A Pure Devotee Left This World in Vrindavan

I was lucky to meet Srila B.S. Damodar Maharaj, who was the temple-president of Imlitala for many years. His heart was always pure and he blessed Yamuna-kunja with his presence for more then 6 years. When he was entering his last portion of life he chose that holy place with the deity of the imlitala tree as his residence. He had given that deity to me more them 12 years ago and we had made an altar in the center front of the Yamuna.

He was a Gaudiya acarya of exceptional love and humility. I always thought of Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj when I heard him sing and walk and talk. His Gurudeva Srila Bhakti Suhrit Akinchana Maharaj was his life and soul. He did not long for anything except to be with Sri Guru and his Ishtadeva. And there he reached directly from Vrindavan when he left his body in the company of many chanting Vaishnavas.

We feel sad not to be able to see and serve him. But his journey was the journey of topmost glory and his memory we will be able to retain so that one day we may see him again.

My dandavat pranam at his feet and prayer to his disciples to make him happy by remaining fixed in Krishna consciousness.

Imlitala ki jay!
Radha Gopinath ki jay!
Nitai Gaura ki jay!
Nityalila pravishta Om Vishnupad Paramahansa Parivrjakacarya Sri Srila B.S. Damodar Maharaj ki jay!

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Interview with Damodar Maharaj

The following article is based on an interview with Bhakti B.S. Damodar Maharaj, who served as the Math in Charge for Imlitala for 28 years. At 85 years of age this humble and sweet devotee is passing his last days in Yamuna Kunja, right next to Imlitala, on the banks of the holy river Yamuna.

Maharaja, can you tell us something about your life history?

It was maybe 50 years ago that I joined Gaudiya Math. Before that I served in the Indian army from 1939 to 1946, as we were fighting for the British in World War two at that time. Then during the 1950’s I became an ascetic. My Gurudeva was Bhakti Suhrit Akincana Maharaja, who was a disciple of Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaja. First I stayed in Gaur Nityananda Gaudiya math in Mayapura, and after that in Mathura. After we aquired the Imlitala place I came there.

In the beginning the area around Imlitala was covered with bushes and wild vegetation. The Yamuna was still very wide and close at that time. Also the parikrama marg was very small and covered with vegetation. During that time we used to maintain the Imlitala Math from donations that came from our Delhi Math. For many years I did all the seva: the cooking, the puja, the kirtan and the cleaning. At that time we required 6000 rupees per month for maintaining the whole Math.

What advice do you have for devotees that come to Vrindavana?

For advice you have to go to a real vaishnava. All I can say that realisation will come gradually. It is important not to pay much attention to apparent bad things that are happening in the dham. All things in this material world are temporary. Right now my body functions are leaving me, physically all goes down. But in Vrindavan we should always remember our spiritual origin. Then we don’t suffer. We should remember that all is happening according to Krishna’s desire. Then there will be peace. Keep Krishna always in the center. Then you will never suffer.

Source: WVA Magazine Kartik 2003 

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His last 6 years in Pictures

In-front of Yamuna-kunja.

Reading Chaitanya Charitamrita.

Maharaj would often request us to scan some old Picture and fix it up in Photoshop. He was always happy to receive the repaired printout and would distribute it to devotee friends or guests who sometimes came from far to visit him.

Maharaj's simple Altar opposite his bed in Yamuna-kunja.

2004 at the WVA Meeting in Yamuna-kunja.

2006 at the WVA Meeting in Yamuna-kunja. 

Helping in the kitchen for the WVA Meeting prasadam feast in 2006.

Chasing a young bull out of Yamuna-kunja's garden.

Feeding a cow.

In summer 2004 Maharaja almost left his body after he came back from a preaching tour in Bengal, luckily for us that time he recovered.

Dear Damodar Maharaja, thank you for your kindness and guidance, we miss you.

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Samadhi ceremony in Vrindavan

On his final day (8. August, 2007) devotees from Imlitala came in the morning and performed soft kirtan for Maharaja, one devotee sat next to Maharaja and read the complete Bhagavad gita to him. It was obvious to those present that Maharaja would leave today, he could not talk anymore but he could recognize us and was happy to see the devotees. After the reading was completed around 12:00 pm the devotees left to take prasadam at the Imlitala temple, meanwhile devotees from Vrinda continued with the kirtan which got intensive as Maharaja was leaving his body around 12:30 pm.

Maharaja's body was placed infront of Imlitala Mahaprabhu

Sanatan Prabhu, a close associate of Maharaja, standing behind the Imlitala tree 

Devotees carrying Maharaja's body in Parikrama

Passing Imlitala temple where Maharaja served as temple president for 28 years

Reaching Pani-ghat

 

 

Paramahansa Maharaj saying good-bye to an old friend

Final bath in the holy river Yamuna

Sanatan Prabhu, a close friend of Maharaja ignited the fire

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