In Honor of Bhakta Seva

After learning of the passing of a great devotee, Bhakta Seva, Mother Malati called and asked me if I would like to attend the cremation in Moundsville on Wednesday. I quickly showered and drove down to the Funeral Home. There already were Malati, Nityodita prabhu, Rukmavati, Bhaktin Evelyn, Bhaktin Alicia, and Prema Bhakti. Bhakta Seva was covered in a beautiful chaddar, with Deity garlands, Prabhupada’s books, and a photo of Radha-Vrindavan Chandra. We chanted for about an hour, read from Bhagavad-Gita, and then spoke took turns speaking a little about the glories of Bhakta Seva Prabhu.

His greatest attribute was his humility. Nityodita spoke first and said that in all the years he knew him, he had never once heard Bhakta Seva utter a critical or offensive word about another devotee. Another great quality was that whenever you spoke to him, he always uplifted your spirits. He always had a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye. Even though his body was a cause of physical suffering, you hardly heard him complain either.

Rukmavati said that he was kind to her from the very beginning, and would often bring her milk for her children at the apartments. And what a great kachori maker, Nityo said his secret was rolling out the dough in the walk-in cooler, hence a flaky crust! His cooking was praised as his desire to serve the Vaisnavas making the devotees happy via prasad.

My favorite story of Bhakta Seva was one Gopastami celebration we were having on a weekday was planned to be held down at the barn. Bhakta Seva was really in a cheery mood that day, because he loved Krishna’s cows. And this was the day to honor Mother Cow in a big New Vrindaban way!! I believe he was a cowherd boy in a previous life because caring for the cows was so natural and satisfying for him. Anyway, I was making eggplant parmesan for the community. And we were expecting a big crowd, so I made about 6 or 8 large trays. As Bhakta Seva was driving a barn van, he was the devotee who would be transporting all of the prasadam down to the barn for the celebration.

After all the decorating of Krishna’s cows, and the chanting, etc., it was time for the feast. So I began cutting up all the eggplant parmesan and serving it out, and it looked like we were going to run out. Low and behold I counted the trays, and there was one tray missing. I looked at Bhakta Seva and said “We’re short a tray – What happened?” “Do you know where the last tray is?” With a smile on his face and a mischiveous look in his eye, he said “I don’t know, what could have happened to it?” Bhakta Seva Ki Jaya, Prasadam Ki Jaya

In closing, I just want to say, that it is our loss, that he’s gone, but I’m sure Krishna has arranged a permanent spot in Goloka Vrindaban caring for His cows. I wish I would have taken more time to visit him during the last year or so, when he couldn’t get around. We should take advantage of the association of wonderful humble and sweet devotees like Bhakta Seva, while we have the opportunity.

Hare Krishna

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