From GAURA VANI
“He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas (devotees) die,
When thou art living still in sound.
A Vaishnava dies to live,
And while living spreads the holy name around.”
FROM SRUTI RAM
My dear brother Shyam das has left this body behind and taken a lighter form in the presence of His beloved Krishna.
We all know how he lived and loved the life he enjoyed.
Last summer I related a story I had about a mutual friend to Shyam. After completing my list of complaints I awaited his advice. He looked at me and smiled and said “Delete”. We both laughed and agreed. I never forgot the manner in which he could cut through the maya and remember what was really important. I use this method till this day.
He always was supportive, kind, generous and loving. It seems impossible to think of anyone else who could give so much to so many.
But he left us with a community of loving souls to cherish and to continue building the Bhava for all to experience.
Now that we have to depend more on each other to continue, we have a responsibility to feed the Bhava account of the universe so others can know that through Love of the Divine we are continually loving each other.
Tell each other that we really do love each and every one of our associates—-it might be the last time we have that opportunity.
To all my Guru bhai—-I Love YOU–sincerely—-SrutiRam
There was no one else like him. He was a kind of divine lunatic… a fountainhead of bhava, a wellspring of esoteric scriptural knowledge, a Mad Scientist of kirtan, weaving poetic discourse and mantra together into rich, dizzying tapestries, and above all a real force of Love… kind, open-hearted and generous to the core. What’s that famous Kerouac quote? About the Mad Ones? The ones “mad to live…” “the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…” That’s him, to me.
I’ve heard my Guru say, of certain great teachers, that their life is their real message. To me, as a seeker, Shyam’s is one worthy of great consideration, as it was steeped in service, in devotion, in kirtan, in satsang, and in generosity. All one can really do is pranam to the spirit in which he lived.
FROM JOHN DE KADT
Shyamdas I will miss your crazy brilliant wisdom… Your true deep raw song to the one…. Your giant sense of play… Your sharp mind…. And your honey filled heart.
We will miss you terribly sweet brother… The world will not be the same without Shyamdas…. You have gone to the one you love …. To be love :))).
FROM VISH OF THE MAYAPURIS
Just the night before hearing of his tragic departure from this world I watched ‘Enlighten Up’ on netflix. When I saw Shyamdas in Vrindavan I felt like crying. A wave of emotion washed over me. I felt so much appreciation for one who understood Vraja and associated with the holy residents so intimately. He connected many people to the Dham and he brought Vrindavan with him wherever he was. I am devastated.
I can only pray to meet you again in the presence of your Thakurji.
Shyamdasji, to me you are a dear friend, a teacher, a pure vaisnava, vrajavasi, bhav singer, sanskrit/vrajbhasa scholar, delicious cook, bhakti conduit, my quirky uncle that I love very much. Your gain, our loss as we offer each other our condolences. Sri Krsna Sharanam Mama
FROM BENJY WERTHEIMER
As I sat to lead a chant at a meditation retreat, an exquisite picture of Shyam Das flashed on my phone … along with the news of his passing.
This is a retreat where mauna -voluntary silence – is the order of the day. Yet at such a time I am compelled to share my loving remembrance of a man who, like Neem Karoli Baba’s characterization of Jesus, “lost himself in love.”
He invited all in his presence to do the same.
I’ll never forget our first meeting – Omega Ecstatic Chant 2004 – and how, once he knew I spoke Hindi, he’d no longer converse with me in English … and it was clearly out of love! He knew I was aching for a chance to speak in a language that I loved and rarely could share here in the US…
In his teaching, in his singing, in his stories and truly brilliant discourses on the heart of Bhakti, he beckoned us always to lose ourselves in Love. He did so from a place where music, unerring devotion, deep scholarship and uninhibited joie de vivre joined in an irresistible invitation to dive into our hearts … and there to find God.
And now he has taken the ultimate step in losing yourself to Love … he is now eternally with his Beloved.
Though it is sad for us in this realm to never again hear his voice, play music with him or hug him as I so loved to do, this world has been immeasurably blessed by his all-too-short visit here.
Shyamdas Bhai, I will miss you…
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF OUR APPRECIATIONS. MORE TO COME. OUR SHYAMDAS WILL BE SO MISSED.