New Vrindaban Devotee Vahna Left His Body

For the old time New Vrindaban devotees who remember him, Vahna has left his  body.  We were notified 7/24/13 it may have been the 23rd. There will be a memorial service in about two weeks, details forthcoming.

He was 68 years old. He was preceded in leaving the planet by his father and his second wife Hladini. He is survived by his first wife Visvadhika, his son Rich (Sarthi)  and two grandchildren.

He ran a poetry magazine at the end of the beat era and was the original publisher of some of Allan Gingsberg’s poetry, that was the crowd he rolled with. He  was a poet himself and wrote hundreds if not thousands of poems.  He has a book of poetry available from Amazon.con, The blind receptionist and other poems.

He moved to New Vrindaban in the early 1970?s (that was before my time (1973)  so someone correct me if it was earlier) and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada.  He built the house across the road from the Madhuban temple and was married to Hladini  who lived with him there where she  was the pujari  at that time. His father was an early supporter of New Vrindaban.

He was a brilliant tortured soul who struggled with alcohol for most of his life. This caused him to avoid the direct association of devotees of whom he always spoke well and respected. As his son is going through his affects, he discovered a medical diagnosis that Vahna was schizophrenic and had some bipolar issues.

As his son said, he dealt with it by writing poetry, and had a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a bead bag in the other.  When he was at the funeral home making the arrangements for cremation, the director asked him if he wore any jewelry. He told him he always had his bead bag.  They looked and found his hand in his bead bag.

When he wasn’t drinking, and he would have periods where he could keep it together months or even years at a time as  in his early days at New Vrindaban, he was the sweetest person, who was always interesting to talk to.

To newer devotes all they would know of Vahna is seeing him walking from his house in Talaban to the Limestone General Store. Although he was walking there to get his booze, he had his hand in his bead bag as he walked.

He continued to live in New Vrindaban in Talaban until his passing. Once when Srila Prabhupada was here he told the devotees to just stay in New Vrindaban no matter what. While Vahna may have had his struggles, he did obey that instruction.  He also never deviated from the instruction to chant Hare Krishna.

Some Remembrances

Hari Sauri’s diary: New Vrindaban, West Virginia 07-02-1976

After a quiet day Srila Prabhupada was driven in the late afternoon to the Pittsburgh airport to embark on the next stage of his tour. Before we left we brought Vahna dasa, the owner of the house, in for a very brief darsana with Srila Prabhupada. To his credit, he was reluctant to come before his spiritual master because he has not been following the principles for quite some time.

Prabhupada appreciated his embarrassment and also his willingness to make his house available for his stay. He thanked him and gave him a garland and a few words of encouragement.


I have just found out about Vahna Prabhu’s passing. It came as quite a surprise. I am quite sure Hladini was with him in any way she could be to assist him in that most important of transitions. She always spoke of how earnestly and intently he desired spiritual life even in the face of all his conditional obstacles. She would sometimes say to see someone’s false ego was to see only what they are not, not what or who they truly are.

My condolences to all his friends and family.  From an aspiring servant .


I think he was at first called Tulsi Bob because he took care of Tulsi (1973 or so?) for a brief time.

Information and Links

Join the fray by commenting, tracking what others have to say, or linking to it from your blog.

Reader Comments

Sorry, comments are closed.