Vaiyasaki Das book authorVaiyasaki Das Book Author

" At a certain point, it became obvious to me that the direction of the book was being guided by higher authority..."
- Vaiyasaki Das

I read your book at every opportunity after I got home from traveling--I couldn't put it down.
- Danistha devi dasi

You have done a wonderful service...
- Vatsala dasa

You have opened up the spiritual world in the form of this book.
- Sarvabhauma dasa

Radha-Damodar Vilasa Vol. I & II by Vaiyasaki Das - Story of the fulfillment of the ancient prophesy that Kirtan would be spread world wide from India to the West and then back to the East. The story is revealed through the eyes of Vishnujana Swami and Jayananda Prabhu, two American devotees who embraced the culture of Kirtan and helped to spread Mantra Meditation throughout the United States.

 

Vaiyasaki Das BOOK
RADHA-DAMODARA VILASA (Vol. 2)

The Inner life of Vishnujana Swami and Jayananda Prabhu

Now available!

 

 

 

Appreciations for "Radha-Damodara Vilasa"

Hari Sauri dasa: Just a word to congratulate you on Radha-Damodara Vilasa. It's a wonderful presentation, well researched and excellently written. My wife read the whole thing in four days, she couldn't put it down. When I saw the sub-title, "The Inner life of Vishnujana Swami and Jayananda Prabhu" I couldn't help but be skeptical. But actually you have really conveyed their pure and humble characters in a way that is in complete harmony and keeping with the spirit of their times. Thank you very much for doing this, it is a great service to the devotee community.

Ekanath dasa (Bhaktivedanta Archives): Thank you very, very much for publishing Radha-Damodara Vilasa. You have done the greatest service to the Vaishnava community. It's fantastic and very inspiring. A fabulous piece of concrete spiritual history for ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada, Vishnujana & Jayananda.
 
 

"Most people know Vaiyasaki through his dynamic live performances and the many quality recordings of him singing authentic Bengali Kirtan and other North Indian Bhajan styles. What most don't know is that he's also been working away the last few years researching and writing an extremely valuable historical gem, in three thick volumes, titled 'Radha Damodara Vilasa'. Vaiyasaki has spent hundreds of hours of painstaking research, collecting interviews from a galaxy of devotees who were original members of Iskcon during the late Sixties and early Seventies, plus a host of others connected with this story, in a highly successful attempt to piece together one of the most compelling accounts of the early Krishna movement in the West.

He focuses the story on Vishnujnana Swami and Janananada das, two very different types of amazing role model devotees, who became involved with the San Francisco Krishna Temple in the late Sixties. He also manages to skilfully connect the contemporary theme of the story with esoteric undercurrents originating from the original Radha Damodara Vigrahas (Murties or Dieties) at the roots of the tradition in Vraja (India). Radha Damodara in a new form make their mysterious way to the West in the late 60's and enter the lives of the newly formed Iskcon, especially that of Vishnujnana, and the story proceeds with lucid and wonderfully articulated anecdotes that describe his almost unbelievable state of innocence, purity and advanced level of spiritual attainment while still only in his early twenties.

Vishnujnana is one of the few disciples of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami along with Janananda to have attained verified sainthood, and it makes extremely compelling reading to hear about their extraordinary activities and feel the intensity of their devotional moods within the well described context of the times. And the credit for capturing the lives of those two special souls in writing must go to Vaiyasaki Das who is obviously as passionate and skillful about the glorification of Srila Prabhupada and his beloved devotee hero's, as he is in the performance of melodious authentic kirtan styles.

Well done Vaiyasaki for manifesting your labour of love with such an inspiring quality of literary finesse, and thank you for providing an such an amazing contribution to contemporary Vaishnava lore and shedding light where light should be shone."

Peace & Love
--Mathura das, Writer and Musician: Ashirvad.


"We can judge a community by their artists. They are in a sense the soul of society. In that context I consider Vaiyasaki Prabhu to be part of the heart of Srila Prabhupada’s movement. Vaiyasaki Prabhu needs no introduction, he has long been one of the most famous kirtaniyas in ISKCON. What many devotees do not know however, is that Vaiyasaki’s devotional artistic expression is not limited to kirtana. He is also a talented writer. His book, "Sri Sri Radha-Damodar Vilasa" is an exciting and face-paced visit to the early days in ISKCON. Reading Radha Damodar Vilasa allows you to climb on the bus with a group of young hippies, just turned happy Hare Krishnas on their cosmic "Road Show" all over America. It’s a gripping and devotional account of the history of Radha Damodara, one of the first sets of Radha Krishna deities in America, and their devoted servants such as Silavati Mataji and the mystical Vishnujana Maharaja. One of my favorite stories was when the devotees were arrested by a redneck sheriff in a small town in the South. The local people had never seen anything like the Hare Krishnas and thought that they were some kind of dangerous persons. Finding themselves in jail on Sunday, with no temple and no deities, the devotees were lamenting missing the Sunday Feast program. One of them suggested that they could have a Sunday Feast in their minds, like the South Indian brahmin in "Nectar of Devotion" who mentally cooked sweet rice for the Lord. Sitting in their jail cell the devotees began cooking a feast for Radha Damodar in their minds. After "cooking" they offered everything, had kirtana and arotika and then began to "distribute" the invisible prasadam to each other. They even called the guard over and asked him to hold out his hand so that they could give him something. And they wondered why the guard thought they were crazy.

Sri Sri Radha-Damodar Vilasa is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the early days of Srila Prabhupada’s society. Vaiyasaki Prabhu has done a wonderful service by carefully researching and collecting many little known stories of ISKCON in the early 70s. However, as Krishna says in the Gita, every endeavor is covered by some kind of fault. I do have a few complaints about the book. First of all, if you have anything pressing going on in your life, don’t pick up this book. Once you open it up and start reading you won’t be able to put it down. The second complaint is even more serious, Radha Damodar Vilasa causes serious mental problems. Once you begin reading it, the enchanting form of Lord Damodar comes into your mind and heart, and no matter how hard you try, He just won’t go away.

Krishna is in the heart of his devotees, and the devotees are in Krishna's heart. Radha Damodar Vilasa is an intimate look at the inner heart of the Hare Krishna movement.

-- Madhavananda Das
Managing editor of Gopal Jiu Publications and Sri Krishna Kathamrita Magazine.


 


Vaiyasaki Das BOOK 1

RADHA-DAMODARA VILASA (Vol. 1)
The Inner life of Vishnujana Swami and Jayananda Prabhu
700 pages (hard bound including 32 pages of photos)

 

 


 

 

 

 

Radha-Damodara Vilasa is a sankirtan adventure saga tracing the history of the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy--to bring the Holy Names of God to every town, village and city street throughout the world.

In the early days of the Hare Krishna Movement in America, Sri Sri Radha-Damodara were the first Deities that most people ever saw. This was because Radha-Damodara did not remain confined to a temple building. Instead, since Their temple happened to be a bus, They were constantly on the move.

The ups and downs of life on the road were not only experienced by the devotees, but Sri Sri Radha-Damodara compassionately encountered these hardships as well, just as the Lord in the heart witnesses the trials and tribulations of every living being. It is stated that Lord Chaitanya is the combined form of Radha and Krishna. In this way, Lord Chaitanya, by His inconceivable potency, came to fulfill His own prophecy.

The main theme of the story portrays the advent and unparalleled pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara with Their devotees as They gradually reveal a plan to fulfill the mission of Lord Chaitanya. The supporting theme of our story describes how the surrendered souls disburse the Lord's mercy and inspire others to participate, thus facilitating the conditioned souls' exit from the material world.

The readers of Radha-Damodara Vilasa relive this sankirtan mood through the lives of three of Prabhupada's most influential disciples. Jayananda Prabhu, Vishnujana Swami and Tamal Krishna Goswami had joined the San Francisco Radha Krishna temple within the first year of its opening in the mid '60s. Together they helped establish Lord Chaitanya's mission in California while inaugurating the first traveling sankirtan party in the Western world.

Attracted by Srila Prabhupada's purity and love for Krishna, young people from all walks of life embraced his teachings and took to the path of self-realization. As he gradually introduced deeper truths of bhakti-yoga, Prabhupada imbued his disciples with greater spiritual fervor, empowering them to travel the globe to spread the glories of the Holy Name, and to establish temples along the way.

The Radha-Damodara Party was the largest traveling sankirtan army the world had ever seen, comprising six buses with numerous satellite vans and cars that crisscrossed the North American continent. They distributed millions of transcendental books and inspired other parties around the world to do the same.

Srila Prabhupada always had an intimate relationship with Radha-Damodara. For years he lived at the Radha-Damodara Mandir in Vrindavan where he had written his Srimad-Bhagavatam purports under Their shelter. Prabhupada told us that he lives eternally at Radha-Damodara temple and has requested that we continually venerate his rooms there.

Radha-Damodara were also the beloved Deities of Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Jiva Goswami. These two eminent Acharyas were dedicated to spreading the mission of Lord Chaitanya worldwide. Srila Prabhupada had regularly prayed for the mercy of these Acharyas, whose life and soul were Radha-Damodara.

When Prabhupada suffered a heart attack on his maiden voyage to America, he wrote the following in his diary: "I feel better today, but I am feeling separation from Sri Vrindavan and my Lords, Sri Govinda, Gopinath, Radha-Damodara." By leaving the Radha-Damodara temple in Vrindavan, he brought Lord Chaitanya's sankirtan mission to the world and sparked a spiritual revolution through the chanting of Hare Krishna.

Krishna is famous for speaking the immortal Bhagavad-gita to His devotee Arjuna, thereby re-establishing eternal dharma for the benefit of future generations. But He is no less famous as Damodara, the naughty child of Mother Yasoda, and in these pastimes He reveals even more about Himself and His intimate relationship with His devotees.

 

Vaiyasaki dasa's book Radha-Damodara Vilasa: The inner life of Vishnujana Swami, is one of the most interesting and inspiring books I have ever read. It is the story of the early Hare Krishna movement, through the eyes of hundreds of people who lived it, and especially through the inspirational life of one of the most amazing early devotees, Vishnujana Swami.

One excellent feature of recording the direct memories of so many people that experienced the early days, is that one gets a much better understanding of the various troubles and scandals that erupted. These are not the main focus of the book, but Vaiyasaki does not hide or cover-up these issues. We gain insight into them by hearing about the peronalities and background that gave rise to them and seeing how a true devotee such as Vishnujana Swami reacts.

Overall this is one of the most compelling and inspirational spiritual biographies I have read. Vaiyasaki Das is a talented writer who tells an amazing true story. My life was greatly enriched by reading this book. If you ever wanted to know what it was really like to give up everything and be part of the early Hare Krishna movement, this is the book for you.

--Kim Griest, PhD in physics, over 100 publications in professional journals, works in particle theory, cosmology, dark matter, dark energy, the early universe. Fellow of the American Physical Society, Professor at University of California, San Diego.

 

 

DONATE for Vaiyasaki Das Worldwide Kirtan Prachar

Dhanistha dd: I read your book at every opportunity after I got home from traveling--couldn't put it down. I laughed deep good laughter and cried deep good tears. You were able to weave balance, symmetry, truth, and mystical insights into these stories that are an irreplaceable part of our transcendental history, lineage, and spiritual lives. You have shed more light on these wonderful Vaishnavas, and helped immensely to give us the ability to appreciate the love, truth, and inspiration they emanated during their time here with us. And they continue to do so even now. I will read it again and again. It makes me very happy.

Sarvabhauma dasa: I am very impressed with how you have woven the glorification of two American Vaishnava legends within the historical setting of the original Radha Damodara Deities and the philosophy and preaching of the Goswamis. You have done so in a natural, authorized way. It doesn't come off as contrived, as if you're trying to artificially link American hippie Hindu converts to the glorious Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Indeed you show that they are an important part of that same tradition. Your well-chosen tidbits of philosophy add authority without becoming cumbersome. And your brevity in showing the broad Gaudiya history in a condensed way is a great achievement: you tell a lot in a minimum of words. This demonstrates both good writing and also a nice realized knowledge of that history. Thank you so much for this gift. A good teacher can open up the world for his students. You have opened up the spiritual world in the form of this book.

The following is from Vishnujana Swami's sister: The books arrived yesterday and I have read 160 pages so far. It is amazing how you have linked together historical and personal glimpses into the life of my brother and Jayananda without losing the reader's interest or train of thought. There is so much I didn't know about that stage in his life and I feel like I may understand him better because of your book. You must have researched forever to the point of exhaustion. Thank you once again for your devotion and friendship with Mark. Take care and keep in touch. Appreciatively, Theresa

Rati Manjari dd: I want to voice my deep appreciation for the wonderful work you have done in producing your book "Radha-Damodara Vilasa." I have found it tremendously inspiring. It is just my kind of book, full of glorification of the devotees and adventures in the preaching spirit. I have been fortunate to spend many years on sankirtan myself and your book brings back many good feelings which I thought I had lost. I feel indebted to you for that. And it is very well written also. I never knew that besides being a legendary singer, you were such a good writer as well. As Vishnumurti Prabhu -whom you may know - put it, "a magical book."

Haripada dasa: Prabhu, we have seen your book and it is beautifully printed. First class! The devotees who have them here in Prabhupada Village won't even consider lending them out. They're very attached to them. Some cry when reading it and no one can put it down. You've managed to inspire the Vaishnavas. Congratulations.

Following is a quote from the Tamal Krishna Disciples Newsletter: This new book by His Grace Vaiyasaki Prabhu is of interest to all devotees. It is relevant for disciples and friends of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami (Srila Gurudeva) because it churns the nectarian exploits of two of ISKCON's saintly pioneers-HH Vishnujana Swami and His Grace Jayananda Prabhu-who were close friends, godbrothers and inspirations to Srila Gurudeva. By weaving the history of the Goswamis and the original Radha Damodara Deities in Vrndavan with the more recent history in the West of Prabhupada, the modern Radha Damodara Deities and the Western devotees, Vaiyasaki helps us to view this more modern chapter of Vaishnava history transcendentally. He makes a nice comparison: "Just as Lord Ramachandra engaged an army of monkeys to liberate Srimati Sitadevi, similarly Srila Prabhupada recruited an army of the sons and daughters of the mleccha and yavana countries to fulfill the prophecy of Lord Chaitanya."

Ajamila Dasa: This book will survive the test of time, for the next ten thousand years. It reflects a glorious part of ISKCON's history. Great service. If we pick it up we can't put it down and so all our other services stop. It's too addictive. I'm not complaining though. Congratulations.

Akhilesvara dasa: Prabhus! This book is a must! It is an invaluable work for posterity. There is one crucial key for spreading Krishna consciousness and making every one happy and that is a festive mood. And that is what Vaiyasaki is giving in this book. He is endowed with the power to share the joy of Krishna consciousness. I will say nothing more.

 

 

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Contact: Vaiyasaki@kirtan.org