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Krishna's Perfect Arrangements

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Truth in pictures
I have been thinking for many years that I would be with my mom when she was nearing the end of her life and thus naturally when she was “leaving her body” (Krishna devotee “lingo” for dying, since there is no death). However, it was mysterious how this might come to pass. Not being a “doer” type it seemed wishful thinking due to our being on opposite sides of the country and mainly since we were very estranged. This is a long story of course with fault on both our parts, yet in spite of this fact, and likely helped by her appreciation of my wife, we affectionately spoke on weekly calls, and she steadily helped us in many ways.

PhotobucketNaked truthBaby Buddha
Relationships are often complex and full of duality, and ours certainly was. It seemed to me that we had lifetimes of family connection still being played out (hopefully finished now!). When I was doing hypnotherapy training I had one distinct vision of myself as her Chinese or Japanese son. Remembering my childhood experience of our house covered in oriental paintings, script, and various lamps and china, this made total sense to me.

Over the last six months it became increasingly obvious that she was becoming inconsolably depressed and very forgetful, though it was only three months ago that I realized the extent of her deterioration. I spoke to her best friend Mary who is like her angel or voluntary caretaker. She told me that my mom wasn’t bathing, paying her bills or reading her beloved mystery novels, or indulging in her MLB (baseball) T.V. obsession. I knew she was hardly eating and was sleeping a lot, but not until I came out here did I see practically how she lived. I mentioned this in a previous blog.
The Spiritual Quest
Five weeks ago Mary called me to tell me that she had put “Muth” (as I called my mom) into the hospital as her legs were so swelled up they were oozing liquid and she could barely breathe even with her oxygen tank. Her smoking for 75 years caused all this….her lungs were shot, and so was her heart from trying to get her the oxygen her body craved. Her legs and whole body were starving for air. The complicating factor in all this was that she hated doctor visits and her own doctor (who had no sense of humor which was to her gave a person acceptability and value). Thus she didn’t take care of herself as she should have.

Actually, she no longer wanted to live—she often told me she never intended to live this long. In March she observed her 87th birthday. I don’t think she ever really recovered from the death of the “love of her life”--her husband--some 22 years ago. Though she somehow managed, her own deteriorating health exasperated her negative perception—and of course, she had no spiritual or religious life. The beauty of the desert and mountains eluded her, and she only complained of the sun, sunning all the time! Though admittedly it is intolerably hot here in the summer feeling like living in a sauna, it is also a place of special natural beauty.
1972 kirtan in San Francisco
The first inkling that something had changed in her perception of our relationship occurred in this hospital visit. She confided in her daughter-in-law that she wanted to see me. This was news, as she always strongly asserted that she didn’t, along with her criticisms of me and our past—though she criticized everyone, whether she loved or hated them! As a result we haven’t seen her in 15 years. When I spoke to the doctor he encouraged me to come as soon as I could since my mom had all the qualifications to move into a hospice (usually 6 months or less to live), and could take a turn for the worse and become unconscious—as indeed she was at the end. Thus I made the decision to fly out to be with her, and later flew back to North Carolina and drove here with my wife. Mary was shocked to see my mom “melt” when she saw me. My mom would very touchingly say, “My son is here”.
Muth and son
It wouldn’t have been anywhere near as healing for Muth and I, had she been unconscious my whole visit. I had two good weeks alone with her, and then almost a week with Archana and I. We talked and talked, and laughed and cried. I saw her as a real person for the first time—with none of her motherly judgment. She was so humbled by her helpless condition. It was touching to hear this controlling woman, say meekly though graciously, “OK” to some condition she had to accept. What a blessing to be able to express our regrets about the course of our tumultuous relationship, and offer one another our appreciations, love and apologies. It seemed to me we were releasing our karmic bond together by having such closure, resolution, and mutual forgiveness and acceptance.

I wrote this on what turned out to be the last day of my mom’s life in this body, Thursday, May 20. It is now 5 weeks from when I first flew out here. I sit with my mom chanting japa in the early morning, surrounded with transcendental pictures of Lord Chaitanya and Nitai, and Radha Krishna, with many books surrounding her. A Prabhupada MP3 has been playing all evening and will continue till she passes. I excitedly, gleefully put neckbeads ‘round her neck, and covered her with my pujari harinama chadder. I frequently sprayed her with Ganga water mixed with maha-water and offered rose water. The room was electrified, and even the nurses commented on it, and spoke in reverential hushed tones. My own and the prayers of devotees worldwide surrounded her. I couldn’t have made a better arrangement for her auspicious passing.

Now it is late evening, and I am copying my notes and adding to them. I am still talking to my mom as I had for the last 2 days as it seems natural to do so. Now she is like my Muse, or fellow devotee. I don’t know exactly of course, yet I can say that I feel her energy so very strong! It is an incredibly joyful, happy energy. Maybe she is here for a short while longer to tell me she is OK or to encourage or thank me. I do know and feel that, yet I can’t adequately express how good I feel, and how happy I am for her. She is free of her miserable old body, and from her disappointing life. And we are resolved and clear in our relationship! Now her future is bright since she died in such a spiritual atmosphere.

And so it is with all of us who endeavor to love and serve God, or for devotees, Radha and Krishna, or Shri Chaitanya, Nitai and their devotees, like our gurus and friends. We can be even more blessed than my mom by dedicating our life to Krishna and leave the world taking full shelter of his holy name and his divine service. Let it be so for all of us! May we live and die for Krishna! Hare Krishna!
Krishna and the Maha Mantra

Combined comments from old site

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 20:44 — Samadhi-Radha
Hare Krishna!

thats so nice for you to be able to surround her in god in her passing. that is a beautiful picture in my head for someones passing into the next worlds. I think thats how I would like to go. She must of been wonderful if you deliver you into the world, even though she had not such a auspicious life. but i think a lot of things that seem like they are curses are blessings in disgusies. I wonder sometimes... wow with my nature and after reading from the gita ... how did my mother get chosen(to give birth to me)? but i think she is the best pick for me regardless of what kind of person she can be. She too had to have a spirit filled life once....and i find underneath it all we are very alike. After cleansing myself and working on myself... we are just recently starting to be engergetically "seperate" and i am evolving futher she is too.. just in different ways.

glory to krishnas mercy!
bless


*Reply*

Wed, 06/02/2010 - 13:29 — Karnamrita.das
Perfect parents

We all have the perfect parents, though it may take some deep reflection on this fact if our relationship was difficult or even abusive. After all they are actually instruments of our karma, so we became their children to learn the lessons we needed to learn and work out the karma we needed to go through. We may have to go through our anger and resentment or overly possessive love and attachment to see them and ourselves spiritually.

For anything there are stages to progress through. You are at the age of differentiating from your parents, and at some time you can again become close in a different way more like friends, then as parent and child. Everyone is on their own journey. Whether we have contempt for them or materially possessive love, we have to let that do, and cut our karmic cords by spiritual realization. We are all souls having human experiences...or actors on the stage of our mutual intertwined karma.

Ultimately we belong to the family of Krishna and are only temporarily related because of our bodily relationship. On the human level we acknowledge our bodily relationship, while internally we endeavor to see everyone as part of Krishna...as spiritual soul, servant of Krishna! So we have to reconcile different conceptions harmonizing them to serve the spiritual purpose. At first I failed to do this with my mom, and my well intentioned spiritual "preaching" only alienated her. Later on, with more maturity and spiritual satisfaction, I was able to be her son again in a way she could relate to, while acting in other ways for her spiritual benefit. Our intentions are always paramount.

Sharing Krishna consciousness is actually an art , and it applies to everyone we meet as well. Knowing how much people can digest and where we shouldn't go with them that might create walls. We can judge by the fruits, the efficacy of our presentation.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Sat, 05/29/2010 - 03:03 — krsona
Hare Krsna prabhu

Please accept my humble obeisances: may Krsna bless your Mum's soul and always bless you so that you can continue to inspire fallen souls like me.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us.

Hare Krsna
Krsona Krsna dasi


Sat, 05/22/2010 - 12:50 — PMC
Hare Krishna!

Prabhu Ji,

I am sorry to know about ur mother, but happy to know that u were there till her last breath & ur association with her help her soul to rest in the Lotus Feets of Sri Radha Madhav Ji.

Radha Radha!!


Sat, 05/22/2010 - 08:01 — sri
i am truly touched by your

i am truly touched by your story...there couldnt have been a better son in the world!!...you are truly a great devotee and lord krishna will always be pleased with your sincere love for him and according to me your mom was great woman:)
i wonder when i would rise to become such a great and loving devotee like you:) O LORD KRISHNA HAVE MERCY ON ME!!..HARE KRISHNA!!


Fri, 05/21/2010 - 09:17 — bhakta skot
I had a dream last

I had a dream last night/early morning that you were sitting with me talking with me and comforting me. I've grow a lot these last few weeks we've been out of contact, but somehow I feel closer to Krishna. Thank you for sharing this. Hare Krishna buddy.