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Ladies' Sankirttan Party

are a vibrant example of service


Lady Devotees of Soquel, California

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.

Newspaper cutting

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 campus.
"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 gambling.
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."

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Posted November 4, 1999. Updated 22 November 2000.
For more information, please send email to or direct to Mahila Sakha