Akincana Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj:
"Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna
Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare"---Srila Krishna
Das Bababji Maharaj
by Hrsikesananda das
He was the delight of all the associates
of the great PRABHUPADA Sarasvati Thakura. He was the favorite of his Godbrothers
and he gave them all his laughing Hare Krsna!
In 1968 paramahamsa Akincana Krsnadas Babaji
Maharaj was staying at Srila Vana Maharaj's Vrindavan Gaudiya Matha, bhajan
kutir, which he did every year for 4-5 months at a time before and during
the hot season. In the winter he was in Navadvipa. We slept on the roof
together many summer nights, and he never went to sleep. Prayers, quiet
bhajan and chanting all night long, every night. He was constantly laughing,
and he would always say Hare Krsna! with the greatest exuberance I have
He was the most 'Goswami' alike character.
He looked just like you would imagine Sanatana or Rupa Goswami in Vraja
to look like. He was the only devotee I ever witnessed who would weep flowing
tears while leading kirtan without losing his voice. And he was the greatest
kirtana leader in the universe! All the devotees within the various Gaudiya
Math's everywhere agreed that Lord Caitanya would personally join Babaji
Maharaj's kirtana. As long as he stayed at Srila Vana Maharaj's Vrindavan
ashram he always led the kirtana starting at 4:30 am. He always played
the mrdanga either in kirtan or alone while singing prayers before the
The Deities at bhajan-kutir were Lord Caitanya,
Sri Govinda in the center, with Srimati Radharani on the other side. There
were also Govardhana and Shalagram shila's worshipped daily with the central
Deities. The puja standard was first-class. There were about 10-15 ashramites
ranging in age from 18 - 80 years old. Everyone was either a brahmacari
or sannyasi. Akincana Krsnadas was the only "Babaji" who stayed regularly
at the Vrndavana bhajan-kutir except for Srila Vana Maharaj's Babaji disciple
Sri Lalit Babaji who returned to Vraja nitya-lila in 1972.
In the daytime, after noon kirtana, Krsnadas
Babaji Maharaj would go down into a cave room which Swami Vana had constructed
years before. Srila Vana Maharaj was known to have performed solitary Vraja-bhajan
in this basement room for a number of years before he accepted disciples.
It was very cool in that room. So everyday Babaji Maharaj would spend the
entire afternoon in the cave room chanting his mala.
Babaji Maharaj didn't seem to have any teeth.
He was an old Bengali disciple of Saraswati Thakura's who (it is rumored)
went to live in seclusion at Haridwar after the disappearance of Prabhupada
and the following trouble within the Gaudiya Math. In any case, that was
many, many years before. He was about 70 years old when I first received
his merciful glance. Making disciples, building temples or collecting money
were the farthest thing from his mind; and he never, ever criticized anyone.
His only concern was chanting constantly; either kirtan or rounds. He would
answer with a laughing "Hare Krsna!" any time anyone would speak to him.
He often had a gleefully pained look on his face like he had just heard
the world's funniest joke and was going to burst out laughing. And when
any one said Hare Krsna to Babaji he would laugh out loud in a most infectious
manner. When ever he would say Hare Krsna he would laugh his way through
the mantra. I have never seen Prema-bhakti as exhibited by Krsnadas Babaji
Maharaj. All the Gaudiya Math devotees were so glad when Babaji Maharaj
would come to stay. Time for the uttama kirtana!
In 1968, for protection from my Vietnam draft
legal problems, I proceeded to Govardhana Hill on the order of Srila Vana
Maharaj to perform parikrama. By some good fortune I was accompanied by
Babaji Maharaj who also wanted to visit Govardhana. On the way we stopped
at Nandagram where we stayed for a week at Sanatana Goswami's bhajan kutir
(no electric, water, nor latrine). Begging "madhu-kari" from the local
Vraja-vasis by proclaiming, Radhe Syama!, we passed our time in chanting
and exploring the home of Nanda Maharaj. Babaji Maharaj didn't speak anything
(he only said "Hare Krsna!"), nor did I speak much Bengali yet, so our
relationship was initially based on only saying "Hare Krsna!" to each other.
Next we proceeded to Varsana where he introduced
me to Sriji Herself. But due to my blunt material eyes I could only see
charming Deities. We also stayed a few days at Man-mandira
with a siddha-purush known as Radha-charan Das Babaji. He is one
of the most exalted souls I have ever met, and as of 1996 he has resided
there for 46 years.
After many days we finally arrived at Mount
Govardhana, but we got off the bus (at Babaji's insistence) before the
bus drove over the hill and on to the bus station. Early the next morning,
after bathing in Syama kunda & Radha kunda, we walked around Govardhana
hill barefoot, carrying our bedding, chanting all the way. Sometimes Babaji
Maharaj, while always chanting, would laugh out loud and other times he
seemed morose like he was missing Krsna. Just like Srila Prabhupada, Babaji
Maharaj never wasted a single moment without Krsna Consciousness. By evening
we had completed the task and returned safely to Radha-kunda for the night.
The next day we went back to Mathura by bus and onwards to Vrndavana by
Samadhi of Akinchan Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj in Nandagram
Sanatana Goswami's sacred bhajan-kutir is
on the banks of the eternal Pavan-sarovar lake. This kunda is so special
because Sri Krsna takes His daily bath here eternally. It is said that
a morning bath in Pavan-sarovar gives liberation from material bondage
forever (at least a shira-snan). All the devotees would bath daily in this
sarovar. It is very charming.
Attached to this austere ashram is a very
sacred tirtha, the samadhi of Akinchan Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj, who is
a real bhajan-anandi.
(It is interesting to note that the only two disciples
of Prabhupada whose samadhi's are mentioned by H.H. Mahanidhi Maharaja
in his book, "Gaudiya Vaisnava Samadhi's in Vrndavana," are Tridandi Swami
Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj who was acting as a most empowered gostya-anandi,
and Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj who was a most exalted bhajan-anandi). I still
think that Mahanidhi Maharaj should include the samadhi's of other Prabhupada
disciples whose samadhi's are located in Vrndavana like the samadhi of
Tridandi Swami Bhakti Hrdaya Vana Maharaj which is near the entrance to
Madan Mohan Ghera.)
Nandagram is the lila-stali chosen over all
others by Babaji Maharaj to leave his old body. Some devotees believe that
Babaji Maharaj is eternally in shakya-rasa with Lord Krsna. Although
he would never say, still, I remember him at Madhuvana singing a Hindi
song about Krsna's friends with tears streaming down his face.
In the samadhi is a large picture of Babaji
Maharaj looking kind of pained. I have never exactly seen Babaji with that
look before. I always remember him laughing and very happy. He was so humble
that we were all afraid to offer him obeisance's because he would always
do the same in return. He would never accept obeisance's. Can you imagine
a Vaisnava of Babaji's character bowing to a prakrta-bhakta and former
beef-eater like me? I wasn't fit to wash his feet.
Please allow me to speak more about Akinchan
Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj. One time he was leading a large sankirtana party
through the streets of Vrndavana. It was the middle of summer (In Vrndavana!!).
When we reached Srila Bhakti Saranga Goswami's Gaudiya Math, Babaji Maharaj
fainted. We all thought he might die, so we continued chanting and took
him into Bhakti-Saranga Maharaja's Amalitala ashram. Finally we got Babaji
Maharaja to wake up and then he got sick to his stomach. When he felt a
little better he asked us to continue on and he would catch up later. Sure
enough, on the last stretch, there was Babaji Maharaj with mrdanga in hand
and a beaming grin on his face.
On another occasion I was following Babaji
Maharaj walking around Giriraj Maharaj. In all the years together I never
heard Babaji Maharaj speak much. Example: "Babaji Maharaj, is it true that
you're in shakya rasa?" To which he replies, "HARE KRSNA!!!" Even when
he was meeting with his Godbrothers he would always sit at their feet,
and he would simply laugh and proclaim, "Hare Krsna!!!" whenever he was
told anything. So we were walking past a devotee who was performing 108
dandavat parikrama around Govardhana when suddenly Babaji Maharaj turned
to me and said, "Ucharan Koro!" ("Pronounce it"---the Holy Name). My chanting
was so poor that Babaji Maharaj had to break his silence.
As I mentioned before, Babaji Maharaj never
slept. He was always up all night performing bhajan; at least during the
summers when he would always stay in Vrndavana with Srila Vana Maharaj.
First thing in the morning Babaji Maharaj would lead all the kirtana with
all the many traditional Gaudiya Matha melodies. Then, after Caitanya Caritamrta
reading (in Bengali), Babaji Maharaj would sit alone before the Deities
and sing endless sweet bhajan's for a few hours. He would also sing (recite)
so many verses, and he would always begin with all the Guru vandanas, Siddhanta-Sarasvati,
Gaura Kishore, etc. During the afternoon he would stay in Swami Vana's
underground room to chant. I often went down to serve him and I never saw
him sleeping. At night he would again lead the kirtana, and after prasadam
he would sit on the roof to pray, all night! The best way to describe Babaji
Maharaja is a laughing "Hare Krsna!!"