Some of the top searches in Google are -
Can science prove God? God vs Doctors. Temple vs Hospitals. Any Scientific Evidence of the Existence of Krishna? Does Krishna exist? Is Krishna God?
The last few days in our life were again so orchestrated that we realized few glimpses of an answer to all these questions.
Last time we had shared my uncle's episode in an article ( A Witness To The Mercy ), and had received many responses through comments, emails, or personally - that it was very inspiring and motivating. This time we again attempt to present the incidents that occurred in our lives through my father - a few days back.
We would again like to humbly present the events chronologically, as a witness to the mercy, without any mishandling of facts.
My father, Sri Subhas Kumar Mukherjee, is a very simple-hearted man - a proper householder - taking care of his family. His life and thoughts revolve around the people he considers his loved ones. He had focused his life mostly on education and earning livelihood for his family. Thoughts about spiritual quest didn't cross his mind earlier. In fact, he used to think these were impracticalities.
After we got connected with ISKCON, the topics of Krishna Consciousness were actively discussed in our family. But his mood was always against Krishna Consciousness. However, when my uncle was in his last phase of life, the evident mercies & protections of Sri Narasimha Dev inspired him to start chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Especially when devotees from ISKCON Jamshedpur performed special Kirtan & recited 108 names of Narasimha Dev in our home, we could see a positive change in my father.
We may say his journey in Krishna Consciousness began from that day. Today he is chanting 12 rounds of Maha Mantra daily. He is following the four regulations which are the pillars of any civilized human life - (1) No Non-Vegetarian diet (still reluctantly), (2) No Intoxication, (3) No Gambling and (4) No Illicit Relation.
The reason for introducing my father is to make it very clear - he is just a simple jiva - not yet a seasoned Vaishnava devotee. He still is struggling with his conditioned life like most of us.
My father had a habit of walking to and back from Dimna Lake every morning. Dimna Lake is approximately 4 Kms from our home. In the month of October 2021, my father observed a slight pain in his chest when he was out for a morning walk. November 2021 as a part of a full-body check-up, we tried to get all medical tests done for him. All the tests came out fine and doctors assured him that he is having a healthy heart and nothing to be worried about. However, in case of any doubts, the doctor suggested, going for an Angiography test.
In Feb 2022, my father was complaining that he was getting tired after walking for some distance. We didn't take that too seriously, as we thought maybe it is due to his age (he turned 71 in 2022). However, we told him to get a thorough check-up done by some reputed doctors in Kolkata.
March 2022, while returning from the bank (less than 1 Km from home), he felt short of breath. He was feeling so much difficulty that he couldn't walk to our home which was only about 100m far. He sat on the floor of a nearby shop. Later he had to request someone to drop him home on a bike. He didn't tell us this whole story. He simply called us and said he wanted to visit Kolkata for Angiography.
7 March 2022
Both my parents visited TMH - Tata Main Hospital - for their regular check-ups. During that check-up, my father reported the incident of shortness of breath. Doctors checked his blood pressure and pulse. They found the pressure was a bit high but the pulse was 45. They immediately advised an ECG test. However, they couldn't identify anything significant from the ECG. But concerned about his low pulse, they advised him to get admitted for a thorough check-up.
It was approximately 02:00 PM, we were in the temple when my father called and informed me - " Doctors are asking me to get admitted immediately." I tried to give him moral support and assured him that I will be reaching Jamshedpur at the earliest. I had a call with the doctor to understand the situation better. He said - " there seems a blockage in the heart and the situation is extremely critical."
Our beloved Siksha guru, spiritual mentor, and guide, HG Vallabh Chaitanya Prabhuji, immediately gave us Sri Sri Radha Govind ji's Maha Garland.
We boarded the 05:25 PM train to Jamshedpur. Throughout the journey, we were chanting Hare Krishna Maha Mantra and reciting Narasimha Kavach Mantra. After reaching Tatanagar, I went straight to the hospital as I was planning to stay with him in the ward until he was getting discharged.
Father seemed healthy and normal. He was talking sense and gossiping with other patients. I saw a bedside table next to every patient and a small file where the nurses used to make notes about the treatment. There I could see that doctors had taken blood samples for various tests, taken chest X-Ray, ECGs, etc.
The next day, 8th March, my father was taken for an Ecocardiogram test. Later on, a doctor came and examined the blood reports, X-Ray reports, and ECO reports and said - "Everything seems normal. There seems to be an infection in the chest. We will be giving some medication and this should be sorted. However, regarding pulse rate, we need to go for tests like TMT, DSE and based on these reports we would consider performing Angiography".
That day, my father's pulse again dropped to 51. When we reported this to the doctor, he asked us to get all the previous history of reports. Examining those reports, the doctor advised to directly go for Angiography for confirmation.
However, he said - "All the current and historical reports seem normal, so we are certain there is no problem with your heart. Based on your condition and symptoms - you don't need to go for a holter also. However just to be double sure, we would be performing an Angiography test. We are sure that we would get nothing from that as well. So we have a strong conviction - that all you need is a lifestyle modification, a few breathing exercises, pranayama, etc."
10th March, after the Angiography test, the doctor called me inside to show the report. He confirmed there were no blockages in the heart. However, he said, my father's pulse had fallen to 44, and this time they could record & document the instance in an ECG. He tried his best to convey the graveness of the situation through a series of medical terms which I couldn't follow much. All I could remember is 2:1. He concluded by saying that my father needs a pacemaker immediately, as the pulse is dropping all of a sudden and may make him unconscious. He also discussed this case with his superior for a second opinion and got confirmation.
He then advised the ward boys and the nurses
(*) to immediately shift my father from the general ward to the CATH Lab ward
(*) keep him under 24 hours monitoring
(*) not to allow him to walk on his own even for toilet
(*) not to allow him to shift to the general ward without a Temporary Pacemaker.
It was clear that the situation is not very simple as it was seeming earlier. It was a situation where we were forced by the circumstances to make a decision that has a life risk.
Completing the formalities of payments and signing the declaration forms, all that we could do was chanting the Holy Names of The Lord - The Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. That was the first time we were forced by the situation to realize how helpless we are / were!
We had the money to buy a pacemaker, but, we didn't have the money enough to assure/guarantee a successful surgery.
When the time came and my father was being prepared for surgery, I gently rubbed Narasimha Dev Oil on him and silently prayed to Narasimha Dev. Soon he was taken inside the OT Room and we were sitting alone with beads in our hands chanting. Rusha recited Narasimha Kavach Mantra.
It was about 01:30 PM when the doctor came out from OT and confirmed the successful operation. He said it was a "very smooth operation" .
The sense of joy filled our hearts when we saw father coming out from OT, conscious and speaking sense. Today, he is discharged and is at home.
The Merciful Protection
As I was contemplating the series of events that had occurred - I realized how Narasimha Dev personally protected my father.
The incident of pulse dropping momentarily was so rare that it was never traced in an ECG earlier. Since my father didn’t have any complaints of severe chest pain, dizziness, unconsciousness, doctors were not ready to put a holter. All the tests like TMT, ECG, ECO, etc. came negative. The last confirmation test was Angiography to see if at all my father was having any heart problem. Even that came out negative. Based upon these tests the doctor might have ruled out any possible heart issue. Had it not been Krishna / Narasimha Dev triggering the situation during Angiography, where the pulse fell while it was simultaneously being tracked, the doctors might not have realized the necessity of a pacemaker. This could have proven fatal for my father.
We do not want to over speculate but maybe my father was destined to face such calamities but Krishna intervened.
Also, as the doctors mentioned post-surgery, the entire procedure went extremely smoothly. This was not possible without the grace of Krishna.
There was another extremely strong and funny reciprocation from Krishna. Before getting to it let us brief about our situation at home. After my uncle passed away, our home has become completely vegetarian rather prasadaterian (we eat only Krishna prasad). However, my father still is not convinced of this change. To make the situation worse, there is constant negative preaching by our relatives. Just like any ignorant person of Kaliyuga, bereft of true knowledge, they believe eating fish and flesh will ensure good health. One of them even remarked, my father had to get a pacemaker because he is not getting non-vegetarian food. sangat sanjayate kamah - our attachment develops based upon our association. Because of these kinds of ignorant associations and because my father doesn't have any quality associations of devotees, he is struggling with his determination in spiritual path.
Elevation is possible in Krishna Consciousness in the association of pure devotees who can deliver one from delusion.
So, when my father got admitted, he was asked to fill out a form of a questionnaire. One of the questions asked was about his diet - vegetarian or non-vegetarian and he had marked it Non-Vegetarian. Sometimes while trying to act smart, we attempt to out-smart the smartest - Krishna, but we forget the supreme controller is Krishna. Not even a blade of grass can move without His will. All the meals and snacks that were served to him for the entire 8 days in the hospital were vegetarian. On the 7th day, we saw he was given a sugar-restricted diet. So, we went to check if there were some medical observations found or was the restricted diet served by mistake. We were shown the patient wise diet-plan catalog. To our utter surprise, there it was marked "Vegetarian" next to my father's name!!!
Was it a typing mistake? Definitely not! It was the merciful protection of Krishna. Sometimes children want to do nonsense due to their immaturity or wrong association, but a responsible father holds him back. This is Krishna!
During these 8 days in the hospital ward and observing a few patients we had many experiences, which we would like to share.
Sometimes when we are lost in material life - tasting the occasional happiness, we miss realizing the harsh reality of life.
These 8 days in the hospital ward - watching the agony and suffering of so many patients & their family members, hearing the levels of complications of illness - anyone with a sane intelligence will get convinced that this world is duḥkhālayam - a place filled with miseries.
The sooner we get out of here the better for us. We sincerely pray may the memories & realizations stay alive in our hearts fresh enough, so that we may strive hard each day to get out of this filthy place of cries and sorrows to a place filled with bliss.
Calamities are means of surrender
All obstacles are the servants of the Lord. They are actually there, in order to purify and to uplift the Lord and uplift the mission of the Lord. That is why obstacles come.
[HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj]
The sudden change of event that occurred, was definitely a calamity/obstacle for our family. However, we understand it was a divine blessing. In these 8 days, our entire family members were engaged completely in Krishna Consciousness. We had no side talks, no prajalpa, whatever time we had, we were with our japa mala.
The happiest moment for us was to see my father. He used to wake up by 04:30 AM every day, when it was kind of dark in the ward and patients were sleeping, and chant his rounds. It may be a normal thing for many devotees, but a person who had no faith in chanting even 3 years back, is waking up in the morning and chanting is a remarkable change. It is truly said that all the situations in the material world are so orchestrated that we get an opportunity to take shelter of Krishna.
Presence of Krishna
There is absolutely no doubt that we are extremely unqualified to speak on this high subject matter and humbly beg forgiveness for drawing any wrong conclusions. Please feel free to correct us if you think we are wrongly speculating.
The reversals experienced in life are actually the opportunities which could impel us to sincerely, with all humility, take shelter of the Supreme Lord.
[HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj]
Maharaj in another lecture explains what is the meaning of taking shelter or surrender.
Surrender means to repose all ones dependence on God. Surrender means even in the most averse and hopeless condition to have complete faith in the mercy of God. Surrender means to know that Krsna is always with me, he is within my heart, he is the controller of all controls. Even a blade of grass cannot move without his sanction. He is the cause of all causes, He is not the cause of some causes, He is not the cause of what we like, He is the cause of all causes. Everything is happening under His supervision.
[HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj]
When a devotee surrenders to Krishna, Krishna protects him. It is His promise - "kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati" [Bhagavad Gita 9.31]. HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj says -
Krishna is protecting the devotees and by chanting one feels the protection.
[HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj]
This is so true. We admit we have still not reached the stage of chanting pure rounds. Still, we could feel the protection and presence of Krishna. Someone may question - How did Krishna protect? If He had protected then why did father have to undergo the surgery?"
We must understand that the protection and presence of Krishna are not just in saving the gross body. When we are in close vicinity of roses, we feel their presence by their aroma. Similarly, the presence of Krishna spreads the aroma of calmness. In absence of Krishna Consciousness, we suffer anxiety, depression, frustration - kuntha. But in presence of Krishna, we experience calmness even amidst the greatest turmoil - the state of no-kuntha or vaikuntha.
Yes there were situations when we were confused momentarily while making decisions but never was a time when we were afraid, hopeless, heartbroken, depressed, anxious, frustrated or came across any such negative emotions.
Moreover, we must also understand that we all are carrying a huge pile of karma with us since life immemorial. We all have to suffer them, but Krishna mercifully makes them a capsule. As we stated earlier, my father's pulse was abruptly falling, ideally, which should cause unconsciousness. Also, the situation was so rare that it was not captured in any reports. Apart from this the overall condition of the heart is normal. Thus no one would have even suspected it. It was the protection of Krishna to make the situation happen when the devices were monitoring my father during angiography Maybe his karma was to become unconscious and face some fatal consequences. But things turned out in a way that was safer for him. This is definitely the protection of Krishna.
All that we want to say is if this can happen with us, who are still struggling with sadhana, we cannot even imagine what level of protection and mercy is bestowed upon those who are completely dedicated to Krishna's devotional service. All we need is to develop our firm faith in Krishna and take His shelter by chanting His Holy Names.
Bed near window
My father was shifted from ward 4A to 3A, for closer monitoring. His bed in 4A was in between 2 beds and a little congested. However, in 3A, he got a bed near a window. I thought to cheer him up by mentioning how wonderful the location was. My father smiled back and said - "it is nothing compared to home - only fools will be happy in a hospital bed."
It then struck me, our material world is nothing better than this hospital ward. We all have a place to stay & sleep, food to eat, associates to talk with, some got better facilities like "bed near the window", and some are deprived like "bed between beds". All we are engaging ourselves in is trying to change our respective bed locations. We don't understand that our sufferings will not change even if we have a good bed. This is a foolish endeavor as confirmed in all revealed scriptures.
To try to become happy by adjusting the material atmosphere is a useless endeavor. Indeed, it is impossible.
[SB 5.6.19 Purport]
Instead, we must try to get out of this hospital once and for all and never return back. Once we are free from diseases, we will be free from the hospital ward. To be free from disease we must be taking medicines and treatments as prescribed by doctors. Similarly, to be free from the material world we must be following the directions and instructions of scriptures and our spiritual authorities.
Sense Gratification can trap us
The next bed neighbour of my father was Mr. Chatterjee, approximately 75 years of age. He was admitted to the same ward for the last 10 days.
We observed a remarkable trend in him. Throughout the day he was active, joking with nurses and fellow patients, but as soon as the doctors used to come for a visit, he used to pull a bedsheet and sleep and hardly speak or responded to the questions doctors asked. But as soon as the doctors went off, he used to be back to normal. He had kept a hired attendant to look after him whom he used to give money to get him paratha, non-vegetarian food, fried snacks, tea. Every time he used to eat so many items as if he was having a party. He once told my father that his family members were having fever so he had to extend his stay in the ward.
One day his daughter or daughter-in-law came to visit. She appeared shocked as to why he was still in the hospital. She went and charged the nurses to which the nurse replied - "the doctor had discharged him 5 days back, but every day he is extending his stay by one more day." The nurses further reported "... he never eats hospital provided food, but gets street food from outside". Patients of the entire ward were seen laughing.
Although it was a funny situation, if we think deeply, we all are falling into the same category. We all are extending our stay in this material world, by one more life, just because we are addicted to sense gratification. The sense of enjoyment is so strong that we do not want to Return Back Home - Back to Godhead.
Krishna and his associates and all our bonafide acharyas like His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada repeatedly appear and just like the doctors, tries to give us the medicine of Maha Mantra and tries to discharge us from this material world - but we ourselves, extend our stay, foolishly, just because we are addicted to the enjoyment of the junk street food.
My father and another patient were brought to the CATH Lab to get the analysis report get reviewed by the HOD of the Cardiology Department. I was accompanying my father and the other patient was accompanied by his daughter. It was about 01:00 PM. We were asked to wait in the longue for our turn. The nurse arranged our files sequentially as we had reached the lab. In the first place was my father's and the next file was this other patient's.
While we were waiting, we found senior doctors rushing into OT Rooms. A nurse came to us and said - there was some complication in the ongoing pacemaker surgery, hence, we must expect a delay to see HOD. He will see our files after the OT is done.
The waiting lounge was silent, AC was cooling the room, as I hadn't slept for nights slowly I had dozed off sitting on the chair. It was about 3:30 PM when I woke up hearing the voice of his daughter. She was speaking to a senior nurse to push her file forward. It seems the nurse shared the same apartment so they were knowing each other for a long time. The nurse assured her, as soon as the doctor is out from OT, he will look into her file first.
Hearing this, with a sense of pride of concurring a battle, the daughter came and was speaking out loud - "if you sit silently nothing will work, you will have to speak up and approach someone who is influential ... – uthiye thoda chahal pahal kjiye (wake up and do some activities) ". I knew she was hitting on me, as I was the person with Shikha, Kanthi mala, chanting beads. She wanted to preach to me the practical way of life. I won't lie, for a moment I felt insecure. I woke up and continued chanting japa.
Almost 1 more hour passed away, the doctors came out. The nurse did try to push her file as promised, handed it to the doctor, and started to brief, while my father's file was on the table. I do not know what crossed the mind of the doctor, he went straight to the table, kept his file aside and took my father's file, reviewed it and checked my father first.
This is not a race to win or lose. But the point that struck me was, normally in our day-to-day dealing we take shelter of so many people, whom we think is powerful or influential. Be it in our office, school, college or any part of society. But we fail to take shelter of The Most Powerful, The Most Influential, The Most Charismatic, The Most Mystic, The Supreme Personality of Godhead - Krishna. He is the one controlling the entire creation, He is the one who is in actual control of every situation.
So intelligence is in understanding this fact and taking His shelter, understanding that He is the Supreme Cause of all causes.
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.19]
One of the common conceptions rather misconception is - if we have kids & money, our old age is secured, for they will be there to look after us.
This is a myth, which gets proven wrong when we see the world's bitter side with an unbiased mind.
In our 8 days of stay in the hospital ward, we found so many suffering old-aged patients being accompanied by paid attendants. They were crying with agony and pain, no one to hear them. Their sons and daughters are tied up either in their job or family. They might be calling frequently or sending money, but, not by their side.
When COVID's first wave was creating a worldwide disturbance, one of our colleagues who is posted in America, lost his mother. She was in Hyderabad (India). It is very evident when someone dies he or she expects some close one to be there beside him or her. Who else can be closer to a mother than her only son?
We tend to justify the situation as they are helpless. But the point is who is protecting us at our bad times. Our so-called old age planning by having kids has failed.
There was this old man who was admitted. He was accompanied by 3 family members - we suppose his wife, his son, and his brother. They additionally hired an attendant too. Since that corner of the ward was empty, management allowed his relatives to stay for a night. It was about 02:30 AM when there was a sudden cry and mourning. Nurses & Doctors on duty rushed to the bed and declared the patient dead. While all patients were having either 1 relative or 1 attendant, this person had 3 relatives and 1 attendant. Right in front of 4 people sitting like a watchdog, with money filled in their bank and wallet, with qualified doctors around, time took away the soul from the body, and nobody could do anything.
Therefore we must always understand the fact - nobody and nothing from this material world can give us any shelter or protection. It is Krishna who is our true well-wisher and our shelter and only protection. When we don't realize this or have faith in Him, we look for protection from the material world in terms of money, relatives, and family. We can have our relationship with relatives, family and friends but if we dream of a happy & secure life based upon these relationships then we are fooling ourselves and eventually, we will have to be depressed.
Therefore, it is our foolish illusion that with money and a huge count of relatives, well-wishers friends and a huge group of influential contacts saved in iPhone we are safe and secure. We are safe till the time we are meant to be safe, we will be comfortable till the time we are meant to be comfortable. When we are meant to suffer, nobody can reduce our pain kept aside in our quota. And at the right time, at the right moment, we will be dragged out of this body, and all these so-called assets & the army of well-wishers will stay back staring like a dumb doll.
Prahlad Maharaj confirms this in Srimad Bhagavatam
O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies and countries.
Therefore, with all the time and energy left in our quota, let us take shelter of The Supreme Personality of Godhead - not to extend our lifespan, but to take us out of this disgusting world of repeated birth and death and full of miseries.
The only means prescribed in Scriptures for the age of Kaliyuga is chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra - Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare.
Before ending this article, I would like to offer my heartfelt gratitude towards all the doctors, nurses, technicians and ward boys who are tirelessly serving the patients, my office management for granting me leave, my office team-mates for supporting during my leave, my brother- Anupam Banerjee and his good wife, Tandrima Banerjee, who were tirelessly supporting us in spite of their hectic professional life. My mother, for teaching me how to serve selflessly and for tolerating me and all my demands, My wife, Rusha for being my strength and for her service.
Finally, we are eternally grateful to all the devotees who have sincerely prayed and blessed my father, HG Vallabh Chaitanya Prabhu, HG Chaitanya Madhav Prabhu, HG Kanai Nathshala Prabhu, for praying, blessing, and guiding us in every phase of our life, Ritesh Prabhu, Bidit Prabhu, HG Tushtha Gopal Prabhu, HG Sevakanth Krishna Prabhu, Sabita Mataji, Tamoghna Prabhu, Vinod Chopra Prabhu & Sangeeta Chopra Mataji, Arindam Prabhu, Dibyendu Prabhu, Munmun Mataji, Srinivas Prabhu, Priyanka Mataji, Kamalesh Prabhu, HG Sudevi Mataji, Anjana Mataji, HG Vipul Prabhu, HG Parth Govind Prabhu, HG Dinabandhu Baishnab Prabhu and all the members of ISKCON Dumdum congregation and ISKCON Jamshedpur congregation for their endless encouragement and prayers, our beloved Guru Maharaj- HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj for His mercy and shelter, Srila Prabhupada for descending and creating a genuine family for us in the form of ISKCON, and finally All-Merciful Sri Krishna for orchestrating everything and for staying by our side always.