for ISKCON News on Nov. 13, 2010
Srikant das Prabhu a wonderful Vaisnava devotee of Lord Krishna and a dear friend, father, and father figure for some wonderful Vaisnhava devotees of Lord Krishna passed away from our association according to the will of Lord Sri Krishna Wednesday evening 7:15pm in Brooklyn New York.
Srikant Prabhu joined ISKCON at the famous Hare Krishna Land Radha Rasabihari Mandira Juhu Beach Mumbai, after meeting ISKCON devotees at Kumbha Mela in the late 1970's. Srikant Prabhu excelled at devotional cooking and was the chief cook of the Radha Rasabihari Sweet shop. He cooked for many large ISKCON Juhu festivals and also performed very expert devotional bhajans with an exceptional sweet deep devotional tone to his spiritual voice.
In early 1997 when visiting ISKCON Juhu Sridhar Swami recommended to me that I bring Srikant Prabhu to Radha Govinda Mandira in Brooklyn New York to be our chief cook. Srikant Prabhu came in April 1997 and served to the great satisfaction of Sri Sri Radha Govindadeva's congregation. Srikant Prabhu was married to Nirmala devi dasi and they had two wonderful children Sanatana dasa and Vrinda dasi. Srikant Prabhu loved and cared for his family very much.
His cooking, singing, and devotee training he gave us were all triple A quality, the finest. Srikant Prabhu was without doubt the best ISKCON cook who came from India I ever met. When the service task became more demanding like when we would have to cook for a large festival with hundreds and thousands of Vaisnavas on Sri Krishna Janmastami, New York Ratha yatra, Srila Prabhupada Vyasa puja, etc., then Srikant Prabhu would rise to the occasion like a super cook and make the best most delicious prasadam. He would regularly cook hundreds of devotional food preps for Srimati Radharani on Radhastami, Caitanya Mahaprabhu on Gaura Purnima, and on other special days.
Srikant Prabhu was a master at cooking sweets and training other devotees how to cook. His brahminical skills were all very excellent. He told me he could make more than 50 types of sweets and he would make them attractive and delicious, a quality reminiscent of a famous Bengali Sweet Market.
Srikant Prabhu's famous 11am prasadam brunch served the morning after New York ratha yatra every year was attended by as many as 1,000 hankering and hungry for Krishna prasadam Vaisnava devotees who eagerly waited in a long line for Srikant's Krishna prasadam. He would cook as many as 18 preparations for that morning brunch and that is the morning after he cooked for as many as 10,000 persons at the ratha yatra. He was a skilled kitchen manager and organizer of many devotees, young and old.
Srikant Prabhu's 90 minute Janmastami Golden Kalash Radha Krishna Maha-abhisek super sweet bhajans, accompanied by his close friends and bhajan students always filled our hearts with profound devotional mood. Srikant Prabhu worked as a loving friend and inspiration to some of the best North America ISKCON youth, dedicated bhajan Vaisnavas, especially Ananta Govinda das and Acyuta Gopi dasi of Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandira. Srikant Prabhu's heart belonged to Radha Rasabihari but Sri Sri Radha Govindadeva stole his heart on many Sunday nights and special festival day's as he chanted his sweet melodious devotional Hare Krishna bhajans.
Upon his return from visiting Vrndavana Dhama earlier this year he began to complain of some heart disturbance to a few devotees. In mid-July in New York City he experienced pain in the chest and went to Bellevue Hospital to be examined. That began a four-month battle with his health that no one wants to endure. After more than two months in various Hospitals I came to know that our dear friend Srikant Prabhu was diagnosed with a very serious type of congestive heart failure.
Wednesday afternoon November 10 at approximately 5pm Srikant Prabhu a wonderful Vaisnava and our very dear friend collapsed in cardiac arrest on his way to a doctor's visit. Ramabhadra das and Jagat Pati das were by his side as he was revived by the doctor who administered CPR. Srikant Prabhu succumbed to a second final attack at a hospital emergency room at 7:15pm November 10, 2010. Devotees arrived within 5 minutes of his departure. Dr. Niyati Trivedi and Palaka das arrived first and began chanting Nrsimha prayers into his ears. Chandrasekhara Swami, Ramabhadra das, Gauranga Prema das, Krishna Mohan das, Nila Madhava das, Adideva das, Ananta Govinda das, and Satya devi dasi arrived a few minutes later and Ramabhadra das immediately placed Sri Giri Govardhana and a sacred Nrsimha Pavitra on Srikant Prabhu's head and heart as he began a Hare Krishna kirtan. A very emotional kirtan by as many as ten devotees continued in the emergency room bedside of Srikant Prabhu for an unprecedented four hours.
Other devotees also came into the emergency room to see Srikant Prabhu. Dr. Niyati Trivedi did her internship at this hospital and said generally they give family members a few minutes and take the body away. The hospital staff was very kind, and Ramabhadra das heard a doctor say to one patient "do you like the singing"? There were more than 20 patients in that emergency room.
After three and a half hours of heartfelt kirtan, chanting of Brahma Samhita, and Caitanya Caritamrta verses from Adi Lila Chapter One, the devotees bathed Srikant Prabhu's body with warm water, decorated him with Gopi Chandan and Tulasi, dressed his body in new cloth, placed Nrsimha Pavitra around his neck, and fresh Sri Sri Radha Govindadeva prasadam flower garlands and Srimati Radharani's flower Bouquet in one hand and his Japa Mala in the other hand. A sweet Hare Krishna kirtan concluded the outpouring of love for Srikant Prabhu.
At this time we want to offer our deepest appreciation with respect and love to Srikant Prabhu for all the joy he gave so many of us with his mature devotional service. The devotees of Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandira love Srikant Prabhu very much and we will miss him very much until we all meet again when he leads us in Hare Krishna Kirtan at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and Sri Sri Radha Govindadeva in Goloka Vrndavana Dhama.
Sunday night, November 14th from 6pm until 9pm at Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandira we will have a devotional tribute to Srikant Prabhu. Since he always gave us such wonderful prasadam feasts, we will prepare and offer a 25 course Sunday love feast to Sri Sri Radha Govindadeva and all Vaisnavas in attendance.