From Despair to Care – Anasuya Nelson

By Ananta Sesa Dasa

The Vedic Care Charitable Trust (aka ‘Vedic Care Charity’ or the ‘VCC’) was established to offer care to those in need. One may wonder how useful and effective such a small organization can be.

The story of Anasuya Nelson illustrates the importance of the Vedic Care Charitable Trust in the lives of those in need. It tells the story of three people thrown into an impossible and desperate situation—one that could have ended tragically. Yet, thanks to the caring intervention of supporters of the VCC, the desperation was transformed through compassion. By caring about each individual, and treating each situation in its own unique manner, the VCC can help in ways that other organizations cannot—one soul at a time.

To illustrate this point, consider the case of a young woman, Anasuya Nelson, who recently traveled to India from the UK, to visit the holy sites. As she suffers from ‘level 2 mental disturbances’, she also wanted to seek out some holistic treatments for her difficulties in India. While there, she was to be in the caring and competent company of her maternal aunt, Oli Krishna devi dasi.

Sadly, Anasuya’s mental state deteriorated rapidly upon her arrival in Calcutta as she suffered a catastrophic relapse. Her aunt, Oli Krishna, her elder brother and her other family members, quickly found themselves completely out of their depth in knowing what to do, as she retreated further and further into difficulties.

Eventually, the family had to have Anasuya sedated, and driven by ambulance to a mental health care facility in Calcutta. Unfortunately, the mental health facility was woefully inadequate. It lacked many basics, such as having only one bathroom for fifty women. During this time, Anasuya became more agitated, and at one point, had to be tied down to stop her from harming herself.

Concerned family now supported by Rama Nrsimha das (VCC Trustee and UK Out-Reach) back in London, decided that the trio would need help to get out of this difficult situation.

After a harrowing week in this place, Anasuya began to calm down and the family decided to have her flown home to the UK on Jet Airways. She was discharged from the hospital, and planned to fly home with her brother, Sundar Gopal and his friend, Raman. However, before this flight could happen, Jet Airways collapsed and suspended all international flights.

The closure of the airline left Anasuya, in a mentally impaired state, along with her brother and their friend stranded in a small, sweltering airport hotel. Without a flight home, and with dwindling finances, these three were left to deal with the situation alone.

Anasuya, who was already mentally overwhelmed, began to spiral back into a disturbed condition, leaving her traveling companions bewildered and perplexed at what to do next to extricate themselves from this seemingly unending series of misfortunes. They tried to board another flight, hurriedly offered to them by Qatar Airlines, but when the booking staff saw Anasuya’s condition, they refused to allow the trio to board.

In desperation, the two boys and Anasuya visited a more highly reputed mental health care facility, called Antara, run by a group called The Missionaries of Charity. They wanted to have Anasuya admitted for therapy; however, she was not admitted. Instead, she was given some medicine to stabilize her mind.

Rama finally called Pranaji, a member of the VCC Out-Reach Team and an old family friend, who was in Vrindavan. Upon hearing of their terrible situation, he immediately traveled to Calcutta to offer assistance.

Pranaji found them still living in the small hotel room in Calcutta, almost out of money, and still not closer to a solution. This is where the VCC organizational skills helped further. With the support and networking skills of Pranaji and Rama Nrsimha das, a donation drive was set up and shared. In less than a week, the needed funds were raised to help this small group of devotees.

Now in Mayapur and feeling much better

Meanwhile, Anasuya was evaluated by competent doctors, and the trio – accompanied by Pranaji – traveled back to spend time in the sacred land of Sri Gaura Mandala Bhumi Dham, Mayapur, on the banks of the holy Ganges. While there, they were looked after by Pranaji, and supported by Nrsingha-tirtha Prabhu and the local care team. From there, they went to Calcutta to fly to London, landing at Heathrow on May 8th, 2019. Social services and family awaited her to find a more suitable long term care solution. A member of the VCC out-reach will keep an eye on how things develop regarding her care.

A happy ending has emerged from this tragic affair thanks to the work of the VCC and many kind souls who came forward. In response, the following comments were made by a couple of the people involved.

Rama Nrsimha das wrote: “A big shout out and thank you to Aradhana dd, Matthew and Caitania Pryia dd (Head of Medical) of the Vedic Care Charitable Trust, for bringing their skills in devotee care and fundraising to the mix and for all their excellent advice, support and suggestions during the on-going rescue mission. Once again thanks to everyone involved and especially to Prana Ji, without whom, we’d still be in very uncomfortable territory.”

The trio with Pranaji at the Airport before departure towards the UK

Just a few days ago, Pranaji wrote: “I don’t know the donors…but I am deeply grateful to all who participated in this venture. It is quite amazing how we were in a Hotel room in Calcutta with 20 rupees left, but then, because of beautiful people with big generous hearts, we were able to come to Sri Dham Mayapur, and from there arrange flights home to the UK, and even arrange social services help and accommodation for Anasuya when she arrives in London. I have watched this little miracle unfold.”

Due to the intervention of the Vedic Care Charitable Trust, and all the kind souls who assisted personally and financially, a disastrous situation for a group of devotees transformed into an exercise in compassion. Such is the power of Krishna’s love when channeled through those who truly care.

Sriman Mahaksha Dasa (ACBSP)

Mahaksha Das

Sriman Mahaksha Dasa (ACBSP) was cared for in London, personally and for many years by his very long time and close friend Rama Nrsimha Dasa prabhu (VCC Trustee, Co-Founder and Hands-On Care).

Early April 2018 Rama Nrsimha received an urgent text, after having dropped him at the Airport to leave London for Thailand, (due to a poor lung condition, Mahaksha stayed out of the big cities as much as possible). Sadly Mahaksha passed away that evening in his hotel room.

Rama Nrsimha, our inspiration when it comes to out-reach and hands-on care, began immediately the long and hard work of logistics, getting Mahaksha’s family and the British government involved so as to give his dear friend a proper shraddha ceremony. The VCC Out-Reach provides this service as needed.

Unfortunately, Mahaksha did not leave a written will (we recommend that everyone does leave a will), so after long days of exhausting work, power of attorney was given to Rama by the family; then Rama kindly led, and with the assistance of many kind devotees, the needful funds were found and further legalities were done from London.

Riddha Dasa, who lives in Mayapura with his family, soon hopped on a plane for Thailand to take care of local paperwork, arranging there for a proper Vaishnava cremation and to bring Mahaksha’s ashes back to the Ganga for submersion.

Our beloved Mahaksha was a kind man, brilliant musician, great Astrologer, preacher and an amazing, colorful personality. He will be missed by so many, as his positive energy, unflinching faith and fired up attitude was contagious and inspiring.

Mahaksha left behind a wonderful project in Bulgaria and we’ll do our very best to honor his desires.

Anonymous

Anonymous Success Story

Anonymous – Europe

Hare Krsna,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I would like to say a few words about my experience with His Grace Chaitanya Swarup Prabhu. We came in contact a week ago through Mother Aradhana Devi Dasi, while I was desperately searching for help. Throughout my life, and especially for the last 6 years, I have been suffering a lot due to my illnesses. No one was able to sufficiently help me hold on, at least to some degree, to my spiritual practice, even though it always eases up the situation.

From a place where everything is so dark and with no hope and light on the horizon, I met Chaitanya Swarup Prabhu. He is giving me much love, changing my state of consciousness and helping me to improve my overall health. I almost completely lost my faith in God, ISKCON and the devotees. Meeting Chaitanya Swarup is changing all this. He has such an amazingly loving and compassionate approach, which melts your heart and makes you very willing and determined to change, improve, and most importantly, go much much deeper in your practice. I have been practicing Krsna consciousness for more than 11 years, but no one before Chaitanya Swarup showed me how personal, intimate, and special each soul’s connection with the Lord is. Nor has anyone shown me that the connection is not external. His broad vision and deep understanding of Krsna consciousness is giving life to me.

You can see that Prabhu went through so much in his life and that he never lost faith and the sight of his life goal, Love of Godhead. I learn so much from him. My understanding of God was and still is, quite fanatical, superficial and fear based. Chaitanya Swarup Prabhu is changing all that. With his loving voice and written messages, I feel so much safer. I feel I am not alone, and that someone really cares. In addition, I believe in God again, and that He loves me also and is helping me through this great soul.

It is very obvious that Chaitanya Swarup is a great soul, with a glorious personality, very experienced and learned in many different areas of Vedic wisdom and medicine. He is aware how everything must be in the best possible balance of body, mind and soul. He understands that everything we do (from moment to moment) needs to be spiritualized in a very focused, conscious and intelligent way. You will not find his knowledge and realizations in the books, they are very precious, life changing and deep. He is sharing all of this in a such a loving and unselfish way. He just leaves you standing and wondering: what did I do to deserve his association?!

Chaitanya Swarup Prabhu has a very personal approach. He will make sure you never feel like a number, or a just another “Prabhu”. I can see how he is trying to be a messenger for me and I can feel his blessings. He shares his universal realizations and wisdom, but at the same time he is trying to connect with me in a very personal way, to see who and how am I. Even in spiritual circles, this is something very rare, and it leaves me speechless.

I am so grateful to the Lord that he sent Chaitanya Swarup Prabhu into my life. Although we are in contact through Facebook messenger, phone and emails, Prabhuji is really present in my life and I am sure if we stay in contact and I manage to follow his lead and instructions, everything will improve. I will survive all the trials and tribulations of this crazy world and be successful on my spiritual path, which is actually my greatest desire. I just want to be able to chant again. Nobody cared about my fallen state in such a way. Everyone gave me stereotyped advices about what am I doing wrong and how in maya and tamas I am. Chaitanya Swarup Prabhu is bringing me up, because he has a true compassion and love in his heart for devotees and you can see clearly how he wants me to be successful. Like a true father, he wants me up, he is not smashing me down. I can feel enthusiasm in my lungs again, just because of his love and unconditional service. I really look up to him and I want to become able to do as he does. It will take time and great purity, but I believe he is showing me the way and most definitely purifying my heart.

Thank you dear Chaitanya Swarup Prabhu for all. I pray that one day the Lord allows me to serve devotees so expertly, lovingly, and sincerely as you do.

Yours truly,
… das

Anonymous

Anonymous Success Story

The Vedic Care Out-Reach in California assisted closely a wonderful personality who just left us, the week of April 16th, 2018. By supporting her closest friends during her last weeks on this planet, we’ve eased her struggle and that of her entourage.

For her privacy’s sake we’ll not disclose her name, nor her condition; but we very much appreciate your prayers for her safe return home.

Thank you.

From His Grace Ishan Chaitanya Dasa

Ishan Chaitanya Dasa

Ishan Chaitanya Dasa – Macedonia

I had been suffering chronic pain for years when I came across the VCC via Facebook. Soon I made contact with them and found out they were the real deal when it came to making a difference. Some generous devotees donated some money (for which I’ll be forever grateful – you know who you are) and the VCC sent me some homeopathic medicine which improved my condition and made my life easier.

I wish to express my gratitude to the staff of the VCC for their great care and help in my attempts to fix my health. Even though sometimes we may not see it, without a healthy body even our spiritual life suffers. We are going to need this body till the end of this life, so it’s a great mercy from Krishna and a privilege to have someone who cares and helps despite not being a family member or a close friend.

The VCC members are more than just medical workers or managers – they are dedicated devotees of the Lord and people with the knowledge, understanding and will to help. If that is not quality, I don’t know what is. I heartily recommend everyone to donate to their cause and thus see to it that there are sufficient funds for all ailing or otherwise incapacitated devotees. Krishna certainly loves it when we help each other:

etāvaj janma-sāphalyaṁ
dehinām iha dehiṣu
prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā
śreya-ācaraṇaṁ sadā

“It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.” This is the mission of life. One’s own body and the bodies of his friends and relatives, as well as one’s own riches and everything else one has, should be engaged for the benefit of others. (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.22.35)

To better serving and helping each other and our supreme benefactor,
Ishan Chaitanya das

As Ishana prabhu is not fully recovered, please visit his page here for further information. Thank you.

Heather Holman

Heather Holman

Heather Holman – United States

Heather is a Carer herself, and a great one we’ve heard! In April, 2017, she writes:

“I had read about the VCC before I saw the article in the NY Times. They help a lot of people and reach out to those really in need. The Vedic Care Charitable Trust also didn’t hesitate to help me when I was struggling with no vision and elected myself for surgery. Their caring and support brought me hope.

It is important for Vaisnavas to be cared for by other Vaisnavas on a community level. The people in charge of the VCC organization have something really good going and it will undoubtedly grow. I see hard work and good service paying off and only hope someday I can be a proactive part of it as well. Swami Prabhupada would be proud because the VCC has compassion and show they care.

Your Humble Servant,
Heather Holman”

Bhakti Vasudeva Swami

Bhakti Vasudeva Swami

Bhakti Vasudeva Swami, Iskcon Sannyasi – United States

The VCC helped fundraising for His Holiness Bhakti Vasudeva Swami’s treatment and it was a great success. We gathered $2,400 for him in the few months his page was on our site.

In December of 2016 his YouCaring campaign (as well as ours) was stopped, as his treatment was now covered and he began treatment, this note was shared with us:

“We wish to inform you that after so much struggle and by Krishna’s special mercy, Bhakti Vasudeva Swami has been able to start treatment. We pray that the treatment ends well and thank all of you for your support.

Best regards,
Concerned Friends of B.V. Swami”

In memory of Hadidjah Lamas

Hadidjah Lamas

Hadidjah Lamas, Renowned healer & musician 1932-2016 – United States
By Vasanta Dasa – Her Husband

Hadidjah moved to LA from New York in the mid-1940’s when she was just a teenager. After UCLA she went to work with Hughes Aircraft in their aeronautical engineering dept.

I met Hadidjah in 1978, shortly after I moved to California. At the time she had her healing practice set up in her home off Sunset Blvd. She was one of the senior students of Ida Rolf, who developed the style of deep-tissue massage & structural integration known today as “Rolfing”.

In time she became fairly well known. Her clients included Ava Gardener, Angelina Jolie, and John DeLorean. At some point she discovered a unique gift, and that was to be able to assess a patient’s situation simply by touch. Basically she could touch you, figure out what the problem was, and fix it. No incision. No pain. No muss. No fuss. Usually within an hour session. Her patients would occasionally comment that they felt an electrical sensation from her fingers. Clients traveled from all over the country to see her.

Aside from her practice, Hadidjah was an accomplished musician on piano, recorder, and viola. Her preferred instrument was piano. She kept a Steinway Grand in her study on Bentley Avenue and played it regularly. She was also alert to health matters, ate only organic meals, and read extensively. She adored Nikola Tesla.

When we first met I was living in Palms with the New Age Caucus, an environmental action group formed by Madhudvisa, Dharmadyaksa, Damodara, Bahulasva and myself. As a demonstration project, I engineered and built a solar-assisted electric motorcycle. The solar cells we used were provided by Hadidjah’s [then] husband. This is how we first saw each other.

However, I lost track of Hadidjah when I moved to Hawaii and then later to Alachua, Florida. For over twenty years I did not know where she was or if she knew how to find me.

In 2006 when I planned to return to California, I went online and looked for her. We met again in December, 2006, just before the New Year. We then remained together for the next ten years. We traveled to northern California several times and briefly considered moving to Eureka. Her practice was still active, however, so we remained in west Los Angeles.

We had a lot of contact with the Los Angeles Krishna Temple in Culver City (aka: New Dwarka). Hadidjah and I went to Govindas hundreds of times and also attended at least three LA Rathayatra festivals in Venice Beach.

At some point her health began to falter. She had an enlarged heart. No big surprise here since she was at least ninety percent heart and served others without question almost to a fault (in other words: people took advantage of her generosity and kindness).

About three years ago Hadidjah had reached a point where she could not really care for herself. She had also stopped eating regularly. After her weight dropped to a certain point we realized that she needed 24 hour care. We then placed her in a series of nursing homes & extended care facilities until we found one closer to us in Santa Monica that we were pleased with.

So this was the state of affairs in about 2014. I had returned to Culver City and was bicycling daily to Santa Monica with prasadam, garlands, and recorded music. I probably cycled over 1,500 miles in the years to follow. By Krishna’s grace I was introduced to Gurudas and Aradhana Devi of the Vedic Care Charitable Trust (VCC). This group went way out of their way to support Hadidjah’s care. I cannot say enough good things about the VCC; these people are first-class.

Without the support of the devotees and my friends I would not have managed to do very well at all during this time. Every day was an effort: get up, cook lunch, go to Santa Monica, and try to return before rush hour traffic. And to do this daily, no matter what.

However, with the kindness and effort of the VCC, I somehow managed. Both Aradhana & Gurudas personally visited with Hadidjah, just two of a handful of devotees to do so.

We decorated her room with LOTS of spiritual paintings and photos, with the goal that no matter where she looked she would see something transcendental.

On December 5, 2016 late in the evening Hadidjah’s heart stopped and she left this world. My trips to Santa Monica came to an end. Twelve days later, on December 17, a Memorial Service was held for her in the temple under the guidance of Rabindranatha prabhu. On January 14, Hadidjah’s ashes were placed in the Yamuna River in Vrindavan by local brahmanas and Kriya Shakti devi.

I am blessed that Hadidjah and I were able to spend a little time together in this life. I never met a more qualified and generous soul. You meet someone like this once every two thousand years. Maybe. We never fought or had an argument once in the whole time we were together. And we talked about everything under the sun.

My life has become much simpler now – particularly living in a cabin out in the country. The loudest noise is an occasional motorcycle going down a highway a few blocks away. Otherwise I just hear bird calls and crickets. Now I am sorting out the ‘remnants’ of the marriage. Most of all this now sits in a storage unit waiting to be sorted out and either kept or discarded.

The key remnant from Hadidjah, of course, lives in my heart. I sincerely hope she is in a better place now. I did all that I could.

Thank you,
Vasanta dasa, ACBSP

Anonymous

Anonymous Success Story

Hare Krsna Dear Gurudas Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In August you visited and lived in our house. You gave a lecture on Harinam, and a few lectures in our temple in ***.

My little daughter is ill and our business felt apart. I hope you remember us. I thought of you so many times. I remember how you held my hands and prayed for me while I was crying.

I do not know how to express my thankfulness that you treated me in such a personal and human way. Even from last year my memories were that you are so personal. With you I felt like with my family. Many devotees were nice to me when they found out we were in such difficult time, but for me you are totally extraordinary because I felt extraordinary care and endeavor to understand me and feel with me. Such warmth coming from you.

And I wanted to write you this, that your approach is so deeply carved in my heart. Even if I was not able to meet you again, you left such impression on me that I will remember that till the end of my life.

Thank you for showing us what it means to be a Vaishnava. I am so grateful I got to know you. Wishing you all the best!

Your servant,
… Devi Dasi