Srila Prabhupada’s Sister


Bhavatarini, also known as Pishima, the sister of His Divine Grace Shrila Prabhupada, was a pure devotee of Shri Krishna. She was not only his sister by birth but also his god-sister, also initiated by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaja. She loved to associate with Shrila Prabhupada and apparently made “transgressions” that externally may have appeared to minimize the position of Shrila Prabhupada. She used to come into the room of Shrila Prabhupada alone. ,Shrila Prabhupada made futile attempts to explain to her that he was a sannyasi. While Pishima visited Shrila Prabhupada she even slept in the bed of Prabhupada’s servant Srutakirti das Prabhu. She cooked for Prabhupada with heavy mustard oil. She faithfully gave Prabhupada the comfort that he had a family.

She looked like his female twin sister. Shrila Prabhupada used to poke jokes at her. She reminded him of his mother, the best cook, who also taught Pishima (the little sister) how to cook. She cared for Shrila Prabhupada’s little Jagannatha Deities from his childhood.

After her brother’s disappearance, Pishima faithfully threw flower petals upon the samadhi of Shrila Prabhupada . She was there for his whole life like no one else. She passed away two years after Shrila Prabhuapada left her. She lived one year less than him.

It is true that the manifestation of Godhead on Earth always comes in pairs. We see Rama with Lakshmana, Krishna with Balarama, Chaitayna Mahaprabhu with Nityanada Prabhu, and… the shaktiavesha avatara Shrila Prabhupada with his sister Pishima. Her role must have been much greater that we can fathom.

Shrila Prabhupada was never alone. Even when he traveled all over the world, back in India, his sister gave him loving support. And this love of the sister is also a great blessing. One is not alone in the world when he has a loving sister.

In Shrila Prabhupada’s own words, “We consider śruti the mother and smṛti the sister, because a child hears from the mother and then again learns from the sister by description.”