Kaulini Devi Dasi, a much-loved disciple of Srila Prabhupada known for her simplicity, surrender and purity, and for her many years of dedicated service at Gita Nagari, passed away on September 3rd. She was 69.
Born and raised in Northern California, her life changed when she received Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita in 1972 while on a trip to Mexico. Upon her return, her husband Kenneth Beck – who later became Keshava Bharati Swami — had also gotten one of Prabhupada’s books.
Kaulini followed him to ISKCON, joining the San Francisco temple that same year. She received initiation from Srila Prabhupada in 1973.
In 1976, she moved to the Gita Nagari farm community in Pennsylvania. From there, she headed up a women’s sankirtana party, traveling around the U.S. in a motorhome and distributing books.
Kaulini (in green sari) and her son Rama with Srila Prabhupada
Later, Kaulini began cooking for the deities and devotees at Gita Nagari, which she continued to do for thirty years. Always surrendered to whatever needed doing, she also cared for the farm’s many cows, served as the head pujari (priest), and, when many devotees left Gita Nagari in the mid 1980s, even took on the post of temple president.
“She was like the mother of the community,” says her longtime friend Kaisori Dasi.
In the late 2000s, after Kaulini suffered a health crisis brought on by cancer and other ailments, Sacisuta Das and his wife Keli-lalita Dasi bought her a house next door to theirs in upstate New York and lovingly cared for her for many years. She also stayed with her son Rama in Sacramento, California.
Kaulini returned to Gita Nagari to pass away. For one week, devotees streamed in to see her, sing kirtan, and as per her wishes read to her about Srila Prabhupada. They also brought Sri Sri Radha Damodar to see her.
Kaulini at the memorial service Tamal Krishna Goswami in 2003
“It was a magical darsana, and I could see that she was deeply touched by Their care and mercy,” says Kaisori, who helped Kaulini through chemotherapy and was with her in her final days.
On Wednesday September 2nd, devotees from all over the country chanted for hours with Kaulini. Then, at 2:20am on Thursday September 3rd, while her old Gita Nagari friends led by Visakha Devi sang a quiet no-instruments kirtan, she departed.
“She completely opened her heart in faith, and to the devotees,” says Kaisori. “It was like watching someone step out away from fear and pain and uncertainty. She just surrendered. It was beautiful.”
Kaulini leaves behind her son Rama, two grandchildren, and many sisters and brothers in ISKCON whose lives she touched.
“She was sweet, pure, simple-hearted, friendly, very Krishna conscious, and always serving,” Kaisori says. “It’s rare I saw her idle. She was an uncomplicated person. She was non-envious. She cared for the devotees. And she loved Prabhupada. I will miss her, but at the same time, she was such a pure soul that I don’t mourn her. Her destination is glorious.”
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Sunanda Das, tovp.org