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Farewell Bhadra Priya!

Thursday, 10 February 2011 / Published in In Memoriam / 3,479 views

(A rememberance from the walkingmonk, Bhaktimarga swami. As posted on the web thewalkingmonk.blogspot.com )

By Bhaktimarga Swami

Shelly Cook became a nun in the latter part of ’72 or early ’73 in the Krishna Consciousness movement. She joined the ashram, a rented Victoria home on 187 Gerrard Street, in what was known as the Cabbagetown section of Toronto. There on the second floor resided the women that she befriended while the men occupied the 3rd or top floor. Shelly became initiated as Bhadra Priya by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in late September of ’73 when all but five to six people stayed back from the usual crammed quarters of the ashram.

Our thirty-five, or so, residents had left for “sankirtan”, street chanting and distributing magazines and our home-made-family-business incense sticks. Shelly (or after referred to as Cheryl) and I stayed back for the ceremony, a fire sacrifice, as we called it then. My name was John and I became Bhaktimarga. Her name, Bhadra Priya, stayed with her for the time she was living with us in Toronto and during her stay in the ashram near Wheeling, West Virginia.

She was always dutiful, loyal and got along with all of us in the ashram. She first came as a genuine spiritual seeker and when she found Krishna she got hooked. I remember she was the ashram’s photographer. She loved to take pictures of the deities of Krishna. A friend described her as “simple, solid and positive.”

What is unfortunate is that she had to leave us. She was struggling with cancer for the last three years and was finally called to leave for a more painless life. She will be missed by those of us who knew her.

Bhadra Priya was born on Nov. 9th in 1946. She did leave ashram life for a time and worked with the Toronto Transit System as a driver on one of the city’s main routes for over twenty years. She put her heart into what she did. She was an avid spiritual reader. The last days spent were in Alachua, Florida with godsisters and friends. For the last hours people were chanting around her. It happened the way she wanted.

And for me, I always, always admired her strong sense of sincerity. She really was an inspiration to me.

Farewell Bhadra Priya!

Hare Krishna

Bhaktimarga Swami

2 Responses to “Farewell Bhadra Priya!”

  1. Svayam Rasesvari dd says :

    PAMHO! AGTSP!

    So Nice to read about this great devotee. Even though I never met her, her life is an inspiration to me and I hope to may others. Interesting use of the word “nun” though. Is this a new term for brahmacarini that I am not familiar with?

  2. triloka says :

    I only recently heard of Bhadra Priya’s passing, and would like to acknowledge this event by sharing what little I knew of her with the community at large.
    Bhadra Priya was serving in the Toronto temple on Gerrard Street when I joined in 1974. She always distinguished herself with a cheerful spirit and a joyful sense of camaraderie with the other ladies, that was so nice to see. She shared and inspired a wonderful service attitude toward Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Ksiracora Gopinatha, and always seemed to be bright and happy to be in devotional service.
    I am happy to hear that after I lost track of her, she continued to find joy in the service of Srila Prabhupada, and that her passing was so auspicious. I wish her good fortune as she continues her service further on down her path to Radha and Krsna’s lotus feet.
    Thanks for listening
    Trilokanatha dasa

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