulge the world in the chanting of the holy names of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. 

Caitanya Caritamrta 14.4-18 

Guru Maharaj further explained how King Prataparudra recited this verse to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Lord rose in ecstatic love of Godhead, dancing and repeating the line: 

bhuvi gṛṇanti ye bhūri-dā janāḥ 

Guru Maharaj discloses how Lord Caitanya, who is Krishna Himself, confirms the munificence of the great soul who will come to spread His name all over the world. 

Guru Maharaj summarises that these predictions; 5000 years ago, by the Gopis and 500 years ago by Lord Caitanya, was realised when Srila Prabhupada arrived in the West and started ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. 

This lecture revealed to me the innermost desire of my Spiritual Master who is filled with all good qualities like sweetness, kindness, intelligence, and gratitude: 

To preserve, protect, and propagate Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON. 

My Dearest Guru Maharaja, 

I pray that I will grow in purity through the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, that I will grow in intelligence through reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and listening to your words and that I will grow in ability through working to serve you in separation to preserve, protect and propagate Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON. 

I am a fallen soul not worthy of much, but I have received a great fortune in your association and with this, I endeavour to serve you so. 

Your eternal servant, 

Indrani Naidoo