5th January 1948 – 22nd June 2023
Born in Bristol, England, as the country was shakily recovering from the Second World War, 26 year-old Alec Butland joined the Hare Krishna movement in its infancy in Britain, becoming a disciple of Srila Prabhupada in March, 1975 and receiving the name Anandamoya Das. He had been a singer and drummer in a popular musical group before becoming a devotee, and enthusiastically took to kirtan.
But his real lifelong love was the distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books, a service he performed throughout his life until just months before his passing from kidney failure at the age of 75.
Anandamoya’s home was Bhaktivedanta Manor, and he was one of the pioneers of travelling sankirtan, taking the teachings of Krishna from London throughout the country and beyond – to Ireland and even the Isle of Man. He became the leader of a sankirtan party, travelling out in, first of all, a hired Ford Transit van then a bright yellow postal van converted into a mobile ashram.
Compassion was Anandamoya’s strength, and many times he would refuse to stop distributing books at the end of the day, jumping out of the van when he spied a troubled soul at a traffic light or a petrol station. Those who travelled with always said that he looked after them well, and was an affectionate guardian of their spiritual life.
His funeral was attended by dozens of friends, family and devotees of Krishna, a group of whom went afterwards to sing the Hare Krishna mantra for an hour at the spot in the city where their godbrother used to sell books.