Srimati Lilavati Devi serves alongside her husband Sriman Uddharan dasa Adhikari in our UK preaching center. Both are senior disciples of HIs Divine Grace Srila Sridhara Maharaja, and dedicated servants of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaja. Srimati Lilavat Devi is what Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada called an “all rounder” due to her expertise in many fields. Beside being an avid gardener, she is very expert and proficient in many other ways; as a seamstress, artist, cook and too many other fields to enumerate. She might be termed a renaissance lady, but it would not do justice to her devotional mood for which the only proper consideration should be to recall the nature of the gopis of Vrndavana, who, like Srimati Radharani, their leader, were proficient in all types of art and domestic services, but were known preeminently as the most devoted of Krishna’s servitors.
Such a comparison as I have made above should not be mistaken as one intended to imply a direct correlation between Srimati Lilavati Devi’s seva and that of Krishna’s gopi friends. On the other hand, it should not be thought that there is no relationship between the two. The relationship between the gopis and Krishna is a topic that is beyond the comprehension of our “puppy brains”; therefore, I cannot speak much about it. But we can discuss topics of our guru, and it is upon that fertile ground that I can summarize my thoughts by saying, “She is my guru.” The reason being; her devotional mood is one I respect and value, and desire to apply to my own sea.
The photos of her lush gardens, pictured below, remind me of the beauty of Sri Vrndavana dhama, which, like her gardens, reflect the rich mood of devotion of Krishna’s servitors.
As soon as I saw the photos, my mind was immediately attracted and I wanted to go and see everything in person. I hope one day soon to do so. For now, time and the Atlantic ocean inhibit me from fulfilling my desire. I hope others who are more proximate to our UK center well do what I cannot, visit the beautiful gardens Srimati Lilavati Devi has fashioned for the seva of the Lord and take advantage of the spiritual association of Sriman Uddharan, Srimati Lilavati Devi and their beautiful Deities.
nadyaḥ samudrā girayaḥ
phalanty oṣadhayaḥ sarvāḥ
kāmam anvṛtu tasya vai
nadyaḥ—rivers; samudrāḥ—oceans; girayaḥ—hills and mountains; savanaspati—vegetables; vīrudhaḥ—creepers; phalanti—active; oṣadhayaḥ—drugs; sarvāḥ—all; kāmam—necessities; anvṛtu—seasonal; tasya—for the King; vai—certainly.
The rivers, oceans, hills, mountains, forests, creepers and active drugs, in every season, paid their tax quota to the King in profusion.
Since Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was under the protection of the ajita, the infallible Lord, as above mentioned, the properties of the Lord, namely the rivers, oceans, hills, forests, etc., were all pleased, and they used to supply their respective quota of taxes to the King. The secret to success is to take refuge under the protection of the Supreme Lord.Without His sanction, nothing can be possible. To make economic development by our own endeavors on the strength of tools and machinery is not all. The sanction of the Supreme Lord must be there, otherwise despite all instrumental arrangements everything will be unsuccessful. The ultimate cause of success is the daiva, the Supreme. Kings like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira knew perfectly well that the king is the agent of the Supreme Lord to look after the welfare of the mass of people. Actually the state belongs to the Supreme Lord. The rivers, oceans, forests, hills, drugs, etc., are not creations of man. They are all creations of the Supreme Lord, and the living being is allowed to make use of the property of the Lord for the service of the Lord. . . .
Swami B.K. Giri
Dear Sripad Giri Maharaj,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
. . .
You asked to see an update of the garden. Here are some photos taken this morning, just before the sun came out.
Jasmin ‘clotted cream’ to the right gushing with flowers for offering, In the background-potatoes, kale, sprouting broccoli.
Runners beans and French beans on wigwams to the left. Purple cauliflowers (small yet), courgettes in a raised bed on left, apple trees at the back on left, marigolds and citrus trees outside the green house and orange trees against the end of the shed. Tons of Swiss chard out of view in the bed to the right of photo. Strawberries, also out of view. New path laid by Uddharan prabhu. Green house erected by both of us.
It’s a good year for apples! Just ouside the greanhouse with avocado treelets to the right.
Here is the view you may remember from the front window, with blueberries in pots, a large overhanging avocado tree, fushias, roses, alpine strawberries, and the white jasmin to the left who climbs the fir trees and does much service.
Here is a photo of our Deities taken a bit earlier in the year by Uddharan prabhu at a time when the roses were coming into bloom. There are also the large jasmin flowers from the indoor jasmin.
Feel like we’re living in a micro-jungle as all of nature is coming to serve, it appears