Please join us this Saturday, May 4th at 3764 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles at 1 pm to celebrate the life of our beloved Kesava (aka Kerry Smith). The fire sacrifice begins at 1 pm and then the memorial and feast will take place inside the temple.
Our dearly beloved Kesava peacefully left his body on April 30th at 11:55 a.m. with Kirtan, Rashabdeva, Bhutatma and Partrkananda present. Srila Prabhupada was singing Hari Haraye Namah Krsna Yadavaya Namah, Yadavaya Madhavaya Kesavaya Namah. Kesava Prabhu was being anointed with Deity water lovingly massaged on his heart and head by his nephew as he passed away. Tulasidevi was placed in his mouth, and Caranamrta was smeared on his lips. His noble visage shined beatifically.
According to his friend Bhutatma: "Originally from the Santa Barbara area, in 1969 Kesava dasa joined ISKCON at the La Cienaga Temple in Los Angeles. Just prior, his brother Karandhar had moved into the Center, and both of them immediately took on major responsibilities in sankirtan and temple management. Physically strong and psychologically robust, Kesava teamed up with Vishnu Jana and Tamal Krishna to lead a vigorous Hari Nama street chanting party, with Kesava leading the way in distributing Back-to-Godhead magazines at the kirtan site.
Kesava carried this same enthusiasm for preaching to San Francisco’s New Jagganath Puri in the early 1970s, where, as Temple President, he embraced Srila Prabhupada’s dearest desire and inaugurated the “big books” revolution that lit the Movement on fire.
Over the years, Kesava was blessed with much personal association with Srila Prabhupada. As a young devotee, he always drove Srila Prabhupada in the famous “Hare Krishna Ford Maverick” to his morning walks in Venice Beach or Cheviot Hills. (I remember Kesava telling me that on one brisk morning a motorcyclist pulled alongside the car, and Srila Prabhupada explained that the thinly dressed biker didn’t feel cold because he 'ate a lot of chicken.')
"It was clear to anyone who saw Kesava dasa with Srila Prabhupada that he was a dearmost son of His Divine Grace. Whether they were together in Prabhupada’s quarters in Los Angeles discussing book distribution or temple management, or joined in moments of personal conversation on the veranda outside Prabhupada’s room in Mayapur, that intimate connection with Prabhupada defined Kesava to us all.
And just as Prabhupada always blessed Kesava with kindness and respect for his service, all the devotees who know Kesava felt deep affection for him as well. He was a Vaishnava who embodied the strength and courage of our line. Bold, friendly, and magnanimous, he was a friend whom one could always rely on, turn to, and share a laugh together."
The Smith Family
Tapati: Readers of my memoir may recognize that Kesava Dasa was the best friend of my ex-husband Mahasraya and tried to talk to him about the domestic violence. I am forever grateful to him for that. I suspect that Kesava would like for everyone to know that he didn't approve of what book distribution eventually turned into in ISKCON and that he was outspoken about the abuses of authority he saw there. There is a website set up to help his young son in Brazil get a good education. Apparently that requires private school even for young children. The site is administered by Kesava's nephew, Kirtan. http://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/narayan-s-scholarship-fund/56885