Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Srila Prabhupada-our preeminent Siksha Guru with Malati Devi

Srila Prabhupada-our preeminent Siksha Guru with Malati Devi GBC Strategic Planning Team (SPT) is pleased to invite you to the Day 1 of our 3 day series celebrating Srila Prabhupada Disappearance Day festival reflecting on the role of Srila Prabhupada as our preeminent Siksha Guru with Malati Devi Dasi. About Malati Devi Malati Devi Dasi joined ISKCON in San Francisco, USA. She was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in San Francisco in early 1967, and became an integral part of the pioneer years of ISKCON. In 1968, along with her six week old daughter Saraswati, Malati Devi Dasi was part of a team of six adults to first establish Krishna consciousness in the UK. This epic adventure resulted in the release of the Radha­‐Krishna Temple album in 1969, produced by Beatle George Harrison. The Hare Krishna maha-­mantra and other devotional songs are featured on this recording, which received worldwide attention. She often traveled with her husband Shyamasundar, who was Srila Prabhupada’s personal secretary. Among other tasks Malati Devi Dasi cooked for Srila Prabhupada. She then moved to India to assist in establishing the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON) there, bringing it back to its source. During her sojourn, she assisted with the purchase and shipping of several sets of temple murtis to establish deity worship services in the American temples of Detroit, Dallas, Toronto and Chicago. This experience introduced her to the process of purchasing murtis, a service she continued to carry out for various temples. She returned to the UK for some time to assist in establishing the property known as Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford, London acquired with the help of George Harrison. While in Europe Malati Devi Dasi conducted traveling programs for women, thus sharing Krishna consciousness in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark and propagating the philosophy, practice and books of Srila Prabhupada. In 1990, she established an all female ISKCON temple which later was awarded a large road side bronze plaque by the State of Ohio Historical Society recognizing the center as the first Vaishnava/Hindu temple in the state, mentioning in detail its unique status in training women in Krishna consciousness. Malati Devi Dasi joined the GBC in 1998, and her responsibilities are focused in the USA. Her zonal areas include Gainesville, Port Wales, Miami, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. A founding member of the Vaishnavi Ministry (known formerly as Women’s Ministry), Malati Devi Dasi facilitates such activities as annual international retreats targeted at promoting the spiritual advancement of women in ISKCON. These retreats are highly organized events offering classes, seminars and workshops by some of the more senior women in the movement, and reflect the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Malati Devi Dasi personally organizes the Annual Vaishnavi Retreat in New Vrindavan, West Virginia, which began in 2000. Another project of hers is the Festival of Inspiration, also held at New Vrindavan. This is one of North America’s largest gatherings with the theme of Vaishnava education and culture, and is well attended by devotees from around the world. Malati Dasi spends most of her time traveling, offering classes and instructions in Krishna conscious practice and philosophy, and is a regular participant in inter­religious gatherings. She holds deep concern for the future of ISKCON in general, and for the youth in particular. She advocates engaging women in all manners of service, inspired by Srila Prabhupada, who always engaged her in service. She is currently co-­authoring a book that is a compilation of personal remembrances of female disciples of the movement’s founder Srila Prabhupada.

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