11 May 1985 – 17 Jul 2021
In a simultaneous mood of great sadness and great inspiration, the Bhaktivedanta Manor community remembers, glorifies and honours the passing of one of our finest Brahmacharis, His Grace Janakinath Das Brahmachari (or ‘Janakinath’ as he was affectionately called).
Known for his quick mind and boundless energy, Janakinath was many things to many people. He was an intrepid risk taker who constantly raised the bar in how to communicate spiritual teachings to people. He helped to conceptualise and start some of our most famous courses at the Manor. He had an uncanny knack for negotiation, resolving disputes and was a warm, loving mentor, confidante, and friend to many.
Born on 11th May 1985 to a Gujarati family in West London, Janakinath was always a dynamic and idealistic individual from the word go. From a young age he was interested in environmentalism and wanted to see the world.
After graduating from King’s College in 2007 with a first in Telecommunications, Janakinath joined up with the Hare Krishna festival team and took a year out to go backpacking and spread spiritual knowledge in Zanzibar, Congo, Kenya and Rwanda. In his travels he got arrested in the Congo, mediated between various opposing groups and came across war-torn areas where he got involved in volunteering work, providing street kids with food, shelter and education.
Janakinath dabbled a little in the professional world when he got involved in managing various marketing projects for the Cannes Film Festival and the Harley Hamburg Festival. But it wasn’t enough, providence was guiding him to go to India, much to the consternation of his family and loved ones. In India, he got involved with a Hare Krishna organic farm for 6 months and learnt about self-sustainability. He loved it so much that he extended his stay and spent a further 18 months in one of India’s leading Hare Krishna temples learning about Krishna consciousness.
This eventually inspired him to come back to England and become a full time Brahmachari at the Manor. He subsequently got involved in university and prison programs, teaching courses and many other services. But what made the quality of his service so special was the deep sense of care he gave to people. He did not seem to have any self-interest or motivation. He was always just focused on others welfare and happiness and nor did he get affected by the adversities of life. He took everything joyfully in his stride. His personal mood and affable demeanour was infectious and endeared him to all. He was also a self-taught magician and if you were lucky to have him as one of your teachers, you would get professional standard magic tricks in your lessons!!
In recent years Janakinath contracted and fought a long, hard battle with cancer. His chemotherapy and such treatments were not an easy experience. But throughout it all, he maintained his wonderful attitude. He would be the one comforting others who felt devastated at his condition. His experience with cancer made him share Krishna consciousness to a whole new stratum of people. From fellow cancer patients, to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, he simply saw his condition as another opportunity to reach out to others and help them to experience real love with Krishna.
Whilst in this condition, he set up cancer retreats at the Manor, delivered a famous Ted Ex talk and delivered numerous seminars on leading a spiritually nourishing lifestyle. In his last few years, he would often meditate on death but not in a morbid way but more in a mood of how to enhance the quality of life. He was a master storyteller and everyone who came in contact with him ended up loving him. He would often talk about he would like to ‘die on the battlefield’, giving Krishna consciousness to others till his last breath, in the spirit of Srila Prabhupada or Bheeshma Dev.
This is exactly what he did. On the night of Saturday 17th July 2021, as he was taken in for a transfusion at the hospital, he was encouraging his Doctors and nurses giving them spiritual solace, as they were in tears trying to keep him here. One of the Doctors even got to see one of his famous talks and was deeply impacted by it and enquiring from him about the value of association. He preached till his last breath and died that night in hospital with a beautiful smile on his face.
The Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple Community will deeply miss him, will always treasure his memory and strive to fulfil his wishes to spread the priceless teachings of Srila Prabhupada far and wide in society. He is survived by his family members, his Brahmachari brothers, his legacy and legions of his well wishers across the world.
By: Niskinchana Krishna das