Urmila Devi Dasi
Urmila Devi Dasi, (also known as Dr. Edith E. Best), was born in 1955 in New York City. Her father was president and later, CEO, of the Manischewitz food company, founded by his grandfather. She joined the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1973 in Chicago and became a disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON.
Her primary work in ISKCON has been in the area of education. In 1982 in Detroit she and her husband, Pratyatosa (Howard Best), started an ISKCON primary school, where she served as Principal for eight years. She founded another primary and secondary school in North Carolina in 1990, where she was Principal for ten years. Urmila has compiled a guidebook for education in ISKCON and has been engaged in "writing and coordinating the development of a Krishna conscious academic curriculum for primary and secondary students". For eight years she was the education columnist for Back to Godhead magazine, where she is presently an associate editor. In 2008 Urmila wrote a paper based on Īśopaniṣad about the philosophy of education to be followed at Krishna Avanti Primary School in Harrow, England, the first state-funded Hindu school in Great Britain. Urmila has also been involved in the debates on women's place in ISKCON.
Urmila Devi Dasi has a Masters of School Administration and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Urmila teaches some courses, such as ISKCON History, at Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh, Belgium. According to Bhaktivedanta College website, she has been on US television, including NBC, explaining various aspects of the Hare Krishna movement and it's philosophy. Urmila is also a member of the Sastric Advisory Council to the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON.
In September 2010, she published her 3 volume set 'Dr. Best Learn To Read', a program consisting of a set of children's reading books, teacher guides, and student activity books to take a young child from learning the English alphabet to fluent reading. The reading books are all stories about Krishna or related to Vaisnava/Vedic culture. Aimed at ages 3–8, The Talking Books have the text in English and can be listened to in the following languages, page by page: English, Hindi, Gujarati, Telugu, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Mandarin, Thai, Japanese, Persian, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Croatian, Finnish, Portuguese, Italian, Slovenian, Slovak, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Hungarian, Dutch.
- Manischewitz: the matzo family: the making of an American Jewish icon By Laura Manischewitz Alpern
- "Urmila.Me.Uk (An website maintained by admirers of HG Urmila Devi Dasi". Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- Muster, Nori Jean (1997). Betrayal of the spirit: my life behind the headlines of the Hare Krishna movement. University of Illinois Press. p. 172. ISBN 0-252-06566-2.
- Yadunandana Swami. "A History of Education in ISKCON". ISKCON Studies Journal (Oxford: ISKCON Studies Institute).
- "Urmila Dasi". Bhaktivedanta College. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- "Schools Pick Up New Krishna Conscious Children's Books". ISKCON News. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- "Dr. Best Learn To Read". Mantra Lingua Publishers. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- "Full Contents". Krishna.com. Retrieved 19 June 2011.