The Exemplary Life And Glorious Passing of Krsna Krpa Dasi
Posted December 18, 2008
Krsna Krpa prabhu was endowed with a high intelligence, a superior analytic capacity and an extraordinary memory. During our marriage she earned two master’s degrees and a fellowship, with the intention of introducing Krsna-conscious concepts into her International Baccalaureate and community college classes in world history and American history. She was able to explain the Bhagavad-gita As It Is as the standard of a world religion and presented varna in the garb of a social structure to be found historically all over the world. (One of her young honours students called his reading of Srila Prabhupada’s Gita “a real treat”).
In the academic community she was well respected, as evidenced by a University of Florida dean who wrote: “She is an inspired and inspiring teacher, to say the least. Bluntly, she is a natural-born teacher. This characterization includes her uncanny ability to communicate precisely what she means. She is a polished speaker and writer. Beyond that, she has an interesting ‘take’ on history. She’s not just a file drawer full of historical facts — she brings instead a very dynamic appreciation for the way things ‘connect’ historically. In sum, history comes alive in her telling of it.”
I was very fortunate to spend many hours engaged in Krsna-katha with Krsna Krpa dasi. We were always seeing the modern world through the eyes of sastra — Srila Prabhupada’s books and lectures — and when she described the pastime stories she remembered so well, indeed they became alive in sound.
Krsna Krpa dasi distributed Srila Prabhupada’s books for 12 years and especially treasured her time spent at Dulles International Airport, where there were many important passengers from abroad — including the Russians at the time of their occupation of Afghanistan. She recounted how, for security reasons, they were cordoned off in special seats but her policeman friend let her in. She singled out the leader, because all the others were watching him closely to see how he would react. When he took a book first, the others became very animated and willing to listen and look.
We used to travel a lot, and Krsna Krpa dasi took every opportunity to worship temple Deities. I found one of her notes (dated April 1, 1984), which speaks for itself: “On Saturday I dressed Their Lordships. Feeling a bit late, and awkward in arranging Krsna’s black curls, I prayed my occasional prayer to Srimati Radharani, ‘Please help me dress Him the way You want Him to appear; He is Your Krsna’ — and for a moment Krsna became so beautiful & I wanted Him so much that I cried and prayed to Her: ‘Please let Him be mine also’.”
As soon as we realized that there could be no cure for her illness and that perhaps only a few months were left, we began hearing Srila Prabhupada constantly, interspersed with readings from the Krsna book and the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. We did short kirtans when she had the strength. As Srila Prabhupada said during his lectures about Queen Kunti, devotees living outside Vrindavan (like Queen Kunti at Hasthinapur) constantly studied the denizens of Vrindavan to appreciate how much they loved Krsna. We focused our attention on Vrindavan-lila, especially Mother Yasoda and the cowherd boys.
Krsna Krpa dasi told me she wished she could go and have carefree days running and playing with Lord Krsna and Balarama. Sometimes she would cry with deep longing to go to a place where Srila Prabhupada was loved by everyone and where everyone was always eager to hear and talk about Krsna. On October 29 she wrote her last prayer: “My dear Srila Prabhupada, please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to you, O servant of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. I am petitioning you with my final desires for my next birth so that I may continue in your service and in the service of Lord Sri Krsna, as you have taught us. Please grant me this wish to take my birth only among devotees who always glorify, love and serve you and Sri Sri Radha Krsna under the guidance and protection of Srila Rupa Goswami. I am begging for your mercy that I do not deserve, but please be merciful, without cause, upon me. (Signed) Your little fallen servant as you have named me, Krsna Krpa dasi.”
A last scribbled note, undated and unsigned, reads: “I am throwing myself at your lotus feet. You have sheltered me much over many years, and I am grateful. Please help me remember Krsna at the time of death. Please help me in my next lifetime to serve you and the devotees.”
In 1976, when she received her name Krsna Krpa dasi from Srila Prabhupada at the Potomac, Maryland temple, all the assembled devotees loudly cheered: “Jai! Haribol!” It was such a nice name, and in my opinion, she has lived up to it. As the “Servant of Lord Krsna’s mercy,” she always carried that mercy she received from Srila Prabhupada and tried to distribute it to others. Before Srila Prabhupada handed her beads to her, he said to the assembly: “She knows how to pay her obeisances.” That little bit of personal encouragement inspired her to be obedient to Srila Prabhupada for the rest of her life.
We were married nearly 29 years, and during her last days I was worried whether I, as her pati-guru, was properly doing my duty to help her go back to Godhead, but practically the last clear thing she said to me was: “Krsna is taking care of me.” In her final hour, while lying on her side, she suddenly opened her eyes wide and exclaimed: “Prabhupad, Prabhupad!” For months we had been playing his lectures and kirtans 24 hours a day, even while sleeping, and I understood that now Srila Prabhupada had come to take over.
Of course, every husband has the right to eulogize his wife, but I have tried herein to briefly acknowledge a devoted disciple of Srila Prabhupada, who was always lovingly engaged in his service. Krsna Krpa dasi’s departure has left a vacancy in my life which cannot be filled by any human being. I have no danda and no wife. I am not a brahmacari, and vanaprastha is a mere designation, foreign to me. I remain simply Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, determined to continue preaching only what I have understood from him, by his grace. Hare Krsna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!