"I was very attracted to the chanting and dancing of the devotees that were
there. I didn't know much more about what that represented, just that
I was very attracted to seeing the happiness that they expounded when
they were chanting and dancing." -Phulamala Devi Dasi
"Hearing these wonderful stories and seeing the faces of the devotees light up when they narrate their first encounter with Krishna consciousness, inundates me with appreciation for the gift that I have attained in this life time."
Next, we have Phulamala Devi Dasi from Oregon. It was a busy day at
the Soquel Seva Ashram. Srila Gurudev was taking rest and I thought it
was the perfect moment to sneak in an interview with Phulamala Devi Dasi.
There were so many devotees that not a single place was quiet, except
for the car. We ran to her car and Phulamala Devi Dasi began to reminisce
the days when she first met the devotees....
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Phulamala Devi Dasi:
Hare Krishna! I first saw the devotees in 1968 at a hippie Love-In,
it was called a 'Spring Fest.' I was very attracted to the chanting and
dancing of the devotees that were there. I didn't know much more about
what that represented, just that I was very attracted to seeing the happiness
that they expounded when they were chanting and dancing. Then, after that,
I saw devotees being interviewed on television in 1969. It was an interview
with the devotees of the L.A. temple but I didn't know that those were
the same devotees at the Spring Fest. I should probably mention that the
festival was at the Elysian Park in Los Angeles, California.
Sometime after, I saw Srila Prabhupad being interviewed on television
with some of his disciples. I believe it was a popular interviewer of
the day in 1969, and it was a very interesting interview and very famous
too. There are video tapes of that interview that one can look at. In
any case that was the third time I had had some brush or experience with
the devotees, yet still not connecting all the dots - not realizing that
the devotees I saw in 1968 and the two interviews in 1969 were connected.
I still didn't know that Srila Prabhupad was connected to what I had seen
at the Elysian Park either.
Sometime later, in 1970, I was driving in my car and I heard the Mahamantra
on the radio very early in the morning. It was dawn actually, and oddly
enough I decided to chant along, still not connecting the chanting that
I was hearing on my car radio with Srila Prabhupad, or the devotees that
I had seen on TV and in the park in 1968. At that time in 1970, the year
I heard the Mahamantra on the radio, my roommate came home and walked
straight into my room and pointed at a poster that I had on the wall.
I didn't mention this but I had a poster of Krishna in my room, still
not connecting it to the many encounters I had with the devotees. My roommate
saw the poster in my house and informed my other roommate and myself that
the person in the picture was Krishna - that that was God. That was my
official introduction in 1970 to Krishna consciousness and then all of
the dots got connected. It was then that I realized that the Mahamantra
I heard on the radio, the chanting and the dancing that I saw in the park,
the television interviews with Srila Prabhupad and the other devotees,
were all connected - they were all one and the same.
Then from 1970-1977 I associated with devotees primarily because I was
going to many programs and praying and hoping to get initiated by Srila
Prabhupad. The month that I got serious to do that, Srila Prabhupad left
the planet so I felt very unfortunate and lost. Many years later, in 1982,
after still regularly associating with devotees, I became acquainted with
the 13th St. Temple, Sripad Goswami Maharaj, and Srila Guru Maharaj. At
that time on May 30th 1982, by the grace of Sripad Goswami Maharaj, he
brought my name to Guru Maharaj. Srila Govinda Maharaj was there at the
time and helped give my spiritual name, Phulamala, to return to me. Along
with a few other devotees I received ritvik and japamala from our beloved
Gurudev Srila Sridhar Maharaj. So... that's my story.
Thank you so much for sharing with us your beautiful experiences. It was a long time before you connected the dots but finally, Krishna pushed through!
Phulamala Devi Dasi:
Phulamala Didi ki jaya!
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Siddhanti Maharaj's Interview