Ananta Dasa Baba Ji – A Gaudiya Legend Has Left this World

By Satyanarayana Dasa, originally published at the Jiva Institute.

Yesterday morning, November 11, 2018, Jagadanada prabhu came shouting at my main entrance gate around 8:30 am. I just heard him saying, “Ananta Dasa Baba Ji Maharaja has …!” I thought Babaji Maharaja had come to Jiva Institute. So I rushed to the gate only to discover that has left his body. It was a very sad news. The Vaisnava community of Vraja lost a great saint and scholar in Sri Ananta Dasa Baba Ji Maharaja.

Babaji Maharaja was the greatest living Vaisnava of Vraja. He was exemplary in his conduct. Whenever I met him, he treated me with so much respect that I felt embarrassed. He would not let me sit on the floor in front of him. Being such a senior Vaisnava and Mahant of Radhakunda, he behaved so humbly. There was no air of pride in him.  He was always absorbed in nama-smarana.

Read any of his books and you will be amazed at his scholarship while bringing to life the pastimes of Bhagavan Sri Krsna that contain the Gaudiya siddhanta.

He spent ten years traveling to remote villages teaching the message of Mahaprabhu and giving diksa in the line of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Srimati Jahnava Mata through the descendants of Sri Dhananjaya Pandita before settling in Radhakunda. Later, recognizing his humility and purity of heart, the seniormost Vaisnavas of Radhakunda elected him as the Mahanta of Radhakunda, the 34th representative of the seat of Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami.

He has written extensive commentaries on forty of the main books of the Gosvamis and their contemporaries. His original works include around ten books of bhakti-related glorifications plus twelve books explaining the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya tattva in simple but elevated language for the spiritual upliftment of the general public. A number of his books have been translated into English and Russian.

Being situated in Vrindavan, I did not get too many opportunities to meet him. But the few times that I got his darshan created a great impression on my mind. Even in his old age, he was ready to give his darshan whenever I went to see him.

Over the last few years, he received Ayurvedic treatment from my brother, who come on several occasions from Faridabad to see Babaji Maharaja.

Once, when my brother was coming to Vrindavan, Babaji Maharaja came to know about his visit. So he did not hesitate to personally come to Jiva Institute in Vrindavan to see my brother. I was truly taken aback. He could have just sent a message for my brother to come to Radhakunda. But out of his natural humility, he did not consider that.

Another time I went with my brother to see him at Radhakunda. Babaji Maharaja offered him the same respect that any ordinary patient would have offered his physician.

Last year my own health was very bad and I was physically very weak. Babaji Maharaja used to send me invitations to attend the tirobhava mahotsava of his Guru Maharaja. Being aware of my health condition, he sent his disciple Baba KeSava Dasa to personally invite me. I expressed my inability to attend because of my fragile health. In his great compassion, Babaji Maharaja called and blessed me to regain my health. He was very concerned about it although he himself had many physical ailments.

I often think that the traditional breed of Gaudiya Vaisnavas is gradually disappearing from the Vraja area. I think there is no replacement for them. They are like an old species that is becoming extinct. I consider myself highly fortunate that I got the opportunity to get the blessings of a great saint like Pandita Babaji Maharaja.

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