I just learned of the passing of my dear Godbrother Madhu-dvisa Prabhu, one of the greatest Hari-nama sankirtana leaders in the history of ISKCON.
When I joined ISKCON in Berkeley, in September 1969, Madhu-dvisa Prabhu was president of ISKCON San Francisco, on the other side of the Bay Bridge. I first met him in the fall of 1969. The following is a true account of that meeting.
One evening, the Berkeley devotees were on the third floor of our center, chanting in the temple room. Suddenly the house began to shake as if there was an earthquake. Our president asked me to go downstairs and see what was happening. I found the cause: Madhu-dvisa Prabhu and the all-brahmacari San Francisco temple had come to visit us and they were doing kirtana downstairs. Among these devotees was the famous Jayananda. The kirtana, led by Madhu-dvisa, was literally shaking a three-story house.
Madhu-dvisa had crossed the bridge to invite us to organize with the San Francisco temple the first great Gaura Purnima festival in ISKCON, to be held in Berkeley near the university. The festival took place and received much praise from city leaders and Prabhupada.
Madhu-dvisa created a unique sankirtana party in San Francisco. In those days, the devotees would chant all day on the streets of major cities. Madhu-dvisa would personally lead the Hari-nama sankitana, singing and playing the drum, for at least 10 hours daily. And he would always use the exact same drumbeat, as taught by Prabhupada. To me, a young brahmacari, Madhu-dvisa was a great general- a fearless, powerful leader, who was steady as a rock, inspiring great achievements in those around him. In my mind, I clearly see him on the streets of San Francisco, tough and blissful, leading his famous sankirtana party.
After I left Berkeley, Prabhupada called Madhu-dvisa Prabhu to join him in India, and there Prabhupada crowned him as the “Emperor of Sankirtana.” Later he became GBC of Australia, which at the time was not a very productive Yatra. Madhu-dvisa turned that country into a world leader in sankirtana, book distribution, and devotee-making. Prabhupada himself often visited Australia and was always received with amazing enthusiasm and festivity, all under the charismastic leadership of Madhu-dvisa Prabhu.
During my first several years in ISKCON, Madhu-dvisa Prabhu was certainly one of the most inspiring figures in my life, so much so that he will always remain in my heart as an emblem of powerful Krishna consciousness.
No one can doubt his glorious destination at the feet of Prabhupada, to whom he devoted his heart and soul.
Hridayananda das Goswami
August 6, 2014