Real Medicine

62 Real medicine
In material life, there are natural insurmountable catastrophes. A few years ago in India, in Gujarat there was a massive earthquake. Tens and thousands of people died in just a matter of minutes. The earthquake lasted for only45 seconds. Millions of dollars worth damage occurred and thousands of lives were lost. From our Bhaktivedanta hospital in Mumbai, when medical staff reached the earthquake site, there were queues of people coming with crushed heads and broken limbs; it was horrible. Doctors were treating them, and the whole while there was soothing divine music and sanctified food distribution also going on. Every evening, there were discourses in the local Gujarati language on Bhagavad-Gita. For the morning and evening classes, they had erected a pandal, a temporary make-shift cloth structure. Many people reiterated that the classes and the divine music were giving more relief thanall the medical work.

It was a tragedy on every level: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When your mother is dead, your father is dead, your brothers and sisters are dead, your children are dead, your husband is dead, your wife is dead, and you have seen them all die right before your eyes, you have seen every bit of your property that you gave your whole life to, devastated, then you have nothing more left. Just from the 45 seconds of the earth shaking. If you went to the relief camps, you could see how people were really suffering;they were dazed and confused. They didn’t know what to do, where to go,where they were coming from.

Their life, and everything they had workedfor—family, loved ones, property—was gone; there was nothing left. So the doctors tried to fix their broken arms, but what about their minds, what about their hearts, what about their lives? The doctors fixed their broken legs, the relief workers helped them bury their loved ones. What they were really doing is bandaging people, doing some orthopedic surgery on different people’s limbs and physically they were setting them alright, but they were unable to fix their devastated lives. They had nothing to live for anymore. However, when these same people, after getting their arms, legs, ribsfixed up, came to the pandal and heard the soothing divine music and the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita, they found hope, they found a meaning to life,they found a way to deal with their broken hearts and actually attain an eternal destination. So many people came and said this is the actual relief work, that we were healing their hearts, we were healing their souls.

There were thousands of organizations that were fixing their bodies, which was a laudable and noble work. But when they came to us the villagers said that wewere trying to heal their hearts and souls and we had given them hope and the ultimate highest reason to live and we had taught them how to deal with this situation and to transcend it. They were so grateful. They didn’t want us toleave. So, this is what people really need.

Whether they are physically injured or whether they are physically fit,their hearts are crippled if they don’t know who they are and what their relationship with God is. We try to make use of material nature in the best way we can, but ultimately our real purpose is to help people transcend the material nature. If somehow or the other, before imminent death comes, if people learn how to love and serve to whatever extent they can, that is the greatest gift.

by Radhanath Swami