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

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Remembering HG Pankajanabha Das
By Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  May 15, 2024

Pankajanabha Das (far left) greeting Srila Prabhupada; Pankajanabha Das in Vrindavan, India.

His Grace Pankajanabha Das, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, departed this world on May 13th at 3 AM in Sri Vrindavan Dham. According to a devotee caring for him, he chanting “Krishna! Krishna! Krishna!” immediately before leaving.  Godbrother Deena Bandhu Das said, “His most cherished desire to leave the body in Sri Vrindavan-Dham, the holiest of holy places, was fulfilled.” Pankajanabha spend the final three years of his life in Vrindavan.

Born into a Catholic family in Costa Rica, Pankajanabha moved to the US with his parents when he was a child. He joined the ISKCON Henry Street temple in New York and, in 1973, was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in Philadelphia. He served as a cook in the temple. “He had an excellent reputation as an expert cook and had the opportunity and privilege to cook for Srila Prabhupada,” noted Deena Bandhu, “Pankajanabha Prabhu was part of the pioneer team of devotees who started preaching in Costa Rica in 1974. From there the Krishna consciousness movement spread to the region of Central America!”

Gopijanavallabha Das, who had met Pankajanabha Das only three years ago in Vrindavan, said, “He was a soft-spoken and a dedicated servant of Srila Prabhupada. Although he was a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, he treated me as a friend and exchanged sweet memories of his association with Srila Prabhupada and his godbrothers and godsisters in New York temple and later in [North] Carolina, where he was based before he arrived in Vrindavan. Gopijanavallabha continued, “Both my wife, Gopipriya and I got seva for him. He was suffering from Cystic fibrosis, and he knew well that he would be leaving soon. He was thankful that he survived here so long.”

Sarva-drik Das said, “It was my privilege to serve with Sriman Pankajanabha Prabhu for some time at Prabhupada Village, North Carolina. In spite of health challenges, even then, he was always a joy to be around and an expert cook. Yes, one of the best! Leaving this world in Vrindavan is surely the Lord’s reciprocation for a lifetime of devotional service and cooking for the Lord and the devotees. Koti, koti sashtanga dandavat pranam at his feet. Hare Krishna!”

“He was special to me. I will miss him dearly. He was in Costa Rica when my father was Temple President there,” expressed Purandar Das, “So he knew my parents well from [1974] onward. He was always so sweet and kind. He never spoke badly about anyone and was always engaged in devotional service.”

In a heartfelt video conversation with Dattavara Das in December 2022, Pankajanabha Das said, “The formula is surrender to Krishna and chant His Name. The Hare Krishna Mahamantra is the yuga dharma. It is not some creation…Just chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra. It cleanses the heart of all misgivings and dirty things. So, therefore anyone can take part. There is no special qualification. I have been in the process for 52 years. I would not be wasting my breath. You must experience it.”

A Memorial Program for Pankajanabha Das was held in Vrindavan today where you can hear many more glorifications of this inspiring soul. Watch here (note the video title is labeled incorrectly and does not include a memorial for Rajasekhara Dasa which will come later). To listen to the full video conversation with Pankajanabha Das, click here