Gaudiya Kutir Staff
The core team of Gaudiya Kutir consists of the people onboard the board of officers and a few others onboard the staff.
Aside the board of officers, we have a good number of volunteers working on both official Gaudiya Kutir projects as well as supported independent undertakings.
The Board of Officers
Markus O. Loponen (Madhavananda Das)
What does Madhava do here?
What's his story?
I spend much of my time translating and editing various texts related with the tradition of Sri Caitanya. I am presently mainly involved with the publications of Sri Krishna Caitanya Shastra Mandira, mainly the works of Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj. In addition, I maintain a number of related websites, and try to make my living as a web designer & programmer on the way, too.
Despite my currently less-than-mediocre (and hopefully constantly improving) skills of Bengali and Sanskrit, I strive to produce translations with a good degree of integrity, hoping to make a positive contribution for the growing audience of students of the theological works of the Caitanya tradition.
1980 Summer - Born 11th of June, 6.31 AM.
1986-1995 - Primary education in Pitajanmaki and HSYK (Helsinki).
1992 - Initial interest in the study of religion and culture, both in general and Asian in particular.
1994 - Came in touch with ISKCON, started chanting.
1995 Summer - Joined the local ISKCON ashram.
1995-2000 - Living in the temple as a brahmachari, doing mainly traveling and book distribution. First and second initiations from Suhotra Swami. First visit to Navadvip and Vrindavan.
1999 Summer - Had a serious disagreement with guru and GBC over the spiritual standards expected of a guru. Became a persona non grata in certain circles.
2000 January - Married with Malatilata dasi. Moved out the temple.
2000 - Spring - Traveled to Navadvip and Vraja, stayed for one and half months, rest and parikrama after the exhausting past six months.
2000 June - Met BV Narayan Maharaja, ran headlong into first and second initiations as was the tradition in the group.
2000 Kartika - Third visit to Vraja, participated in Vraja-mandala-parikrama with Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti
2001 - Put together the first extensive websites for Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, traveled on several occasions to meet BV Narayana Maharaja.
2001 Autumn - Became dismayed by the group's mood and rhetoric, inquired about the critique of babajis, began a thorough investigation into the matter. First contacts with the Gaudiya tradition out there, began studying the works of Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja. Became an apostate. :)
2002 Spring - Traveled to Vraja, stayed at Radha Kunda for two months. Met different sadhus, studied the scanario. In the end of the visit, received harinama from Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja.
2002-2003 - Started my first Gaudiya-website, raganuga.org, followed by several others over the next year or so, including this one. Began working with Gaudiya Grantha Mandir.
2003 Spring - Fifth visit to Vraja, stayed at Radha Kunda for three months, receiving diksha and siddha-pranali, and my sweet Giridhari from Baba. Studied shastra, consulted Baba on a daily basis, coordinated the printing of three books. Didn't have time for parikrama this time as much as I'd wanted to, though to Govardhan of course we went frequently.
2004 - Still alive and around. Heading to Vraja this Autumn for several months. Working on various publications from SKCSM.
IRC: madhava @ dalnet #gaudiya
Jan K. Brzezinski (Jagadananda Das)
What does Jagat do here?
What's his story?
Born 1950, U.K. Moved, Toronto Canada, 1957. Montreal, 1961-7. (One year University, McGill). Three years travelling, itinerant life, artistic aspirations. 1970, Iskcon Toronto. Iskcon Ottawa, New York (BBT), Dallas (Gurukula), New Vrindavan (Varnashram College), Mayapur Gurukula, headmaster (1975-1979). Initiated Detroit 1971, second initiation Dallas 1972. Sannyasa (Bhavananda Maharaj) 1979. Initiation Lalita Prasad Thakur, 1979, Bhek 1979. 1979-1985, based in Gokulananda Ghat, Nabadwip, with frequent visits to Braj and Puri. 1986-1988 B.A. Religious studies (McGill U. Montreal). PhD (Sanskrit literature) 1992 (London U., SOAS). Post-doc, UToronto, 1992-1994. Taught at U. Manitoba, 1994-1995.
Translating, etc., for Mandala Media since about 1998.
First marriage, 1972, Toronto. To Suzanne Boase (Saucharya Dasi). One daughter, Madirekshana Dasi (1975). Divorced 1978.
Second marriage, 1985. To Anne-Lucie Campeano. One son, Pavel, born 1991. Still together after all these years.
Pet project: http://www.granthamandira.org
Robert Fish (Rasaraja Das)
What does Rasaraja do here?
What's his story?
I came into contact with Gaudiya Vaisnavism through ISKCON when I was 15. I joined the Philadelphia Ashram at 17 and lived in various temples through the years. I traveled around the world with a preaching project, 108, until 1996. I also managed ACBSP�s first temple at 26 Second Avenue in NYC for 4 years with my wife.
Over the years I have developed a desire to mature and advance my sadhana through the reading of our more foundational texts as well as seek the association of those who will further nurture and encourage this desire. This is what has brought me to Gaudiya Discussions.com.
As a service to the Vaisnavas I am currently assisting in various Vaisnava publication projects.
I am 32 years of age and live in California with my wife, Prema Bhakti Marga dasi, and two sons, Rasaparayana (6) and Caitanya (2). By profession I am a District Operations Manager for Fed Ex Kinko�s, which is the world's largest Retail Print Manufacturer. I oversee 14 different Retail locations, several on-site print facilities and a Commercial Print Center.
Bret Sutherland (Brajajana Das)
What does Braja do here?
What's his story?
Born 1970, Wellington, New Zealand; joined ISKCON in 1987; from 1989 thru the 90s, I spent several years in Vrindaban; after marrying in 1998, I moved to Maypur and then on to the Wild West. Now living in the US with my two children--Bhaktivinode (2.5 yrs) and Rasavati Rai (3 months)--and working from home as a partner in a software company. My wife, Gaura Priya, runs a Montessori preschool.
What does Dave do here?
What's his story?
I was born in 1972 in a rural New Hampshire (USA) town. My father left me, my mother & my younger brother when I was quite young.
As a result, I was raised at what today would be considered 'poverty level', although I certainly was unaware of that then. My mother had a very strong Protestant work ethic, which was probably a good thing, given our economic fortunes. I was raised cutting wood & caring for a garden.. it wasn't until later that I realized without these things we would have frozen or starved. (ok, I'm probably being a little melodramatic)
I was raised basically areligious.. not with any given opinion one way or the other. I attended church services a literal handful of times my entire youth. I really didn't understand what a 'Catholic' was until I got to college.
I was given a Bhagavad Gita As It Is when I was in high school, and despite my best efforts, I have as of yet to complete reading it. It did, however, attract me to Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
I visited & made a few friends at the local ISKCON temple, and in the meantime got married to a wonderful Catholic wife & had children. This resulted in me feeling more distant from ISKCON, as since I could not 'renounce everything' & move into a temple, I was basically 'on the outs', a karmi.
Somewhere between high school & having kids I managed to get Bachelor Degrees in Physics and Philosophy from the University of New Hampshire.
I started looking at other GV teachers, and found some inspiration in Srila Tripurari Maharaja's books.
Around this time I found the GD website and lurked for several months. I came across a posting from Madhava about the trials of getting some books printed in India. I thought that since he worked so hard getting these printed, I owed them at least a look, so I ordered the Ananta Dasa Babaji bundle offered at loibazaar.com
Getting & reading the books was a life altering experience. Here, finally was all of the things I had been reading about, but spelled out so simply, so sweetly, and with scriptural authority. Things started to make sense. So, I have been reading these books & some other recommended books, and we will see where things go. I have to say that I am eternally grateful to Madhava & all the other devotees here on GD for the wonderful sadhu-sanga they provide!
Gaudiya Kutir Treasurer / Assistant Read more ¶
What does Gary do here?
What's his story?
I first encountered the philosophy and practice of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas through Srila Prabhupada's books back in the early 1970s, but I was too young to join anything (not to mention geographically isolated), and by the time I was old enough to seriously consider "shaving up" and moving into a temple, I was living in Hamsaduta Swami's zone, so that put a kibosh on any thoughts of taking initiation. Watching the "Gang of Eleven" disintegrate further discouraged me and made me suspicious of devotees for years.
Still, I couldn't stay away from Gaudiya Vaishnava literature, and have besides managed to teach myself a fair amount of Sanskrit, Bengali, and Hindi. With my concerns over ISKCON's direction, I wanted to find something more authentic, more complete, and more open, and finally had those doors opened when I came into contact with some disciples of Haridas Shastri and realized that the BSST propaganda about genuine Vaisnavas was only so much vaisnava-aparadha -- that there were true Vaisnavas outside of ISKCON and that there always had been. Duh.
I'm not "attached" yet to any particular guru, but find myself more and more desirous of taking diksa and am "in the market" for a true guide with a genuine parampara. I'm really enjoying the association I am finding on this forum.
Since I've never been initiated (not in this life, anyway), I don't have a devotee name, so my GD handle "Lancer" comes about because over the years I used to do a lot of free-lance editing and writing -- I have about a million words of my own published somewhere, and have edited another couple million by other people. Unfortunately, it's all prajalpa. I love editing, and would like some day to dovetail this fault-finding propensity of mine in Krsna's service.
By the way, despite its faults, I know some very nice ISKCON devotees and I am a regular attender and participant at their local temple here.
Minna Loponen (Malatilata Dasi)
What does Malatilata do here?
What's her story?
1995-2000 in ISKCON.
2000-2002 in GM
2002- I met Srila Ananta dasa Babaji, received Harinama from him, and later diksa also.
I am married to Madhavananda das and we have very sweet Nitai Gaura Deities and Giridhari to worship at our home.
What does Vamsidas do here?
What's his story?
I first served within ISKCON in 1979, later affiliating with Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. I disaffiliated after the departure of Swami B.R. Sridhara. I am currently seeking to understand the various traditional parivaras, in hope of finding a diksha-guru in whom I can repose my faith.
Education: B.A., History, University of California, Los Angeles.
I have never married. Friends sometimes accuse me of being a "workoholic" in lieu of family life -- I aspire for the day when they may instead consider me a "bhajanaholic" :)