Her Grace Savitri Dasi in ISKCON Philadelphia Passed Away

By Sangita Devi Dasi and Jagannatha-priya Devi Dasi

Dear Friends of Vaishnavas CARE,download-4

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On Sunday, April 21, 2019, Her Grace Savitri Devi Dasi, a beloved member of our ISKCON Philadelphia Temple, peacefully passed away. As we stood by her bedside chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, Savitri departed from this world with a Deity of Lord Nrsimhadeva above her head, a small Deity of Lord Jagannatha and a photo of Srila Prabhupada on her heart, Srila Prabhupada chanting in her ear and a photo of Radha Krsna to her right.

For over 25 years, Savitri faithfully served this community with patience, devotion, and expertise. She is irreplaceable.

Many of you may not be aware that in the past Savitri served as a pujari for Their Lordships Sri Sri Gaura-55931154_156418318718637_4147884594871129588_nNitai. She cooked for the temple devotees daily when they went out on Sankirtan marathons. She helped to organize our first Bhakti-sastri program. As the temple Treasurer for many years, Savitri single-handedly managed the temple finances. She wrote and designed our first temple newsletter in print, and currently has been producing it electronically. She maintained our temple vehicles. She kept neighbor relations. She oversaw temple maintenance, such as the plumbing, electricity, general repairs, snow removal, and had friendly relationships with the people from these companies. Savitri dealt with the details of running our temple such as updating our insurance policies and keeping our bills paid on time. She handled every temple account, such as the Rathayatra account, the construction account, the temple operating account, and so many more. She was the “glue” that kept Lord Jagannatha’s temple running smoothly.

However, Savitri was so much more than all of these services. Savitri Devi Dasi was a well-educated woman with a Master’s degree in music. She was a concert violinist and expert in classical music. Savitri was also a talented artisan who knew the art of spinning wool, weaving, crocheting, and beading. She made exquisite beaded jewelry, crowns and veils for the Deities. In addition, she was an exceptional cook. Most importantly, Savitri download-5was the kindest of friends, a compassionate soul and a deep, insightful Vaishnavi who dedicated the majority of her life to serving Srila Prabhupada’s mission to spread Krsna consciousness. She was a “Prabhupada Girl” through and through!

Just as she did in life, Savitri Devi Dasi faced her final moments calmly and fearlessly in a an exemplary manner following in the footsteps of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

 

All glories to Her Grace Savitri Devi Dasi!

All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!

 

Please watch the Memorial Service for Savitri Devi Dasi held on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at the ISKCON Philadelphia Temple. 

 

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8 Responses to Her Grace Savitri Dasi in ISKCON Philadelphia Passed Away

  1. Lilavilasini says:

    I am shocked to hear of her passing away. She will be missed for sure by her closest friends.
    Your servant,
    Lilavilasini Devi Dasi (Terni, Italy)

  2. Sangita Devi Dasi says:

    Dear LIlavilasini,
    It was a great blessing to be Savitri’s close friend throughout life. It was also a tremendous blessing to be present at her auspicious departure to assist her on her spiritual journey and to witness this extraordinary soul leave this world. Savitri Devi Dasi will be greatly missed by many — including me and my family who always considered her part of our family. To simply say she was a very special Vaishnavi would be an understatement. Not enough can be said to glorify her! Thank you for posting your comment, Lilaji.

    Your servant and friend,
    Sangita Devi Dasi

  3. Sangita Devi Dasi says:

    We were a group of friends from college who enjoyed each other’s company beyond our musical experiences together as students of Robert Gerle and Marilyn Neeley.

    We had nicknames for each other, Suzanne was Suzaneroo, Cathy was Catheree, Chris was “Scroggs” and Ronald was “Robald”. The names stuck through the years and was always a reminder that despite life’s challenges we could be happy and be silly. Suzanne had nicknames for famous musicians- as a Baroque music afficionado, Suzanne referred to two of the most famous, Trevor Pinnock and Christopher Hogwood as Trevor Pinblock and Christopher- Chaw-Chaw-wood, snorting like a hog.

    Suzanne played both viola and violin well and because of her interest in pieces not in the top 10 most famous of all time, we became familiar with the Kabalevsky Concerto and some of Hindemith’s sonatas. She was also a great tabla player and played in the Gamelan ensemble at our university. Her interests became ours.

    I always felt Suzanne was the wisest and calmest among us. Her manner put you at ease and she seemed to have an underlying respect and dignity for all things- I felt she always looked to the good in everyone so my memories and thoughts of her bring a great sense of contentment and inner joy. I only got to visit her once at the ashram but when I saw her she seemed happy and in good spirits. Wherever her spirit is now, her goodness, kindness, and friendly nature are with us forever.

    Ronald Mutchnik

  4. Sangita Devi Dasi says:

    From Chris Scroggins:

    As everyone knows, Savitri (Suzanne) was a kind person. In all the years I knew her I only saw her get angry once, It was while we were roommates in college. I had left a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink, and she let me know that that was not the right standard. She was right! Another time, I had an important audition for the Baltimore Symphony. On the day of the audition, when I got to the building early in the morning, I realized that I had accidentally left all my sheet music at home. I did not have time to go all the way home to get it. I called Suzanne on our landline. It must have rung 30 or 40 times. Suzanne was not a morning person back then. She answered the phone in the sleepiest of voices and I asked her if she would bring the music to where I was, which was about a half an hour away. She did, saving me much embarrassment on a very important day.

    She was definitely an influential person in my life. In college, she studied the Sitar, so I studied the Sitar. She studied the Tabla so I studied the Tabla. She liked frogs and turtles, and eventually I came to appreciate frogs and turtles too. She always had the most interesting reading list.

    With her health deteriorating this year, we texted each other frequently. I am sorry I could not speak to her on the phone more often but with my advanced hearing loss it was too difficult. I would text her photos of cute animal videos and also of local parks that I had visited, which she always appreciated.

    She was motivated to read and learn new things about the world up until her last day. Last week I had told her I was taking an American Sign Language class, and she said “I’m learning sign language too!” On Saturday I texted her a long list of free internet tutorials for sign language, and she thanked me. That was our final communication.

    I know Suzanne was not close to her immediate family, and I am very glad she was able to create a rich life at the temple and follow her faith. I am grateful that she lived in a wonderful community and had such good friends with her at the time of her passing. I will miss her.

  5. Sangita Devi Dasi says:

    Our friend, Suzanne:

    I first met Suzanne at UMBC while playing piano for the string chamber music and master classes: she played the viola and was an excellent musician, wonderful and fun to work with, possessing not only musical skill, but also an adorable sense of humor! Not willing to confine her music-making endeavors to only western music, she introduced us to the music of Ravi Shankar and became knowledgeable and proficient in learning to play many eastern musical instruments as well.

    Suzanne LOVED animals – ALL animals!!! She loved horses and rode them as a young girl; she was very fond of cats, dogs, birds, cows, water fowl (“Ducks are adorable, but not geese: they’re mean!” she would say!) She was particularly fond of frogs, and had a gift for drawing them, often using her little “frog cartoon” when she signed her name. It became so familiar to us that after a time she wouldn’t even have to sign her name, just draw the frog and we would know that it was from her!

    Suzanne came to visit us at our farm quite a few times in the past when she had a car and was able to get around. Here, she could surround herself with all the animals who live here: horses to stroke and to give a carrot treat or two, dogs to pet, and many kitties to sit on her lap, vying for her attention, and, of course, enjoying watching the ducks on our pond, and shaking her head when the geese would get too rambunctious!

    Suzanne loved her own two kitty-cats, and gave them such a wonderful and loving home. When she moved away to Philadelphia, we weren’t able to see one another as often as we would have liked, but stayed in touch through email or Facebook, and always shared stories and pictures of and about our cats.

    Suzanne was a beautiful person with a beautiful soul. The world was a better place with her in it, and she leaves a void now that she has gone. We shall all miss her!

    Rest well, Suzanne! I know that you will be taking care of all the animals we have loved who have also passed, and that you (and they) will be waiting for us when it is our time to cross over – the reunion will be glorious!!!

    Your friends,

    Cathy and Dale Elkiss

  6. Sangita Devi Dasi says:

    My heartfelt appreciation to Savitri’s dear friends, Ronald, Chris, and Cathy and Dale, for expressing your love and gratitude for our close friend. I know Savitri cared deeply for all of you. She spoke of you often and cherished her longtime friendship with all of you. My condolences for your loss.

    Sincerely,
    Sangita Devi Dasi
    Vaishnavas CARE

  7. Sangita Priya dd says:

    My humble obeisances at the feet of this extraordinary Vaisnavi, Savitri Devi Dasi – so wonderful to read about her life of service and her many wonderful talents. I wish I had known her.

    Her passing from this world was so glorious and exemplary. What a loss for the Vaishnava community and her dear friends who will miss her deeply.
    Your servant,
    Sangita Priya dd (England)

  8. Sangita Devi Dasi says:

    My dear Sangita Priya,

    Hare Krsna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    Thank you for posting your very kind comment. I know Savitri would have liked to have met you as well.

    Your servant,
    Sangita dd

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