The Devotee Chanting ‘Neath the Tree
Godsisters by Shrila Prabhupada’s grace. Govinda Dasi (l.) and Yamuna Dasi (r.) accompany His Divine Grace from a TV interview in San Francisco, c 1969
By Govinda dasi
New Naimisharanya, Texas USA: Dear World Family of Vaishnavas and Vaishnavis,
My humble obeisances at your lotus feet. My humble obeisances at the lotus feet of our beloved Master Srila Prabhupada, without whom none of us would ever have the opportunity to approach the realm of Krishna Consciousness. All Glories to the wonderful divine personality whom we affectionately call Srila Prabhupada!
It is with great sorrow that I wish to express my heartfelt grief and bereavement for the loss of our beloved Godsister Yamuna devi dasi. Yamuna devi has always been a stalwart beacon of pure Krishna Consciousness. Daily we are inspired by her transcendentally beautiful voice as she sings the “Govindam” prayers at the time of greeting the Deities at every ISKCON temple in the world. This morning song always gave our beloved Master Srila Prabhupada great joy, and so we can know for certain it continues to give the Lord and His Divine Associates the greatest pleasure.
For me, Yamuna devi was always seen as some special goddess, sent here to help my Master Srila Prabhupada in his work on this planet Earth, and one whose depth of devotional mood was both mysterious and ecstatic. Yamuna devi remained always true and faithful to Srila Prabhupada’s ecstatic Vrindaban mood, and was never swayed or distracted by the various mayas, in the forms of pratistha, or the mad rush for name, fame, disciples, and wealth. She remained fixed in the pure devotional moods inspired by Srila Prabhupada, always absorbed in chanting the Holy Names, and caring for her beautiful Radha Krishna Deities, advancing on the inner planes of Krishna bhakti.
Once in Hawaii I witnessed Srila Prabhupada’s appreciation for this consistent inner devotional mood. One senior Godsister who had just returned from Vraj was sitting peacefully beneath a tree, chanting japa in quiet ecstasy. Srila Prabhupada stood by his window overlooking this peaceful scene. In his room was an ongoing political quarrel amongst various Godbrothers–money and management disputes–which he had to deal with. Already the element of quarrel and ambition had invaded his young ISKCON movement. I watched as he stood by the window overlooking the lovely Hawaiian landscape, and the one lone Godsister sitting beneath a tree chanting Hare Krishna softly on her beads.
He sighed deeply, and softly said, “Ah yes, THIS is Krishna Consciousness. Sitting peacefully and chanting Hare Krishna. Yes, THIS is Krishna Consciousness.”
Yamuna devi was such a devotee. She sat before her beloved Deities, absorbed in ecstasy, and chanted Hare Krishna with pure love and devotion. She was the beacon of pure Krishna Consciousness. Her bhakti was without any aspiration for name, fame, or aggrandizement, nor any desire for power, wealth, or disciples. She was a stalwart of the original bhakti movement introduced by Lord Chaitanya and brought to us by Srila Prabhupada.
Certainly Yamuna devi is being welcomed by our beloved Srila Prabhupada into the nitya lila of Sri Sri Radha Krishna, and Lord Chaitanya and His Eternal Associates. There must be a joyful kirtan going on, and All are relishing the sweetness of her pure devotional voice. There must be a grand festival upon her arrival!
But we here in this world are suffering this great loss. It is with much sadness that we express our tears of bereavement , and wishes that we may someday follow in her lotus footsteps, and touch the lotus feet of our beloved senior Godsister Yamuna devi dasi.
Yours in the seva of Srila Prabhupada,
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