BY HH JANANANDA GOSWAMI
HH Bhakti Vrajendranandana Maharaja was born in Malaysia. He came to the UK to study where he joined ISKCON in 1971 in Birmingham. He was around 33 years old at the time of joining. Subhag, now swami, was his inspiration at that time and remained so throughout his life. It was there in Birmingham that I first saw him. We were both visiting the small temple at the same time and on the first occasion were the only present except Subhag swami.
He then moved to Bury Place temple in early 1972 and served selflessly there for several years – he was known as the simple hard working, surrendered brahmacari who would never miss anything. We were initiated at the same time in July 1972 from Srila Prabhupada on Trafalgar Square. He received the name Vrajendra Kumar. For years we travelled throughout the UK distributing books – our sankirtan party consisted of Prabhavisnu, Mahavisnu, Vrajendra Kumar, myself and Deva Dharma. For several years I had the privilege of his association both in Bury Place and at the Bhaktivedanta Manor until In 1975 he moved to India where he took up the responsibility of temple commander in Vrndavana. He would occasionally return to Europe for sankirtan and raising funds for India.
In 1979 along with Ramasarana prabhu and his wife from the UK – Janaki dasi, he returned to his home country and they established the Malaysian yatra on firm grounds. I came to Malaysia in January 1984 and we worked together for years on end.
In 1983 he accepted sannyasa from HH Jayapataka Swami. From then on he continued to serve in Malaysia, preaching extensively. He would regularly visit India traveling and preaching and other neighbouring countries. In the late 1990’s his health deteriorated developing serious heart problems. The doctors gave him 6 months to live. For some time he went to India and miraculously gained strength. Back and forth to Malaysia he reassumed his preaching and traveling. Around 2011 again his health dipped and he became hospitalized for some time with a failing liver. He pushed on enthusiastically serving in whatever way he could. He faced regular health crises and several time survived against all odds. Over the past few months his kidneys failed and he has had to undergo dialysis.
Around 3 weeks past he went into a coma and although coming back to consciousness his health was ailing to the point the doctors made it clear there was nothing more they could do and in discussion with the devotees – many of whom are themselves doctors – decided to take Maharaja back to the temple where he remained for 12 hours till his glorious departure returning to his eternal position at Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet.
All devotees who knew him will attest to the fact that he was truly a great vaisnava free from malice, envy, lust and greed. Non-duplicitous – the symbol of genuine simplicity, straightforwardness and chastity to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON. Not for a moment did he ever think of leaving ISKCON. He always considered himself a little assistant to the actual preacher Srila Prabhupada. A cent per cent sold out soldier in Srila Prabhupada’s great sankirtan army. We have lost the association of a wonderful soul but his example will stand as a beacon for many to come.