Srimati Divya Shakti Devi’s Birthday

Divya Shakti Devi rear row second from the left.

Date: 6/15/23

All glories to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga!

Divya Shakti Devi was one of the original supporters of our attempt to establish a branch of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in New York City following the direction of Srila Sridhara Maharaja.

Dated: 4/2/1987

My Dear Sripad Tripurari Maharaj and Jagat Guru Maharaj,

Please accept my humble dandavat pranams, and to all the devotees there headed by your good selves. These days Srila Guru Majaraj’s health is much better and for that we are happy.

Sripad B.K. Giri Maharaj has received the full blessings of Srila Guru Maharaj for opening a center in New York on his behalf called Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, New York Branch. For this auspicious endeavour a couple of good brahmacari assistants would be most helpful and we would be happy if Rohini Kumar das brahmacari and Devanatha das brahmacari could go to New York and assist there the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.

We hope you are well and looking forward to seeing you again. Once again accept my humble respects and offer the same to B.G. Sadhu Maharaj and Bhavananda Roya Swami.

Yours Affectionately,

Swami B.S. Govinda
( Govinda Maharaj)

She joined with us as a bhramacharini, immediately lent her support to our acquisition of a rental house in Floral Park, NY (pictured in the accompanying photos) and earnestly began supporting all our preaching efforts there. Not long afterwards I sent her to India where she received initiation from Srila Govinda Maharaja who Srila Sridhara Maharaja had designated as his successor and for whom Srila Sridhara Maharaja was acting as rtvik guru by initiating all those who came to him as Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disciples.

After her initiation she had hoped to go to Goswami Maharaja’s temple in San Jose but Srila Sridhara Maharaja instructed her to return to our NYC Math instead and we happily welcomed her upon her return from India.

Her indomitable serving spirit made her a valuable asset to our preaching. As love moves in a crooked way, so too the desires of devotees and, to my dismay, she left her service to our NYC Math. At that point I heard nothing from her for many years. I learned she married but heard little about her until she became very prominently known as a dedicated collector of funds for Srila Govinda Maharaja.

After Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance in 2010 Divya Shakti Devi surprised me by asking if she could return to our SCS Math (now in New Jersey) and again help us establish a Math in NYC. I whole heartedly welcomed her and, as before, she joined with us and proved to be a tremendous help to our Mission. Unfortunately, a schism developed in the mission when I noted the stark discrepancies between Srila Govinda Maharaja’s directions as stated in his Last Will and Testament and their execution by prominent leaders of the mission. Divya Shakti Devi could not accommodate my position and, as had happened before, she left after a number of months with us to pursue some other line of seva.

During the time she spent with us in 2010 I created a reminder of her birthday. I received that reminder today and did not want the day to pass without acknowledging the fortune that has come to me and so many as a result of her taking birth in this world to assist in the spreading of Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s mission. She first joined with ISKCON after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance and quickly became known for her dedication to spreading his glories. Although he was not personally present, there can be no doubt he was a witness to her attempts to please him through her service. During the time of Srila Sridhara Maharaja he came to know of her dedication, which extended further through the balance of Srila Govinda Maharaja’s time with us. Perhaps the full glory of her dedication became best known during the time of Srila Govinda Maharaja’s acharyaship. At least it seems so from my vantage point.

Krishna moves, and causes others to move, in unpredictable ways. I could never have predicted the incidental movements of Srimati Divya Shakti Devi, but I have come to believe that as the movements of Goddess Lakshmi Devi are always auspicious, so too are the movements of Srimati Divya Shakti. They always bring good fortune to others. It is good to remember this on her birthday.

Swaim B.K. Giri