JAYAPATAKA SWAMI - CARES FOR OTHERS WHILE BEING CARED FOR AT THE ICU
By Mathura Lilesvari Devi dasi
As many of you may know, on the morning of May 10th, 2015, HH Jayapataka Swami was found having severe breathing difficulties and was rushed from Mayapur to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital in Kolkata. After spending a few days there, his lung infection and severe liver weakness were showing no sustainable signs of improvement. With his health condition deteriorating at an alarming rate combined with Jayapataka Swami’s senior consulting doctor’s recommendation, he was airlifted on the 14th of May to Delhi’s specialized liver hospital by an emergency ICU air ambulance. Since then, he has been staying in the ICU of the given hospital.
Although at different times, Jayapataka Swami has been in extremely critical health situations throughout the past 12 days, by Krsna’s mercy there are signs of recovery. He has had significant difficulties in getting his breathing pattern back to normal after having the breathing device removed, but fortunately in the last two days his breathing is gradually improving. After every few words, Jayapataka Swami’s body requires him to take deep breaths. Physically, he looks very fragile and weak since for all the last 12 days he has been fasting, receiving only liquid nutrition.
In the midst of these external discomforts, Jayapataka Swami is mentally very alert and conscious. There is a clicker with a Tulasi bead in his left hand and he is chanting constantly throughout the day and night. Srila Prabhupada’s chanting is constantly playing by his bedside. While undergoing such unimaginable conditions, it is a wonder how he is inspiring and caring for others. Read on to find out just how he does it.
Kolkatta Hospital, 12th May 2015
12:00 PM: While I was sitting with the other caregivers on the sixth floor of the hospital we felt a strong tremor, which lasted for around 35 seconds. We came out of the room and saw that there were people panicking. Many started running downstairs to evacuate the building. We rushed down to the Critical Care Unit (CCU) located on the first floor where Jayapataka Swami had been admitted. We told him, “It looks like there was another earthquake in Nepal.” Immediately, Jayapataka Swami replied, “Find out how the devotees are doing and if there are damages in ISKCON properties.”
Delhi Hospital, 21st May 2015
9:00 AM: Today, I walked into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and there was a group of attending doctors and nurses who were having a discussion on Jayapataka Swami’s further treatment plan. Just then, Jayapataka Swami saw me and I understood that he was trying to say something from under the large and extremely uncomfortable respiratory mask, which was practically covering his entire face, except for his eyes. I told Jayapataka Swami that the doctors strictly advised him not to speak and to only concentrate on his breathing. “Take a deep breath” I said. “There are many devotees outside the ICU who are there for you, doing all their best to get you back to normal. There are also thousands and thousands of devotees praying for you daily and many senior disciples are outside.” As soon as I mentioned this, he responded in a very fragile voice, “Make sure they get good prasadam and accommodation, and also get some prasadam for all these doctors and nurses.”
Delhi Hospital, 22nd May 2015
7:00 PM: This evening, while I was in the midst of a meeting with some devotees in the hospital cafeteria I received a call from the devotee doctor who was next to Jayapataka Swami at that moment in the ICU. He was saying that Jayapataka Swami wanted someone to read the 15th Chapter of Bhagavad Gita to the patient next to him who was about to leave the body. The same devotee doctor told me to please bring the Bhagavad Gita and read it for the patient who was about to go. Srila Prabhupada’s Mahamantra chanting machine was given to this patient and the Bhagavad Gita was read to him by one of Jayapataka Swami’s disciples.
8:30 PM: The same devotee doctor called me again and said that Jayapataka Swami, after 11 days, is going to sit on a chair. He said, “He is feeling much better now but he is still working on bringing back his breathing pattern to normal. So now, he is saying to bring counting clickers which should be given out to the doctors and nurses for them to start chanting.”
9:00 PM: I went back to my room, took a shower and freshened up.
10:10 PM: I entered the ICU and Iksvaku Prabhu was standing in front of Jayapataka Swami along with a male nurse. Jayapataka Swami was adjusting his head to see me from his bed. I noticed that he was trying to say something. Since his voice was still very fragile and as he was connected to many tubes and monitors, I went very close to him to hear what he wanted to say. “I was just praying to the deities to bless you” said Jayapataka Swami. Immediately, my eyes welled up with tears. I controlled my emotions. I couldn’t help but think just how magnificent this personality is.
Here is a person who is literally fighting a war, trying to recover. Here is a person lying on an ICU bed, having multiple tubes connected all over his body, going through difficulty after difficulty, unimaginable physical pain and struggling, being in such a critical condition. His every next breath is an extremely concerted effort. Yet, he is thinking about prasadam arrangements for the devotees and the doctors. He is thinking about how to save a patient who is about to leave the body. He is giving out clickers to doctors and nurses, instructing the caregivers to teach them how to chant. He is selflessly praying for others. Despite his own pitiable health situation, Jayapataka Swami is only caring about the welfare of others. The entire community of this specialized hospital in Delhi is enquiring about Jayapataka Swami. From the admissions counter staff, to the security guards, and even to the cashiers, everyone is asking, “How is Swamiji?” One hospital staff expressed how he had a dream in which devotees came and encouraged him to read the Bhagavad Gita; today, he received his copy from us. Jayapataka Swami’s constant care and magnanimity for saving conditioned souls despite the practically unbearable external discomforts that he is going through, is an unmistakably clear testament to his unconditional surrender to Srila Prabhupada.
We want to thank the devotees from around the world for their care through prayers, yagnas, kirtans, chanting, and all around devotional services rendered. Please maintain and increase your intense prayers for Jayapataka Swami. All glories to Srila Prabhupada who has given us many commanders, one of whom is Jayapataka Swami, who are inspiring ISKCON and devotees worldwide. Thank you again for all your prayers and for your genuine care.
(From the diary of Maha Varaha Das)