Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Remembering Prana Das
By ISKCON News   |  Jan 08, 2024
nw

Prana Das with his wife Candrakoti Dev Dasi in 2019.

Beloved devotee and educator Prana Das departed on January 6th in Sri Vrindavan Dham at the Bhaktivedanta Hospice after spending several months visiting the Holy Dhams with his dedicated wife, Candrakoti Devi Dasi.

He was born and raised in Melbourne in a devout Irish-Catholic family with eleven siblings. “Growing up in a large family prepared me for the ISKCON family ashram life,” said Prana Das in an August interview with Amal Gaursundar Das from ISKCON Melbourne.

Prana joined ISKCON in the 1980s while he was a student at the University of Melbourne, where devotees led the second largest club on campus, a vegetarian club. Kurma Das, the well-known chef and author, was part of the outreach to students at the time. Remembering that time, Kurma said, “We spent many years serving through thick and thin in Melbourne Mahaprabhu Mandir. It is our great loss, but I am sure he is being welcomed in the Eternal Abode of Sri Vrindavana with great love.”

Prana was pursuing Indian Studies at the university, learning Sanskrit, and taking cooking courses with Kurma. He soon joined the Brahmachari ashram and continued his studies, completing his bachelor’s degree in Indian Studies and Sanskrit and further pursuing a diploma in Education. Soon after, he began teaching at a gurukul in Australia.

After several years of serving, he earned a Master’s degree in Education and worked on an international education project in the US, helping to develop a Krishna-Conscious curriculum, going on to serve in more schools in India and New Zealand. 

Prana was a champion for child protection, battling to end abuse by challenging unhealthy values and norms. His former students dearly love him for his calmness, personalism and care. “While I was never on the school staff, I always appreciated Prana’s sattvic nature, preaching mood, and Krishna consciousness,” said Atmananda Dasa. “We worked together to establish a personal, cooperative/collaborative, and interdependent standard of devotee relationships and management.”

For over ten years, Prana was the principal of the Hare Krishna School in Auckland, New Zealand. During that time, he was also instrumental in building the congregation. He performed the weddings for many devotees along with many other samskaras and home programs. He also loved to participate in festivals, chanting mantras, organizing special abhisheks, and performing candle-lit mangal aratis with towering ghee lamps.

“He married a wonderful Melbourne devotee named Candrakoti Devi Dasi, who helped Prana in so many ways, especially in his academic aspirations,” said Bhakta Das, “Recently, he and Candrakoti moved to the Western suburbs of Melbourne and assisted in trying to establish a Krishna Conscious school for devotee children as well as the broader community. That project is still ongoing, and hopefully, it will be achieved in the near future.”

Abhidheya Devi Dasi, Founder of Bhakti Kids Sangha summed up some of his many services, ‘He wrote countless curriculums, built an award-winning online learning platform called Bhakti Learning, digitized mother [Urmila Devi Dasi’s] Learning to Read series, started schools, trained teachers, produced high-quality learning tools, books, flashcards and published the only high-quality Krishna conscious children’s Sanskrit books ever produced.” He discusses many of these initiatives recently in an interview with Abhidheya here,

The Bhakti Learning portal was a significant project he had developed over the last five years. It is an online interactive curriculum content created with a state-of-the-art learning management system that has welcomed nearly 1,000 students onto the platform. 

Quoting Srila Prabhupada in the August interview, Prana noted, “The purpose of education is to always think of Krishna.” To always think of and worship Krishna “trains our consciousness to be fit, to be ready to take the next step from this body.” He continued, “If we do that…we become eligible to enter into the eternal abode of the Lord…Now is the time to do our bhakti, and that will prepare us for the final test.” See below for additional offerings.

An Offering from Bhakta Das

 “His Grace Prana Prabhu, was a dear friend for many years, although we were never very close as he was a very reserved and introspective person. He came from a Catholic family, as did I, so I could easily relate to him. Above all else, Prana was a sincere gentleman to all.

I remember him when he first came to Melbourne Temple and our Gopal’s restaurant in the city as a University student. When he committed to becoming an initiated devotee, he very quickly developed all the good qualities of a Vaisnava. 

He was very studious and had a natural attraction for Srila Prabhupada’s books, a surrendered soul who would do any service asked of him without argument. One of his first Temple services was to assist at the newly developed Gurukula, which was established at our farming community in Bambra Victoria. 

He was a very much-loved teacher of the Hare Krishna children that attended that Gurukula, our daughter and son being amongst them. Our daughter Cintamani, in her adult years, always remembered her much-loved teacher, Prana Prabhu, very affectionately. 

If I remember correctly, after our Gurukula closed, Prana Prabhu went on to study Sanskrit at Monash University. My wife and I lost touch with him for some time here in Melbourne as he travelled and rendered devotional service in New Zealand and other parts of the world, always in the capacity of devotional education.

With his impending death due to cancer, Prana Prabhu’s Bhagavatam classes and preaching engagements were devotionally enthralling: so much realisation, deep spiritual understanding, and genuine empathy and generosity. 

Our community will miss this amazing devotee and pray that he will be remembered for a long time to come. Although he will be missed, there is no doubt that he is now with his beloved Lord Krishna.

We offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Her Grace Candrakoti Prabhu and to his stepson Mahavan & his wife, as well as his large family and numerous friends all over the world.

Jaya Prana Prabhu!!

2009 Rathayatra in Auckland.

Remembering Prana Prabhu by Rasamandala Das

I was mortified to learn of Prana Prabhu’s passing, and was overwhelmed with fond memories of our many (but too few) encounters. I must embrace the ice-cold realities of not seeing him again, at least in this lifetime. How can one put such sentiment into words? I can only try.

Prana was a scholar and a gentleman, one with whom Krishna consciousness sat so naturally, so easily, without pretence or posture (though he recognised the realities of addressing personal shortfalls). Most conspicuously – perhaps, “inconspicuously ” – he was modest and unassuming; at the same time, learned and insightful.

I especially remain in awe at how, in Auckland, he related to the pupils in his primary school. He moved fluidly and effortlessly in their midst, conversing with them as real people, as tiny soon-to-be adults, in whose thoughts, feelings, and judgments he recognised intrinsic worth. In short, in an educational world buried by a glut of standards, targets, and remote examiners, he embodied the centrality of the teacher-child relationship. I pray that present and future educationalists – so central to ISKCON’s anticipated success – might emulate his fine example.

Pondering over my own swirling memories of Prana, my solace lies in the thought of again delighting in his company. I must strive to become like him, i.e., an example of virtue and Krishna consciousness. I can only imagine the heart-wrenching separation felt by his good wife, Srimati Chandrakoti Prabhu, and his other dear ones. Our warmest thoughts go out to them.

Remembrances from Dharma-setu Dasa, Principal, Hare Krishna School Auckland, NZ

Dear friends of Prana Prabhu. Dandavat pranams. Jaya Srila Prabhupada! One of the qualities I appreciated most about Prana Prabhu was his ability to value people and give them time. He was busy in devotional service, but he put people first, he was a good listener. Prana was not a flashy extravagant person; he liked things simple and clean. I lived opposite his office at the Hare Krishna School for a while. He used to come out at the end of the day and wipe his car windows clean. It was an old car, nothing flashy, but he kept it clean. I liked that about him; he valued the resources Krishna had provided and kept them clean.

He was practical. Once I saw him operating a road hammer to flatten the stones on the school car park. I didn’t recognise him. He was willing to do the needful in Krishna’s service. He liked to do yajna, puja, srngara, abhisek, cook nice sandesh sweets, sing bhajans and kirtan. He would give insightful, relevant, sastra-based classes. He was a serious sadhak. His sattvic nature was evident in his behaviour and kind dealings with others. He was opinionated, critically intelligent, judgmental, but not confrontational. I didn’t see malice. I didn’t see any malice even towards those whom he was disappointed or disagreed with. He maintained relationships. He shared some of his learning and experience with me. I’m grateful for the time I had with him. He was instrumental in shaping the direction of my devotional service and was very encouraging and supportive.

It is wonderful to see how many devotees he inspired. His good friend Trivikram Das says he was a contemporary saintly person. I agree. His contribution to children’s education in ISKCON is substantial. He was the first devotee in ISKCON to successfully establish a state-integrated Krishna conscious school (Hare Krishna School Auckland, NZ). He created a values-based curriculum for the school and developed a school curriculum that integrated sastra-based learning with the state curriculum. He worked tirelessly to establish and develop the Hare Krishna School to be a vibrant part of the ISKCON Auckland community. His work in developing the Hare Krishna School led to his being able to make meaningful contributions to educational initiatives across the ISKCON world. His deep faith and learning in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, his Krishna conscious pedagogical understanding, and impeccable personal character were exemplary. I think about him most days and will for the rest of mine. He was a friend and a guide. I miss him.

More Topic
en_USEnglish