Ladies' Sankirttan Party
are a vibrant example of service
The 'Mahila Sakha' of our Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Ashram,
San Jose, U.S.A., is a vibrant ashram exclusively for ladies to practice
devotional service. The ladies manage the whole ashram, cook for Krishna,
hold festivals and feasts, and engage in many other activities propagating
Mahaprabhu's mission. They have received much recognition by Srila Govinda
Maharaj, himself, as well as from the local press and communities. Below
is a clipping from the San Jose State University's newspaper "Spartan
Daily" from October 1999, followed by the text of the report.
CHANTING A WELCOME TO ASHRAM
|Five women dressed in brightly colored saris and wearing
sacred beads around their necks, chanted a mantra, beat drums and played
hand-held cymbals near the Student Union around 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Students stared at the women as they walked through San Jose State University's
"It's totally cool. It kinda makes you want to jump around and dance,"
said Staphane Claus, a senior majoring in psychology. "It makes you
feel good. If you've had a bad day, it makes you feel that you can continue.
"The women practice the Vaishnava religion that is based on the Vedic
Scriptures of India," said Braja Mohini, who was playing the drum.
"They (the Vedic Scriptures) are the oldest books in the world about
the soul," Divya Shakti Devi Dasi said.
The Vaishnava religion focuses on serving God to obtain eternal happiness.
The women, who live at the Seva Ashram on N. 17th St., practice Bhakti Yoga
in Krishna Consciousness, which places God at the center of daily life.
They were at SJSU to invite students to visit the ashram, Mohini said.
The word "seva" means loving devotional service, and an ashram
is a place where people practice spiritual life. The words "Devi Dasi"
indicate the person is a servant of their namesake. Their new names are
given to them by their teachers at initiation.
|"Part of devotional life is to go out and glorify
God's name," Divya Shakti said. |
Students, such as Jason Brown, enjoyed listening to the group's chanting.
"I think it's interesting to be exposed to different cultures,"
said Brown, a senior majoring in behavioral science and psychology. "I
think that's what college is about, expanding one's exposure to new things.
I'm open minded."
The ashram has been listed as a student organization at SJSU for the last
four years and the women plan on registering again this semester, said Sudevika,
who has practiced Krishna Consciousness her entire life.
Some of the spiritual practices of the Vaishnava religion include vegetarianism,
abstinence from alcohol, drugs, sex without the purpose of procreation and
Women who practice Vaishnavism also mark their bodies in 12 places with
tilak clay, which comes from a sacred river in India, every day after bathing.
"People think it's fanaticism, but it's natural," Divya Shakti
said. "It's a natural instinct to serve God."