Do I Have Cancer?

According to my karma I probably would be dead and gone by now, but somehow Krsna is always interfering…. He gave me a second chance ten years ago, and now a third one……

I was in Juhu on the weekend of the 1st/2nd of April, offering the Men/Women course and joining the Rama Navami celebrations. And I thought to myself: “Since I am in Mumbai now – and who knows when I will come again – why not do a quick routine check-up at Bhaktivedanta Hospital…?”

So I did a check-up on the 4th, and they immediately saw a little tumor in the Ultrasound examination. While still in the examination, I immediately contacted Vaisnavaseva Prabhu, the Chief Surgeon of the Hospital, and we basically decided already on the spot to do another major surgery – just like ten years ago. In the same evening I returned to Juhu and gave the last session of my seminar, joined the Rama Navami celebration on 5th morning and was admitted to the hospital in the evening, and in the early morning of the 6th I found myself on the operating table.

So it all went very fast – no wasting time!

Just the way I like to do things – the “German style”….

Exactly the same thing happened ten years ago – in April 2007. I happened to visit Chowpatty for the first time, visited Bhaktivedanta Hospital and spontaneously decided to do a little check-up, and two days later I found myself in surgery!

If I had not offered this seminar now in Juhu, I would definitely not have done this check-up, but simply gone on my journey to preach in different parts of the world. And there would have been a good chance that I would have noticed things too late…..

The surgery went very smooth and I already recovered nicely within two days. Only now I realized the extend of the complications which I had to face last time ten years ago – in surgeries not always everything goes exactly according to plan. There had been some complications which made the surgery more difficult and increased the pain thereafter, and the healing process had been greatly delayed. Compared to the last surgery this one was like child’s play – a relieving surprise……

I was admitted on the same ward like ten years ago, and I even remembered some of the nurses and staff. And of course I met the ladies from the Spiritual Care Department, who happily welcomed me. Many sweet memories surfaced within my mind – last time I was hospitalized for five weeks, and Bhaktivedanta Hospital had almost become my home….

The Spiritual Care Department visits every patient with the mobile altar of Sri Sri Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra, and we can take darshan, offer flowers and receive some little dry maha prasadam. How sweet to receive the visit of the Lord after surgery….!

Bhaktivedanta Hospital is offering very personal care. The dietician came and agreed to prepare my prasadam according to my diet. She said: “You would not believe how many local dishes we have here in India! Sometimes I have patients where the wife says to me: ‘my husband really likes this particular dish – can you make this for him?’ And usually I try to at least make it once…!” Such personalized mood of service – I certainly would not want to be hospitalized anywhere else in the world…

Just like ten years ago, Vaisnavaseva Prabhu and his good wife Kalindi Mataji took nicely care of me, and I felt Krsna had once again put me in their safe hands. Kalindi Mataji is overseeing the Anaesthesia Department, and her husband is the Head Surgeon of the hospital – what a good team for a husband and wife. And as a wife she still maintains the subordinate position to her husband, simply creating the grounds for his work and thus serving him in his mission.

They both work with a most selfless service attitude, giving all their time and energy to taking care of their patients. He serves more than 65 hours a week – practically no free day, no weekend. Simply serving in selflessness, often until late night. Meanwhile he has become Professor and also teaches at the University in Mumbai and is a renowned surgeon, sometimes traveling to other countries to participate in medical conferences. And even though they are both so extremely busy, nevertheless once a week they go to Radha Gopinath Temple to dress Their Lordships.

And there is also a second mission in their life: the ISKCON Desire tree website, providing an amazing number of devotees worldwide with Krsna conscious inspiration of all kinds. Vaisnavaseva Prabhu employs 27 devotees full-time in order to develop the website with its popular youtube channel.

His flat is an IT office, where people come and go throughout the whole day and work. Thus he also gives employment and shelter to many young devotees, and sometimes even invites them to live in his flat as part of their family. His home is open to everyone who needs shelter. Now he is planning to create a Krsna conscious TV channel in order to expand the preaching and reach more and more conditioned souls.

I cannot even comprehend how one person is capable of doing so many things.

Almost like Lord Brahma…..

Already two days after my surgery I was released from the hospital and moved into the recording studio of the ISKCON Desire tree Team next to Vaisnavaseva Prabhu’s flat, around the corner from the hospital. I had space, peace and quietness to further recover, and the hospital staff brought me every day some prasadam. Nearby was a good fruit and vegetable wala, and also a place where I could get fresh yoghurt, so I was perfectly set up to include my raw foods again, and on top of that saved on hospital expenses.

I spent time reading, chanting, playing harmonium and writing. Every morning when the air was still fresh and cool I went for a brisk walk in front of the house in the little park. And since I stayed at the recording studio with all its equipment I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and made six little youtube videos presenting relevant topics of Krsna conscious practice in a concise way. I also had the company of some young boys who came during the day to do some editorial work on the computers, and they were always ready to help me in so many little ways. So I was well taken care off.

I felt humbled in awe and amazement how Krsna seems to always catch me at the right moment…..! How could I not recognize Krsna’s hand behind it all…..? This vision gives true shelter and peace of mind, knowing that surely Krsna will arrange everything else as well. And naturally, the second time around it is all not so frightening any more, and the diagnose of cancer is not as shattering. Indeed, it feels good to get a little reminder every ten years that time is gradually running out. After all, I am 58 now! So it’s good to put things into spiritual perspective. The next call could be the final one. And I want to get ready for it….!

To be continued….

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