My favorite photo of Swami Mukund Hariji Maharaj
¸. *ღ☆¸.•°*♥ JAI SRI KRISHNA! ¸. *ღ☆¸.•°*♥
Dr. Asim Krsna Dasji in Vrindavan
Dr. Asim Krishna Das was born as Alan A. Shapiro on a Thursday, July 6,1944 in New York City, of a very very Jewish family! He said he was still in collage when he got drafted, and dodged it by moving to Canada and even had a Canadian Pass Port! Then he went for sometime to Paris, learned fluent French (as he later did Hindi and Sanskrit). He travelled through Europe and I have written earlier in my blog about how he came into India in 1969, as a tourist and at an Ashram in Bhatinda, Punjab,was directed to go and meet Sri Krishna in Vrindavan by Sankirtana Samrat Swami Mukunda Hari!
Once in Sri Vrindavan he took as his Guru Swami Bon Maharaj, Bhakti Hridaya Bon Tridandi Swami, Gaudiya Math, founder of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Vrindavana. He also translated into English the work of Rupa Goswami's Sanskrit classic, Bhakti-Rasamrit-Sindhu.The very 1st day I came into Vrindavan in 1971, I passed by and saw Asim, shaved head, smiling and wearing a doti and Tulsi mala etc., so he had already been initiated by then. I only later met him in the company of Sripad Babaji, that same year. By that time he was a serious student of Sanskrit, but there was always much tapsya whenever in the company of Baba Sripadji! He was in this state of Bhakti-tapsya, or Prem inspired Vairagya, full of bhava and moving with Babaji in all of Vraj Bhoomi, mostly in Sri Vrindavan for years. One of his greatest friends, whom he shared much in common with was Shyam Das, and they were sometimes together in the company of the great Lineage Holder of the Pushti Marg, Prathameshji Maharaj. Here with Asim and Radha Dasi is where I first met Shyam Dasji and had a very wonderful darshan of Maharajji. I remember that Asim and Shyam Das would suddenly start speaking with each other in French!! It was the chaurasi kos somewhere in Govardhan in tents!!
When President Carter, promised to give entrance to all draft dodgers, Asim's parents prevailed on him to came back to the USA to complete his undergraduate degree at the City College of New York.
Radha Dasi and I saw him off at the Delhi Airport wearing his doti as usual!
While studying he also drove a taxi in Manhattan during the night with Sri Bankey Bihari's photo up in front of him. After graduating to get entrance back into India and his beloved Vrindavan, he entered Columbia Univ. and started his Doctorate. Subject: Shalagram! He said he chose this subject because all the other Vaishnava subjects for dissertation had already been done at Columbia!!
Once back in Vrindavan I met him among all his books and he laughed and said I used to be a poor
Bhakta here, and now that I have this scholarship they pay me to live here! He often visited Nepal for his research on Shalagrams. It was a fascinating subject as he spoke of it, and would show shaligrams and explain the intricate beauty and details of each one.
So, around 1992 Asim Krishna Das received his PhD in Sanskrit at Columbia University. In Vrindavan he was Assistant Director of the Research Center at Sri Chaitanya Sampraday.
Here he supervised the creation of a bibliograph of sources on the history of Vraj, the poet saints of Vraj, for the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts, New Delhi. He said it was amazing, that
the more they searched throughout Vraj villages, the more old manuscripts and paintings were discovered! He also worked with the Vijayanagara Research Project for 5 yrs. translating the Pampamahatmya. This, too he totally enjoyed. Dr.Asim Krishna Das and Sri Shyam Das remained best friends all their life of Supreme Bhakti Bhava.
Sri Sri Prathameshji Maharaj and Sri Shyam Dasji¸.
*ღ☆¸.•°*♥ JAI SRI KRISHNA! ¸. *ღ☆¸.•°*♥