Imphal, October 03: Cancelling the earlier schedule of bringing the body here today, ISKCON authorities have taken the mortal remains of His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Maharaj from Kolkata to Vrindavan to perform the last rites in accordance to the wishes of His Holiness at Radhakund tomorrow at 2 pm.
Announcing the change in the plan, temple president of ISKCON Ajit Das said His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Maharaja was scheduled to arrive in Manipur today for darshan of Sri Sri Krishnachandra and to give darshan to the devotees, friends and well-wishers.
But due to developments during last night regarding the condition of the body of His Holiness, it has been decided to immediately take his Holiness to Vrindavan/Radhakund for performing Samadhi rites as per His Holiness' expressed desire for the same.
Expressing regrets at not being able to bring His Holiness to Manipur, Ajit explained that according to Sastra, the body should be in good condition while being placed in the Samadhi.
In order to responsibly and properly fulfil the expressed desire of His Holiness regarding the Samadhi ceremony, all the devotees and disciplines of His Holiness both from Manipur and around the world, who were arranging earlier to bring His holiness to Manipur had to decide with a heavy heart to take His Holiness directly to Vrindavan/Radhakund for the Samadhi ceremony at the earliest.
On being contacted, Ajit Das who is on his way to Vrindaban along with the body of Swami, told The Sangai Express that hundreds of ISKCON devotees and disciples of Swami from across the world have begun pouring in at New Delhi en-route to Vrindavan to take part in the Samadhi ceremony to held tomorrow at 2 pm.
When asked about the cause of the death, Ajit, quoting reports of other Bhaktas at Kolkata, said Swami died of cardiac arrest.
However, Swami passed away peacefully after tolerating the chaotic situation that shrouded ISKCON in the wake of the terror attack on Janmasthami Day, Ajit added.
Ajit was also reportedly told by the Bhaktas from Kolkata that before 10 days of his passing away Swami talked about heaven and other spiritual matters to his disciples as if he knew that he would be leaving the universe.
'Swami Maharaj even rung up a few days back and suggested new arrangements of the temple committee', a broken Ajit said over the phone.
Meanwhile, over 20 ISKCON devotees from Imphal have left for Vrindavan today to take part in the Samadhi ceremony of their Maharaj.
Imphal, October 02: To many Swami Damodara was a man associated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, but to those who knew from close quarters he was a man who was driven by the philosophy of integrating Science with Religion to prove that God is the Supreme person.
Swami Prabhupada AC Bhaktivedanta, the spiritual leader and founder of ISKCON who groomed Swami Damodara once told him, "You are a scientist, write books, prove scientifically that God is the Supreme person." The true disciple that he was, Swami Damodara took up the responsibility entrusted upon him and thus started his philosophical approach of synthesising Science with Religion to explain the existence of God.
Damodara who passed away early this morning at his Kolkata residence experienced a tough life during his early years in Manipur.
However his never say die approach to life and through his Guru's teachings, he blended the Scientist in him with his Spiritual being.
In one of his press conferences held at ISKCON about seven years back (This reporter covered the conference), Swami explained the meaning of Science and Religion and the manner in which both go together in the briefest and most lucid terms.
Damodara put it, "You see Science comforts human body while religion comforts human minds.
We need both these comforts and as such these two should integrate." Thoudam Damodara was born on December 9, 1937 to Yogendra Singh and Kanyahanbi Devi, a poverty stricken family in the remote Toubul village in Bishnupur district.
His father passed away while he was still a child and the young Damodara had to till the fields left by his father to support himself and his elder sister.
At 12 his sister got married and conditions had come to such a stage that he even decided to quit his studies so that he could concentrate full time in the field.
However fate had something in store as his primary school teacher Yadav Singh got him adopted by a gentleman Kerani Singh and he was able to continue his studies.
In 1957 Damodara passed his matriculation examination in the first division and joined DM college from where he obtained his Intermediate Science degree in 1959. In 1961 he graduated with first class honours in Chemistry.
Damodara acquired his BSc degree in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology in 1963 and passed his Master of Technology with first class in Pharmaceutical Science from Calcutta University in 1964. Receiving an overseas scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Government of India, Damodara enrolled at the University of California from where he did his PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry.
A meeting with Swami Prabhupada was a major turning point in the life of the young Damodara and he soon emerged as one of his most trusted disciples and proceeded to devote his life to Lord Krishna.
On the advice of his guru, Damodara authored various books-Fundamental Principles of Reincarnation, "What is Matter, What is Life ?" "The Scientific Basis of Krishna Consciousness" etc.
Damodara was an international figure delivering speeches at different places across the world and addressed a number of peace, spiritual and Science and Religion conferences.
The Swami, affectionately called Maharaj by his disciples was contemplating to hold a world peace meet with Nobel laureate in Imphal next year, said ISKCON members and added that they would strive to fulfil the aspirations of their late Guru.
Imphal, October 02: The news of the death of ISKCON International Director Swami Damodara at Kolkata early morning today has plunged the peace loving people of Manipur in deep sorrow and have described it as a great loss not only for ISKCON but also for the entire humanity.
In his condolence message, Governor of Manipur Dr SS Sidhu said Damodara was an epitome of peace, love, friendship, forgiveness and understanding who stood by these principal till his last.
“Manipur is a pluralistic society and his call for peace and understanding was at the most appropriate time for the State, which is now in turmoil.
But it seems that the Supreme Being desires him to be at His side and the void left by his demise will be difficult to fill”, Dr Sidhu said, while sharing the grief and sorrow of all his near and dear ones.
Describing the death of one of the most illustrious sons of Manipur who attained international fame in the realm of humanism, Chairman of Bharat Sevak Samaj, Manipur State Branch H Kangjamba Singh said his death is an irreparable loss for the entire humanity.
Despite being a man of science, Damodara accepted the calling of Shri Krishna and devoted his entire life towards the cause of humanity, he added.
Mourning over the death of the spiritual leader, members of Manipur Peace Committee, SMMM, NYP and NYO prayed for the peaceful repose of the departed soul in its heavenly abode during a condolence meeting held at Shanti Bhavan here today.
A condolence meeting was also held at the office of Manipuri Sahitya Parishad to condole the death of Swami today.
Apart from acknowledging the contribution made by Swami for humanity during his lifetime, the meeting also observed a two minute silence as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
Aggrieved at the sudden and sad demise of Swami, members of Kasturba Gandhi Kendra, Imphal observed a one minute silence in respect of the departed soul and prayed to God for the peace of the soul during a condolence meeting held at the Kendra today with eminent scholar and retired Principal of LMS Law College, Imphal RK Jhalajit Singh in the chair.
A condolence meeting was also reportedly held at the Babupara official residence of Corporation and Veterinary Minister W Leima Devi with ex-MP W Angou Singh in the chair .
A two minute silence was also observed to show respect to the departed soul and the mourners present prayed to God for the peaceful repose of the soul in its heavenly abode.
Members of Patsoi East Development Committee have also expressed their sorrow and grief over the death of Bhaktiswarup Damodara Swami Maharaj.
CPI (M), Manipur State Committee; National Congress Party, Manipur Pradesh; National Youth Congress, Manipur Pradesh, etc have also expressed their condolence over the death of His Holiness Bhaktiswarupa Swami Damudara Swami Maharaj.
Imphal, October 03: People of Manipur have not been able to come to term with the loss of one of the greatest sons of the soil in the charismatic persona of Governing Body Commissioner of ISKCON and International Director His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami Srila Sripada who passed away early morning yesterday.
Cutting across religious, social, cultural and political affiliation heartfelt condolences have been expressed by various organisations and individuals.
United Religious Initiative, Manipur Co-operation Circle has expressed its deep sense of shock and sorrow at the sudden and unexpected demise of His Holiness Bhaktiswarupa Damodara Swami Sripad Maharaj alias Dr TD Singh, who was also its president during a condolence meeting held at its Paona Bazar Imphal office today.
Condoling the death of the internationally renowned ISKCON leader, State Baha'i Council of the Baha'is of Manipur has described his demise as a great loss for humanity.
Praying for the peaceful repose of the departed noble soul and sharing in grief of the bereaved devotees, the Council observed that exemplary deeds of the Swami would remain as a source of inspiration for all foreever.
Zeliangrong Rachapriak Phom (Zeliangrong religious council) of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland has also condoled the death of Swami saying it is an irreparable loss for all.
Devotees of Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak (TCR) would always pay great tribute and respect to the spiritual world figure for his work and devotion to the cause of humanity and prayed for peaceful repose of his departed soul in its heavenly abode, Council general secretary said in a statement.
Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple Board, Shri Govindajee Temple, Shri Shri Radha Govinda Gwal Vaisnav Samaj, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Dharma Rakshak Samiti, Dharmalaya Social Welfare Centre , etc were also among the religious affiliated bodies mourning the death of Damodara.
Women's Forum for Cultural Foundation, ISKCON, Manipur and BIM Hr Sec School have also condoled the death of Swami by observing two minutes silence praying for the departed soul during separate condolence meetings held today.
United Committee Manipur, All Manipur Senior Citizens' Welfare Assn, Huyen Lallong Manipur ThangTa Cultural Assn, Nata Sangeet Academy and Research Centre, All Manipur Arts and Culture Students' Union (Imphal), Kege Moirang Apunba Lup (Moirang), Kalyan Ashram Manipur, Oinam Nagar Panchayat were among the social and cultural organisations which have expressed profound sorrow over the sad and sudden demise of Damodara Swami.
Among the political parties and politicians, Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly Dr Md Maniruddin Shaikh, BJP MLA and ex-president of BJP Manipur Pradesh M Bhorot Singh, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), CPI (M) Manipur State Committee and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal (United) have also condoled the death of Swami.
Imphal, October 02: Governing Body Commissioner of ISKCON and International Director His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami Srila Sripada passed away at his Kolkata residence in the wee hours today sending shockwaves across the world.
He was 69. Announcing the passing away of the spiritual leader in a statement, temple president of ISKCON, Imphal, Ajit Das said Swami breathed his last at 2 pm today at his Kolkata residence Shree Ram Nagar, VIP Road, Kolkata-700059 due to the arrangement of the Lord, Sri Sri Radhakrishnachandra.
Fondly called Swami Maharaj, Damodara was undergoing treatment of the injuries suffered in the August 16 terror attack at Mani Mandir here.
Ajit Das, a close disciple, informed that Damodara complained of slight ache on his injured left hand before breathing his last at around 2 am today.
Though the ISKCON devotees at Imphal could not say the exact cause of Swami’s death, they speculated that it could be a result of the injuries suffered in the terror attack at ISKCON temple on Janmasthami Day.
They, however, informed that Swami was discharged from Apollo Hospital, Kolkata about ten days back.
As news of his death spread, a large number of mourning devotees and well wishers started pouring in at the ISKCON temple premises here even as a group of Bhaktas began performing Kritans since early morning amid tearful scene.
Villagers of Toubul, the birth place of Swami also joined the mourning.
If Swami’s death is the result of the August 16 attack, then he is the seventh victim to have died from the terror blast.
On that fateful day, four persons including two minor boys were killed and over fifty devotees including Swami himself and some foreigners were injured in the bomb attack.
Later on two more persons including a girl succumbed to their bomb injuries.
Meanwhile, a team of ISKCON devotees from Imphal including Imphal temple president Ajit Das flew to Kolkata today.
Before leaving Imphal, Ajit told The Sangai Express that a meeting of all senior functionaries of ISKCON would be held at Kolkata to decide whether Swami’s last rites would be conducted either at his home State or at other sacred places.
However, before his death Swami had expressed his desire that his last rites be performed at Radha Kunda, Ajit disclosed.
The whole matter would be discussed during the meeting before arriving at any decision conclusively, he added.
Ajit said that contrary to the Hindu’s practice of cremation, ISKCON’s top priests like Swami Damodara are buried after deaths.
On the other hand, ISKCON devotees at Imphal have made the necessary preparation for holding a Guru Puja wherein they would offer floral tributes and Arati to the body of Swami at the temple premises here tomorrow.
Swami’s mortal remains would be brought by a flight tomorrow at 2 pm, they said, adding that a short mourning procession might be taken out on the streets of Imphal.
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