Tag Archives: #careofvaishnavas

MAGIC TOWN

By Gurudas
aka Roget Siegel

Oh country village
tulsi forest
named Vrindavan

Even the rocks are alive
for the pleasure of Govinda
the trees
are swaying hairs
twisted in a dance
with the Lord

Birds fly in and out
of the window
of my adobe hut
In Vrindavan animals and humans
interact
geckos on walls
sparrows in the houses
monkeys swinging on electrical wires
bats flying
owls eating
peacocks calling
buffalo soaking
donkeys hauling
cows mooing
camels snorting
elephants trumpeting
horses neighing
as fathers watch
their children play
riding on a water buffalo’s back
in the Jamuna river

A clay pot
made of earth
is used and broken
merging back into the earth
A pair of shoes
or winter hat
are tailored from start to finish
children learning numbers spiritually
one God
two to love
three Dieties
Brahma Shiva and Vishnu
four Kumaris
five Rishis
six Goswamis
seven Temples
eight Gopis
nine gates of the body
ten directions

Auspicious guides
talk to me within
everything in order
exemplified by
all the new baby animals
that come out seasonally
when it’s their time

Positive portents
flags waving
full water buckets
elephants spewing water
saints singing

Ill omens show too
empty water pots
flags drooping
owls screeching
barking dogs
clouds raining blood
the left side of a face twitching
people cheating

We are minor players
darkness to light
eternal prayers
all day and night
We see the stars
and dance in the full moon

Goswamis and ancient sadhus
walked these sands
and form the backbone
of our path
pilgrims pray
while babas laugh

Let my love
in compassion’s ray
uncompromising
as nature’s play
come inside me and stay

Elusive Blue Boy
whom I don’t know
I can feel your shelter
in this protective place

Why then do I run away
from your home?
What compels me
in crowded cities?
Seduced by secondary illusions
accepted as primary importance
life’s cosmetic shadows
mix with soot
neon rays swallowed by
cracks in yellowing walls

Oh green hills I hear your call
I remember forest groves
where divinity romps
and magic pastimes abound

I snuggle in
Your milky bosom
softly I drink your essence
security in every drop
of holy water

Cows freely give religiosity
flowing from Surabi’s
milky drops

Chintamani
Your touchstone nectar
makes the lame walk
and the blind to see
Your silk like hair
is swaying kusha grass
the very straw mats
that sages pray on

Lying down on golden sands
as nearby Jamuna’s river shores
black and white striped birds
dive into Your watery mouth
Kalindi or jamuna you
flow to reunite with Mother Ganges
getting together
in Pravag’s Kumba mela place

Above demigods are
pulled by snowy swans
and scented water fountains
spray in celestial gardens
whilst they shower
us with rose petals
from above

we taste the tears of joy
from the great Rasa dance
as Krishna dances with the Gopis
with each cow girl individually
under the full moon light

Chakora birds eat moon beams
during all night chanting kirtans
I shared my heart
with ex-kings
and singing saints

Encircling you my holy Vrindavan
on parikrima path
in fresh morning’s dew
my bare feet
touching your white sands
makes me weep
Your sweetened countenance
is reflected in your pearly shores
or Madhuban forest glen
playing hide and seek

You offer Annapurna’s peaks
like a babe
I wander and drink
from mountainous breasts

In mystic forests
desire trees abound
kadamba and champa
hold the stolen clothes
of the Gopis
as they bathe
in the Jamuna River
lazily we play
and love in your boughs
dream in your branches
and wade on your banks

Soma elixir divine appears
fruits jump into my mouth
everyone is cared for
like sticks pilgrims pray
lying prone
praying for the touch of Govinda
of Your red lotus feet
on their reverent forms

So you can embrace
and know us all
even the small grasses
jump into place

humbly awaiting
your foot’s embrace
heaven’s grace
from Your pores
the struggle gone
in your sheltering doors
ecstasy abounds
in chanting dance
oh country village
a magic romance

Vrindavan, India 1974

For all his books please visit www.Gurudas108.com

Devastating Fire ~ Devotee suffers loss

By Devaki Devi Dasi

A disciple of Srila Prabhupada is in need in Alachua ~ Florida

Jambuvati Devi Dasi (Nadia Miles) was initiated in 1967. She lives in Alachua, Florida. She was renting this apartment cottage dwelling out back of her place to another Srila Prabhupada disciple who was helping her fix it up the rest of the way… and living there also at the same time so she could get it to the point where insurance would approve to cover it.

She was just getting it to that point when he went on a japa walk and came back to see the place he was renting from her engulfed in flames. Complete loss. Burned to the ground and no insurance. There was some kind of problem with the electric. Jambuvati has a tiny fixed income and this unit was her income much needed to pay the bills monthly. Devastating loss for her.

We know her personally in Alachua for a long time and she has a humble dwelling and a real need right now to rebuild her life and get back on her feet so she can maintain her self once again. It will probably take more than $15,000 to rebuild.

Jambuvati Devi Dasi

In her words:

“My dear friends; I had a beautiful cottage on my property that was burned to the ground due to an electrical situation. My place was started 18 years ago and finally finished ready for inspection… and then suddenly flames coming out of the windows and doors! Firefighters could not save any of it not even the structure! It was originally built for my kids when they need a place. It was finally near inspection. It was a source of income. I know I cannot build another with donations, but I am hoping to be able to build an addition of a bedroom and kitchen into my existing mobile home. Any donations would be greatly appreciated and helpful for any amount. I thank you for your love and support.”

Please give to Jambuvati so she can regain her life as far as this goes. Just click on the donation button below. Thank you!

The Vedic Care is assisting the fundraising. Anyone can donate. In the USA, PayPal’s transaction fees are smaller then other funding platforms, primarily because we’re a 501(c)3 Charity. Also, International donations arrive immediately, and at low cost. Thank you.

Vedic Care Holistic Clinic & Assisted Living ~ Vrindavan

A letter by Gurudas

Gurudas’ letter on April 25th, 2019
Ref.: Vedic Care Vrindavan 

Dear Devotees,

The seed of an idea was planted.
The idea was to emphasize the need to care for sick, neglected, isolated and dying devotees and spiritual seekers in need.

We started the Vedic Care Charitable Trust.

We don’t know how long we have left, so let us use every moment preciously.

Very few want to think of these things.
Not me.
Not my family.

And when someone gets sick, then we react.

Why not preventative medicine?
Why not create caring assisted living places? 
Why not do this everywhere?

There is enough resources in our community.

People build temples,
havelis and businesses,
but no care facilities.

We remembered all the friends who we serve with and served with,
So we the Vedic Care Charity (VCC) have been working and serving with love and trust to implement these ideas.

Some people have resonated with the message and some have actually volunteered 
and served.

Very little funds have been coming in, but still we are caring for 10-15 people at a time with our out-reach, counseling and triage.

Some have even challenged and vilified our sincere efforts.
And yet we go on.

The care idea seed grew into little plants in Australia, England, Belgium, Vancouver, Maui, Brazil, Spain, and now by Radharani & Krishna’s blessing and grace, we have been given a 16 room Ayurvedic and multi-faceted healing and assisted living center, with beautiful surrounding gardens in holy Vrindavan.

I lived in Vrindavan for six years when I oversaw the building of the Krishna Balaram Temple, so I am experienced with how things go on there.

We need to clean and start repairs, before we can start.
We need funds, people and equipment.

If you are interested in serving in our VCC project,
please write us.

Gurudas

Please visit to watch our VCC-Vrindavan Pledge video below.
Thank you.
You can use this link to share ~ www.vimeo.com/330264236


Our VCC-Vrindavan webpage link to share is
www.vediccare.org/vrindavan-india

Please also read below the other VCC-Vrindavan article by Pranaji .

The Vedic Care Vrindavan

A pledge for your support

by Pranaji

I wonder whether the import of our VCC~Vrindavan project is being understood by the Vaisnava community we serve. I really want to see this amazing new facility rise up and function in its full glory and serve all the world’s Vaisnavas.

Every Vaisnava in the world will want to leave their body in the Holy Dham, surrounded by devotees chanting the holy names Hare Krishna and Rama. Who wouldn’t want to be cared for by loving Vaisnavas as their/our time to leave this world approaches? In the last year I had the honour to serve two Vaisnavis, to help them live and to help them to die. I cared for them both for several months and when they passed. I must say it was heart breaking because caring means your heart is in your work, but very beautiful and very sobering. Devotees and loved ones were at their bedsides singing as they passed. Tulsi leaves were put in their mouths and on their eyes, their bodies were annointed with sandalwood paste and tilak put on their foreheads. The most amazing thing that blew my mind was the look on both their faces once they had left the body.

I will never forget it and I never want to. They were lit up in a state of unexpected ecstasy. Wherever they went was beyond their wildest expectations! I was so amazed! I couldn’t check the tears as they ran down my face, I was so happy for them and so glad to have assisted them in their onward journey. After the paperwork was sorted we had the final ceremony with the funeral pyre on the bank of Sri Jamuna. We lifted their bodies into their respective pyres, and as is the custom, poured ghee over them and chanted the appropriate mantras, again tilak and chandan were applied. It rained ever so slightly then the sun shone. Just as I lit the pyre the wind rose up… everything was auspicious! I chanted several Narasimha Kavacas loudly to invoke even more auspiciousness and we sang beautiful bhajans for several hours while their bodies turned to ashes.

In the evening when all was done we scattered their ashes into the Jamuna. The first wonderful vaishnava lady I assisted in this way was Akuti devi about one year ago. I was so impressed by her, even on the day she departed she was preaching like a lioness from her bedside. Amazing…

Kunja Kishore Devi Dasi as I first meet her and three months before her passing.

The second, more recent was Kunja Kishori dd. She was instructing her friend Ananda Duhlal how to better serve her beloved Sri Krishna, she was in an altered state of internal consciousness, then she said ” something is happening, I don’t understand.” Then she left. She was already with Krishna, he just took hold of her hand. My love goes with her all the way back to Godhead and I have no doubt that’s where she went! Both these Vaisnavas had cancer, both were mother’s… both are now most certainly with Krishna.

Kunja Kishore one week before she left us to Goloka.
She had three months of acupressure by then so her life had improved considerably, however her cancer was deep rooted and aggressive.

The VCC, Vedic Care Charity ~ Holistic Clinic and Assisted Living here in Vrindavan wants to offer this same care and attention to the Vaisnavas in the world, so please dear Vaisnava family, get involved.
I remember my older brother saying to me, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that counts!” I couldn’t agree more. I am / we are therefore appealing to all those Vaisnavas who can afford to, to donate and participate to get this facility up and running and thus ensure it stays afloat from here on in!

Always looking forward to serving you in whatever capacity, your humble servant and ever wellwisher, Pranaji. Pranavallabha das.

May Radha and Krishna bless you for your kind service.

We’re now fundraising for its refurbishments, needed equipment and staff.

Please visit our VCC~Vrindavan webpage here and participate. You can share all from our VCC~Vrindavan Pledge Video here.
We’ve a presentation in more detail (upon request on our website) regarding what is needed to get the facility going.

Or just share this article to spread the word. Thank you!

From Despair to Care

By Ananta Sesa Dasa

The Vedic Care Charitable Trust (aka ‘Vedic Care Charity’ or the ‘VCC’) was established to offer care to those in need. One may wonder how useful and effective such a small organization can be.

The story of Anasuya Nelson illustrates the importance of the Vedic Care Charitable Trust in the lives of those in need. It tells the story of three people thrown into an impossible and desperate situation—one that could have ended tragically. Yet, thanks to the caring intervention of supporters of the VCC, the desperation was transformed through compassion. By caring about each individual, and treating each situation in its own unique manner, the VCC can help in ways that other organizations cannot—one soul at a time.

To illustrate this point, consider the case of a young woman, Anasuya Nelson, who recently traveled to India from the UK, to visit the holy sites. As she suffers from ‘level 2 mental disturbances’, she also wanted to seek out some holistic treatments for her difficulties in India. While there, she was to be in the caring and competent company of her maternal aunt, Oli Krishna devi dasi.

Sadly, Anasuya’s mental state deteriorated rapidly upon her arrival in Calcutta as she suffered a catastrophic relapse. Her aunt, Oli Krishna, her elder brother and her other family members, quickly found themselves completely out of their depth in knowing what to do, as she retreated further and further into difficulties.

Eventually, the family had to have Anasuya sedated, and driven by ambulance to a mental health care facility in Calcutta. Unfortunately, the mental health facility was woefully inadequate. It lacked many basics, such as having only one bathroom for fifty women. During this time, Anasuya became more agitated, and at one point, had to be tied down to stop her from harming herself.

Concerned family now supported by Rama Nrsimha das (VCC Trustee and UK Out-Reach) back in London, decided that the trio would need help to get out of this difficult situation.

After a harrowing week in this place, Anasuya began to calm down and the family decided to have her flown home to the UK on Jet Airways. She was discharged from the hospital, and planned to fly home with her brother, Sundar Gopal and his friend, Raman. However, before this flight could happen, Jet Airways collapsed and suspended all international flights.

The closure of the airline left Anasuya, in a mentally impaired state, along with her brother and their friend stranded in a small, sweltering airport hotel. Without a flight home, and with dwindling finances, these three were left to deal with the situation alone.

Anasuya, who was already mentally overwhelmed, began to spiral back into a disturbed condition, leaving her traveling companions bewildered and perplexed at what to do next to extricate themselves from this seemingly unending series of misfortunes. They tried to board another flight, hurriedly offered to them by Qatar Airlines, but when the booking staff saw Anasuya’s condition, they refused to allow the trio to board.

In desperation, the two boys and Anasuya visited a more highly reputed mental health care facility, called Antara, run by a group called The Missionaries of Charity. They wanted to have Anasuya admitted for therapy; however, she was not admitted. Instead, she was given some medicine to stabilize her mind.

Rama finally called Pranaji, a member of the VCC Out-Reach Team and an old family friend, who was in Vrindavan. Upon hearing of their terrible situation, he immediately traveled to Calcutta to offer assistance.

Pranaji with Anasuya, upon his arrival in Calcutta

Pranaji found them still living in the small hotel room in Calcutta, almost out of money, and still not closer to a solution. This is where the VCC organizational skills helped further. With the support and networking skills of Pranaji and Rama Nrsimha das, a donation drive was set up and shared. In less than a week, the needed funds were raised to help this small group of devotees.

Now in Mayapur and feeling much better

Meanwhile, Anasuya was evaluated by competent doctors, and the trio – accompanied by Pranaji – traveled back to spend time in the sacred land of Sri Gaura Mandala Bhumi Dham, Mayapur, on the banks of the holy Ganges. While there, they were looked after by Pranaji, and supported by Nrsingha-tirtha Prabhu and the local care team. From there, they went to Calcutta to fly to London, landing at Heathrow on May 8th, 2019. Social services and family awaited her to find a more suitable long term care solution. A member of the VCC out-reach will keep an eye on how things develop regarding her care.

A happy ending has emerged from this tragic affair thanks to the work of the VCC and many kind souls who came forward. In response, the following comments were made by a couple of the people involved.

Rama Nrsimha das wrote: “A big shout out and thank you to Aradhana dd, Matthew and Caitania Pryia dd (Head of Medical) of the Vedic Care Charitable Trust, for bringing their skills in devotee care and fundraising to the mix and for all their excellent advice, support and suggestions during the on-going rescue mission. Once again thanks to everyone involved and especially to Prana Ji, without whom, we’d still be in very uncomfortable territory.”

The trio with Pranaji at the Airport before departure towards the UK.

Just a few days ago, Pranaji wrote: “I don’t know the donors…but I am deeply grateful to all who participated in this venture. It is quite amazing how we were in a Hotel room in Calcutta with 20 rupees left, but then, because of beautiful people with big generous hearts, we were able to come to Sri Dham Mayapur, and from there arrange flights home to the UK, and even arrange social services help and accommodation for Anasuya when she arrives in London. I have watched this little miracle unfold.”

Due to the intervention of the Vedic Care Charitable Trust, and all the kind souls who assisted personally and financially, a disastrous situation for a group of devotees transformed into an exercise in compassion. Such is the power of Krishna’s love when channeled through those who truly care.

Bringing Krishna’s Mercy to the Aged

The article online @ http://btg.krishna.com/bringing-krishnas-mercy-aged

By Ananta Shesha Dasa

The Vedic Care Charitable Trust aims to help devotees in their final years.

The Bhagavad-gita teaches that we cannot avoid old age, disease, or death. When Srila Prabhupada brought Krishna consciousness to America in 1965, his young disciples accepted the truth of this teaching. And as time has passed and devotees have aged, this teaching has become more relevant. Gurudas, one of Prabhupada’s earliest disciples, has spent his life in Krishna’s service. He helped establish the London temple, traveled the world distributing books and spreading Krishna consciousness, and recently started the Vedic Care Charitable Trust to help aging devotees in their final years.

Care in Practice

Although the Vedic Care Charitable Trust (aka ‘Vedic Care Charity’ or the ‘VCC’) has only existed since 2015, it has already done a lot of good. One example involves a woman in Belgium named Manisha, who was uninitiated because she could not stop smoking. This did not deter her from devotional service, however. She chanted daily, distributed prasadam every Wednesday, and hosted a biweekly kirtana program at her home.

In 2016 Manisha was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and after an operation, she received chemotherapy. After three treatments, she decided to stop the chemotherapy, since it was making her too sick. She knew that this would mean the cancer would kill her, but at age seventy-eight, she was ready for that.

With financial support and guidance from the Vedic Care Charitable Trust, her friend Bhagavati Devi Dasi was able to help her quit smoking so that she could live out her time with the devotees at Radhadesh, the ISKCON community in the Belgian Ardennes. Through Krishna’s mercy, Manisha was able to sell her home in Liege and move to a home near the temple. Inspired by this mercy, Bhagavati wrote to her spiritual master, Kadamba Kanana Swami, and asked him to initiate Manisha. Since she was now following all four of the regulative principles and chanting sixteen rounds, he was very happy to do so. With special permission from the local temple authorities and ISKCON’s governing body commissioner (GBC) for Belgium, Manisha was initiated.

After her initiation, she did well for some weeks, but then things started to go downhill very fast. She had developed metastasized bone cancer and was in a lot of pain. For the last two weeks of her life, she could no longer leave her bed. After a few days, Bhagavati called in the local palliative care team and requested a home nurse for Manisha.

Recognizing that spiritual care was more important than physical care, Manisha’s friend turned her room into a spiritual place with an altar opposite her bed. Pictures of Krishna adorned the walls, and Bhagavati’s shalagrama-shila (Krishna’s incarnation as a deity in the form of a small stone) moved into her room. When Manisha was introduced to Him, it was explained that at the end she would be able to hold Him in her right hand.

A recording of Srila Prabhupada chanting japa played most of the time except for when she was listening to the Bhagavad-gita or the Chaitanya-charitamrita. On Lord Balarama’s appearance day, Bhagavati purified Manisha’s right hand with a few drops of water, put a flower in it, and asked for her prayer to Balarama. She asked Him to take her as soon as possible.

The next morning, Manisha was in a lot of pain, so a morphine pump was set up to help her manage the pain. Bhagavati recalls:

Manisha was very sleepy, and I just sat next to her bed to read to her. The doctor came again at 2:00 p.m. and told us that she would have another twenty-four to thirty-six hours. By 3:00 p.m. I was sitting with Manisha together with another devotee and her breathing changed into the labored “death rattle.” I knew she would probably not have twenty-four hours, so I called my spiritual master, who happened to be at Radhadesh. He came half an hour later and started chanting for her. There were many devotees in the room with her. Her family was sitting at her left side, and I was sitting at her right side, armed with tulasi leaves and Ganges water. I had put my shalagrama-shila in her right hand, and she was holding on to Him tightly.

We could regularly see her lips move when she was trying to chant with the kirtana. At 4:40 p.m. she opened her eyes and started staring with huge eyes. At 4:45 she smiled, chanted Hare Krishna, and stopped breathing for a long time. I quickly administered the tulasi leaves and Ganges water. She breathed one more time and left while her spiritual master was chanting and I was also chanting the mantra in her right ear very loudly.

In the Bhagavad-gita (18.66), Krishna says, “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” In line with this teaching, Kadamba Kanana Swami stated that since Manisha had given up everything she had in Liege to move and leave her body in Radhadesh, Krishna reciprocated. This act of surrender was her ticket back home to Godhead. This story illustrates the crucially important work being performed by the Vedic Care Charitable Trust.

The Origins of the VCC

Gurudas formed the Vedic Care Charitable Trust with the help of Aradhana Devi Dasi, Rama Nrisimha Dasa, and Yadunandana Pada Dasa, who soon moved on to other pursuits. In a recent interview, Gurudas explained the need for this work: “I saw the need to take care of our devotees. For fifty years we have evolved, building new temples and communities and farms, publishing new books, starting cow protection programs, but no devotee care. Many devotees who served for years were sent out of the ashram or temple because there was no care facility. My idea is preventative medicine via outreach teams that can assist the families in homes or hospitals and bring the holy names and healthy prasadam to those devotees.”

Laying out the general idea, Gurudas explained that the VCC is an international member-supported organization meant to create retirement homes offering kirtanakrishna-katha (spiritual discussions), classes, seminars, consulting, and counseling. It also promotes self-subsistent farms and other creative projects. 

“Our retirement homes allow residents to spend their later years in like-minded association,” Gurudas said, “instead of being cared for in isolation and having to react alone to the symptoms of sickness. Staffed hospice facilities and Vedic transition support will be available through this international cooperative based on love and trust. With a focus on preventative care, we can ease the pain and suffering together.” 

In March 2016 Gurudas spoke about his vision when The New York Timesran a half-page article about him and his work. (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/business/retirementspecial/krishna-devotees-look-to-provide-for-this-life.html?_r=0)

The Vedic Care Charitable Trust was registered as a charity in June 2015. Aradhana Devi Dasi, cofounder, trustee, and CEO, says, “We’re a platform for connecting everyone who is caring in an isolated way.” In other words, there are devotees who are independently trying to do what they can to help but many times lack the know-how and resources. The VCC brings those individuals together under a single umbrella and offers those resources. “Most devotees come to us when in desperate need,” she continues, “having nowhere else to go, and although we have many other caring-oriented projects, hands-on devotee care is our main focus. Being neither a religious nor a medical charity, we have the advantage of acquiring financial supporters from many other already established nonprofit organizations, from government grants, and from disparate individuals. By doing our service in an inclusive way, we’ll be extending our preaching power into mainstream yogic lifestyles and advancing Krishna consciousness. This holistic service is very needed in our Vaishnava communities.”

In its three-and-a-half-year existence, the charity has cared for about fifty devotees and begun a number of important projects. Individual care is being offered in Vrindavan, India; London, England; Radhadesh, Belgium; Alachua, Florida; and New Talavan, Mississippi. In addition, planning for a model facility is underway in Sedona, Arizona. This facility will demonstrate how devotees will be cared for in a Krishna conscious environment, where people follow the regulative principles, discuss the Lord’s glorious pastimes, and chant His holy name. In this way the aging devotee, through association with other devotees, will be able to peacefully transition back home to Godhead.

The Importance of Vedic Care

One of the premises inspiring the Vedic Care Charitable Trust is that the Krishna conscious way of life greatly benefits the spirit soul and also makes material life better. Consider, for example, three elements of a devotee’s life that the VCC offers sick or dying devotees and others: diet, association, and sankirtana.

The Bhagavad-gita (3.13) states: “The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.” The sick or dying devotee who is fed only krishna-prasadam will enjoy a karma-free diet that aids in the liberation of the soul and benefits the material body.

The second aspect of the devotee’s life to consider is association. Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25) states: “In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.”

In the purport to this verse, Srila Prabhupada explains, “One must give up the association of materialistic persons and seek the association of devotees because without the association of devotees one cannot understand the activities of the Lord.” When placed into a typical retirement home or hospice, the devotee is surrounded by materialists who speak of everything except Krishna. They may discuss issues of health from a secular standpoint. They may discuss sporting events, the lottery, or wins and losses at a recent trip to the casino. They may discuss the illicit activities of royalty, celebrities, and neighbors. They may blaspheme or use foul language. One will hear every manner of foolishness coming from the lips of these people, but never will one hear the transcendental vibration of Hare Krishna. Surrounded by such people, one might decrease one’s chanting or otherwise be harmed in body and spirit. So it is crucial that devotees have the opportunity to associate with other devotees as they prepare to leave this world.

The final aspect of the devotee’s life to consider is sankirtana, the chanting and hearing of the holy names. The regular chanting and hearing of the transcendental vibration of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the supreme method of attaining Krishna consciousness in this age of Kali. The benefits are legion. For example, Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.14) tells us that “Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krishna, which is feared by fear personified,” and in The Nectar of Devotion (Chapter 2), Srila Prabhupada quotes Shukadeva Goswami’s advice to King Parikshit: “My dear King, if you want to be fearless in meeting your death next week (for actually everyone is afraid at the point of death), then you must immediately begin the process of hearing and chanting and remembering God.” (Bhagavatam 2.1.5) For this reason, sankirtana is perhaps even more important for the elderly. 

Diet, association, and sankirtana are crucial elements that will allow the elderly to accept aging without lamentation and accept death without fear. They will allow the devotee to live a healthier, happier, and more meaningful life right up to the moment of death. Unfortunately, many elderly devotees, being in traditional care facilities, are being denied these. This is why it is so important that Krishna conscious retirement homes and hospices be constructed. Once they’re established, the elderly devotee in need of care will receive nourishing prasadam while surrounded by other devotees engaged in the service of Krishna. 

Endorsements and Volunteers

In addition to the primary goal of establishing care facilities, the Vedic Care Charitable Trust runs a website (www.vediccare.org) that is useful to those needing service and those who want to help. Plans and success stories can be found there, as well as a library of Krishna conscious literature and the VCC journal, The Vedic Times. The outreach care programs allow volunteers to visit shut-ins and those in care facilities to share shastra readings, kirtana, and prasadam. In this way those like Manisha who need association and care before the VCC facilities are established can still have access to it. 

Many devotees have endorsed and applauded the efforts of the VCC. GBC member Guru Prasada Swami said, “I fully and wholly endorse this most wonderful effort to serve Vaishnavas. In the beginning of the Srimad-Bhagavatam it states unequivocally that service to the Vaishnavas is the key to performing bhakti.” 

GBC executive committee member Yadunandana Swami concurs. “Service to the Vaishnavas is the highest religious principle, the offering that pleases the Lord the most.” 

Ambarisha Dasa many have best explained the need for what the VCC offers: “Many devotees from around the world have sacrificed their lives and well-being to give the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai to people everywhere. There must be a place for them at the end of life where they can be cared for in a Krishna conscious environment.” 

Prabhupada taught the principle dasa anudasa: “[I am] the servant of the servant.” The Vedic Care Charitable Trust is set up to be the servant of Krishna’s servants. Its work is a crucial form of devotional service. It will continue, and the more devotees who join its cause, the more work can be accomplished. 

Readers interested in learning more or getting involved may visit the VCC website: www.vediccare.org.

Yet We Go On

By Gurudas:

In thanks to the volunteers of the Vedic Care Cooperative

YET WE GO ON.

We have a simple vision
To care for one another

It is a challenge
In the mist of apathy
Injustice
Attacks
Complacency

Yet we go on.

The adversity to be compassionate
in this advancing world of Kali Yuga
Is the most blatant
Non act

If you’re not part of the solution,
you’re part of the problem
Now even more Quarells,
War

Crudeness and rudeness
Of so called world leaders
Injustice
Crooked politics

Decreasing rainforests
One football field a second
Loss natural medicine

Global warming

and apathy to Mother Bhumi (Earth)

in the midst of all of this

We as a empathetic group:
The Vedic Care Coperative VCC
We still care
and
Yet we go on

Whilst we continue to care and triaj for many
On little money
We volunteer our time
Expertise,
Wisdom
Experience
Compassion
Because we care.’

True Vaishnavas giving all
for love of Radha Krishna and Gurus

Yet we go on.

We have endured
Burning vehicles
Loss of jobs
Prejudice
And being taken advantage of by
Greedy insensitive
Demons

We have endured
Jail time and separation from family
having only one orange
That tasted like a feast in 16 hours
And the only thing left when stripped of dignity and country
Was faith in Radha Krishna and the holy names

and we come out stronger,
and we have endured
Personal health injuries
Being misunderstood
And vilification
And more apathy
until you all get older and sick

And yet we go……

The VCC

And we will continue to go on

WHAT IS KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS?

By Ananta Sesa Dasa

The Vedic Care Charitable Trust follows the principles of Vaishanavism. Many supporters of the VCC are well versed in Krishna Consciousness; however, since the VCC welcomes every spiritual seeker, it seems appropriate to take a bit of time to discuss the history and philosophy of the movement.


History
Krishna Consciousness is our original spiritual understanding, which means that its history is actually as old as the universe. However, we will start the history a little more recently.

The Vedic culture (Veda means sacred knowledge) began in India over 5000 years ago. This culture is so named because of it’s spiritual and ritualistic adherence to the Vedas. The four Vedas (Rg-veda, Sama-veda, Atharva-veda, and Yajur-veda) were delivered to the people of India by Vyasadeva in order to make this most ancient wisdom available to all. The Vedas are very technical and difficult for the common person to understand, so other writings were brought into being as a way of bringing wisdom and truth to the less intelligent of society. These works were the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Contained within the Mahabharata is the Bhagavad-Gita, considered by many to be the Bible of the Hindus, but of course, it is really the Bible of humanity.

The Bhagavad-Gita tells the story of a conversation held between the great warrior, Arjuna, and Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personification of the Godhead. Taking the role of guru, or spiritual coach, Krishna carefully guides Arjuna towards spiritual awakening and full knowledge. This text is left as humanity’s instruction manual. Its teachings are simple and to the point, but sadly, human ego drove some to abandon the true message of Krishna Consciousness, and instead to manipulate it to serve their own sense gratification for power and wealth.

Because of this corruption, Lord Krishna entered the world. This time, he appeared as a devotee of Krishna called Lord Caitanya (1486-1534). Caitanya fought against the corruption caused by ego and initiated a spiritual awakening through the sankirtan movement. The sankirtan movement, which is the chanting of the holy names, is the simplest method of reviving our dormant Krishna Consciousness.

The teachings of Lord Caitanya have been passed down from guru to initiate for the last 500 years, which brings us to the founder of Krishna Consciousness in the West, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada (1896-1977). Shortly before his death in 1933, Prabhupada’s teacher, Bhaktisiddhanta Swami, instructed him to bring this ancient knowledge to the West. Prabhupada was finally able to make this a reality in 1965.

Swami Prabhupada arrived in New York in the fall of 1965 virtually penniless, but he was able to set up a small store front temple at the former Matchless Gifts giftshop on 2nd Street. From there he began to chant, give teachings from the Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and other important scriptures. Very slowly people started to notice, listen, and begin to follow the teachings from this spiritual coach. As the 60s moved on, and with the help of some prominent figures such as Allen Ginsberg and George Harrison, the movement grew in popularity and attracted many followers. (It attracted our own Gurudas in 1967).

During the final years of his life, Prabhupada travelled around the world 14 times and wrote over 50 books. He worked tirelessly to make Krishna Consciousness the world-wide movement that it is today.


Philosophy
The basic philosophy of Krishna Consciousness begins with the idea that we are not the physical bodies that we believe we are. Material conditioning has made us accept many falsehoods. Instead, we are spirit soul, which is part and parcel of Krishna.
In the beginning, humans existed in their original constitutional position, as the appendages of God. There was no sense of ego or desire to become anything more. We simply served the Lord and fulfilled His Divine Will. However, as time went on, a false ego developed within humans. This ego insisted that mankind was not just an appendage of God, but rather was its own person. With that mentality, desire for sense gratification developed and grew.
The created world had so many allurements, beauty, sex, wealth, power, entertainments, and so forth, that humanity forgot its true nature. As a result, we spent our time seeking these allurements and trying to find happiness within them. Of course, this is impossible. Any happiness found in this world is temporary, and when it is gone, it leaves a gap that brings misery. Suffering is the common state of existence for one who has forgotten one’s true nature.
True happiness can only be found in the eternal, which means letting go of all our temporary attachments and surrendering to Krishna. By doing so, we may return to our original constitutional positions as servitors of the Lord and find genuine happiness through that service. But how do we do this?

Lord Caitanya taught that the easiest method for reviving our dormant Krishna Consciousness, our love of Krishna and understanding of our true self, was through the chanting of the Holy Names of God. Within the Vedic traditions, the name of God, the image of God, or anything else associated with God is identical to God. So, when we chant the names of God, we are bringing Him into our presence.


The greatest desire of humanity is to see and know God. “I really want to see you Lord,” George Harrison sang in My Sweet Lord. There is a great deal of doubt and skeptism in this world about the existence of God, even from so-called believers. Like Doubting Thomas, they want proof, but it seems no proof is forthcoming. Another line from Harrison; however, says “it won’t take long my Lord”. This is acknowledgement that if one begins the process of chanting the Holy Names that one will quickly experience God and have the proof that is desired. One will soon be in the presence of God.

The Maha-Mantra
The chanting that Lord Caitanya spoke of is called the Maha-Mantra (the Great Mantra). It is comprised of three of the names of God: Hare, Krishna, and Rama.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

Hare is the spiritual energy of God, and also represents the feminine aspect of the divine as Radha. Krishna, a name that implies universal attraction, is the Supreme Personification of the Godhead. Rama, who entered the world in human form, is the supreme enjoyer. It is through Him that we find true happiness. (Readers from a Christian background may find a strong similarity to the Trinity. Krishna would equate to God the Father, Rama to God the Son, and Hare as the Holy Spirit.)

Lord Caitanya taught that a devotee of Krishna should chant this mantra on a string of japa beads (similar to a rosary). The string contains 108 beads, and one chants the mantra once on each bead. After 108 times, one round of japa is completed. Caitanya advised that one should chant 64 rounds each day. In this way, the mind would constantly be focused upon Krishna to the exclusion of everything else. Recent spiritual guides, such as Srila Prabhupada, have lessened the number to 16 rounds per day due to the pressures and duties of modern life.

The key point is to ensure that one is constantly thinking of Krishna. The process of Bhakti-yoga requires that one offer devotional service to the Lord with love. So, one’s actions should be directed toward the service of the Lord and one should always be thinking of the Lord. In this way, one will remember and regain one’s original position as servitor of the Lord, and not be bothered by suffering from the illusions of the material world.

For the Tour please go to www.Gurudas108.com

Love, Medicine, and Music: The Flipside of the Sixties

An Evening with Gurudas Prabhu 2018

Dear Devotees and Readers,

Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thinking back to the evening, amid the music and the stories, and the sense of shared space and warmth that comes with gatherings such as this, one quote from Gurudas Prabhu has remained with me above the others, “We have family, now we need community.”

In some ways the sentiment might be baffling.  What is a community if not a kind of family?  Yet, as Gurudas Prabhu spoke on a time gradually fewer will be able to remember, fondly wearing the hat of his beloved Guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I began to understand.

Much like today in many ways, 1960’s America was nothing if not a time of change.  Revolution followed revolution as a disenfranchised youth sought change and reformation in every place that offered it, and some, like Gurudas Prabhu, sought a spiritual revolution, a revolution of the heart through a radical decision to be happy without everything American consumerism told people they needed.

Many encountering what came to be known as the “Hare Krishna Movement,” or Gaudiya Vaishnavism in non-colloquial terms, had families, but family, like many people find, isn’t always the same as community, isn’t always the same as a group of people from different backgrounds and experiences choosing to be with each other out of love rather than obligation.

As Gurudas Prabhu told stories and shared memories of meeting the Beatles, his friendship with George Harrison, and his personal relationship with His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, what stood out was his gentle love and affection for everyone he spoke of.  In a time when practitioners were being kidnapped off the streets to be held by the police or their families, coming from a background of social and civil activism, Gurudas Prabhu seemed to have never hardened, instead telling story after story of how Bhakti Yoga became revolutionary to so many, as Srila Prabhupada taught his clumsy and heartfelt disciples that in Bhakti Yoga there would be no difference between the men and women, no value to be put on class or race, that to be gentle with themselves and to learn was enough.

With shining eyes, as he discussed his early memories, Gurudas Prabhu said, “don’t beat yourself up—do things sincerely.  We are children.” When many find it easy to stress the aspects of discipline or austerity in a practice, the urge to put rules above affection, Gurudas Prabhu painted a unique picture of the social stresses of the time through a distinctly personal lens, that allowed no room for distancing the people of the 1960s from the social and historical personalities it’s viewed through now.  Because for Gurudas Prabhu, as he recalled his friends, his journey, and his guru, what he shared were memories and all that comes with them, rather than a speech or a lesson.

As we closed the evening with more kirtan and food, everyone sought to make sure Gurudas Prabhu received his refreshments first.  Yet as other students and myself sat on the floor to sing more kirtan while food was being served, Gurudas Prabhu held a pair of kartals with great care and seated himself on the floor with the rest of us, food temporarily forgotten as he sang with all of us, his smiling face that of a joyful youth.

A man who learned that the permission to be happy and serve the ones you love was a revolution to last generations, carried on the back of a gentle Swami from Kolkata to California, to meet Gurudas Prabhu and so many others as they were.  “We are children”, he said.  “Just do things sincerely.”

Thank you so much to ASSG, SOAC, and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and everyone from CSI who helped out for sponsoring this experience and allowing this event to be possible, and thank you, most sincerely, to Gurudas Prabhu himself.  The evening you gave to our campus and our humble club was an experience as valuable as it was special, and truly an evening to be cherished beyond all words.  Being able to share these aspects of Bhakti Yoga with the CU Boulder community was an honor made possible by all of you.

Sincerely with Affection,
Your Servants,
Panchali Walford & The CU Boulder Bhakti Yoga Club

To order Gurudas’ books, click here.

Peace is preferable to War

San Franscisco, June 2nd, 2018.

After 50 years of service to Krishna and Prabhupad I am saddened by the divisiveness of his family.

I am tired of the sectarianism, that separates rather then unites us.
We can do so much if we cooperate with the principals that Prabhupad gave us.

There are so many devotees feeling alone and apart. These schisms are based on adopting body consciousness which boxes people into surface identities that separates us.

Krishna’s variety encourages celebrating our differences rather than hating the unknown… This is counterproductive and not Vedic, which encourages sanatan dharma,  which transcends and supersedes this mundane thinking.

When so many people are trying to serve Krishna but in slightly different ways, instead of conflict on the mental platform, we can cooperate better. In other words, why can’t we get along?

We started as a growing family and helped Prabhupad and yes we grew because Krishna blessed our endeavors. We grew on the simple principal – das and das and “love and trust”.

As we grew like all movements and groups, some get titles, property wealth, false adoration, e.g. power. These hard hearted devotees take advantage of the soft hearted adherents. Many over the years have ignored our principals, so much so that changes were made to Prabhupad’s words, ideals and plans.

The soft hearted ones are true bhaktas and bhaktis as we were devotees and not business people per se. Of course all types are needed, but the merchant Vaisha types took advantage of the simple Brahmin devotees.

So I have seen this phenomena before: The beginning zeal and idealism tarnish into complacency and power struggles based on the ego false separations; but even the Bhagavad Gita started on a battle field, so it is under Krishna’s purview and these quarrels are material nature. But we could and should know better.

Prabhupad was our example on good manners and good management.

So I am sadden by so many mistakes and even insidious acts over the years, a far cry from Vaishnava ethics and behavior. Yet we have evolved and despite the mistakes, the broken marriages, the mistreatment of woman, children and men… Yes, also impersonalism in the guise of personalism and complacency.

Yet we have started farms, restaurant and schools, etc etc. etc. and grew in spite of a somewhat dysfunctional family, we are. We have grown. And as I travel around the world, I see great hope for our movement and our future. And any movement is made up of individuals. E.G: The army uniform and the person in the army are different. People and governments etc.

So we devotees, as individuals have rebelled against bad behavior, and carried on our Sadhana practices, which transcends sectarianism; we persevere through troubled waters, resolute in purpose, Bhakti Yoga or Love for Radha and Krishna; Our unified goal. And if we love them, then we can love others here on this planet, seeing into hearts and souls rather then dwelling on surface bodily perceptions.

So many devotees have left the ashrams and communities and forged ahead on their own. It is challenging to be transcendent of the material world (as we know better) when we are in the midst of nescience.

That is why community is important.

And yes, we have grown and yes, started so may projects including planetariums, but neglected one thing and that is devotee care.
So I started the idea and some very sincere souls coalesced together to help me actually begin to care by identifying those devotees who are isolated and poor and neglected – after years of service – by the insensitive authorities.

So by Krishna’s, Radarani’s,  Prabhupad’s  and Bhakti Tirtha Swami’s blessings and empowerment I started out. Planting the message of devotee care. Aradhana Devi Dasi, a once successful model and actress reached out to become our C.E.O. and together we formed the Vedic Care Charity.

We have ambassadors and well wishers all over the world, and we’re grateful. We have many amazing carers and doctors,  we’ve a few competent Administrators, and Matthew J. Morreale is our office affairs assistant.

But even today as we are helping people, we are mistrusted and sometimes attacked or more often, met with complacent interaction waiting for each other to support us.
Lots of lip service but few real supporters.
I believe in deeds not words.
So we are caring for people today, when many devotees who have served for many years are neglected and are kicked out of the temples, put out to pasture or thrown on the garbage heap of callous society,  alone,  and afraid.

We at the V.C.C., are here for you!

We have trained professionals who are doing out-reach now. Caitania Priya dd and Chaitanya Swarup das are caring personally and running our medical front: and with Rama Narashima das (UK), Mathura Lila (Canada), Devaki dd &  Stritama dasi  (Florida),  Bhagavati dd (Belgium), Prashanti dasi (Texas), Ram Tulasi das &  Ananda Shakti dd (Oregon),  Gopaswami das & Krishna Caranaravinda dd (France), Jaya Krishna das (Florida), Vasanta das (California), Heather Holman (Arizona) and Bhakti das (NY);  they are all carers or trained counselors facilitating this project.

We’ve helped fifty devotees in great need in the past two years alone, some for much longer. To mention a few: Mahananda das (ACBSP), Krsna Pryia dd, Caruhasa dasa (ACBSP)Mahaksha das (ACBSP), Ishan Chaitanya das, Bhakti Vasudeva Swami (Iskcon), Manohara dd, Jatayu das (ACBSP) and many more who prefer not to be mentioned.

Now we are working towards our first retirement village and care facility in Sedona, Arizona.

Please come to our seminars and please donate your time or funds (Lakxmi).

Thank you very much,