The Austrian Walther Eidlitz (Vamandas, 1892-1976) was a successful writer even as a youth. Some time before the outbreak of the Second World War, he felt an irresistible yearning for going to India to study its ancient religion, and went there in 1938, shortly before the 2nd World War broke out. As his family was Jewish, Vamandas' wife and son were forced to flee from the Nazis, who had occupied Austria in 1938, and, eventually, find refuge in Sweden. Meanwhile Vamandas, as a foreigner in India, was interned in an Indian camp, where he met his guru, Svami Sadananda Dasa, who in that place began his uninterrupted teaching of Vamandas.
After his release from the internment camp Bhakti Hridaya Bon Maharaja wished to initiate him into the Gaudiya-vaishnava tradition and he received his spiritual name Vimala Krishna Vidyabinode Das. (From his first guru, Shri, in the Himalayas, he had already got his name "Vamandas", and his friend called him so even after his initiation into Gaudiya vaishnavism.) A few days after his initiation in Bombay Vamandas returned to Europe and Sweden and worked there continuously to spread the knowledge of the shastrams, the revelation of God's Word-form, through lectures, courses and books. All this time, Sadananda assisted him with untiring devotion by providing him with material and correcting his misconceptions.
Some books (especially the German "Die Indische Gottesliebe", Korrektur, in Swedish "Krishnas Leende") unfortunately contain many errors, because Sadananda didn't have the possibility to check his translations at that time. The later books, however, and above all his work, "Krishna Caitanya, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre" (Stockholm University 1968), give a brilliant survey of the essence of shastric revelation.
In spite of the mistakes Vamandas had made in the beginning, Svami wrote in one of his last letters to him: "Tell your friends, that everything they do for you, they do for me as well."
We cannot be grateful enough to Vamandas. In addition to all the books he wrote, he also brought Svami to us, here in the West.
By his lifetime achievement Vamandas broke new ground, presenting in a european language a knowledge, which at that time was practically unknown in the West. The purpose of these pages is to present gradually material from Vamandas works.
Walther Eidlitz' works in English:
"Unknown India" (Rider & Company, New York 1952)