The Passing Away Of Harivamsa Prabhu

The Passing Away Of Harivamsa Prabhu

Two articles in honour of Harivamsa Prabhu.  One is written by His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami and another one was sent  from Bhaktivedanta Manor by Titiksu Prabhu and Damodara Krishna Prabhu.

The following is a letter written by His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami to  Krishna-purna Mataji, the wife of Harivamsa Prabhu, in relation to Harivamsa Prabhus’ passing away last week.

My dear Krishna-purna,

Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I can well imagine how you are feeling. I can well imagine how this sad incidence has effected everyone who knew Harivamsa. All these happened so suddenly. At times I find it difficult to accept this as a reality. When
Harivamsa told me that he was going for an operation, I took it for granted that it was a minor operation and he would be back in a couple of days rectifying his physical defficulties. He also told me that the success rate of that operation is 98%. At that time he did not seem to be concerned about himself at all. Rather, he was more concerned about you and mostly spoke about your health condition and asked me to speak to you and request you to take care of your health. It is due to his request that I phoned you at that time and asked you to take care of your health.

It is such a loss for all of us. He meant so much to me. His service attitude was so exemplary and his nature was so affectionate. Whoever he met he left such a lasting impression on him. It makes me feel so sad to think
that his wonderful association will not be there anymore.

I was thinking of writing this letter to console you, but now I can see that I myself have started to express my own anguish. I can see, in spite of all our wisdom, at a time like this we cannot help but become affected by our own loss. Therefore, I see the need to become truly Krsna Conscious by applying our spiritual wisdom.

When I received the news from Pranabandhu Prabhu, I was in the airport in Dhaka, with a group of devotees, waiting to catch a flight. I broke the news to them and started to chant. It was a very soft and sedate kirtan, and in my mind’s eye I could see that Krsna was leading him to the spiritual sky.  I felt a great peace within my heart and I told to myself, “if that is what he achieved, then I should be the happiest person in this world.” However, at the same time, I also reasoned within me whether it was just a fantasy, but then it dawned in me that if a person like Harivamsa, who had been such an exemplary devotee, does not make it back to the spiritual sky, then who will ever have any faith in the efficacy of this process. He has sure made it back to Godhead. And we are indeed fortunate that somehow or the other we were related to him.

I was waiting to find out when his memorial ceremony will take place.  Now that I got to know, I made my booking – I will arrive in London on 13th morning at 7:00am by Emirates. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,

Bhakti Charu Swami


Letter Sent By Titiksu Dasa to Free Forum

Harivamsa Prabhu’s Rathaytatra Service.

It is with sadness that we received the news of the passing of Harivamsa Prabhu on Wednesday 9th of March.

He has been a very dedicated devotee of Sri Sri Radha-Gokulananda at Bhaktivedanta Manor UK for many years. We will leave it to his close friends and mentors at the Manor to describe the glories of that service. But what many devotees may not be aware of, is that he also performed significant service to our London Lord Jagannatha.

For the first time in 2001, we were able to hold the Snana Yatra of Lord Jagannatha in a large marquee at Bhaktivedanta Manor. With more than 1200 devotees bathing Their Lordships, a queuing system had to be implemented.  Harivamsa Prabhu enthusiastically came forward to help organise and assemble the barriers and assist the devotees in the queue.  He also organised donation boxes and took care of all the donations. After the festival he would help clear up and clean until late in the evening. He continued this service until 2008 when Snana Yatra returned to the London Temple at Soho Street.

In 2004 we were fortunate in being able to offer Their Lordships three chariots for the first time in London. This meant we needed two more cart guides or flag men. Harivamsa Prabhu eagerly took up the service of Lord Jagannatha’s cart guide.  Although we call them cart guides, they are actually cart co-ordinators. This service involves liaising between the cart stewards, the driver, winch man, brake man and rope pullers to facilitate the safe and smooth passage of the carts. From under the cart it is not always possible to see where to steer because ones vision can be blocked by the crowds. Similarly from the position of the winch man one cannot always see if the canopy can clear a particular tree or lamp post. The cart guide has to give directions for all these movements. There are approx. 1500 devotees with each cart and the cart guide together with the cart steward team leader are responsible for their safety.  Harivamsa Prabhu performed this service from 2004 until 2010.

From 2005 onwards Harivamsa Prabhu also helped the set up crew in Trafalgar Square from 7am to 10am. This is quite heavy work involving the erection of tents and barriers and the deployment of tables and chairs. From 10am he would attend at Hyde Park for the start of the procession.  After the end of the procession at 2.30pm Harivamsa Prabhu would rush back to the Manor to perform his regular Sunday service throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening.

To distribute approx. 18 thousand plates of prasadam at Rathayatra requires 36 large 240 litre barrels together with 50 serving buckets and spoons. On the Monday after Rathayatra these have to be cleaned ready to be taken back to the Rath Warehouse. From 2006 onwards Harivamsa Prabhu insisted on helping with this service, which takes two devotees from 10am until 5pm.

In 2008 he visited the Rath Warehouse to see the rebuilding and refurbishment of Lady Subhadra’s chariot, and again in 2009 to learn how the chariots are loaded and unloaded onto trucks.

Always enthusiastic, cheerful and friendly, Harivamsa Prabhu will be remembered for his wonderful service. We pray that Lord Jagannatha may shower His blessing upon him.

Harivamsa Prabhu ki jaya!

Your servants,
Titiksu dasa and Damodara Krishna dasa
On behalf of the London Rathayatra Team

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