“You’ve Gotta Be Ready For The Change”
It is a considerable challenge to come to terms with the sudden loss of our dear brother in Guru’s grace, Shyamdas.
He passed away over the weekend in the southern part of India known as Goa, the result of a motor cycle accident. He was rushed to the hospital accompanied by satsang that included one of his dearest friends, Mohan Baum and left his body soon after.
Shyamdas met Maharaji in the 1970’s while Maharaji was still in the body. Having Maharaji’s darshan transformed Shyamdas’ life and he became inspired to remain in India long after Maharaji’s maha sammadhi, becoming a devout student and eventual scholar and teacher of the devotional poetry and lineage of Bhakti Yoga, in particular the aspects of Lord Krishna.
Shyamdas lived consistently India, traveling back and forth from East to West in a period time that spanned 4 decades. His influence on the modern popularization of Kirtan in the west is extraordinary. Considered a dear friend by fellow devotees Krishna Das and Jai Uttal amongst many musical leaders in both the Bhakti Community and mainstream musical community (multi platinum icons Sting and Mike D of the Beastie Boys, claimed Shyamdas as a close friend and confidant), Shyamdas dedicated his entire life to sharing these sacred practices and teaching people in the west how to connect further with their own soul and heart through the yoga of devotion.
When the idea for the first ever multi day Kirtan festival in the West known as Bhakti Fest was conceived, the first leader invited to participate was Shyamdas and his continued involvement in the festival has been an essential component in the festival’s ongoing success.
Fortunately, Shyamdas was able to record and release many transformational sacred chant recordings including “Beloved Chants” (which Ram Dass gave a loving seal of recommendation) and “Sweet Radhe” that are available on iTunes, Amazon and at the Taos Ashram puja store.
Shyamdas loved the Taos ashram as he loved Maharaji and often quoted Maharaji teaching “Sub Ek/All One”. He had a deep love for the Hanuman Chalisa and its meaning.
And indeed he was loved dearly by satsang local and worldwide. He will be remembered for his great sense of humor, his unquenchable passion for Bhakti, for his true nature of including all who wished to share in the sacred wisdom, and for his love of God.
He lived this love up until the very last moments of his life.
In learning of Shyamdas’ sudden passing, his friend Radhanath Swami says, “Our hearts have become one in our love and gratitude to Shyamdasji. Now, we are left with only our tears to celebrate his beautiful life of love and compassion.”
Today, his body is set to be cremated and on January 25th a sacred ceremony will be held approximately 100kilometers from Vraj in the Ganges for his ashes to be received.
Where the sacred names of the divine are chanted, you will find the presence of Shyamdas there. Always.
In loving service,
son of Mohan and Radha
January 21st, 2013