Posted October 9, 2007
Sri Vrndavana Dhama
Please note the following...
Hari Bol Devotees all over the world....Pamho and may we always find a way to see the glories of our dear Srila Prabhupada in whatever we do, say, offer and give away.
I don't know if you have ever had the great fortune of meeting Ragatmika devi and Karnapur das, two very old and dear disciples of our Srila Prabhupada. Karnapur was the first TP of New Jersey ISKCON temple back in 1971, and has faithfully served as Prabhupada's accountant in several temples, mainly in Los Angeles. Prabhupada personally told him, "Account for every penny coming in and going out...this is accounting for Krsna!" Karnapur is the personification of a humble and sincere devotee. He has attended mangal arati for 35 years, 16 rounds daily and the 4 regulative principles strictly. This is not an ordinary accomplishment!
I had the great fortune of distributing Prabhupada's Books with Ragatmika in many US Airports, specifically the Anchorage, Alaska Airport, when the famous pipleline was being built, The "pipeliners" and military men were giving us "Bhakta Bens":) (100 dollar bills) like they were "Bhakta Washingtons" (ones) or "Bhakta Lincolns"...(fives) (For humor, we used to refer to Laksmidevi in this way:)
So intent was Ragatmika to distribute Prabhupada's Books to any soul who stopped, that she would work 12-15 hrs daily, although the vericose veins in her legs would be popping out! She would walk around the airport, singing bhajans and many times she would have a crowd around her, all wanting to give a donation for what she was representing! We also established a smalll preaching center there, and for many months, we collected a ton of Laksmi for the BBT and Prabhupada's Palace, distributing cases and cases of SB's and GITAS.
We also fed a lot of eskimos, American Indians and military men a Sunday Feast each week:) with Ragatmika's famous strawberry malpuras and my not so famous halavah and poopcorn:) It was really the ole pioneering days, and to this day, Ragatmika has never given up distributing Prabhupada's Books. In Sri Mayapura Dhama, where her family has been living for 2 years, she daily distributes Prabhupada's Books in Prabhupada's Samadhi to the bus loads of tourists!
Ragatmika devi is so saintly, that she is always playing down her physical challenges. She was actually a Catholic nun before she became a devotee, and her close friends have given her the nick name of "Mother Superior":) (as she looks and behaves like a saintly person). She is extremely conscious of speaking about SRILA PRABHUPADA and KRSNA, inspiring others to do the same. Because of her devout faith in Prabhupada's Process, she finds great pleasure in serving the devotees.
You may remember in the BTG, about a decade/half ago, the story of her pre-mature son, Nitai pran das, who subsequently left his body in an incubator, that looked like a temple from the inside of the 4 glass walls. Ragatmika had installed a tiny tape-recorder, playing Srila Prabhupada chanting Hare Krsna 24/7. She enthused and impressed the staff of Cedar Senai Hosp in Los Angeles to the degree that the nurses felt it was "their service" to keep Prabhupada singing at all times. The nurses and Drs were completely stunned by her vibrant sincerity and dedication, as they discussed amongst themselves "the tall Hare Krsna lady" who was coming daily to read Srimad Bhagavatam to her dying son Nitai Pran, and preach to him! Ragatmika enlivened the entire staff on that floor of "the premies"....to chant Hare Krsna, hear Krsna's Pastimes and daily she would bring them maha-prasad. The attending nurses said the baby was living just to hear Krsna's Names from Mother Ragatmika! Nitai pran das was only to live in this material world for 6 months. The entire staff on that ward attended the ceremony that followed his departure and devotees were astounded to see the photos later. The boy had a distinct similarity to the profile of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura!
Ragatmika served faithfullly in New Dwarka for decades, dressing Sri Sri Rukmini and Dwarkadish, preaching to the guests, and of course, distributing Srila Prabhupada's Books!
Yesterday, she sent me the following letter from Bhaktivedanta Hospital. I felt we should post it, so that devotees can contribute to her operation. She and her husband have no money and now they have no home. They have faithfully served ISKCON for over 35 years, so now it is our turn to give back, if i may be so bold as to pray out loud like this.
An excerpt of her letter:
Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Upon arriving at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai on Sept. 27, my husband, son and I underwent a comprehensive health check-up. My husband and son are in fine health, although my tests revealed two large cists, one attached to each ovary, as well as numerous lesions on the liver. Surgery is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 8 at 2:30 pm.
A Gyn doctor and an octologist will conduct the procedure which will include a hysterectomy, removal of ovaries and an exploratory to obtain samples of lymph gland, etc. in order to test for cancer. There are least 7 members in my biological family that have died from cancer, so the Drs feel the operation is a necessity, given my age and symptoms. The hospital CARE dept. has kindly sent out an appeal to their congregational members for financial assistance in covering my tests and surgery bills.
In addition to this news, we also just received news yesterday from the devotee we're renting the flat from in Mayapur (for the past two years) that he wants to move into it by January 1st. With the flood happening in Mayapur now and our being in Mumbai for some undetermined period, it is difficult for us to search for another residence right now.
(If there are any owners of Mayapura flats that would consider renting to them, please contact them immediately.)
To add to the above events, our visas call for the customary exit (every six months) from India over the Nepal border by the beginning of November. Hopefully, we can extend our visa with the help of a medical waver letter. All in all, we are accepting all of these events as Krsna's mercy, even though we can't say how the Lord's plan will unfold in our lives. In this hour of need we are humbly requesting from you.... our friends, assembled devotees, and well-wishers, your blessings and prayers that we can remember Krsna always and accept, in fact embrace, whatever unfolds as purely His mercy.
May we always chant His Names in such a helpless mood. Be assured we are receiving most loving care from the exceptional devotees in Mumbai, even to the extent that Narada Muni (their adopted son who was found in a dumpster!) will be able to attend Gopal's Garden, an exclusively devotee school, three stories high, not far from the hospital for the duration of my recovery period. We have been given a guest room in the hospital, although I'll be officially admitted on Sunday and move into a semi-private room until after a week's recovery period.
The number of the hospital and our guest room is (022) 2845 9888 or (022) 2845 0215 , Ext. 2542.
Thank you for your cherished friendship, your servant and friend,
My dear friends and devotee family, If you have been blessed with the financial means in this lifetime, please kindly donate to Ragatmika's medical emergency.
You can send by Western Union. Also, on Monday, in your respective homes and temples, if you would please offer some puja and prayers to Lord Nrsmhadev and all our Lords for her successful surgery and speedy recovery. Thank you so very much for your generosity and seva to this exceptional, faithful disciple and chaste daughter of Srila Prabhupada.
Ys Mahadevi dasi