By Madhava Smullen
During COVID-19, we are missing out on devotee association. Lives of Service is an ISKCON News interview series that we hope feels like sitting down for a chat at the Sunday Feast with an old friend or a devotee you’d like to get to know. Told in their own words, it’s an insightful, inspiring, and at times humorous look at their stories and lives of service. We hope you enjoy this second installment in the series!
Madhava Smullen: Where are you from, and where are you based now?
Arcana siddhi Devi Dasi: I was born in El Paso, then we moved to Rhode Island, then to Philadelphia, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Washington State, and Baltimore! (laughs) My dad was an electronic engineer, and his company contracted with military projects. When each project was completed, they would send him somewhere else, and we’d all pick up and move. It got real old after a while! Now my husband Karnamrita Das and I live in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, near Asheville.
What is your current service?
I’ve been counseling devotees for thirty years, including individual and relationship counseling, and premarital education. After living in the ashram for twelve years, I went back to school and in 1988 got my Masters degree in Clinical Social Work. I worked in a mental health clinic for a number of years. Later we brought our overhead down so that we could have a practice of just devotees.
I also work with the Grihastha Vision Team (who provide resources for healthy Vaishnava marriages and families), and before COVID we would hold retreats every year. We just had a question and answer call on Facebook Live and Zoom last month, and we’re going to have another one on December 5th, where people can ask questions about grihastha life.
Read more: https://iskconnews.org/lives-of-service-the-arcana-siddhi-devi-dasi-interview,7606/