The Singing Sadhu

Acyutananda das

It was my good fortune to finally meet one of my singing mentors, and God-brother, the legendary Acyutananda das, at the Festival of Inspiration held annually at the New Vrindavan farm community in West Virginia. He was a very likable character and willingly signed my 1974 copy of the Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas. He opened the Festival of Inspiration with a Question and Answer session, answering all kinds of questions on the “Early Days”, “India”, “Life with Srila Prabhupada”, “Spiritual Life” etc., etc. with his own blend of sarcastic humor, wit, and intellectual powers. It was quite enjoyable and enlightening. He is a very ‘real’, unpretentious fellow, and as I said very likable.

In honor of our visit with him we are posting the Foreword from the Songs of the Vaisnava Acarays, wherein Srila Prabhupada is giving his thanks and blessings:

…I confer all my blessings upon Acyutananda Swami for his genuine attempt to advance in Krishna consciousness. I hope he will attempt to advance more and more and never be hampered my maya. We should always remember the danger of maya’s influence and endeavor to save ourselves from her great power. We must therefore always merge in the transcendental mellow of kirtana-rasa, for kirtana-rasa is the safest situation within this material world. Hare Krishna.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Foweard

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas
Hymns and mantras composed for the glorification of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna

Foreword
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness was established in New York in the year 1966. After my arrival in the United States in September of 1965, I personally underwent a difficult struggle, and in 1966 I rented a store front and apartment at 26 Second Avenue. When ISKCON was incorporated, a boy named Chuck Barnett joined me, along with a few others, to form the nucleus for the institution’s future development. At this time I used to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra underneath a tree in Tompkin’s Square Park in New York. Sriman Barnett and another boy, Bruce, were the first to begin dancing in front of me, and others in the audience joined them. The New York Times published a report of this, with our picture and a headline declaring that I was attracting the younger generation to the Hare Krishna Movement.

Later both Chuck and Bruce, along with others, became my initiated disciples, and still later, in 1970, both took sannyasa, receiving the names Acyutananda Swami and Brahmananda Swami. Now Brahmananda is preaching in Africa, and Acyutananda is preaching in India.

When I became sick in 1967, I left the United States and returned to India, Sriman Acyutananda could not remain separated from me, and therefore he joined me in Vrndavan when I was staying there. Since then Acyutananda Swami has worked very hard in India. He has preached extensively in Calcutta and other parts of Bengal, he has learned how to sing in Bengali and play mrdanga like a professional, and now he has compiled this book of Bengali songs with English explanations.

I am greatly pleased to see this collection of songs composed by Thakura Bhaktivinoda, Narottama dasa, and other great acaryas of the Gaudiya Vaisnava community (sampradaya). Songs composed by the acaryas are not ordinary songs. When chanted by pure Vaisnavas who follow the rules and regulations of Vaisnava character, they are actually effective in awakening the Krsna consciousness dormant in every living entity. I have advised Sriman Acyutananda Swami to sing more songs of the Vaisnava dadavali and record them in books so that my disciples and others in the Western countries may take advantage of this chanting and thus advance in Krishna consciousness more and more.

I confer all my blessings upon Acyutananda Swami for his genuine attempt to advance in Krishna consciousness. I hope he will attempt to advance more and more and never be hampered my maya. We should always remember the danger of maya’s influence and endeavor to save ourselves from her great power. We must therefore always merge in the transcendental mellow of kirtana-rasa, for kirtana-rasa is the safest situation within this material world. Hare Krishna.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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