Vrindavan, India -- In a shocking and saddening turn of events, world-famous kirtaniya and beloved Krishna devotee Aindra Dasa was found to have passed away on the morning of Saturday, July 17, at approximately 8 am India time, in his room at ISKCON's Krishna Balarama temple in the sacred town of Vrindavana.
He was alone in his room worshiping His beloved Deities when apparently there was a gas leak from his cylinder. According to the report of ISKCON Vrindavana`s website, some devotees heard a sound and there was some smell, but no one knew from where it came. Devotees knocked on Aindra’s door, but there was no response all night. His door is very thick, and there is one trap door in it.
In the morning when Aindra prabhu didn’t come to the temple to dress Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara, the devotees then could understand that something serious had happened. With difficulty they broke open the trap door, and only one devotee, Adi Kesava Das, was small enough to enter the room. When he entered he saw that the entire room was black and there was disturbance everywhere. It appeared that Aindra might have lit a match in the room and that caused the gas in the air to ignite and burn the room. Aindra was behind the altar. It looked as if he had tried to open the window, but was unsuccessful, so he offered his obeisances behind Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, and left his body in that position. When Adi Kesava found him, Aindra was already long gone, and his body was still offering obeisances.
News began to filter around the world almost instantaneously, largely through the use of popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Condolence messages began to appear on Facebook within an hour of the discovery, including messages from popular ISKCON kirtaniyas Acyuta Gopi Devi Dasi, and B.B. Govinda Swami.
Additionally, some devotees in the west learned of the news through Canadian devotee Sanatana Rsi Dasa, whose father serves as a chowkidhar (caretaker) at the Krishna Balarama temple and was part of the team who discovered Aindra Prabhu's body.
An American-born disciple of ISKCON's founder-acarya Srila Prabhupada, Aindra moved to Vrindavana in the 1980s and was best known for his commitment to and love of kirtana chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. He was largely recognized as the heart and soul of the famous 24 Hour Kirtan Mandali in Vrindavana, and over the years his name became synonymous with deep, soulful chanting. Aspiring kirtaniyas and admirers traveled from around the world for the opportunity to chant with him and bask in his personal presence. He was also known for his scholarship in the realm of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology, expertise in deity worship, and exemplary spiritual practice.
On Sunday at 4.00 PM, the body of HG Aindra Prabhu was brought to Vrindavan`s Krishna-Balaram Temple from Mathura Hospital. The body was bathed, dressed up and garlanded at 5.00 PM. With the accompaniment of the devotees of Vrindavan the body was taken on procession and made three parikramas to the temple. The body was then taken to the Samadhi of Srila Prabhupada for darshan. About a thousand bhaktas of Vrindavan took a procession and carried the holy body from the Vrindavan Mandir through the Vrindavan Seven Gosvami Temple Road chanting kirtan and reached Keshi Ghat on the bank of Yamuna. After bathing at Yamuna, the holy body was placed on a pile of wood for cremation and the flame was ignited at 6.38 PM by H.H. Mahanidhi Swami in the presence of .H.H. Radha Raman Swami, the Temple President Pancagauda Das and Bhubanesvar Das and other devotees of the temple. All through, the accompanied devotees enthusiastically chanted kirtan and danced around the holy flames of cremation as they did while Aindra chanted the Hare Krishna Mahamantra in the Krishna-Balaram Temple.
A video covering Aindra Das`s funeral has been prepared by Syam Gopal Das and Vijaya Radhika Dasi, and it is available by following this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umjnoFMKyUA
ISKCON News will continue to cover this story as more details become available.