Sticky: In loving, devotional memory…



Hari OM…Beloved friends and loved ones of Shyamdasji and bhaktas and kirtan lovers. Our priceless friend Shyamdasji left this world last night. He spent his remaining hours, as usual, in satsang and bliss with a group of dear friends. On this night in particular they were reading Shri Vallabhacarya’s teaching “Krsnashraya” and reflecting deeply on and repeating the refrain, “Krsna eva gatir mama…Krishna is my refuge and destination.” He has arrived at his final refuge and destination now.

Though nothing can replace this loss for us, he left us with so much, so many teachings, reflections, and memories, and most of all, the example to live a divinely inspired life, in constant search for bhava and in appreciation for one another. He loves us all very much and would love nothing more than for us to continue our own journey towards eternal bliss and appreciation for satsang and kirtan of all kinds.

To support one another as Shyamdasji’s loved ones grieving around the globe, please feel free to share any inspirations, memories, or special ways you are commemorating Shyamdasji’s ecstatic lifetime and his return to the divine abode, by posting comments here (To comment, click on the title above, “In loving devotional memory”

Jai Shri Krishna

Categories : Latest


  1. Lalit Das (Bhima-Karma) says:

    ShyamDas – who told you to go and ride a stupid motorcycle in India. who told you to go and leave me alone – again. You came into my life and my heart and became my family when I had none. When my hands and my heart were bleeding from my mridanga study you came and dried my tears. The satsang we had together deep into those nights in vrindavana dn gokul and jatipur helped me to be the person I always was in my heart – you showed me how to exist in this diverse world with even the deepest feelings and thoughts amidst people who may not get it with the greatest of grace and ease. Shyam!!! I want to beat your chest! Why did you have to leave me??!! Did you not know what you meant to me? When I was the lone vaisnav in the then budding kirtan scene you made not only gave me your kinship, but you shoed me how to connect to everyone around me just the same. When I was alone in vrindavan, studying like a fanatic madman you gave me company and the company of your pushti family. When i came back to america penniless, with no address or friends after having been gone so long you were there giving me prasad and kirtan and friendship and adventure. You are MY Shyamdas! Please dont go and leave me! Dont leave your Bhimji, your LalitDas – dont you know how he will be hurt? You know how he lost his father and others who were like fathers. And you were so much more – you were more than a father – you were just my friend who was my elder. You were wise and and even though you had seen so much drama in life you let it all slide of your feathers like a swan and without needing to say so encouraged me to do the same. Only you could hold my heart and all that it held – my philosophical depth – where I had to hide from my fanatic crazy ISKCON upbringing. Thank you for your one on one time that seemed to be forever. When I was a boy life was free when i was playing with my friends as though we were with krsna, with you I had that feeling once again with the depth and richness that adulthood afforded me on top. Goodbye my chachaji. I still have work to finish here and I will meet you again soon. your Bhimji/LalitDas

  2. Mary Muoio Krensavage says:

    In Loving Memory – Shyamdas – My first kirtan was at Sri Dharma’s with Shyamdas. I sat right in front next to one of my yogi friends in the training who had been to many kirtans. The sun flowers I gave to Dharma where cut down to half their size, and put in vases and on either side of Shyamdas and his band. My yogi friend knew that as my first Kirtan, it was going to be an emotional ride. So he stayed there beside me and sang his heart out, occasionally glancing at me to smile (and to hint… “just let go”). His comfort in letting go helped me to the same, and with each some, another tear rolled down my cheek. Tears of fear. Tears of joy. Lots of tears that I did not know where in there. I did not realize that evening that I was sitting in front of an amazing blessed soul Shyamdas. But I surely sensed it. As the singing continued Shyamdas’s soulful voice shredded layers from around my heart. At the end of the Kirtan, I was completely exposed like never before. Heart wide open. Shyamda’s soul left this earth on this week. May love and peace fly him home. In Loving memory, Mary.

  3. Susan Malfitano says:

    Dear Shyamdas,

    You touched my heart one evening in Bridgehampton and I will never forget how beautiful it was to be in your presence. I am sorry that our paths didn’t cross again for I meant for them to. Blessings and love and light on your journey.

  4. Ted Hallstrom says:

    The times I liked most with Shyamdas were spent in satsang. When he would teach, switching back and forth easily between English or Hindi or Gujurati or Braj Bhasa or Sanskrit (Just the list. How extraordinary!), depending on his audience, teaching and telling stories about Vallabacharya, about pushti marg, about Braj, about Krishna, about bhav and ras. And then he would intersperse his teaching with bhajans and sometimes invite us into kirtan. Such times were wonderful and filled with grace. And when Shyamdas would sing, settling into the bhav, the bhakti of Krishna, the ras would flow through him and his voice become indescribably sweet. We are left like gopis, longing for his presence.

  5. Paul Coggins says:

    Ever since i heard the news i just want to shower Shyamdas with loving light to help him on his way to Radha who he loved so much.
    The impish look on his face sometimes, the loving way he was able to share the teachings. I remember he and Gaura vani at the Boston Chant Fest walking around hand in hand with the look of such (childish) abandon on his face.
    We have been graced with such a bhakti and we must celebrate his life after we all have moved through the process of grief.
    Tears still come so that’s not yet .
    Radhe Shyam

  6. Ravi says:

    Shyam Das ji: Since you enjoyed conversing in Hindi with me (and since we always talked about this,in jest) :
    ” Ab mujhe maaloom hai ki aapko sabse bada tennis coach mil gaya hai ! Jai Ho ! “

  7. Ram Giri says:

    I remember so clearly the brilliant summer day in 1970 when Shyam Das and I met in a park in Amsterdam and instantly fell in love. This kind of love had never happened to either of us. We recognized in each other a precious friend from lifetimes past and it was then and there that we decided to go to India together. I looked around me in this moment of wondrous love in this park full of hippies and could not believe that they didn’t all feel this love, that they all didn’t just melt in this incredible oneness. It felt so natural – of course, I thought, the whole world had to know…
    Then we met again in Herat, Afghanistan and travelled together to the magical land of Vraj. In Brindaban we found shelter at Shyam Kuti, an ashram by the Yamuna, where two old Brahmin hermits, Mangal Das and Doctorji took us under their wings. Like dry sponges, more eager for love than we knew, we soaked in the sweet love of Krishna, the perfume of Radha, this otherworldly tradition of bhakti marg.
    Mangal Das took us to sacred places we could not have imagined in a dream, all the places where Krishna sports in Vraj to this day. To my knowledge we were the first Westeners to be introduced to this world like this, one step on the dusty paths at a time, drinking in the naturalness and brilliant humility of the great heart of India.
    Doctorji implanted a fierce bhakti in our hearts as he told us stories while his eyes seemed to pop out of his round bald head in the intensity of his feelings. How many nights we spent listening in awe, like two lost boys, who had finally found their way back in from the cold.
    And then, on our common birthday, February 11, we found the feet of Mahrarajji, Krishna and Radha in one, in the form of an old man in a blanket. Words fail me to speak of how we were blessed.
    Shyam Das, my brother, I miss you!
    And to you, so many friends of Shyam Das I’ve never met, I feel you heart in mine. We lost a great love, but as always when that happens, we are called to find the fullness of that love in us. It is that love, after all, that call us to awaken.

  8. Vitthaldas (James Busby) says:

    Shyamdas, Your love for Krishna is so pure, your devotion so sweet, it pierces my heart and brings me to the Presence, the living love. Thank you. I miss you. In that longing is the deeper love you knew so well, the love you wanted us to know. Your brilliant life has called us to love greater still, like the sages and saints words you imbibed and chanted. It may have been difficult for you to leave in the moment, because you loved and cared and nurtured us so beautifully, so tirelessly.
    Don’t worry, you taught us well. The rest is grace.

  9. Chris Griffin says:

    When I met Shyamdas my experience of chanting and bhakti was changed. I only knew him as a friend, I helped arrange some workshops and enjoyed the bhav. But there was something deeper, some way that I knew we were brothers and friends that knew each other well despite barely knowing each other. My life was made better by my association with him. I salute you Shyamdas and send you blessings for your journey

  10. Valerie Carruthers says:

    This was my response to the email from http://www.kirtanorlando.org
    about the sudden passing of Shyamdas:


    So very very sorry to hear the news. My life was infinitely enriched by Shyamdas’ presence, kirtans and teachings during his May 2012 St Augustine visit. It was some of the most ecstatic chanting I have ever experienced. That experience and its memory are even sweeter knowing that I will not see his embodied form again in this lifetime.
    May his journey to the next world be as joyful as his music in this one.

    Aum Namah Shivaya.

    Shanti Aum.

  11. Bob Connolly says:

    The first time I saw Shyamdas, I thought he was kind of crazy. By the second time I saw Shyamdas I thought, “I must have some of this craziness–crazy for Krishna”

  12. Dr.Ken Harris says:

    I first met Shyam while on retreat in Costa Rica at the Blue Spirit retreat center. It was 4am and he just arrived having traveled 36 hrs. From India. I was at the retreat to participate with Deva Premal/Miten In the light of love retreat. I had never seen or heard of Shyamdas so I had no prior experience or knowledge of him or his work as a yogi . I offered to show him where his room was since he had just arrived and was not familiar with the center and I asked him what was his name. He replied Shyamdas and I looked at him and in an irreverent tone said “hey man you look like some Jewish dude from NY to me so what’s your real name? He politely responded “Steven Schaffer from Connecticut! We became instant friends and recognized each other as Soul Brothers. I would go hiking and swimming with him in the mts. Of NY State and we shared some very intimate and precious moments together,I loved him like a true brother . Upon hearing of his sudden departure I became emotionally rendered and tears flowed from my eyes down into my heart opening me to new levels of both grief and joy for having met and known him in this lifetime. How TTHANKFUL I am that our paths have crossed .He has blessed me and many others with his chants and open hearted presence.God bless and God speed Shyam until we meet again in the timelessness of eternity!

  13. Marie Maybury says:

    While riding these waves of tearful sorrow in feeling the void, I’m remembering our dear Shyamdas & imagining what he might say about leaving his body. You just know he’d put it in quick lilting perspective reminding us of the lila of it all, laced with some outlandish endearing eccentric fun.
    One time in my early days at Omega, feeling not a part of, he pulled me into a circle, I’m sure seeing my fearful hesitancy as a novice to this community & assured me that I wasn’t separate from the group or Krishna at all! He guided me to sing it out with him & encouraged me, in that moment, to fully open to the Bhava… in his facile, yet absolute open way. I’m sure he gave that to many…
    His inclusivenees for all moves me endlessly to practice that.
    I came to see that beyond his vast well of knowledge & always surprising kirtans was the initiator of ever more thoughtful projects, who rallied & motivated all the troops into Seva with a fierce yet playful determination.
    When we were at Bhandara last Sept. it was the 1st time I saw him in a much more intimate venue & was more than ever ineffably moved by the deeply sweet sweet utter surrender of his voice & devotion.
    I’ll be forever grateful for his embodied presence & even though we’ll miss him so so very much, may we always feel him in Love & the reverb of his mighty loving spirit in his gifts to us all…
    “I wanna say Radhe, I wanna say Radhe!”
    Radhe Shyam!

  14. rupa raghunath das says:

    Jay Sri Radhe!
    Our relationship with Shyam das ji was not based on kirtan or bhajans, it was based on seva, specifically seva to our brajabasi children and to Giri Govardhan. Shyamdas would have as many “Boatful of Bhajan” as he possibly could and send to us the donations received.
    We would then talk and figure out how to best engage the donations in Braja seva, he was very fond of two things, cleaning drives in Govardhan around the parikrama marg and prasada distribution for our poor Brajabasi children.

    What a fantastic soul, he loved Braja and all that comes with it, he was a great supporter of our Braja seva and would take any opportunity to bring us in the picture, a great ambassador, a great devotee, a great friend. Shyamdasji we miss you dearly.
    On behalf of our thousands of children please accept our dandavats and our wishes for a speedy return to your beloved Radha Krishna.
    Your servant
    rupa raghunath das
    On behalf of Food for Life Vrindavan, we wish to invite you all to a feast in honor of Shyamdas ji that will be served at Sandipani Muni School, Vrindavan on the 13th day after his departure (31st January) at noon time, anyone who has been touched by Shyamdasji is welcomed to come and share with us the joy of having had him in our lives.

  15. Diana Schilke says:

    While traveling in Rishikesh with my friend Krishnabai, she asked me to post this:

    I hear my Beloved Friend  has passed.
    Passed to where?
    Shyamdas is here, alive in my heart
    Laughing, singing-Listen!

  16. Gary Goldberg says:

    I am indeed fortunate to have known Shyamdas. He was a guest on “In The Spirit” radio many times, often from his beloved India. I remember sitting riveted to his Vedanta teachings. He gave classes in Woodstock and I loved going on the Bhagan Boats on the Hudson. Shyamdas created a community of bhaktas. He liked to refer to this area as the Bhajan Belt. In the spring of 2012, he closed my “Spring Kirtan Sacred Chant Festival.” It was his first stop, after arriving in the states from India.

  17. Rachna Jhala says:

    After our brief meeting and introduction in Maharajji’s Vrindavan Ashram and a brief glimpse into your vastness I had hoped life would offer me more opportunities to dip in there. …till the next round I’ll hold on to this wish. Radhe Shyam !

  18. Charisse Crisci says:

    Shyamdas…I bow down to you, such joy, kindness, grace and pure heart. He illuminated the room. So blessed to have shared time with him this past summer at BhaktiFest in Madison. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of his workshop and kirtan. At the end of his workshop many of us stood in line to say thank you and offer a hug. He so humbly said, “this has never happened before.” Om namo bhagavate vasudeva

  19. Arundhati devi says:

    Dear Shyamdas
    I love you. Can’t believe you have just left your body just like that, you who were so full of spirit, so full of bhava and love for Radha and Krsna. I’m so happy I got to sing with you and be in that bhava with you so much over the years. You were such an amazing example of total immersion in Krsna consciousness. I pray that you are united eternally in the loving arms of the Divine Couple. You were already with Them in the body so surely are there in Krsnaloka now, at Their lotus feet. Hare Krsna! Radhe Radhe! My prayers are with you for moving with ease into the eternal spiritual realm, though I’m sure the Lord is holding you in His embrace.

  20. Maxananda says:

    Dear Shyamdas… My Man….My Bro….

    Thank you for your inspiring talks, inspiring bhajans, inspiring life. You will be deeply missed.

    I honor you….Namaste….May you Rest in Bliss…Knowing you, you will probably be Active in Bliss once again.

    Your loving friend.

  21. david fried says:

    sweetest brother of green river, you love your daughter and son so much and my kids so much too.
    reading to us from braja raja, bringing characters to life from brindavan to our farm in vermont, honoring shabbos,living life every moment and showing us how, painting in your driveway by splashing paint and selling these to hotels, honoring everybody, teaching me about Bhagavan Hashem, big enough for everybody, your voice such a voice, singing sholom aleichem for hours at kirtan

    always sending our love and blessings, may your light shine in all the worlds and may your neshama have an aliya………….my sweet sweet friend

  22. pasma sambhava says:

    Ji, your joyous friendship endures like birdsong in the hearts of those you touched. Padma

  23. Jane Kamala says:

    Dear Shyamdus,
    I was grateful having you as my first kirtan experience at Ananda Ashram. I was slightly familiar with chanting from yoga with YogaFlow, but I did not know what to expect. I let go into what was a very magical evening upon me. Feeling connected as I received, learned, laughed from your stories and devotional singing all night long.
    There was something about the Kirtan which was so special. Shyamdus weaved the stories from the ancient trips to India all relating them to living today with words of wisdom, and light hearted action.
    It was so touching and hooked, bought most CDs and even asked him to sign it once. He said, nobody ever asked me that and I felt quite silly but he had so much humility.
    I had wanted to do a hudson boat trip but sadly never did with his presence.
    I noticed he was to appear again this fall at Ananda and I did take the journey on a starry night to the Ashram. Pleasantly surprised it was an even more intimate gathering. I was grateful I took some photos too. My new friend Tara and I shared, can we believe it? it was so beautiful. We felt so fortunate, grateful not only was the Kirtan so lyrical and deep, he was a wise smart teacher.
    I remember him saying each instrument is devoted the the other, not just one leads.. He will be missed forever in my heart and how he touched so many people around the world is a gift and so glad I met him during some beautiful brief kirtans.

  24. Jena Liang says:

    Like a butterfly that never still
    Flying over mystic hills
    Bridging the heart with heaven’s
    Sweetness that’s forever memorable

    I met Shyamdasji on the eve of my 36 birthday at a kirtan.
    As I entered the room I recognized him as the Guruji I’ve been search without knowing who he was, and had never heard him sing.

    I experienced an immense sweetness filled with so much love and devotion that I have never felt before. The sweetness removed all of my worldly pain and longing. I understood then what it means to love Hari and be love by him.

    That same year he inspired to venture into the sacred land of Braj. I was very fortunate to be able to spend time with him at Jatipura while I was there.

    Shyamdasji, I miss you dearly. You meant so much to me and you have inspired to sing and dive deeper into the bhava.

    I am very grateful Hari led me to you.

    Jai Shri Radeeeeeeeee

  25. Brenda McMorrow says:

    Shyamdas was a great teacher, musician and inspiration. As a Kirtan singer myself, I looked to him as one of my teachers. I had the deep honor of co-leading a retreat with him last summer and it was a pivotal time for me. I felt a deepening of my devotion, of my connection with Krishna, my ability to let the divine flow through me in song. I know this was from being in Shyamdas’ presence, learning from and laughing and singing with him. He will live on in my music and in so many ways, through so many souls.

  26. Gaia says:

    You were like an uncle to me. You took care of me as a child, materializing hot pots of broccoli and rice in the middle of a Vermont lake. I remember you painting huge canvases in your garage. I grew up with your children. I never felt my heart so open and so much joy and peace as singing with you and listening to you and watching you interact with people. If I ever had a problem or worry you would say, “Just be in the Bhav.” I adored your Beat Poet lifestyle, your cars full of collections of friends going off on adventures. You inspired me so much with your ability to make jokes out of your life, your situations; by seeing the humor you de-activated the struggle and made it all just part of the game. The last time we communicated you sent me a picture of you and Mr. Dave. I’m so glad you got to see him this summer.
    Two days ago my partner told me “shaf” means “sheep” in German, and “schafer” is shepherd. What an amazingly fitting name you were born into, and fulfilled; it’s almost Biblical. You guided, loved, and herded us towards the Bhav; thank you and may we continue to follow in your loving arms.

  27. Dr. Jeffrey says:

    Shyam, Shyam, Shyam, Shyam,
    My Heart is with you. My Heart is open for you. The beautiful generosity you showed me and all who you came in contact with. How you included all who came around you to share in your special experience of the Bhav. Unbelievable adventures I never could have dreamed of and will never forget. My Heart is broken at your passing. How deep you touched me. I didn’t even know you when I heard Beloved the first time–If you don’t Love sweet Govinda what are you doing with your days–and my Heart broke. From that came the Love of Krishna in his Universal Form revealing himself and the Cosmic joke of “how could it be any other way.” What a mystery you shared with me and your friends. Without you, We are now wayfaring in the Unknown and the Unknowable, Just as we were before you were gone. Radhe! I love you.

  28. Cheryl Dzubak says:

    So sorry for the loss of our Kirtan brother. Although I never attended a kirtan with Shyamdas, I have one of his CD’s as a memory. His memory will live on!

  29. MaLuna says:

    I found you while watching a film on enlightenment and when i saw you and heard you sing….. such warmth filled my heart to a point that I could not stop rewinding the film to see and hear you again and again. You are a blessing to me and your songs and wisdom will live in my heart forever. Bless and Namaste

  30. preeti dasi says:

    Radhe shayam. This is really a very sad news. Shayam das prabju he used to come to our shop. And sped lil times with us. He was really a very nice devotee.

  31. louise landes levi says:

    Shyam Das you sent a message – I knew someone had
    gone but I didn’t know it was you / later that day, I notice
    my Neem karoli/ Hanumanji amulet is missing fr. my
    sarangi, by MIRAcle I find it & reaaatch it – con-
    templating the form of Neem Karoliji –

    That night, here, in remote mts. of Italy, I learn of
    your demise, a message arrives by iphone, but you
    were first, by telepathy, fr. the light realms beyond
    this one,

    Keeper of the Vallabha tirthas, my personal teacher of essence of Mira Bhakti – you taught emptiness in form
    through supreme love,

    namaste Shyam das, brother of BRAJ

  32. Steve Guarino says:

    Thank you Shyam Das for touching my life with your wonderful presence and strong love for all. Although we have only met in passing I feel a strong connection to you through your devotion to sharing yourself with me and everyone through Kirtan… Your memory will be held close to my heart forever.
    Steve Guarino

  33. Annie says:

    I did not have the honor of knowing Shyam Das personally but I experienced his kirtan at Omega ecstatic chant weekends. May his transition be smooth and may we all feel him in our hearts. In commemoration I am listening to Krishna Das chant Govinda Hare Gopala Hare, a chant I often heard Shyam Das sing, and I am listening to Shyam Das chant. It is wonderful to read all the tributes. I wish I had known him personally. Jai Sri Krishna.

  34. Tony J Bosnjak says:

    God Bless you Sir. I just happened to come across a pod cast of you not knowing who you were. Immediately I was mesmorized by your words and who you are. Thank you and I’m sure there are even more wonderful things you are doing now.

  35. Gaura Vani says:


    Where are you now? What do you hear? What do you see? Can you hear the sweet longing sound of Krishna’s flute? Can you hear the sounds of Gopis singing Krishna’s names? Are your feet covered in the dust of Vraj? Do you see the footprints of cowherd boys mingled with those of the calves? And are you now following the footprints of our lord as he takes them to play in the forest of Vrindavan? I wish I was with you there. Please remember us to our sweet Lords Radha and Krishna and please continue to send us your loving blessings that we may continue the work of sharing Hari’s names with the world.

  36. Sacinandana Swami says:

    In loving memory of Syam das

    On the 19th January my Vrindavan friend Syam das left his body in India. When the news came, it struck a chord in me – the world stopped. I was at the Munich Yoga Expo – presenting and fighting back the tears. I realized how much I loved him. Two days later I managed to grab a pen and wrote this down for him.


    “Be in the bhav – be in ecstatic consciousness!”

    I will always remember your kind encouragement, Syam – because I had never seen you not being “in the bhav.”

    The last time when I met you in the middle of December 2012 you showed me what you meant by this exactly. We were roaming through the fields of Vrindavan, which was ablazed in yellow blossom. You walked like a wrestler who had turned into a young boy – firm yet joyful.

    Then you stopped before a mud house bedecked with straw, which stood under some flower bearing trees – a perfectly romantic scene. “What do you think, Swamiji, should we bring Gopal (his Krishna deity) out here and cook the things that he likes?” Then your eyes widened “We could bring cowdung patties for the fire, arrange a fine seat and bring our instruments and sing for him. Next time when you come we must do this. Promise?”

    Then we rambled on lost in the bhav – until we ended up on the roof of an old temple. Our eyes looked towards Govardhan Hill bathed in the rays of the setting sun, and then at each other. “Can I tell you something ecstatic?” – I asked carefully. “Absolutely!” you replied.
    “Lately I have been thinking about who I am” – I said – “I mean the real me beyond the roles and my stuff.” Again your eyes widened – “Do go on, very interesting.”
    “I am too shy to talk about it – let me just sing you a song, it would be best:”

    “Oh Lord Hari – when will the auspicious day come
    When I make a beautiful couch for you
    in a secluded flower cottage near Govardhan Hill
    the best of mountains.
    The serpent of separation from You
    has poisoned my whole body
    and my life is permanently burning.
    Have mercy on me.
    I am suffering within the network of maya.
    When will I attain my spiritual body and
    be ordered by a divine servant:
    “Now quickly go and make arrangements for
    the service of my Lord.”

    Those eyes of yours were sparkling with such an intense fire as only your eyes could. Firm like a wrestler, joyful like a child.

    You must promise – next time when we meet again we must do this! Promise!

    I pray that the day will come. You have gone ahead now but forget me not. We have a common project to fulfill and I made you a promise.

    In loving memory
    Your friend in the bhav
    Sacinandana Swami

    P.S. I miss you soooo much!

  37. Marianne and Randy Sutin says:

    “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
    ? Anne Lamott


    Just look at all the souls your brought to Krishna with your light! You will shine for all of us forever.

    Jai Sri Radhe!

  38. Andrei says:

    Sri Shyam Das-ji, beloved brother, friend and inspiration. We met on the banks of Ma Ganga just over a year ago while you were striding down the ghats, bare chested and ready for your sunset dip. Later your words, Bhajan, playfulness, wisdom and humor created such leela and joy for us, Miten, Deva, Manose, Vraj Devi and your sweet guru bhais from Braj. How enchanting those hours sitting in the sand, Ma Ganga lapping at our feet hearing your wisdom flow like the river. You are the river in all she is, in all her forms and in our hearts. Thank you, thank you for sharing so beautifully, so generously your beloved’s gifts. You are in our hearts….All is Bliss…………. Radhe Shyam

  39. Satyaraja Dasa (Steven Rosen) says:

    I love reading these outpourings of affection for you, for you so richly deserve them. You were a prince among Vaishnavas, with qualities ranging from scholarly acumen, to scriptural expertise, to kirtan proficiency, to comedy, to divine eccentricity, to bhava. Remembrances such as these make me miss our time together all the more, and you have only just left! I feel your absence deeply.

    But even while I lament, I hear your words: A Vaishnava is equipoised in happiness and distress. Death is always around the corner. As Krishna tells us, “For those who are born, death is certain.” (Gita 2.27) And we know: kamala-dala-jala, jivana talamala — “life is tottering like a drop of water on a lotus petal.”

    And yet your very life and teachings remind us that the soul is eternal, that there is nothing lamentable in staying or going. As Gita (2.20) also informs us: “For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. Nor having once been, does she ever cease to be. She is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. She is not slain when the body is slain.” What really matters is how one lives their life. And you lived like the Vaishnava you are — always ready to help others in distress, especially spiritually, by sharing Krishna’s name, your down home humor, and the sound vibrations of Braj.

    Still, I can’t help but lament your loss. In the Mahabharata, too, we hear of unfortunate deaths and of heroes who die untimely. “Surely,” Subhadra says, upon hearing of the death of her son, “the course of destiny is difficult to comprehend, even for those who are wise. This is proven by the fact that you, who was protected by Krishna Himself, were killed in battle as if no one were watching over you.” (Mahabharata 7.55.19) One of the great mysteries of life, to be sure.

    In any case, I will miss your presence, as will many others. I know, I know, as we discussed many times: “We just don’t see the whole picture! Only Bhagavan Sri Krishna has any real perspective on ultimate reality.” And, truth be told, I can see why He would call you to other regions to engage in seva. There is much need for you in other parts of the cosmos. There may even be a bhajan boat crossing some river in a far off galaxy in need of a kirtan leader. Or perhaps He was anxious to bring you to Him, to sing for Him, or to be a lovely creeper at His lotus feet. Wherever you are, you permeate my thoughts, and there you will remain, too, for a long time to come . . .

  40. Kusha devi dasi says:

    My Shyama dasa, my brother, my friend, my teacher, my Dear Shyam dasa! I could not believe my ears, my heart could not bare the news! I know you are dancing to the tune of Krishna’s flute, charming all that come across your path. We will miss you forever, thank you for teaching us Thakurji Seva! You will forever hold a special place in our hearts and lives! Thank you for everything, you made EVERYONE feel special seeing your Thakurji in everyone. I wonder where your Thakurji is and who will be looking after Him! I hope to see you soon! I can’t bare any other news except that again we will hear your song and mirthful news of Rasakhan’s poetry. You are loved, your are missed, my dear brother.

  41. Joanna Feinberg says:

    How precious are your last words to me, from 5 days before you left us. You wrote:

    “The main thing is to remember Hari
    and see the lila in the world.
    to remain humble and long for the right thing.
    the rest is grace.”

    All you ever did was to inspire all those in contact with you to move closer to our Beloved Shree Radhe Shyam and you did one other thing: you celebrated your human life and the life of each person around you. In your presence I always felt as if I truly am a fraction of God.

    I am heart broken that I will not be playing with you again in this world. I deeply grieve the end of your manifestation of Hari’s great, joyous, brilliant, intelligent kind, loving, caring, playful, generous, graceful qualities. However, your example of constant focus on that other Divine sphere, inspires me to know that I will play with you again at some time in the future, there in that Divine world with our Radha and Krishna. Even in these tidal waves of shock, tears and pain, I can look forward to that.

    I love you, my friend, brother, teacher but not half as much as you loved your Divine Beloved. I will take my memories of you, your chantings and writings, my other sources of inspiration and the time that I have left on this earth and I will use them to come closer to Shree Krishna. I will learn to love and serve Him as much as you have and even more! That would make you smile and laugh and come up with some down-to-earth remark! I will hold dearly to your words:

    “The main thing is to remember Hari
    and see the lila in the world.
    to remain humble and long for the right thing.
    the rest is grace.”

  42. David Hollander says:

    Thank you so much dear Shyamdas for the journey into the bhava. We met at Ananda Ashram some ten years or so ago. You inspired me, taught me, became my friend and gave beautiful darshan at my home in the very spot I practice yoga every day.
    The weeks I spent with you in Nathdwara and Vindavan are precious moments I will treasure forever. You brought me to the Yamuna river to receive mantra initiation and to many sacred and secret places. As with so many , you helped me feel close to the divine. Every time the sacred names pass my lips I will remember your precious gifts. We all love you !! Jai Sri Krishna!

  43. Chandramauli says:

    Sweet Maharaji

    Thank you for your blessings and love. You will always live in my heart just as surely as you have brought the Divine into all of our lives with your footsteps.

    Jai Jai Radhe Shyam !

  44. sita says:

    Radhe Shyam. Midnight Shyam. The Ambassador of Bhav.
    The Ding Wallah. Bhav Booster. The one who brings Funananda.
    “You get brighter every day and every time I see you. Scattered brightness in your way, and you taught me how to love you.And I know you belong to everybody but you can’t deny that I’m you. I know you belong to everybody but you can’t deny that I’m you. Krishna colors on the wall, you taught me how to love you. Krishna colors on the wall, you taught me how to love you.
    Dear teacher and lila companion,
    Thank you for bringing such joy and bhav into my life and into the world. We are now all missing you in your precious form: your smile, your walk, your laugh, your sound…but you will live forever in our hearts. So many are sad by the departure of your body. I want to still sit next to you, and talk about the Gita, and frolick in the waters of the beach, and walk through fields to see sadhus and temples, and take you to see a Prince concert. I want to sing with you and make you popcorn, sabji, and “Shyam bread” with tomato. Cooking for you was one of the many blessings you gave to me. I felt your love for me to be strong and pure. The sadness is overwhelming me. I think that I may cry a river of tears in my attempts to let you go. You will live on in me. Everywhere you exist. Through your departure, your merger with the beloved, your journey to the final abode, you are still teaching me. I will miss you so much. You are irreplaceable. There seems now to be a void without you walking the Earth, and yet too you are everywhere, always with me. Please watch over me and help me to be the best teacher, and student, and wife, and sister, and friend, and stranger, and of course, to ALWAYS be In The Bhav. I’ll be Workin my way back to you dev. With a burning love inside. We are left like gopis, longing for your presence. The rest is grace.
    I love you Shyamdasji. Jai Shri Krishna.
    Your devoted student, andrea.

  45. Shawn M Flot says:

    In tears for how he touched me in our brief encounter in Telluride last summer, and tears for his joyous return home. Hari OM!

  46. Angira Muni das says:

    Dear Shyamji, you are such a loving Vaishnava… the ways of the Absolute lover are so mysterious, incompressible, and his love impatient, you were in vrindavan, not in goa, vrindavan is a kingdom with no borders with no doors or locks, which manifest through sound in this planet and live in the heart of loving sadhus like you, we join you in prayer and love, my soul hug to you, we will miss you, yours, angira muni das

  47. Rob Sidon says:

    Onwards and Upwards, dear Brother.
    Your laughter will echo in the desserts of Joshua Tree, but the Bhaktifest won’t be quite the same without your form, which has merged in Hari..
    Jai Radhe

  48. michael says:

    You were there for a long time before we were put together and then you left. The energy that it took to keep that body is now shared among many. Thank you.

  49. Govindadasi says:

    Dear Devotees, friends, and Gurubhai, and anyone else who is feeling extreme grief and separation from our dear Shyamdas,

    Today I called India and spoke with Sri Pujyapad, Jiji, Indira Betiji Goswami, one of Shyamdas’ many wellwishers in the exalted Vallabhakul.

    Jiji told me “We must not grieve; we must do something for him, we must offer something to him. Our relationship is with the spirit, not just with the body. You know the body will die but the soul goes onward.”

    “Shyamdas was a divine soul; he wrote so many books, translated so many writings of Sri Valllabhacharya. So we must offer something to him.”

    I asked how this should be done.

    Jiji said, “You sit down quietly, close your eyes, and pray to Krishna, and remember your Thakurji within your mind. You don’t go anywhere or ask anybody. You quietly ask Krishna within your mind, alone with Him, what can I do, what can I offer to Shyamdas?”

    “Then He will guide you, He will let you know what you can do, and this will stop the grieving. Grieving for them is not good; we must do something for them. We must offer something to him, something which is directed by our Thakurji.”

    Following her instructions, I came to my own realizations of what I can offer to him, and it has eased some of the pain of my grief.

    So I am sharing this with you, the many devotees who also love and miss Shyamdas, with all your heart and soul. Perhaps it may be of some service to those of you who are also shedding waterfalls of tears.

    Yours in seva, Govinda dasi


Brahma cannot even follow Krishna’s Gopa cow lads, for they are not a subject of his Vedas. Omniscient Krishna knows all about their wanderings; He sees exactly what they are up to and protects their divine senses. The Vrindavan lila arises in a sphere beyond Brahma’s grasp and jurisdiction. Shiva, Brahma, and Indra reign over past, present, and future as well as over morning, midday, and afternoon, but what can they understand the Sri Krishna’s lila, as it occurs during immeasurable time? Even Mother Yashoda, the best of women, cannot fathom it. — transl. by Shyamdas, Ecstatic Couplets