All Glories To Sri Sri Guru & Gauranga!
On the auspicious appearance day of Srimati Sita Thakurani (Sri Advaitas consort), a dearmost daughter of Srila Gurudevas, (Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja), Srimati Radha Padi Devi Dasi, departed this world at the age of seventy five.
Radha Padi arrived in Vrndavana dhama in early 1999. She was a seventy year old sanyasini, having served for thirty years in a Siva asrama in Canada. Siva a great Vaisnava, has two main qualities. Firstly he is merciful (krpalu), and secondly he is a cheater (vanchana). In Lord Ramas lila, Ravana was a devotee of Siva, but Siva cheated him by not giving him bhakti. That devotee who is niskapata, free from duplicity, gets bhakti from Siva. This quality of niskapata was prominent in Radha Padi.
After leaving Canada in 1996, Radha Padi spent a solitary three years in a cave at Gomukh, in the Himalayas, where she would chant, Om namah Sivaya. One day she forgot this mantra and instead chanted, Om namah Bhagavati Vasudevaya. By the will of Sri Krsna, Radha Padi thereafter received a set of Srila Prabhupadas Srimad Bhagavatams. Srimad Bhagavatam thus became her only association. In her cave she started to chant the maha-mantra, and developed a desire to come to Vrndavana.
Upon her arrival in Sri Vrndavana Dhama, she somehow ended up at Sri Rupa-Sanatana Gaudiya Matha, where she stayed for three days. She was then invited to stay just one more day so that she could meet Srila Gurudeva who happened to be arriving then. Having firm faith that she was under divine guidance, Radha Padi asked Srila Gurudeva for harinama initiation. She borrowed some white cloth to wear, thus rejecting her orange mayavadi dress, and received initiation from him.
She thereafter sincerely adhered to Srila Gurudevas precepts, and followed the example of the Gosvamis in terms of simplicity and steadfastness, faithfully performing her sadhana in a quiet and dedicated manner. Radha Padi was always straightforward in her dealings, non-envious, and a genuine well-wisher to those who sought her association.
Her taste for hearing hari-katha was inspiring, especially for those who were with her in the last few weeks of her life. She would join her palms, close her eyes, and as she listened with rapt attention, a very sweet and heartfelt smile would appear on her lips, and sometimes she would shed tears.
One of her greatest qualities was her unyielding positivity. For example, during Kartika in 2003, Radha Padi who had just turned seventy five fell from a ricksaw. When asked about her condition she replied, I am very happy. I always wanted to roll in the dust of the dhama, and Krsna has arranged this for me.
As a youth one of her greatest passions was to sail. She later compared the skill of navigating a boat through the water, to the ability to use both pleasant and unpleasant occurrences to advance in bhakti.
In August 2004, during our parikrama in Jagannatha Puri, she received an emergency operation in Bhubanesvar, experiencing much pain and discomfort. Her only concern however, was that she may have been a burden to Srila Gurudeva and the devotees. Even at this time she did not become absorbed in her own suffering and distress. Radha Padi did not fear death. She realized that she was never alone. This gave strength and inspiration to those who were with her in the last weeks of her life.
Despite coming to the path of bhakti at such a late stage of life, she was a shining example of dedication to Hari, Guru, and Vaisnavas, rising at 2am daily, and engaging all day in hearing and chanting with the full zest typical of her. This is not slightly exaggerated.
It is no secret that Radha Padi was effulgent with many exalted qualities. Today we feel sadly bereft of her association, and deeply grateful that she came into our lives.
Srimati Radha Padi ki jaya!