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

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Rupa Vilasa Dasa Continues to Chronicle the Legacy of our Vaishnava Acharyas
By Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Jun 01, 2024

Rupa Vilasa Dasa has dedicated his life to preserving and disseminating the rich heritage of our Vaishnava acharyas through his devotional biographies. Recently, he spoke with ISKCON News about his latest offering.

At the heart of Rupa Vilasa’s service lies a deep reverence for the Vaishnava acharyas, whose timeless wisdom continues to guide and illuminate the path of Krishna consciousness for millions. Through his extensive research and insightful writing, he has meticulously chronicled the lives and teachings of these illustrious personalities, offering devotees a glimpse into their spirituality and devotion.

Speaking of this unique service, born out of his personal journey marked by spiritual seeking and introspection, Rupa Vilasa said, “I think it’s a wonderful experience to be able to associate with these great personalities. They present their timeless messages for our benefit, and to have their company is a wonderful experience.”

His upcoming book on Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura: The Seventh Goswami will be published later this year by the BBT. It promises to offer readers a comprehensive exploration of his life and teachings, drawing from extensive research and inspiration. Reflecting on the significance of this forthcoming publication, Rupa Vilasa stated, “This book is a compilation of everything that I’ve been able to find out during my years of research and study about this great acharya.”

However, Rupa Vilasa’s literary contributions extend far beyond a single volume. His recently published volume, Babaji Maharaja, has been expanded with new insights and previously unrevealed information, offering readers a deeper understanding of the lives and legacies of Srila Gaura Kishore Dasa Babaji and Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharajas. Through research and historical story-telling, Rupa Vilasa brings to light previously unrevealed facets of the two babajis’ lives, teachings, and contributions to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement.

Among his other books that have made significant contributions to Gaudiya Vaishnava and ISKCON history are Babaji Maharaja—Two Beyond Duality, Namacarya—The Life of Srila Haridasa Thakura, and Without Fear—Glimpses of Srila Prabhupada, all of which offer insights into the lives and teachings of the Vaishnava acharyas. His earliest work, A Ray of Vishnu – The Biography of a Shaktyavesh Avatar: Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvate Goswami Maharaj Prabhupada, laid the foundation for his subsequent explorations of Vaishnava history and philosophy.

Amidst his scholarly pursuits, Rupa Vilasa remains realistic by acknowledging the support and guidance of his spiritual mentors and fellow devotees. He emphasizes the importance of their critiques, collaboration, and consultation, stating, “I consult my Godbrothers, Godsisters, and other knowledgeable devotees for their encouragement, insight, and assistance in my writing.”

One particularly poignant anecdote from Rupa Vilasa’s interview highlights his deep reverence for his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. Recounting a memorable encounter with Srila Prabhupada, Rupa Vilasa shared: “Srila Prabhupada gravely asked me, ‘So…you think you’re a guru?’ I had never thought or said that, but Srila Prabhupada’s servant had created the false impression with Srila Prabhupada that I should act like a guru to young students, and now I thought I was one! I had never accepted the servant’s idea in the first place, and it was a serious misunderstanding. Srila Prabhupada gravely instructed me, ‘I am guru. You are the experienced disciple, and you are teaching the inexperienced, but you are not guru. Is it clear!?’… It was clear. This exchange made an indelible impression on me.”

As Rupa Vilasa’s literary canon continues to evolve, he remains steadfast in his commitment to serving ISKCON and spreading the message of Krishna consciousness far and wide. With future endeavors on the horizon, including the exploration of new facets of Vaishnava history and the publication of additional works, Rupa Vilasa continues to try to offer service to the Vaishnavas.

Finally, Rupa Vilasa wanted to express his gratitude to his publisher, Mayapriya Devi Dasi, who has also published many books by his Godbrothers and Godsisters and is doing an important service in this connection: helping devotees with layout, editing, and publishing. You can learn more by visiting her website. For devotees eager to delve into Rupa Vilasa’s writings, these three of his books are available by emailing his publisher or on Amazon through the links below:

Without Fear: Glimpses of Srila Prabhupada Amazon-US, or Amazon-UK.

Babaji Maharaja Amazon-US, or Amazon-UK.

Namacarya Amazon-US or Amazon-UK.

Interested readers can also connect with Rupa Vilasa via email to inquire about obtaining copies of his publications and further exploring Vaishnava acharya history and tradition.