Kulapriya Devi :
As I knew her:
Small in stature, unassuming in demeanor, … talk about a mighty powerful ripple effect… She helped Srila Prabhupada rock this world!
Koumaduki was my first friend in Krsna consciousness. We had become acquainted at previous Sunday feasts, New Dwaraka, Los Angeles. But at this particular Sunday feast, Spring 1975, there were two subjis, two savories, rice, sweet rice, puris, halavah, fruit salad, nectar, and sweet balls! Koumaduki helped me decide that since they were short-handed at BBT, with people being in India and all, and since I had some secretarial skills, this would be a good time for me to join BBT and
move into the temple. I did.
For the next few years, Koumaduki was my surrogate mother, my big sister, my boss, mentor, and friend. So many of my “first” experiences in KC were in Koumaduki’s association. She was also the first devotee I ever heard swear (how shocking!).
And she was the first devotee to ever chastise me and tell me how puffed up I was, (am)…
Me: “Hey, all I’m saying is that there’s got to be another category besides “most fallen” that Lord Caitanya came to save, because I’m here too!”
Koumaduki answered the “big” questions for me: Me: “How do you know when you’re a pure devotee?”
Koumaduki: filing papers and chuckling, “You’ll know you’re a pure devotee because Krsna will appear before you face to face.”
Me: “Oh, ok.”
A monthly pastime was the BBT/Sankirtan Newsletter. This was, without question, always an all-nighter. We would finish with the typing, printing, stapling, stuffing, etc. by about 3 a.m.. Then we’d drive to the LAX mail annex to send these parcels of Lord Caitanya’s mercy and inspiration to His outposts all over the world…
Koumad: choking back tears, “I feel Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet right on top of my head.”
Me: new and 19, yawn, thinking “how poetic”… Just enough time left to rush home, clean up, and run, laughing, into Mangala Aratika.
Koumaduki really did identify as being a soldier in Lord Caitanya’s army, and she lived her life with that focus and discipline.
Words that immediately pop into mind to describe her: Stalwart, Fixed-up, First-class, Sincere, Austere, Intelligent, Selfless, Dedicated, Humble, Loyal, and more.
I would call her the kind of person who is “the salt of the earth”, no b.s. She had a brilliant mind and keen wit.
She had unflinching faith in Srila Prabhupada and was fiercely dedicated to him.
Not fierce in her speech, mannerisms, or treatment of others, just fierce in the way she pushed herself.
It was All About The Service! She sacrificed her whole life really and just burned herself up in service to Radha-Krsna, Srila Prabhupada, and Their devotees.
Most of my perspective is from the past, although we did stay in touch as friends throughout the years. I know I’ve barely scratched the surface, and I make no claims to be her close confidant. But I feel lovingly duty bound to offer some recognition, respect, affection, and gratitude to one who touched my life so significantly…
Thank you for everything, dear heart! My most humble obeisances at your feet! All glories to Srila Prabhupada! We’ll catch up later. Hare Krsna!