ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2012, OUR DEAR GODSISTER, NANDA DEVI DASI, LEFT HER BODY AFTER A LONG STRUGGLE WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. BELOW IS ACHARYADEVA’S LETTER SENT TO NANDA’S BELOVED SON, VISVAMBHARA. ADDITIONAL LETTERS ARE POSTED BELOW IN HER HONOR.
Dear Visvambhara Prabhu,
Please accept my blessings. Jaya Srila Prabhupada.
Your mother was a true Vaishnavi saint and her future is extremely auspicious. During many years of extraordinary physical challenges, she remained fixed in pure Krishna consciousness with profound faith in guru and Krishna. For me she has always been a model of Krishna consciousness and I often realized, and told her, that she was teaching me by her incomparable example of Krishna consciousness.
I offer you and all your family my sincere condolences. You do have the absolute certainty of your mother’s glorious destination. She is even now receiving exceptional blessings from Lord Krishna, to Whom she is very very dear. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
With best wishes,
Hridayananda das Goswami
September 22, 2012
“The glorious & peaceful passing of Srimati Nanda Devi Dasi, disciple of His Holiness Hridayananda das Goswami, took place on the auspicious day of Lalita Sakhi’s Appearance in Sri Vrindavana Dham at 1:47pm in the afternoon. Surrounded by her close associates and well wishers she left this material world with determination and clear consciousness. Nanda endured years of debilitation due to multiple sclerosis and was a resident of Vrindavana Dham for more than twenty years. She inspired everyone with her faith in Srila Prabhupada and resolve to live and leave her body in Vrindavana.”
-Pancagauda Das, ISKCON Vrindavan
It has taken me a few days to write this letter. I was always hoping that I would be able to be with Nanda when she was leaving her body. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to spend time with Nanda in Sri Vrindavan Dhama at her apartment at the MVT. I had heard about her for many years and how she had gone to take shelter of the holy dhama and Sri Sri Radha-Shyamasundara after being diagnosed with MS. Over the years I would read something that she had posted online about Lord Krishna and Srila Acharyadeva. She was expert at picking out good quotes that were straight to the point.
In 2009, during the month of Kartik, I had the opportunity to visit Vrindavan. I was determined that I would find where she was living and spend time with her. Srimati Radharani is very kind to her devotees and to my surprise I found that the apartment that I had rented was directly above her on the next floor. She was always very happy when I would visit. By that time she was already needing to rest a lot but she would come in the front room and relax on the couch. She had very beautiful deities of Radha and Krishna and Govardhana. I also noted that she always had Prabhupada chanting japa playing in the background.
She was intelligent and, although she never left her room, she seemed to be aware of everything going on in the world and would comment on things in a very Krishna conscious manner. She was well versed in the scriptures and was very attached to the Srimad-bhagavatam. She was always concerned with how I was doing when I visited her and would give me good advise on how to function in India in a very practical, sustainable way. I was always amazed by her kindness to others and her tolerance of her own declining body. At times she told me it was hard with MS and that it was an invisible disease that many did not understand her position. She always desired good association and to hear Hari katha.
Her dedication to Srila Acharyadeva and Srila Prabhupada was exemplar. That year we celebrated the Vyasa Puja of Srila Acharyadeva in her apartment. Panchagauda, myself, Jaya Sri and Champakalate were there. She was so very happy to have the opportunity to be at the program. Whenever I went to India she always would have a set of clothes made for Srila Acharyadeva. She would call on the phone and place the order. She was always concerned with fine details. Whenever I returned from visiting the holy places of Vrindavan, she loved to hear where I had been and would go there in meditation.
Last year when I went to Vrindavan her health had declined greatly. She was not able to get out of bed easily and her heart was weak. Yet on the last full-moon day of Kartik she was wheeled into the MVT garden to go to a bhajan led by Madhava. I was happy for her that she has returned to be with the Divine Couple. She left on such an auspicious day as the appearance of Lalita devi in Vrindavan. Her destination is secure but I lament that I will no longer see her when I travel to Vrindavan. I will miss her humor and her kindness. She definitely set the example of being detached from this material world and surrendering to Krishna’s desire. She preached by her wonderful example.
ISKCON Hillsborough, NC