On Thursday 9th March at 12.06pm, under the gaze of Śrī Giriraja, in the holy land of Śrī Vṛndāvana dhāma, in the loving company of his spiritual master and the vaisnavas, with a resounding kirtan party, His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Swami departed from this material realm.
In the coming hours we will send details of the Samadhi Ceremony and online links for viewing.
“Intelligent persons who take shelter of beautiful Vrndavana’s opulent vines melting with motherly love, and throw far away the idea that they are material, become supremely successful, both in this life and also after death.” (Prabhodananda Saraswati, Vrindavana Mahimamrta)
Tribute to An Inspirational Leader in Bhakti
Today an inspirational senior colleague and a devout practitioner in the field of Krishna Bhakti has passed away. Whenever his latest posts popped up on my social media, I saw him bright, smiling, singing, and traveling the world. He was always active and alive, working tirelessly for other people through his public talks, kirtans, one-on-one mentorship, and his personal leadership examples. He did all of it selflessly, without taking weekends or breaks, inspired solely by the paramatma spirit within.
I didn’t know much about his early life, but I have never seen him sad: he had this contagious joy that was coming from within his heart, and I know that he has touched thousands of lives everywhere around the world with it. Our paths crossed a few other times here and there and enthusiastic spirit for singing kirtan is forever etched in my mind. Having chosen a career in Vaishnava ministry, he was always available to his students, disciples, and anyone else whenever he recognized a spark in their eyes.
He was an expert at fanning that with his encouragement and turning that into a blaze in the heart. The outpouring of love I see is a small testament to who we are. Our lives are perhaps best judged by who cries when we die, and who lives to carry on what we have lived our lives for.
About two decades ago he had approached me to get suggestions on learning Bangla so that he could read the Caitanya Caritamrita in its original language. For a young twenty-two-year-old who had never left India (me) a middle-aged Dutchman’s eagerness to learn a relatively minor native language from the “third world” was quite intriguing. I have often wondered what it would have been like if we had pursued it and embarked on an intellectual journey together. I missed an opportunity to have an incredible and delightful spiritual experience together.
After having a few close shaves, I have become more serious about what I want out of life: live my best life and grow from the teachings of Sri Krishna, and whatever else aligns with that. And thus, when you discussed your vision of building a world class spiritual university, I was reminded of the adventure Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami was on, and how we sought my assistance on this path of building higher educational infrastructure and opportunities for upcoming generations of Vaishnavas. I think it has been a worthy cause, and I feel like kindred spirits.
I hope the vision of the university comes to fruition because when Nabadwip and Shantipur are reestablished as centers of higher learning, as it was five centuries ago, the real gifts of Bharata and Vaishnava dharma will be naturally broadcasted around the world. Only history will judge whether I have made a positive contribution or not, but for now I keep pursuing the vision I inherited from Bhaktivinoda Thakur and I strongly believe in that vision. So, it struck a deep chord and resonated deep within my heart when I heard the parting wish about a world class spiritual university.
As I see his happy, smiling face on the internet after searching “Kadamba Kanana Swami” I am reminded of my own mortality: we’re here this moment, and gone the next. The fact that our paths will not again cross on this planet in the way we’re familiar with strikes me as a stark reality I often overlook. But his life tells me that since pure love always trumps everything else, what choice do we have but to believe that all our paths will cross again, or perhaps converge in a divine dance sometime, somewhere? Within my heart I somehow have strange conviction that if or when it does, I will see him happy, smiling, and shing bright!
Krishna Abhishek Ghosh, M.St. (Oxon), Ph.D. (Chicago)
March 9th, 2023, 7.12 pm, Gainesville
Director, Institute for Vaishnava Studies
Senior Editor, Journal of Vaishnava Studies
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
In Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 22.128, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explains
that of all devotional practices, five are most potent. The life of HH
Kadamba Kanana Swami was an ideal illustration of all five of these most
potent limbs of bhakti: sadhu-sanga (association of the Vaisnavas),
nama-kirtana (chanting the holy names), bhagavata-sravana (hearing
Srimad-Bhagavatam), mathura-vasa (residing in the holy dham), and
sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana (serving the Lord’s deity form with faith).
From the very beginning of his journey on the path of Krishna consciousness
in 1978, Maharaja found shelter in Sri Vrindavan Dham, where he served until
1984, thus exemplifying Mathura-vasa, residence in the holy dham.
In 1985, Maharaja traveled to Sri Dham Mayapur, where he supervised the
construction of Srila Prabhupada’s pushpa samadhi. Immediately thereafter,
Maharaja returned to Vrindavan to serve as temple president until 1995.
Maharaja continued to offer his service and guidance to the Vrindavan and
Mayapur projects through his life, thus offering his faithful service to Sri
Sri Radha-Syamasundara and Sri Sri Radha-Madhava (sri-murtira sraddhaya
Maharaja then dedicated himself to sharing the gifts of the holy dhams with
the suffering souls by incessantly traveling all over the world. By his
lifelong study of Srila Prabhupada’s books, Maharaja possessed a realization
of sastra that he was able to convey with deep conviction, astute
observations, and a charming sense of humor, thus sharing with us all the
fruits of his bhagavata-sravana, meditation on Srimad Bhagavatam.
And who among us has not been seemingly transported to another realm by
Maharaja’s melodious kirtans, taking one from deep meditation to energetic
ecstasy, all the while being inspired to chant more and more? Nama-kirtana
(chanting the holy names) at its finest! He even celebrated his vyasa-puja
by taking the assembly of devotees on an hours-long harinama during the
Kings Day public holiday.
Through all these decades of incessant service, Kadamba Kanana Swami
remained a humble and approachable well-wisher and friend to devotees all
over the world, young and old alike. He both offered and accepted
sadhu-sanga (association of the Vaisanvas) with love and affection. He
captured the hearts of thousands and directed them to take shelter of the
process of devotional service.
Kadamba Kanana Swami was an indomitable force, overcoming inconceivable
challenges to further the mission of Srila Prabhupada. No matter what the
obstacle, Maharaja forged ahead with his deep conviction, his uplifting
classes, and his world famous kirtans. At the same time, Maharaja possessed
a sharp intelligence with which he served Srila Prabhupada’s mission as a
manager and advisor on ISKCON’s most important projects, from Vrindavan to
Mayapur to New York City, helping hundreds of devotees to optimize their own
offering of service.
It is rare indeed to find such a multifaceted personality who is
simultaneously deeply thoughtful, managerially astute, fixed in sadhana and
sastric study, exemplary in every anga of bhakti, and loved by so many.
When Maharaja was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he returned once again to
where his spiritual journey began and took shelter of the divine above of
Sri Vrindavan. Perhaps for the first time in Vaisnava history, Maharaja
allowed the community of devotees to be virtually present with him as he
prepared himself for the moment of death, teaching us essential lessons in
these five limbs of bhakti that will prove invaluable to each and every one
of us when we face that final test.
In the final days of his manifest presence among us, Maharaja showed us the
highest example of determination to take shelter of the process of Krishna
consciousness. Remaining fixed in his vow of japa until the very end,
Maharaja departed from this world among resounding kirtan, under the
merciful gaze of Sri Giriraj, in the association of his spiritual master, HH
Jayadvaita Swami, and the Vaisnavas in Sri Vrindavan Dham.
We pray that this auspicious departure brings some solace to all of us
bearing separation from our dear Kadamba Kanana Maharaja. Maharaja himself
expressed such conviction and joy in the knowledge that death simply
signifies a change of service, an opportunity for which he was as
enthusiastic as ever.
We especially offer our prayers for Maharaja’s disciples that they may find
shelter and comfort in the holy names, Srila Prabhupada’s books, the
association of the devotees, and service to the mission of His Divine Grace,
just as Maharaja exemplified. Please know that on behalf of HH Kadamba
Kanana Maharaja, we offer you our full support and affection.
The GBC shall be eternally indebted to Maharaja for his innumerable services
HH Kadamba Kanana Swami ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Ananta koti vaisvnava vrinda ki jaya!
Revati Raman Das
Guru Prasad Swami
Tapana Misra Das,
GBC Executive Committee
Radha Carana Prabhu’s Tribute to Kadamba Kanana Maharaja
A Great Vaisnava has left this world today, with so much inspiration and enough to keep us focused on service to Srila Prabhupada.
Maharaj was known all over the world for many things: his lectures, his kirtans, his preaching and his powered energy.
But let us also remember that he was the mastermind behind Srila Prabhupada samadhi. He was also behind the construction of Srila Prabhupada samadhi in Mayapur. He also risked his life to secure the land adjacent to the KB Mandir. But wait, there is more. He was the general manager for the KB Mandir in the 80s. BB Govinda Swami was the temple president and I was made the head cook. That was 1983.
When I took up my service, Kadamba Kanana Maharaj said, “Follow me.” We went to the top floor of the gurukula building. He gave me a set of keys to a room that was full with dozens of tins of 10kg pure ghee. “Use it wisely,” he said.
Kadamba Kanana Maharaj never missed a mangal arati and loved to sing Vibhavari Sesa. Did you know he spoke fluent Hindi?
You may recall how he always had his sleeves rolled up. He was always ready to get to work to make things happen. Basically, he never stopped. Thank you Maharaj.
OUR KK SWAMI (Dedicated to Kadamba Kanana Swami) By HH Bhakti Marg Swami
Life was good when he was young
He then got wed, then became a monk
A man of the Dutch touch genre
In venturesome pursuit he found Chaitanya
Intelligent, musical, with so much talent
He also displayed a warrior’s trait so valiant
Like most of us in the early days of the mission
Active responsibility was the only true vision
He became an admin at the Vrindavan temple
For cleaning up a ring of sin – nothing simple
He received a vengeful bullet in his back
Imagine the pain and sacrifice in taking such flack
He once told me he was a natural bloodhound
For any deviant whose philosophy was out–of–bounds
When put on a podium or sent on a stage
He became a heart and brain shake-up sage
He was a tremendous success on many counts
A pure force, to illusion he would pounce
It didn’t matter which country or continent
What he delivered had substance and content
A mobile swami for New York, India, Europe
And South Africa, so sweet, like thick, running syrup
He was persistent, determined, and all about giving
Convinced that loving God is the only way of living
There is no doubt that he gained incredible favour
From guru to Krishna and the regular neighbour
He is charging ahead to a greener pasture
After fighting cancer to meet his Master
For the sake of unity among the diverse
He made a contribution to a vast universe
We miss him for his candid consciousness
And appreciate the kindness he launched on us
–By Bhaktimarga Swami
Apr 01, 2023
ISKCON Communications Europe
Apr 01, 2023
Giacobazzi Yanez, HG Kuladri das, and Thomas Haribol
Apr 01, 2023
Ananda Tirtha Das (GBC Corresponding Secretary)
Apr 01, 2023
ISKCON Communications Europe
Apr 01, 2023
ISKCON Communications Europe
Mar 18, 2023
Achintyarup Das, PA to Devakinandan Prabhu