Kirtan Singer Shyamdas leaves this world

This morning the kirtan community lost one of its great guiding lights, Shyamdas, whose heart continually overflowed with passionate love of Radhe Shyam.

Shyamdas travelled to India in 1972 to meet Neem Karoli Baba, and then continued to explore the devotional Bhakti lineages of India under the tutelage of His Holiness Goswami Shri Prathameshji, his guru in the Pushti Marg: the Path of Grace. Shyamdas has lived in Vraj, the sacred lands of Shri Radha Krishna, for most of his life and has written and translated many books on devotional subjects.

Radhanath Swami with Shyamdas at Bhaktifest 2012, USA
Radhanath Swami with Shyamdas at Bhaktifest 2012, USA

After 35 years traveling sacred India and studying with saints and teachers, he has developed fluency in Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, and Brajabhasha. Shyamdas has skillfully and insightfully translated many sacred texts into English. Shyamdas lead kirtan and satsang, devotional singing and discussions on Bhakti Yoga, in India and America.

Here’s a short tribute to Shyamdas followed by a letter from John Bush about his last days.

Shyamdas / Last Days

If you have not heard before, Shyamdas – kirtan singer, sanskrit scholar, devotee, father, friend – died early this morning.

I was with him at a friend’s dinner party last evening in a remote part of North Goa. We were laughing and joking with Shyamdas just prior to his leaving on a motorcycle with his lovely partner Ally. He seemed very happy.

Five minutes later four of us left in a taxi and came upon the accident scene. Having lost control and thrown off the cycle, Shyamdas and Ally were conscious but in acute shock and undetermined injuries. I tried comforting them in the middle of the mayhem, but there is no way to prepare for this.

Our friend Sophia, who had emergency medical training, was extraordinary in her attempts to stabilize them. They were rushed by car to the closest hospital – 45 minutes away. Upon arrival, because of internal injuries, it was too late to save Shyamdas.

Ally will apparently be ok physically after she mends from multiple injuries, but she is hurting and of course devastated by the sudden loss of her lover and constant companion. She needs support and caring.

Shyamdas was very happy in his last days here in North Goa. We had a lovely sunset kirtan on the beach the day before, and his singing was sweet, heartfelt and inspired. After sharing four meals with him in these last two days, watching him with others, speaking with him at length, I can say he was happy, at peace, in love and closer to God.

Arrangements are being made for cremation, apparently in Brindavan, and many close to him are now arriving. We will have a big kirtan tonight with satsang and friends.

I will remember Shyam Das with love and a respect for what his four decades of life in spiritual India gave to many.

To those who knew him so much better than I did, I offer you my deepest sympathies for your loss.

8 thoughts on “Kirtan Singer Shyamdas leaves this world

  1. Claudia Welch says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Shyamdas was a friend of about 30 years and I am grateful to read these words. I believe a few other mutual friends will be also grateful for this account. If you are willing, I would welcome a conversation…just email me if that is something you would be willing to do…Godspeed to dear brother Shyamdas. Saprem, cw

  2. david fried says:

    sweetest brother, hearty lover of life, i will be your soul brother forever,
    canoing on green river, honoring shabbos, loving our children, singing to G-d and offering our hearts and souls to beauty and to love. may your light shine in all the worlds, your friend dovid sabu

  3. Tommy Rosen says:

    I knew you but a little, dear Shyamdas, but your spirit touched me to the core and elevated me in the few moments I got to share with you. I’m so saddened that you have left this place. I’ll hope to connect in more subtle places. Love you.

  4. camille says:

    we strolled together quiely once at omega
    in sweetness and kindness the silent kirtan
    sings on in the Heart we share ever and on

    all blessings and gratitude

  5. Hari says:

    Jai Shri Krishna! We love you Shyamdas ji. Such a great spiritual personality, always loving and inspiring. Your bhakti bhaava is immortal, it lives forever, for it has brought immense love, peace and grace to the english speaking world. May your sweet loving kirtans heal us from inside out, to put an end to our tears of separation from your passing away. We will miss your presence, but surely we will continue to feel your essence. A lasting imprint of bhakti in so many souls bringing us closer to the bhaava you shared everyday. We are indebted for your wonderful works (truly monumental one indeed). We wanted more of you to achieve a successful life as we saw in you, and pray that your sweet memories will continue to inspire us to remain in the successful path of love. Radhe Radhe… Jai Shri Krishna!

  6. jayanthi says:

    I have gone to many kirtans of shymdas at ananda ashram in monroe ny. I always loved his style and have his cd’s. love his playfulness One of my few favorites.
    wish I would have gone to see him live one time over the past 5 years. I
    will always remember him!

  7. Manisha says:

    Shymdas, your legacy still lives on. Many mornings I listen to your kirtans and think of you dearly and feel that you are still with us.
    Only the good die young.
    Jai Shree Krishna

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