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 Krsna consciousness, and in the end, taught us how to leave this temporary world of birth and death.
It is in his honor that we seek to give care and comfort
to those who wish to follow in his sublime footsteps.
His Grace Dr. Prema Ratna Das
Passed Away in Brazil from Covid.
By Dhanvantari Swami
The first Brazilian devotee has passed away from the consequences of Covid 19.
Prema Ratna was a devotee, disciple of HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami since the early 80. s. He lived in Lorena, a neighboring city of New Gokula.
He was a very well known person in your city for his goodness and charity. He was a pediatrician doctor.
When he came in contact with the Krishna consciousness movement, Dr. Paulo Neme lived with his elderly mother. He cared for her until she passed away.
Initiated as, Prema Ratna Das, he has been connected in devotional service to Krishna through New Gokula since meeting the devotees. He has helped significantly in several project expansions and maintenance projects.
As far as the Gurukula School in particular, Prema Ratna looked after the health of the students and was very patient and tolerant of parents who did not allow them to vaccinate their children and give them allopathic medicine.
The Gurukula faced several epidemics, one of them was rubella (German Measles). He diagnosed, prescribed treatment, mentored us on how to keep a child’s fever in check and was very supportive with our impromptu “nursing” service to serve so many sick children.
To the Gurukula of New Gokula he also made a significant contribution for the acquisition of a car, a ′′ Fiat 147 ′′ model, which was a ′′ top everything ′′ model equivalent to the legendary ′′ beetle "
Prema Ratna was very devotional and knew how to recognize the efforts of the devotees of New Gokula.
When his mother passed away, he soon retired and thought about living in New Gokula, then in Vrindavana... but he understood that he still had something to do in society and entered politics by running for the Mayor of Lorena.
From the point of view of the privileged classes of Brazilian society, Prema Ratna, aged 70, was young, and his passing may be considered premature. But it leaves us a message for reflection in this moment of doubt, insecurity and false leadership that secular society goes through with the Pandemic, and that, whether or not, influences our congregations so much.
This is a moment of pain for all generations of devotees in our Brazil Yatra who can gratefully acknowledge all the service in love and trust performed by Prema Ratna Das.
Prabhu Lilananda (ACBSP), who was the president of New Gokula and who cultivated Prema Ratna's friendship and affinity at the beginning of his relationship with the Hare Krishna Movement, is calling on all of us to pray to Krishna as follows:
" My dear Lord Krishna, if it is Your desire, please give Prema Ratna Prabhu shelter at Your Divine Lotus Feet.”
Living Before Leaving
The Bhaktivedanta Hospice Story
Please watch this lovely video about the Bhaktivedanta Hospice in Vrindavan, India, produced by Dr. Vishwarup Prabhu, Director of Spiritual Care at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, India & other facilities.
Presently, this facility in Vrindavan is being transformed into the Bhaktivedanta Hospital & Hospice with an Emergency Room, Operating Room, Medical-Surgical unit, 4 rooms/12-beds for Hospice Patients facing the end of life, Eye Clinic, Lab, Pharmacy, and more...to serve the Brajabasis (local residents) and Western devotees visiting and living in the Holy Dhama of Vrindavan. Western devotees coming to the hospice to spend their final months will have a single room or flat depending on their circumstances and need.
Letter from ISKCON’s GBC to Britain’s Royal Family on the Passing Away of Prince Phillip
April 9, 2021
(Photo above: Queen Elizabeth & Prince Phillip visited ISKCON's Bhaktivedanta Manor and watched a performance presented by the students.)
To HRH Queen Elizabeth and family,
It is with great sadness that we of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness write to you today, on the passing of Prince Phillip.
Throughout the years we noted how dedicated he was to the betterment of British society, and humanity at large, a principle which we also, in our humble way, are trying to contribute towards. He tried extensively to establish and support projects for the welfare of the people in general and touched the lives of millions in the process.
We note also that he was a deeply thoughtful man, with a sincere interest in philosophy and theology, which humanity is so much in need of in these difficult days. The world has lost a man of remarkable character and insight.
We pray to the Supreme Lord to bestow His mercy upon him, and upon yourselves in your time of bereavement. If we can be of service in any way please let us know.
Bhakti Caitanya Swami
Chairman, the Governing Body of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Chairman, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, UK.
Prayer Request for
HH Bhakti Marg Swami With Covid
Dear Friends of Vaishnavas CARE,
Although it is rumored that HH Bhakti Marg Swami is in the hospital with Covid-19, I am happy to report that the devotees in the ISKCON Toronto yatra have said that Maharaja is resting in his room at the temple. Please continue to pray for his full recovery. Thank you.
Yours in service,
Sangita Devi Dasi
Hare Krishna Dear Vaishnavas,
Prayers are requested for HH Bhaktimarga Swami as he tested positive for Covid-19.
Maharaja is currently residing in the Toronto temple and is being looked after his loving disciples and other devotees. Currently Maharaja is experiencing mild symptoms.
Please keep him in your prayers for his speedy recovery. Thank you very much!
UPCOMING VAISHNAVAS C.A.R.E. LIVE SEMINAR VIA ZOOM
We will be presenting another 4-day Seminar entitled, “The Art of Caring for Vaishnavas,” given by Sangita Devi Dasi, RN, Grief Counselor (GC-C). This seminar will be directed toward training Volunteers in 25 temples throughout Brazil, Portugal, & those places in Africa where they speak Portuguese. This seminar will be given in English with a translator repeating the material in Portuguese.
When: Saturday, May 1, 2021
Sunday, May 2, 2021
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Sunday, May 9, 2021* (Q & A Session)
Time: All days will be from 10:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
*Except for Sunday, May 9 -- 10:30 a.m. - Noon
for Question & Answer Session
Registration and the ZOOM LINK will be posted soon if you are interested in joining us.
All are WELCOME!
Articles & Quotes
Something To Think About:
A Blog On End Of Life
By Barbara Karnes, RN
When I first met Charles he was up and about although tired easily. He had cancer of the prostate and his ability to pee was affected to the point of needing a foley catheter. His biggest complaint was the limitation that having a catheter attached to him presented. Leg bags to catch the urine was an invention we had not heard of yet. Today, having a catheter would not really be a limitation. Thirty four years ago, it was.
Living with Charles was his second wife, Ella. She had a son who lived in Montana and Charles had no children. They were basically on their own, the two of them devoted to each other but with no real outside support.
Charles was outgoing, talking, sharing stories, laughing. Ella was friendly, very much in charge, and had a right way to do just about everything. They both may have been a little OCD in their personalities but it was a joy to visit and be a part of their lives.
Hospice was perfect for them. Charles had a life threatening illness, had refused further treatment, and they were alone. We were there to give them support and guidance.
Charles and Ella were part of hospice for over a year. Gradually, during that time his physical condition deteriorated. He progressed to a hospital bed in the living room where he eventually died. BUT in that year much living was done. Originally they were from Louisiana and their favorite place in the world was Hawaii. There was a lot of talk about crawfish and how no place had them like Joe’s Shack in New Orleans. So orders were shipped to Kansas City and Charles and Ella had crawfish. It was a big day when the package arrived and I was assured I'd be told when to come over and have some.
It was decided that one last trip to Hawaii was in order. Lacking a leg bag for the catheter we rigged a small briefcase to hold the bag and they flew to the Islands for a short trip.
It wasn’t always exciting activity with trips and food, although Ella was a great cook and was always fixing nibbles. She also was good at giving decorating ideas and buying/sales advice. Some days we just sat and talked. Talked about life, adventures, everyday talk. During this time they both grew deeper and deeper into my heart. They became an extension of my family as I became theirs. Charles became the father I always wanted.
As the disease progressed pain became an issue. In the early 1980’s there wasn’t a lot of knowledge of end of life pain management. The narcotic of choice was Demerol (which today we know is the least effective). At this time Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced Brompton's Cocktail, where the patient controlled their medicine as to when and how much they took (shocking at the time). The other hospice nurse and I had just returned from a pain seminar at Northwestern University. The concept introduced there was titrating the narcotic by 10 milligram increments to reach the patient’s comfort level. Again, a pioneering concept that today is accepted and understood, then it was scary.
Ten milligrams of Morphine was the standard dosage for end of life pain but for Charles it was not having any effect so with the physician’s permission I began increasing the morphine dosage by 10mg every hour. I used the pain scale of 1 is comfortable and 10 is the most intense pain. I stayed all day and at 80 milligrams of morphine Charles was comfortable. He was alert, breathing normally and actually got out of bed to sit in his chair. I was so frightened giving that medicine. I am equating it to jumping out of an airplane, pulling the cord to open the parachute but having that moment of “will it open?” My moment was will it work and Charles not die of an overdose.
Gradually, over time, that year Charles became weaker, withdrew, stopped eating, and slept most of the time. Death drew near. Death drew near as did my vacation time. The last day before my vacation began I stopped by the house to say goodbye. I thanked him for being in my life. Hugs were given all round. I did not see him again.
Today as I think about him it is like he just took another trip to Hawaii. I did not have the closure I needed to picture him dead. Ella waited until I returned to have the memorial service but being in the cemetery garden with his smiling picture on an easel just didn’t do it for me.
Ella and I continued to have contact throughout the years. She soon moved to Montana to be close to her son. Every birthday and every Christmas I received a card and updating letter. The year I did not receive a card and my card was returned to me was the year I knew she had finally joined Charles.
This was the beginning of my knowledge of end of life pain management. I began to understand and not fear narcotics, to appreciate their power.
Charles and Ella were one of those few who became more than just people I supported and guided through life’s journey to the end.
As professionals we are taught to not get emotionally involved with our patients and yes, that is true. If we grieved deeply for every patient that died we would be working at Costco in a short time. The work would be too intense for us and we would not be able to be objective and helpful to those we are to guide. BUT we are human and every so often someone will come along that fills a personal need in us. For that person, we will grieve.
I believe death is an extension of life. Dying is our final act of living. It is a normal and natural part of what we do. Dying is very sad but it isn’t bad. I can support and guide others in this life experience and not carry their pain and loss. I do know however that occasionally someone will come along who touches me deeply and fills an empty spot within me. For those I grieve my loss. For Charles and Ella I grieve my loss.
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 182 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.
Please Welcome our Newest Teams Throughout Brazil
We are honored to announce that the Brazil yatra, with 25 ISKCON temples throughout the country, has adopted a Vaishnavas Care Project that will have a Vaishnavas CARE team in EACH temple throughout Brazil so the Devotees all over the country will be cared for.
Under the Leadership of
Yajna Caitanya Dasa, it was decided that the project coordinator would be: Ekanistha Radhika Devi Dasi. Please visit their new Facebook page at:
Vaishnavas Care -- Brasil
4-Day Vaishnavas CARE Seminar via Zoom has been scheduled for:
Saturday & Sunday, April 1 & 2
Time: 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. EST
Saturday & Sunday, April 8 & 9
10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. +
Q & A session at:
Sunday, April 9: 10:30 a.m.-Noon
Presented in English with instant Portuguese Translation!
Zoom Link to Follow...
Mourning a Miscarriage
Many women miscarry before they are even aware they are pregnant. Miscarriages occur in at least 20 percent of pregnancies, many in the first twelve weeks. While the physical needs of many women who miscarry are addressed, their emotional needs are often neglected.
How do you mourn an unborn child? And how do you cope when well-meaning friends (and even family members) who attempt to offer support and solace, but unintentionally inflict greater pain by minimizing the loss?
Because of the lack of understanding, miscarriage has been called “the silent loss,” often disenfranchised—that is, unrecognized by others, sometimes even by ourselves. It is important to acknowledge such a loss. Guilt is a normal grief reaction. You are still searching for the source of this heartbreak. You might have believed that you were ineffectual in bringing the fetus to term. Since you likely felt responsible for the unborn's health, you might blame yourself for the miscarriage. You should know that there is little medical evidence that a woman’s activity will increase the likelihood of miscarriage; there isn’t always any discernible cause.
Suggestions to effectively mourn a miscarriage include:
Gathering with family members to share your individual expressions of loss. (Perhaps this will provide other family members an opportunity to share emotions that they have bottled up for fear of looking weak, or in an attempt to shield you from more pain.)
Joining a self-help group with parents who have endured this similar anguish.
Working with a therapist to at last explore your unsettled expressions of bereavement.
Finding healing in writing a letter or a poem, or by keeping a journal, to articulate your buried distress and sadness.
Lighting a candle on the date of the miscarriage or give a donation to a charity in loving memory.
Sharing your feelings with friends who will truly listen and understand.
Developed from Journeys with Grief: A Collection of Articles about Love, Life and Loss, edited by Kenneth J. Doka, Ph.D., MDiv., copyright Hospice Foundation of America, 2012.
For Family Caregivers, Everywhere,
From all of Us at Vaishnavas CARE.
Acupuncture: What Is It
What Is It:
Acupuncture is a therapeutic component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves the use of very thin needles along with heat, pressure, or electricity to stimulate points on the body, promoting the flow and balance of internal energy.
Acupuncture is effective in treating chronic pain and some symptoms associated with cancer treatment. Studies have shown benefit with acupuncture for postoperative pain, sleep, nausea and vomiting, hot flashes, peripheral neuropathy, and other side effects caused by radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. It may also reduce symptoms such as depression, headache, lower back or neck pain, shortness of breath, and chronic fatigue.
Acupuncture treatments are generally safe and well tolerated by most patients, including pediatric patients and the elderly. Some conditions may require continuous treatments in order to achieve long-term effect.
How It Works
According to TCM, acupuncture points are thought to be located at specific areas along channels or meridians. Qi (pronounced chee, meaning energy) is believed to flow in this network of channels which connect different parts of the body and organs into a unified system. Pain and symptoms of disease are thought to arise when the flow of Qi is stagnated. Acupuncture treatments are used to promote the flow and balance of Qi to relieve symptoms. It is also known to release pain-relieving or feel-good chemicals in the brain.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can stimulate pain relief, and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Other studies have shown it can improve sleep, increases blood flow, and may help reduce inflammation, which may also explain pain-relieving effects.
MRI studies show that acupuncture causes changes in the brain that reflect changes in the body. Neuro-imaging studies have shown that certain acu-points for dry mouth correlate to saliva production. Studies in patients with peripheral neuropathy show that acupuncture improves nerve signaling.
Researchers are continuing to examine the mechanisms by which acupuncture exerts these effects. Additional findings may help to optimize treatment regimens in the future.
Cancer treatment-related symptoms
A number of clinical trials support the use of acupuncture in relieving pain, nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, fatigue, hot flashes, and peripheral neuropathy resulting from cancer treatments. In some studies, benefits have been noted to last well after treatment.
Several clinical trials showed that acupuncture is effective in alleviating pain, including joint or nerve pain associated with some cancer treatments.
Several clinical trials in cancer patients and other populations suggest that acupuncture improves sleep.
Several clinical trials show that acupuncture reduces fatigue, including cancer-related fatigue.
Several studies have shown that acupressure and acupuncture can help to relieve anxiety related to tests and procedures. It may also help with anxiety in general.
Acupuncture may reduce depressive symptoms, although results were mixed for major depressive disorder.
Nausea and vomiting
Current oncology guidelines recommend acupuncture and acupressure for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). A number of studies also support its use for postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), and in pediatric cancer populations.
Some evidence suggests acupuncture may be helpful for constipation.
This use is supported by clinical trials.
A clinical study finds acupuncture can reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Although studies have mixed results, several large trials have not found acupuncture helpful for infertility.
A few studies have shown that acupuncture is useful in treating allergic rhinitis when used along with standard care. It may also be helpful on its own in pediatric populations.
Studies on whether acupuncture may help in smoking cessation are mixed. Additional studies are needed.
Acupuncture is generally safe when performed by trained practitioners. Failure to remove needles, bleeding, hematoma, dizziness, and pain have been reported. Rare instances of collapsed lung, local infections, or burns caused by moxibustion have occurred.
Acupuncture should be avoided or additional precautions taken if:
You have low white blood cell count, low platelet count, or heart murmur (symptom of endocarditis): Acupuncture may increase risk of infection and bleeding.
You wear a pacemaker: Electrical stimulation is not advised for patients wearing electronic medical devices.
You have lymphedema: Patients with lymphedema should inform their practitioners before receiving treatment.
You are pregnant: Some acupuncture points can cause strong uterine contractions. Pregnant women should inform practitioners before seeking acupuncture treatment.
© 2021 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
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!
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