Dear Devotees and friends,
This morning Sriman Uddharan dasa brought this to my attention under the subject “Passing of a vaisnava.”
Sripada Parvat Maharaja was a very dear friend to me. I knew him to be very demanding while maintaining a stance of wonderful humility and softness; qualities that are difficult to align.
Years ago I asked him to look after our New Jersey Math while I was visiting and travelling with Srila Govinda Maharaja. It was a big responsibility for which he had no obligation except as a favor to me. He happiy accepted my request and continued the programs here in my absence. He also personally served our Deities, Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari jiu to a higher standard than I could have done or implemented.
One service that was very dear to Srila Govinda Maharaja was doing collection in India. Sripada Parvat Maharaja attended to that seva with great determination and steadfastness. During Sri Gaura Purnima celebrations, Srila Govinda Maharaja’s avirbhava and at other times Parvat Maharaja could likewise be counted on to always be present, enthusiastic and enlivening association. He did all these things while often suffering a great deal from back pain, which he endured without complaint and which never affected his jolly countenance.
“[He] was beloved by all the devotees” is easily believable. I believe he was also one of the beloved of Srila Govinda Maharaja.
Once, during one of Srila Gurudeva’s visits to Soquel, Parvat Maharaja complained about Sripada Janardana Maharaja wearing his sandals into the prasadam hall and leaving them there before entering the temple room. Parvat Maharaja was insisting this should not be done: Janardana Maharaja should leave his sandals outside the prasadam hall instead. Janardana Maharaja was dismissive of Parvat Maharaja’s objections. The dispute came to the notice of Srila Govinda Maharaja who immediately and decisively sided with Parvat Maharaja. Looking at Janardana Maharaja Gurudeva said (paraphrasing) “What he [Parvat Maharaja] said is correct. What he said is what should be followed.”
Parvat Maharaja was very firm in his convictions and we sometimes argued various points. Sometimes he conceded the point to me and sometimes he did not. As happened with Janardana Maharaja I put one of his points to Srila Gurudeva in the hope the matter would be settled in my favor. I did not get that satisfaction.
The departure of a devotee inevitably leaves a void. We will fill the present void with our fond remembrances of His Holiness Sripada Parvat Maharaja.
A humble servant of the devotees,
Swami B.K. Giri