(compiled by Bhadra dasi)
Today, 26th January, is a notable day for followers of Srila Gurudeva – his beloved siksa-disciple Srimati Uma didi turns eighty.
Srimati Uma didi is well known in Srila Gurudeva’s sanga as the spritely and blissful little lady in white who is always enlivening devotees on parikrama with realised knowledge born from a lifetime of living in the dhama in the association of maha-bhagavatas.
Rare is the lady who has lead a life like Uma didi’s. For over four decades she has been studying the theory and practice of bhakti-yoga. In her youth, she received the mercy of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja and his eminent disciples, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja and Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. In 1972, the latter became her divine master when she accepted diksa initiation from him, and she began travelling from her home in West Bengal, India, to the most sacred of holy places, Sri Vrndavana Dhama, and receiving instruction on bhakti from Srila Vamana Maharaja and Srila Trivikrama Maharaja’s illustrious godbrother, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. In 1984, Uma didi renounced her family’s home and took up permanent residence within Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura, India, where for twenty years she experienced daily transcendental discourses from Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. Throughout this time, she served as a source of instruction and inspiration for many sincere souls visiting the matha with the aspiration to do bhakti.
For the last five years, on the order of her beloved siksa-guru Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, Uma didi has been travelling the world preaching the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. She annually visits USA, Holand, Germany, Italy, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia, sharing her realisations on unalloyed bhakti which she received from her spiritual teachers.
Uma didi has been universally praised for her unique ability to weave the complex philosophical truths of the Gaudiya Vaisnava scriptures with simple modern examples to create an easily accessible and comprehensible subject matter for listeners of all backgrounds and experiences. Her vast knowledge and experience, combined with her sparkling personality, make her instruction on bhakti-yoga a delight for her audiences.
Unphased to be eighty, Uma didi desires to keep travelling and sharing what she has learned from her gurus.
She is presently in Auckland, New Zealand, where her octagenarian status is being joyfully celebrated by all the devotees, with cake, candles, balloons and lots of hari katha and bhajana-kirtana.
Please send a birthday wish and a prayer for Srimati Uma didi’s ongoing stamina, that she may continue to travel the world spreading pearls of wisdom and reminding us of Srila Gurudeva and the holy dhamas.