For the old time New Vrindaban devotees who remember him, Vahna has left his body. We were notified 7/24/13 it may have been the 23rd. There will be a memorial service in about two weeks, details forthcoming.
He was 68 years old. He was preceded in leaving the planet by his father and his second wife Hladini. He is survived by his first wife Visvadhika, his son Rich (Paratha Sarthi) and two grandchildren.
He ran a poetry magazine at the end of the beat era and was the original publisher of some of Allan Gingsberg’s poetry, that was the crowd he rolled with. He was a poet himself and wrote hundreds if not thousands of poems. He has a book of poetry available from Amazon.con, The blind receptionist and other poems.
He moved to New Vrindaban in the early 1970″s (that was before my time (1973) so someone correct me if it was earlier) and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada. He built the house across the road from the Madhuban temple and was married to Hladini who lived with him there where she was the pujari at that time. His father was an early supporter of New Vrindaban.
He was a brilliant tortured soul who struggled with alcohol for most of his life. This caused him to avoid the direct association of devotees of whom he always spoke well and respected. As his son is going through his affects, he discovered a medical diagnosis that Vahna was schizophrenic and had some bipolar issues.
As his son said, he dealt with it by writing poetry, and had a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a bead bag in the other. When he was at the funeral home making the arrangements for cremation, the director asked him if he wore any jewelry. He told him he always had his bead bag. They looked and found his hand in his bead bag.
When he wasn’t drinking, and he would have periods where he could keep it together months or even years at a time as in his early days at New Vrindaban, he was the sweetest person, who was always interesting to talk to.
To newer devotes all they would know of Vahna is seeing him walking from his house in Talaban to the Limestone General Store. Although he was walking there to get his booze, he had his hand in his bead bag as he walked.
He continued to live in New Vrindaban in Talaban until his passing. Once when Srila Prabhupada was here he told the devotees to just stay in New Vrindaban no matter what. While Vahna may have had his struggles, he did obey that instruction. He also never deviated from the instruction to chant Hare Krishna.