Photo credit: Revati devi dasi
Urvasi devi dasi passed away last week in Ojai California and will be cremated. She was a beloved member of the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) movement, worldwide. Below is a compilation of memories and tributes to Urvasi devi dasi.
In her honor, a Vanipedia page was created of the letter Srila Prabhupada wrote to her parents, the Kimmels.
From Giriraj Swami
Urvasi Dasi was Srila Prabhupada’s beloved disciple and my dear godsister. His Divine Grace said that when a Vaishnava departs, we feel simultaneously happy and sad—sad because we will miss the Vaishnava’s association, and happy because we know they have gone to serve Krishna.
In the last few months, I have had several programs at my ashram in Carpinteria, and Urvasi attended—and enjoyed—all of them. Her presence—her humanity and divinity—uplifted our spirits and consciousness. She was always pleased to attend our programs, and we were happy to attend hers.
On November 7, 2017, I wrote Urvasi, “The latest issue of The New Yorker has an article about Tulsi Gabbard, and considering that she is a devotee, I thought to read it. The first few pages were mundane, all about politics, and I wondered whether I was just wasting my time—but then the whole last half of the article was about Tulsi’s association with Krishna consciousness. In case you want to see the article, here is the link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/06/what-does-tulsi-gabbard-believe
She replied, “Thank you, Maharaja. It was very interesting reading this, as I was right in the thick of Chris Butler’s transformation into a spiritual teacher. When I moved to Hawaii, he was the only person I knew there, and he picked me up from the airport. I became part of his family of friends, and gradually he became more and more of a spiritual teacher figure, although he was always enlightened, as were the circle of friends. Later I managed one of his retreat centers on the island of Maui, and eventually, the historic moment arrived when we gradually converted it to a very successful ‘independent’ Hare Krishna center dedicated to the teachings of only Srila Prabhupada. This was the beginning of his heart’s desire to surrender himself, his status, and everything he had established to Srila Prabhupada. His only concern was to bring all his disciples along with him and not lose any of them.
“It is so wonderful and Krishna’s mercy to have a rising star like Tulsi Gabbard make so much progress in such a broken and corrupt political system. We all pray for her success and steadfastness in her convictions.
“All glories to our beloved Srila Prabhupada!
“Always thankful for your association . . .”
I was always thankful for Urvasi’s association, and I look forward to having it again in what Srila Prabhupada called “the ISKCON in the spiritual sky.”
Mother Urvasi, I love you and miss you, and I pray to please you by my service in separation.
Your eternal servant,
From Ananda Vrindavan Iswari dasi – ISKCON D.C., USA
The older ones are
Leaving us too soon
The sweet ones
Who carry Prabhupada
In their hearts
And eyes and actions
Who look with love upon
All of us coming up behind
Who leave too quickly
Who get old too quickly
About whom we say
Now I know what
Jai anilo prema dhana means
Now I feel it in my bones
From Rukmini devi dasi – ISKCON D.C., USA
I first met Urvasi devi dasi in about 1970, when she came from Hawaii. She had been a member of the group of devotes following Siddhaswarupa. Siddhaswarupa had surrendered to Srila Prabhupada at that time and asked all of his different followers to go to different is ISKCON temples to serve.
She came to New York, and many left ISKCON in the coming years, but she stayed. She loved Srila Prabhupada. She loved Krishna consciousness, and she loved serving devotees. She always had a sparkle of joy in the fun in her eyes. She served in New York, Montreal, Toronto, the UK, and then in California. In Los Angeles, her parents came to meet Srila Prabhupada and offered him some jars of their own homemade guava jam from a tree in their own yard. Srila Prabhupada very kindly wrote them an affectionate letter of gratitude that you’ll find copied here. In later years, Urvasi lived in Ojai, California, where she would regularly host devotee gatherings in her beautiful home on the top of the ridge that overlooked the whole Ojai valley. From that home, she could see the sunrise and the sunset.
She was always concerned that Srila Prabhupada’s message is represented appropriately with compassion. And she was always concerned that the people of her community would become attached to Srila Prabhupada’s message and the message of bhakti. Most recently, she drove alone hundreds of miles from Ojai, California to the Sadhu Sanga Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah. And as soon as she arrived there, she checked into her hotel and immediately showered, and spent the entire day serving in the kitchen. Even after that long drive. Then for the next three days, she was just immersed in chanting and dancing in kirtan, serving the holy name and appreciating all the devotees.
Urvasi was a beloved sister, friend, and example to so many. Dear Urvasi, we will miss you, but we know you are on your way to the Lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Shri Krishna.
From Revati devi dasi – California, USA
Urvasi devi dasi and I were friends for over 20 years. As we lived in the same town, over the years we would often cooperate together to put on preaching programs. She always had a strong desire to introduce others to Krsna Consciousness, and always wanted to ensure that everything was done in a first-class manner. She also had a genuine taste for the association of devotees. She was especially happy whenever Krsna arranged for her to get the association with her god sisters. Additionally, she valued hearing from senior Vaishnavas, and would seek their counsel whenever she had the opportunity. She was also a devoted mother and grandmother and made a point to prepare special prasadam for her siblings whenever they got together. When I reflect on her qualities, a few characteristics come immediately to mind. She was a very determined person, and she had the ability to achieve whatever she fixed her mind on. She was also a very positive person and would always see the best in others. Her devotion to Srila Prabhupada never wavered, and I have no doubt he will continue to guide her on her journey home, back to Godhead.
In loving memory,
Revati devi dasi
From Praharana dasi – ISKCON Toronto, Canada
Urvasi devi dasi was a pioneer of ISKCON in Toronto, serving as pujari and book distributor, and spending endless months selling paraphernalia on the streets to collect the Lakshmi to buy the temple at 243 Avenue Road. For the past many years, Urvasi has lived in Ojai, California, where she had organized large monthly events with special guests such as Giriraj Swami. Urvasi was back in Toronto for Ratha-Yatra several times; on her most recent visit pre-Covid, she helped the Govinda’s booth for the entire festival. Please pray for this intrepid follower of Srila Prabhupada as she enters the final stage of this life’s journey!
From Kausalya devi dasi – California
I’m completely stunned and saddened by this news! I spoke with her not so long ago and she was fine. Her light and love will be missed…
I’m sharing a photo of us from the last time we were together right before the pandemic.
From Guru Carana Padma – Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK
I met Urvasi when I first joined the temple in Chicago in 1976. Her then-husband Sripati was the temple president. They had a young son named Guru Purnima who was beautiful and an angel. Urvasi was also like an angel. She had a sweet smile and a warm and welcoming character. She was in a different stage of life than me, but I could feel that she was fully supportive of our sankirtan efforts and not only encourage me but also nurture me as I was a new devotee and a few years younger than her. She was motherly and sisterly both at the same time. I suppose we made a kindred connection and then surprisingly we found ourselves again together in the UK. She had also been a sankirtan devotee but was now in a different situation growing in motherhood. As we were at different points in our growth and life situations, we didn’t spend all that much time together. But I have always only felt so blessed to know her and was genuinely her well-wisher and she mine.
A few years back she passed through the UK. We had not seen each other for many years and somehow, she asked me to collect her at the airport. I think she only spent a day here en route perhaps to India. She shared with me her enthusiasm for her small gatherings in Ojai and also near Giriraj Maharaj’s ashram. She had a generous heart and a real taste for chanting and sharing Krishna and spiritual values with others. She was cultured and polite but at the same time, I would say quite forthright and courageous in her desire to connect with others on a deeper level. Urvasi was certainly inspired and made an impact on me in her example of a beautiful devotee who gave so much in Srila Prabhupada’s service over the years.
I was certainly shocked and saddened to hear of her departure, but I am sure that she was ready spiritually after a lifetime of service and sacrifice.
Urvasi devi dasi ki jai!
From Vraja Gopi Dasi – California
To my dear Urvasi Devi,
Please accept my humble obeisances all glories to Srila Prabhupada your spiritual master.
I wanted to share with whoever is listening to my experiences and my fortune to have known you Urvasi, I hope you don’t mind.
I have been with Urvasi just hand full of times ..but each time we met it was like we had this long friendship ..every time I would see Urvasi it was like seeing the fairy god princess, she had these sparkling eyes that were full of love, care, and attentiveness, She was always bringing some spiritual connection to what every I was telling her about what was going on in my life at the time, she made simple things have large meanings, she always was ready to help when she saw confusion in me.
Urvasi introduced me to my spiritual master in New Dwarka temple in Los Angeles during one of the festivals.,At that time I shared with Urvasi that I am struggling to find my spiritual master, “I love Srila Prabhupada so much “ I said how can I find a spiritual master?”
Then again, she had that twinkle in her eyes accompanied with a sweet velvety smile she said…come …meet Giriraj Swami Maharaja.
Urvasi knew what my heart was looking for, she was magical in many ways, and at the same time, she had a practical life as well balancing both worlds, working a very demanding job. I know she was doing a lot of service to her customers.
Urvasi is in my eyes an example of living Krishna conciseness the true mission of Srila Prabhupada.
I thank you Urvasi for touching my life and showing me how to do good to others.
I know you are with Srila Prabhupada and Krishna… how amazing that must be! I hope your family understands your journey so they can be happy for you.
I will keep meditating on your glories.
Yours with love and respect,
Vraja Gopi Dasi
From Divyambara dasi – Bhakti Center, New York City, USA
I first met Urvashi Devi during the Bhagavat Life Japa Retreats. She helped us organize the very first one, in Ojai, CA, and over the years attended a few more retreats. Urvashi always struck me with her gentle and kind presence. She expressed her love for the devotees by being most personal and non-judgemental, listening with attention, and trying to help. She had high standards of representing Srila Prabhupada in a beautiful and aesthetic way. Every project or place or thing she took care of was beautiful and first-class.
Divyambara dasi, New York City
From Krsna Bhamini dasi – California
My dear sweet sister and dear most friend,
Srila Prabhupada placed us as sisters in his wonderful spiritual family over 50 years ago. We crossed paths in England and Los Angeles at festivals but when we moved to Ojai almost 20 years ago that is when our relationship and friendship blossomed and grew deeply, sharing so many experiences together. Cooking for many large programs in the community where you made your fabulous and unparalleled kitchiri consisting of fried paneer and cauliflower, helping you organize your real estate office many times which was filled with thousands of papers of junk mail, with us laughing and chanting. So many times, looking for properties and going to countless open houses. So many kirtans together at our homes and the homes of friends.
How many garage sales did we do together to lighten our load? We helped each other so often, with practical day-to-day situations like home repairs, maintenance, references, etc. Whenever we would work hard to lend you a hand, at the end of the day you would have your delicious kitchri and pumpkin pie waiting as a reward for our efforts. I will never forget when you took me to the river here which at that time was very deep and cold and said “Come on now, Let’s just jump in “we did, and it was freezing, and we were both laughing and laughing. I cannot count the times you drove Brajesh and me to the train station and picked us up. So generous and caring you are. But the most precious moments were the times we spent together as sisters, confiding in each other, about whatever was on our minds, family, service, future plans, and of course Krsna and Srila Prabhupada – always chanting and laughing. And much laughing. You have been such a blessing to me and everyone you came in touch with. With your Golden locks and your sparkling smile, you are larger than life. I am so very thankful we spoke on the phone at length just the day before your birthday and your departure. We ended by saying,” Let’s talk again soon, and “I love You. Hare Krsna”.
I will miss you my dear, but I will think of you constantly and look forward to the day we will meet again in loving service. “I love You and Hare Krsna”.
Krsna Bhamini dasi
From Kanka devi dasi – USA
Our Beloved Gurudev Srila Prabhupada stated over and over again death can come at any moment…….
The departure of our dear god sister Urvasi has been shocking and sad. I am sure with all her years of sincerely serving Srila Prabhupada and the worldwide community he created she is now in a better place. She was very loved by many and will be greatly missed.
I joined the Henry Street Brooklyn Temple in 1970 shortly before she and several others arrived from Hawaii. We did Sankirtan, cooked in the kitchen, and served Radha Govinda. She was always happy, enthusiastic, and eager to serve.
July of 1971 Srila Prabhupada did three days of initiations. Urvasi also got married around that time and moved to Canada. We kept in touch throughout the years. Her enthusiasm never changed, and she grew more beautiful each year.
Never seemed to age!!
I am extremely grateful to have known this amazing devotee. I know Krishna and Srila Prabhupada will always bless her on her continued journey. Hare Krishna!!!
YS Kanka devi dasi
From Malati devi dasi – USA
While we were definitely friends, last embracing at the recent Sadhu Sanga in Utah at the end of May, our friendship was more recently developed compared to the Californian and Canadian ladies and former UK ladies who knew her for decades. Praharana from Toronto, Lokadristi from UK, now in New Vrindavan, Nirakula, Manmohini, Kanka, Guna Maii (in Ojai) Rukmini dd, Krishna Bhamini and her daughter Manjari to mention a few.
We often shared confidential conversations on a range of personal topics as well as remembering His Divine Grace.
From Vishaka dasi – Bhaktivedanata Manor, UK
I will remember dear Urvasi Prabhu for her ready and infectious smile, her energetic approach to Krishna consciousness, and her determination to persevere despite heavy obstacles.
Her story of the guava jam her mom made for Srila Prabhupada should go down in history as a classic tale of Srila Prabhupada’s caring, heartfelt personalism.
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