(A Biography in Progress)
Sucirani seriously took to Krishna consciousness in 1985, after a pilgrimage to the holy places of Vrindavan and Mayapur in India. Prior to this she would occasionally visit the ISKCON temple in Perth to which her husband and son were regular visitors.
Coming to Krishna Consciousness was the culmination of many years of Sucirani's spiritual search for the truth, a search which had led her to India and Nepal, and to marry her husband, Banke Bihari Das (S.K. Sethi), himself a spiritually-inclined gentleman. Having settled in Perth, they founded and ran the well-known Indian garment business, Asaan, with retail shops in Nedlands, Subiaco and the Fremantle Markets, as well as supplying other shops throughout Australia.
However, having being convinced of the superiority of the Krishna conscious way of life, Sucirani focussed her attention and energy more on devotional activities. She simultaneously continued her business, but now with the purpose of using the finances to further Krishna consciousness. Indeed, it was only with her and Banke Bihari's help that the present site of our temple was purchased in 1990. Foregoing their natural attachment, they also sent their son, Ananda Tirtha Das, to India to study at Mayapur Gurukula.
For nearly twenty years Sucirani was a fixed, integral and leading member of the Perth devotee community. She held management positions, regularly gave classes on the scriptures, and counselled younger devotees. Her steady, enthusiastic, and cheerful nature made her a role model for many in our community, particularly the female members.
For the last couple of years, Sucirani had devoted herself to the development of Gopinath Dham, a devotee ashram situated in West Swan.
In January 2003 she was diagnosed with malignant cancer. Given her general good health, this came as a great shock to her and all of us. For several months her health was stable, but thereafter her condition deteriorated rapidly despite trying various kinds of treatments.
In November 2003 Sucirani arrived in Krishna's own land of Vrindavan, where she spent the last two months of her life. Several devotees from Perth tended to her during this time, and helped her focus her mind on her beloved Lord Krishna. Just two days before her scheduled return to Perth, where she desired to spend her last days in the company of those who knew and loved her, her condition deteriorated to an extent where she could no longer travel. Krishna was not allowing her to leave His abode!
When it became clear that she would not be able to return to Perth, her elderly parents and brother came to Vrindavan to see her for the last time. The highlights of her final days were long sessions of kirtana with the devotees in Vrindavan. She became very peaceful and accepting of the fact that Lord Krishna desired her to serve Him in another place. Ultimately she left her body on the evening of January 5, 2004, with minimal pain and in the presence of devotees loudly chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
It is clear to everyone who was fortunate enough to witness Sucirani's auspicious departure that Sri Sri Radha Krishna had forcibly taken charge of her last days and orchestrated everything so perfectly to enable her to let go of her remaining attachments and leave this world in such an auspicious and ideal way.
Although nothing could have been better for her, the loss of her association is nonetheless a grievous blow to her family and friends, particularly those of us in Perth. We offer our respects to her memory, and pray that when our final time comes we may be similarly blessed. Hare Krishna.