Recently there was a picture of Samba on the Brijabasi Spirit Throwback Thursday. Naturally it reminded me of him. What he will be best remembered for is that he was a trucker who hauled in much of the materials that manifest as what most devotees would now recognize as New Vrindaban.
He took initiation from Srila Prabhupada in 1972 and helped build the Palace. All that marble you see at the Palace was hauled in and Samba made frequent trips to New York and other places to pick it up.
He was especially active in the 1980s when the lodge, Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Candra temple and all the associated building were constructed. We had our own cement mixer for the floors and curbs and a paving brick factory where all the pavers used in the parking lot were made. All that material was hauled in as well as the gravel substrata under the roads. Also a lot of the construction materials that were used to build the structures.
Samba was so dedicated he would be at the gravel place when it opened in the morning. He would haul gravel all day until it closed. He would dump the gravel on a lot we purchased at Rte 88 and 250. Then when the gravel place would close he would reload the materials onto his truck and haul it the rest of the way into New Vrindaban because he could get more done in a day that way.
When the lake by the temple, then called Kaliya Ghat, was being built he was involved. A large hole was excavatedIn order for a lake to hold water it needs a clay liner and the clay on site wasn’t suitable so he was trucking it in. He would dump it and the man (or in this case, kid, our current ECOV director Chaitanya “Chaits” Mangala then age 14 ) on a dozer would smooth it out to make the liner.
BTW other members of the crew were Varsana Maharajah overseeing, Pippalada, grader operator, Murti, truck driver, Kaliya Krishna, trucker, Sarva Saksi back hoe and Samba, son of Hayagriva, also just a kid at age 12, dozer.
They would run in shifts around the clock and a leader at the time said he couldn’t fall asleep unless he heard the equipment running.
Some of Samba’s ashes were spread in the ghat so the next time you watch a Swan Boat Ceremony, remember Samba.
Samba was also a devotee of Tulasi and spent a lot of time caring for Her.
After Srila Prabhupada left the planet and Kirtanananda took over Samba left for a few years. He got cancer and moved back to New Vrindaban to leave his body. He was set up in a room in what is the guest quarters now of the temple.
While there he was chanting furiously, so intently that a prominent leader told him that because he had done so much service and was rightly situated in the temple that he didn’t need to worry so much about chanting so hard. Samba waited until the leader left the room then went right back to chanting furiously.
At the end there was a sannyasi who was visiting and standing next to his bed holding his danda. With his last breath Samba reached out, grabbed the danda , and left his body. Those of us at the time who were hard core householders appreciated that although it is proscribed that at some time we take up the sannyasa life of celibacy, traveling and preaching, Samba only had to endure that for the shortest possible time, one breath, as we figured grabbing the danda was taking sannyasa. It was another thing to admire him for.