Official Report On Departure of Aindra Prabhu
Friday 23rd of July 2010
Initiated in Sri Vrindavan Dham U.P India
Interviews conducted by Gopal Das (Head Of Department)
24hr kirtan. Investigating cause of fire and death of HG Aindra Prabhu,
Room 89 Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula Building.
The reason for this report is to have clarity and proper representation of what happened.
Panca Gauda Das, Adi Kesava Das and Martanda Das wrote there own account of events as they happened. Gopal das conducted the other interviews. To Gopal Das’s knowledge none of the devotees shared information with each other prior to being interviewed.
Description/ Dimensions of Room.
Length 20ft width 11ft floor to ceiling 10.5ft
The room was made for studio recording facility there was only one entry and exit point that was composed of three doors. The first door was a mosquito screen door which was nailed to the original front door. The bottom right corner was made into a small trap door or air vent behind these two doors was a second door made air tight from wood covered with professional studio sound proofing rubber and foam materials imported from New York.
After entering the room on the immediate left three feet from the ground were kitchen shelves and at ground level were two gas burners connected to a gas cylinder bottle via rubber hose pipe.
At the end of the room the furthest point from the door is where the altar and deities resided.
First person in the room
17th Morning account by Adi Kesava Das
It was 6:30am and Aindra prabhu did not come to dress the Deities. This was not unusual as it had happened many times before that he comes late because he is tired and so we have to go wake him up. I sent Rasikendra prabhu one of the pujaris to go up and call him. He returned after some time and said that he knocked on the door but there was no answer. A few minutes later he and Gopendra prabhu another pujari mentioned that they recalled hearing some sounds & seeing smoke coming from his room the night before about 10:30pm. Their room is situated in another building adjacent to the Gurukula so they were seeing through Aindra prabhus back window.
I took it very seriously and rushed upstairs. I started banging loudly on the door calling out his name. By then Damodarastakam prabhu, Arjuna Krsna prabhu and Martanda woke up and came outside. I informed them that he had not come to dress the deities. Some pujaris noticed some smoke coming from his room the night before. I suggested that we break open the door and check. I went downstairs to inform the head of security to get help to break open the door as well as to call the carpenter. Arjuna Krsna prabhu got some tools to try to open the lock. I met Sanak Sanatana prabhu and informed him of the urgent situation. He immediately responded and went upstairs. With an iron pipe we began banging on the door. We managed to push open the small trap door which pushed against the big inner door.
I entered through the small trap door; there was a very strong smell of gas. I was calling out his name. A major part of the room as well as the deities were all black and mainly the front area near the door had been heavily burnt. I looked to the right at his computer desk but he was not there. I proceeded forward to the altar and looked to the left; he was bowing down behind Lord Nityananda. I went over to him thinking that he may be unconscious due to the gas; I called out his name touching his body. I tried to move him but his body was very heavy and stiff. I tilted him to the side to see his face and saw the burns. I called out to Sanak Sanatana and the other devotees to help me as he was too heavy. By then the door had been fully opened and Arjuna Krsna prabhu, Martanda prabhu, Sanak Sanatana prabhu and myself carried him out. We placed his body on a grass matt and covered it with saffron cloth.
Shortly after, I took the initiative to lock the room. Mahabhagavat prabhu provided the lock. I opened the room once for the police to inspect.
After Aindra Prabhu’s body had left for an autopsy which was about 4 hours later approximately 1pm, I handed the room keys over to Giridhari prabhu and we began moving the other smaller Deities out.
In conclusion I can say that I did not notice anything that seemed like that there was any arson or external interference that may have caused this fire. It is quite clear to me being the first person to enter the room that it was an accident and of course ultimately Krishna’s will.
Adi Kesava Das
Caretaker of Srila Prabhupada’s Quarters and serving in the Pujari Department
Second person in the room
Interview with Aindra Prabhu’s servant Arjun Krishna Das
Conducted by Gopal das on 24th July 2010
Arjun Krishna Das last saw Aindra Prabhu after his kirtan service in the temple room 7pm 16th July. Arjun Krishna was the second person to enter the room after Adi Keseva ( Pujari Department) on the 17th July after 7am.
Once the alarm was raised akd made an attempt to break the door open. Sanak Sanatan prabhu broke the door open. Adi Keseva first entered, second was Akd, Martanda both members of the 24 hr kirtan and last Sanak Sanatan from the temple management. Arjun recalls calling out to Aindra Prabhu but there was no response Akd made an attempt to break the glass and back window but failed when he understood that Aindra prabhu had left his body.
The question was than raised by Gopal Das If there had been any indication of arson or suicide?
Arjun Krishna Das says no.
Akd says it was a clear accident. Prior to this incident he had witnessed personally two small explosions with the same cooking apparatus on separate occasions.
Akd had smelt a burning gassy metallic smell from his room but it was not such a heavy smell and thought that it may have been something from the gurukul when they had previously cooked with coal and possibly a factory in the back of the MVT this was approximately after 10pm on the 16th July.
Akd did not think it needed investigation as air pollution is a common occurrence in the ashram, part of the reason why Aindra prabhu had his room air tight.
Akd refers to the room as very claustrophobic and difficult to work in especially when Aindra Prabhu would cook.
Akd concluded that Aindra Prabhu had taken back the only other 2nd key to his room from him 2 months before. Prabhuji also stopped taking any service like cleaning etc.. He also became reclusive using a do not disturb sign on his front door.
Arjun Krishna Prabhu’s final conclusion after all questioning was that it was a most unfortunate fire accident similar to the smaller ones he had previously witnessed in the room this one proving to be fatal.
Third person in the room
Martanda Prabhuji report
This is my report.
I saw H.G. Aindra Prbhu last time about 9.20 Pm. when he was going to buy bhoga for his Deities.
I have a kirtan shift 7 to 10 Pm. So when I came back to my room after 10 Pm., I smelt smoke and gas.
I thought that someone was burning some papers in our room, why he was so stupid and didn’t do it on veranda. I also smell gas, so I tight my and another devotee gas bottle.
There was no even second thought in my mind that something is going on behind the wall, no suspicion, no doubt.
I went to Arjuna Krsna room and I spend there one hour, after that I went to sleep.
Next morning I woke up because someone was banging the door of Aindra Prabhu room.
Usually when doesn’t want to open, he will not open. But this was too loud and too long. I woke up with anxiety. I came out with gamsha and I saw Adi Kesava Pr. banging to the door, I also saw Arjuna Krsna who was trying to open the door from outside using some tools. My anxiety was growing more and more. After less than minute came Sanaka Sanatana Pr. and he was loudly saying that we need to open this door immediately, maybe he’s dying there. He took big iron pipe and was banging against small door. He managed to break the screen and open the small door. First person who went inside thru the opening was Adi Kesava, next was Arjuna Krsna, after him was me.
When I was inside I pushed very strongly whole door with my arm and I managed to open.
Room was completely dark; there was no lights, only little light from the windows. I heard voice of Adi Kesava, “Help us to carry him outside”. I went to the corner of his room where Deities of Nitai-Sacisuta are resting.
I saw Aindra Prabhu, his face was burnt and had red color. I took one arm and I told another devotee to take second arm and we managed to take him outside. When we put him on the floor of the veranda Sanaka Sanatana said: “He is gone”. He’s body was stiff and he left his body when he was paying obeisance’s. Later on I came to know that he was found at the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda paying obeisances and touching His feet with two palms.
I hope that this is enough to prove that what happened was accident and fire from gas bottle. When I looked again in his room I saw he’s door completely burnt from inside the foam was completely burnt was lying on the floor behind the door. Also I saw that fire went to shelf and was spreading upward (see the pictures below). How fire was extinguished? There was not enough oxygen for the fire to burn.
Why Aindra Prabhu didn’t try to go outside?
My understanding is as follows.
Situation was so dramatic and sudden that he was thinking that whole room will be burnt and feeling that he’s not able to protect his Deities he managed to take shelter of Lord Nityananda. Another factor was carbon monoxide which is produced from burning and when this substance is entering the body brain stops function properly.
Another thing is that maybe he was trying to go outside but whole door was in flames and therefore he was not able to do it or maybe he was thinking that if he will open the door this will give more food for the fire to spread in the room.
Fourth person in the room
Interview with Sanak Sanatan Prabhu ( VMC Member)
Conducted on 26th July 2010 by Gopal Das
On the 17th morning after Srila Prabhupad’s Samadhi darshan arti approximately 5 past 7am Adi Keseva Prabhu requested Sanak Sanatan to help with a problem relating to the smell of gas coming from Aindra Prabhu’s room and him not responding.
Adi Keseva was heading towards the carpenters workshop to get tools, Sanak Sanatan prabhu told him the workshop was closed and so they proceeded upstairs to Aindra Prabhu’s room outside was a small tool box of some chisels and other working materials they all failed to penetrate the front door.
At the end of the veranda in the ashram SSD found a large heavy iron pipe with the assistance of Adi Keseva they broke through the mosquito screen door forcing open the trap door/air vent creating enough space for a small person to enter.
SSD sent Adi Keseva in first, cautioning him not to switch on any lights as the predominate smell of gas could cause a large explosion. After a minute or two Adi Keseva responded ‘I need some help to move him as he is too heavy I cannot lift him alone’.
Martanda and Arjun Krishna responded by entering the room. SSD was attempting to open the door with the pipe while from inside the room Martanda and Arjun Krishna were attempting to force the doors open it was jammed. After some time with difficulty the doors opened.
Sanak Sanatan Prabhu witnessed that Aindra Prabhu’s body had suffered from first and second degree burns. His face was burned with blistered eyes closed shut, his upper body hands, shoulders, and arms were also burned. There were no third degree burns the worst were on the face shoulders arms and hands he does not recall seeing anything on the lower body. After requesting for a mat to be placed on the outside veranda.
Aindra Prabhu was first placed on his side, than placed on his back. He was somewhat stiff and partially remaining in the obeisance’s position as he was first found. Sanak Sanatan prabhu says it was very clear and obvious what had happened even without immediately having a doctors opinion Adi Keseva mentioned to Sanak Sanatan that some pujaris had stated that they saw smoke and fire.
Gopal Das asked Sanak Sanatan if he had seen any indication of an attempt on Aindra Prabhu’s life through arson.
Sanak Sanatan replied no, it was a clear accident. It would have been very difficult for someone to have started a fire as the door was locked from inside. It is clear that there was a gas leakage and as Aindra Prabhu made an attempt to start his bhoga cooking the gas ignited causing a fireball to explode in his face and upper body.
Aindra Pr than appears to have proceeded to the back window of his room maybe in an attempt to call or signal for help.
A large copper water pot with spout was found emptied near his body he could have been trying to break the glass, unfortunately the triple plain glass used for sound proofing the back window would have taken an Axe or hammer to penetrate.
SSD concludes that he may have been able to escape from the room, due to the fire burning directly unto the door which had ignited the rubber sound proofing material made it very difficult to escape.
This extreme fire fed by the gas leakage in the rubber hose trapping the only exit point. Due to this strong fire the electricity cut out coupled with smoke and soot made the room dense and dark.
Gopal Das asked SSD that if the alarm was raised that night just after the fire had started and someone had broken into the room to rescue him could he have survived.?
SSD replied ‘yes if the alarm was raised immediately .Even though it is hard to say, it is for a professional opinion. I would say that he had between 10-15 min survival time.’
The fire trap at the door prevented him from escaping, since it was a very intense fire which consumed the oxygen in the room. The gas regulator on the cylinder was industrial instead of domestic. Domestic regulators have a membrane on the head which controls the amount of gas and output pressure maintaining a steady flame of no more than 15-20cm.
Industrial regulators have a screw system and does not have as much control on the
Output of pressure.
This caused high pressure, causing a gas leakage which initiated a fireball and later fed the fatal flames of fate causing eventually the fire to put itself out by consuming all oxygen in the room.
Last two people to have personally seen Aindra Prabhuji
Interview conducted by Gopal Das
25th of July with Balaram Das from Iskcon Nairobi Kenya Africa (Last eye witness)
Balaram Das was present with Aindra Prabhu from 8-9:30 pm on the 16th of July in his room.
The question was raised with Balaram Das did he notice anything unusual in Aindra Prabhu’s room or any smell of gas? The answer was no.
Balaram Das was sitting opposite Aindra Prabhu’s chair in front of his altar and only smelt puja oil and incense.
During the discussion Aindra Prabhu was speaking about many spiritual topics relating to some books, he had requested Balaram Das to help join in by participating in the 24hr kirtan department during his stay in Vrindavan he stated
‘don’t worry we’re going to mold you into a pure devotee’.
At approximately 9:15pm Bhagavat Purana Prabhu entered the room he had a small talk with Aindra Prabhu and he also indicated to Balaram Das that he should leave the room to allow Aindra Prabhu to finish his Japa after a few minutes Balaram Das left at approximately 9:20pm-9:45pm. When Balaram Das had left he recalls the inside door being closed and the outside mosquito door partially open and unlatched.
Gopal Das raised the question If he noticed anyone entering the room after him or heading in that direction on the veranda.
Balaram Das responded no, the ashram was quiet and empty as he exited the building. In conclusion Balaram Das and Bhagavat Puran Das were the last two devotees to see Aindra Prabhu before his departure.
Interview with Bhagavat Purana Das 26th July
Bhagavat Purana was the second last devotee to be in the physical presence of Aindra Prabhu on the 16th of July. At approximately 8:45pm Bhagavat Purana Prabhu visited Arjun Krishna Prabhu’s room in the brahmachari ashram after some discussion Bhagavat Purana Prabhu entered Aindra Prabhu’s room at approximately 9pm.
Bhagavat Purana prabhu confirms that Balaram Das was engaged in discussion with Aindra Prabhu. Bhagavat Purana Prabhu interjected at a point in the conversation to mention to Aindra Prabhu issues related to his visa status. The discussion concluded with Bhagavat Purana dropping the hint to Balaram Das that it was getting late and that Aindra Prabhu had Japa to finish, Balaram Das got the hint and left not too long after.
When questioned Bhagavat Puran confirmed that he did not see anything suspicious in the room, or the smell of leaking gas. He also confirmed that no one else was present or planning to enter when exiting the building he confirmed the veranda’s were quiet and empty.
Supporting Evidence By Prem Kishor Prabhu
A few days before Aindra Prabhu’s departure I had offered him a prashad fragrant flower to smell he responded by saying ‘ I can’t smell the flower prabhu as I do not have the sense of smell’.
Aindra Prabhu is known to have been taking allergy medication and had sinus problems.
Supporting Evidence By Keseva Das
On the 15th of July evening after the last arti approximately 8:30pm I was cycling home and saw Aindra Prabhu on a rickshaw by Bhaktivedanta Swami gate. We exchanged greetings and I asked him where he was going, he said
‘I am going to fill my gas bottle’’. I noted that it was the same colour gas bottle as the one found in his room. He had with him his bhoga shopping bag I mentioned that his rickshaw driver looked a bit simple he smiled and drove off towards Radhe Dham,I proceeded home.
The last events of Aindra Prabhu’s life
Interview conducted by Gopal Das (H.O.D) 24hr kirtan dep
Interview conducted in Temple President’s office
Present Panca gauda (TP) Mukunda Dutta Prabhu Head Pujari
Adi Keseva Prabhu, Rasikendra Das, Vraja Roop Das, Roop Sanatan, Gopendra Das
16th July 2010 Night.
Gopendra Das and Rasikendra Das were in their rooms opposite to the Gurukul building. They are located on the roof of that building. Rasikendra Das heard some kind of an explosion he describes as a similar sound to an electrical transformer box overloading or as in his words ‘when a monkey gets killed by jumping on an electrical line causing an explosive sound’ when questioned why he did not tell anyone he explained that he assumed that someone in that building would have heard and done something.
Gopendra Das recalls after finishing prashadam in his room he heard a sound similar to that of an auto rickshaw motor at 10:30pm we understand to be the exhaust fan and motor fan blades melting Gopendra Das did not leave his room to investigate the source of sound.
At 10pm Roop Sanatan and Vraja Roop prabhu were pacing up and down on the roof top chanting japa they heard a similar sound at 10:30pm coming from the exhaust fan when asked what Roop Sanatan thought the sound was he replied ‘I thought it was an auto rickshaw driving away from the kitchen after a delivery’. Both Vraja Roop and Roop Sanatan than looked down to see where the sound was coming from and saw smoke coming out from Aindra Prabhu’s room the smoke did not last very long. 10:50pm Roop Sanatan Prabhu went downstairs and knocked on Aindra Prabhu’s front door there was no reply he proceeded to knock on the next door to his room to call any of the residents, there was no response. He went to take rest at11pm remembering that this is the usual time that Aindra Prabhu cooks he may have burnt the offering. In previous months he had smelt burning dhal and called Aindra Prabhu from his altar service to please come and check his room. Seeing the DO NOT DISTURB sign he retired for the night.
In conclusion two different reports collaborate the same. The smell of gas and fire the sound of an explosion with the exhaust fan motor burning. All between 10:30pm and 10:50pm we understand that at this time a gas explosion occurred injuring Aindra Prabhu with burns and depriving his room from oxygen causing a short but intense fire and departure from this world at approximately 10:48 pm. .
16th July 2010
2130-2145 Hrs. Last visitors depart from his room.
2200-Hrs. Smells of gas and smoke in adjacent rooms
2230-2250-Hrs. Sounds of an explosion, visual sighting of smoke and attempt to communicate with no response.
17th July 2010
0630 Hrs Aindra Prabhu fails to arrive for his pujari service.
0700 Hrs Aindra Prabhu found in obeisances position departed.
Police report pending
Death certificate pending
Autopsy report pending
Closing words from the Temple President: Panca Gauda Das
I was going to the temple to attend the greeting of the Deities, when Sanaka Sanatan Prabhu called me in a frantic voice telling me to “run as fast as you can Aindra is gone” when I arrived in disbelief I saw the body of our dearly departed Aindra Prabhu layed out on the veranda. News spread quickly, I was receiving calls from all over the world from his well wishers. Our local devotees were all coming up to join in the kirtan and offer final respects, police and investigators came taking their reports. Emotions were extremely high it was a very intense period. After the medical examiners did their work, we prepared Aindra Prabhu’s body wrapped on a bamboo stretcher covered in Maha garlands from Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara carried by loving devotees through the streets of Vrindavana. There were many hundreds of devotees, loud kirtan with the procession ending at the Yamuna at the funeral pyre. The ceremony was preformed by our head pujari Mukunda Dutta Prabhu, HH Mahanidhi Swami and many others started the fire to consume the body just after 6:30 pm in the evening. Love, memories and appreciation poured from the hearts of all the devotees in Braj and around the world. Personally I am going to miss my dear friend Aindra Prabhu we worked together and had close friendship since 1993, I know he was very special I offer my respectful obeisances to his feet.