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Title: Akinchana Krishna Dasa Babaji
User: Gouranga dasa Date: 2007-04-04 18:29:25
Sri Akincana Krishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja
揝rila Prabhupada said that Krishna Dasa Babaji was akincana (free from all material attachments and possessions) and a paramahamsa (a swan-like pure devotee). He was attached only to chanting the holy name of Krishna. Born in E. Bengal, he began Krishna consciousness in college, joined the Gaudiya Math, and took initiation from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
揌is sole engagement in the temple was chanting Hare Krishna day and night. His Godbrothers, however, complained to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He told them his chanting was fine and that they should encourage him. He further said that they should place one newspaper ad, inviting all sincere men who were willing to chant Krishna's name all day and night to join the Gaudiya Math. A few men came, chanted, and left. But Krishna Dasa remained steady in his chanting. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati ordered his men to provide all facility to the Babaji.
揅ontinually chanting Hare Krishna, Krishna Dasa Babaji began wandering all over India, especially in Mayapur and Vrndavana. He was fond of repeating the last instruction of Srimad Bhagavatam, 'Always chant Hare Krishna and offer obeisances to the Lord.' Before singing, which he liked, he would always glorify the previous acaryas.
揥hile he was performing kirtana at Srila Prabhupada's sannyasa initiation in Mathura, Srila Prabhupada told him to chant more. At that time, Krishna Dasa realized that Srila Prabhupada would lead a worldwide Hare Krishna movement. When remembering Srila Prabhupada, Krishna Dasa would often tell us:
'Your spiritual master is the greatest spiritual master who has ever existed, more than any other spiritual master. More miracles, more work than anyone before. Why? Because no other spiritual master was such a great servant of the holy name. And because he took the holy name all over the world.'
揔rishna Dasa would never accept any honor or gifts. Although he would accept maha-prasadam garlands, and then immeditately remove them. Near the end of his life, a reputable doctor examined his heart with a stethoscope. The surprised doctor and several other witnesses heard the most incredible and unbelievable sound. Instead of hearing the normal heartbeat, lub-dub lub-dub lub-dub, they heard the maha-mantra vibrating from within Krishna Dasa Babaji's heart, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. On this day of his divine disappearance, we should pray to Krishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja for the blessings of attraction for chanting the holy name of Krishna.?(B.B. Govinda Maharaja memoirs)
A disciple of Srila Prabhupada and an acquaintance of Krishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja, gives this account:
揔rishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja was a close friend of Srila Prabhupada and a great well-wisher of his disciples. Whenever we would ask him questions, his usual answer was Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Although highly educated and fluent in both English and Bengali, he mostly just kept chanting Hare Krishna. When a devotee would offer him obeisances and ask, 'Krishna Dasa, please give me your mercy?' Babaji Maharaja would reply, 'No, you please give me your mercy. I need it more.'
揌e was always absorbed in hearing and chanting Krishna's holy names. He had no disciples. Being dear to all devotees of the Lord, he was warmly received wherever he traveled. He was always jolly. Regardless of what was happening, he would respond by saying, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, and chuckle slightly or laugh.
揇espite his old age and seemingly frail body, whenever he picked up a mrdanga to glorify Krishna he would play the drum with masterful expertise. He would sing with intense devotional concentration, his voice expressing his deep inner feelings of love for Krishna. He would wander around Vraja mandala visiting the places of Krishna's pastimes. He would sit down at one and chant Krishna's glories with tears of ecstatic love in his eyes.
揥e brought him to Pavana Sarovara in Nandagrama to spend his last days absorbed in bhajana. When we asked him for any last instruction, he just laughed and said, 'My only instruction is to chant Hare Krishna. That's all there is.'
In a small song book, in which he kept notes, Krishna Dasa Babaji made this last entry before leaving this world:
'Chanting the holy name of Krishna is the true nectar. The Holy Name is like honey. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.'
His samadhi is in Nandagrama at Pavana Sarovara within the Gaudiya Math temple at Sri Sanatana Gosvami's bhajana sthali.
"Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare"---Srila Krishna Das Bababji Maharaj
He was the delight of all the associates of the great Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura. He was the favorite of his Godbrothers and he gave them all his laughing Hare Krsna!
In 1968 paramahamsa Akincana Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj was staying at Srila Vana Maharaj's Vrindavan Gaudiya Matha, bhajan kutir, which he did every year for 4-5 months at a time before and during the hot season. In the winter he was in Navadvipa. We slept on the roof together many summer nights, and he never went to sleep. Prayers, quiet bhajan and chanting all night long, every night. He was constantly laughing, and he would always say Hare Krsna! with the greatest exuberance I have ever witnessed.
He was the most 'Goswami' alike character. He looked just like you would imagine Sanatana or Rupa Goswami in Vraja to look like. He was the only devotee I ever witnessed who would weep flowing tears while leading kirtan without losing his voice. And he was the greatest kirtana leader in the universe! All the devotees within the various Gaudiya Math's everywhere agreed that Lord Caitanya would personally join Babaji Maharaj's kirtana. As long as he stayed at Srila Vana Maharaj's Vrindavan ashram he always led the kirtana starting at 4:30 am. He always played the mrdanga either in kirtan or alone while singing prayers before the Deities.
The Deities at bhajan-kutir were Lord Caitanya, Sri Govinda in the center, with Srimati Radharani on the other side. There were also Govardhana and Shalagram shila's worshipped daily with the central Deities. The puja standard was first-class. There were about 10-15 ashramites ranging in age from 18 - 80 years old. Everyone was either a brahmacari or sannyasi. Akincana Krsnadas was the only "Babaji" who stayed regularly at the Vrndavana bhajan-kutir except for Srila Vana Maharaj's Babaji disciple Sri Lalit Babaji who returned to Vraja nitya-lila in 1972.
In the daytime, after noon kirtana, Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj would go down into a cave room which Swami Vana had constructed years before. Srila Vana Maharaj was known to have performed solitary Vraja-bhajan in this basement room for a number of years before he accepted disciples. It was very cool in that room. So everyday Babaji Maharaj would spend the entire afternoon in the cave room chanting his mala.
Babaji Maharaj didn't seem to have any teeth. He was an old Bengali disciple of Saraswati Thakura's who (it is rumored) went to live in seclusion at Haridwar after the disappearance of Prabhupada and the following trouble within the Gaudiya Math. In any case, that was many, many years before. He was about 70 years old when I first received his merciful glance. Making disciples, building temples or collecting money were the farthest thing from his mind; and he never, ever criticized anyone. His only concern was chanting constantly; either kirtan or rounds. He would answer with a laughing "Hare Krsna!" any time anyone would speak to him. He often had a gleefully pained look on his face like he had just heard the world's funniest joke and was going to burst out laughing. And when any one said Hare Krsna to Babaji he would laugh out loud in a most infectious manner. When ever he would say Hare Krsna he would laugh his way through the mantra. I have never seen Prema-bhakti as exhibited by Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj. All the Gaudiya Math devotees were so glad when Babaji Maharaj would come to stay. Time for the uttama kirtana!
In 1968, for protection from my Vietnam draft legal problems, I proceeded to Govardhana Hill on the order of Srila Vana Maharaj to perform parikrama. By some good fortune I was accompanied by Babaji Maharaj who also wanted to visit Govardhana. On the way we stopped at Nandagram where we stayed for a week at Sanatana Goswami's bhajan kutir (no electric, water, nor latrine). Begging "madhu-kari" from the local Vraja-vasis by proclaiming, Radhe Syama!, we passed our time in chanting and exploring the home of Nanda Maharaj. Babaji Maharaj didn't speak anything (he only said "Hare Krsna!"), nor did I speak much Bengali yet, so our relationship was initially based on only saying "Hare Krsna!" to each other.
Next we proceeded to Varsana where he introduced me to Sriji Herself. But due to my blunt material eyes I could only see charming Deities. We also stayed a few days at Man-mandira with a siddha-purush known as Radha-charan Das Babaji. He is one of the most exalted souls I have ever met, and as of 1996 he has resided there for 46 years.
After many days we finally arrived at Mount Govardhana, but we got off the bus (at Babaji's insistence) before the bus drove over the hill and on to the bus station. Early the next morning, after bathing in Syama kunda & Radha kunda, we walked around Govardhana hill barefoot, carrying our bedding, chanting all the way. Sometimes Babaji Maharaj, while always chanting, would laugh out loud and other times he seemed morose like he was missing Krsna. Just like Srila Prabhupada, Babaji Maharaj never wasted a single moment without Krsna Consciousness. By evening we had completed the task and returned safely to Radha-kunda for the night. The next day we went back to Mathura by bus and onwards to Vrndavana by Tonga.
Samadhi of Akinchan Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj in Nandagram
Sanatana Goswami's sacred bhajan-kutir is on the banks of the eternal Pavan-sarovar lake. This kunda is so special because Sri Krsna takes His daily bath here eternally. It is said that a morning bath in Pavan-sarovar gives liberation from material bondage forever (at least a shira-snan). All the devotees would bath daily in this sarovar. It is very charming.
Attached to this austere ashram is a very sacred tirtha, the samadhi of Akinchan Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj, who is a real bhajan-anandi.
(It is interesting to note that the only two disciples of Prabhupada whose samadhi's are mentioned by H.H. Mahanidhi Maharaja in his book, "Gaudiya Vaisnava Samadhi's in Vrndavana," are Tridandi Swami Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj who was acting as a most empowered gostya-anandi, and Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj who was a most exalted bhajan-anandi). Nandagram is the lila-stali chosen over all others by Babaji Maharaj to leave his old body. Some devotees believe that Babaji Maharaj is eternally in shakya-rasa with Lord Krsna. Although he would never say, still, I remember him at Madhuvana singing a Hindi song about Krsna's friends with tears streaming down his face.
In the samadhi is a large picture of Babaji Maharaj looking kind of pained. I have never exactly seen Babaji with that look before. I always remember him laughing and very happy. He was so humble that we were all afraid to offer him obeisance's because he would always do the same in return. He would never accept obeisance's. Can you imagine a Vaisnava of Babaji's character bowing to a prakrta-bhakta and former beef-eater like me? I wasn't fit to wash his feet.
Please allow me to speak more about Akinchan Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj. One time he was leading a large sankirtana party through the streets of Vrndavana. It was the middle of summer (In Vrndavana!!). When we reached Srila Bhakti Saranga Goswami's Gaudiya Math, Babaji Maharaj fainted. We all thought he might die, so we continued chanting and took him into Bhakti-Saranga Maharaja's Amalitala ashram. Finally we got Babaji Maharaja to wake up and then he got sick to his stomach. When he felt a little better he asked us to continue on and he would catch up later. Sure enough, on the last stretch, there was Babaji Maharaj with mrdanga in hand and a beaming grin on his face.
On another occasion I was following Babaji Maharaj walking around Giriraj Maharaj. In all the years together I never heard Babaji Maharaj speak much. Example: "Babaji Maharaj, is it true that you're in shakya rasa?" To which he replies, "HARE KRSNA!!!"
Even when he was meeting with his Godbrothers he would always sit at their feet, and he would simply laugh and proclaim, "Hare Krsna!!!" whenever he was told anything.
So we were walking past a devotee who was performing 108 dandavat parikrama around Govardhana when suddenly Babaji Maharaj turned to me and said, "Ucharan Koro!" ("Pronounce it"---the Holy Name). My chanting was so poor that Babaji Maharaj had to break his silence.
As I mentioned before, Babaji Maharaj never slept. He was always up all night performing bhajan; at least during the summers when he would always stay in Vrndavana with Srila Vana Maharaj. First thing in the morning Babaji Maharaj would lead all the kirtana with all the many traditional Gaudiya Matha melodies. Then, after Caitanya Caritamrta reading (in Bengali), Babaji Maharaj would sit alone before the Deities and sing endless sweet bhajan's for a few hours. He would also sing (recite) so many verses, and he would always begin with all the Guru vandanas, Siddhanta-Sarasvati, Gaura Kishore, etc. During the afternoon he would stay in Swami Vana's underground room to chant. I often went down to serve him and I never saw him sleeping. At night he would again lead the kirtana, and after prasadam he would sit on the roof to pray, all night! The best way to describe Babaji Maharaja is a laughing "Hare Krsna!!"
Title: Re: Akinchana Krishna Dasa Babaji
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-04-04 19:55:51
Thanks. Shrila Akinchana Krishnadasa Babaji was the personification of chanting constant Naam. Naam bhaja, naam chinta, naam kara saara....We beg for a tiny particle of taste for the Naam from the dust of his lotus feet while remembering His pastimes. He used to chant inside a cave for the whole night in Vraja and then play mridanga and sing very ecstatic Mangal Arati kirtana in the Gaudiya Math with all his nocturnal Naam realizations.