New York City Indradyumna Maharaja

March 16th, 2002

New York City

Indradyumna Maharaja turned to me at lunch today and reflected the loss of Tamal Krishna Maharaja, our very dear friend, by saying, “I feel scarred for life.” It’s a new experience for me. I cannot recall ever losing someone who was so much a part of my life since Srila Prabhupada left. The loss is felt deeply and it will be for life.

The Vrindaban Tamal Krishna
Outside of Vrindaban one can only know Krishna’s position as the creator and maintainer. In Vrindaban, His home, His full personality is revealed. One can know Him intimately as a friend, parent, or lover. I knew the Vrindaban Tamal Krishna Maharaja, his personal side. Growing up in ISKCON, however, I first knew him only in terms of his position as Srila Prabhupada’s personal secretary, one of the first zonal acaryas, the most prominent and influential GBC, and an extremely powerful, respected, and feared leader. In the late ’80s, however, Maharaja embarked on a new development in his devotional career–his internal nurturing of spiritual life in Vrindaban. He came there to devote quality time to studying the works of Goswamis and to chant and hear about Krishna. Since Vrindaban was my home, we became very close friends. I got to know and observe his personality, his ability to reach out and exchange very intimately with people, whether it was with his Godbrothers, his disciples, or the many other people he contacted and knew through his outreach preaching. We are missing him dearly for his service as a stalwart general of Srila Prabhupada’s mission, but I suspect that it is this side, what I call the Vrindaban Tamal Krishna, that many devotees are remembering and missing most–a part he cultivated and developed more and more as his devotional life matured, especially in Vrindaban. When I first contacted Satyaraja after Maharaja left, he lamented that this very personal and intimate side of Tamal Krishna Goswami–which Satyaraja felt was especially manifest in the last five years–was not so well known. He feared that only his awe-inspiring power as a leader would be remembered. But Satyaraja was wrong. The torrent of attachment for Maharaja after his passing is certainly as much a reflection of the intimacy he achieved in his relationships as it is the result of the respect earned by his position. In great separation we thus remember the Vrindaban Tamal Krishna.

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