We Should Honor
An opinion by Nikhilananda Dasa
As much as I admire the dedicated services Sriman Harivilasa Prabhu is
rendering to carrying on Srila Prabhupada's preaching mission and taking responsibilty for
that cause, I feel obliged to offer this comment, based on the recent note about his
reasons for trying to send a Prabhupada disciple, Kaumadaki Mataji, away from the Seattle
I think it is a great offense to ask any Prabhupada disciple to leave even if he or she is
not able to do as much service as before or has health problems or cannot be punctual.
Let Kaumadaki Stay
A letter from Mamata Devi Dasi
If anyone still wonders why Srila Prabhupada's temples are mostly devoid of his
disciples, look no further than to the present situation with Kaumadaki Devi in Seattle.
Why shouldn't Kaumadaki prabhu be able to live peacefully in the Seattle temple, keep her
job, and do some service that isn't so time sensitive? I'm sure that if Kaumadaki prabhu
wanted to move to Vancouver, she would have done so already. She obviously does not do so
for reasons of her own that should be respected.
Kaumadaki has given her life to Srila Prabhupada's movement, and now she should live
outside the protection of the temple because she's late for her service. Is this how
Harivilas prabhu would treat his mother? Why can her personal preferences not be honored?
Why can she not stay where she feels comfortable and protected without having to make
promises she may not be able to keep?
Yes, my dear Godsister, Kaumadaki prabhu, may be getting older and a bit erratic. Sounds
like the cow isn't giving as much milk and needs to be moo-ved on.
Your fallen servant,
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Seattle: Senior Devotee Must Leave
Mother Kaumadaki Asked to Find New Home
Mill Valley (CHAKRA) - A senior devotee has been asked to leave the Seattle temple.
Sources in Seattle report that Harivilasa Dasa, the local GBC, has asked Mother Kaumadaki,
a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, to find another place to live. Harivilasa, however, denies
any wrongdoing. "I'm not throwing her out," said Harivilasa in a telephone
interview with CHAKRA, "but I think it would be better for everyone concerned if she
would move to a larger temple, like Vancouver."
Mother Kaumadaki disagrees. "I leave my father's house with sadness," she told
CHAKRA. "I will continue to live in the Seattle area and associate with devotees who
make me welcome."
Friends of Mother Kaumadaki point out that she has been serving the Deities in the
Seattle temple for over six years, but Harivilasa says that the standard of worship has
declined because of Mother Kaumadaki's unreliability. "She has always had a problem
with punctuality," says Harivilasa, "and she is often anywhere from 15 minutes
to 2 hours late for her service. Since she works outside the temple, she sometimes gets
caught in traffic. She also has an old car that frequently breaks down. Unfortunately, she
does not call the temple when she's late, so the others have to scramble to cover for her,
and the Deity-worship standards suffer."
Seattle is a small temple," he adds, "and everyone who lives in the temple has
to be reliable. If Mother Kaumadaki were to live in a large temple, she could have more
freedom to do as she likes without being a burden on the others."
According to Harivilasa, Mother Kaumadaki takes frequent vacations to visit her elderly
father in Canada, and is gone anywhere from 3-10 days. "The temple devotees have
tried to be accommodating and cover for her," says Harivilasa, "but her absences
have become too frequent. Sometimes she calls to say that her return date has changed.
Other times, she just doesn't show up."
Friends argue that Mother Kaumadaki is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and has lived in
temples for many years, and that to treat her in this way in unfair.
Harivilasa counters that he is not trying to hurt her. "I don't want Mother Kaumadaki
to leave ISKCON or leave devotional service," he says. "I will help her make
whatever arrangements she needs to move to a temple where she will have more freedom
without interfering in the service of others."
Harivilasa adds that he would agree to let Mother Kaumadaki stay if she would propose a
new service schedule for herself. "But she would have to stick to it," he says.
"I can no longer tolerate the erratic nature of her service."
Harivilasa also adds that in Vancouver, Mother Kaumadaki will be near her father, and
being a Canadian citizen, she can benefit from Canada's health insurance policies.
Seattle: Mother Kaumadaki's Letter
Mother Kaumadaki Speaks Her Thoughts
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
I believe I am in a similar position to the wives of the brahmanas who came forward to
serve Krsna when Krsna was present in Vrindavana by personally bringing food when asked
for something to eat by the cowherd boys. When Srila Prabhupada was present I personally
came forward to serve His Divine Grace by assisting at his temples and in various
departments in his book publishing. It was my husband's choice that we serve Srila
Prabhupada in his book production.
My choice now is to remain a devotee and, like the wives of the brahmanas, please Krsna by
caring for my family members, for children, for elderly people, for brahmanas, and
possibly someday for cows. They have some nice cows at Saranagati. Perhaps I can
contribute to their cow protection there. By Krsna's grace and Srila Prabhupada's
sacrifice, there are now many devotees of Krsna in the Northwest USA and in Canada and I
will associate with them wherever I am welcome.
Thank you for your encouraging example on the spiritual path of bhakti marg.
Your humble godsister,