Loving Tribute: Passing away of ‘Vrindavan Today’ founder editor Shri Jagadananda Das

  • Jagadananda Das was a great scholar on Vaishnava philosophy and Braj Bhakti
  • He will always be remembered for his profound love for Vrindavan, scholarly life and humility.
Jagadananda Das

2024.05.29 (Vrindavan Today News): When our team at Vrindavan Today received the news that Jagadananda Dasji had left his physical body, we were shocked and devastated. Jagadanandaji was the founding member of Vrindavan Today, but more importantly, he was a friend who always inspired us to go deeper in our efforts to serve Shri Vrindavan Dham.
Born Jan Brzezenski in Canada in 1950, Jagadananda Dasji studied comparative religious studies and the history of religions at Montreal’s McGill University, receiving top honors. In 1988, he was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship, enabling him to complete his PhD in Sanskrit Literature at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
After a stint in ISKCON beginning in 1970, Jagadananda Dasji received shelter at the lotus feet of his guru, Shri Lalita Prasad Thakur, who was in turn the son of Shri Bhaktivinode Thakur. Jagadanandaji’s deeply curious and free-spirited nature at times led to some unorthodox explorations, such as his later taking an additional initiation in an actual sahajiya lineage. However, he was quite open and forthright about his explorations, especially in his later years. Despite his wanderings, his contribution to traditional Gaudiya Vaishnav scholarship was substantial.
After completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto and a one-year appointment at the University of Manitoba, Jagadananda Dasji spent the next few years translating from Bengali and Sanskrit for Mandala Press in San Rafael, California. He also published numerous scholarly articles on various aspects of Vaishnavism.

Jagadananda Das with Jagannath Poddar

For the past two decades, Jagandanda Dasji primarily lived in India, remaining involved in numerous editing and translation projects for the JIVA Institute, Swami Ram Sadhak Gram and other institutions. An online repository of Sanskrit texts called the Gaudiya Grantha Mandir was one of his cherished projects. He had also begun a translation and commentary on Shri Vrindavan Mahimamrita, which unfortunately, he never finished. He had profound love for Vrindavan, which he always glorified through his writings. Inspired by the environmental activism of our current Chief Editor Shri Jagannath Poddar, Shri Jagadananda Das founded ‘Vrindavan Today’ as a blog to raise the level of Vrindavan Consciousness among the Braj lovers. He wanted to establish a single portal where ideas for environmental and heritage solutions could be shared and discussed in a way that would involve the world wide community of Vrindavan lovers. His vision was to create a forum where sectarian and institutional boundaries would be broken down in the spiritual interests of Braj-Vrindavan as a whole.
The last few years were quite challenging for Jagadananda Dasji, particularly due to the untimely death of his son. This event took quite an emotional toll on him. Not long after, Jagadananda Dasji was diagnosed with a lethal brain tumour. He left his body in Canada surrounded by family and friends. We pray that his beloved Divine Couple always keep him in the shelter of their lotus feet.

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