Madhava was born on October 1, 1973 on the island of Mauritius. He was five years old when his parents became fully committed Krishna devotees while staying at home and working at their jobs. Straightaway, they gave him his first mridanga (Indian clay drum), and, motivated by them, Madhava chanted 4 rounds of japa every day until he was 13 years old. As a teenager he rebelled. After some bumps and wild detours his fascination with music led him, at the age of 18, to ask his parents to send him to Vrindavan, the holy city of Krishna. He hoped to join the kirtan party there.
In January 1992, on the very first day Madhava arrived in Vrindavan, he met Aindra das, the leader of the 24-hour kirtan, who asked him to join the kirtan party. Every day for the next 5 years Madhava would play mridanga for Aindra das.
At the end of 1996 he went back to Mauritius. Barely two years later, Madhava returned to Vrindavan for a brief stay and, before leaving, received the instruction from Aindra das to “always chant Hare Krishna, even if you have to do it to the four walls—and never stop practicing your mridanga.”
In 1999 Madhava married Radhika in the UK and a year later he joined her in Switzerland to settle there. For the first 4 years he studied German and carpentry at school while working as an apprentice carpenter. After qualifying as such, he worked full time for 6 years. Meanwhile he was doing kirtan with Sivaram Swami, an Iskcon leader, in Hungary or the U.K over weekends. In 2005 he and some friends formed a group, “Gaura Prema,” and did their first public kirtan in a church in Zürich. Mainly people interested in yoga attended. In response to public awareness in kirtan, the group began chanting spiritual mantras in the many yoga schools in Germany and Switzerland.
In 2009, Madhava’s boss sold the company, leaving him jobless. A year later, a Vaisnava patron intent on promoting kirtan offered to partly fund his cost of living if he would make kirtan his life’s task. That year, for the first time, he traveled around Australia for a month, doing kirtan in Iskcon temples and major yoga schools on the east coast. Since then he tries to serve the Holy Name whenever and wherever he is called.
Most of us who stayed with Aindra das were unfit for conventional temple life. I was one fallen being who needed compassion more than anyone else. Aindra das gave me shelter, trained and taught me the right mood to serve the Holy Name. The day before he passed away he talked deeply about serving the sacred Name. He said to do kirtan in as many new places as possible, avoiding the complacency of familiar settings. The urgency to carry out his desire has now intensified as I identify the same ardent wish to serve Nama Prabhu in Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. I thank my wife for sacrificing ease and comfort to accompany me. We are unqualified and insignificant. Our only hope is to try to be worthy tools in the service of the Holy Name and His devotees.