|In the year 1949, HG Deena Bandhu Das was born as Don Romeo in United States, near Los Angeles, California in a Catholic family. Being born in a wealthy family, he never faced any material scarcity as a child. But he realized that despite all the facilities that he was getting while growing up in the modern society, his heart was never satisfied. He started searching for real happiness. He joined the University of Notre Dame in Indiana as a student of sociology. Seeing the suffering of the living entities in the so-called civilized world, he decided to do social work and help others. Soon he understood that to give happiness, he himself needs to possess happiness. Just like to give money, one needs to have money. It was the era when the youth of the nation being overburdened with frustration from the world tried to bring a revolution through the counter culture. This was the era of the long-haired hippies where the youth got addicted to various intoxications. He joined the counter culture and had the longest hair in the whole university. But he knew he was not happy.
In 1969 with a friend, he met the Hare Krishna devotees who were in Boulder, Colorado to start a temple. He received the ancient Vedic literature named Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. As he was going through the pages, he realized that all questions that used to be in his heart were getting answered. Thus he first met his eternal spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, who came to the United States to spread the Hare Krishna movement throughout the world through his literary work of Bhagavad-Gita. Finding the real happiness he was searching for, he decided to walk the path of devotional life and never return to college. The material knowledge was of no use for him when he got hold of real spiritual knowledge. He was the first devotee to join the Hare Krishna temple in Boulder, Colorado. Srila Prabhupada later initiated him and gave him the charming name of Deena Bandhu das, servant of the Lord who is the friend of the humble.
Later, he was sent to Dallas to help start an ISKCON Temple there. After some time, he served with his now wife, Akuti devi dasi, in various temples including, Houston, San Antonio, LA, and Santa Barbara.
In September of 1972, he was appointed the Temple President in Portland, Oregon. There he preached for more than five years, convincing many sincere souls to take up spiritual life. In 1978, he went to Miami, Florida and served outside the temple there.
In 1980, he was invited to come take up active service again in Colombia, South America, where he perfected his Spanish. Serving under Alanatha Swami (now known as Paramadvaiti Swami), he eventually became the Regional Secretary. Traveling around Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, he encouraged the preaching and opening of centers there.
Finally in April of 1984, he got the opportunity to serve in the Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir in Vrindavan, India. He traveled and preached extensively with a preaching party in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan for two years. Then in April of 1986, he was appointed Temple President of Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir, serving for three years and three months. During this time, having been first inspired by Gurudas Prabhu, and later the late Padmalocana Prabhu, and Dhruva Maharaja Prabhu, he began taking devotees on parikrama of the holy places of Vraja.
More than three decades have passed and he has become a permanent Vrajavasi (resident of Vrindavan) and he still continues to take pilgrims on parikrama. He inspires in all love of Vraja, showing different holy places around Vrindavan and narrating enchanting stories of Sri Sri Radha Krishna related to those places.
He didn’t confine this love of Vraja to only Vrindavan. He broke through all borders and boundaries to spread the love of Krishna and the message of Godhead. Deena Bandhu Prabhu travels the world spreading the glories of Vrindavan. He is very famous for taking everyone to Vrindavan through his fascinating presentations in his seminars. Wherever he goes, the devotees are enchanted by the delightful accounts of Krishna’s pastimes. He is famous for relating the enthralling histories of Vraja all over the world.
Around the year 1988, a saint named Baba Madhav das approached him to take over the restoration project of a very sacred place in Vraja called Vrinda Kunda near Nandagaon. This holy place where Vrinda Devi, the goddess of Vrindavan, resides was given over to ISKCON by Baba Madhava das, who had begun the work. By Deena Bandhu Prabhu’s pure endeavor and devotees mercy, now a carved stone temple, beautiful ponds, and enchanting flower gardens are there, which give one the impression of what Vrindavan should be like. Every year Vrinda Kunda is visited by many pilgrims and they experience the natural, calm atmosphere of the place. The project of Vrinda Kunda has remained his heart and soul and he’s still making the place more beautiful so that everyone can have real Vrindavan experience.
Among various other significant projects in Vrindavan, Deena Bandhu Prabhu has helped in restoring he Samadhi Mandir (burial chamber) of the great saint, Srila Sanatan Goswami. He has also been an active supporter to restore the sacred river Yamuna in Vrindavan.
Whoever he comes across, he humbly invites them to come to Vrindavan and have darshan of all the holy places. Sri Vrindavan Dham Ki Jay!