Vaishnavas C.A.R.E. (Counseling, Assistance, Resource, and Education for the Terminally ill & Those in Need) is dedicated to
ISKCON Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who exemplified how to live one's life in Krishna consciousness, and in the end, taught us how to leave this temporary world of birth and death.
It is in Srila Prabhupada’s honor that we seek to give care and comfort
to those who wish to follow in his sublime footsteps.
Vaishnava News & Events
Honoring the Departed Vaishnavas Volume 16
His Grace Dayavira Das
Hillsborough, North Carolina (U.S.)
To view the other 15 Slideshows Honoring the Departed Vaishnavas, please go to this link by clicking the following button:
If you would like to include a deceased devotee loved one or friend in an upcoming slideshow, please upload a photograph to us (400 pixels or more) by scrolling down to “Contact Us” on our HOME page. Click on our RED “Contact Us” Button at the bottom of the HOME page, fill out the form by spelling the name of your loved one or friend and typing your contact information as well. Thank you!
HG Akinchana Krsna Das Prabhu Passed Away in Vrindavan from Covid
By Krishna Kishora
Our dear Bhakti Brothers Yogi & Ananda’s father also just passed away.
Akinchana Krsna Das was telling me that he has been giving amazing Bhagavatam classes in Vrindavan and shared this link of a class he gave two weeks ago, April 20, 2021.
What an ecstatic class!
We are so fortunate to have a large family of devotees that are tasting the nectar of Krsna Katha. I pray that I can one day have a taste like these great devotees.
Please send your love to Ananda Murti Das & Yogindra Das and their mother.
A SURRENDERED SOUL DEPARTS:
HER GRACE PADMAVATI LEFT HER BODY
Please pray for her swift journey Back to Godhead, we just heard that Her Grace Padmavati devi dasi left her body.
H.G. Padmavati devi dasi (LOK) of Audarya Dhaam Rotterdam temple lost consciousness after performing arati. She was rushed to the hospital where we learned she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. We received the news that the doctors have indicated that she is beyond recovery and these are her final moments. H.H. Lokanath Swami asks everyone to chant for this wonderful devotee during these final moments.
His Grace Bhuvanesvara Das Prabhu (ACBSP) Passed Away!
By HH Niranjana Swami
Rarely would I make a trip to Vrndavana without visiting my dear godbrother Bhubanesvara Prabhu. I knew him from the time when I was the temple President in Boston in the late 1970's. He was Sri Sri Radha Gopivallabha's cook, and he was a great cook at that.
Anyone who knows "Bhu", as he was affectionately known to so many, knows that he loved his service of cooking for Sri Sri Radha Syamasundara. That service was his life and soul and he faithfully rendered that service for many decades.
Whenever I would visit Bhubanesvara Prabhu in his room, if he heard I was there at the temple taking darshan and also planning to visit him, Bhubanesvara Prabhu would almost always arrange to have a small plate (sometimes not so small) of mahaprasadam waiting for me in his room from the lunch offering he cooked that day. We'd then sit and talk for awhile about Vraja, he'd ask me about my preaching, we would embrace, and then I would be on my way. He would always ask me when I would be coming back again.
This picture was the last time we were together during my last visit to Vrndavana a few years ago. As I was getting ready to leave, Bhu had in his pocket a huge maha-sweet which must have been from Syamasundara's plate that day. It was probably passed down through Radharani and he was in just the right place to receive it. In this picture he was waiting for the right time to put the maha-sweet into my hand as I walked out the gate. The sweet came along with his usual "Bhu" smile which I'll be missing terribly.
I seem to remember that as soon as the sweet was put in my hand, though, there was another line of devotees waiting to get as much remnants as I was willing to give. Needless to say, although it was a huge sweet, it all went pretty fast.
There's no way I can think of Bhu separate from Srimati Radharani. I have no doubt that he will be making his next prep right there alongside Her.
Bhubanesvara Prabhu ki jaya!!
HG Balai Dasi, Disciple of
HH Giriraj Swami in South Africa, Passed Away from Covid
By HH Giriraj Swami
Today my beloved disciple Balai Dasi, from Kinross, South Africa, passed away, due to Covid. She was a kind, generous, hospitable, staunch devotee—a mother to many—and she will be sorely missed.
Please join me in praying for her auspicious onward spiritual journey.
Yours in service,
Articles & Quotes
As a family caregiver, you face many new responsibilities. Here’s how to find support, overcome challenges, and make caregiving more rewarding for both you and the person you’re caring for.
What is family caregiving?
As life expectancies increase, medical treatments advance, and increasing numbers of people live with chronic illness and disabilities, more and more of us find ourselves caring for a loved one at home. Whether you’re taking care of an aging parent, a handicapped spouse, or looking after a child with a physical or mental illness, providing care for a family member in need is an act of kindness, love, and loyalty. Day after day, you gift your loved one your care and attention, improving their quality of life, even if they’re unable to express their gratitude.
Regardless of your particular circumstances, being a family caregiver is a challenging role and likely one that you haven’t been trained to undertake. And like many family caregivers, you probably never anticipated this situation. However, you don’t have to be a nursing expert, a superhero, or a saint in order to be a good family caregiver. With the right help and support, you can provide loving, effective care without having to sacrifice yourself in the process. And that can make family caregiving a more rewarding experience—for both you and your loved one.
New to family caregiving?
Learn as much as you can about your family member’s illness or disability and how to care for it. The more you know, the less anxiety you’ll feel about your new role and the more effective you’ll be.
Seek out other caregivers. It helps to know you’re not alone. It’s comforting to give and receive support from others who understand exactly what you’re going through.
Trust your instincts. Remember, you know your family member best. Don’t ignore what doctors and specialists tell you, but listen to your gut, too.
Encourage your loved one’s independence. Caregiving does not mean doing everything for your loved one. Be open to technologies and strategies that allow your family member to remain as independent as possible.
Know your limits. Be realistic about how much of your time and yourself you can give. Set clear limits, and communicate those limits to doctors, family members, and other people involved.
Tip 1: Accept your feelings
Caregiving can trigger a host of difficult emotions, including anger, fear, resentment, guilt, helplessness, and grief. It’s important to acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling, both good and bad. Don’t beat yourself up over your doubts and misgivings. Having these feelings doesn’t mean that you don’t love your family member—they simply mean you’re human.
What you may feel about being a family caregiver
Anxiety and worry. You may worry about how you’ll handle the additional responsibilities of caregiving or what how your family member will cope if something happens to you. You may also stress about the future and how your loved one’s illness will progress.
Anger or resentment. You may feel angry or resentful toward the person you’re caring for, even though you know it’s irrational. Or you might be angry at the world in general, or resentful of other friends or family members who don’t have your responsibilities.
Guilt. You may feel guilty for not doing more, being a “better” caregiver, having more patience, or accepting your situation with more equanimity. In the case of long distance caregiving, you may feel guilty about not being available more often.
Grief. There are many losses that can come with caregiving (the healthy future you envisioned with your spouse or child or the goals and dreams you’ve had to set aside, for example). If the person you’re caring for is terminally ill, you’re also dealing with that grief.
Even when you understand why you’re feeling the way you do, it can still be upsetting. In order to deal with your feelings, it’s important to talk about them. Don’t keep your emotions bottled up. Find at least one person you trust to confide in, someone who’ll listen to you without interruption or judgment.
Tip 2: Find caregiver support
Even if you’re the primary family caregiver, you can’t do everything on your own. This is especially true if you’re caregiving from a distance (more than an hour’s drive from your family member). You’ll need help from friends, siblings, and other family members, as well as from health professionals. If you don’t get the support you need, you’ll quickly burn out—which will compromise your ability to provide care.
But before you can ask for help, you need to have a clear understanding of your family member’s needs. Take some time to list all the caregiving tasks required, making it as specific as possible. Then determine which activities you’re able to perform (be realistic about your capabilities and the time you have available). The remaining tasks on the list are the ones you’ll need to ask others to help you with.
Asking family and friends for help
It’s not always easy to ask for help, even when you desperately need it. Perhaps you’re afraid to impose on others or worried that your request will be resented or rejected. But if you simply make your needs known, you may be pleasantly surprised by the willingness of others to pitch in. Many times, friends and family members want to help, but don’t know how. Make it easier for them by:
Setting aside one-on-one time to talk to the person.
Going over the list of caregiving needs you’ve drawn up.
Pointing out areas in which they might be of service (maybe your brother is good at Internet research, or your friend is a financial whiz).
Asking the person if they’d like to help, and if so, in what way.
Making sure the person understands what would be most helpful for both you and the caregiving recipient.
Other places you can turn for caregiver support include:
Your church, temple, or other place of worship.
Caregiver support groups at a local hospital or online.
A therapist, social worker, or counselor.
National caregiver organizations.
Organizations specific to your family member’s illness or disability.
Tip 3: Really connect with your loved one
Pablo Casals, the world-renowned cellist, said, “The capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” When handled in the right way, caring for a loved one can bring meaning and pleasure—to both you, the caregiver, and to the person you’re caring for. Staying calm and relaxed and taking the time each day to really connect with the person you’re caring for can release hormones that boost your mood, reduce stress, and trigger biological changes that improve your physical health. And it has the same effect on your loved one, too.
Even if the person you’re caring for can no longer communicate verbally, it’s important to take a short time each day to focus fully on him or her. Avoid all distractions—such as the TV, cell phone, and computer—make eye contact (if that’s possible), hold the person’s hand or stroke their cheek, and talk in a calm, reassuring tone of voice. When you connect in this way, you’ll experience a process that lowers stress and supports physical and emotional well-being—for both of you—and you’ll experience the “deepest significance” that Casals talks about.
Tip 4: Attend to your own needs
If you’re distracted, burned out, or otherwise overwhelmed by the daily grind of caregiving, you’ll likely find it difficult to connect with the person you’re caring for. That’s why it’s vital that you don’t forget about your own needs while you’re looking after your loved one. Caregivers need care, too.
Emotional needs of family caregivers
Take time to relax daily, and learn how to regulate yourself and de-stress when you start to feel overwhelmed. As explained above, one way to achieve this is to really connect with the person you’re caring for. If that isn’t possible, employ your senses to effectively relieve stress in the moment, and return to a balanced state.
Talk with someone to make sense of your situation and your feelings about it. There’s no better way of relieving stress than spending time face-to-face with someone who cares about you.
Keep a journal. Some people find it helpful to write down their thoughts and feelings to help them see things more clearly.
Feed your spirit. Pray, meditate, or do another activity that makes you feel part of something greater. Try to find meaning in both your life and in your role as a caregiver.
Watch out for signs of depression, anxiety, or burnout and seek professional help if needed.
Social and recreational needs of family caregivers
Stay social. Make it a priority to visit regularly with other people. Nurture your close relationships. Don’t let yourself become isolated.
Do things you enjoy. Laughter and joy can help keep you going when you face trials, stress, and pain.
Maintain balance in your life. Don’t give up activities that are important to you, such as your work or hobbies.
Give yourself a break. Take regular breaks from caregiving, and give yourself an extended break at least once a week.
Find a community. Join or reestablish your connection to a religious group, social club, or civic organization. The broader your support network, the better.
Physical needs of family caregivers
Exercise regularly. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and boost your energy. So, try to get moving, even if you’re tired.
Eat right. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress and get through busy days. Keep your energy up and your mind clear by eating nutritious meals at regular intervals throughout the day.
Get enough sleep. Aim for an average of eight hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep every night. Otherwise, your energy level, productivity, and ability to handle stress will suffer.
Keep up with your own health care. Go to the doctor and dentist on schedule, and keep up with your own prescriptions or medical therapy. As a caregiver, you need to stay as strong and healthy as possible.
Tip 5: Take advantage of community services
Most communities have services to help caregivers. Depending on where you live, the cost may be based on your ability to pay or covered by the care receiver’s insurance or your health service. Services that may be available in your community include adult day care centers, home health aides, home-delivered meals, respite care, transportation services, and skilled nursing.
Caregiver services in your community. Call your local senior center, county information and referral service, family services, or hospital social work unit for contact suggestions. Advocacy groups for your loved one’s illness or disability may also be able to recommend local services. In the U.S., contact your local Area Agency on Aging for help with caring for older family members.
Caregiver support for veterans. If your care recipient is a veteran, they may be eligible for additional support services. In the U.S., for example, home health care coverage, financial support, nursing home care, and adult day care benefits are often available.
Community transportation services. Many communities offer free or low-cost transportation services for trips to and from medical appointments, day care, senior centers, and shopping malls.
Adult day care. If your senior loved one is well enough, consider the possibility of adult day care. An adult day care center can provide you with needed breaks during the day or week, and your loved one with some valuable diversions and activities.
Personal care services. Help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, feeding, or meal preparation may be provided by home care aides, hired companions, certified nurse’s aides, or home health aides. Home care help might also provide limited assistance with tasks such as taking blood pressure or offering medication reminders.
Health care services. Some health care services can be provided at home by trained professionals such as physical or occupational therapists, social workers, or home health nurses. Check with your insurance or health service to see what kind of coverage is available. Hospice care can also be provided at home.
Meal programs. Your loved one may be eligible to have hot meals delivered at home by a Meals on Wheels program. Religious and other local organizations sometimes offer free lunches and companionship for the sick and elderly.
Tip 6: Provide long-distance care
Many people take on the role of designated caregiver for a family member—often an older relative or sibling—while living more than an hour’s travel away. Trying to manage a loved one’s care from a distance can add to feelings of guilt and anxiety and present many other obstacles. But there are steps you can take to prepare for caregiving emergencies and ease the burden of responsibility.
Set up an alarm system for your loved one. Because of the distance between you, you won’t be able to respond in time to a life-threatening emergency, so subscribe to an electronic alert system. Your loved one wears the small device and can use it to summon immediate help.
Manage doctor and medical appointments. Try to schedule all medical appointments together, at a time when you’ll be in the area. Make the time to get to know your loved one’s doctors and arrange to be kept up-to-date on all medical issues via the phone when you’re not in the area. Your relative may need to sign a privacy release to enable their doctors to do this.
Use a case manager. Some hospitals or insurance plans can assign case managers to coordinate your loved one’s care, monitor their progress, manage billing, and communicate with the family.
Investigate local services. When you’re not there, try to find local services that can offer home help services, deliver meals, or provide local transportation for your loved one. A geriatric care manager can offer a variety of services to long-distance caregivers, including providing and monitoring in-home help for your relative.
Schedule regular communication with your loved one. A daily email, text message, or quick phone call can let your relative know that they’re not forgotten and give you peace of mind.
Arrange telephone check-ins from a local religious group, senior center, or other public or nonprofit organization. These services offer prescheduled calls to homebound older adults to reduce their isolation and monitor their well-being.
Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Lawrence Robinson.
What Is Grief?
Grief is the reaction we have in response to a death or loss. Grief can affect our body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
People might notice or show grief in several ways:
Physical reactions: These might be things like changes in appetite or sleep, an upset stomach, tight chest, crying, tense muscles, trouble relaxing, low energy, restlessness, or trouble concentrating.
Frequent thoughts: These may be happy memories of the person who died, worries or regrets, or thoughts of what life will be like without the person.
Strong emotions: For example, sadness, anger, guilt, despair, relief, love, or hope.
Spiritual reactions: This might mean finding strength in faith, questioning religious beliefs, or discovering spiritual meaning and connections.
When people have these reactions and emotions, we say they're grieving.
The Grieving Process
Grief is a reaction to loss, but it's also the name we give to the process of coping with the loss of someone who has died. Grief is a healthy process of feeling comforted, coming to terms with a loss, and finding ways to adapt.
Getting over grief doesn't mean forgetting about a person who has died. Healthy grief is about finding ways to remember loved ones and adjust to life without them present.
People often experience grief reactions in "waves" that come and go. Often, grief is most intense soon after someone has died. But some people don't feel their grief right away. They may feel numbness, shock, or disbelief. It can take time for the reality to sink in that the person is gone.
Rituals, like memorial services and funerals, allow friends and family to get together to support and comfort the people most affected by the loss. These activities can help people get through the first days after a death and honor the person who died.
People might spend time together talking and sharing memories about their loved one. This may continue for days or weeks following the loss as friends and family bring food, send cards, or stop by to visit.
Many times, people show their emotions during this time, like crying. But sometimes people can be so shocked or overwhelmed by the death that they don't show any emotion right away — even though the loss is very hard. People might smile and talk with others at a funeral as if nothing happened, but they're still sad. Being among other mourners can be a comfort, reminding us that some things will stay the same.
When the rituals end, some people might think they should be over their grief. But often the grief process is just beginning. People may go back to their normal activities but find it hard to put their heart into everyday things. Although they may not talk about their loss as much, the grieving process continues.
If someone you know has died, it's natural to keep having feelings and questions for a while. It's also natural to begin to feel a bit better. A lot depends on how a loss affects your life.
It's OK to feel grief for days, weeks, or even longer. How intensely you feel grief can be related to things like whether the loss was sudden or expected, or how close you felt to the person who died. Every person and situation is different.
Feeling better usually happens gradually. At times, it might feel like you'll never recover. The grieving process takes time, and grief can be more intense at some times than others.
As time goes on, reminders of the person who has died can intensify feelings of grief. At other times, it might feel as if grief is in the background of your normal activities, and not on your mind all the time.
As you do things you enjoy and spend time with people you feel good around, you can help yourself feel better. Grief has its own pace. Every situation is different. How much grief you feel or how long it lasts isn't a measure of how important the person was to you.
If you're grieving, it can help to express your feelings and get support, take care of yourself, and find meaning in the experience.
Express Feelings and Find Support
Take a moment to notice how you've been feeling and reacting. Try to put it into words. Write about what you're feeling and the ways you're reacting to grief. Notice how it feels to think about and write about your experience.
Think of someone you can share your feelings with, someone who will listen and understand. Find time to talk to that person about what you're going through and how the loss is affecting you. Notice how you feel after sharing and talking.
We can learn a lot from the people in our lives. Even when you don't feel like talking, it can help just to be with others who also loved the person who died. When family and friends get together, it helps people feel less isolated in the first days and weeks of their grief. Being with others helps you, and your presence — and words — can support them, too.
We can learn from loss and difficult experiences. Think about what you've discovered about yourself, about others, or about life as a result of going through this loss. To help get started, you can try writing down answers to these questions:
What did the person mean to you?
What did you learn from him or her?
What good has come from this difficult experience?
What have you learned about yourself, other people, or life?
Are there things you appreciate more?
Who are the people who have been there for you? Were they the people you expected? What have you learned about them?
In what ways have you grown or matured based on this experience?
Take Care of Yourself
The loss of someone close to you can be stressful. Take care of yourself in small but important ways:
Sleep. Sleep is healing for both body and mind, but grief can disrupt sleep patterns. Focus on building healthy sleep habits, like going to bed at the same time each night or establishing bedtime routines like doing gentle yoga or breathing exercises.
Exercise. Exercise can help your mood. It may be hard to get motivated when you're grieving, so modify your usual routine if you need to. Even a gentle walk outdoors can help to reset your perspective on things.
Eat right. You may feel like skipping meals or you may not feel hungry. Your body still needs nutritious foods, though. Avoid overeating, loading up on junk foods to "soothe" your grief.
Grief is a normal emotion. It can help to know that you will always remember the person you lost, but you can feel better with time.
For more information, please visit:
For Caregivers Everywhere.
From Vaishnavas CARE.
Would You Like to Develop a Vaishnavas CARE Team in Your Community?
If you are interested in having a weekend Vaishnavas CARE seminar presented for your temple/community via Zoom, kindly write to us by clicking on the "Contact Us" button at the bottom of this HOME page.
Please leave your name, your temple location, what month in 2021 you are interested in having the seminar, your email address, and approximately how many devotees are interested in attending.
I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you.
Yours in service,
Sangita Devi Dasi
Are You Living with a
You are NOT Alone!
For Those Who Are Grieving
You are not alone.
Grief Support Group
Are you a Vaishnava who is grieving a loss of a friend or loved one? Are you seeking a Grief Support Group specifically for Devotees of Lord Krishna?
Please visit our Vaishnavas CARE Grief Support Group Page on Facebook and join our exclusive, Private, Closed Grief Support Group. It is important to express your feelings of loss within a group of like-minded people who can relate to you and your expressions of grief. Currently, we have 201 devotees who registered for the Grief Support Group.
Kindly visit our "Vaishnavas CARE" Facebook page to register for our Online "Grief Support Group" especially for Devotees of Lord Krishna.
Co-facilitators for this one-of-a-kind support group for Vaishnavas are Sangita Devi Dasi, RN, Hospice & Palliative Care Nurse, President/Co-Founder of Vaishnavas CARE, and a Grief Counselor (GC-C).
In addition, Taravali Devi Dasi, RN, BSN in Toronto, Canada who specializes in Hospice & Palliative Care and who started our Toronto Vaishnavas CARE Team several years ago with her husband, Kevala Bhakti Das, is co-facilitating the Vaishnavas CARE Grief Support Group as well.
Srila Prabhupada told his disciples that when we take one step closer to Lord Krishna, He takes a thousand steps towards us.
In the service of Srila Prabhupada and the Lord, we are here to assist you during your time of loss and grief. If you choose to join us in our "Safe and Private Space," we look forward to seeing you there. Kindly register for our Online "Vaishnavas CARE Grief Support Group" on Facebook.
The name “Vaishnavas CARE” is a Registered Trademarked name. Written permission is required by its owners for its use.
Your unauthorized use of this trademark displayed herein is strictly prohibited by law.