I never knew Aindra. I dont have personal stories and the only time I saw him in person was when I was in Vrindavan last year for Janamastmi and I was so far away, I could barely see him. So why does hearing about his disappearance hurt so badly?
I remember the first time I heard his kirtans. I only listened to the first minute, decided it was too slow, and didnt bother to listen to the rest.
The second time I heard his kirtan I was on a road trip with my husband, at first I thought he was messing up my favorite tune and I was annoyed. But since in those days we only had CD’s we listened to it over and over and the more I listened to it, well, the more it stuck to me and I decided that I liked him.
My husband likes slow, bhajan type kirtan while I pretend that Im a kirtan rock-star. I knew he liked Aindra because of his slow moving kirtan so I found a recording on the net and we listened to it when my husband got home from work. He started to cry, saying that the kirtan reminded him of Mayapur and he felt so much separation at that time. It didnt affect me as much. Until the kirtan started to pick up, mridangas and kartals playing faster, his voice crying our for Krishna- hey! He’s a kirtan rock-star too! And then I got the taste for his music.
I downloaded more, a friend of mine gave me Vraja-Vilas and I was hooked. I relished the slowness. His voice was crying for Krishna, yearning from the soul, it awakens these wild feelings in your heart for something deep and meaningful in your life. To abandon everything and just do kirtan. Who could do this to me except Aindra? His kirtan tunes made me cry, they made me laugh, they made me dance.
A devotee that used to travel with Aindra Prabhu back in the day told me that when he was in the US- his kirtans were ok. Nothing special. But something changed in him when he went to Vrindavan. Suddenly, like day and night, they became so beautiful and melodious.
His Grace Aindra Prabhu passed away on Friday night but it has taken me until Monday morning to write about him without crying. His kirtans changed my life forever. It changed my kirtan style, it changed my heart! I couldnt understand why Krishna took him away in such a violent manner. He wasnt sick. He deserved to pass away peacefully in the company of devotees when he became super old. Not alone in his flat. I didnt want to accept it.
A few people have died in my life, some of them close to me, some not so close. But it didnt affect me like his passing did. My friend, Vani-Seva talked with me about his passing and it was so helpful and it made me realize so many things.
I wondered, why did so many of our devotees pass away so suddenly? We went down the list- Tamal Krishna Maharaj- car accident, Svarup Damodar Maharaj- heart attack, Gour Govinda Swami- heart attack, Suhotra Swami- heart attack, even Bhakti Tirtha Swami and Sridhar Swami- even though they were sick, it was very unexpected and they passed away shortly, the list went on and on. I realized it is because death can come at any moment- and us devotees need to realize how precious our time is and we should take up Krishna Consciousness so seriously. Dont you see? We say, “yeah yeah Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I got it.” But do you really get it?! We only have so much time, we have to dedicate ourselves 100%, dont waste time!
I was sad, I know he is with Krishna- I would never even doubt it. But we’ll never get his association again. I wanted to see him for Gaura Purnima during the festival in 2011. I wanted to fulfill my dream of dancing like a psycho during his kirtan. What will happen now? Where do those dreams go? But I know wanting to keep him here is an expansion of my own selfishness. How can I ask him to stay in this miserable material existence when he could be having mad crazy kirtan in Goloka Navadwip or running and playing with Krishna in Goloka Vrindavan? I was being selfish, he did his service, did the time, and now he had to go.
My friend also helped me realize that when Krishna feels like you cannot progress any further in your spiritual life, he just takes you away so that you dont have to deal with pointless accumulation of karma. Aindra Prabhu was already there. He was already 100%. So Krishna just took him, he didnt need to go further because he was already there so what is the use of remaining in the material world if you are already 100%?
I realized there are no small services, only small devotees. His service was simple. Kirtan before Gaura-arati and Deity dressing. He wasnt a great cook or a pakka pujari, he never became temple president and never served on the GBC. When I read about people who encounter him, they always say, “he and I were standing in the back when…” it amazes me how someone so simple can have such a profound effect on the whole world! It just proved that if we have firm conviction in Srila Prabhupada’s movement and dedication to our service, we can go so far and inspire so many people.
There is a tune that I try to sing sometimes. It sounds like crying. Somehow it doesnt sound the same like when Aindra Prabhu sings it.
You have taught me Aindra Prabhu. To dedicate my heart in kirtan. And to dedicate my life to Krishna. I want to give my everything. I want to be 100% too. Please pray for me Prabhu. I am fallen and foolish with no good qualities but by your mercy I can do something for the pleasure of Krishna and devotees. Thank you Aindra Prabhu. Thank you.
All glories to the life and passing of His Grace Sriman Namacharya Aindra Das Prabhu!
Janamastmi in Vrindavan 2009