Chakra Announcements

The Passing of Padma Dasi

by Nartaka Gopala dasi

Posted May 25, 2011

Remembering Padma dasi by Nartaka Gopala dasi

Srimati Padma dasi, a disciple of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, passed away on April 22, 2011 in San Diego, California from colon cancer. Padma was a most remarkable and amazing woman. She was one of our original Head Pujaris at ISKCON Miami from 1976 to 1983.

Padma was multi-talented and had a genius for creating spectacular Deity outfits. Her husband, Charana Padma, had been in a rock band prior to joining the movement and she used to sew creative outfits for him. So Padma just transferred that talent over to the Deities when she joined the movement in 1976.

She never let having a small baby be an excuse for not being able to do other seva. When her son Rama was a baby he would be sleeping just outside the altar door and she would be dressing the Deities.

Padma was a larger than life, one of a kind personality, always making Krishna consciousness fun, appealing and interesting. Her and Akuti made a pact with each other that if either of them ever fell into maya the other would come and force them out of it!

Padma gave new meaning to the word dedication, and she put her heart and soul into serving Gaura Nitai with so much love. I know that Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda see her as Their mother and are now lovingly caring for her.

Remembering Padma, by Sukhada dasi:

I remember Padma, Carana Padma, and Radha Manjari coming to the temple in Miami for the first time. They were so happy and enthusiastic about serving Krishna. Padma told me that her daughter, Radha Manjari, who was only 2 or 3 at the time, would wake up in the morning and the first words out of her mouth would be, “I want to go see Krishna!” They came often as a result and pretty soon they moved in.

One day, shortly before I gave birth to my son, Ramananda Raya, at the beginning of 1978, Radha Manjari came running up to me to tell me the devotees were going to give me a bath and that it was a surprise. I was a bit puzzled until I figured out she meant shower- a baby shower. It was so kind of Padma and Vrindavanesvari to do that for me.

Padma was expert at whatever she did- whether it was cake decorating, dressing the Deities, or cooking for the Deities. She approached everything with the same determined, devotional mood. She was an excellent mother to her two children, Radha and Rama and a loving, caring disciple of Srila Prabhupada. There is no doubt that Srila Prabhupada is taking good care of his daughter-I'm certain she is busy engaged in service as we speak. Even though I moved to Hawaii in 1979 and had little chance for association with Padma for many years when we met we just picked up from where we left off-service to Krishna and his devotees. I love her and her family and hope that I'll get a chance to speak with Carana Padma, Radha, and Rama in the near future.

Remembrances of Padma dasi by Vrindabaneshwari devi dasi:

My remembrances of my old friend Padma are from 1976 to 1979 in New Naimasaranya Forest, Coral way temple, Miami, Florida. When Padma and I met my son was 11 months old and her son was 13 months old. She was a passionate personality, very vibrant and intensely dedicated to 2 things: her children and Deity service. She would decorate the temple and do anything she could prior to 2nd initiation. She also new how to sew and she was quickly learning how to use that talent for making Deity clothes.

We became very close taking our kids out together and since I was a temple cook and part time pujari we had a lot of common devotional interest as well as doing children projects.

After her brahmin initiation she went full swing into dressing the Deities daily as well as full-time seamstress for their Lordships Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. Padma always loved to work with flowers, so she would be very creative with her flower arrangements on the altar, to enhance the beautiful atmosphere for Sri Sri Gaura Nitai as well as give pleasure to the devotees. She also started creating very beautiful hairdo's for Goura Nitai, who became well known for Their exquisite locks of well styled black wavy hair.

We had shared the experience of having a wedding ceremony fire sacrifice together on Christmas day. The temple president Narahari das like fire jajnas and after the book distribution marathon on Christmas there were 4 couples previously married, who he selected to have a fire sacrifice. So Padma and I did all the cooking, all the decorations and worked all day for this occasion. When it was almost time to be present in the temple we were not dressed or decorated at all. Back then we did not give it much thought; we did a lot of service and were in bliss, fully satisfied with that. I realized I did not have a proper sari to wear so I ran to Sukhada's home and asked to borrow one from her. Then I ran over Padma's home and asked if she had any flowers for my hair. I stuck them in with little thought of how they looked and she put some in hers, and off we went. I remember when I sat down in the temple a brahmachari Mahasringha looking at me and started laughing so I took the flowers out. Padma pulled it off for her 5 minutes of decorating herself

We used to have our weekly ritual of going to the laundramat with our kids and tons of laundry. The atmosphere was challanging and the kids were very restless. She termed the occasional “laundry ananda”. We concluded since it was so miserable that there must not be laundramats or dirty laundry in the spiritual world!

Once when I was on sankirtan Padma was watching my son who was 3 at the time. He ran across the floor and slipped and crashed into a low table, completely splitting his eyebrow, separating it by about 1/2 inch. Padma didn't know what to do and she was freaked out that on her watch my son would have a permanent facial scar. My husband Madana Mohan told her she was a seamstress and to pretend she was sewing something and to piece the two together and seal it with a butterfly stitch. She did a perfect job and it was not easy.

My memories of Padma are as a very vibrant outgoing personality who was dedicated to Krsna's personal service, and seeing that her kids were happy, and doing both with great zeal and enthusiasm. Of course she had her cynical side as did I and we shared that thru spiritual affirmations about the miseries of the material world.

The last time I saw her was last summer in San Diego, we spent quality time together, she shared her realizations and what she was going thru with the illness, and treatment etc. I also saw her at LA Rathayatra and she was her old vibrant self and I have a wonderful photo of that moment.

Padma did an immense amount of personal service to Lord Sri Krishna and his devotees and I have no doubt she is continuing doing that, with out any more suffering from this material body. Hare Krishna,

Her friend, Vrindabaneshvari dd

Padma dasi’s Devotion by Narahari das

Here are a few of my remembrances of Padma, however, I don't think they adequately reflect the transcendental nature of her service. She was the emblem of dedication to the Deities, and she was like the temple’s mother. As a very young devotee and temple president, I remember being both humbled and inspired by Mother Padma’s intense devotion to our Deities, Gaura Nitai. In my neophyte stage, Gaura Nitai were more like sacred dolls we were using to practice our worship. And the hope was, one day we would be ready to serve Krsna directly. Somehow, I instinctively knew mother Padma had a much higher realization. The way she tirelessly sewed for the Deities always making Them new outfits, and the way she meticulously dressed Them nearly every morning was uplifting to our entire community. I can still see mother Padma’s smiling face and the intensity in her impassioned eyes as she offered arotika to our Deities.

When Mother Padma would come to me and request Laxmi for making new outfits or purchasing new paraphernalia, there was no question of refusing her. She was like the Deities’ mother, but with the softness of a fragile little girl. If I would even think of denying her something for Gaura Nitai, she would start out very self-controlled, but in a matter of moments, tears would start gliding down her face.

As I look back nearly forty years later, it is obvious Mother Padma knew right from the start, she was worshiping and serving Krsna directly. Over the years I worked with mother Padma, she helped give me a glimpse into the merciful and transcendental appearance of Krsna and his various expansions in the form of Deities.

What I remember most about Mother Padma was that she was a wonderful person and dear friend. I feel so blessed to have had her association. There is no doubt in my mind that Krsna has made a wonderful arrangement to bring Mother Padma back into his full time service.

Padma dasi, a talented and generous devotee by Gopisvari devi dasi

I met Padma in 1982 on one of my frequent business trips to Miami. When I was informed by the Temple President that there was no Life Membership room available, Padma kindly offered to take me in. We became fast friends. She was energetic, upbeat, super-ambitious, and one of those special devotees that is expert at any service she undertakes.

She was my friend and mentor: off with the business suit, on with the sari, and service to the Max. Whether she was serving Sri Sri Gaura Nitai in so many capacities, serving her Guru, cleaning, or cooking a veritable banquet for some arriving Swamis, she served with extraordinary expertise and grace. It was my good fortune to be her assistant and she taught me a lot.

I had the additional fortune to spend some time with her when she moved with her family to Los Angeles, where I had been living for some time. Our sons became friends and are so to this day.

My heartfelt condolences to her dear family.

I feel certain that she'll be serving Sri Sri Gaura Nitai for eternity.

Padma dasi, a Great Soul, by Gaura Purnima devi dasi

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Our Mother Padma is a great soul who served the Miami Yatra with all of her might. She easily surrendered to Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and watched over Them as if They were her own children. She told me that moving into the temple and performing devotional service was the easiest thing she ever did. She needed no convincing. Our Lords have reciprocated her devotion and service by blessing her with a sacred and close family. Radhe Manjari, her beloved daughter and first born; Ramachandra das, a true gentleman, and a loving, kind and a devoted son; Lainey (our sweet Gaura Prachar, her heart shines purely through her extraordinary eyes); and baby Sita, she stands firm on this Earth, grounded, full of realization and intelligence, pure beauty. I would also like to remember Mother Padma’s grandson Jay, very talented and handsome and with good karma for having such an awesome female lineage!

Padma, your children are a testament to your service and devotion. Your humor and smile attracted my soul and saved the rest of me. I stand back in awe, to this day, when I remember your creative genius and your mystical nature. Thank you for mentoring me in the science of Bhakti. Your life and teachings have been a true blessing in my life. Loving obeisances to you, my friend.

One day while visiting Padma a month before she passed, she told me that she had gone to a healer who could see beyond the five senses and guide her with his visions. While reading her he told her that so many guides and protectors were there, then he said to her, ‘Wait a minute, I have never seen this before, Krishna just arrived and told everyone to leave. He said He will personally take care of you. He said, “She has surrendered to Me before and knows how to do it.” ’ This healer had no knowledge of Padma being a devotee or her past experiences. When she related this story to me, I felt relaxed and protected. The time I spent with her just before she left, was full of laughter and tears and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to reconnect with her and her wonderful children and family.

A Prayer for Padma and her Children by Bhuvana Pavani devi dasi

Dear Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, Best Friend of All especially those who have been blessed by the mercy of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, certainly You have received Your servant Padma dasi into Your eternal loving service. When I am told of the passing of my Godsiblings, I feel as though these are very brave souls whose untimely passing is a lesson to this fallen and frightened soul. To Padma I say, Thank you for teaching me that I need not fear! Thank you for paving the way for departing with Krsna’s grace! Krsna, please let Padma’s children know that You are with them always in a loving way, waiting always to hear them no matter what they need to express to You. Please let them know that You are always there for them. Hare Krsna

I only knew Padma’s two eldest children, Radhe Manjari & Ramachandra. I want to send them huge healing hugs.

Your fallen servant,
Bhuvana Pavani d.d.

From Jaya Rama das: I was always thinking that, at any time, Mother Padma would show up at the Miami Dham and continue her service. She did so much first class seva.

Padma dasi (a poem by Akuti dasi)

"The Most Dynamic Lady" describes Padma the best
Creative, daring, and determined, are a few of the rest

Her personality and wit charmed even my mom
Who asked about her after years had gone

Everything she did, she added such a flare
From making "rooties" to styling the Deitie’s hair

She made every service a "real ball"
And had guts on sankirtan to match them all

Whatever we did together I'd pay to do again
A real lovable person, an unforgettable friend

Gaura Nitai were her Lords, and she took great care
Raising money, cooking, sewing 24/7 for That Pair

I'm sure They are now taking care of Her
Keeping her busy in Their service, that's for sure

I pray to be able to do service with her again
In Goloka Vrndavan where it will never end

From His Holiness Hridayananda das Goswami: Srimati Padma Devi Dasi rendered exceptional, unforgettable service to the beautiful Miami Deities. Padma dressed and adorned the Deities in a uniquely beautiful way. Her talent extended to excellent gourmet cooking.

Padma was a pillar of the Miami temple and her service brought joy and inspiration to all the devotees and guests who participated in the temple programs. I have no doubt that Lord Krishna will bless her in every way and that she will continue to progress on her spiritual path. I offer my sincere condolences to all the members of her family.

With best wishes,
Hridayananda das Goswami

A letter to Padma from Tejaprakash das

Dear Mother Padma,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

When I heard the news about your passing just yesterday, I was very surprised and saddened. I hadn't seen you since the early nineties at the LA Rathayatra. Whenever you came to my thoughts over the years there was always a great fondness, respect and appreciation in my mind for you. I remember all the selfless service you rendered to the Lord while we served together in Miami back in the seventies. You cooked and sewed so expertly for the Lord! You seemed to be a great mother and wife with so much love for your children and husband. You have touched so many hearts and are loved by many devotees, what to speak of the Supreme Friend Lord Sri Krishna. I pray someday I will have the opportunity to have your association once again.

your servant,
Tejaprakash dasa

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