After years of battling with cancer, on Saturday early morning Gunagrahi das Goswami left his body in Vrindavan, in the midst of loving devotees chanting the Holy Names of Krishna.
Maharaja’s final hours were streamed on Facebook live giving people worldwide the opportunity to witness the glorious death of a Vaishnava, and the immense love, care and tenderness devotees surrounded and assisted him to get through the final test and achieve his goal of life.
“He had been unconscious since the afternoon,” his long-time friend BB Govinda Swami reports, but when the end was eminent I was screaming the Mahamantra into his ear and each time he would respond.”
The doctors in the room were constantly checking on Maharaja’s vital signs, and when they finally declared him dead at around 4AM, devotees shouted out on the top of their lungs “Jay Jay Shri Radhe Shyam! Jay Srila Prabhupada! Jaya Gunagrahi Goswami Maharaja!”, their faces relfecting the mixture of sorrow and joy.
“He was such a kind loving devotee. A radiant star has stopped shining in this world… but now glows brilliantly in Goloka Vrindavan,” BB Govinda Swami says.
Gunagrahi das Goswami joined ISKCON in 1969 and was initiated by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada in 1971. He accepted the renounced order of sannyasa in 1983. For almost a half century, Maharaja has taught Krishna-consciousness and traveled tirelessly in the service of Srila Prabhupada. He has made hundreds of devotees and initiated many cutting-edge outreach activities.
Gumagrahi Das Goswami and his inseparable conga drums.
“Tonight he conquered his cancer, and now has a sat cit ananda form and life in the groves of Vrindavan, with Radhe Shyam and all their myriad friends,” BB Govinda Swami continues.
Maharaja, you took me off the street and gave me a life at 132 Bidwell Parkway in Buffalo, NY.
I am ever thankful… and I forever love you. If I ever make it back to godhead I’ll know how to spot you…
You’ll be the only resident of Golokdham with a Conga Drum.”
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Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium