Vishnujana Swami

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From "Radha-Damodara Vilasa" by Vaiyasaki das Adhikari, Vol.1
Memories by various devotees about His Holiness Vishnujana Swami's visit to Boston in August, 1970

Vishnujana Swami flies into Logan International late in the afternoon.

The Boston devotees are very excited to have so many senior devotees at their temple. Nobody has even seen a sannyasi before.

The temple on Beacon Street is a huge facility, also housing ISKCON Press in a long hall directly beneath the temple room.

Ananga-manjari devi dasi: All the devotees in the temple were so excited that Vishnujana was coming. Everyone was running around, “He’s coming. There’s going to be ecstatic kirtans.”

Pradyumna: We were all in the temple room waiting when they came in. Vishnujana started singing “samsara-davanala-lidha-loka...” That was the most electric thing I’d ever experienced. The whole room went electric. It was just unbelievable. I was in ecstasy.

Madhavananda das: We had heard about Vishnujana before he arrived, about the sankirtana parties he led out in LA. They were already famous. In Boston, we had the ISKCON Press, so when Advaita, who was running the press with Uddhava, went out to LA, he came back and said, “Madhavananda, you’ve got to hear this devotee. You won’t believe it. People just come by and watch for hours, and they swoon and some are even crying.” So when he came here and led the sankirtana party out everybody loved him. We were all very impressed with Vishnujana Maharaja, by his sincerity and genuineness.

Narayani devi dasi: Prabhupada had said that he was going to come to Boston, so about ten interested prospective devotees decided to stay at the temple to meet him. Instead, four new sannyasis came. We were having street sankirtana every day. Vishnujana Maharaja was out there leading the sankirtana, and although we were having problems with the police, he was very poised and very in charge of the situation. He led us fearlessly, and I didn’t worry about the police because he was so self-assured.

Since I was a professional musician, I was always attracted to devotees who could sing properly. He was so lively and such a great musician also, that I really enjoyed that sankirtana.

Narayani devi dasi: When he would speak between chanting, you would feel so inspired because he really cared about the people he was speaking to, and he really wanted in his heart to make them devotees. He wanted to see them advance in spiritual life.

When I heard him speak, I just felt like I really wanted to be a devotee. I was very inspired by him personally to become a devotee. Not only me, but about ten others became devotees and never left. He exuded a lot of warmth and a lot of love. He was a very humble person. Even though Prabhupada didn’t come, we all became devotees because of the association of Vishnujana Swami.

Ananga-manjari devi dasi: Then when he came, we all went on sankirtana. He was leading kirtan, and it was super ecstatic. We were dancing in ecstasy, totally.

At the end of the kirtan, all of a sudden an old lady came running up and embraced him. She was old, but she forcibly embraced him and said, “You’re so beautiful. I love this. I love it.” She was actually feeling symptoms of ecstasy from the Holy Name. He was very gentlemanly with her. I was very impressed how he handled it. He didn’t push her away, but he was very kind and nice. He started preaching to her about the Holy Name and made sure she got a book and some prasadam.

Suresvara das: The kirtans there were just overwhelming. I remember especially Vishnujana Swami was leading the pack, and my impression of him was that he was like a golden palomino, because his long, thick sikha was flying, and he would leap up in the air. As he would leap, he would play the mridanga in such an amazing way. Sometimes the other sannyasis would leap with him, going face to face chanting Hare Krishna! They just completely overwhelmed me with their effulgence and their spirit. It was like I had left my body and gone back to Godhead.