Visnujana Swami

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Vishnujana Swami (also Visnujana Swami; 1948–1976[1]), born Mark Stephen D'Atillo, was a disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and a sannyasi within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (commonly known as the 'Hare Krishnas' or ISKCON). Despite his mysterious disappearance in 1976, he continues to be regarded as a saintly figure within ISKCON. His legend lives on through recordings[2] of his celebrated singing of the Hare Krishna mantra and through his unmatched success as a preacher in the early days of the movement.

Vishnujana Swami was born as Mark Stephen Datillo on June 2, 1948, in San Jose, California to parents Maureen (1924-2017) and Joseph D'Attilo (1923-2006). At the age of seventeen, he moved to San Francisco along with his girlfriend, whom he then married. It was in 1966–1967 that Vishnujana first came into contact with the Hare Krishnas, and by 1968 he had received initiation from Srila Prabhupada and became a full-time member of the movement. On July 20, 1970, Srila Prabhupada awarded Vishnujana the order of sannyasa.

Vishnujana was especially well known within ISKCON for his singing voice, and skill at playing instruments, such as the harmonium and mridanga. Musical recordings of Vishunjana would later be released in 1995[3] and are popularly sold within ISKCON.

By 1973, Vishnujana Swami headed up a team of devotees traveling on a bus across the USA which became famous within ISKCON as one of its most successful preaching parties. The team was named after the deities which travelled with them in the bus, called Radha-Damodara. This bus, filled with ISKCON devotees, would travel from city to city, performing sankirtan, and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books. Vishujana Swami continued travelling with the Sankirtan Party in this way until 1976.[citation needed]

In 1976, during the Gaura Purnima festival in India, Vishnujana Swami disappeared. It is commonly believed that he committed suicide by drowning himself at the confluence of several sacred rivers at the Ganges. During a walk some days earlier it is believed he had heard a general statement by Prabhupada concerning the duty of a sannyasi which could have led to him taking his own life, but as Vishnujana is not recorded to have disclosed his thoughts to anyone before disappearing it is not known for certain if this was the case.[citation needed]

In 1999, a biography of Vishnujana Swami entitled Radha-Damodara Vilasa was published by Vaiyasaki das Adhikari.


Year Title Label
1995 Vishnujana Swami - Bhajans Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
1995 Vishnujana Swami - Kirtans Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
2005 Vishnujana Swami Vintage-Recording SecretJeevas



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