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SVA Spiritual Leader

Syamarani Dasi

An encounter with world-renowned spiritual teacher and artist Srimati Syamarani Didi, also known as Jadurani Didi, is a soul-striking look into an incredible journey of 57 years through unwavering spiritual devotion and artistic mastery.

Affectionately known as “Didi” — or “elder sister” in Sanskrit — she has dedicated her life to practicing and propagating the teachings of Bhakti yoga, or “the yoga of devotion.” This ancient spiritual tradition, originally arising in ancient India, informs her more than 400 mesmerizing pieces of spiritually infused artwork. 

These images have touched countless lives around the globe, becoming iconic works displayed in temples, distributed in more than half a billion copies of Bhakti literature, and even gracing popular music album covers, posters, T-shirts, and more.

HISTORY

As a teenage art student in 1960s New York City, she became one of the first disciples of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world-renowned founder-acharya of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). In those historical times, the ancient tradition exploded across the West, and became colloquially known in popular culture as the “Hare Krishna movement.”

Under Srila Prabhupada’s guidance, Syamarani Didi painted some of the most recognizable illustrations in his translations and commentaries, including the Bhagavad Gita As-It-Is. This volume alone, featuring Didi’s work, has been translated into more than 60 languages since 1972, sold more than 40 million copies, and has become the most popular version of the key Indian spiritual text, the Bhagavad Gita

In November 1977, Srila Prabhupada departed from the vision of the world. In 1992, Syamarani met his spiritual successor and intimate friend, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. Just before his divine departure, Srila Prabhupada had requested Srila Narayana Maharaja to continue his mission. 

Under the latter’s tutelage, Syamarani painted one of the most iconic images in Bhakti yoga, Seva-Kunja. The painting was installed with an elaborate ceremony at the pilgrimage site of Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana Gauḍīya Maṭha in the holy city of Vrindavan, India.

Syamarani Didi’s artistic prowess is only matched by her profound devotion and humility. As one of the few female gurus in her lineage, she gives initiation into the chanting of the maha-mantra (“the Hare Krishna mantra”) and other spiritual and priestly rites. 

She also fully engages in educating students and seekers in the beautiful truths of Vedic culture. This system of ancient spiritual, philosophical, and cultural traditions is based on the sacred texts known as the Vedas, propounded in such volumes as the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam.

 

 

ACHIEVEMENTS

She has also authored two definitive Bhakti-Yoga books, the Art of Spiritual Life, a comprehensive memoir, and Bhakti Art Illuminations, a compendium of all of her artwork.

Major spiritual organizations have recognized Syamarani Didi’s artistic achievements with awards. In 2013, the World Vaisnava Association in 2013 gave her the Audarya Award, so named for a Sanskrit word meaning “compassion.”

Organizers of the 2018 Bhakti Fest gave her the spiritual humanitarian award for her contributions to devotional art and philosophical teachings. Organizers marked the event with a presentation from Deepak Chopra.

In 2021, she presented Bhakti Art Illuminations to India’s Prime Minister Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind. Modi was so impressed by her work that he replayed some of their meeting on his radio show, Maan ki Bat, in which he praised her role in carrying forward India’s spiritual and cultural traditions.

PRESENT

Having previously resided in India and traveled the world 25 times in service to her spiritual teachers, Syamarani Didi permanently relocated to South Florida to benefit her health. There, she continues to share her profound knowledge of Vedic philosophy and devotional art with the world. Her presence in South Florida is a testament to the region’s vibrant spiritual communities and a rare opportunity for those seeking deeper understanding and connection to the sublime wisdom of ancient India.

Connecting with Syamarani Didi offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to engage with a living legend in the world of Bhakti-yoga art and spirituality. Through her artwork and teachings, she invites us all on a journey of artistic wonder, spiritual exploration, and heartfelt inspiration.

under the guidance of

Our Spiritual Masters

Spiritual Teacher

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) is widely regarded as the foremost Vedic scholar, translator, and teacher of the modern era. He is especially respected as the world’s most prominent contemporary authority on bhakti-yoga, devotional service to the Supreme Person, Krishna, as taught by the ancient Vedic writings of India. He is also the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada, as he’s known to his followers, translated and commented on over eighty volumes of the Vedas’ most important sacred bhakti texts, including the Bhagavad-gita—a concise handbook for understanding the purpose and goal of human life—and the multi-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam—an epic biography of Krishna, Krishna’s avatars, and His many devotees throughout the history of the universe.

HISTORY

Srila Prabhupada’s own spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, was the leading proponent of Krishna consciousness in India during the early part of the twentieth century. He specifically taught the philosophy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the divine avatar who revived Krishna-bhakti all over India in the 1500s. When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta first met the young man later known as Srila Prabhupada – in Calcutta in 1922 – he urged him to preach Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s message of Krishna consciousness throughout the English-speaking world.

After forty years of struggling within India to carry out his guru’s order, while maintaining family and business responsibilities, Srila Prabhupada boarded a steamship bound from Calcutta to New York City in 1965. 

At age 69, with forty rupees and a trunk of his Bhagavatam commentaries – the first ever in English – his aim was to introduce “India’s message of peace and goodwill” to the western world. It was during this time that Syamarani Dasi became one of his first devotees. 

During the last twelve years of his life, Srila Prabhupada would inspire thousands of Westerners and Indians to devote their lives to Krishna consciousness, launching one of the fastest-growing spiritual movements in the history of the world.

 

Spiritual Teacher

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Out of his intense compassion, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja appeared in this world in 1921 in Bihar, India, in a village named Tewaripur.

A self-realized guru in the disciplic succession of saintly masters going back to Lord Krishna himself, Srila Maharaja is the foremost disciple of his initiation spiritual master Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja as well as his instructing spiritual master Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Marahaja, the world-renowned preacher of Krishna consciousness.

HISTORY

An erudite scholar of the classic books of transcendental wisdom called the Vedas, Srila Narayana Maharaja has translated and published over 30 volumes in Hindi with his own commentaries. His works have been translated into English and other languages, and are providing hundreds of thousands of people with new life and spiritual inspiration.

Srila Narayana Maharaja is recognized throughout the world by conscientious secular and religious leaders for his contribution to the advancement of love of God and universal brotherhood. 

On 29 December 2010, he concluded his pastimes in this world, leaving us bereft of his physical presence. His teachings however are eternal, and will continue to shine like a radiant beacon to guide us all on the path of pure devotion.

SVA President

Vasanti Dasi

Vasanti Dasi (Beth Bortz) is a disciple of Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja.  She has been the personal assistant and secretary of world-renowned devotional artist, Srimati Syamarani dasi since 2002. She has traversed the world broadcasting the timeless message of pure bhakti-yoga on the encouragement and instructions of her Gurudeva – visiting places like Russia Ukraine, South Africa, China, Brazil, Philipines, Europe, England as well as a multitude of places in India like Vrndavana, Mayapura, Bangalore, and Jaipur.

Having received her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998, she utilizes her pristine spiritual training along with her undestanding of the necessities of all people to serve her spiritual master’s mission in a variety of ways.

During the time of Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s world tours, she acted as the scribe broadcasting in all media forms the discourses and darsans (giving audience) of his advanced students. Vasanti Dasi has helped transcribe, edit, proofread, and publish many of Srila Narayana Maharaja’s English books with Gaudiya Vedanta Publications. Her Grace Srimati Syamarani/Jadurani dasi is one of those advanced spiritual students and Vasanti dasi was directly appointed by Srila Gurudeva to act as her full-time assistant tasked with everything necessary to continue broadcasting the service that Srila Narayana Maharaja has left Syamarani dasi to complete.

Shortly after the disappearance of her Gurudeva, Vasanti felt inspired from within to reach into an often neglected and hidden dark place of our society. She then founded the International Pure Bhakti Yoga Society Outreach nonprofit with the aim of bringing bhakti-yoga in the form of literature, music (kirtan), prasadam (blessed food), and programs to all walks of life. A big part of that program is the prison program wherein over 600 libraries received spiritual books.

Quickly her digestion of one of the main instructions not just to her yet to all, came to fruition while meeting Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Maharaja. This saint had been friends with her divine holy master for over 60 year and was the embodiment of what it means for the bona fide disciple to continue hearing from such saintly persons.  

Vasanti now resides at Sacred Vedic Arts, Bhakti Yoga Center and Cultutal Center along with Srimati Syamarani didi in Miami, Florida.  She continues to assist Syamarani didi in all her various projects and inspires others with her selfless example of positivity. This brand new facility is a very intimate example of the hapiness that all can experience when they connect to the current of pure bhakti. Syamarani didi desires that eveyone in the entire galaxy has a facility large enough that this experience can be expanded to everyone in the universe. We are taking this time here to invite all.