Bhavatarini (Pisima)

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Pisima was born in Calcutta in 1899, three years after Srila Prabhupada, and they were intimate friends as children. They sometimes flew kites together, and when a kite did not fly properly they prayed to Krsna so that it would. After Srila Prabhupada received small Radha-Govinda Deities from his father, Pisima became his constant companion in worshiping Them. Later Srila Prabhupada gave her the Deities, and after he passed away she placed Them in the care of the devotees at ISKCON’s Mayapur center.

Pisima was an initiated disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada often said she was a pure devotee of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, and she showed her unflinching faith in the Lord on many occasions. Once, during an annual festival in Mayapur in the 1940s, her youngest son Madan came down with a dangerous disease called Asiatic cholera. Everyone advised Pisima to take him to the doctor, but she depended on Lord Krsna’s healing power instead. She simply gave him some caranamrta, water that had washed the lotus feet of the Lord, and that brought life back to Madan’s almost dead body.

In 1948 when riots flared up between the Hindus and the Muslims in Calcutta, no one dared go out—except Pisima. Every day she walked alone through the deserted streets to the Radha-Krsna temple.

Without a doubt, #Pisima was a pure devotee, and now she has gone back to the spiritual world to participate in Radha-Krsna’s eternal pastimes. We all pray to her for her blessings, so that we can serve the Lord and His associates with the same zeal she displayed all her life.


Whatever my sister cooks, we have to eat. This is her display of love for me

Visakha dasi: The short devotee who is wearing a white sari is #Bhavatarini-devi-dasi. She was known to all of Prabhupada’s disciples as Pisima, which means “the father’s sister” in Bengali, because she was Prabhupada’s sister.

Pisima would come very often to the temple in Calcutta, that’s me with my back to the camera, we were staying there too at that time and she would bring prasadam for Prabhupada and for the devotees as well. She was a very gentle, kind, loving person. But there was a problem because Pisima cooked, as is traditional in Bengal, in mustard oil and sometimes it would be hard for Prabhupada to digest her dishes, although they were very delicious. When Pisima heard about this problem, she said, “My brother can digest nails if he wants to.”

And on his side, Prabhupada once said, “Whatever my sister cooks, we have to eat. This is her display of love for me.” And she had great devotion for her brother, not just because he was her brother but also because he is such an exalted devotee of Radha-Krishna. Srila Prabhupada said that his sister was a devotee of Radha and Krishna from her very birth. Whenever we offered Pisima the respect that she so much deserved, she was very humble. She would say, “I am a mere lady. I cannot give you anything. I cannot do anything for you.” Quite often under her sari she would carry a bottle of Ganga water or Jamuna water and she would liberally sprinkle the devotees around her with this water, which was great fun except for me because I usually had a camera with me.
I would have to hide my camera under my sari when she pulled out her Ganga jal.



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