Meet Bhaktin Geraldine
BY: HASYA MUKHI DEVI DASI
Jul 30, 2011 GLOBAL (SUN) Bhaktin Geraldine: the first Devotee in The World Book of Records.
Bhaktin Geraldine is known to devotees worldwide. Pert, pretty, sociable, she is credited with being responsible for dozens of the wonderful and new innovations in the Hare Krishna Movement. Devotee scholars most cherish her as the wise individual who talked the leaders of the Bhaktivedanta Institute into forgetting about wasting their precious time preaching to scientists,and to instead begin their laudable campaign for World Peace. As she recounted in our interview, "Somehow we never got the world peace we desired and the Bhaktivedanta Institute went to hell in a hand basket. Great ideas don't always work, you know! But at least we made the attempt and that's the important thing."
Some of her other innovations have been equally remarkable. It was Bhaktin Geraldine who developed the new trend in karaoke sankirtan so that singers can entertain passing city crowds by lip synching musical renditions of Krishnadas, the Kirtan Rabbi, the Singing Nun, James Taylor and other Satyaraj-approved notables of the New Age Bhakti Movement. Bhaktin Geraldine was also responsible for formulating and copywriting health-conscious, sugar-free vegan charanamrita for calorie-counting temples.
One of Bhaktin Geraldine's greatest innovations has been the Shikha Wig, a special benefit for balding devotees. The Shikha Wig attaches to the aging devotee's shiny dome via a self-adhesive Velcro pad. Now hairless old brahmacharis can feel young again by changing the Shikha Wig according to their moods. And it is available with your choice of ethnic hair. Want to feel truly daring? The Shikha Wig also comes in the "Chanakya Pandit's Curse" model, a dashing untied version that you can retie once the demonic world civilization we live in, or the Mayavadis in ISKCON, have been completely wiped out.
Other notable achievements of the Bhaktin include talking the Calcutta Ritviks into joining Mother Theresa's nuns in their daily leper bathing rituals. Boldly crossing the bounds of both Interfaith and guru-tattva, Radhanath Swami is reportedly planning to consolidate that joint project with his own disease eradication program, Medics for Monkeys & Men. Also an animal lover, Bhaktin Geraldine was the founder of the first yoga studio for gay dogs in Los Angeles.
But, back to the point. Why, you wonder, has Bhaktin Geraldine found her way into the latest edition of The World Book of Records? She's there because it seems that she has been initiated, uninitiated and re-initiated in ISKCON more times than anyone else in the world.
What was her most exciting initiation? "Oh" she explains, "That was my sannyasa diksha at New Vrindavana. We were all sitting around the fire and Shrila Bhaktipada was handing out the dandas. The yagna occurred prior to his being sued by cartoonist Charles Schultz for copyright infringement, and even before Shrila Bhaktipada was charged with racketeering. I remember clearly how the first sannyasi in the row was given the name "Peanuts Swami." Then came "Charlie Brown Swami" followed by "Linus Swami." I was next, and I was really worried that I would be given the name "Lucy Swami." But then my prayers were answered. I was given the sweet name, "Simply Wonderful Swami."
But Simply Wonderful Swami soon realized her true calling. Within weeks she knew she had to leave sannyasa. Soon she was re-re-initiated by Shrila Acharyadeva at a ceremony in which she was also married to the woman she loved.
Once again known as Bhaktin Geraldine, the yagna veteran recounts a few of her many initiations performed by blooped gurus in ISKCON. She fondly recalls that when Harikesa initiated her, he congratulated her with a long kiss on the lips. She comments, "A lady has to be protected. So I immediately got myself re-re-re-initiated by Bhavananada. I mean, like, any woman is safe around Bhavananda!" After that she was the only person to be initiated by Ravindra Swarupa during his own week-long foray into the sannyasa ashram, something she calls "another one of her numerous distinctions in the annals of ISKCON history."
Before Bhaktin Geraldine received re-re-re-initiation, she had to become became un-initiated each time. For that, she used to regularly visit Taittiriya dasi, who so expertly un-initiated Bali Mardan Swami from the sannyasa ashram. "It's a special ceremony wherein The Maharani builds a fire and then pours water on it," Geraldine explains. "I was her best customer so she used to charge me half."
Nowadays dynamic Geraldine has many more projects going for her. She's working on a blooped guru guide called, "Where Are They Hiding Now?" She's also teaching new and improved techniques of delivering temple classes in rap and ghetto slang.
Before taking leave of Bhaktin Geraldine, I asked her one last really important question. Looking her right in her eye, I wanted to know what she intends to do with her life now that she has been re-initiated and un-initiated dozens of times. A mood of seriousness overtook her as she gazed at me pensively. "I'd like to start reading Prabhupada's books at last. It's something I'd never really considered before since it was not encouraged by any of the gurus. But now that I'm uninitiated again, I can hardly wait!"