You all must have heard about the passing away of Padmavati DD by now. I am her friend from Holland, and I would like share a few things on this most remarkable Vaishnavi. You know her as a really fired up preacher through this forum.
Padmavati hailed from Iran, born in a Muslim family. The seed of devotional service was planted in her heart in Iran itself, when she heard the Maha Mantra being played during yoga class. After moving to Holland she once again somehow came in contact with Krishna Consciousness and she joined our ISKCON center in Rotterdam (Holland). I think it’s about 15 years ago now.
We became friends instantly. Padmavati had the ability to attract anyone and anything to herself, she is so lovable, humble, gentle, tender-hearted. I saw her blossom into a beautiful devotee. Her dance became famous; the joy of being connected to Krishna erupted from within her, and all onlookers felt it. HH Lokanatha Swami once remarked, “No one dances like Farah” (Padmavati’s karmi name).
When she got initiation from her spiritual master, whom she served with her heart and soul, she took on various services like book distribution and posting excerpts of lectures on the Lokasanga forum. She would ask me for assistance in editing her posts since she felt her English was not that good, but I think she did excellently and always tried to enhance her self-confidence. I would make sure her posts would be as authentic as possible, leaving her choice of words intact. You must have noticed how poetic Padmavati was, another quality of a great devotee. Her poems moved everyone because of their depth, sincerity and humility. She was so careful and thoughtful in her service to her master, that even after editing, she would contact me, not feeling satisfied about something she wrote for her Guru Maharaja, and we would discuss again and again, and only when she felt peaceful, she would post something. She wanted perfection. This happened many times, countless heart-to-heart talks we had till late in the night. Our spiritual masters were always our favorite topic. And secretly I would hope that by serving Padma, her spiritual master, who is my spiritual uncle, would also make me the object of his mercy. One time I forcefully tried to get some mercy from her by touching her feet when she was in our temple paying obeisances to the Deities. When she got up and saw me putting her dust on my forehead, she gave me this look indicating I was totally mad, I still have to laugh when I remember her face.
Then she started to make the video’s of people chanting the Maha-Mantra on the streets throughout Holland. You saw how many people cooperated with her, attracted by her purity and gentleness. Just a few years back Padmavati’s mother passed away, leaving her devastated. She never danced again in the temple, it wasn’t the same anymore. What kept her on her feet was making those videos of people chanting. She told me, “I would get myself out there, approach people, and after making the video tears would just stream down my cheeks, and I would get back to the preaching and again cry.” Such determination!
Padmavati had a great sense of responsibility. She never married, sacrificed her life to take care of her mother and sister, whom she was living with. She was faithfully performing her services as a pujari in our temple, every Thursday (our Food for Life program) she would distribute flyers and books in front of the temple, and go out for Harinama’s all across the country.
In all those years I have never, ever seen Padmavati get angry at anybody, or even hear her raise her voice. She never thought ill of anyone, let alone hurt anyone with her words.
My spiritual master, HH Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja, used to say, “Don’t try to become a great devotee, try to become a humble devotee.” I realized that this is the way to get recognition from Krishna, and Padmavati was very well on her way. When I heard that HH Lokanatha Swami said she went back to Goloka Dhama, my happiness knew no limits. This one devotee who made so many people chant – who can keep count how many – had the incredible fortune of having her spiritual master chant the Maha-Mantra to her on the phone during her last moments in the hospital.
My heart is weeping uncontrollably in separation from my sweet, darling friend, and I console myself with the thought that spiritual relationships have no ending, they transcend everything material. Death can never separate us. I cherish every moment with you, Padma. You got the ultimate mercy from Srila Prabhupada and Guru Maharaja, what more can I want for you.I am proud of you.
I pay my respectful obeisances to both HH Lokanatha Swami and Padmavati again and again.
Lastly, dear devotees, please also pray for Padmavati’s family, especially her sisters, who are bereft of her loving care and association, and who are going through very difficult times, not having access to the sublime spiritual knowledge that Srila Prabhupada gave the world.
Ranga Radhika Dasi (BCS)
We had an amazing Harinam in Den Haag. Although it was raining and we were out of Downtown, devotees still distributed many books.
Harinam In Amsterdam (Kingsday)People were on the streets to celebrate the birthday of their King. We were also in the street to glorify our King, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Ki Jai!