Memories of Sridhar Swami
Posted April 14, 2004
As a first lady disciple of Sridhar Swami, I would like to contribute few words about the memories I have, serving Maharaja from the December 1992, until January 1997.
Dear Sridhar Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Mayapur's Sri Sri Radha Madhava and Sri Panca Tattva!
Joining Krishna consciousness movement in November 1992, I was serving in Govindas restaurant in Stockholm under the guidance of HG Manidhara prabhu - waiting for the spiritual master, praying to Srila Prabhupada. And you came a month later - marching like a general into the battle, pleasant to devotees like a mother, strict like a thunder. I approached you - "please take me to Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet". And six months later in Denmark, you have decided to accept me and see what would happen.
I came to India for karttik 1994, you allowed me to join Srila Prabhupada marathon soldiers in Juhu temple and, with nice guidance of Narttaka Gopal mataji, always knowing I can come to your office with questions - my life was sublime.
Later, after that marathon, you sent me to Kolkata temple, to serve under Adridharan prabhu and you allowed me to go to Nepal and extend the visa, to stay in India. Even then I had a hard time in Iskcon due to my explicit desire of service and meditation, so Srila Gaur Govinda Maharaja allowed me to serve him and stay for some time in his temple in Bhubaneswar. How fortunate I was!
For a short period of time, I had a mercy of being a member of Srila Prabhupada's Centennial House staff in Delhi, with disciples of HH Lokanatha Maharaja. Closer and closer to you. And you initiated me in 1996 in Mayapur, asking me to come to Juhu, Mumbai and cook for you.
It was sweet and sweaty. It was difficult, very different then any other life experience. Never being in charge of anything very important, suddenly I was bombarded with so much service I hardly slept - praying for more godsisters and godbrothers to become and help me, take over.
Some unfortunate things happened in the temple, some unfortunate things happened in the movement - I lost faith - and I decided to continue my spiritual path elsewhere so I left in January 1997.
In 1998 I came to Vrindaban and Mayapur for Gaura Purnima, first time I met Srila Bhaktivedanta Gosvami Narayana Maharaja and I found what I was looking, found the same path you have been showing me - Srila Prabhupada's path. Finally I found heart-melting, kind Vaisnava sisters and brothers I was longing for. And they mercifully accepted me.
Thank you very much, for letting me serve you, thank you for inviting me to come to India, my real home. Thank you for introducing me to Srila Prabhupada. I remember our first serious conversation in Ljubljana temple - ex. Bhakta Bobo was there and me, ex. bhaktin Jadranka - and you took Hari Sauri's Transcendental Diary and you said "I would like to start our relationship in the most wonderful way - introduce you to Srila Prabhupada as Hari Sauri prabhu wrote it" and you were reading and reading and reading. And tears in your eyes were telling me - "Hold his lotus feet, this is a 100% Srila Prabhupada's devotee, you have never met anyone like him". I see you as a temple president in Juhu - kind to Life members, keeping brahmacaries strict, seating in front of the altar waiting for curtain to open for mangala aratik, chanting and dancing in London Ratha Yatra, Delhi Ratha Yatra, Mumbai Ratha Yatra, Croatian camps... merciful to new devotees, merciful to the temple guests, giving classes in Hindi, opening a new temple in Delhi, having sweet relationships with your godsisters and godbrothers, so humbly reading a first Vyasa-puja book I tried to edit, searching for my godsisters and godbrothers' offers all around the globe. That day, Mayapur das was initited, my first temple godbrother. I see you preaching to your two Canadian brothers, lucky guys. I see you surrounded by your most newly-initiated and aspiring disciples, saying "Without them, I would be dead". You hardly could walk those last days, but you stopped on your way to Sri Panca Tattva altar and said to your guests: "We came to India and left our families, left our countries as a service to Srila Prabhupada, fought with diseases and poverty, preaching the message of Vedic sastras so you Indians could recognize it and take it". You are known as "Jolly swami" but your heart is always crying for Srila Prabhupada.
Reading on internet about your trip to Vancouver and back, my heart broke in two and I came to India in desire to beg for forgiveness for leaving (even then my harsh words did not stop) - and you let me come to see you, you forgave me, you asked me to help your disciples in making a breakfast for you, you told me to ask questions, to pray and to be humble. But, knowing I took spiritual shelter from a saint belonging to Gaudiya Math I was not appreciated, you asked me to leave. You told me to chant and continue serving my Sri Sri Radha Vinod Bihariji deities my Gurudev mercifully gave me to worship. I left Mayapur dham and came back to Sri Sri Rupa Sanatana math in Vrindaban. Foolishly I thought I would see you in some distant corner of the globe, again preaching and fighting for lost conditional souls against Mayadevi. Last day in India before coming back to Croatia, I phoned your doctor in Kolkata saying I heard about a very good medicine for purifying the blood from metals. Little we both knew you decided to leave the body few hours earlier.
I am proud of being your disciple even for one day, even for one moment. You initiated me into our Sampradaya, but I lost faith in Iskcon and in you at one point - and it took me years of chanting, with association of pure devotee's disciples, to change. I learned to try to see Lord Krishna's devotees according to their spiritual greed, not to the institution or religion they belong to. You told that last day we have met - not to open my heart easily but remembering you, I can not help it. Being protected by Gurudeva and advanced Vaisnavas, I have no worry but one hope - that some day, in some other lifetime, I would meet you again, hopefully recognize and try again, with little more brain and little more humility and much more respect to you. It remains for me only to pray that in (lifes)time I have the same dedication to my Gurudeva - he sees all living beings as devotees of Lord Krishna and is always absorbed in the pastime of our Divine Lords.
Yashoda devi dasi (Croatia)