Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bleeding Out

Today we went for our usual walk after dinner. Krishna Chandra caught up with Rasa Lila Devi. Chandaneswar and I chanted around the block. We went for darshan in the evening and I saw Indulekha Devi at the temple making garlands. I haven't seen her in a while so we caught up for a few minutes. I asked her if I could assist her in her service, and she kindly obliged. She then told me about her recent trip to India; she said she became gravely ill there and almost died due to lack of treatment facilities and prompt care. Where there were devotees, they lacked proper resources and treatment; where treatments were available, the staff refused to treat her without payment up front!
I couldn't believe my ears, but then again I could believe my ears, having spent an extended period in India previously myself and becoming ill there. I honestly felt alone and hopeless there; at times I even contemplated the worst-- "Just give up, go drown yourself in the Ganga. It's hopeless. Nobody care anyway."
I hope to spend more time with Indulekha. Recently I re-evalutated my priorities during my travels and realized that our community needs serious help. There are many things that, like Indulekha's gut, are hemorrhaging even though there are solutions, none are implemented due to lack of resources, training, or sheer indifference. What would become of us if we neglected the care of even one Vaishnav? What would our community lose? Can we afford to lose even one?
Not only are we hemorrhaging, but we need to replace the lost blood, and treat the source of infection. The problem is multifaceted, therefore, treatment should be approached with many perspectives... not just one view. I apologize for the series of medical metaphors. Maybe Indulekha's story shocked me deeply, or maybe I'm just impressionable, or maybe I watch too much Grey's Anatomy. I don't know. We have a problem and it needs addressing.
The other day I remembered several devotees that I was close to, and remembered that they are all gone. They have left the movement, moved or away or passed away. I don't know if you remember Lalita-Krishna prabhu, but he was always very kind and instructive to me. Lavanga-Latika told me the other day that he left his body, and I was completely oblivious that he was ill again. Another devotee was Ramachandra prabhu; both left the community about eight years ago. Some devotees passed away, like Urjeswat prabhu, Bharat prabhu, and Lalita Krishna prabhu, and sometimes I cry because I feel I can't connect with the new generation. My ashram leaders, instructors, and mentors have moved on or passed away. What will become of me and our movement as we have to face the inevitable truth that all things must pass?
I don't know what would have happened if Indulekha had left us, but surely it would have left such a gaping void in our community that we would struggle to recover for years. Could I personally be capable of facing another death? I don't think so. I don't know if I can handle it anymore. On average, I'm losing a loved one about every two years, and the clock is ticking. I can't afford to waste any time.
Here I've been happily enjoying my summer with friends and family, partying my youthful energy away. 
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