Atma Nivedana –Biography of a Surrendered Soul

By HG Shanti Rupa devi dasi

“He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas die, When thou art living still in sound! The Vaishnavas die to live, and live to spread the holy name around.” Bhakti Vinod Thakur

His Grace Uttama Caitanya Dasa Brahmacari, a dear disciple of H.H. Srila Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, departed from this world suddenly but peacefully on Gaurabdha 523, Sridhara Masa, Krsna Paksa (Kamika Ekadasi, July 18th 2009) around 5 pm. On the day, he had observed a full fast, refraining from even water; and had been actively involved in the Congregational Development Ministry's two day seminar which was held at the Klang Valley in Malaysia. He served as the Temple President of Sri Jagannath Mandir, ISKCON-Kuala Lumpur (SJMKL), Malaysia since 2001 until his departure. During his tenure, the temple grew in leaps and bounds, and is now a leading temple in Malaysia. He was an eloquent speaker of Hari Katha and very learned in Gaudiya Vaishnava siddhanta. He was a Bhakti Shastri and Bhakti Vaibhava. An avid reader, he had a wonderful collection of literatures - this he treasured most.

Early Years in ISKCON
H.G. Uttama Caitanya Prabhu was born as Umakanthan to Ramasamy and Rajeswary Ammal on October 30th, 1966 in Batu Gajah, a small town in the state of Perak, Malaysia. Having completed his primary and secondary education in the neighbouring town of Tapah, he proceeded to Kuala Lumpur to pursue pre-university education in the famous TAR College. It is here he came in contact with ISKCON devotees and began to attend programs whenever possible. He often quoted how H.G. Tyaga Caitanya dasa greeted him nicely in 1986 when he first visited the ISKCON temple in Kuala Lumpur. He always spoke fondly of H.G. Siddhi Sadhana dasa, who was then managing ISKCON’s Govinda’s Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Siddhi Sadhana Prabhu carefully preached to him and taught him to chant japa. He then pursued a four year degree in Business Management at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang where he continued to attend more ISKCON programs.

After completing his university degree, Umakanthan enrolled himself in the renowned Singapore International Airways for a pilot training course. Here, his involvement in Krsna Consciousness became deeper. He would often travel the long distance to Kuala Lumpur to attend important festival celebrations and regular programs. Having passed the theoretical part of the training course, he refrained from pursuing the practical portion. We assume that the reason for this was his ardent desire to become more affiliated with Krsna Consciousness. From being a casual visitor at the Govinda’s restaurant, Umakanthan quickly rose to the extent of giving regular classes during the weekly sat-sangs held in the restaurant. Many were drawn to his preaching and seriously took up Krsna Consciousness after attending his classes.

His prolific writing skills earned him a coveted position as the sub-editor of the Business Times section in Malaysia’s leading daily newspaper - The New Straits Times Press. Here, he would often use his advantageous position to circulate announcements on Vaishnava festivals and releases of the latest Bhaktivedanta Book Trust publications. He also wrote and published several Krsna Conscious articles, one such article was the “Reforestation of Vrndavana”, which appeared in the Life & Times section of the same paper in 1995. It was also during the same year, while being stationed in Kuala Lumpur, that he became even more deeply involved in Krsna Consciousness and spent most of his time in the temple, reading and studying Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy.

Having delved deeply into Srila Prabhupada’s writings, he was fully convinced of the Krsna Conscious philosophy. When H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj visited Kuala Lumpur in 1995, a young Umakanthan shaved his head and received harinam diksha, accepting the name Uttama Caitanya dasa. Just eleven days later on December 31st 1995, during the launch of Srila Prabhupada’s 100th anniversary, he pledged to become a full time devotee as an offering to our great founder. At the time he was 29 years old and in the midst of a very materially lucrative career. This move was truly a story of Atma Nivedana, and it demonstrated his deep attachment and profound feelings for Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.

Adorning saffron robes, Uttama Caitanya dasa joined Sri Jagannath Mandir, Kuala Lumpur as a full time devotee in 1996. Simheswar dasa, then Temple President, immediately made him Temple Commander and began grooming him to become President. Uttama Caitanya Prabhu was not interested in the position and politely declined, stating that there were more qualified senior devotees. However, when his dear Guru Maharaj personally ordered him to take on the position, he silently accepted. Uttama Caitanya Prabhu was never attached to the superiority of his position. Senior congregation members noted that within months of becoming the Temple President, he took an extremely bold step by renovating the current premises, starting with zero finances. He managed to put up a remarkable structure amidst criticism from his peers.

­Guru Seva
Until he left his body, Uttama Caitanya Prabhu’s life was an offering of love to his dear Guru Maharaj. He did everything possible to please H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, and this led to his tremendous success in leading the Kuala Lumpur yatra to great heights. He always picked the best of what the ISKCON world had to offer and implemented them in Sri Jagannath Mandir Kuala Lumpur, almost always very successfully.

Even during a severe testing period in his life when he was on the verge of giving up the brahmacari ashram, he fled from the thought as advised by his beloved spiritual master and emerged an even stronger brahmacari to carry on his services. This and many other incidents exhibited his stong guru nista. He also successfully organised an unforgettable and most impressive sisya samuh for the disciples of H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, increasing tremendously the guru nista of each and every devotee who attended this festival.

He was a visionary leader who wanted to serve Srila Prabhupada’s movement in the best ways possible. Congregation Development, which is the heart and soul of his spiritual master, was very dear to his heart. He was keen on building up the Congregation Development Ministry, and with the help of his team made significant progress in systematically organizing this department in the Klang Valley.

He also made considerable effort to extend help to other centers across Malaysia and nearby countries to come together to develop this area in their respective yatras. He organised regular regional congregation development meetings which attracted participants from across Malaysia and neighbouring countries. In fact it was during such a seminar on July 18, 2009 that Prabhu breathed his last.

Uttama Caitanya Prabhu also encouraged the implementation of the Spiritual Counsellor system in SJMKL. He was confident that this system, which has been incredibly successful in Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir, Chowpatty, India, would accelerate the spiritual growth of every yatra member. As he predicted, the congregation of SJMKL has made much spiritual progress since the system was introduced.

The internationally famous Damodara project was born and nourished under the leadership of Uttama Caitanya Prabhu. During one of the annual launches of the Damodara program, H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj was so pleased, that at the end of the program, Maharaj tightly embraced him, bringing tears to Uttama Caitanya Prabhu’s eyes as well as the eyes of many who witnessed this loving exchange. Understanding the desire of his beloved spiritual master, he attempted to educate the worldwide ISKCON community on how to conduct the Damodar home and public programs. He sent his team members far and wide - to Delhi, Tirupati, Vadohara in India, and personally visited Mauritius, South Africa, and Indonesia among other places.

“Prabhupada Man”
Uttama Caitanya Prabhu was through and through a Prabhupada man. He constantly emphasized on sticking to the basics – good sadhana, humble seva, unoffensive japa, and sad-achar. He strongly believed that mass distribution of Krsna Consciousness should be carried on using Srila Prabhupada’s formula – book distribution, prasadam distribution, and harinama sankirtana.

With this firm faith he worked very hard to develop these three areas. Just a few days before his departure, he formally registered ISKCON Kuala Lumpur’s Food For Life program with the registrar of societies - a remarkable milestone in the history of SJMKL. The harinama sankirtana division has sky rocketed to organizing over 100 harinamas each year. Book distribution has also escalated to the point that SJMKL is now the top book distributor in ISKCON Malaysia.

Other Services
Uttama Caitanya Prabhu had a special attachment for deity worship, Sri Vrindavan Dham and Sri Sri Radhe Shyam. He loved to cook for the deities and serve the devotees. During his tenure as Temple President he brought about tremendous changes in the deity worship department and effortlessly organised grand festivals for the pleasure of Their Lordships. He was also an excellent actor and always emphasised on dramas as a good medium to preach. In 2001, his Jagannatha Priya Nataka won raving reviews in many leading local newspapers.

He was a warm host to all those who visited Sri Jagannath Mandir. He always ensured that guests were nicely received and served Lord Jagannath’s prasadam. He extended these warm welcomes even to regular devotees, constantly greeting us with a smile and folded hands, also ensuring that we honoured sufficient prasadam. He always insisted that in Jagannath’s home, no one should ever leave without prasadam.

Uttama Caitanya Prabhu was zealous in implementing programs to train and care for devotees. He also strongly encouraged the development of vaishnava training programs such as the the Gokul Garden for children, Pandava Sena for teenagers, and many seasonal courses on philosophical topics. He lent undivided support to the university preaching program (VOICE), which has been expanding very rapidly.

Inspiration for All
For most of us, he came across as a character straight out of the Caitanya Caritamrita; following as closely as possible in the footsteps of the Gaura bhakta vrindas. His aura was that of a learned saintly person, always detached, calm and composed. His tall and lean form was full of grace; his movements regal yet humble. His big eyes extended like lotus petals; and his face was always adorned with a smile. His nature was soft, compassionate and mellow. He was always mild and gentle in his dealings.

Uttama Prabhu drew inspiration from many of the previous acharyas. He would often shed tears of love while speaking of them in lectures. Apart from his spiritual master, his most recent sources of inspiration were H.H. Gour Govind Maharaj and H.G. Jayananda Prabhu. Devotees have noted the similarities between Uttama Caitanya Prabhu and H.G. Jayananda Prabhu in terms of touching the lives of many devotees and non-devotees alike. Uttama Caitanya Prabhu constantly tried to follow in the footsteps and instil the mood of H.G. Jayananda Prabhu in the hearts of all SJMKL members.

His personal necessities were minimal - he wore simple, worn out dhotis. His eating habits were frugal; and his main delights were speaking Hari Katha and serving the Vaishnavas. He was always detached from bodily needs. On fasting days he would lead ecstatic kirtans until very late, forgetting the needs of the body. He would then serve prasadam to all the devotees and only honour some himself when all had left.

He was a wonderful example of a strict devotee and dedicated follower of Srila Prabhupada. Despite opposition and criticism from many outsiders Uttama Caitanya Prabhu remained steadfast in Krsna Consciousness. He remained humble and unassuming even in immense success.

His life has been a wonderful source of inspiration for all of us - the Congregation of Sri Jagannath Mandir Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The End

To view the success of the Damodar Project, please visit

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"You lived with Krishna’s love and by His teachings"

A poem dedicated to HG Uttama Caitanya Dasa

Iraivanin namaththai peyaril sutti
Aippasiil vanthuthiththa vinminae
Nir vanthathan karanamthan yathoh? Nanariyaenae

Porul peritha? Arul peritha
Enra pohr munaiyil arulin porulunarnthu
Athanai nadiya karanamthan yathoh! Nanariyaenae

Pasam enum pinnalilae sikkamal
Uyar saevai enum pathaiyai nadichchendru
Saevai purinthathan karanam yathoh? Nanariyaenae

Kanna! Kanna! Ena sellamai konjji
Kannanaik kanavaendi veguthuram
Sendrathan karanamthan yathoh! Nanariyaenae

Kadaiyil thohndrinum muthalil munthik kondu
Enggalai emarach seithathu muraiya?
Enbathan karanamthan yathoh! Nanaraiyaenae

Kathudaintha usikuda kadaivaizhi vara enum
Pattinaththarin kurtrai meipiththa piththanae!
Mei athama nanendru unarach seitha nirenggae? Nanariyaenae

Nanariyaen, nanariyaen endru pulambi Enggidinum
Mathavan pal nir konda anbum aravaizhvum
Nin athma, avan thirupathaththirkae samarppanam

Enpathai mattum, nan unarvaen!
Nan unarvaen!
Nan unarvaen!

By, S.Tamilselvi (sister-in-law) and family

It’s meaning

I Can’t Comprehend!
The name of God was bestowed upon you,
You were born like a shining star in the Tamil month of ‘Aipasi’,
The reason for your appearance, I can’t comprehend!
Is material wealth greater? Or spiritual wealth greater?
In this conflict, you realised that spirituality is greater,
The reason for your choice, I can’t comprehend!
Not being trapped in the web of attachments,
You took the path of selfless service,

The reason for your sacrifice, I can’t comprehend!
With love and devotion, you recited, Krishna! Krishna!
And in search of Him you travelled far,
The reason for your journey I can’t comprehend!
Though you were the last in the family you were the first to leave,
Is it fair to disappoint us this way?

The reason you departed so soon, I can’t comprehend.
“Even a needle with a broken eye, will not follow you to the grave”,
Having proven the truth of this saying by Pathinatthar,
You who have made us realise that you are a pure aathma,

Where are you, I can’t comprehend!
I cried and yearned. I can’t comprehend! I can’t comprehend!
You lived with Krishna’s love and by His teachings,
And surrendered your aathma to His lotus feet,
That I comprehend! That I comprehend!

By, S.Tamilselvi (sister-in-law) and family

" We have to move on"

No matter what happens,"we have to move on"...said HG Uttama Caitanya pr during the CDM seminar on the day HG left us.Such was his conviction that HG said that we may not get everyone to take up the CDM agenda in their yatra..but we still have to move on it's the best formula the yatras need at present moment to bring ISKCON Malaysia to greater heights.

The Taiping delegates and Penang Paya Terubong Namahatta Leader HG Kisora Krishna das and his wife HG Rasini Rani DD walked in the seminar room at 11am where HG Uttama pr was explaining the National CDM agenda .It's all basic said HG Uttama pr.If we do not have this basic agenda....then we can't improve...rather we will stagnate and waste valuable time solving problems rather than being proactive in KC activities ..

In the evening HG Rasika Murari and I were in the car driven by HG Uttama pr from the Hotel to the Futsal court...HG was busy talking on the ways to improve CDM and as well as the Bhagavad Gita competition for the children in Jaganath Mandir.

Before we reached the Futsal court..we came across some nice fruit stalls and HG mentioned to Rasika pr that we should get some fruits like chempedak for Lord Jaganath on the way did not materialise....but for HG ...he did find his way back to Lord Jaganath –of course with the fruits for the Lord.

Exactly an hour later HG Uttama collapsed in the court after uttering "Haribol".HG is believed to left his body due to heart failure on the hand of devotees seconds after collapsing while hearing the Holy Names.

Devotees who were at his side were shocked and could not just accept the fact of HG Uttama in that state....HG Visnu pr tried pressing his chest and even gave CPR to revive his breathing but none seemed to help. Then..all of us saw HG Uttama pr taking a deep breath and then remained motionless .His eyes then started moving upwards.
At that moment Visnu pr checked his pulse and shockingly told Rasika pr”I think we have lost him” .

We could just not accept the possibility..that HG has left we hurriedly carried him into a car and HG Ram Gopinath pr drove straight to a nearby clinic..where the Dr..advised us to rush to the nearest hospital.HG Anandadulal pr who was at the back seat carrying HG Uttama occasionally lost composure and shouted to HG Ram Gopinath to drive faster.

Cutting through the traffic lanes and red lights finally we reached the Pantai Hospital where the doctor attended to HG Uttama pr and they tried reviving him for about 20 minutes behind closed curtains.

All of us were just praying to their Lordship to give HG Uttama pr back to us as it' was too early to take him back to the spiritual world..We need him here more than anything. I heard a devotee even telling the doctor..."please save him Dr.".

After anxiously waiting...the curtain was finally opened..and our hearts were shattered to thousand pieces..when the Dr said "We are sorry.We could not save him".
We can't be true.It was like a dream...I thought!!
No was real.HG Uttama pr has left all of us.
I started to chant keeping my emotions under control .Soberly trying to control my tears when devotees started arriving and could not believe that HG has lef his body.

Later in the evening...when the hospital transferred HG Uttama pr to the mortuary,..HG Radha Krishna Pb and his wife visited and asked me if they could see HG.
I took them into the room and opened the cloth covering HGs face and they were shocked but relieved to see HGs smiling and blissful face.
It was a glorious departure...I told to myself.

In fact the final farewell was so wonderful and blissful with non stop kirtan,flower bouquets and garlands were just pouring in.I told the devotees later that It wasn't a funeral..but a festival.
sending a great devotee and a leader back home-BACK TO GODHEAD

A few days later...when I was talking to HG Surabala pr,a Lecturer in University Sains Malaysia Penang,he quoted Srila Prabhupads words ...”we can go back to Godhead in 1 lifetime”.HG Surabala pr said...HG Uttama pr has proven that.

Yes ...HG Uttama pr has indeed proven and shown us that even among us ..we can perfect our lifes and go back home in this 1 lifetime.His passing will be greatly felt by all of us.

Thank you pr..for all the guidance and advise you gave me and the opportunity to do little seva during Your Grace final moments.Please bless me and all the Taiping devotees so that we can also follow your footsteps and go back home in this lifetime.

And for Your Graces information my wife and I did buy some “chempedak “and fruits for Jaganath when we came for Your Grace smrti sabha.That was among your last words.
and we promise..."We will Move on no matter what happens".

Hare Krishna.
Yaduraj Krishna Dasa/Sarva Devi Radhika DD


Hare Krsna!
All glories to Sri Sri guru and Gauranga!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Like everyone else, I was shocked and deeply saddended to hear about His Grace Uttama Caitanya Dasa Bramachari’s sudden passing. But I know that it is Krsna’s divine arrangement. Although I have known UCD for only three and a half years, my association with him albeit briefly has inspired me in my spiritual journey, my love for God strengthened. His words have indeed left an indellible mark in my life.
I have had the wonderful honour of listening to UCD’s scholarly lectures. I would like to pay tribute to UCD by sharing with you the gist of UCD’s lectures delivered in Sri Sri Gaura Nitai Radha Govinda Mandhir, ISKCON Klang when he participated in three Vedic festivals.

23 December 2007 His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada’s murthi installation ceremony:
I particularly remember with great fondness a lecture he gave us during Srila Prabhupada’s murthi intallation in our temple. It was entitled “How can we realise HDG Srila Prabhupada in this world?” He sang the glories of Srila Prabhupada and said that Srila Prabhupada is present whenever his devotees follow his scriptural instructions with unity, and lovingly co-operate with each other. He stressed that the most favoured activity of a preaching movement like ours is the book distribution. He echoed Srila Prabhupada’s words: “Books are the basis, preaching is the essence.” He also cautioned us that should any harm befall ISKCON, it will be like harming Srila Prabhupada. He also reminded us to wake up from the slumber on Maya’s lap. He took pains to make us understand and empathise with the extreme hardships Srila Prabhupada underwent to start the Back to Godhead magazine and to build the spiritual organisation of ISKCON.

He told us that although each avatar had special qualities, eg. Ram to protect dharma, Krsna has extra special qualities that surpass those of Vishnu’s: sweetness of flute (veenur mathura), sweetness of form (rupam mathuram), sweetness of love, (priti mathuram) and sweetness of pasttimes (leela mathuram).
He also reminded us that we can’t get Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy directly; it has to be through Srila Prabhupada. He also told us how Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in the 1800s compiled all the books of the acharyas, found the place where Mahaprabhu was born, established a small printing press and gave his son, Vimal Prasad who was to become Srila Bhaktisidantha Saraswati Goswami Maharaj ( Srila Prabhupada’s Spiritual Master in the disciplic chain of great saints and sages).
He also told us what Srila Prabhupada used to say: “I only have one qualification. I have full faith in the words of my Spiritual Master.” His parting words at that lecture were “We are eternally indebted to Srila Prabhupada. We must first pay obeisances to Srila Prabhupada and remove obstacles in our spritual practices.”

23 March 2008 Gaura Purnima Celebrations:
In this lecture UCD started off by saying that Srila Prabhupada attained victory by always serving his Spiritual Master. He asked us to reflect on what the difference was between Hare Krsna and religion. He urged that religion can change but spirituality was for all. He also reminded us that no matter how many births we take, our relationship with Krsna can never change, Astivaram. He vividly described Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as being a very attractive personality with a small waist, broad shoulders and hands reaching up to the knees like a lion – Simhacaitanya. UCD also urged us to serve Krsna as those who surrender will get Krsna prem.

15 March 2009 Gaura Purnima celebrations:
UCD began the lecture by informing us that it was a smaran (rememberance) festival. 523 years had passed so it was Gaurabda 523. He told us that Krsna appeared once and Mahaprabhu also appeared once. Mahaprabhu’s expansion appears in every Kali Yuga. The complete potency of Mahaprabhu, Purna Avatar of Mahaprabhu, appeared in this Kali Yuga. Mahaprabhu will bestow Krsna prem in the mood of Vrindavan, Maha bhava, the highest level of love one can obtain for Krsna or the supreme object of our love. He told us that in Kali Yuga, Krsna appeared in a non blackish form and will spread his holy name. He explained that the first expansion of Krsna is Balaram who descended as Nityananda to serve Mahaprabhu. He illustrated the other expansions: the personality who serves Mahaprabhu is Advaita, an expansion of Sada Shiva, Srivas Thakur is an expansionn of Narada Muni and Gadadara is an expansion of the sakthi of Srimati Radharani.

The point he wanted to make was the reasoning behind the worship of Mahaprabhu and what the difference was in being a Vaishnava without worshipping Mahaprabhu. The mood of love for Radha and Krsna is best exemplified by the Gopis of Vrindavan. Therefore, only followers of Mahaprabhu obtain love for Krsna and Radha in the mood of Vrindavan. This knowledge is absent in other sampradayas. Sadhu gurus are representatives who can awards us Krsna Prem in the mood of Vrindavan. Vrindavan Krsna has special traits – flute, peacock feather, buffalo horn, bugle – not found in Krsna of Dwaraka. He told us of the plea and cry of Bhaktivinoda Thakur that only one who has got pure love for Krsna can give Krsna Prem. UCD also asked very philosophically: Is Mahaprabu a God, or a devotee or a combination of both? How shall we perceive him and worship him?” The answer is that Mahaprabhu must be worshiped as God equal to Krsna. He said that Mahaprabhu was God himself who came in the form of a devotee; it was ‘Krsna looking for a Krsna in the mood of Radharani’. He told us not to disturb the mood of Mahaprabhu. Only the mission of Mahaprabhu can save humanity. He ended the lecture by urging us to chant the holy name of Krsna and worship Gaura Nitai deities with kirtan and that arati alone was not enough. He also told us to sing the song Parama Koruna and know its significance.

He enlightened us with all these gems. I will surely miss UCD very deeply. The Vedic knowledge he presented in such a graceful and lucid style captured the audience comprising devotees and those new to Krsna Consciousness. This kind of truth revealed by a sadhu practitioner of Krsna Consciousness is essential so newcomers can understand and be convinced what the Pancatatva worship is all about, especially for those who’ve been exposed to Laxmi-Narayan worship devoid of Pancatatva. Surely the transition to Krsna Consciousness is smoother.
On a personal note he inspired me to chant nice rounds and complete the sixteen rounds everyday. He strongly said that I must always hear when I chant as I am the audience of my own chanting. This would also prevent the mind from wandering. He emphasised that the chanting was for none other than for the self to hear and be purfied. These words of encouragement I will never forget. Like many others whose lives he touched, I would like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for contributing to my spiritual advancement. I will always honour UCD. He will always have a special place in my heart.

May Lord Sri Krsna, Srimati Radha Rani and their Lordships and HDG Srila Prabhupada always shelter His Grace Uttama Caitanya Dasa Bramachari and keep him in their nectarian passtimes in the beautiful fragrant eternal abode of Goloka Vrindavan. I am very sure one as pure as he is in the soft embrace and blessings of Krsna. I also thank His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada for sending his dear devotee to teach us about everlasting spiritual happiness. May we also seek the shelter of the lotus feet of UCD for spiritual blessings. Hari Bol!
Dr. Sridevi Sriniwass,
University of Malaya

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Life is Fragile – Handle with Care

HG Uttama Caitanya Prabhu and myself shared a very different and unique relationship in terms of a Godbrother. The most valuable of this relationship was our attachment to Vrindavan. We always addressed each other as Vrajabasis. Unknown to many of you, we spent many hours at times to discuss and share our realizations of the holy dhama – Vrindavan.

It was not about management, politics or mundane affairs. Therefore naturally our favourite song was Jaya Radhe, Jaya Krishna, Jaya Vrindavan.

I found him to be very intelligent. Above this was his retention ability. He has an excellent memory. During the 1994 batch for the VIHE – Bhakti Sastri degree, Uttama Caitanya Prabhu topped his class. By nature he was generally austere, ate moderately, was able to fast on ekadasi, simple at heart and put devotion in everything he did. He was multi-tasked, had multi-talents and long term visions.

We worked very closely when the renovation works started. All our energies centred on the deities and temple hall. We easily made about 20 trips together visiting shops and showrooms soliciting granite, marble, tiles and various designs to imbibe the Mayapur mood. Everything else was secondary. Now all the devotees have the opportunity to circumbulate the deities together with Srila Prabhupada every morning.

I had the opportunity to serve Uttama Prabhu in 3 aspects of his life. Several times he reminded me on an individual basis and even openly in the temple room, that I was the 1st person who welcomed him when he first stepped into Jagannath Mandir along with his 3 friends. This did not stop here, for today I will reveal another secret. I too was the first person who welcomed him when he first stepped into Vrindavan. I said to him “Welcome Home”. We paid obeisances and hugged each other. At that time, he was not initiated yet. Finally during his last rites I too had to perform the difficult task of starting the fire at the cremation grounds.

Uttama Prabhu was a very warm and friendly person. He always smiled and that smile was part of his personality. His enthusiasm to push Srila Prabhupada’s movement forward was unending. He was dynamic, soft, very clear on what he wanted, persistent and to some extent fearless and bold. Sometimes these qualities were not so easy for some to accept.

If there is one thing that was very dear to his heart which he regularly spoke about, it was LACK OF CARE FOR DEVOTEES. One time I had returned from Vrindavan, he dragged me into his room and gave me a copy of Niranjana Swami’s book “Care for Devotees”. He remarked – “You have this mood in you and you will greatly appreciate this book”.

I sincerely pray and hope one day this mood will prevail in ISKCON Malaysia.

A visible joy emanated from him when he saw more than 250 devotees made a trip to Mayapur in 2004 for the Panca Tattva installation and subsequently a bus load to Jagannath Puri. The same joy emanated when devotees combined together in several coaches for Ratha Yatras or Conventions. The visible joy also emanated when festivals were grandly organized.

He gave accolades to each and every department within SJMKL for their wonderful services. At times he intervened to raise standards too. On a personal level, he said “The flower deco team created powerful ambience for every festival”. He was overjoyed seeing TASK force playing an active role and HG Siddhi Sadhana prabhu’s involvement to enhance the festivals. Seeing tears from children, youths to adults to the elderly, it’s very clear he touched all their hearts.

Lastly I wish to recollect what we casually discussed at the funeral of HG Deva Devaraj Prabhu. Being his elder Godbrother, he said I should speak first about our last rites.

I said “Heavy kirtan, sweet bhajans, minimum rituals and no Smrti Sabha. Ashes in Mayapur Ganga and Vrindavan Yamuna. Nice feast for the devotees. Feed the cows”

He said “I want exactly the same arrangements”. Then he remarked, “Our Guru Maharaj will insist on Smrti Sabha”. Then I said “If this is so please have it on a Sunday so as not to trouble the devotees”.

Now and then I gave you my hand to hold as your godbrother but I guess it was not hard enough nor strong enough to hold you back.

Life is Fragile – Handle with Care. Let’s get serious in Krishna Consciousness. Uttama Prabhu has set an example.

Thank you for your wonderful association. On your funeral day, I had arranged to feed the cows in Mayapur and offered a puja to Lord Nrsimhadeva in Mayapur as HG Rasanath Prabhu arrived on that day.

We will really miss your association. I know you will be there to welcome us in our eternal home. Till we meet again, our humble obeisances.

HG Uttama Prabhu Ki!! Jai!!

HG Tyaga Caitanya das

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"His legacy and his instructions will live on"

Sri Sri Radha Syamasunder ki, Jaya
Sri Sri Jaganath Baladeva Subhaadra Maiya ki, Jaya
Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki, Jaya
Sri Sri Nrsinghadev ki, Jaya
Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya

It was a cool overcast morning with the promise of rain unfulfilled on the Sunday morning of 26 July 2009, that greeted family, friends, admirers and well wishers from all over Malaysia and a few parts of the world who were all gathered at Sri Jaganath Mandir Kuala Lumpur to attend the glorious Smrthi Sabha ceremony of its late beloved president and visionary leader, His Grace Uttama Caitanya Das Brahmacari. This was a celebration of his outstanding life and work, and in a way, the marking of a close of an era in the chapter of ISKCON Kuala Lumpur and of ISKCON Malaysia as a whole.

The service began as in a typical Sunday morning with Darshan Arati. The Deities were very sweet and resplendent in the very colors and dresses that were the personal favorites of His Grace Uttama prabhu during the times he used to do the dressing service. This was followed by Guru Puja and Kirtan. Shortly after recitation of Sri Sikshastakam prayers and group Japa, the memorial ceremony began proper with a discourse given by HG Ajamila prabhu, a very senior Prabhupada disciple, who spoke on the deep philosophy concerning the disappearances of Vaishnavas. He spoke very poignantly of how devotees are always protected by the Lord in all circumstances and how the effect of the process of chanting the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra throughout ones life can be practically seen working at the time of death especially in the manner of one’s passing.

After a short breakfast, at about 9.30am, HG Mulakarnam prabhu presented a PowerPoint slide show showcasing a collection of photographs about the life and activities of HG Uttama Caitanya prabhu, right from his early childhood (then known as Umakanthan), through his college days and social work years, all the way through his ISKCON life till his passing and cremation. The collection of memories immortalized in those photographs left quite a number of people in the audience blurry eyed and overcome with grief.

Soon after, the eulogies began. This was the day all of us came together and were united not only in our desire to pay our respects to His Grace Uttama Caitanya prabhu, but rather in our need to do so, for the outpouring of offerings were numerous and almost all were heart rending and yet inconceivably sweet, which left us washed and purified in its wake, leaving only a sense of deep loss.
HG Simheswara prabhu as ISKCON Malaysia Secretary General was given the honor of first offering to HG Uttama Caitanya pr, followed by HG Vrndavan Candra prabhu who was visibly emotional. HG Markandeya pr who was his close friend made a beautiful offering in Tamil about how the Lord brings his dear devotee back. HG Uttama pr’s sister gave a heart rending homage describing his early qualities and activities and left most of us in tears with a heart wrenching thank you to the SJMKL congregation for giving our love to him. This was followed by HG Tyaga Caitanya pr who was the first one to welcome him to SJMKL back in 1986. He spoke on how they used to stay in Vrndavan together and have many intimate conversations sharing their realizations of the Dham. HG Dvija Gauranga pr from Bukit Mertajam, also spoke about their close friendship. HG Uttama pr’s sister in law then spoke of his determination in taking up Brahmachari vows many years back when he was staying at her home in Singapore. She spoke on many memories on how simple and austere he was and encapsulated the essence in a sweet Tamil poem which she read. In honor of His Grace’s eloquence in giving spiritual discourses in Tamil, Her Grace Shanti Rupa mataji offered a beautiful poem in Tamil glorifying him in how he lived up to the purport oh his name “Uttama” which means topmost, in all that he did. Many others submitted their offerings as well, we had HG Devaki Nandana pr the temple president from Singapore, HG Ravilocan pr, HG Tatvavit pr and others. Notably, Tan Seri Datuk Seri Dr. Mahadevan who was present also gave his short address in glorifying the departed. Amongst others present was Datin Paduka Mother Manggalam of the Pure Life Divine Society who knew him personally. HG Krishna Candra pr, who was the facilitator, shared with us many light memories of HG Uttama pr.

A small skit was planned and performed at about 11.30am by Vraja Arts Theatre in tribute of His Grace Uttama Caitanya pr who was also the founder. It was about the passing of Haridas Thakur, a very apt theme for the occasion, masterfully performed, and sending forth a powerful and soothing message that the passing of a Vaishnava is always glorious.

The culmination of the ceremony was at noon with the offering of Arati and ghee lamps by HG Tatvavit pr and HG Tyaga Caitanya pr to the photo of HG Uttama Caitanya Pr amidst the singing of “Ohe Vaishnava Thakura” by the congregation. This was followed by Puspanjali amidst ecstatic Kirtan in the very temple hall where in life, memories of HG Uttama pr himself leading the kirtan was in our thoughts.
HG Uttama prabhu would always ensure that guests of the temple were always fed prasadam sumptuously. In his honor, an enormous feast was served at the end of the ceremony.

We especially would like to thank HG Simheswara pr, National Council leaders, leaders from Singapore and other parts of Malaysia, Tan Seri Datuk Seri Dr. Mahadevan, Datin Paduka Mother Mangallam, and devotees from Thailand, Bali and India who were there to grace the occasion.

Much appreciation is lauded to HG Mathura Lilesvari mtj for her thoughtfulness in starting a tribute Blog that sees more than 50 offerings from world ISKCON community and Maharajas, HG Mulakarnam pr for preparing the PowerPoint show, to HG Krsna Chandra pr for coordinating the homage’s, to Kamalanthan pr and Bhakta Nadesh and team for the skit performance, to Sriman Mayur and team for wonderful service of taking care of the guests and HG Uttama Caitanya Pr’s family members, to HG Shanti Rupa mtj and team for the excellent feast, to HG Sarva Tirta pr and Team for the prasad serving coordination, To HG Vishnu Caitanya pr and HG Ravi Locana pr for the overall planning and coordination of the Smrti Sabha ceremony and also to HG Ramananda Gaura pr and team for the seating arrangements.

On behalf of SJMKL management we would also like to thank all the various sponsors and devotees who assisted in making this Smrthi Sabha ceremony of our beloved and much missed president an unforgettable event etched forever in our hearts, for such was his presence in life as was befitting his glorious passing. He was like the cool breeze that blew in and touched everyone and alike, and which suddenly left us at a thought leaving a vacuum in our hearts. However, his legacy and his instructions will live on, and armed with the presence and support of each other, we will traverse the uncharted waters of a new era in ISKCON KL and Malaysia as would have been his ardent desire, as is our responsibility to him, Guru and Gauranga.

Hare Krsna

"Artistic souls"


by sittam

On Friday (24/7/2009), veteran Indian classical violinist Vijayalakshmi Kulaveerasingam left this world followed the next day by controversial film maker and creator of truly warm Malaysian advertisement clips, Yasmin Ahmad. Of course exactly a month ago the world was shocked by news of pop icon Michael Jackson’s death. Last week (19/7/2009) I attended the funeral of the Iskcon Malaysia temple president, Uttama Caitanya Das (Umakanthan) who died suddenly at age 43 after a normal fall while playing futsal with fellow Iskcon devotees in Klang. (I knew Umakanthan while on attachment at NSTP’s Business Times editorial department in 1994 and have regularly met him during my visits to the Iskcon temple where he had dedicated his life in service as a Brahmacari (celibate student of religion) during festival days. He too was an artist as he was active in producing devotional dramas to entertain and educate temple devotees.)

What I have in common with Michael Jackson and Yasmin Ahmad is that they were born in the same year as me, 1958. I met the friendly Yasmin Ahmad some years back at the premier of her most famous film, `Sepet’ in Singapore and had a short interview with her and her leading cast for a preview of the film in the NST. Following the publication of my preview on her film, Yasmin sent me an SMS a few days later informing me about the problems she was facing with the Malaysian censor board for the release of her film in the country of her birth. I viewed her in similar light to Malaysia’s legendary film maker, P. Ramlee; soulful singer Sudirman Hj Arshad and cartoonist Lat. History has repeated itself when she too died prematurely after struggling to keep alive her art against an unappreciative and shortsighted Government and its rigid authorities, a fate similar to that suffered by P. Ramlee and Sudirman.

As a fan of MJ’s music, he first caught my attention during the release of his albums, Billie Jean, Thriller etc, etc. But it was only after his death that I have really come to fully appreciate him as an artist extraordinaire especially after having a closer look at his song, “You are not alone ….” thanks to my teenage daughter Rasa Rasika. This song reveals the depth of MJ’s artistry in search of the Absolute Truth as he portrays the immortal spirit that thrives within all of us, once we peel off the material cover of clothes and human body.

Lastly my association with octogenarian, Mdm Vijayalakshmi who is fondly referred to as Viji Maami by fellow artists, came also thanks to my daughter. I contacted her early this year, to enrol my daughter for violin classes under her and she told me to bring my daughter and meet her. On her first meeting my daughter took a liking to the kind, gentle and graceful old lady. (My daughter had just lost her doting grandmother, my mother Seethai Ramachandran in a most traumatic instance – my mother passed away while I was rushing down after picking up my daughter from KLIA where she arrived after a 10-day student exchange trip to Fukuoka in Japan. She returned home only to see her beloved grandmother’s dead body.) A couple of days later, Viji Maami told me to accompany her to buy a new violin for my daughter. I picked her up from her home in Brickfields and went to a music shop in the Kuala Lumpur city centre where she spent more than an hour testing about four to five violins before picking the best one which in her own words `sounded very sweet’.

During this time I got the opportunity to listen to her play some Indian classical tunes on the violin including `Vaathapi Gana….” which I humbly requested her to play. Her rendition was smooth and polished as her fingers danced delightfully on the frets of the violin as with her left hand she expertly drew the bow across the strings. Contemplating on her personality, I am thankful that my daughter got the golden opportunity to come under Viji Maami’s tutelage even for the short couple of months she was with her. My daughter who had taken up playing the violin from her late grandfather, my father, S. Ramachandran and a music lecturer from the Universiti Putra Malaysia music department during her early years, had received special attention from Viji Maami who recognised her innate love and dedication for playing the violin.

As I contemplate the passing away of all these personalities, I seem to think that God has taken them away at a crucial time to repackage them in new bodies, suitable to fit specific roles in the movement to rejuvenate human culture true, in bringing to flower the 10,000 year golden age that is now said to be unfolding as a short reprieve for human denizens in the 432,000 year long chaotic age of Kali, of which 5,000 years have passed so far.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Always emphasize on the importance of chanting "

Hare Krsna. Dear prabhuji,

Although I’m very young and insignificant to speak of you, I would just like to take this opportunity to glorify you in whichever way I can.

I always loved your classes. I feel very fortunate to have been part of your weekly Friday classes. Your classes were always full of knowledge, bliss and laughter. Till now, I cherish those moments with you and the devotees.

One of the most beautiful qualities which become the ornament of your wonderful self is that you’re such a caring person. I still recall the days when you would actually sit down and spend time trying to resolve each and every devotee’s problems when it comes to finishing our daily rounds before a certain time. You would always emphasize on the importance of chanting without fail.

Due to the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and the devotees, my life has become auspicious after meeting such a wonderful personality like yourself. I’ve learnt so much from your classes, enjoyed dancing during your kirtans and also having a strong father-like relationship bond with you.

Dearest prabhuji, please bless me so that I become a faithful servant of Srila Prabhupada and so that I can help serve in Mahaprabhu’s mission as an offering to you.

Your eternal servant,
Shyama Kishori

"A tribute to a dear friend"

Life is tottering like a drop of water on a lotus leaf. No one will ever know when it will drop. And when it does drop, the leaf looks so empty.

Sri Jagannatha Mandir, ISKCON KL, seems like that now, without its Chief Commander, HG Uttama Caitanya prabhu. Everything seems so lifeless and empty.
Who would have ever thought this lean and lanky stalwart commander would leave suddenly. The Lord, master controller has a peculiar way of doing things. He took him away when we least expected it.

But we still thank the Lord for giving us the chance to know this soul who gave his all to nurture us in Krishna Consciousness. He had many strengths and talents. His knowledge was incredible, so was his memory. He could preach for hours on a topic and had a palatable style in writing. He sounded like a scholar, his vocabulary intricately laced with philosophical terms and phrases. Elegant hand gestures and animated facial expressions added considerable impact to his delivery. He got many of us glued to his talks and well-written articles. The very interesting ones were from his visits to India. He took us to this land with his mere words.

He was very versatile; he excelled in deity samskara, deity alankara and even stunned many with his cooking skills. He used to head the cooking team during Mother’s Day. He ensured there was prasadam for all devotees. He used to say “This is Jagannatha’s temple; no one should leave without taking prasadam”. Tuesdays used to be his deity alankara days. His dressing of deities was quite different from others. His was quite rich and opulent. He would spend thousands of Ringgit on just flower decoration for Krishna Janmastami. Krishna reciprocated by showering him with dozens and dozens of long garlands and hand bouquets for his funeral.

His austerity was mind boggling. He would fast fully half days during ekadasi and during Caturmasya he would fast without even water during ekadasi. Such was his faith in ekadasi that he left us on this very day. Ekadasi – The Day of Lord Hari. For years I remember seeing him for eating only after serving the devotees after the Sunday Feast. During festivals, he will engage in kirtan and it will go on until most of us had finished eating. The most austere fast that I have seen him doing is during the Krishna Janmastami and Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day. A fast that lasted for two days. He would hardly even sleep during these days. He would shave his head and eat very little. Yet he will move around swiftly in his long strides around the temple ensuring that all the departments were working without hiccups. And most of the times he will also give a talk during the festivals. He would be appealing to all to take up Krishna Consciousness at the end of his talk.

His mastery in the Tamil language was amazing. He was not too fluent initially but as time went by, he improved tremendously and then his lectures were better in Tamil than in English. Such was his enthusiasm to wanting to preach. You will find many devotees moving to attend his talks in Tamil rather than hear the English talks by someone else during the Sunday Feasts. He had what seemed almost like a fan club.

He spoke a lot about Srila Prabhupada. He was Srila Prabhupada’s man. He had so much love for him. He used to hear Srila Prabhupada’s lectures regularly and he could go on for hours glorifying Srila Prabhupada and the Guru Parampara. He used to stress on the importance of Mangala Arati. He said , “Srila Prabhupada mentioned we should regularly attend mangala arati during his last few days. So there must be something there. You must attend it.”

He dressed very simply. Sometimes I noticed it being crumpled or old, torn even. I used to get him saffron material for his robes and told him to use them during Sunday Feasts or festivals. I jokingly told him, “You represent the congregation and what you wear reflects on us. You are part of my family, so I got this for you.” He coyly replied “I am obliged for I am not qualified to receive favors.”

He loved children. He would talk to them like a child himself. He used to say, “Look at these lucky children, they started so early. Did you ever chant or engage in service for Krishna when you were a young child? They are very special”. When I first came to Sri Jagannatha Mandir in 1999, he was the first person I met. The first thing that I asked him was if there was any Children’s Class in the temple. He said “No” but convinced me to attend a Namahatta class or the evening programs in the temple. He then introduced me to the deities and while he was talking to me, my daughter, Shevaanni who was four at that time started dancing. He said, “Look, how natural it is for a child to dance for the Lords.”

He was a man with a vision. He set the pace for others to follow. He had so many innovative ideas and was ambitious. He never was depressed when one of his projects failed. His enthusiasm just kept increasing with time.

Once he told me his sister and mother may come for Krishna Janmastami. I offered to talk to them. However they didn’t come. He seemed a little disappointed. But I am so glad, his entire family and relatives came for his funeral to the temple and gave their blessing and told us to continue where he stopped. He must be pleased that they at least took darshan of his beloved Lordships.

When I first told him how I desired to take initiation from my Guru Maharaj who doesn’t give initiation so easily, he comforted me and told me,

You have time to get polished. We have to be a worthy disciple of our guru. It is important to hear from your guru. For now to build faith, you can get lecture cassettes and listen daily. But don’t forget to hear Srila Prabhupada daily as well.

Maharaja does not visit Malaysia. So to get direct association you have to travel to India. Sometimes he passes thru Singapore.

krishna se tomara, krishna dite paro,
tomara shakati ache
ami to’ kangala, ’krishna’ ‘krishna’ boli’,
dhai tava pache pache

Krishna is yours; you have the power to give Him to me. I am simply running behind you shouting, “Krishna! Krishna!”
(from Ohe, Vaisnava Thakura)”

He loved to act and the Vraja Arts Theater was very dear to his heart. He said, “Srila Prabhupada wanted very much for devotees to engage in Vedic drama, its impact is much stronger than a lecture.” His classic act was his role as Hiranyakashipu during the Nrsimha Caturdasi. He had such passion for acting. I played in a drama with him in the “Dracula and the book distributor” in Langkawi. We had a short rehearsal, but it was easy to work with him. So many times we had worked together and he always appreciated my efforts. We worked hand in glove to put up the website and the “Gita Jeyanthy” festival. For years we worked together on the Membership database and Patron Payment. It was good while it lasted.

Other times, we were at loggerheads with each other. Trouble was we never really talked face to face. The emails were our only exchanges. It blocked the physical contact and made it so emotionless. This was the root of the problem. HH Bhanu Maharaj mentioned that the latest technical innovation is all from Patalaloka. I always took whatever befell on me as small price to pay to get purified. He was an instrument of my own karma.

A quote from Srimad Bhagavatham 10.14.8
“A sincere devotee earnestly desires to go back to the Lord’s abode. Therefore he willingly accepts the Lord’s merciful punishment and continues offering respects and obeisances to the Lord with his heart, words and body. Such a bona fide servant of the Lord, considering all hardship a small price to pay for gaining the personal association of the Lord, certainly becomes a legitimate son of God, as indicated here by the words dâya-bhâk. Just as one cannot approach the sun without becoming fire, one cannot approach the supreme pure, Lord Kròsònòa, without undergoing a rigid purificatory process, which may appear like suffering but which is in fact a curative treatment administered by the personal hand of the Lord.”

Coincidently, the day before he left us, I was reading the article “More tolerant than a tree” by Srila Gour Govinda from Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu. Like Uttama prabhu, I also forwarded that article to my close friends. It seemed to have touched both of our inner core hearts.
Why he left us so soon, no one will ever know. But wherever he is, may he always be showered with Krishna’s love. Hopefully we will meet again someday, and work hand in hand again in service of Their Lordships in Goloka Vrindavan.

All glories to HG Uttama Caitanya prabhu, the stalwart leader of ISKCON KL.
Vaishnava Abhilasi,

“I think you are like my guru”.

All Glories to Uttama Prabhu

Uttama prabhu is very kind and humble person. He sacrificed his live for us by being the Temple President of SJMKL and now it’s our duty to sacrifice our live for him and follow whatever instructions he has asked us to follow.

I am 10 years now, from the day I was born, I knew who Krishna is because of Uttama Prabhu. On Uttama Prabhu’s funeral day, it was my birthday, and I will always remember this day for the rest of my life. On that day I chanted the whole day for him so that he can go back to Krishna, but that is not equivalent to all the things he has done over the years. I just tried to do whatever I could and also recited the Narishma Kavacam prayers at home for him.

He is a very patient person too. Uttama prabhu “ “I think you are like my guru”. Please always guide my sisters, Suhita Shaha and Lila Madhuri, and myself in our devotion path towards Krishna Consciousness. Uttama Prabhu Ki Jai!!!!

Your servant, Nameshwar Rao
Gokul Garden (SJMKL)

"Will always remember your love "

Dear uttama caitanya prabhu,

I can’t exactly remember when we have met for the first time; it must have been very long time ago and I had very little association with you also as we are far apart. But my heart felled for you since I came for the CDM meetings and seminars in KL. Then I started calling you as my thin and tall brother. You have become very dear to me and I was always joyful seeing you since then.

Recently, we have met again in Alor Setar for a CDM seminar, and very little I know that this was going to be the last time I am seeing you. I have personally learnt many things and benefited so much from the CDM seminars and I have never missed any one of them until the recent one in Klang, due to my wife’s ailment. I miss one CDM seminar and I have lost you forever.

I am sad that Lord Sri Krsna have decided take you back so soon and at times I am feeling that it’s unfair for all of us who are missing you so dearly. We are very much in need of your guidance so that we make some progress in Krsna Consciousness.

It is still fresh in my mind that both you and Rasika pr. came to our center in Alor Setar on Saturday morning of 20th June 2009 for the CDM seminar. We discussed so many issues on the management principles. You said that problems are eternal in this material world but that should not have any impact on our Krsna Consciousness. You gave a wonderful Bhagavatam class, nicely explaining the purport. Shortly after lunch Prasad we visited my wife at Hospital ward and you prayed for her speedy recovery. Then we came back after a short visit to Muzuim Padi for the seminars sessions. You have asked us to be more serious in our basic sadhana and put good efforts in taking care of devotees. You led the Sandhya arati and entertained many with questions during and after dinner Prasad.

Early next morning both of you left Alor Setar. We are very thankful to you for have given us your association. All of them are missing you so much now. This was the last seminar outside Kuala Lumpur and we have got the opportunity to associate with you. As a pledge to your dedication in CDM, we will continue to support all CDM activities and carry on the Damodara preaching program. We will always remember your love and kindness to us all.

Thank you
Your humble servant
Palaka Krsna Dasa and Alor Setar Devotees

"Vaikuntha priya darshanam"

Dear Uttamacaitanya prabhu
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for your exemplary dedication to Srila Prabhupada's movement. It was my greatest fortune having met a vaishnava like yourself a couple of years back in Chowpatty. As it is said face is the index of the mind. Just by seeing you one could understand that here is a person experiencing the higher taste in Krishna conciousness. Your beaming smile could drive away the lamentation from anyone's mind.

I heard only one class of yours and it had such a deep impact on me. You spoke about the greatness of our acaryas and the need to dedicate ourselvesto the preaching mission. Your voice was pregnant with the mature realisation of over a decade of committed and austere service in Srila Prabhupada's mission. Then we went in the evening for the congregation programs and there also we did some nice programs together. The experience of comaraderie and warmth during those interactions is still fresh in my heart.

Your contributions to the preaching movement in Malaysia is historical and unforgettable. Your Guru Nishtha and Guru seva is inspirational. Your shastric understanding and detachment are powerful. As a true vaishnava you tolerated many inconvenient situations. As Bhagawatam describes "Durlabho manavo deho dehihenam kshana bhangurahtarapi durlabham manye vaikuntha priya darshanam" It is rare to get a human form. Human life is short. But it is rarer to get the assocation of saintly people who are on the path to Vaikuntha. Srila Prabhupada and the parampara know how to engage different souls in the best possible way. During a marriage send off the bride's party are all crying but the bridegroom's party are all rejoicing. We are saddened by the loss of your association but feel confident that you have perfected your life in Krsihna conciousness.

Aspiring to be your servant,
Gauranga das
Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir, Chowpatty Mumbai

"The honesty and hard work is very evident "

Dear Uttama Caitanya prabhu,
Please accept my humble opbeissances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I had a very less time of your association. And I feel very sorry for myself that I could not take much of your association when I was in KL last season. Seeing the KL community was a very wonderful experience. It was also so amazing that such variegatedness in community is dealt with such precision and care and transperancy. Prabhuji I must honestly admit that KL is one of the potentially super classic and wonderful communities in our ISKCON. And the way you all are working on it, amongst all resources available, is even more amazing. The honesty and hard work is very evident by the fact that every senior member loves you and appreciates you. Its easy to have appreciation from juniors, but from equals....and that too from management team......its very very difficult at times.

But in my course of meeting all devotees, even when I never asked about yourself, each and everyone would without fail, put in your name with such honor and appreciation..!! it was very soothing experience for the soul. And all this is without enough brahmacaris with you. I really wonder how you would manage and inspire yourself all these years...this infact reveals your character. You are a person of deep substance. Honestly, if I were to put it in one line...I am thoroughly inspired by you and the whole community there.

Please accept my apologies and thank you so much for such a wonderful experience which was so inspiring and enlivening. Especially I saw that evening such trying circumstances you have maintained yourself strong that was what I learnt the most for my brahmcari life. thank you for being such an example.

Your way of departure on an ekadashi was another example for my personal life. I pray and hope to serve you in some way.

Your servant,
Jagannath Priya Das
Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir, Chowpatty Mumbai

"Indeed very sad news"

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

This is indeed very sad news. I will pray to Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, KrishnaBalaram, Radha Shyamsundar, Vrinda Devi, and Srila Prabhupada to please kindly have mercy on his soul and give you all the strenght to bear this great loss.

In service of Srimati Vrinda Devi,
Deena Bandhu dasa

"An angel that walked among us"

It was late 1997 in Brickfields that I had the opportunity to hear prabhu’s lecture on BG.

It was a weekly discourse held at Sri Krishna Temple, Brickfields. The level of knowledge exhibited by him along with the blissful face, friendly smile, and great sense of humour and not to mention the distinct laughter that make all our troubles disappear, quickly drew us to his lectures. His calm, composed and gentle nature and the ability to explain such high level of knowledge in simple terms for our understanding is commendable. He would feed us nicely right after the class and make sure we reach home safely after the class. His dedication in devotional service is unsurpassable as he will conduct the class even if there were only one or two person present. He was relentless in providing advise, care and guidance. His dedication and perseverance paid off as Brickfields Nama Hatta. He was undoubtedly a glorious and true representative of Mahaprabhu.

It was by prabhu’s mercy that I finally made it Jagannath Mandir one day and he was so happy that I finally came and right after the Sunday program, prabhu introduced me to devotees who could bring me to temple every week as well as attend Bhakti Vrksa program that prabhu conducts.

HG continued guiding my family and I. It was just end of last year, prabhu engaged us in putting up book stall at Perumal Temple, Puchong on a weekly basis. Prabhu personally picked each and every item for the book stall. It was also his wish that we will be able to continue the service without interruption. We pray for your blessings to continue the service as you desired.
We are still struggling to accept your sudden departure as we are still in our spiritual infancy and dependent on you for spiritual advice and strength.

Ghanasyham is constantly thinking about where you have been and when you will be back. He is missing your association so much just like us. You advised that Ghanashyam can start Ekadasi fasting at the age of seven since you a aware of his eating problem. As you prophesized he observed his first Ekadasi fast after his 6th birthday and it was the same Ekadasi day that you decided to leave us. I knew then that you will always be with us spiritually. But we will painfully miss your physical presence for years to come. We pray that we will live up to your instructions.

You are definitely an angel that came into our mundane material lives and transformed it into a meaningful spiritual journey…

We pray that Jagannath by dint of His causeless mercy will provide you a smooth passage back to Godhead.

Hare Krsna

Aspiring to fulfill all your instructions and goals for SJMKL

Sri Murari Dasa
Kirtanamrta Devi Dasi
Bhakta Ghanashyam

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Taking absolutely no credit"

His Grace Uttama Caitanya Dasa Brahmacari has and will always be my uncle; the younger brother of my mother’s brother-in-law.

It saddens me so, hearing the sudden demise of such a great soul. My beloved chitappa’s younger brother served as the Temple President of Sri Jagannath Mandir, ISKCON-Kuala Lumpur (SJMKL), Malaysia since 2001 until the day of his passing and has shaped the temple to be one of the leading temples in Malaysia. Now, after reading all about him; how a serious, dedicated devotee and a highly respected preacher he is and all the praises he has been receiving from all around the globe, I am truly regretting the fact that I have never met him, never took the effort to share my thoughts with him and to hear his preaching’s.

Being a devotee of Bhagawan Shri Sathya Sai Baba, I have been imparted the basic knowledge of what Hinduism is all about and even being a 17 year old, I am sure I would have truly understood the very meaning of all that he had to say.

In this ever materialistic Kali Yuga, everyone is waiting for the very moment as to how they are able to show off to the world the amount of wealth they have accumulated, the pride of being someone ‘great’ in life. And to know that His Grace has left a comfortable life to join Sri Jagannath Mandir, Kuala Lumpur; to be of service of mankind and lead his life as an offering of love to his dear Guru Maharaj and taking absolutely no credit for any service that he has done makes him truly an amazing soul, and that is what being great is all about.

There are no words to express the loss felt in my heart. He was so near me, yet so far away but now that he is so far away, he is close to my heart.

Prathiba Rajasekharan

"My hero and inspiration "

Please accept my most humble obeisance's at your lotus feet
All glories all glories to Srila Prabhupada
All glories all glories to You!

Can we count how many heroic services you have performed in your years as an obedient servant to your spiritual master and ISKCON Founder Acarya Srila Prabhupada?

It really saddened me for not being there at your final service to pay obeisances and respect unto you. I humbly pray to Lord Sri Sri Radha Vallabhaji, the presiding Lordships in Melbourne city to accept you as Their eternal servant.

You have invested all your hardwork and energy in establishing and overseeing dynamic and vibrant urban outreach centres which give so many Malaysians a chance to recieve the full mercy of Lord Caitanya's sankirtan mission. So many wonderful achievements. But most of all through your selfless and loving service you have set the example to me of what sacrifice it takes to give Krsna pleasure.

I still remember the day where you came to me and asked me whether I wanted to go back to Godhead, and i nodded "yes"... and then you said, Here you go, dress up Srila Prabupada daily. Thank you so much Uttama prabuji for blessing my spiritual live with a wonder seva which pleased my Gurudev. You were so kind enough to allow me in deity worships seva and especially doing Lord Jaganath's and Lord Baladev's night headgears and doing Deity dressing in the morning. You are one of a kind and have touched my live in so many profound way. There will be never another Uttamaji nor anyone can immitate. I hope that I can be of some assistance to you in your efforts at bringing Srila Prabhupada, Lord Caitanya and Radha and Krsna pleasure.

Thank you so much for your sacrifice and for being my hero and inspiration in giving pleasure to Krsna. I love you, Uttama prabu.

your servant
Satyavrata dasa

" A remarkable and sincere Vaisnava"

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

The passing away of HG Uttama Caitanya Prabhu is a great loss for ISKCON, and more specifically to all the congregational members of Sri Jagannath mandir Kuala Lumpur (SJMKL). Being part of the SJMKL congregation, I am able to relate to the deep impressions that he has created within all of our hearts. We indeed have lost the personal association and guidance of a remarkable and sincere Vaisnava.

HG Uttama prabhu has many amazing personal qualities, of which, that touched me the most is his leadership qualities. He had both a high level of maturity and realizations. Uttama Prabhu has left a wonderful legacy by building an excellent managerial setup at SJMKL to manage all the departments of Sri Jagannath mandir very nicely. He has created this machinery to carry out his wonderful vision of love, care and training for every devotee. I have seen him presenting the organizational structure of SJMKL to the congregation and was truly amazed to see how prabhu and his team have organized themselves with such acumen. Being a visionary leader, Uttama prabhu gradually trained up so many other leaders under him to lead and effectively manage all the departments in SJMKL. This is the sign of a great leader who produces more leaders to carry on the mission of Srila Prabhupada.

The Congregational Development ministry is probably the one most dear to him. This has grown tremendously over the last few years under the present departmental leaders. So has the harinama department which has growing by leaps and bounds. The great organization and orderliness of temple programs such as the Damodara festival also reflect on the wonderful machinery he has setup. A true leader creates new leaders, and we can see today many wonderful devotees have taken up responsibility in the management of temple affairs. This itself is a great tribute to prabhu.

At the personal level, I am convinced that in order to carry on with what he has left us with, we have to simply carry on with the wonderful arrangements he has setup for all of us, by working co-operatively under the guidance of those whom he has trained up. Then, we will not go wrong. I myself wish to remain as a humble servant in this wonderful setup to carry on the good work that he has done. That will indeed be the best way to remember and value his contributions.

Your aspiring humble servant

"The sky is the limit"

Memories of HG Uttama Caitanya das with Gokul Garden

I’ve known HG Uttama prabhu for quite a number of years now but I only got to know him better after HG became SJMKL’s temple president. After I had taken initiation about 4 years ago, I was a little lost as to what service I could take up to please my Guru Maharaj. Few months later, when HG told me to take charge of Gokul Garden (GG), I felt as if the instruction came directly from my Guru Maharaj Himself. Managing GG was not easy. There were the initial teething problems. However, HG kept on encouraging me. In one of his emails to me, HG wrote:

“We understand that no matter what we do, there will ALWAYS be discontented parties. It would be naive for us to believe that we can please everyone. I personally have received negative comments and I have no one to defend me on that issues. I take it in a stride because I act based on my conscience. If I were to resign due to ill comments, I would have quit years ago.”

Reading this made me realize how much of responsibility he had to shoulder as a Temple President. Being a well-educated young man, HG could have easily settled down with a nice job and family but HG sacrificed his life to preach Krishna consciousness. It was through HG’s example that I had silently promised that I would never quit GG for my own selfish reasons.

HG emails to me on GG have always been inspirational and motivational. Being a very learned and intelligent personality, HG had great visions in promoting Spiritual Education at SJMKL. Following is an email reply from HG on GG dated 19 July 2006 which has been a source of inspiration to me for all these years:

Hare Krsna mataji Pamho agtsp agtsgg

It is very enlivening and encouraging to read your mail. All these are happening by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and as a result of your dedication and commitment. I am happy to note that you want to upgrade the place. Spontaneity is very good. Please do whatever that is good for GG. Yes when I did the partition, I just did the minimum. Of course the benches are behind schedule. It will definitely be done by 29th July. I apologize for the delay.

1. 40 and growing! That is wonderful. Soon we will run out of place. I pray that the 2nd phase will take off as soon as possible. Then we can have better facilities for the children. Nevertheless, no matter whatever facility we have or don't have, the best we can offer the children are love and care. I have seen in Vrndavan Gurukula how many boys were attached to a particular teacher because of his kind nature. I am sure our teachers are also doing fine.

2. The children are the best preachers. If they become good devotees and are well behaved, the parents will have faith in education. We have the best. Now it is a matter of presenting and disseminating. The best method of teaching is also by example. I am sure one day many of the parents will take up KC.

3. It is our desire that one day we set-up a formal education academy that deals with Vedic or neo-Vedic subject matters. That is why we initially named our place Bhaktivendanta Centre for Vedic art and culture. We cannot stop at SJMKl alone. We have to have many branches all over KL and then around the country.

For some time I have been planning to get a place in Brickfields - to be used as a preaching centre. If that materializes, we will start a weekly GG there as well. I agree it is not an impossible dream. It will happen if we are sincere in our endeavor. Yesterday's dreams are today's realities. I have some materials with me on BG for children. I have collecting some over the years. I also bought some books and CDs in Vrndavan. I am sure all these are sufficient. We have to compile them systematically.

We will not only spruce up the classroom but the outside area as well. We have too many things to store with too little space. Anyway we will do what is necessary. Yes, education/training is close to my heart. One day I hope we can set-up an academy like what they have in South Africa BCEC. They have a spiritual education syllabus from nursery till Degree.

The sky is the limit. But for now, we can focus on the groundwork. We pray may Lord Jagannatha bless us in our endeavor.

Dasanudasa Uttama Caitanya dasa

HG Uttama Caitanya prabhu was a great personality who had made some lasting impressions in my life. I sincerely pray to Lord Jagannath to please bestow His kind mercy upon HG. May HG partake in the nectarine pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna and never return to this miserable material world ever! With this I pay my final respects to HG Uttama Caitanya prabhu and my humble obeisances to HG’s wonderful parents for having brought HG into this world and blessing our lives with HG’s association.

Your useless godsister,
Vrnda Sakhi devi dasi.

"Such an advanced devotee "

Dear Devotees of KL yatra
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

It was only last year that after my visit to Indonesia I decided to stopover in KL for a short visit. Since I did not know anyone there I did not plan to stay for very long. Before traveling I managed to contact HG Uttama Chaitanya Prabhu by email to inquire if there would be any chance of kirtan seva for me. This was my first contact with him, I did not know him before that. He was so warm and inviting in his response. He apologized for not having any guest house accommodation but invited us for darshan and prasadam etc. Eventually it was arranged that I could come one evening for kirtan even though it was a week day - an odd day for the congregation to attend temple program.

Still it is always my desire to serve the Deities and Their servants through kirtan no matter what day it is and so we were eventually in Malaysia. I remember how the sudden heavy rains delayed my coming to the temple but eventually when we could reach there - we were HOME. Uttama Chaitanya Prabhu displayed Vaisnava qualities that would surely make Srila Prabhupada and his spiritual master very proud. Apart from his compassionate and humble nature, I could see that he even had very good management skills. I could also see that he was loved very much by the congregation devotees because they were so obedient and eager to serve around him.

I remember that it was very late and normally the Deities would be put to rest for the evening, but in my heart I was praying that They will stay awake a little longer so that I could complete my kirtan. Krishna must have conveyed my desire to His pure devotee Uttama Caitanya Prabhu as the altar was kept open a half hour longer so that I could continue to sing. At the end a smiling Uttama Chaitanya Prabhu thanked me and expressed his desire that I visit KL again and again.

In fact, he even invited us immediately the next day for prasadam before we could go to the airport to catch our flight out of Malaysia. He constantly kept checking that we were honoring prasadam properly, that we had prasadam for our journey, his caring was immense. I remember thinking at that time, that generally a brahmacari will not give so much attention to matajis.

I recalled a lecture in which my spiritual master had mentioned the three type of brahmacaris. The first type sees women as snake and stays far away from them, the second type sees women as mother and respects from his heart but keeps a distance and the third type sees women as spirit soul and offers all respect, service and loving compassion! - for the first time I had met a brahmacari of the third type. He obviously was such an advanced devotee that he saw every one as part and parcel of Krishna and always wanted to please Krishna and His devotees. Such a devotee will surely be missed..............if Krishna will give me the chance again to visit KL I will surely miss the presence of Uttama Chaitanya Prabhu but I will render kirtan always in memory of his greatness. I pray that all the devotees of your yatra will be strong and dedicated to continue with the yatra in the manner that he did,

Your servant
Sacidevi dasi

"Mentor, spiritual guide loved by many"

Article appreared on The Malay Mail
Shiv Das
Friday, July 24th, 2009 03:05:00

He was born Uma Kanthan and his early life, first in Batu Gajah and then Tapah, provided some indication as to what he would end up doing eventually but that's on hindsight. After graduating with a degree in business studies from Universiti Sains Malaysia, he flirted with being an airline pilot and applied to join Singapore Airlines.

Although he passed all the preliminaries, such as physical and IQ tests (he was one of 16 on the shortlist from over 100 applicants), he failed when it came to actual flying. He froze every time he had to land his small training plane.

He then gave journalism a shot, joining Business Times as a sub-editor. He took to it readily enough but it didn't grab him somehow. Instead, he found himself drawn to the Hare Krishna movement he had come in contact with when he was in university and had actively led a group of university mates in learning the philosophy, partaking in various religious festivals and doing outreach work, providing tuition to needy children.

It suddenly came to him - the movement was where his calling lay and he wasted little time becoming a monk and dedicating his life to the movement rather than some material pursuit.
On being ordained a monk, he took the name Utama Caitanya Das and such was his leadership and devotion that by age 35, the movement's elders decided that he was just the person to head the Sri Jagannatha Temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Taman Yarl, off Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur.

But on July 18, some seven years later, he died aged 42. He collapsed while playing futsal with congregational members he had gathered in Klang for a three-day convention, said a visibly shaken Ramananda Gaura Das, a KL delegate. Some 70 devotees had come from Thailand, Bali and Singapore to join their Malaysian counterparts to plan for the movement's growth.

The death had come as a jolt but at a class given two days earlier, Uttama had said it would be his last and, in an e-mail he sent to all those helping run the KL temple and movement, he encouraged them to take on the various responsibilities without having to refer to him for each and everything.

It was as if he knew his time had come. The large gathering that filled the temple for his last rites and subsequent cremation at the Loke Yew Crematorium, with its traditional wood burning, was testimony of the love and respect he had won from them.

"He was a missionary and visionary," summed up Dr Shanti Rupa, a devotee of some 25 years.
"The (international) movement's leaders had great faith in him. He was very personable and not only was he able to preach well, he also involved himself and excelled in activities such as cooking and even acting (in temple dramas). Everyone, young and old, was comfortable with him."

His proficiency in English Bahasa and Tamil was a great help and editorial skills picked up while working with the business paper he put to good use in bringing out temple publications.
Youngest of four siblings, a sister and three brothers, his father, Ramasamy, was an electrical chargehand with a large British-owned tin mine in Batu Gajah before the family moved to Tapah.

It was there that Utama completed his primary and secondary education up to Form Six. He decided to resit his STPM at the Tunku Abdul Rahman College in KL and was staying with his elder brother Sundararajah, currently the executive vice president and head of dealing, EON Bank Group, when he gained entry to USM.

"Even as a little boy Uma used to pick flowers for altar worship in the house and smear ash on his forehead. We called him samy (priest). He was always careful with his things and we still have a box he filled neatly with his toys and pencil box he never discarded," said Sundararajah.

At university, Uma sported long hair and in sharing his spiritual knowledge with fellow students he came to be called Rock Samy for the high jinks he occasionally indulged in.

Shanmuga Nathan, his other brother, who is a departmental head at the Daya Teachers Training College in Sabah, said Utama was a high achiever and an allrounder in school.

Devotees who came to bid farewell agreed that the best way to show their appreciation for one who cared for them was to continue walking the spiritual path that had been opened for them.

All present also felt that ISKCON founder, the late A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, would have been pleased with the missionary zeal of one so young to heed his call.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

“For the world you are someone but for us you are the world”

Our hearts broke into pieces when we received the SMS informing that HG Uttama Caitanya Prabhu has left his body. Why… why… did he leave us so early when we are still in need of his guidance to continue our service in Krsna Consciousness. He is our master and inspiration. He taught us to be good quality devotees in Krsna Consciousness.

Still fresh in our minds are his wonderful non stop kirtans, never ending classes and the delicious prasadam he cooked for us on Deepavali day (2005). I asked my husband to speak a few words about HG Uttama Caitanya Prabhu but he told me that no words can describe our VALUABLE Temple President.

My daughters are going to miss the word “mol” that he always calls whenever he sees them. We feel very sad to think that we have to attend Sunday programs without him. HG Uttama Caitanya Prabhu is a gift that paints a smile in our hearts and gives memories that will stay in our hearts not for a while but FOREVER.

We pray to dear Lord Krsna to shower HIS mercy upon our dearest Temple President HG Uttama Caitanya Das. We miss you a lot ……. HG Uttama Caitanya Prabhu

Your servants,

Bhayga Caitanya Das, Laksmi Gowri DD,
Nivashini & Akshara SJMKL

"Perfected his life so quickly "

One of the 1st stories we heard when we joined:
In the tape of Srila Prabhupadawas the story of blessing given by a saint to 4 different kinds of people.

Saint gave blessings:-

to a prince - ma mara, "do not die"
to a devotee - either you die or live
to a butcher - do not live, do not die
to a brahmacari he said you die.
Why brahamcari die? Because he has to struggle so much, better you die and go back to Godhead.

We think Krsna was more eager to have him there in the spiritual world than taking his service in this world. Krsna is independent. We had interaction with prabhu, he was pleasing and had a instant likeable disposition. We heard him speak once or twice, he was deeply grounded in our philosophy,and kept interest of the audience. In his dealings we experienced air of simplicity, rather than pride,even though he was the president of a successful temple.

He kept in touch with overseas devotees to gain lot of understanding and their experience to use and implement in his yatra back in Malaysia.We felt great dismay and shock why Krishna took him so early? But we all know philosophically whatever Krishna does to His devotee is perfect from His point of view. We can only pray that we can have a glimpse of His point of view.

Meanwhile we can simply reflect on the good fortune of ours to have some association of Uttama Caitanya pr and his great good fortune that he came in touch with Srila Prabhupada's mission and perfected his life so quickly and attracted the blessing of the saint of the same caliber, who said you brahmcari you die and go back to Godhead.

Uttama Caitanya pr we miss you. We all pray that you pray for us, so that we can also fully dedicate our remaining life fully in the service of guru and Gauranga.

Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir,
Chowpatty, Mumbai

"I will sorely miss him"

Dear Devotees of ISKCON Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I have just this minute heard the stunning news of the passing away of his Grace Uttama Caitanya prabhu. I have been unable to access E mail for 5 days, thus I was aware of this nor able to write before. I will sorely miss him. For so many years he has faithfully and dedicatedly served the sankirtan mission there in KL.

Today I will do a special offering and prayers with heartfelt love for him. In this world there are inevitably misunderstandings but when it comes down to it, devotees in this world are such great and amazing souls. For sure he has acquired tremendous devotional credits and I pray that he is on the way back to Godhead or coming back here to continue his service in a much more effective way. It’s not easy to manage a temple, especially in the circumstances he was in and I hope the pressure of it all has not been instrumental in this occurrence. Either way nothing happens without the will of the Lord and He has a plan for us all, of that there is no doubt.

When Uttama first joined he assisted me in compiling the book “Prabhupada in Malaysia”. Since then he has tried so hard to be an instrument in fulfilling Prabhupada’s will. I pray that all of you now come together, putting our petty interest’s aside and work cooperatively to further the mission, complete the temples there and expand in all directions. This further reminds us the necessity of putting Srila Prabhupada’s will in the forefront not our own.

Also another warning to us all that we had better be serious about the business of this life. I am sure many of you are not taking the vows of chanting etc. seriously enough. Do not take it for granted – death may come at any time. Chant seriously.

I pray that you may all have the strength and enthusiasm to endure this test.
You servant
Janananda Gosvami

"Unlimited wonderful vaishnava qualities"

Dear devotees of ISKCON, Malaysia
Please. accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

I am very much shocked to hear sudden departure of H.G. Uttama Caitanya Das. He has unlimited wonderful vaishnava qualities. He is a dynamic leader. Always smiling. He was a President ISKCON KL for 10 years. During his Presidentship with only few temple devotees he developed a lot. He worked very hard to develop Congregation. He is a good speaker of Krishna katha. Not only in Malaysia, in India and other Countries devotees love his classes and seminars. I am sure he is under the shelter of Lord Krishna. I thank him for all his services

In the service of Guru and Gauranga
Bhakti Vrajendrananadan Swami

"A first class devotee"

Dear Devotees
Dandavat pranams

Although late from my side but as all I am very much sad and shocked to inform all of you, that our very dear God brother and a first class devotee, HG Uttama Caitanya Prabhu ( Temple president of ISKCON Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia) left his body recently on July 18th (ekadasi). His early and unexpected departure have shocked the community of devotees who have served with him and all those who know him will miss him a lot, he was very much dedicated to Srila Prabhupada and have sincere and pure love to serve our Gurumaharja.

All the services that have been requested to him, were done with a very high level of professionalism. He was very austere, never liked nor demanded any comfort, nor he never ever asked for any personal seva as I know but all for the devotees and krsna’s mission. He is an inspiration to all of us. HH Jayapataka Swami has a very high esteem for him and considered him a very dear son, that even when the circumstances demanded Gurumaharaja used to correct him directly and personally without any need to use any polite words or methods but straight as talking to his very dear son.

We don’t know why the Supreme Lord took him so early and we are all sure that he in serving Radha Krsna’s lotus feet at this moment.We pray for him always and to Lord Narasimhadeva to protect him.

Your Servant,
Tusti Mohan Krishna das

"A leader to be cherished"

It was during Damodar month in 2003 that I had first met HG Uttama Caitanya prabhu when my wife organized the festival in our home. He was such a humble person and he easily captivates a person with his intelligence and knowledge on Vedic scriptures. I was truly amazed by prabhu when he said to me “Krsna would be in the middle of your home by the next Damodar Festival”. True enough it happened within the one year period when our whole family joined ISKCON and during the following Damodar Festival the altar was in our living room and Krsna was in our heart as well.

During the encounters with Uttama prabhu we always felt that he was one of our family members, as he is very simple and easily approachable. We used to invite him to our home and he would never decline even with his busy schedule. At one of his visits during lunch, he gave “initiation” in his own way by naming my children Damodar, Jaganath, Shyama Kishori and Kannaiya. We were very moved by his action and the children were very happy about their names and informed they want to maintain the names when they were to be initiated in future.

This is how he motivates devotees to advance further in KC. He always makes a point to talk to devotees during Sunday Feast or festivals and remembers’ everyone by their names. He was a cheerful person and always goes out of the way to assist devotees. He was our counselor and he conducted weekly class on Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam with about 20 devotees.

During the class last Friday, he emphasized a lot on performing services in the temple; quality chanting; hearing and association with devotees. He also discussed about auspicious things which happens to many devotees after joining KC. There were a lot feedback from the group, but the only thing we did not tell him was that knowing him and to be with him was the very most auspicious thing that happened to us.

We will miss you Uttama prabhu but we know you are happy in the abode of Krsna.

Your servants,
Visvaksena Dass,
Suseela Devaki Dasi,
Shyama Kishori

"Remembering his wonderful spirit"

My sincere prayers to Sri Sri Radha Shyamsunder to offer shelter and service at Their lotus feet for this noble soul, HG Uttama Caitanya prabhu.

I've seen his dynamic spirit during my visit to Mayapur dham and we often used to discuss about college preaching. It is a great loss to vaishnava community to miss such a special soul.

Remembering his wonderful spirit, let us re-dedicate ourselves to the mission of Guru and Gauranga more and more. Thank you for sending me this valuable mail. It is very inspiring and heart touching!

Hare Krishna.

your servant
Radheshyam das,
Temple President,
ISKCON, Pune Director,
VOICE (Vedic Oasis for Inspiration Culture and Education)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"A very sweet devotee"

Dear Prabhus/maharaj,
Please accept my humble obeisance .
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I am extremely sad to hear this news of passing away of Uttama Caitanya pr. He is a very sweet devotee. Even if he was president of the biggest temple in Malaysia, still he was always behaving in a very simple way like a child. It is a great shock for me to hear that all of a sudden he left his body. He is a memorable devotee. He is very approachable by nature and I am sure a dedicated devotee like Uttama Caitanya pr. will attain the goal of having love of Godhead and go back to serve the lord .

Thank you very much.
Your humble servant
Bhakti Purusottama Swami

"Practices what he preaches"

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada
All Glories to Guru and Gauranga
All Glories to HG Uttama Prabhu

My family and I had to accept with the great sorrow and shock, when I received the news about the sudden departure of HG Uttama Prabhu from this material world. My wife and I came in association with him sometime in 1998, initially just as just as one bramachari in temple and over the years as the Temple President at SJMKL. He was one of the very instrumental persons in our path towards Krishna Consciousness especially with regards to accepting diksa. There is so much to say about Uttama prabhu that I don’t know where I should begin as he was an expert in every all aspects from cooking right up to acting, besides his immense knowledge of the scriptures, Krishna Katha, so many other things.

He was a born leader with so many good qualities that a true Vaishava displays. His Grace is one who practices what he preaches. Of the many such qualities, some of those that caught got my eyes over these years were his simplicity, caring for others, humbleness, jovial and above all, the very high level of austerities he undertook, during Ekadasi and other festivals etc.

During festivals after a long day of complete fasting, with kirtan, spiritual discourse and so many other things to handle, most times he would not take any prasad and just a cup of water after everything is over. Despite all the problems that he has to face as a Temple President, he always remains calm and composure. He has indeed left such a big vacuum for all of us to fill up as he was a pillar of strength of SJMKL and its congregation.

He has taken the hearts of everyone including my kids, who are very fond of him. We have to accept the fact that Krishna, has taken him back, back to his real home, his real birth place in the spiritual world. The important lesson from his departure for me would be HIS WAKE-UP CALL to get serious in my practice of devotional life properly and not to wait for tomorrow to come, as tomorrow might not come.

To HG Uttama, please accept my humble obeisance and forgive me for any wrong doings committed upon you whether knowingly or unknowingly. We pray that the Krshna would always keep you at his lotus feet.

HG Uttama Prabhu Ki Jai”

Your servants
Sudhir sundara das, Nama Nista dd,
23 July 2009

" The original 'Uttam atma' "

Dandavat pranam.

It was very disheartening and heavy impact news, the sudden departureof His grace Uttama Caitanya prabhu, from us. When we think that we will not have the very friendly, caring, and inspiring association of Uttama prabhu again in this birth, the silent grief surrounds us. No doubt, vaishnavas never die, but practically the loss is for us, now. We know how difficult it is to find a true vaishnava -really caring andcompassionate.

We really miss our brother.....

All the devotees of Simhadesh (Spore) pray from the heart, for the original 'Utthma atma' to continue his seva at the lotus Feet ofGauraNitai in a absolute pure and blissful association.

Your Servant,
Haladhara Priya Das.
Simhadesh (S'pore)

" A very rare brahmachari, with sharp intellect and down to earth character"

I had an opportunity to interact with H.G. Uttama Caitanya Prabhu on two occasions. One was during my first visit to KL in the month of Dec. 2003, next was during Sri Pancha-Tattava Deity installation festival at Sri Mayapur Dham during Feb. 2004.

In our first meeting itself he connected very well with me as if known to me for several years. I never felt like a stranger when I visited Sri Jagannath temple for the first time. He was very warm, loving and jovial and made me feel comfortable. It was like a comfort zone in his association. He was very receptive to our thoughts regarding developing a congregation.
Subsequently he spotted me at Mayapur during Feb. 2004. He was once again kind and affectionate and told me, when he visits Mumbai, he would meet me.

He was so natural, a very rare brahmachari, with sharp intellect and down to earth character, a blessed devotee. I was indeed shocked to hear about his disappearance, but was glad to know about his glorious departure. But still the loss of such a great soul can never be replaced.

I pray to Sri Sri Gaura Nitai that H.G. Uttama Caitanya Prabhu under Their shelter and by the blessings of his gurudeva, guide his dedicated team to continue with the task which he initiated at KL for the development of congregation.

Your Servant,
In the Service of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga,
Jaganmohini Devi Dasi(BSDS)

"A tribute to a true leader, par excellence"

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga

The bereavement is deep; the parting is tragic, heartbreaking and painful to accept. No words can fully describe the tragedy of the loss of one so young, one who is so supremely intelligent, talented, vibrant, full of energy and life.

Unfortunately HG’s time and presence with us was snuffed out so prematurely before we could all enjoy the full benefit and association of this trained intellect and dedicated disciple of HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj. Above all, HG’s humility will be greatly missed and it shall stand forever tall as an inspirational beacon. Few or none that I know have ever uttered a harsh word of HG Uttama Prabuji and likewise never have I seen or heard of a word of admonition uttered by HG. Admiration and awe of him were the order of the day; neither spoken nor expressed but universally felt by one and all, hence the outpouring of grief, shock, disbelief and sadness on Sunday 19th.

HG stood tall amongst devotees and visitors. A GIANT of a Vaishnava he was, wise and selflessly helping each and everyone who came his way, nay; he went out of his way to accommodate devotees and guests of SJMKL. He was always one of the last to take prasadam at the Sunday Feasts, choosing instead to mingle with the assembled devotees to exchange a few lilas and sharing thoughts and always enquiring lovingly over devotees’ sadhanas. HG was always caring and encouraging in his ways, gently calling forth the importance of discipline in the ways of a Vaishnava and to move north in the quest for KC.

His infectious and inimitable laughter shall linger long in our memory as will his dedication to the cause and service to ISKCON. Never selfish with his knowledge and training; always appreciative of assistance rendered. Ever so quick to chant the holy name in gratitude and blessing, made more memorable by his bright infectious smile, facial radiance and persona. That was HG Uttama Caitanya prabhu, a true leader who will be profoundly and sincerely missed by his beloved devotees.

The feeling of sadness and loss is greater still as we are now not in a position to say thank you in person, for one last time, to prostrate before him in humble obeisance, for HG has indeed given so much to so many. In the days gone by HG would never accept a thank you from devotees but would always quickly brush off our sense of appreciation and admiration to him with hands raised and a chant of His holy name, accompanied by his ever captivating smile. That was the simplicity of HG, all efforts were his but every bit of adulation, gratitude and accolade were for his guru and the cause he served so well and tirelessly too.

HG was a leader par excellence, delegating as much as he could, not for lack of skill or ability but for the far sighted wisdom of training others via participative leadership. Whilst he delegated, HG never let up on being kept in the loop of the on goings and was always there to guide and share his wealth of knowledge and experience. It is perhaps this distant, yet hands-on involvement with all and sundry that prompts devotees to feel so deeply attached to HG and makes his passing ever more difficult to bear and to come to terms with. HG was there for each and every one of us, unselfishly.

HG was eloquent both in English and Tamil, speaking off the cuff and quoting Vedic literature with ease, much to the awe and admiration of all present. HG’s fluency in Tamil must be given its due credit and reflected in its true perspective, for a leader such as HG trained himself in the language for want of better service to his congregation. HG’s formal education was in English and BM only. Kudos and my humble obeisances to you, Your Grace, what more can a novice devotee, taking shelter like me, say of your efforts to serve us better.

I remember vividly HG’s zest for ecstatic Kirtan and the sharing of the joy of group participation at the September 2008, Vaishnava sammelan (gathering) in Port Dickson. HG led the Kirtan till the wee hours of the morning, 1am to be exact; full of vigour and energy such that the last mrdanga player, Sriman Biran Prabu almost gave up trying to keep pace with HG; palms and fingers aching. As may be expected, I was late for the next day’s morning mangala arati. HG however, was one of the first to arrive and later chided devotees in a friendly, affectionate way for not finding the discipline in them to make it on time for prayers, even at an auspicious meeting such as that. The sign of a true leader - HG Uttama Chaitanya prabhu.

As a dramatist, HG led from the front and took his various roles as would a duck to water. In June, at a skit in the SJMKL, during the Snana Yatra Festival, HG while dressed as King Indrayumna (less the headgear) made the mandatory general announcements, proceeded to introduce and warmly welcomed new comers to SJMKL (totally oblivious to giggles and laughter of the assembled devotees, who were more accustomed to HG dressed in saffron then in theatre attire) and thereafter immediately assumed the Kingly role upon adorning the headgear. He gave a splendid performance, no less and added much joy and spontaneity to the front row devotees with acknowledging yet impromptu eye and facial gestures as he had done before in his role as Kamsa at Sentral and Dewan Soma ... a committed actor, a dedicated scholar, a passionate teacher, an unswerving vaishnava, a friend and true leader, par excellence.

Your Grace, we will all miss you so dearly.

We pray that Lord Krishna may reward you with a place of eminence at His lotus feet.
Hare Bol!
Sriman Raaj