|H G Aindra Dasa|
|Religion||Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Hinduism|
|Other names||Eddie Striker|
12 March 1953
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||17 July 2010
Aindra Dasa (born Eddie Striker; 12 March 1953 – 17 July 2010) was a world-famous vaishnava kirtaniya (devotional music - Kirtan singer). He was initiated as a disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1974 receiving the name, Aindra Dasa.
Aindra Dasa was born on March 12, 1953 at 4:28 am in Arlington, Virginia (USA).
Growing up in Haymarket, Virginia in the 1950s and ‘60s, Eddie Striker was a jack-of-all trades artist from early on, painting, drawing, and doing his own embroidery. But it was music that was closest to his heart. His was a musical family—his father gigged with bluegrass groups, his mother played the harp, and his brother was a bassist. Eddie, for his part, loved Jimi Hendrix and was partial to the electric guitar. So when his family broke up in 1971, and he moved to Chevy Chase, Maryland, it was the guitar that he turned to, playing with a number of bands and beginning to make a name for himself. It wasn’t long before he’d seen enough of the rockstar life and what it led to. Jimi Hendrix’s death was a particular blow to him and he knew that there was a hole that needed to be filled by the spiritual, not the material.
Discovering the music of the spiritual world
In Summer 1973 a group of ISKCON devotees leave their temple, crossing Q Street and heading towards Connecticut Avenue, a heavily populated business district. As they walk, they were singing kirtan, an ancient Vedic call-and-response style of chanting God’s Holy Names. Suddenly, Eddie Striker with a flute tucked under his arm and long red hair streaming out behind him, runs as fast as he can, trying to catch up with them. The devotees are surprised and delighted. Then, just as he’s almost reached them, Eddie loses one of his flip-flops. The devotees indicate to him that he should go back and get it, they’ll wait for him. But he refuses. There’s no way he’ll risk losing them or miss out on even a few seconds of kirtan. He joins the kirtan party.
Discovering the very different music of the spiritual world, Eddie moved into the ISKCON temple in Washington, D.C, the very next day. And soon after, in February 1974, he was initiated by ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada and became Aindra Dasa.
Although his father was angry at this drastic change in his life, Aindra’s little brother was happy for him and excited that he had found his calling.
Back at the temple, Aindra became known as a rather erudite preacher—he joined everyone else in book distribution on the streets, loved speaking to guests at the weekly Sunday Feast, and was always looking for a way to spread Krishna consciousness.
Inaugurating the 24-hour kirtan
Later, Aindra became a priest for Radha-Madhan Mohan and Gaura Nitai, and would play around with the harmonium in between services, soon working out his first melody: Bhaktivinode Thakura’s short song Jaya Radha Madhava. He continued to practice, and his skill and love for kirtan grew. Moving to New York City, he converted a truck that would open out into an ornate golden temple. He acquired sound permits and would drive to different parts of the city where he would set up his truck and perform kirtan for eight hours a day. His performances were impactful, inspiring several people to join ISKCON. Eventually Aindra decided he would like to try organizing a kirtan program in India. Travelling to Lord Krishna’s birthplace of Vrindavana in 1986, he learned the story of the Krishna Balarama Mandir’s 24-Hour Kirtan program. It had first been introduced in 1975 by ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada—but without proper management, it began to fade, and by 1978, a year after Prabhupada passed on, it had ground to a halt. Aindra decided to dedicate himself to the project. He began to soak up the atmosphere of Vrindavana, connect with other kirtaniyas, and learn Indian classical music or ragas, teaching himself the traditional melodies by ear. And eight years after the 24-Hour Kirtan had faded away, he reconstituted it as its own department, organizing a core group of kirtan enthusiasts to ensure its continuance.
Aindra Dasa was found to have died on the morning of Saturday, July 17, 2010 at approximately 8 am India time, in his room at ISKCON's Krishna Balarama temple in the sacred town of Vrindavana.
He was alone in his room worshiping His beloved Deities when apparently there was a gas leak from his cylinder. According to the report of ISKCON Vrindavana`s website, some devotees heard a sound and there was some smell, but no one knew from where it came. Devotees knocked on Aindra’s door, but there was no response all night. His door is very thick, and there is one trap door in it.
In the morning when Aindra prabhu didn’t come to the temple to dress Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara, the devotees then could understand that something serious had happened. With difficulty they broke open the trap door, and only one devotee, Adi Kesava Das, was small enough to enter the room. When he entered he saw that the entire room was black and there was disturbance everywhere. It appeared that Aindra might have lit a match in the room and that caused the leaked gas in the air to ignite and burn the room. Aindra was behind the altar. It looked as if he had tried to open the window, but was unsuccessful, so he offered his final obeisances behind Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, and died in that position. When Adi Kesava found him, Aindra was already long gone, and his body was still offering obeisances.
On Sunday at 4.00 PM, the body of HG Aindra Prabhu was brought to Vrindavan`s Krishna-Balaram Temple from Mathura Hospital. The body was bathed, dressed up and garlanded at 5.00 PM. With the accompaniment of the devotees of Vrindavan the body was taken on procession and made three parikramas to the temple. The body was then taken to the Samadhi of Srila Prabhupada for darshan. About a thousand bhaktas of Vrindavan took a procession and carried the holy body from the Vrindavan Mandir through the Vrindavan Seven Gosvami Temple Road chanting kirtan and reached Keshi Ghat on the bank of Yamuna. After bathing at Yamuna, the holy body was placed on a pile of wood for cremation and the flame was ignited at 6.38 PM by H.H. Mahanidhi Swami in the presence of .H.H. Radha Raman Swami, the Temple President Pancagauda Das and Bhubanesvar Das and other devotees of the temple. All through, the accompanied devotees enthusiastically chanted kirtan and danced around the holy flames of cremation as they did while Aindra chanted the Hare Krishna Mahamantra in the Krishna-Balaram Temple.
- Goswami, Satsvarupa dasa (2002). International Society for Krishna Consciousness Religious Figures: Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Swami, Jayapataka Swami (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. ISBN 9781156721711.