Gopiparanadhana Dasa, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and a leading Sanskrit scholar in ISKCON, passed away at his home in the sacred village of Govardhan, India, at 8:00am on September 15 2011.
Born in 1950 in New York City, Gopiparanadhana received his B.A. in linguistics from Columbia University in 1972 and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1973. Under Srila Prabhupada's guidance he developed an expertise in Sanskrit and served as an editor for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT).
After Srila Prabhupada's passing, Gopiparanadhana helped complete Prabhupada's work on the Srimad-Bhagavatam, as well as work Prabhupada had done on Mukunda-mala-stotra.
His crowning achievement in this field may have been his translation of the three-volume Brihad-Bhagavatamrita by Sanatana Goswami, in which we follow the devotee Gopa Kumara on his epic journey to Krishna’s abode of Goloka Vrindavana, as he reaches higher and higher levels of love for the Lord.
Although he was afflicted with severe asthma since childhood, he continued to translate Gaudiya Vaishnava literature from Sanskrit, notably Sanatana Goswami's Krishna-lila-stava (
In 2005, Gopiparanadhana established the Srimad-Bhagavat Vidyapitham, a Sanskrit Language school backed by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT). Here he trained prospective Sanskrit translators and editors for the BBT. Besides teaching his students Sanskrit grammar, spoken Sanskrit, and Kavi Karnapura’s science of poetry, most importantly he trained them to develop high levels of bhakti and brahminical qualities.
Although he travelled around the world somewhat to teach Krishna consciousness, he spent most of his time in his later years at Govardhana with his wife, his son, and their two cows.
He lived in a very simple dwelling in Govardhan with his wife Arca-murti mataji and son Gaura Mohan.
At the time of his passing, Gopiparanadhana had just returned from Indradyumna Swami’s festival tour in Poland, and had been scheduled to leave for China in two days. But in the interim, he had returned to Govardhana. Krishna arranged for him to leave his body in this sacred town. It’s no surprise that Gopiparanadhana should have such an auspicious passing, for his devotion and service in the Hare Krishna movement was truly exemplary.
Vaishnavas around the world mourn the loss of this great soul who passed from this world in Krishna's land and is surely continuing on under Krishna's protection.
As disclosed in his will,Gopiparanadhana Dasa’s ashes are placed in Samadhi at the foot of Govardhana Hill, right across from ISKCON Govardhana and next to the Pushpa Samadhi of his Godbrother Padmalochan Dasa.
Perhaps the greatest hint as to Gopiparanadhana’s personal conduct, nature and inner spiritual focus comes from a framed picture that he kept on his desk in those later days. It read: “Do not hear from the mouths of persons lacking proper conduct. If your conduct is below par, you should not publicly preach about the Lord. Close the door and preach to yourself. Bhajan really begins when one’s outside and inside are the same.”