His Grace Urjasvat Prabhu has been leading devotees in the chanting of the Holy Names since the early 70's. His blissful and soulful chanting has inspired devotees all around the world. Perhaps you know his singing of the "Govinda Jaya Jaya, Gopala Jaya Jaya" track on the first New York Kirtans album or perhaps you know his kirtans from New York or LA Ratha Yatras. He helped organize wonderful harinams and sankirtan at both the LA and New York Temples. Well anyway he is a wonderful devotee.
So about a year ago I received a phone call from the temple line. It was an older gentleman and he had many wonderful questions regarding Krishna Consciousness. He told me his very nice life story about how in the 70's he joined the temple for perhaps 8 months and had the time of his life. He said that Urjasvat Prabhu was his Bhakta Leader (spiritual coach) at the time and that he really valued that time he spent with Urjasvat Prabhu. At the time he was just getting out of the military and was getting much more interested in spiritual life. At some point he moved out of temple due to some previous attachments but later became ordained as a Catholic priest. His said that it was only due to remembering the instructions of Urjasvat Prabhu regularly that he was able to stay a celibate Catholic monk for 11 years. He said, "Urjasvat Prabhu may or may not remember me but I know that when I die and leave this world I will probably be thinking of him." This gentleman called again a month ago and randomly came across me, he was calling temples to chit chat about Krishna. In his call he lamented about not being able to make advancement and surrendering and was comforted when he was told that Krishna is very kind and looks for any excuse, without breaking the rules, to take us back to the spiritual world. This is what the Lord revealed to Gopa Kumara in the Brhad Bhagavatmrta. This story and another one as well brought him to tears of joy, jaya. His 3 children are all grown up and he is now getting more encouragement in chanting Japa. He was a very pleasurable man to speak on the phone with.
His Grace Urjasvat Prabhu in the last two months has suffered from two strokes. The first one took place while he was giving class at the temple in Phoenix Arizona during one of of his preaching tours. These strokes have impaired speech so currently he is not giving classes nor is able to lead kirtan. Please pray for his speedy recovery so that we all can benefit from hearing from this great soul.
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das
P.s. Got another call today from a middle aged women who asked in regards to how she could get the Hare Krishna Ashrama experience.
*Photos by Rupa Madhurya Prabhu
**"Urge for Urj" is what devotees in Dallas say when they are longing to hear kirtans lead by Urjasvat.