The Passing of a Great Soul
Posted January 18, 2013
"The yogi who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune." …..Purport: 18:47
My friend Mahayogi Dasa was a great yogi.
My friend Mahayogi Dasa was better than a great yogi.
My friend Mahayogi Dasa was a great devotee of Krishna.
Some devotees reading this already know who Mahayogi Dasa was.
Other readers do not.
Still other readers will finally get an opportunity to put a face on the person whom up till now might only have been a voice at the other end of a telephone call.
Or, numerous telephone calls.
Or, innumerable telephone calls.
Maybe you sat at a desk at the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, or at ISKON's archives, or at Blue Boy Herbs and you received the calls – often multiple calls a day. Usually, he was asking for you to send him some of Prabhupada's books that he could distribute on the streets. Or, maybe for a particular poster to hang in his room. Perhaps for an herbal remedy to help with his larynx. You may have begun to think to yourself that if he didn't make so many calls maybe his larynx wouldn't be strained, and he wouldn't need the herbs.
He was relentless. He would call you every day for a year only to disappear and reappear a year later when it would start all over again. If you took the call it would usually not last for more than a few minutes. If you didn't take the calls they would still come one after another until they filled up your answering machine. If you worked in one of the above mentioned offices you might have someone sitting at a desk across from you. When the call would come in you might have both looked at each other saying in unison, "Mahayogi." If you were in your home a neighbor from down the road might have been visiting you. You got the call. You would both look at each other, "Mahayogi."
Mahayogi Dasa was not a big devotee. He was not a Guru. Not a member of ISKCON's ruling body the GBC. He was never a temple president. In fact Mahayogi Das did not live in a temple or in the association of devotees since around 1972.
Mahayogi Dasa was not perfect, but he was perfectly honest about it. He would not always follow the regulative principles (no meat eating, no gambling, no illicit sex, and no intoxication)– he smoked cigarettes. He did feel terrible about it and was always asking Krishna to help him stop and to give him the strength to serve Srila Prabhupada better.
Mahayogi Dasa was not perfect, but Mahayogi Dasa was a great devotee. "Every living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus every living entity is intended to serve the Supreme Lord by his own constitution. " …..Purport: BG 18:47
I say this because for the remainder of the time in a day when Mahayogi Dasa was not smoking a cigarette he was incessantly talking about Krishna, thinking about Krishna, remembering his time in ISKCON, talking favorably about his godbrothers, talking about Srila Prabhupada, quoting verses from the scripture. He quoted as much scripture as anyone I know. Especially remarkable considering the fact that Mahayogi Dasa had cataracts and could not read the books.
Schizophrenia is an illness usually striking young men in their early twenties. In Mahayogi's case he was struck soon after taking initiation from ISKCON's founder Srila Prabhupada in 1971. As a result he has been in and out of institutions ever since. Mostly he was picked up off the streets by the police for overzealous preaching or chanting. For Mahayogi Dasa it was a struggle not to tell everyone he met about Krishna. Passersby walking down the street. The teller or the people on line in a bank. The nurses or the people in the waiting room at the doctor's office. Anywhere, everywhere, anytime, all the time, tell someone about Krishna. Give them a book. Get them to take prasadam – sanctified food that has been offered first to Krishna.
Oh yeah, Mahayogi Dasa loved prasadam. He was as enthusiastic nearing age sixty about prasadam as he was as a new brahmacary in 1971. Any and all prasadam. In fact that was another reason you may have gotten calls from Mahayogi Dasa. "Gee whiz prabhu, I can't eat anything cooked on these pots. All I get to eat is peanut butter sandwiches, do you think you could send me some prasadam? I can't get purified if I don't eat plenty of prasadam!"
And, so some devotees sent the small packages. "Today I got some sweetballs from Mother Dhara in New Vrindaban!" or "Today I got a package from the nice girl at Krishna Culture."
Sometime ago Mahayogi Dasa was remembering his godbrother Puru Dasa from New York City who passed away in 2006. Over all the years Puru Dasa had shown kindness to Mahayogi maintaining contact with him and sending him Srila Prabhupada's books to distribute and prasadam. Mahayogi Dasa turned to me and asked, "Prabhu, when I pass away will you send a nice picture of me to the devotee magazines and tell the devotees I passed?"
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