Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Remembering Three Devotee Friends

Nitai, Yadupati, and Tim Prabhus


On February 1, I learned that three devotees I knew left their bodies in an auto accident the night before, Nitai Prabhu, who did outreach at the Rainbow Gatherings and Burning Man, Bhakta Tim (also known as Gopinath Prabhu), who chanted with us in Gainesville and other places, and Yadupati Prabhu, who I used to chant with at Krishna Lunch years ago.


It was a mystery to me why Krishna would arrange that they all leave now. It is more certain the fact they will either attain the spiritual world by the special mercy of the Lord or His devotees, or else will attain a human birth in a situation where they can more easily continue their devotional service.


We usually take advantage of these times to remember the devotional qualities of our friends who passed away. They all played some role in promoting the chanting of Hare Krishna in human society, and for that they have pleased Lord Caitanya.


Nitai was an organizer of Hare Krishna outreach at events such as Rainbow Gatherings, and later, at Burning Man. He had great enthusiasm and energy for such activities. It is hard work being an organizer. You have to get so much money, buy so many materials, and enlist so many people in cooperating to make it successful. When you see all the people hearing the holy name and taking prasadam it is worth it, but it is a lot of work. I have great respect for people like Nitai Prabhu, who take the trouble to do it.


I remember in Mayapur the winter after the 2005 Rainbow Gathering in West Virginia, Nitai Prabhu gave me a video they had made of the Krishna Camp at that gathering.



I remember Balarama Chandra and Gauranga Kishora Prabhu more from the festival than Nitai, but Nitai was behind the scenes, making it all happen. I loved that event, and I still think about it. Different special things happened to me at that Rainbow:


  1. I had the devotee organizers announce to the people in line for prasadam (spiritual food) that I would teach mantra meditation in a certain tent after the meal. I got four people, taught them about the chanting, and then chanted 108 mantras around the beads with them. They all really liked the experience.

  2. One man bought Sadaputa Prabhu’s (Dr. Richard Thompson’s) book called Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science, which not such an easy book to read, with a certain amount of quantum mechanics in it. Even at colleges it was rare to sell that book, but here someone at the Rainbow Gathering bought one!

  3. A group of devotees led a lively chanting party through the woods to different encampments of Rainbow people, and many participated in the singing and dancing, to the great happiness of the devotees.

  4. One girl told me she liked my dancing and that she was a dancer herself. Later signed my book, “The Dancing Alysia.” She appears in the picture below in the black and green, waiting in line for prasadam at that Rainbow Gathering, where Nitai Prabhu is seen sitting down and serving out.

    Alysia corresponded with Balarama Chandra, and I also sent her some emails with some devotional links. The next year she moved into New Vrndavana, and I was happy and surprised to see her when I came to the festival of inspiration in 2007. Later that year, I met her in Mayapur, where she was taking Bhakti-sastri. The next year, she got initiated as Ali Krishna dd, by Hridayananda Goswami, and she has done and is continuing to do a lot of service for him, including updating his web site. Next I met her in Gainesville where she was organizing and teaching Bhakti-sastri at Institute for Vaishnava Studies at the Krishna House in Gainesville. Now she is studying teaching and religion and nature and at University of Florida. It was so nice to see someone take to Krishna consciousness in a serious way from the Gathering. It makes the austerities worth it. After meeting Nitai Prabhu there in 2005, Ali Krishna later worked with him on the Burning Man festival in 2007 and other festivals. Of Nitai she writes, “All I can say is that Nitai was no ordinary man. He was empowered by guru and Krishna, and Nitai meant business. I loved his straightforward manner of communicating with others, his monotone voice, his humor, his humility, his confidence, his dedication, his drive and his undying determination to give Krishna to others.” For a beautiful description of her memories of him, read her blog:

    http://strictlymedicinal.blogspot.com/2012/02/remembering-nitai.html


  1. I stayed at the Rainbow to continue attempts at outreach while the friends I came with on the bus tour left to set up the Washington Ratha-yatra festival. After those extra few days, I had to look for a ride on the ride board at the Gathering to get to Washington. There I found a ride with a man who began calling me “Prabhu” in the course of my initial conversation with him. Turns out he was an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada, named Ballabha, who lived in Los Angeles when Karandhara was there.

    Thus I had some special devotional exchanges with a variety of people at that Rainbow Gathering, which I remember to this day, almost seven years later.

    I can see many people came in touch with Krishna and had the opportunity to become gradually elevated in devotion to Him from the experience at the Rainbow Gathering. I could see how this outreach event touched may people in positive ways from the prasadam (spiritual food), to the kirtan (chanting of the holy name), to the association of those engaged in the service of the Lord. Nitai Prabhu did such wonderful work giving spiritual experiences to many, many thousands of people through such events as this Rainbow Gathering, experiences that freed them from karma, and planted and nourished the seed of devotion to the Lord in their hearts. For that he has and will continue to receive great mercy from Lord Caitanya.


Regarding Yadupati Prabhu, I wrote this brief summary of our relationship on his Facebook wall:

I will always remember when you, Kar Delaney, and I were the Krishna Lunch kirtan group on Wednesdays when Kar was working on his master’s degree at UF. How many years back was that? [Kar would sing and play harmonium, Yadupati Prabhu would play drum, and I would play the karatals and dance.]

“Each week I would always appreciate how happy you would be to come to the Sunday feast
kirtans in Alachua! [I think I even told him recently, in the last couple of weeks before he left.]

“When you lamented there was not enough
kirtan in Gainesville, I invited you to the Farmers’ Market kirtan on Wednesdays. Finally, last week you came. Bhaktimarga Swami was there and twenty-eight people chanted. You had a great time, and I was so happy for you! [In the picture below by Damodar Prasad, you can see Yadupati Prabhu playing drum with his back to the camera and Bhakta Tim playing the harmonium.]


May Lord Caitanya take you home, or if He is unwilling, at least grant you the association of
kirtan-loving devotees in your next life.

Hare Krishna!”

Kar, the other member of little band, responded:

Too much to write here, but so many realizations about what a small family we all are, and how we are all eternally linked and together as soldiers in Lord Caitanya’s army. Essentially, we will be having kirtan together forever. Much love to you both, and thank you such blissful times. When I last saw Yadupati a month ago, all we exchanged was a big post-kirtan hug and a haribol—no other words, and none needed. I have some recordings of kirtans with him, which always bring me back to those special moments when we were so collectively content in our connection in spirit. Obeisances and gratitude.”

Bhakta Tim would chant at Krishna Lunch several times a week. He majored in piano at University of Florida, and although he was an accomplished musician, he was very humble and always encouraged others to also sing. He also helped me learn some tunes on the harmonium.

If I played harmonium, he would play the drum if there was no drummer or else the karatals. When he sang, I would usually dance. In the picture below, others also danced.



Here Tim smiles as I show some girls how to play the karatals.



The day before Tim left this world, Purusarta Prabhu remarked how well he was playing the drum. He said he did not practice. He would just play the drum in kirtan when he had a chance.


I tell more about Tim at the reception after his funeral which is described below.



Krishna House Devotees’ Thoughts About Bhakta Tim and Yadupati Prabhu


On Thursday, February 2, we had a short class in Gainesville and left time for people to share their appreciation of Bhakta Tim and Yadupati Prabhu. I was amazed how many people were inspired greatly by these two devotees.


Olivia: I wish I could tell him how much we appreciate him. Tim was always encouraging us. I do not think I would have ever chanted Krishna Lunch without him. When he would lead kirtan and the girls would dance, he would always come up to us afterward and thank us for dancing, even if it was nothing special.


Estefania:


Tim and Vrindavan were the first devotees my sister Andrea met. He was always talking about Krishna. Andrea was wondering, who is this Krishna?


We did a harinam at one Saturday farmers’ market we heard about in a neighboring town. Tim asked the person in charge if we could do harinam, and they allowed it, so we did it, and later chanted in one hour on the main street.


Tim, Vrndavana, Yadupati and me and my sister would go to all the Ratha-yatras in Florida together and even to the twenty-four hour kirtan in New Vrndavana.


We can see it is Srila Prabhupada’s mercy that he saved Tim, and so many others who were lost in this degraded age.


At the Festival of the Holy Name in Alachua, most people would start out really slow and meditative, but Tim started at full speed. [The video clip below is from Tim’s kirtan at that event.]



If you want to hear the audio of the whole kirtan, click on this link:

http://files.krishna.com/alachuakirtan/fhn2011/24_Tim_%28Gopinath%29.mp3


Tony:


He encouraged everyone in kirtan, even those who were shy.


We had a pass to hotel on South Beach in Miami. Me and Dharma just wanted to go to the pool and the sauna. Tim just wanted to go on harinam. I locked his key in the trunk of his car, but he did not get upset. He just said, “OK, let’s go on harinam then.” Tim wanted to do kirtan everywhere and anywhere.


Mother Amrita Keli:


So many times when Tim was leading kirtan, I would feel that if I died then my life would be successful. He had a great relationship with the holy name, and he wanted desperately to give it to others. He was the servant of everyone in kirtan. He would play any instrument for anyone who needed it. He is inviting us to become to addicted to kirtan, to become a slave of kirtan.


At Common Ground, a music venue in downtown Gainesville, he chanted for two hours. I kept thinking we would take over the town during his kirtan.


I went to his performance on the piano once, and it was amazing to see that what an intricate piece he played for an entire hour.


Joy:


Tim and Yadu were the first devotees I hung out with beyond Krishna Lunch. They accepted anyone would wanted to try Krishna consciousness and did not discourage anyone.


Tim and Vrindavana and I would spontaneously go to St. Augustine and do harinam, and the dancing was so fired up the police got on our case for stopping traffic.


In High Springs, after the Christmas parade, on the way to Vaishnavi’s school, we sang Hare Krishna to every Christmas carol tune we could think of. It was so much fun.


Ananta:


Tim loved kirtan so much we connected immediately. The only thing we ever did together was kirtan.


Tim and Vrndavana were an hilarious couple. He knew just how to deal with her. Sometimes she was not in the mood for harinam, and at the last minute, Tim would go back and get her, and she would come and have a great time.


Tim would do kirtan where other people would not go. He was so humble. He really didn’t think he was anything. He was so concerned for other people.


He never planned what he would sing. He just sat down and sang what he felt.


Yadupati Prabhu was always there on time without fail at every Ratha-yatra. And he was a mrdanga player, so to be a mrdanga player always there on time was a great contribution.


Tony:


Yadupati said within the last few weeks, “If I die, I would just like to play mrdanga for Srila Prabhupada.”


Mother Caitanya:


As a new resident of Gainesville, I went to a kirtan of Tim and Yadupati, and it was so ecstatic. Sweat was pouring off Yadupati. The kirtan was so upbeat, I was thinking “I like this place.” I thought everyone in Gainesville was like them.


Tim and I were remembering last year at the Rainbow Gathering. [See photo by Andrea Perez Del Solar below.]



He helped out so much by carrying things, singing, and getting us out of the forest.


Sometimes it was just me and Damodar at the Farmers’ Market, and Tim would appear, happy to see kirtan was going on, and eager to join in.


I was grateful to Tim for he was sometimes one of the only ones who was encouraging me.


Cintamani:


I also found Tim encouraged everyone with devotion regardless of musical skill.


After I played harmonium for an hour at the Farmers’ Market the day Bhaktimarga Swami came, Tim came up to me, and softly volunteered to take over, if I was tired.


Michael:


Tim played the harmonium with such devotion. I would like to follow his example.


Notes on Nitai’s Funeral and Tim’s Funeral and Reception


I took notes on the funerals of Nitai Prabhu and Bhakti Tim but had a flight to New York to catch before Yadupati’s. The notes are certainly incomplete. Some people I did not know did not introduce themselves so I do not know their names and use “???” in place of the name. I just wrote what was striking in some way, and not all everything. Besides some people speak faster than I write, so it was not possible to write everything anyway.


Nitai’s funeral:


Caturatma Prabhu:


[Caturatma Prabhu was the MC, for lack of a better word, of both the funerals I saw. Some things he said in both, but I do not repeat them. I combine them in the first account.]


Nitai’s happiness was to organize festivals. He was innovative, determined, and for some, a force to reckoned with. He was humorous [and had many other qualities I did not have time to write as well].


Three words come to mind as I reflect on the lives of these great young men: sound, circumstance, and appreciation.


Sound: We are surrounded by sound, mostly useless. But there is another sound that nourishes our spiritual being, kirtan.


Circumstance: Nitai, Tim, Yadupati were all into kirtan. They also left at once. Is this is coincidence? Their interest in kirtan is giving them a place in the eternal kirtan in the spiritual world. We all have no doubt that they are somewhere doing kirtan now.


Appreciation: No one thought the last time they saw any of these three individuals was the last time they would see them. Let’s learn to appreciate the people around us while we are all here.


The reports said all they appeared to be in their teens [Nitai was 31, Tim was 30, and Yadupati somewhere around 40]. The happiness, harmony, and satisfaction made them so youthful.


They each did what they had to do to maintain themselves, but their real life was kirtan.


Nitai’s mother:


This is something no mother ever wants to do [to speak at her son’s funeral].


He was a different soul. He gave us all the teenage problems and then some. . . . He went to Arizona on a spiritual search. . . . When he heard about New Vrindavana, I told him to investigate it before deciding to move in. . . . At a certain point he wrote me that he needed a spiritual community to really grow.


I went to Chowpatty when he was there with Radhanatha Swami, and to my great surprise, he arranged a meeting with just us and him.


Even though he died at thirty-one, he had a much bigger life than any of the rest of us.


When you leave what stays is the people you affected while here.


Nitai’s father:


He got his compassion from his mom. He got his organizational skill from me.


We are so grateful he found Krishna. He said he needed guidance to help him change. I thank you all.


I did not want to give him too much guidance, but I sent him a letter when he was thirty-one, asking, “What will you do in the next ten years?” He never answered it, but Mandali (his wife) told me what he thought about it.


One psychologist says all relationships end in pain, either in breaking up or in death. I guess we have to find a way to celebrate pain, since a life without relationships is barren.

As a kid, we went skiing. People generally go back and forth down the slope. After some time he said, “Can I go straight down?”


Not so long ago, I saw him in Vermont doing an event, and it was wonderful to see him in action.


Dustin (his brother):


I was his Mac genius. Whenever a new Apple product came out, he had me test it.


We both became producers. Neither of us liked to get dirty ourselves.


Whenever there is a kirtan or someone eats at a festival, we will remember you.


Radhanath Swami (from a letter):


My heart is broken in separation. He embodied loyalty, dedication, and perseverance. He was a pioneer with spontaneous affection that could win hearts of almost everyone.

He found his treasure in the path of Krishna bhakti. Although some people doubted him, I realized that his free spirit was something that could attract people to Krishna.


Mandali:


On Dec. 22, Nitai shared a letter Yamuna wrote to us four days before she left this world. The morning before he left, we talked on the phone. We felt her separation but also her blessings. Of Yamuna he had said, “She gave me more affection than I am deserving in life. It gave us hope of finding success in bhakti.


Yamuna had written in her letter many things:


An opulent gift is within reach. Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said in one letter:

Progressing step-by-step, with genuine eagerness, vaishnava-seva, [service to the devotees of the Lord], krishna-seva [service to the Lord], kirtan [chanting the glories of the Lord], and performing all varieties of endeavor for Krishna will protect us always. By mutually hearing and speaking hari-katha [talks about the Lord] you will find yourself to be insignificant, as the great souls do. Sankirtan [congregational glorification of the Lord] includes seva [service] to Krishna and devotees. In suddha-sattva [the platform of pure goodness] one is under the internal potency of the Lord. Reading Caitanya-caritamrita and Srimad-Bhagavatam and performing nama-bhajana [chanting the holy name], you will get this result. Unfavorable conditions in the past give birth to favorable conditions in the future. Only when we see everything in relation with Krishna can this desire for honor perish. If Krishna wants me to suffer, I should accept this. Then I can transform suffering into service to Krishna which will help me to advance. Intense devotional service will minimize our anarthas [unwanted qualities]. When think we are healthy, we start finding fault with Vaishnavas, while when we are in distress, we advance in Krishna consciousness.


One memory: Nitai shared with me letters from Yamuna. Mother Dina Tarine, longtime friend of Yamuna, said she would do kirtan for Nitai, and so she did. Dina said, “After the kirtan, the Deities spoke to me. That is sometime that rarely happens. They told me, ‘Nitai has left to assist Yamuna in serving Srila Prabhupada.’”


Tim’s funeral:


Caturatma Prabhu:


Beneath Tim’s soft spoken nature, there was a fire burning of kirtan.


He was filled with generosity, sincerity, and he was inspiring by his love for kirtan. He was a bloodhound for kirtan. He would smell a kirtan anywhere, Krishna Lunch, the Rainbow Gathering, etc.


One devotee said, “The Lord has promoted those three devotees who left this world to a new frontier with Srila Prabhupada, Yamuna-devi Prabhu, and Aindra Prabhu. They assisting the above devotees as a festival organizer, Nitai Prabhu, a kirtan leader, Tim Prabhu, and a sweet mrdanga player, Yadupati Prabhu.


Tim’s brother:


I have been in a helpless and a hopeless place. I was angry, but I know Tim would not want that. I was mostly a good older brother, except for one or two things. The last four months were tough for me. I envied his ability to be happy alone by himself. Tim saw the world as a beautiful place. Now I agree with him, seeing all these beautiful people here. One friend of mine who visited for a few days when he was having a hard time, wrote me saying: “Your brother welcomed me into his home, although I was having a tough time. He had a passion for life.” Although my friend only met Tim for three days, he made such an impression on his mind.


Vrindavana (Tim’s girlfriend):


Part of me does not want me to do this. But there are things I think I must say.


Everyone know Tim likes kirtan. Everyone had the same experience of Tim because he tried to see everyone as a spirit soul and be kind to them.


When we were some place where there was no kirtan or obvious Krishna consciousness focus, he would smile and say to me, “I do not know what I am doing here, but I am remembering Krishna and that is what is you should be doing too.”


It is sad that it has taken such a humongous thing as this to make me come to realize that I should change and try to see the world the way he did. I want to try to emulate him as far as possible now to please him.


[She had more to say but she could not continue. I just was impressed that she was able speak as nicely as she did under the circumstance.]


???


I never saw Tim when he did not have a smile on his face.


???


He was skinny, rambunctious. Once he shaved half of a friend’s hair so the guy had to go around with half his hair for the rest of the day.


He was pure in heart, full of joy and never held a grudge.


Tim was never concerned with the material world even as a kid. He was the most spiritual person I knew, full of wisdom, peace, and love.


He taught me the following verses from Bhagavad-gita [2.23–24]:

The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.”

Narayana (Tim’s girlfriend’s brother):


I knew him a few years, but I did not really get to know him until the last few months. Tim was awesome, the true definition of awesome, because he inspired everyone. He had passion for kirtan and the holy name. He had such love for my sister, he made her so happy. Whenever he would come into the room, her face would light up with a smile. He is awesome. It is no wonder that Krishna wanted him back. I only wish Krishna could have been more patient.


???


Poem by Tim Carter as a song:


. . . fly beyond time . . .

the journey starts with a question how did it all begin,

what direction do we follow to the end,

. . . try to follow a trend,

but there is a path to ascend.

Time to stop keeping score in this game of life. It is time to ignore these illusions.

Remain in the present, for the better, forever.


Anthony:


As I was also musically inclined, we connected immediately. It is rare you find the depth you find in him. He had dedicated his life to kirtan. He was always engaged with the Lord. It is customary to say good things at funerals, but Tim was the real deal. Tim had dug deep enough in himself to uncover divine qualities.


Damodara Prasad:


He was a sincere devotee. I felt moved and inspired by Tim in the chanting of the holy names. Everyone was happy dancing and singing together. People who heard him chant in public would be inspired to chant. He was a friend to everyone and never proud. I would like to thank Krishna for such a friend.


Gretchen:


I have known different phases of his life. When I heard he left his body on Facebook, I wondered if he really left or he was so absorbed in kirtan, it was like he was dead to the world.


I had a dream, in which Tim appeared and said, “I want to make sure Vrndavana is taken care of and is supported and my friends keep in the spiritual.”


[The funeral ended with more kirtan by Bada Hari Prabhu as Tim’s body was moved into the crematorium. Afterward as people left for the reception, I noticed several devotees appreciated what Gretchen shared. Jitari Prabhu talked briefly to Tim’s mother, who told him she had heard five or six people say, “I will not think of them [the Hare Krishnas] in the same way anymore.”]


Tim’s reception after the funeral:


[I heard they played a video at the reception. I had a meditation class to teach so I was late and did not see it. Bada Hari Prabhu and other devotees did more kirtan there, more people spoke, and Amrita Keli sang a tune that she loved hearing Tim sing so much that she asked him to play it again repeatedly.]


Visvambhara of The Mayapuris:


I do not know where he got tunes from. I collect tunes myself, but still I could not figure it out.


Mother Amrita Keli:


He was always encouraging everyone. He served everyone in kirtan.


He would often play a part of a tune, and I would say, “Do it again.” And he would.


Estefania:


Before I started going to the temple, I would go to the kirtans Tim would do at different people’s houses.


One night at Marco’s, he and Yadupati Prabhu were doing a very lively a kirtan at 1:00 a.m. We heard a broom handle thumping on the floor above. We stopped chanting and started again very softly, but gradually it was really rocking, and we heard the broom handle thumping on the floor again.


We referred to Tim and his kirtan friends, as if they were a band, calling them “Timji and the Haribolas.”


Mother Haripriya:


Whenever Tim led kirtan it was like a out-of-body experience for me.


His compassion was such he took in to his apartment Harinam Prabhu although he had known substance abuse issues.


[Tim’s mother mentioned that she objected to that.]


Vrndavana:


He was so eager to participate in bhajanas in Alachua after the Sunday feast that he could not wait in line for prasadam or even eat the prasadam. I would have to save it for him till after the bhajanas at 9:30 p.m.


Krishna-kripa Das [me]:


I could not fully appreciate Tim as I am lacking in both devotion and musical ability, but we both liked kirtan, so I will share a favorite example of Tim’s dedication to that. Bhakta Tim impressed me by his enthusiasm for harinam, chanting in public. He was almost always ready to go out. One December day we had chanted in the Alachua and High Springs Christmas parades, and then chanted from the end of the High Springs parade to Mother Vaishnavi’s school for autistic children where we had chanted for a hour and had refreshments. After we returned to Gainesville, we decided that since it was Saturday and we usually did a late night harinam on Saturday, that we would go downtown and chant, even through we had just been chanting for three hours. The others were into it, as well as several more devotees from Krishna House. We had nine devotees who wanted to go and just one car, Tim’s car. So we put four devotees in front, and four devotees in back, and put another devotee laying across the four sitting in back, and we drove the two miles downtown. There we happily chanted for an hour or two. Afterward we had the brilliant realization that instead of driving with nine people in the car, we could make two trips with five devotees each, and return to Krishna House in a safer way. All glories to Gopinath Prabhu. All glories to Bhakta Tim. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to the congregational chanting of the holy names of Krishna!


Sruti Sagar Prabhu:


When we were in the Bhakti Center in Manhattan one summer, Tim would do wonderful harinams. I liked his because they would come to a big crescendo.


Once I had many rounds to chant on Sunday during the bhajanas after the Alachua Sunday Feast, but the singing was so nice, I just had to see who was leading. It was Tim.


Sri Rama:


Tim was a person who did not see your baggage, he just saw your soul.


He did not care for politics or issues, he just wanted to sing.


one devotee quoted Srila Prabhupada saying:


We should be sorry that our friends are lost. But we should also be happy. If they are perfect, they go back to Godhead, or else they get a human birth in a rich or devoted family.


Ananda Seva Prabhu:


I was there in Vrndavana. Tim was the only person I knew there, and he took care of me. His girlfriend Vrndavana had left at that point, and he was just looking for Aindra harmoniums.


Tim’s mom:


When he became a devotee, I flew down to Gainesville, and I asked Tim to take me to someone who could explain the philosophy. He took me to Sesa and Madhumati.


Hearing the philosophy, I concluded, “This is a good deal. No alcohol or drugs. This is a great place for him to be.”


Mother Tulasi-priya:


It is terrible you have to lose someone to learn what they have to teach. I could not appreciate his qualities when he was here, but hearing about him from you I am realizing what wonderful qualities he had.


You do not need to live eighty years to live your life perfect. Sometimes your life can be perfect at thirty.


The kirtan at the reception was wonderful. As Tim was a musician and a humble devotee, we were thinking it was appropriate that Bada Hari Prabhu, also a musician and a humble devotee lead a lot of kirtan at the funeral and the reception. Amrita Keli lead the final tune, one that she loved hearing Tim sing. I decided to dance to it, as I am sure Tim would have appreciated it. He would sing, and I would dance. That was part of our relationship.


Tim’s mother told Kalakantha Prabhu that she and her husband were atheists, but if they did have a faith, they would want to have one as beautiful as ours. She also said that she felt as if a great burden had been lifted from her.


Devotees said they saw Tim’s father dancing and his sister singing in the kirtan. Vrindavan was also smiling much of the time during the kirtan and remembrances. I was thinking the whole time that Tim would be happy that so many people were engaged in kirtan and that thought made me happy. It was the most positive ceremony of that type I had ever encountered.


Epilogue


My first reaction to the accident that claimed the lives of my three friends, was that it was a reminder of the ultimate defect of material life. We inevitably are separated from those dear to us by the change of body known as death. Our only recourse is to act so that we attain the spiritual world where we have spiritual bodies which do not wear out. By their dedication to kirtan, the most recommended spiritual act in this age, my three friends were well along the path to attaining that spiritual realm.


When saying goodbye to my friends in Gainesville to go to Europe and India, and also when leaving my family, I was very much aware that although I speak about coming back, in reality I may never see any of these people again, just as these three young men did not get to see their friends or family again in this life as a result of the accident. Thus there was a sense of hopelessness and sadness was there in the background of my consciousness.


But as far as my friends who left their bodies in the accident, I do not see their situation as lamentable. It seems like Nitai Prabhu may well have left this world to join Yamuna Devi in her service to Srila Prabhupada. Perhaps as Tony had mentioned, Yadupati Das did go to play drum for Srila Prabhupada as he desired. And perhaps Tim is preparing to do kirtan at a new, exciting venue. At any rate, the worst case is they would come back in a situation in the next life where they have close proximity to the chanting of the holy name so they can perfect their devotion, while the best is that they would attain the spiritual kingdom. So they are definitely blessed in either case. That is the great benefit of performing devotional service, which begins with the chanting of the Lord’s holy name. I thank them all for inspiring me in this. Glories to Nitai, Yadupati, and Bhakta Tim Prabhus, all great souls who inspired others in the congregational chanting of the holy name, each in his own unique way.