Latest Vaishnava News
Our humble obeisances to you. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I am writing on behalf of the group of carers who are serving Her Grace Ramadevi Dasi, Srila Prabhupada’s disciple and a long-standing resident of the Mayapur community, to inform the local and international devotees of Ramadevi’s state of health.
Some days ago, Ramadevi collapsed, and it was clear her condition had accelerated. Ramavijaya Prabhu arranged her swift transfer to the Calcutta hospital who had been treating her pre-lockdown. After an MRI and talks with the specialist doctors tending to Ramadevi, the diagnosis is that her condition is now terminal, and no treatment is possible.
Ramavijaya escorted Ramadevi home to Mayapur last night. She will be receiving 24-hour palliative care, and personal attendance, in the coming days.
Of course we are all still observing lockdown, most especially inside the campus, so there will be limited, scheduled visiting. There will be even more limited access to Ramadevi electronically, as she is in no condition to do so. We are asking, therefore, that all communications, questions, or messages for or about Ramadevi be posted here in this thread, or via phone (+91 9775186307). Be assured that Ramadevi will receive every message sent, and ask that you please direct all communications this way.
In regard to the question that may arise of quarantine, Ramadevi and Ramavijaya travelled to the the Tata Cancer Hospital & Research Centre in Calcutta, who have strict protocols for Covid-19 screening, and no Covid-19 patients. They also returned to Mayapur via ambulance, so no quarantine is required.
Everyone please pray and chant for Ramadevi, remember her, and offer your loving support for her coming journey….
On behalf of the care team,
Braja Sevaki Devi Dasi
Ramadevi Dasi (ACBSP) in Mayapur Diagnosed with Terminal Illness.
Raghunath Das, Toronto & Scarborough Temples, Passed Away
Manjari, Daughter of Gayatri Dasi and Amarendra Das, Passed Away
Manjari, the daughter of Gayatri Devi Dasi (ACBSP) and Amarendra Das (ACBSP). ISKCON lawyer, passed away.
Please send prayers for her family and friends and for her journey onwards.
Her Grace Kamala Devi Dasi
Passed Away in Mauritius
By His Holiness Giriraj Swami
My beloved, exalted disciple, Kamala devi dasi, left her body in Mauritius two days ago. Everything about her departure was auspicious, and her consciousness was fixed on Goloka Vrindavan.
She was ably assisted in her
final journey by HH Bhakti Brhat Bhagavata Swami; Karunika Dasi; Vrajesvari
Dasi; Manasi Ganga Dasi; Arcana Siddhi Dasi; and her devoted daughter, Dhira
Prasanta Dasi, and son, Lesh, in Mauritius; and by Krsnagi Dasi and others from afar.
I have attached a photo of Kamala Devi when she came to California to serve
me, after which she returned to Mauritius and learned that she had cancer.
Please pray for her.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service,
By Lalithapriya Dasi, Toronto Team Leader
Raghunath Das, one of our congregational members, passed away after years of service to Sri Sri Radha Ksiracora Gopinath. He also served at the Scarborough temple. The most memorable service is his annual arrangement of transportation for Their Lordships Sri Jagannath, Sri Baladev and Srimati Subhadra at our Rathayatra festival. He will surely be missed.
Please pray for Raghunath Prabhu to remain at the lotus feet of the Lord eternally. Kindly pray for his loving family as well at this time of great loss. Thank you!
Other comments from Team Members:
Raghunath Prabhu served Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya's movement with intelligence and grace. We had a deep respect and affection for each other. I consider him a great friend and I will miss him. My prayers go out to his family for their loss and for him to be eternally engaged in the sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Krsnadasa Kaviraja Das
Raghunath Prabhu will be dearly missed; lovingly he distributed Srila Prabhupada's books to prisoners, hotels/motels, and people's homes. Who will now bring Lord Jagannatha and His family to Rathayatra and to the island and back to the temple? Surely he has blessings of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Jagannatha.
Jagannatha Misra Das
Condolences to the family of Raghunath Prabhu. May his soul rest in peace at Lord Krishna's lotus feet. Hare Krishna.
Prayer Request for
Her Grace Govardhan Lila Dasi
Hare Krishna Vaishnavas! Dandavats Pranam! Jai Srila Prabhupada.
Many of you many not be aware that Her Grace Govardhan Lila Mataji has been having severe health challenges. She survived two open heart surgeries because she is always very eager to continue serving Their Lordships here in Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.A.).
She will be going through a very risky and complex procedure for her heart on May 26, 2020 at 12:00 noon EST. This procedure will take approximately three hours at Emory Hospital.
The procedure is call AFib Ablation. They will zap freeze parts of the heart to stop the abnormal heartbeat. The doctors are not giving a high chance of survival.
We are requesting the devotees to please pray to your Lordships at home or wherever you are.
Govardhan Lila Dasi has given her life to Srila Prabhupada from age 17 and has never stopped serving. She has been maintaining the Deity service here at Atlanta as the Head Pujari along with other responsibilities for over 20 years.
Let us start our prayers today by chanting extra
japa, kirtans, offering an arati to your home Deities and whatever other creative ways your heart allows.
Your servants at ISKCON New Panihati Dhama
(Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.A.)
How to cope with losses and grief
during the COVID-19 pandemic
by Jane Vock
I had a relatively dramatic moment a few days ago that brought me to the realization that I wasn’t giving enough acknowledgement to the losses and to the grief that accompanies this COVID-19 pandemic. I actually yelled at a complete stranger, something I have never done in my lifetime. As I sat down for some much-needed reflection, I realized I was experiencing one of the stages of grief: anger. It was time to review the stages of grief and how to cope.
Grief is a natural response to loss
Some of the losses we are experiencing (and they are many!) during this COVID-19 pandemic may be difficult to name. At the same time, the standard piece of advice from grief experts is to acknowledge it and name it. While we usually associate grief with the death of someone, any loss can trigger grief. To help, I have identified a couple of less obvious types of losses you may be experiencing.
Ambiguous loss is an unclear loss with no resolution or closure. There isn’t a single defining point, like death. This ambiguity and uncertainty makes grieving more complicated.
Isn’t that exactly what we are experiencing as we live through this pandemic? Life as we knew it has and will change dramatically. We are trying to make sense of the changes and losses and what our lives will look like down the road. We are also grieving a living loss – a loss that keeps going and going.
With ambiguous losses, there is often a vagueness in terms of how we feel and we may not be inclined to put words to these losses. Feeling confused, hopeless, disoriented, discombobulated, or overwhelmed is a normal response to ambiguity and uncertainty. For some, it may feel more like a discomfort or we may just feel ‘off’.
Anticipatory losses and grief
Anticipatory losses are the feelings we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. And uncertainty is one of the defining features of this pandemic. Grief expert, David Kessler, says that with a virus, this kind of grief is confusing for people because we know something bad is happening but we can’t see it. Being unable to see it results in feeling a loss of safety.
Many people are also grappling with anticipatory grief, or the feeling that greater loss is yet to come. You may recognize it as the feeling that comes with a life- threatening diagnosis or when anticipating the loss of a parent in the future.
Caregivers and anticipatory grief
For caregivers, anticipatory grief may be looming large and slipping into worst-case scenarios for aging parents, family members who are living in retirement homes and long-term care homes, and other people more vulnerable to severe outcomes and possibly death from COVID-19 pandemic.
Tips on how to cope with losses and grief:
1. Name it.
Like all other feelings, acknowledging and naming the feeling is what helps us move through the feeling. Our feelings are fluid. That is, they are fluid IF we allow them to flow and don’t resist them by trying to shut them down or bypass them. Just knowing that what you’re going through has a name (ambiguous losses for example) and being able to recognize it is the first step in building resilience to the losses, says Dr. Boss. It allows us to begin to create some meaning from the loss.
2. Understand the stages of grief.
There is a ‘but’ that comes with this. David Kessler reminds us that the stages he and Kubler Ross developed are not linear and were always intended to be descriptive, not prescriptive. The stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance, and more recently, Kessler added a sixth stage, meaning. Kessler has described how these stages may play out in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic:
There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed. Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies. We find control in acceptance. I can wash my hands. I can keep a safe distance. I can learn how to work virtually.
3. Identify your strengths and coping skills.
While none of us have experienced a pandemic like this before, we have all had difficult transitions in our lives, from deaths of loved ones, to divorces and job losses. How did you get through those difficult times?
4. Be compassionate with yourself and others.
Kessler puts it this way: “Our hearts know how to grieve, but our minds work against us. Wouldn’t it be great if we felt more love and compassion for ourselves in grief.” To foster more love and compassion, here is a self-compassion exercise. In terms of compassion for others, it is important to know that everyone will have different levels of fear and grief and it manifests in different ways. A great way to extend compassion to others is through a loving-kindness exercise.
5. Balance worst-case scenarios with best or better case scenarios.
Anticipatory grief can move into intense anxiety. To prevent this, you can balance worst case scenarios with opposite or ‘better case’ ones. This is not about pushing the worst-case scenarios away. That won’t work. Instead, try to balance them. For example, balance imagining your parent or someone you love dying from COVID-19, with a focus on imagining them living through this pandemic. Balance by focusing on thoughts such as: not everyone you love will die; the world will continue; a new ‘normal’ will develop; human beings are resilient; we are taking the right steps to flatten the curve.
6. Bring yourself into the present.
Anticipatory grief is the mind going to the future and imagining the worst. While most of us will recognize this as mindfulness, you don’t have to meditate to bring yourself into the present. You can use grounding techniques like: naming five things in the room; paying attention to your in and out breath; using your senses and naming how you feel (the air is cool, my chair is soft, etc.). Realize that in the present moment, nothing you’ve anticipated has happened. In this moment, you’re okay. You have food. You are not sick.
The good news is that people tend to be resilient in the face of grief. Once the immediate crisis has passed, and it will pass, even if we don’t know when, we will find a way to adapt and create a new life for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
What are you doing to cope with all the losses and collective grief we are all experiencing?
Srila Prabhupada Said...
"If one is fortunate enough to understand the happiness and distress of the spirit soul and gets a taste for transcendental knowledge, then he will be indifferent to the happiness and distress of the body and mind and will relish a transcendental peace eternal, even in the midst of worldly happiness and distress. Real peace can be obtained only in that transcendental stage of existence."
Message of Godhead 1
Hospice Quotes to Consider
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one or friend and are seeking assistance from a Grief Support Group, please join our Grief Support Group specifically for Vaishnavas.
Please join us on our "Vaishnavas CARE" Facebook page to register for our PRIVATE, Confidential Grief Support Group. Gain strength from other Devotees also experiencing a loss in their lives. We look forward to meeting you there!
There is no need to grieve alone!
Please visit us at: Vaishnavas CARE on Facebook for more information.