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The following article is based on an interview with Pujyapad Damodar Maharaj, who served as the Math in Charge for Imlitala for 28 years. At 85 years of age this humble and sweet devotee is passing his last days in Yamuna Kunja, right next to Imlitala, on the banks of the holy river Yamuna.

Maharaja, can you tell us something about your life history?
It was maybe 50 years ago that I joined Gaudiya Math. Before that I served in the Indian army from 1939 to 1946, as we were fighting for the British in World War two at that time. Then during the 1950’s I became an ascetic. My Gurudeva was Bhakti Suhrit Akincana Maharaja, who was a disciple of Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaja. First I stayed in Gaur Nityananda Gaudiya Math in Mayapura, and after that in Mathura. After we aquired the Imlitala place I came there.

In the beginning the area around Imlitala was covered with bushes and wild vegetation. The Yamuna was still very wide and close at that time. Also the parikrama marg was very small and covered with vegetation. During that time we used to maintain the Imlitala Math from donations that came from our Delhi Math. For many years I did all the seva: the cooking, the puja, the kirtan and the cleaning. At that time we required 6000 rupees per month for naintaining the whole math.

What advice do you have for devotees that come to Vrindavana?
For advice you have to go to a real Vaishnava. All I can say that realisation will come gradually. It is important not to pay much attention to apparent bad things that are happening in the dham. All things in this material world are temporary. Right now my body functions are leaving me, physically all goes down. But in Vrindavan we should always remember our spiritual origin. Then we don’t suffer. We should remember that all is happening according to Krishna’s desire. Then there will be peace. Keep Krishna always in the center. Then you will never suffer.

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