ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s youngest son, Vrindavan Chandra De, passed away at his home in Kolkata at 10:30pm on April 3rd. He had been suffering from lung cancer.
Vrindavan Chandra was favorable to his father’s society. He had also been the only family member present when Srila Prabhupada boarded the Jaladuta to leave for the U.S. on August 13th, 1965. He related the experience when he attended the 50thanniversary celebration of Prabhupada’s historical journey at Netaji Stadium in 2015.
Vrindavan Chandra recalled seeing his father off from Kolkata’s Khidirpur Dock with a jar of coconut laddhus from his sister (Prabhupada’s daughter) Bhakti-lata.
He remembered Srila Prabhupada being so renounced that he even gave him the forty rupees he had left, “because it wouldn’t be any use to him in America.” Prabhupada asked his son to give his best wishes to his family, and requested them to pray for his safe journey. Then, as the ship’s bell sounded its departure, Vrindavan Chandra shed tears and prostrated himself in obeisance before his father.
Vrindavan Chandra De with Radhanath Swami
At another time, ISKCON guru Radhanath Swami recalled, “I once asked Vrindavan Chandra, ‘What were you thinking when your father, just going on 70 years old, was walking alone up the steps to the Jaladuta, carrying only forty rupees and not knowing anyone in America to help him?’ With tears in his eyes, Prabhupada’s son told me, ‘I was proud of my father.’”
Vrindavan Chandra continued to keep in touch with Srila Prabhupada over the years as ISKCON grew. GBC Madhusevita Das remembers him visiting Prabhupada in Mayapur in the early 1970s. Meanwhile Bhagavat Maharaja, another Prabhupada disciple, recalls him coming to visit in Bombay.
“During that time Srila Prabhupada gave his son the sole rights to sell his books in all the stores of India,” Bhagavat Maharaja says. “I was in Srila Prabhupada’s room when they both signed the agreement. Vrindavan Chandra De maintained his family during his life by selling Srila Prabhupada’s books to the stores in India. When he retired, he signed over the rights to sell them to the stores back to ISKCON. He was a very beautiful devotee who was so dear to Srila Prabhupada.”
Later, during Srila Prabhupada’s last days in Vrindavan, Vrindavan Chandra often came to see his father.
“Srila Prabhupada was naturally very affectionate towards him, and spoke very intimately with him, makinge arrangements for the welfare of his family,” Bhakti Charu Swami recalls. “Although he did not seriously accept the path of devotion, as the son of a pure devotee he will positively receive a destination beyond our imagination.”
“All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Sri Vrindavan Chandra!”
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