In Focus: Giridhari-Priya Dasa & Shamala Gopa Kishori Devi…
In Focus: Giridhari-Priya Dasa & Shamala Gopa Kishori Devi Dasi.
Interviewed by Kisori devi dasi
Q: Please tell us what brings you here to New Govardhana?
A: New Govardhana has been almost like our second home for a number of years. We would visit from Melbourne for the major festivals. We love the community here. We have two sons, Sridhar Krsna (four years) and Haridas Thakur (one year). In our hearts, we knew that raising our children in this environment would provide a great Krishna conscious upbringing for them. So we finally made the move to join this yatra in July.
Q: So the plans are to stay?
A: Yes, most definitely! We have work on the Gold Coast, so we decided to stay near Burleigh for the time being so that we could be halfway between Surfer’s Paradise and New Govardhana. Sridhar is attending Pre-K at the gurukula, but then he begins full time we plan to move closer to Murwillumbah.
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourselves.
A: In Melbourne, for four years we operated a prasadam restaurant (launched in July, 2014) called ‘Radhey Kitchen & Chai Bar’ in popular Fitzroy. Interestingly, our first son was born two weeks’ early on the same day we opened the restaurant! The night before opening day we had a large kirtana event to seek the blessings of the Vaishnavas for our new service. We came home from the program, ecstatic and excited about the following day and little Sridhar just couldn’t wait to join in the fun! Radhey Chai Bar was our family business and our full time service.
In 2016, we opened a kirtana and yoga space upstairs called ‘Desire Tree Yoga’, where we held daily yoga classes and occasional kirtana nights. Both the restaurant and the kirtana yoga room are still operating and are now under the management of ISKCON Melbourne.
Q: I understand you both attended the same university. Did you meet there?
A: I was completing an Honours degree in International Politics at La Trobe University in 2005, and my husband had moved to Melbourne from Singapore in 2004 to complete an Honours degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, also at La Trobe University. Ironically, we never met at uni and only crossed paths in the Melbourne ISKCON temple shop where I was doing service!
Q: How do you see yourselves contributing to New Govardhana?
A: We feel very fortunate to be a part of the New Govardhana community where we hope to engage our natures in Krishna’s service. We would love the opportunity to serve the cows, the Deities and the devotees.