Meet HG Ambarisa Das

PRABHUPADA’S PIONEERS

Spiritual Journeys of His Disciples of New Raman Reti.

compiled and edited by Sri Devi Dasi - 16.11 2021


proofreading: Vegavati Devi Dasi.

Ambarisa Dasa

Ambarisa Dasa was living in the mountains of Wyoming in 1972 when a friend of his, a devotee, brought him Srila Prabhupada’s books. Having become disenchanted with the hedonistic hippie lifestyle the philosophy, lifestyle, and Prabhupada’s words immediately “rang a bell”. He sent a donation and received a letter back from Srila Prabhupada. This began a series of correspondences and meetings. The monumental influence of that first donation: Ramesvara Dasa: We were getting letters from a person named Alfred Ford and nobody had the slightest idea that he was “the” Ford family! So we were getting some letters and Krsna Kanti found out about it. At that time Krsna Kanti was still working at Spiritual Sky and he wrote this Alfred Ford a letter at his ski resort in Hawaii and asked him to please give a donation. “I’m trying to start a tape ministry to record all the lectures of Srila Prabhupada. There is no system at all.” And Alfred Ford gave a donation and Golden Avatar was started in 1972. We bought the Uher tape recorders, we bought whatever equipment there was. This was a monumental thing.

From that day on Prabhupada’s servant or secretary had to carry a tape recorder and every single thing Prabhupada said was recorded. That was a major event for the history of the world. It ended up by 1977 when Prabhupada said we could use his talks, his classes and his lectures to produce books. It’s a very major event. It started in 1972 with this donation, the very first donation Ambarisa ever gave ISKCON went to pay for Prabhupada’s voice to be recorded and preserved for as long as there is a Krishna consciousness movement. That is an important event in the history of our movement and Prabhupada approved it. Obviously he allowed his disciples to carry that tape recorder and stick that microphone in front of him and if it was annoying to him he would have mentioned it. (from Dandavats.com) In 1974, devotees in Hawaii asked Ambarisa to help purchase the temple in Honolulu. In 1975, he was initiated there.

In 1976 in Detroit, Ambarisa was present in a room conversation where Srila Prabhupada shared his vision of building a Vedic planetarium that would “confront modern scientific theory.” Hari Sauri Dasa and Pusta Krsnna Dasa were also present. “So what do you think of this, Ambarisa Maharaja?” Prabhupada had asked him. “Oh, you like it too, you can finance.” And so began the journey of building the TOVP (Temple of the Vedic Planetarium), which has been Ambarisa’s main service to Srila Prabhupada.

The Fisher Mansion, The Devasadana Mandir, was remodeled in 1983 with Ambarisa’s sponsorship, and its opening created the largest media event in ISKCON at the time. In 1984, he married Svaha Devi Dasi and moved to Miami, where they rendered service for the temple both in Miami Beach and Coconut Grove. Svaha Devi Dasi is also firmly committed to the TOVP project, traveling for fundraising and performing design work. 1996, Prabhupada’s centennial, marked the year that first “serious efforts” began towards the creation of the TOVP, Srila Prabhupada’s grand vision. Ambarisa began traveling with Sridhar Maharaja to raise funds. 1996 was also the year that Ambarisa moved to Alachua, and here he helped to bring our deities, Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara and Sri Sri Krishna Balarama. He also assists with many other projects.