February 28, 2017

Remembering Fakir Mohan Prabhu



We received the news of Fakir Mohan Prabhu's departure in November (2016) with heavy hearts. It seemed as though no time had passed since he had sat with us in our library. 

Fakir Mohan Prabhu was a foremost scholar on the life of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and he re-discovered the family Deities of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Sri Radha-Madhava. Read more about this here.

Fakir Mohan Prabhu was a not an exclusive member of a particular group or mission and never initiated any disciples. He was a naistaka (lifelong) brahmachari and intimate friend of many revered Vaisnavas from both ISKCON and Gaudiya Math. He was one out of only 4 initiates of Srila Bhakti Prasad Puri Goswami Maharaj, a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura.


He was born in 1932 at midnight on Janmastami. His best friend from childhood was Srila Gour Govinda Swami, They once made a pact to run away from home and become a sadhus together. After Fakir Mohan Prabhu's parents sent the police after him, they locked him up in a room so he could not escape again. He later convinced his father to donate him to the nearby Gaudiya Math temple when he was aged 12. 


When the temple authorities ordered him to attend school, he was very disappointed because he was only interested in nam-bhajan. Everyone was astounded when he excelled in his studies far beyond the other students. This was the beginning of his life as a devotional scholar and sadhu professor, earning a PhD  in Sanskrit and subsequently taught at several universities in Orissa. He moved seamlessly between Vaisnava and academic circles. He independently published over 35 books, mostly in Oriya language, and traveled all over the world preaching
. 

It is truly a loss from this world to have him depart from our vision, but likely a great delight to those great souls welcoming him to their transcendental place.

Srila Gaur Govinda Swami Maharaj (left) and Fakir Mohan Prabhu (right) in Bhuvenesvar, 1991. (photo courtesy of www.gourgovindaswami.org.)
 Srila Gour Govinda Swami  appreciated Fakir Mohan Prabhu's scholarly research into Vaisnava topics a great deal. He once stated, "no one knows as much about Mahaprabhu as the respected Professor. "