Those Involved

 

 

Gopinatha Dham is the residence of a small group of devotees from the Perth ISKCON congregation who are dedicated to serving our small Gopinatha in a very focused way.

Before introducing devotees who have made significant contributions, we express our heartfelt gratitude to Srila Prabhupada who selflessly gave Krishna to others and offers us a chance to assist him in some small way

please come and visit, and meet those involved at Gopinatha dham

 

You are most welcome........

2002 - SERVING GOPINATHA

THOSE INVOLVED

AT GOPINATH DHAM

 

OPENING CEREMONY with the devotees active in setting up this project.

May 2002

PROFILES

 

 

Bhurijana Prabhu

The wise voice of experience, consideration,

and sastric learning. As we proceed Bhurijana

Prabhu helps us examine every aspect of

the project. He also gives guidance and

support.

 

Sri Radha Ramana

Resilient and positive, Sri Radha Ramana

is the gentle strength behind every aspect

of life at Gopinatha dham. From daily

puja to property management he's the

one making things work.

 

 

Sucirani Mataji

Capable, serious, and hardworking

Suci is ready to give everything for

spiritual advancement and service.

 

Lalita Manjari dasi

 

Jagattarini mataji

The artistic inspiration

behind most of

Gopinatha's gallery.

Jagattarini is fond of

Vrindavana.

She tries to retain a

Vrindavana-like atmosphere

at Gopinatha dham.

Jagattarini is the wife of

Bhurijana Prabhu

Responsible and practical, our accountant

Lalita is both devotional and good

with figures. Her parents, Bhurijana and

Jagattarini are pleased with her balance

in life.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bankey Bihari

Always friendly, Bankey

likes to walk, chant on

harinama and serve

prasadam. He spends

much time in India, and

is the husband of

Sucirani.

Suci's Memorial Section

Now meet the friends who came to helped us get started.→ →

 

2002 - BEGINNING WITH FRIENDS

Getting started:

During 2002 devotee friends came to stay for some months to help.

 

 

 

The team...After a hard days work.

 

 

 

 

Saci cooks, paints the shack, and leads sweet kirtan.Saci, Surya and Locan their son are from Christchurch NZ.

 

Surya helped in many ways, from cleaning up the property, building and making needed renovations.He worked hard to make the shack.

 

 

Morning chanting in temple

These devotees gave valued assistance.

Sevakunja and Ekendra

Ekendra and his wife Seva remained for months at Gopinatha dham.He made our website. He also constructed the verandar of the shack.

 

 

 

Pharyn and Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palika likes to help with

cleaning and art work.

Both Pharyn and Rachel,

her old school friend,

helped in so many ways. 

 

 


 

 

Nakula

Nakula helped us move onto the property and along with Surya, gave valued assistance in renovating and clearing unnecessary structures from the grounds.

 

 

 

 

Nakula places goldfish in front pond

 

 

 

Nana

Nana kindly came to visit and share some time with us.Her gentle presence was welcomed by all.She is 85.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Locan likes to play

 

GUESTS to GOPINATHA DHAM

His Holiness Prabhavishnu Swami

His Holiness Kavicandra swami

His Holiness Devamrita swami

His Holiness Bhanu swami

We were fortunate to have their association here at Gopinatha dham

 

Tirtharaja and Taraka

Our first house guests, they are our old friends from Brisbane who are always welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

2003 - A CHALLENGING YEAR

 

DIFFICULT Y FOR SUCIRANI

In January we receive bad news. Sucirani has cancer, an aggressive kind, which the doctors say is incurable. She is given one year.We are all in shock.

Since we moved here only six months ago with all good intentions, how could such a disaster occur in the life of someone so vibrant and essential to us? Uncertainty enters our thoughts.

Friends visit and offer support.

Elderly Saranagati arrives from Vrindavana. Her presence is calming. She's caring, philosophical and ready to support Suci during the turbulence caused by this news.

Kunja Kishori from Christchurch New Zealand also wants to offer her help. [Seen above with Suci and Lalita] Kunja helps with cooking and also works outside in the garden.

Kunja kindly repaired our front pond and also repaired the small indoor pond under the stairs. She removed the dusty plasticflowers and surrounded the pool with attractive potted foliage. Then we had a small boat festival to celebrate.

Sucirani's son Ananda Tirtha arrives

He will stay for some time to support his mother.

He also helps a lot around the property.

Ananda's support is comforting to his mother and keeps things on track .

Sucirani's parents visit regularly and assist her to explore different health cures.

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Meanwhile life goes on - and - midyear brings good news

Pharyn is ready for initiation.

Pharyn first met devotees when she and her friend, Rachel, were sixteen. Thereafter they participated in a blend of devotional activities, whilst maintaining their youthful sportive tendencies. By 1999 Pharyn had decided to focus on spiritual life and moved next door to the temple to begin a new phase.

Chanting slowly replaced youthful activities and travel. Philosophy became more relevant.

By 2003 she had become a real part of both the temple community and Gopinatha Dham. Now Pharyn is ready to be accepted for initiation. There's a family mood of satisfaction when she receives her new name - PALIKA DEVI DASI

 Birthday fun


Receiving her neckbeads 

"you will have to grow into your name"

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Paving the way

The area around the newly built extension requires paving. Our budget is meagre so second hand pavers are our only option. That means good solid hard work.

All hands are required for this plan of action. It 's a team effort and a month of hard labor !!

Palika's good at lifting them

 

Yadav shifts them out

 

Jaya Gurupada unloads

 

Linda and Ananda lay pavers

 

By the end of the month we all knew how to lay pavers. Somehow we'd completed the front driveway, path and parking areas.

Ananda, Jaya Gurupada, Sri Radha Raman -quite a team

 

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Children's visit to Gopinatha dham

 

Candrasekhara brings some of the community's children to meet Gopinatha.

They visit for kirtan, picnic and walk in the park.

First they meet Gopinatha.

He's small
Come closer

Sri Radha Raman takes the children to see the dioramas

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SUCIRANI'S DECLINE

 

By September it's becoming quite clear. Nothing is working. Suci is beginning to understand the gravity of her situation. As health declines discomfort increases.

A healthy person with a great amount of energy cannot suddenly face the reality of death when it knocks on the door of life and demands a final payment. Even a person with faith will find their faith seriously challenged by the finality of dying.

Even a person with spiritual knowledge cannot always apply the philosophy under such stress.

Thus it is not surprising that fear of death lives in the heart of anyone sensitive to its meaning .

Without knowing what to do next we sought direction. Then word came from His Holiness Sridhara Swami - "If you want to go to Brazil and try a faith - healing, I will be ready to help. But you have to get to Brazil in a week."

We thought carefully and bought round - the - world tickets within an hour. Leaving tomorrow night.

After serious consideration Sucirani and Jagattarini decided to set off on a journey meant for healing faith.

 

Palika gave Sucirani this small book. She wanted

us to ask devotees to write words of encouragment for Suci wherever we went. By the time

she left this world, Suci's book was almost full of affection and appreciation expressed

for this sincere devotee...

Farewells from family and Gopinatha dham

We have Gopinatha in a locket around our neck.

Now our challenge is to depend on HIM.

But isnt that our challenge always?

 

 

 

SUCIRANI'S HEALING JOURNEY 2003-2004

 

SUCI'S FAITH HEALING JOURNEY

Enroute to New Zealand

It was an evening flight to New Zealand and I was uncomfortable in the crowded plane. I wondered how Suci was managing. Time to time she would twist in the seat, indicating that she was not sleeping.

When we arrived in Auckland she was tense and tired. I found a place for her to lie down on three seats in the airport. Devotees were coming with breakfast, and then to take us to the domestic airport for our flight to Christchurch. Many of our devotee friends there had been begging Suci to come.

Auckland:

Prana Prabhu, Candrakoti, Sucirani and Kalasamvara in the Aukland Airport

Christchurch:

Kunja Kishori, [recently our guest], now invites us to stay with her

She wants devotees there to come together for kirtan. We have a long standing affectionate relationship with many of those present.

 

Suci is comforted by the chanting.

JaiSri, Saci [also our guest last year] Suci and Sri Kari sharing

 

Ramila wistfully deep in thought

 

chanting soothes the mind - then it is possible to pray

While we were in Christchurch so many words of affection were written in her small book.

Radha, Ramila's daughter writes -

"I am only young. When you are young you tend to think you are invincible and you have the freedonm to die whenever. I am only just learning now that in actual fact, Krishna is in control and I must accept and learn to have faith that He is watching me and looking after me, just as He is to you"

Rachel wrote -
When I left England and came to New Zealand I was travelling alone.
My company came from chanting , reading, and remembering Krishna.
I was never alone.
Krishna will always be with you. You are never alone."
All the devotees were happy and grateful to have spent this time with Suci. Kunja Kishori decides to continue having weekly kirtans for Suci's benefit.
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Our next stop is America.

Dallas:

We stay here overnight, to rest before our flight to Chicago, then on to Brazil. Although we barely know anyone here, everyone is very welcoming.

Sucirani meets more friendly devotees.

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Enroute to South America

Brazil

Despite the stop overs, the travelling is very tiring. We finally arrive in Brazil, both exausted.

Giridhari Prabhu and Sucirani

Giridhari Prabhu meets us at the airport and takes us by car to Abadiania our destination. There we meet Sridhara Swami who wants to help get us settled and explain everything. We discover that there are quite a few devotees here at present.

We stay at a local Pousada [bed and breakfast] along with other devotees. They are also here seeking treatment for a variety of severe medical conditions.

 

Sridhara Swami takes care and shows us around.

The treatment here is somewhat mystical. Joao de Deus is a psychic surgeon who sometimes offers miraculous healings. Reversal of a malady takes place on many levels. He even performs physical operations spontaneously, but without blood or pain. Hundreds of people come here to seek his help in times of need and he treats them all for free.

 

But we haven't come here depending on him. No doubt we' re here to see if Gopinatha wants to reverse Suci's condition, but we aren't asking for a miracle cure. We want only deeper faith.

If this long trip yields greater dependance on Gopinatha, that will be our spiritual healing.

 

I set up His colourful altar and stick pictures of Vrindavana and Gopinatha dham on the walls to create a more familiar environment.

Meanwhile, we join the crowds of people at the Casa.

Sucirani immediatly becomes terrified of the thought of a "physical operation". Feeling weak she rests in a quiet room and tries to concentrate on chanting. When we go before Joao who sees each "patient" for moments, he prescribes a subtle [passive] surgery for her. She is relieved.

Gopinatha's intention is not to frighten us, yet we see in life how sometimes frightening things happen.

The enemy of faith is fear. When there is fear there cannot be strong faith. We both recognize that we have come here to face fear and then to learn something about dying,

We are here praying for greater faith.

Suci's altar and diaries

After two weeks Sridhara Swami is leaving, Now it is Kartika so we feel keen separation from Vrindavana. After consulting both Joao and Gopinatha's devotees we change our reservations. Leaving earlier than expected, we return to America and meet more devotee friends.

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Return to America

Alachua

Kaisori, an old friend of Jagattarini, meets us at the airport. We are staying at the house of her friend Padma Malini from Ireland.

Suci and Kaisori Harinama, Padmamalini, Dhanistha, Nataka Candrika

Alachua is a large devotee community. We meet more old friends, who offer wellwishes to Suci

Harinama writes:

"Yours is the ultimate adventure, Lord Krishna is your personal guide. No matter how dense the forest, He'll never let you get lost. May He grant fearlessness to you, as you fall into His arms "

 

Madhumati and Suci Kaisori,Suci, Kalindi and Jagattarini

Washington D C.

Our next stop is here, staying with another Padma Malini [Jagattarini's close friend] for some days before travelling to England. She also writes in Suci's small book:

"You are a wonderful example for all of us. Our prayers are with you. Your journey is all auspicious and victory is yours."

Are these words only being spoken by her? In retrospect I see more clearly that they aren't

Padma Malini gives Sucirani a warm hug and blessings as we depart.

England

Tired from travelling, we observe Srila Prabhupada's Disappearance day at the Manor. Again we meet Sridhara Swami who gives Suci a photo of his Nrsimhadev Sila for protection from fear.

An Irony
This trip is what Sucirani always desired, namely to travel, preach and meet devotees. But not like this! Now she's distracted, tired, weak and dull. She feels she has nothing to give, she can only take. Yet this is what Gopinatha has arranged. Factually her example is worth much more than even she can understand.

Germany

Our next stop. One healer suggested a possible cure. We should try this before giving up hope.
Malati and Yamuna
Malati and Yamuna kindly offer us their apartment in Abentheur for nine days. Although we are very near New Goloka dham, where beautiful Sri Radha Madan Mohan reside, our attention is focused on healing. Suci is weak.
Showing great kindness, His Holiness Sacinandana Swami comes to chant with us and reads to Sucirani.
Nine days pass.No improvement.
Soon it is time to travel on.
When we arrive in Delhi Suci's family will be waiting to take us to Vrindavana.
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Final Destination:

Sri Vrindavana dham

As soon as we arrive , Bhurijana Prabhu is leaving for the retreat at Govardhana. He invites us to come along.

Visit to Govardhana

Sucirani bravely decides to travel to Govardhana. Now almost bedridden, she comes to spend a week with the devotees, who assist her and write many kind words in her small book.

An Irony.

Last year 2002 when Suci came to this retreat, she herself wrote the following prayer to Giriraja

" There is hope in the fact that Giriraja is really a person who wants to help aspiring devotees like me,and coming here to pray and chant is to become open to the mercy that He wants to bestow.Very important is to remember that I cannot even imagine how He plans to give that mercy - it will surely be in a way that I could not have anticipated, therefore the advice to be open is important. For me it means to put aside fearfulness - which is one of the things I have come to work on - and to try to focus on chanting. It will not come by my endeavour but by Giriraja's mercy"

After writing this in 2002, she returned to Perth. Just a matter of weeks later she was diagnosed with cancer.

Suci was shocked.

"Was this a fair response to a sincere devotional prayer? How can I trust someone who would do something so awful to me? I asked for mercy, but now I'm worse off than if I'd never asked."

Sometimes such feelings troubled her.

We can understand howevr that she was already seriously ill when she was offering her prayer, Girirja's reciprocation is evident in how she was taken care of in this time of great difficulty.

This photo was taken by the side of Giriraja - Nov 2003

 

Return to Vrindavana

Death is not easy to face. Unfulfilled desires may spring up or family members dear to us [more caring than ever] are impossible to part with. What to speak of leaving this body and mind, which although now painful, are so intimate that we always conceive of them as our very self.
Another irony

Suci still plans to leave Vrindavan and return to Gopinatha dham. She wants to be where she was serving Gopinatha happily, with those she knows well. She fears discomfort and forced reliance on poor hospital facilities. And lastly, she feels unworthy to remain in Vrindavana.

 

BUT GOPINATHA HAS COME WITH HER

and wont allow her to go. She has finished her travels for this life. Now she has reached her destination.He will take care of everything.

Suci's father, mother and brother Phil come. Phil's a doctor. He notices the care she is receiving and feels satisfied that she is in the best possible place.

Preparing for death: Suci shaves her head, Lalita cries, but is comforted with a warm smile.

Now Kirtan

For devotees, detachment is not the first priority. They understand that there is someone perfect to become attached to and thereby relinquish the binding influence of worldly attractions. The method for realizing spiritual attraction is given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Chanting chanting, and more chanting.

Suci now wants to be immersed in chanting

During the last week Aendra Prabhu came every evening. His powerful kirtan drew many devotees to Sucirani's side for chanting. She was deeply affected by the kirtan.

 

Suci's departure

Jan 5th 2004 Late in the afternoon, Jagattarini noticed Suci experiencing difficuly breathing. A kirtan began immediatly. Jagattarini seeing her panic, asked Suci to chant in her mind. Her last words were...."I am"

Holding her hand and chanting loudly the small kirtan continued until it became quite clear that Suci had gone.

Then moments later, Aendra and his kirtan party arrived, and began a huge cstatic kirtan that continued to swell for hours. Devotees quickly came to pay their respects

The following day, was the auspicious funeral ceremony. Suci's body was taken in procession to the Yamuna.

Ananda Tirtha lit the fire and cremation took place.

Three days later the Tirobhava [celebration for a departed Vaisnava] took place. We heard from those who knew her, how Suci lived her life and what she had achieved.

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FINAL WORDS

In writing about Sucirani I have tried to refrain from the temptation to over-glorify her, leaving aside her "human" struggles. She was not a super being without the challenges that we "mere mortals"encounter.

Suci would not be comfortable with that.

She was sincere so she knew she was struggling to come up to her own expectations, and to subdue her conditioning. Her example is relevant for all of us. If we also keep trying to overcome our frailties, then we too can expect mercy.

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Once Suci revealed to me a secret.

She was saving certain articles from her youth because she had a premonition that one day someone would desire to write about her life.

I replied saying that one is only worthy of glorifcation if one has overcome great difficulty.

Sucirani was by nature fearful in the face of difficulties. With respect to her illness, she openly expressed fears at every step. As her condition deteriorated she struggled to come to terms with the reality that she was facing imminent death,and yet without a doubt her departure was both glorious and successful.

By continuing to struggle Suci was forced to accept victory.

one last message written for Suci in her small book

" A venerable body composed of five elements is constantly demanding attention. The intelligence and mind are busy catering to the incessant desires to control and enjoy.

The hard struggle for existence. For what!

Apart from the sweet relationship with devotees what is worth staying for ?

Because of your kindness, the thoughts of lots of devotees are with you petitioning Krishna to take care of you.

You have won the favor of your Guru

Your life is complete. You are leaving us behind. We are sad and happy at the same time.

Save a place for us

your servant

Panchajangrhi Dasa

27.12.03

 

2004 - ARTWORK AND TRAVEL

RETURN ALONE

While Suci Rani lay dying in Vrindavana everyone from Gopinatha dham except Sri Radha Raman was there on hand to help.

Now we're returning to Gopinatha dham: first Palika then Jagattarini and later Bhurijana Prabhu.

Sri Radha Raman held a memorial program at the temple and we also held a similar function here at Gopinatha dham. Then we began to notice the empty feelings. As much as we  tried to chase them away, they kept  returning in the form of uncertainty regarding the future of Gopinatha dham. Without Sucirani it was hard to imagine how we could continue.

Then an invitation arrived, asking us to bring Gopinatha's art world  for Janmastami at the Manor Along with this request from England, Gopinatha  sent devotees to help.

Friends came foreward 

 Rachel is from Perth and served Gopinatha before traveling overseas. She came to vrindavana to assist Suci and then returned briefly to Perth. She  worked on painting Gopinatha's gallery.

 

 Then Yamuna Acharya visited from Christchurch and also gave valuable input in the gallery ,with designs and construction.

 

 Meanwhile Palika was trying to fill Suci's place in the kitchen

 

  And our regular and very loyal servant of Gopinatha, Linda continued assisting us.

 

And then others came.

              

Stephanie and Krishna dasa both found time off from studies to vist and tangibly assist with the demanding artwork, along with Jagattarini and Sri Radha Ramana.

                                      

 Everyone involved was working day and night.

      

 There was an incredible amount to do, and working hard kept us from worrying or feeling lonely

 

 

2005 - HELP AND HARD WORK

Return from Abroad

When the year began we were just back from our trip to England , Europe and India and waiting to see what was in store this year.Certainly living here means living in a state where it is not clear what will happen next, but the changes are all meant for reinforcing the ability to live in one's faith. 

it is vibrant albeit a little intense. 

2006 - GALLERY EXCITEMENT

Work -Work -Work

Work repeated three times means work on three things at once.Juggle three balls now,not just two.

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working on the gallery went into full swing

working on the website has been a highlight this year

work on the festivals and artwork related to Gopinatha - Festival Art- has been going strong.

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Pictures of those involved following soon.