A Tribute to Bhokta from Sankirtan das


Recently we had the sad news that  a long time devotee of New Vrindavan passed away, named Bhokta, aka Robert Bauer.  One little-known fact about Bhokta is that he often liked to write haikus, and he managed  a haiku blog as a creative outlet.

Sankirtana’s letter:

About a week before Bhokta passed away I had sent him this appreciation, which as a way of remembrance I’d like to share with all of you. – Sankirtana

Dear Bhokta

We want to thank you for bringing us to New Vindavan. We flew into Pittsburgh on the eve of Gaura Purnima in 1976. We had been at the Chicago temple for three years before that when we decided to move here. We heard that whatever you undertake for Gaura Purnima turns out successfully, and so we thought it would be a good time to arrive here knowing how hard it was to make it in NV back then. March weather then wasn’t like it is now. March was pretty austere and cold back in the 70’s. The president in Chicago gave his permission for us to make the move but was sad to see us go. Then a couple of days later when he told us that New Vrindavan was under quarantine and no one could go in or out, we thought he was joking. Later that day we heard it on the national news. But we came anyways.

So Bhokta, you picked us up at the Pittsburgh temple and brought us on the back road since the road coming in at 250 was blocked by the police 24 hours a day. It was late at night and practically pitch black and we drove what seemed to be an endless, winding road. During the trip the three of us were absorbed in chanting. Our two young children were asleep. And as we got closer we could feel the energy of the holy dham getting stronger by the minute. We’ll never forget that drive and we want to thank you for delivering us safely to New Vrindavan.

Bhokta, we also want to thank you for your mild mannered approach to things. We’re really impressed with the attention to detail that you put into the things you do (anywhere from cooking to carpentry), and also on the simplicity and succinctness of your poetry. I think I’ll put that into a poem (haiku?) for you:

bhokta’s simplicity

attention to detail

from cooking to carpentry

And we want to thank you for all the selfless service you’ve performed to the community and to Srila Prabhupada over the years, and  which, I guess, has been your poem-in-progress to Srila Prabhupada.

With love,     Sankirtan & Ruc

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Reader Comments

Bhokta prabhu was a wonderful and gentle devotee and person. During my years of SKP leader at NV I had the opportunity to interact with him many times. Bhokta was the go to man if there was anything you needed to help with your service. He did this for every department at NV and he was expert at it. For me he was a God send as he made my difficult service of keeping from 30 to 50 devotees out on the road collecting to help build NV much more tolerable. He always had a smile on his face and was so mellow. I don’t know all the details but he and his wife were kidnapped by deprogrammers at one point. After some time they returned to NV and continued their service like nothing had happened. He told me that they convinced them that they were born again and through with the Krishna’s then at the first opportunity they escaped and came back to Krishna. Thanks Bhokta prabhu for your wonderful service to Srila Prabhupada and the devotees.
Your servant,
Dharmatma das

I am both elated and sad to hear of the passing of my good friend Bhokta prabhu. Elated because he is undoubtedly continuing to serve the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and simultaneously sad that I no longer have his good association. We served together at the warehouse in NV for several years with great delight. He was undaunting in his determination to serve Srila Prabhupada and he helped me immensely in my devotional life and therefore I will miss him dearly. I wish all the best to his wonderful children. Har bol my old friend and thank you for everything.
Your humble servant,