Spiritual Journeys of His Disciples of New Raman Reti.
Interviews ~ Articles ~ Photos of Their Lives in Service
compiled and edited by Sri Devi Dasi
proofreading: Vegavati Devi Dasi.
Annapurna Devi Dasi
I first heard of “Hare Krishna” in 1967. Nothing clear, just that they shave their heads, live on Jefferson in Detroit, and leave their shoes outside the temple. I didn’t know it was a religion. Then also occasional meetings at concerts in Cobo Hall, Detroit – they were selling incense.
I was working as a nurse’s aide in the psych ward of a hospital in 1976, when a man from work brought me to the temple. There I met Govardhana prabhu, who was pulling weeds in front of the temple. I asked one question, and Govardhana answered with the law of karma. I was convinced this is what I had been searching for. Narottamananda prabhu spoke to me several times when I visited, and then he introduced me to Mukhya Devi Dasi, who was making garlands. My seven-year-old son and I moved within five blocks of the Detroit temple, Devasadana Mandir, visiting as often as I could. Srila Prabhupada came to Detroit in July of 1976, and I had a face-to-face to encounter. In the temple room filled with devotees, the ladies pushed me forward, “as an offering.” I prayed in my mind, “Please accept me as your disciple.” Prabhupada stopped in front of me, smiled and nodded – he knew my mind’s prayer! In fact, he knew me, I could feel it. The ladies all said, “Wow, Srila Prabhupada nodded and smiled at you!”
How did Prabhupada change my life? I was divorced at the time, raising my small son alone, and working in the hospital psych ward. Alcohol was becoming a very big part of my life. Then I started to attend AA meetings just before Srila Prabhupada came to Detroit. If I had carried on in that former lifestyle, I would have been dead long ago.
In August of 1976, my son Chris and I moved to Dallas, where there was a small ashram of about eight boys and eight girls. The ashram lifestyle was a big shock for Chris, Krsna Candra, who went from public school to vegetarian diet and no TV, chocolate, etc. My service was sewing for Radha Kalachandji, and also some sankirtana. “Engaging everyone in Krishna’s service by getting their Lakshmi and planting the seed.” First time out, I was able to collect over $100. My service was sankirtana from then on.
A few months later, we moved back to Detroit, where a small boys’ ashram was opened by Bhakta Gopala Dasa, and then Krsna Candra ended up going to New Vrindaban. I did sankirtana/book distribution in Detroit from 1976-80. My initiation was in April 1977. I also dressed Jagannatha, Baladeva, & Subhadra during class every day. My second initiation was by Jaya Tirtha Dasa in England. I was a pujari for Jagannatha, Baladeva, & Subhadra at Bhaktivedanta Manor.
Krsna Candra was sent to the Vrindavan gurukula in 1980, and I moved to Bristol, England. There I had an arranged marriage to a sankirtana devotee. We set up a F.O.L.K. (Friends of Lord Krishna) preaching program Bristol one week and Wales the next. In 1980, we had a son, Brindaban. We soon moved back to the States, performing sankirtana in Detroit, Califronia, Fresno, and Tucson. In Tucson I also worked as a hostess at Govinda’s Restaurant.
We moved to Alachua in 1995. Here I joined a women’s support group, my main reason for coming to Alachua. Our women’s group organized a program on Thanksgiving every year for many years. I met Akincana Krsna Dasa here, and I married him in 1996. My service here in Alachua was night dressing Chota Krishna Balarama, until I was in a car accident in 2013 and unable to continue. I still organize Their jewelry drawers. I have been a member of the Radharani Club since its inception, contributing to bake sales. I have also done reiki massages for women, as a gift from the temple.