More About Gulab Kali's Leaving
Posted April 15, 2006
Gulab Kali got a foot infection during the last Gaura Purnima festival, which at first did not seem to be too big a deal, and likely curable. But it grew into a bigger and bigger problem over the next month, as her other feet also started to get infected.
On February 30 at 2 a.m. she fell down in her shed, not being able to tolerate the pain of standing on her hurting feet any more. Once an elephant lies down, they usually don't get up again. She tried; she really, really tried.
I cannot write all the details. She left her body before my eyes, and this scene is still in my mind very strongly -- with her eyes that had life a second earlier, and next second became empty.
There are devotees who put a lot of energy in trying to keep her alive. Those devotees wanting more details of her departure can contact Ramadevi and Ganga prabhus. We will also try after a little while to put together an article for Mayapur Katha of devotee experiences: Ramadevi.ACBSP@pamho.net or Ganga.JPS@pamho.net.
Ramadevi prabhu was with Gulab every day in her last days. She was
dressing Gulab's wounds and sores and was keeping busy trying to help
Gulab in many ways, as well as in trying to organise others who wanted
to do something for Gulab.
Nanda Krishna prabhu, our Goshala veterinary doctor, went through quite a lot of strain and anxiety, too. He had to perform Gulab's autopsy, which the government of India requires for elephants, just as much as for humans.
Gaura Hari prabhu, the Goshala in-charge, despite being very busy, was around Gulab a lot, to help with last arrangements. He was very respectful and caring for Gulab.
Many devotees came and helped and chanted and fanned Gulab. Her burial place is right next to her shed, on another side of the path running behind the shed, near Srila Prabhupada's samadhi. The back wall of the shed had to be partially demolished to get her body into the ground, with the help of a tractor and pulleys.
For future reference and, I hope, to contribute to improved care for any future elephants, I made numerous photos of Gulab's last days. Elephants especially require ample water to drink and bathe. Devotees who wish to care for elephants also need to be educated as to what is the best food and what to do if an elephant gets sick. I can't look at these photos now. I am in her empty shed today -- her aroma is still there.
Photographs Copyright 2006 by Vrindavan Lila dasi
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