By Prahladpriya das
Dear Yamuna Devi
With Gratitude and Affection,
Thatâs how you always signed your letter, cards, and gifts to me. This left a profound mark upon me. I am blessed and fortunate to have known you. You changed my life in ways that few others have. Your life was a myriad of service to Our Beloved Spiritual Master. Your love for Srila Prabhupad was palpable. By your kindness and mercy, for some years, you allowed me to accompany you on your journey in devotional service. Your association enriched me, enlightened me, opened doors materialy and spiritually that would never have been opened, increased my faith, and have left a legacy not only for me , but so many. I am proud to have received your guidance and instruction as my senior. It felt like you knew me and understood my heart. You treated me like a little brother. I felt special in your company. You have givin me many gifts during the time we spent together. Long ago you gave a small statue that originally belonged to your Aunt. It had been passed on to you. It had been in your family for years. I was deeply touched. I see it every day and it always reminds me of you. Another gift will always be dear to my heart. After three years of working everyday to finish the cookbook it was finally ready to go to press. I traveled to Kingsport Tennesee, where the printer was. I studied the printing proofs and gave the OK. At the end of that day, the printer told me that it was traditional to hand bind a single luxury copy . Generally it was bound in leather. Of course we could not do that, so the book was bound in a very nice brown cover. I could not wait to put it into your hands. When I returned and handed you the book. Your eyes lit up. Immeadeatly you proceeded to present the book to Srila Prabhupad. You carefully and lovingly turned each page for Prabhupad to see. I recall mentioning that you needed to keep this particular copy somewhere safe as someday it might be used for historical purposes. Once you were finished, you did something that I never expected. You sat at the desk and began to inscribe the book and handed it back to me. As I opened it I saw how you had written a personal note of thanks to myself and Yogeswara Prabhu.
Then you instructed me to keep the book. I have that book and hold it dear.
One day in New York City, we were hard at work trying to complete your opus offering, âLord Krishnaâs Cuisineâ. We were discussing morning Sadhana. Suddenly, in the middle of the conversation- it struck me like Lightning â I can only greet one set of Deities, in one temple room, once a day. You on the other hand would be greeting all of the Deities, in ever temple room, ever morning, and will forever. Thatâs how powerful your love for Srila Prabhupada was. When I told you this you appeared somewhat surprised. I donât think it had ever occurred to you. If it had it certainly didnât show. Your response was. âI will be happy to greet Srila Prabhupad every morningâ. That says it all about you. I have so many fond memories of you and our loving god-sister Dina Taruni. To both of you I say- Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Not having your physical association will leave a vacuum for so many. The grief too profound to put into words. But again by your devotion - whenever we hear Govindam or read Lord Krishnaâs Cuisine, We will have your association. Thank you for making so many sacrifices in your lifetime to see that not only will Srila Prabhupadas memories be preserved, but so will yours. Please forgive me for my offences. I pray you will! We will all miss you.
With Gratitude and affection
Your God-brother , your servant ,your well wisher, your friend