I met HG Yamuna dasi on three different occasions, each sweeter than the last. First time was in Vancouver during Ratha Yatra; Karnamrta introduced me to her. She immediately embraced me with such a huge smile that I began to cry. All I could think of after that was how cool this devotee is.
Next was on the Bus tour when we went to Saranagati for a japa retreat. We visited her asram a few times for Kirtan, and each time I would just watch her intense meditation on the holy names. She would roll her head form left to right with eyes closed. At one point I was walking back to the Bus when she pulled over in her small car and encouraged me to take the holy name and go deeper with it so that my preaching will be more successful. It was at this second meeting she started callling me “my brahmacari ji” One evening we had a nice kirtan with her at the lake and after the kirtan as she got up to leave, she looked at the evening sky and turned to us and said “Krishna’s color is just like this, Prabhupada told me that. I missed the last night of Kirtans at her asram, but the guys told me that she sang the Govindam prayers upon request.
The last time I saw her again was in Sridham Mayapur. She had come form the 40th anniversary celebration of Radha Londonisvara and together with HG Dinatarini mata, Karatamisha prabhu and other devotees, for two weeks sang the songs of Bhaktivinode thakur and went on pilgrimage to places around Mayapur. Actually that meeting was sweetest because I got to taste her cooking. On Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s disappearance day shed made this sweet that Hari Bhakti was taking up to Nitai’s room. He happened to pass my way, and share one with me. After I nearly snatched the whole bag from his hands, he told me they were sweets made by Mother Yamuna. Then he informed me of the evening Kirtans that would be happening. I showed up that evening and after greeting everyone, she asked me who I was traveling with. I told her HH Jayadvaita Swami, and she said “ Go tell Jayadvaita Swami that his mother Yamuna wants him to drop everything and come to the Kirtan.” I promised to do so, and when I told Maharaj, he was a bit disappointed because of so much work to do with the newly forming BBT Africa. Every night I would go, and every time she would ask for maharaj. So finally he promised to come. He made the last three nights and wanted to come for more, but the party had to end somewhere. I had the good fortune of spending my Birthday with her and the the devotees which was perhaps the first time I actually had a “birthday party”.
Sometimes during these kirtans she would stay in her room due to a chest cold or something, but as we chanted, we would hear her happily chanting and screaming happily from her room. At one point she was dancing in her room.
One night a gurukuli friend came up to HH Jyadvaita Swami’s room and maharaj chatted with him for about an hour on various encouraging things. One thing I remember still was when he mentioned that we have to get the association of pure devotees. “Like Yamuna.”
One day I brought a photo book of HH Tamal Krsna Goswami for her to look at, and I left it there for a few days. When I picked it up that saturday morning, she had been a little ill, but came out to open the door. I felt bad for waking her up, and just wanted to take the book ad go, but she sat and talked with me for about an hour. She encouraged me to study the songs of the Vaisnava acaryas, preach boldly, and keep up the good energy through strong sadhana. She talked about her concerns about certain Kirtans happening now in ISKCON. She was worried that HH Jayadvaita Maharaj wasn’t pleased with the Kirtans we had been having at her apartment, but I assured her that maharaj loved it. How did I know? He jokingly chastised me for not telling him early enough about the Kirtans and why I only told him in the last three days about them. ( I had of course told him almost everyday before that). I then came to know that she had a similar Kirtan standard to that of HH Jayadvaita Swami.
I had to leave because of lunch at the Gurukul and when I told her, she said “ go to Gurukul swami with this message, that Srila Prabhupada is extremely pleased with what he’s doing. I haven’t been there yet, but I hear only the best accounts from devotees.”
When I told HH BVPS, he had this very humbling look on his face that made me want to cry. He said “ Yamuna’s here!?, how come no one told me? I guess I’m hiding back here, so I don’t get o know where all the action is.” The last time I saw her, was when I went to say good bye, and promised to come visit Saranagati again. She encouraged me to do so, but I didn’t get the chance to. A few weeks ago in Mayapur I continuously listened to the Govindam prayers for about 3 hours, and for some reason I thought she would be leaving soon, and I should relish her association more through the sound vibration. I didn’t think leaving soon would be this soon. I pray that I can honor her instructions properly and preach properly so that her work, cooking and pioneering Krsna consciousness may continue eternally. I pray to be a part of a crew that keeps the temple packed with devotees eagerly waiting to sing Govindam adi purusam as the curtains open to greet the lords.
Yamuna Devi ki Jaya!