I have great respect and admiration for HG Uttama Caitanya. I see him as a spiritual leader with a vision. I see him as a leader with foresight and humility to understand his own limitation and invite others to help him, work with him, in spreading Lord Caitanya sankirtan’s movement.
Under his leadership, SJMKL have grown leaps and bounds. Under his leadership, many leaders have evolved and given the facilities and space to grow and mature. He provides an environment of inclusiveness. As a result, SJMKL is the shining example of a progressive ISKCON temple where sincere devotees are sheltered and can thrive and grow. He understands the importance of congregational development and to embrace and support congregational leaders in their efforts to preach.
Only a leader, who is confident in his own spiritual position as a servant of Krsna, will invite other leaders, even those who are senior to him, to be part of his management team and not feel threatened. Only a leader who is spiritually strong can lay the foundation on which the tree of SJMKL is growing with its many flowering branches.
My respect and admiration of him grew during the years working with him here. It has been some of the most pleasurable and spiritually satisfying years. My respect for him was cemented by how he dealt with a personal problem he faced a few years back. We all faced difficulties and obstacles in our spiritual life one time or another. Srila Prabhupada warned us that there will be tests. How a person reacts to a problem shows the character of the person. HG Uttama Caitanya Prabhu had the humility to admit his problem and take advice from some of his friends and well-wishers in rectifying the mistake. It shows immense spiritual strength and character to do what he did. It also shows his sincerity. He passed the test and became stronger. He became one of the temple presidents and devotee that I love, respect and admire. He is a very sincere and dedicated disciple and servant of his Guru Maharaja and is very dear to him.
For whatever reason, Krsna has decided to take him away. We rejoice in his good fortune to have lived a life of dedication to his Guru Maharaja and achieve the supreme destination. At the same time, we are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of this stalwart devotee. We will miss him dearly. We will be able to properly honored him by continuing the work on which the foundation he had so soundly laid. May he put in some kind words to Krsna on our behalf.
On behalf of myself and my family, I pay my prostrated obeisances to this dedicated captain of Lord Caitanya’ army and take the dust from his lotus feet.
Ciranjiva das and family. (Melbourne, Australia)