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