Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Digital Devotion: Creating a New Recording of Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita
By Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Jul 08, 2024
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Ekendra Das finishing his 1,500th edit on the last chapter of “Let There Be A Temple.”

Ekendra Das has undertaken the monumental task of recording an unabridged audiobook of Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita, which is a detailed account of the life and legacy of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami requested this service of Ekendra, which holds immense significance for the entire ISKCON community.

The goal of this project is to preserve and disseminate Prabhupada’s teachings and life story to a modern, digitally connected audience. Through this endeavor, Ekendra is not only honoring ISKCON’s founder but also ensuring that his transformative teachings continue to inspire future generations. His journey, marked by personal trials and dedication, is a testament to the power of faith and resilience.

Ekendra’s foray into audiobook narration began with an unexpected challenge. Shortly after committing to the project, he developed a condition known as muscle tension dysphonia, severely impacting his voice. This condition, often triggered by overuse and improper vocal habits, threatened to derail his efforts. “I developed a nasty case of muscle tension dysphonia from the overuse and poor habits from my previous recordings,” Ekendra recalled. Determined to overcome this obstacle, he sought vocal therapy and adopted new techniques to protect and preserve his voice.

Despite the physical challenges, Ekendra’s dedication never wavered. The process of recording each chapter is a meticulous endeavor. Every word must be carefully enunciated, and every pause must be precisely measured. Ekendra learned to use advanced tools for noise suppression and mastering, ensuring a high-quality final product. His commitment to perfection is evident in his approach: “I had to make sure the final product sounds good so that someone else can just sit back and enjoy listening to the flow of katha.”

Central to Ekendra’s journey is the guidance and encouragement from Satsvarupa Das Goswami, the author of the Lilamrita. Initially nervous about meeting this revered figure’s high expectations, Ekendra found solace in his supportive feedback. “He would always send back encouraging notes… It was very, very helpful. That kept me going,” Ekendra shared. Satsvarupa Das Goswami’s affirmation that Ekendra’s “straightforward style” and “no-nonsense” approach were perfect for the project bolstered his confidence and drive.

The financial aspect of the project posed another significant challenge. Initially supported by Gitanagari Press and individual donors, Ekendra later had to take on the responsibility of fundraising. Balancing the demands of recording and fundraising was daunting. “I have no particular skills at fundraising,” Ekendra admitted, highlighting the additional strain it placed on him. Nonetheless, he launched a GoFundMe campaign, reaching out to friends and devotees to garner the necessary support.

Ekendra’s work on the audiobook has also been a journey of personal and spiritual growth. Immersing himself in Srila Prabhupada’s life and teachings has provided him with profound insights. One particular moment that resonated with him was when Prabhupada was working on Gajendra’s pastime from the Eighth Canto, which he found especially poignant given the context of Prabhupada’s struggles. “Little things like that over and over and over…affect me so deeply about reading Lilamrita,” Ekendra reflected, emphasizing the richness of Prabhupada’s lived experiences.

As he looks to the future, Ekendra envisions the audiobook series as a crucial tool for preserving and disseminating Srila Prabhupada’s legacy. In an era where digital platforms dominate, he hopes the audiobook will reach a contemporary audience. “We won’t lose the opportunity to learn… the Lilamrita is quite comprehensive,” he notes, underscoring the importance of making Srila Prabhupada accessible to a digitally connected generation. The impact of Ekendra’s work is already evident. His narration brings Srila Prabhupada’s journey to life, allowing listeners to experience the wisdom and compassion of this spiritual leader firsthand. “To get that kind of association with such an extremely great personality, it has to have some effect on you,” Ekendra believes.

Ekendra’s Lilamrita audiobook project stands out from other versions because it focuses on simplicity, as the author requested. Amala Bhakta Swami’s dramatic version incorporates multiple voicings, sound effects, and music for a vivid audio experience, while Ekendra’s narration is stripped down and straightforward. By faithfully narrating the Lilamrita, he is not just preserving history; he is inspiring future generations by drawing them into Srila Prabhupada’s complete life story. His journey is an example of perseverance, illustrating how one individual’s commitment can profoundly impact the collective spiritual journey of many. The five volumes of “A Lifetime in Preparation, Planting The Seed, Only He Could Lead Them, In Every Town and Village, and Let There Be A Temple” have already been completed and are available on bbtmedia.com.

If you are interested in supporting Ekendra’s invaluable work, he invites you to visit his GoFundMe page to learn more about the project.

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