Bonds of Love: Lalita Sakhi Devi Dasi
Devotees were having kirtan at the Catonsville Community College outside Baltimore and had a table with prasada and books. Lalita Sakhi tasted the prasada and sometime later began attending the devotees’ vegetarian cooking classes. Her first Krishna conscious book, Sri Isopanisad, was alive for her. Through that book she felt a heart-to-heart connection with Prabhupada. She was initiated in June 1976, at New Vrindavan.
I was living in the Baltimore temple when Srila Prabhupada visited Washington, D.C. in 1976. We stayed up all night painting the Potomac temple to prepare for his visit. The morning Prabhupada was to come, I made him a petal garland. (In Baltimore we competed to make the prettiest petal garlands for Nitai-Gaurasundara.) That evening for the darshan, I brought my Srimad-Bhagavatam with me – I thought Prabhupada would like that – and in his room I saw the garland I had made offered to Tulasi. It was endearing that Prabhupada had put it there.
During his class in Baltimore, a fly was bothering Prabhupada, who commented, “Problems will come. Even though you don’t want them, they will come.” That stuck with me, how problems are going to come whether or not we want them. One morning in Potomac, Prabhupada was walking around the valet area with some disciples. I waved my hands and said, “Jaya Prabhupada!” He turned and looked at me, raised his arms, and smiled.
Over the years I’ve always been doing service, and although I’ve had lots of challenges I’ve always chanted sixteen rounds – I’ve never missed a day. They’re not the best rounds in the world, but completing my rounds is something I feel strongly about. I feel peace with chanting, and I feel a lifetime commitment to it. Some devotees feel more strongly about some other aspects of Krishna consciousness, but I feel strongly about completing my sixteen rounds. I also read Prabhupada’s books every day, at least some verse and purport.
The books and the chanting are my strongest connection with Srila Prabhupada – a heart-to-heart connection. With all the confusion in the material world and all the situations that come to us either by our own doing or someone else’s, Prabhupada’s books and chanting the holy names of Krishna are definitely the boat to carry us forward.