In the spring of 2000, Sangita Devi Dasi (Susan Pattinson, RN, CHPN) and the late Jusaniya Devi Dasi (Judy Harris, RN, BSN), both disciples of Srila Prabhupada, co-founded Vaishnavas C.A.R.E. (Counseling, Assistance, Resource, and Education) for the terminally ill and those in need.
Because the concepts of hospice and palliative care were unfamiliar within ISKCON at that time, the goal was to introduce Vaishnavas CARE to help teach basic care for the terminally ill.
In the same year, Vaishnavas CARE’s vision was presented to ISKCON’s GBC leaders in India, with the goal to introduce hospice care in every temple and community in ISKCON. The feeling was that devotees deserved the best end-of-life care.
Meanwhile, Sangita Mataji worked with His Holiness Giriraj Swami for over a decade to design, build and establish the Bhaktivedanta Hospice in Vrindavan, India so devotees from around the globe could easily come to the Holy Land to pass away when diagnosed with a terminal disease. After much work and with the help of His Holiness Radhanath Swami and many of his disciples who are licensed physicians at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, our Bhaktivedanta Hospice, a 40,000 square foot hospice facility, opened its doors in 2010. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the facility has been expanded to add new services.
In addition, several years ago, Sangita Mataji spent time at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, India encouraging the start of their Hospice and Palliative Care Department which has since expanded with two enthusiastic and caring Physicians, Registered Nurses, other staff members, and over 50 volunteers to serve their local population who are facing the end of life.