„A bit of an eccentric personality, this Aindra?“ Yes, that’s how I also thought when I saw him the first time, moving his body, shaking his head in the rhythm of the kirtana, but I was impressed by the power of his singing. One day, it must have been somewhere in 2008, while I was in Vrindavana with a group of devotees from Switzerland on a pilgrim tour, I got a glimpse of his kirtana-shakti. It was time for dinner, so I told our group that we would meet at the MVT restaurant in a couple of minutes. I just wanted to quickly see the deities before joining everyone else for the pizza prasad. But as I entered the courtyard of the Krishna-Balaram Mandir, I was overwhelmed by the spiritual potency that was present in the temple room. I felt like I was flooded by a Tsunami wave of nectar that entered my ears and touched my heart. The Holy Name of the Lord was so accessible that even an ordinary person like myself could experience the transcendental nature of Nama Prabhu. It was an unforgettable experience. I was completely stunned. I just stood there, motionless — I lost all feelings of time and space. Only when the kirtan ended after about an hour did I realise that I was still standing at the same place and that I was meant to go to the MVT. But who needs pizza after having a feast of the Holy Name?
When I heard about Aindra Prabhu's departure about two years later, in 2010, I lamented that I did not get to know him personally. Who was that person who was able to make the Holy Name appear in such a powerful way?
All the more so, I was very jubilant when Akincana Krishna Prabhu kindly gifted me a copy of the recently published biography ‘Aindra-Kirtan Revolution’. It's a 400-page book, and I read it in a couple of days. The devotees producing and writing this book did a marvelous job; it's so well done! The book takes the reader not only into the life of Aindra but right into his heart. He was such an incredible personality! What inspires me about Aindra? Here are just a few aspects of this great personality:
Determination — As soon as Aindra understood the basic Krishna Consciousness philosophy and the ultimate goal of life, which is to awaken our dormant love for Krishna, he dedicated his whole life with great determination. Once, he told a devotee: „I was engaged in all sorts of nonsense. But simply by reading one of Prabhupada’s books, I gave it all up. Since then, there is only one goal in my life: kṛṣṇa-prema. Whatever gets in the way of my goal, I just kick it out. Why can’t you do that?“ (1)
Renunciation — Aindra was a very staunch renunciate. His talks on renunciation revealed his deep spiritual vision. He used to explain that Krishna is the only bhokta, Supreme Enjoyer. We are all prakriti; we are all the bhoga to be enjoyed by Him. If a jiva sees himself as an enjoyer he is trying to take the position of God. To brahmacharis he would say: „If a beautiful woman is present, you should think that she is one of Radharani’s messengers that has come to check you. If you look at her or think of her with a mood of sense enjoyment, she will report back to Radharani and tell Her, `This devotee is not yet ready to go back to Godhead.` (2)
Deity Worship — Guess how many Silas Aindra would worship daily beside his 28 Murtis? The last count was 2240! Why so many? Let us hear from Aindra himself: „I am not collecting them, they are coming to me and offering me the chance to give Them shelter. How can I say no? How can anyone say no to Krishna? I can have only two hours with Shyamasundar on the altar, but that’s not enough; there is no limit to how much blackishness I can have in my life.“ (3)
Raganuga-sadhana-bhakti — I already mentioned his determination. What impressed me the most was his determination to realise his svarupa, his eternal spiritual identity. He did such intense bhajan for decades; he underwent severe Caturmasya vratas and at some point even did a ājagara-vṛtt, the python's vow (4)! „Let my guru maharaj reveal this knowledge to me, if not, there is no reason for me to live!“ (5) This kind of greed, laulyam is required to get entrance into higher realisations. Furthermore, Aindra taught that rāgānugā-sādhana-bhakti is an urgent necessity and not something only for perfected souls. As the word sādhana implies, rāgānugā is a practice, not a perfection. The best way to practice rāgānugā-sādhana-bhakti is by evoking the mercy of a pure rasika Vaishnava and by developing a strong desire to develop a relationship with Krishna. And, of course, to achieve this intense nama-bhajan is required.
Kirtana Revolution — Last but not least, of course, we should mention Aindra Prabhu's ruci, taste, his love for the Holy Names of the Lord. From the very beginning, he took shelter in nama bhajan and emphasised the importance of the yuga dharma - nama sankirtana, congregational chanting of the Maha Mantra. And yes, by his own example, his dedication to the 24-hour Kirtana he really did create a Kirtana Revolution in our movement. He would say: „In this age you will not get anything without nama-sankirtana and not just a little lip-service to nama-sankirtana, half-hour her and half-hour there, but sitting down for hours and hours and hours for kirtana together as a practice of bhajan.!“ (6) „You should try it. Loudly sing ‚Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare‘ from a desperate heart for a minimum 6-12 hours every day, for 15-20 years, and see what happens to you!“
There is so much more that could be said, for example, about his visions (hearing Krishna's Flute and seeing Krishna and Balaram, having Srila Prabhupada appear in his dreams again and again) or his humility (cleaning the bathrooms of the ashram, something every senior devotee should do, he said) or his compassion and kindness to those who came for shelter and guidance from him. And not to forget his loyalty to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON. Although he did very strongly speak out about things he felt were deviations from Srila Prabhupada's mission, he always meant to help devotees improve their spiritual lives. But why don’t you just read the book yourself?
I am convinced that this biography about Aindra will help to clarify some misunderstandings and prejudices some devotees may still have against him. After reading this book, I feel very close to Aindra, as if he was one of my best friends, a sadhu I had associated a lot with and whose heart I really understood! I rarely had such an experience just by reading a book!
„He reasons ill who tells that Vaishnavas die, when thou art living still in sound! The Vaishnavas die to live, and living try to spread the Holy Name around!“ (8)
1 - ‚Aindra-Kirtana Revolution‘, by Kalachandji Dasa, Inwords Publisher 2022, page 33
2 - ‚Aindra-Kirtana Revolution‘, by Kalachandji Dasa, Inwords Publisher 2022, page 327
3 - ‚Aindra-Kirtana Revolution‘, by Kalachandji Dasa, Inwords Publisher 2022, page 139
4 - This vow means one only eats foodstuff that was brought by others, without asking anyone
for it. Aindra followed this vow unknown to others for a couple of months!
5 - ‚Aindra-Kirtana Revolution‘, by Kalachandji Dasa, Inwords Publisher 2022, page 194
6 - ‚Aindra-Kirtana Revolution‘, by Kalachandji Dasa, Inwords Publisher 2022, page 104
7 - ‚Aindra-Kirtana Revolution‘, by Kalachandji Dasa, Inwords Publisher 2022, page 257
8 - Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur