By Gaura Shakti Das
Yesterday we held a memorial service in New Vrindavana (West Virginia, U.S.) for a departed Vaishnava and godbrother, Shyama kund Prabhu, who left his body Friday afternoon. His body had been overcome by cancer. His extended family attended, many of whom were born and raised here. Many of his sons and daughters spoke [he had 10 children] as well as his godbrothers and godsisters.
New Vrindaban community had planned on having an appreciation ‘ceremony’ for him yesterday, Saturday, but due to his departure, it was converted to a Memorial Service. He is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada who joined in about 1970. Him and his wife and first-born son moved to NVC in about 1972, as he could use his carpentry skills here. And use them he did. Syamakuna was instrumental in building many of the early buildings that were necessary for us to build Prabhupada’s palace- rudimentary housing for devotees, enlarging a temple room for Radha Vrindaban Chandra, the 3rd and 4th floors of the 4-story administration building [as it was known at the time], and the utility building, which contained many of the shops for developing New Vrindaban.
The memorial was very lively, as his extended family is, well, ‘colorful’ and and ‘anything-but-boring’ group. This was followed by a feast. Several of his children expressed deep gratitude for New Vrindaban community in allowing Syamakunda to return here and prepare for his imminent departure; he always considered New Vrindaban his ‘home’, even while residing elsewhere.
Afterwards, during prasadam, I was sitting with Varsana Swami and Sankirtan Prabhu. Maharaj expressed what I was feeling in my heart- joy. It reminded me of a passage in Krsna book wherein Srila Prabhupada describes the atmosphere that had been arranged prior to Krsna’s appearance. It just felt RIGHT. And good. Like something wonderful had taken place. I felt happy for Shyama Kund, ‘glad’ if you will, for his departure, as he struggled most of his life with his mind, etc. He had a great service attitude and was a dedicated follower of his Guru, in spite of his personal struggles.
Now I feel confident that he is in a far superior position. I wish him well. Safe travels, Shyama kund Prabhu, it was my honor to be one of your friends.