Her Grace Krsnanandini Devi Dasi, a beloved and inspirational pioneer for Vaishnava families, passed away today (November 13th 2020) after a long struggle with cancer. She was in the company of her children and her husband Tariq Saleem Ziyad, at their home in North Carolina.
Krsnanandini Devi Dasi was a Srila Prabhupada disciple, Certified Family Life Educator, a member of the ISKCON Grihastha Vision Team, and the co-director of the Dasi-Ziyad Family Institute with her husband Tariq. Through this institute, the couple designed and implemented several curricula relating to marriage, family, and youth. They provided pre-marital counseling and worked with families, teaching many how to build healthy relationship skills based on a solid spiritual foundation.
In a June article for ISKCON News, Sri Radhika Devi Dasi wrote, “Krsnanandini Devi Dasi managed to be such an exemplary mother for her children while at the same time, also providing life-giving services within the community of ISKCON and beyond.”
Krsnanandini with her ten children
During the final stages of her life while in hospice care, Krsnanandini continued to serve the community through Zoom talks such as the ISKCON of New Jersey Towaco Zoom Sanga in the Spring, where she spoke about how to develop fearlessness and take shelter of Krishna now, before death comes to us all. After her talk, devotees on the Zoom call took time to share their memories and appreciation of her from their hearts.
In recent days, fellow Srila Prabhupada disciple Rukmini Devi Dasi spoke to Krsnanandini on the phone and asked her for some instructions. “She closed her eyes, thought for a little while, and then told my husband Anuttama and I to just be joyful, happy devotees!” Rukmini recalls. “She said we should be joyful in Srila Prabhupada’s service, be happy, and celebrate the gifts he gave us. It was a beautiful instruction for us all.”
Meanwhile, many devotees from around the world have been sharing their offerings to Her Grace Krsnanandini Devi Dasi on social media, demonstrating her inspirational, far-reaching impact.
Krsnanandini Devi Dasi (center, in orange sari) with her husband Tariq and other members of the Grihastha Vision Team
“Grieving the loss of our God-sister,” wrote ISKCON Education Minister Sesa Das. “Thanking her for her invaluable service to Srila Prabhupada’s mission. Praying for her swift return home back to Godhead!”
Nimai Dasi, communications manager from ISKCON Leicester, UK, wrote, “In gratitude, we bid farewell to another wonderful leader in our community. Krsnanandini Dasi touched the hearts, and healed so many people, of so many faiths and backgrounds. Her influence, example, and her teachings will live on.”
Speaking to ISKCON News, ISKCON Communications Director Anuttama Das said: “Krsnanandini was a very beloved godsister, and a pioneer in many ways for the Krishna consciousness movement. She and her husband Tariq, who was Muslim, were instrumental in their home town in promoting stronger marriages for people of all faiths. She was a founding member of the Grihastha Vision team, which has created training seminars and educated devotees how to be better marriage partners, and better parents, across the world.
Krsnanandini’s mother, Bhumata Devi Dasi
“Today, the work that she started continues, and all ISKCON devotees, whether they know her or not, are in debt to her for her contributions. We can see from the very beginning of her life in Krishna consciousness, she was the recipient of special mercy from Srila Prabhupada, and she kept Prabhupada first and foremost in her heart her entire life.
“Devotees that were fortunate enough to see some of the interviews with her during her last days saw a woman who was deeply spiritual, deeply Krishna conscious, deeply caring about her children, her family, and Srila Prabhupada’s family; and one who was wishing all of us continued success in our Krishna consciousness and the success of ISKCON after her passing away. We will miss her terribly, but we all should try to remember what wonderful contributions she gave to us and to the world, and pray to Krishna that we can carry her spirit forward.”
Remembering Her Grace Krsnanandini Devi Dasi’s life, we include here her biography, written by her son Syama Vallabha Das, and reprinted from the ISKCON Alachua temple newsletter:
“Mother Krsnanandini Devi Dasi was brought to Krishna Consciousness by her mother as a young teenager along with her other siblings. Her mother received a Back to Godhead magazine from her oldest son Jasper. He received the magazine while out of the house one day.
Krsnanandini with her mother Bhumata Devi Dasi and Parvati Devi Dasi
Her mother was a simple woman and devout Christian who deeply resonated with the Bhakti perspectives given by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada in his writings. But when she came to the local temple in Cleveland, Ohio, along with her children, ready to join the community there, she faced bigotry and racism. She was treated as a troublemaker and was turned away.
She took her children and put them in the car. She didn’t know where to turn, but somehow by the grace of Lord Krishna, she was given intuition to drive all the way to Dallas, Texas. When they arrived in Dallas, the devotees did not want to let them into the temple at first, and they called the Cleveland temple and asked about them. The devotees in Cleveland told the devotees in Dallas not to let them in because they were troublemakers. Her mother asked to at least let them stay overnight since it was late and they had children with them. The devotees in Dallas allowed them to stay overnight but told them they had to leave the next day because Srila Prabhupada was coming! When they heard this, they were amazed.
The next day, when Srila Prabhupada had arrived, Krsnanandini’s mother insisted and pushed her way in to see Srila Prabhupada. When she was before Srila Prabhupada, she explained the situation and how she wanted to devote her life to the Lord. Srila Prabhupada asked her, “How many do you want to be initiated?”
Krsnanandini’s mother, Bhumata Devi Dasi, receiving initiation from Srila Prabhupada. The little boy is Krsnanandini’s brother Chaitanya
The initiation took place on Radhastami in 1972, Dallas, Texas, the same day the beautiful deities of Radha Kalachandji were being installed! Krsnanandini’s mother was initiated as Bhumata Devi Dasi. Her Stepfather was initiated as Rupchand. Her brother Author was initiated as Ashutosh. Another brother, Solomon, was initiated as Subhanu. And from Clarissa Jones she became Krsnanandini Devi Dasi.
Krsnanandini, along with her husband Tariq Prabhu, is one of the members of the Grihastha Vision Team. The mission of this team is “to support, strengthen, educate and enliven individuals, couples and families.” Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of families have been helped because of this organization. They also started the Dasi/Ziyad Family institute (DZFI.org) whose mission is to promote healthy families and relationships.
She has home schooled 10 biological children, and a number of other children in a devotional atmosphere. Two of her children are initiated disciples. Her children are in a range of different fields today: a couple of doctors, an engineer, teachers, etc.
Krsnanandini with her brother Subhanu
Mother Krsnanandini has dedicated her life in service to her spiritual master. She started a festival called “The Lord Have Mercy Festival” that went on for many years in Cleveland, Ohio. The purpose of the festival was to invite different religious groups to come together and celebrate God consciousness.
Krsnanandini Devi Dasi continues to serve her spiritual master as she enters into the stage of hospice home care and prepares for life’s final exam.”
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To hear a conversation on “How I Prepare for Life’s Final Exam” with Krsnanandini Devi Dasi, members of her family, and Anuttama Das, hosted by the GBC SPT, please click here: https://www.facebook.com/gbcspt/videos/3623958104298937
Visit the Dasi-Ziyad Family Institute website here: http://dasiziyadfamilyinstitute.org/
Visit the Grihastha Vision Team website here: https://vaisnavafamilyresources.org/en/
Jan 22, 2023
Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies