A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI
International Society For Krishna Consciousness
CENTER: Hare Krishna Land,
Gandhi Gram Road,
Juhu, Bombay 54, INDIA
April 5, 1974
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter, undated, and I have noted the contents.
Your write that our society should provide some medical facility, insurance or personnel to handle devotees who become chronically ill and thus ostracized from our society. Of course this kind of management of affairs is better handled by the GBC which I have created for this purpose, I cannot be expected to handle problems of this sort while at the same time writing my books.
First of all, there is not question of a devotee becoming ostracized because he has become ill, nor do I think this is being widely practiced. Who has been ostracized? One of the symptoms of a devotee is that he is kind, so if our Godbrother becomes ill it is our duty to help him get the proper medicine and treatment so that he can recover. Recently our Giriraja became chronically ill in India and had to return to the U.S. for proper medical treatment. There, in our Los Angeles center, he was given his own room, and was able to recuperate comfortably, and now he has returned to his full duties in Bombay. Now Tamal Krsna Goswami has just had a successful hernia operation which was arranged free of charge at one of the most modern hospitals, and there is also a girl devotee undergoing operation there also. Tamal Krsna is now living in a room at our temple; the devotees see that he gets all facility, a hospital bed, proper prasadam, and personal care and visiting. So there is no question of ill treating of our own Godbrothers simply because they are sick, nor should you allow such neglect to go on. So long we have this material body there will be sickness, but we have to remain on the transcendental platform nevertheless.
As far as a centralized medical plan for the whole society, no such plan or facility or insurance has seemed practical as yet. The best thing is to work it out locally, try to find the services of a free medical facility in Seattle, or some way that sick devotees can be cared for; that is your responsibility. I think further questions of this sort can be handled by the GBC.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
400 18th Aven E. Seattle, Wash. 98112