The Final Journey — Complete Hospice Care For Departing Vaishnavas (By Sangita Devi Dasi, RN, Hospice Educator) (To order your copy, visit our “Store”on this website.)
As devotees of Lord Krishna, we are well aware that this material body is temporary and that the soul, the real “self” is eternal. Yet, if diagnosed with a terminal illness, each of us stands at varying places on the spiritual path and each of us will initially react differently to the news that we will soon be passing away. Our hope is that all of the devotees in our Krishna consciousness movement will receive the kindness and love they deserve from their fellow congregational members, whether they are senior devotees or someone who has just joined a temple. Our hope and prayer is that each Vaishnava will be well cared for and spiritually supported by the loving devotees in their community.
It is suggested that each terminally ill devotee should be guided to a nearby hospice agency for the end-of-life, medical help that is required. In addition, we suggest that you organize a group of devotees (a “Vaishnavas CARE Team”) who are enthusiastic to participate in the devotee’s spiritual, emotional and practical care.
Our Vaishnavas CARE Teams, where available, can visit the devotee and his or her family with meals offered to Lord Krishna 📷(prasadam), bring garlands from the presiding Deities at the temple, and chant the Hare Krishna mantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) at the bedside of the dying devotee. These kind-hearted Vaishnavas can read to the terminally ill devotee from Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental books, and kindly sit and talk with the patient and family members about their situation and needs.
By developing loving relationships throughout life, we will naturally want to be with the devotees at the time of illness so we can be comforted. In addition, our family members will be comforted as well by the association of kind, loving Vaishnavas around them during difficult times. If all Vaishnavas develop caring friendships throughout life then naturally at the time when someone is preparing to pass away from this world we, as a community, will gather around the terminally ill devotee to offer kindness, care and spiritual assistance. By doing so we can help Lord Krishna’s devotees to reach the goal of life– which 📷is to remember the Lord at the time of death and return Home, Back to Godhead, never having to return again to this temporary world of birth and death. To participate in this transcendental occasion of someone’s auspicious departure from this world is a divine blessing, not only for the soul returning back to Godhead, but also for those who are permitted to witness such a rare event.
We are here to assist you with any questions you have. Please write to us at: “CONTACT US.”
Thank you very much!
📷“A devotee is happy even in this life because although in material existence we have many needs, all his material needs are satisfied, and when he at last quits his body, he goes back home, back to Godhead, without a doubt”
📷I highly recommend reading two of Dr. Ira Byock’s books, “Dying Well”
and “Four Things That Matter the Most” available on www.amazon.com.
Dr. Ira Byock is a leader and educator in promoting quality care at the end of 📷life. Below is a framework he developed that outlines some of the issues many people may be contemplating as they approach death. His findings are included here as part of a holistic understanding of the dying process. It can often be a time of new insights, personal growth, and inner healing.
Sense of completion with worldly affairsSense of completion in relationships with community.Sense of meaning about one’s individual lifeExperiencing love of “self”Experiencing love of othersSense of completion in relationships with family and friendsAcceptance of the finality of life- of one’s existence as an individualSense of a new “self” beyond personal lossSense of meaning about life in general📷Surrendering to the transcendent, to the unknown *(To Krishna for Vaishnavas)
**”Letting go, often with a sense of relief…”