(courtesy of ISKCON News)
Lives of Service is an ISKCON News interview series that recreates the feel of 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, lighthearted, and at times humorous look at their stories and lives of service. Kalasamvara Das is one of the most joyful, ecstatic and dedicated devotees we’ve had the fortune to speak to. We hope you enjoy this chat with him!
Where are you from and where are you based now? I was born in a little farming area just outside of Christchurch, New Zealand, called Leeston. Now I am based at New Varshana, a 100-acre farm property in the suburbs of Auckland.
When did you join ISKCON? I first saw the devotees on a TV interview when they were here in 1972, when Srila Prabhupada installed Sri Sri Radha Giridhari (The presiding deities of New Varshana.) Then I came in contact with the devotees in 1973. I was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in July 1976 at Gribblehirst Rd.
What is one way that joining ISKCON changed your life? I was born with a hole in my heart. So I was supposed to die when I was young. Before I became a devotee, I was in and out of hospital (with different illnesses). Everything that could go wrong, went wrong with me. But since I’ve been a devotee, I’ve had really good health. Actually, I never knew that I had a hole in my heart until a family reunion five years ago. After the reunion, I went to the doctor and told him. He said it must have covered over, because it’s not there now. So that’s the mystical potency of chanting the Holy Names, coming in contact with Srila Prabhupada, and eating tons of halava. I think the hole was filled with halava! (laughs)
What is your current service? Temple President at New Varshana, Regional Secretary for New Zealand, and GBC Deputy, helping the GBC with secretarial work.