In the Blog World:
Govinda Dasi's Memories
Posted October 2, 2007
By accident i came across a nice collection of memories by Govinda dasi. I've know Govinda dasi for a long time, and she is quite a character. In this series of recollections, she gives her firsthand experiences of being a 20-year-old girl who, with her young husband, Gaurasundara, met Srila Prabhupada when he had just a handful of disciples. It was the early days of Iskcon in San Francisco, New York and Montreal and everyone was still very much like a family. Prabhupada (who was called "Swamiji") gave his followers as much attention as they wanted, often sharing his apartment with his disciples and making them a part of his life. Prabhupada even brought back saris for each of his young female disciples when he returned from Vrindavan to San Francisco in late 1967. For more than a year, Govinda dasi, with Gaurasundara, was serving Prabhupada as his secretary, cook and personal servant. They were the only husband and wife team to do this service. It was a time of intimacy that was never again possible. Here is a brief selection from the series:
"While living together with Srila Prabhupada in New Jersey, we would have kirtan, just the four of us or if guests came from New York we would also have kirtans and Srila Prabhupada would talk. He was recovering from the stroke, so he would not give regular lectures as before when we were in New York temple but he was always eager to talk about Krsna to whoever would listen. So while sitting on the sofa one day, Srila Prabhupada began talking about kirtan, and he began to demonstrate the different ways to play kartals. He taught us the basic ching-ching-chang and other beats as well; we sang "Govinda jaya jaya" and Srila Prabhupada began to play the kartals exactly like the sound of cow-hooves running. I was amazed. Then he showed me how to do it - slowly and carefully so that it is in perfect timing with the regular kirtan; yet it sounds exactly like cow-hooves running across the fields. Other times he would sit and talk about Krsna, His pastimes in the forest of Vrindavan and his mother and father and friends. Srila Prabhupada would close his eyes and say: "Oh, the cowboys are going to their homes in the evening and tell their mother: "Oh mother, today Krsna has killed one very big demon." Srila Prabhupada's eyes would grow big as he said this. "He has saved us from danger," and then he would smile, "and their mothers are happy and they simply talk of 'Krsna is so wonderful.'"