By Acarya Dasa (All India Padayatra leader)

With deep sorrow, we announce the departure of Rupa Raghunath Maharaja, sannyasi disciple of Lokanath Maharaja, who succumbed to cardiac arrest on June 22, 2024. Maharaja departed sometime after delivering Jagannath Snana Yatra class at ISKCON Bhopal.

Born in Argentina to an Italian-speaking family, Rupa Raghunath Maharaja was eighty-two years old. He preached extensively in Europe, South America and India. For more than thirty years he dedicated his preaching to Maharashtra, Gujarat and the All India Padayatra.

Whenever Maharaja visited padayatra he always inspired us to serve and filled us with energy by walking with us, distributing books with us and serving prasada. Maharaja was always ready to serve. He always kept himself busy preaching and would deliver lectures in padayatra.

Maharaja loved padayatra and when he stayed with us, he did so as a padayatri: he did not accept seva from anybody and in fact joined us in many of our services. Maharaja gave Srimad-Bhagavatam class and now he is gone we will miss his presence in padayatra.

Once when padayatra was at the ISKCON centre in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, the ISKCON name on the entrance board had become so faded it was hardly visible. Maharaja immediately asked for oil paint and climbed a ladder to repaint the lettering. Thus, Rupa Raghunath Maharaja was always ready for any seva.

Maharashtra Padayatra leader Damodharlila Dasa recalls: “For World Holy Name Week in 2019 padayatra was in the Sangli area, when we were fortunate to have darshan and the association of Rupa Raghunath Maharaja who spent the day with us on September 17. Maharaja was glad to see the Maharashtra padayatris and encouraged us by saying, “It’s a good start. Keep going.” He honoured prasadam with us and wished us good luck for our future journey. He also gave class on the glories of the holy name and said he would visit again soon as he likes to be in padayatra. This was an auspicious start to our commemorative week.”

Maharaja was a wonderful book distributor. He would inspire youths to take books and also insist we announce their names and take photographs. Villagers would be amazed to see a foreigner as Maharaja wearing sannyasi clothes. He was very active for his age and very strict in his sadhana. We padayatris would be pleased by his presence, as he was a padayatra sannyasi who had spent a lot of time in padayatras.

All glories to Rupa Raghunath Maharaja and his services dedicated to Srila Prabhupada’s mission. Hare Krishna.