When I arrived in India I was fascinated by the sadhus and their way of life. I knew immediately in order to understand what they were saying and to learn from them I had to learn Hindi as fast as possible. I got a small booklet “Hindi in 30 days “and with that I started to learn the language.
I was associating with the sadhus and trying to follow their advice and teachings. Of course being a young woman was a great obstacle in a patriarchal, traditional and celibate male society – it was really very difficult because though they liked me personally they were afraid of me and felt they had to reject me to save themselves and their good name. Somehow I continued my path and then found the Bhagavad Gita. It was like a revelation. It answered all questions that ever moved my mind and that nobody could answer; main question being what is the purpose of life and how to attain the ultimate that manifests in 2 ways – the personal form of God and the impersonal. It describes several ways to reach that which having reached one needs not to return – meaning one is not forced back into another birth into the material world of suffering.
In order to advance on that path one needs the instruction of a guru. But before I went in search of my guru I wanted to travel further and went to Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal. From Nepal I returned to India and travelled to different Tirthas – places of pilgrimage, always hoping to find a mahatma whom I could accept as Guru. I found him in Radha-Kund, a small village near Vrindavan near Mathura. His name was Sri Sri 108 Kishori Kishoranand Goswami, widely known by the name of Tin Kauri baba. He was known as a siddha mahatma – one who has attained the goal – and I asked him for Mantra Diksha. That means one is initiated (Diksha) into a mantra consisting of the names of God and then is supposed to repeat this mantra many number of times and meditate on it at the same time.
There are many names of God as there are many forms of God. One chooses the form of God one feels attracted to and then chooses a guru who initiates one into the worship of that form of God. This worship consists to a great part in repeating the names of that form of God- it’s called Mantra Japa. It’s a form of meditation. There are other aspects to Sadhana (practice) like puja, pad and parikrama. I started practicing what I had been taught and I am still practicing. Its 40 years now. Along with the mantra a new name is given at the time of Diksha to signify the beginning of a new life. I was given the name Sudevi Dasi; Sudevi being the name of one of Krishna gopis and dasi or das is the title in our sampradaya put behind every name. My guru left his body 2 years after I met him. I then continued my practice on my own.
I became a vegetarian the day I put my foot on Indian soil – for no rational reason at all and have been living a celibate life, considering the entanglement in relationships a distraction on the path. I had lived in Radha-Kund in different places all these years. It’s been 40 years in India and now I run a gaushala. The journey of mine from being a spiritual seeker to Mother of Cows (referred to me by others and not by me) is nothing less than an adventure.
(Note from Author: The article is written in partnership with Sudevi Dasi. All the information is what she had described. We at Terse Box are just mediator for her story to reach to you.)
This article is part of September, 2019 Magazine. Click on link to view the magazine.