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
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.