video: Bhaktivedanta Hospice, Vrindavan
BY: VASTAVIKA DAS
Sep 10, 2012 — USA (SUN) — A review of the new “Bhaktivedanta Hospice” video presented by Share Your Care. Written and directed by Rasa Acarya and Sachi Sharma and produced by Gopinath das (Amol Kulkarni), it “stars” HH Radhanath Swami. Watch it (if you dare, after reading this review):
The Bhaktivedanta Hospice is a facility in Vrindavan built by the donations of HH Giriraja Swami and the disciples of HH Radhanath Swami. The promotional video is technically shot and edited very competently by Rasa Acarya. It is produced and narrated by Hare Krishna devotees. I repeat, it is produced and narrated by Hare Krishna devotees.
But you wouldn’t know it from watching the video.
The word “Krishna” is NEVER mentioned once.
The name “Prabhupada” is also NOT heard.
You do hear from both HH Giriraja Swami and HH Radhanath Swami. The guru/sannyasis may have had tilak applied to their foreheads, but, if so, it is practically invisible. (*see above)
There is much talk about “all great spiritual traditions,” “compassion,” “care,” “free service and medications for the poor.” There are some poignant stories of villagers who have been accommodated there. We also hear comments from local beneficiaries such as, “We like everything very much,” “It is very nice.”
Dr. Desai, PhD., (Sri Nathji dasa – another major donor): “Everyone has to die sometime… if you are prepared… doing the right thing…. that can be a pleasant death.”
Dr. V. G. Shanbagh M.D., (Vishwarupa dasa, Spiritual Director, Bhaktivedanta Hospital) “We have seen people smiling…accept. I have the disease. Let me do something positive. All the painful experience of life disappears.”
Susan Weiser (RNS), “I can’t cure the tumor in his back, but I know I can touch him deeply and perhaps make this time more comfortable for him.”
Profound words. Really?
There is one scene of a bedside kirtan. Deva Premal is singing to a dying patient. She is one of the world’s preeminent bhajaneers. Her voice is ethereal. She is not a Vaisnavi; she is mayavad. “We neither hide, nor broadcast, our connection to Osho and in the same way, our connection to Amma & Bhagavan remains our personal affair.” (Read her entire interview here.)
Looks like the “interfaith” idea has permeated the Hare Krishna Movement right up until the last breath. The message is that a person can die in the Bhaktivedanta Hospice while listening to the sound vibrations of an impersonalist. Arghhh!
Last word from HH Radhanath Swami: “People should have the opportunity to leave this word with dignity in an atmosphere where death is not the horrible end to everything, but where we could actually experience in dying the door to eternal life as opening to us,” over ending visual – silhouetted monkey against a Vrindavan sunset. What is that as a final image for a promo about preparing for death?!? How about a nice picture of Radha and Krishna? If one thinks of a monkey at the last moment of life, then….
This video could as easily have been produced by the Ramakrishna Hospice. “Share the Care’s motto is “Let Not Humanity Suffer.” Whatever happened to chanting Hare Krishna at the time of death? Whatever happened to “As It Is”? One can only hope that the Bhaktivedanta Hospice operates according to the Bhaktivedanta purports and not how it is portrayed in this video.
There is a wide shot of the lobby where the murti of Srila Prabhupada could be somewhat discerned in the background. The audio describes the floor as “administrative.” There was no mention of the transcendental director – without whom there wouldn’t even be an idea of a hospice for Vaisnavas (Is it for Vaisnavas? Hard to tell).
Srila Prabhupada wanted his name as “Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness” in all his books, on his temples, and, certainly mentioned in a video about a hospice named after him. But watching this video, the viewer has no idea who “Bhaktivedanta” is. In fact, one cannot even understand that the name refers to a person.
This video is deeply infected with impersonalism – from beginning to end. For a Vaisnava, there can be no death worse than forgetting Krishna. In this case, nobody died who was involved in the making of this promo, and they forget Krishna and Prabhupada.
The Bhaktivedanta Hospice was conceived by the now deceased Archa Vigraha dd, and it was manifest by the untiring efforts of Vishwarupa dd (Susan Pattison), RN, who wrote the curriculum for the nurses there. The video hardly represents the devotional motivation to their untiring work.
Critic’s corner gives a thumbs down to everyone involved in this watered-downed, feel-good, philosophically empty, misleading, disrespectful to Prabhupada, mayavad, mundane welfare video. Rated SIA for Sentimental, Insidious, and Absent of any spiritual benefit.
* Srila Prabhupada’s Room Conversation with Kanupriya and Jamadagni, 1975:
Prabhupada: Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when His students used to come without tilaka, so He refused to see his face. He refused to see his face. He said it is a crematory ground.
Kanupriya: Why is that?
Prabhupada: There is no “why.” If you accept it, accept. If you don’t accept, leave us, leave us. There is no “why.”
Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Robert Henry, August 3, 1969:
“So far as your dress is concerned, that is immaterial. But as a soldier you know that every soldier has got a uniform dress according to the army etiquette of regulation. Therefore, the army of Krsna consciousness must have at least the tilaka on the forehead in all conditions. For your business you can wear your naval service uniform; similarly, if you have tilaka on your forehead as a soldier of Krsna consciousness, you may not have so much objection, because it is essential.”