ISKCON Decides to go Online, Requests Devotees to Stay Home
With COVID-19 global pandemic the governing body of ISKCON (GBC) has adviced all devotees across the globe to support the government body of their country by following due instructions. All devotees have been advised to observe Isolation and not to visit the temple or even move out of their houses all across the globe.
ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Spiritual leader Radhanath Swami Maharaj said, “All our lectures and classes, Sunday programmes and meditation continue in full swing even now but the difference is that now everything is happening online and not in person. We have requested all devotees to continue with their sadhana bhakti from their homes. We have ensured that all devotees are connected with their respective temples in their city through online classes, meetings on zoom & hangouts and they can take online darshan of Radha Krishna deities and are advised to chant extra round for the benefit of mankind. Online yoga classes have been started for adults and separate online yoga classes for kids through Govardhan Eco Village. All retreats, yoga classes, conferences and Sunday feasts are all cancelled.”
Swami Ji added, “It is our moral duty to come forward and contribute to what best we can in the current situation. ISKCON through its various projects has been contributing to society. All our temples across Globe are preparing meals and distributing to needy, casual workers near the temple on a daily basis since lockdown. In Mumbai Radha Gopinath Temple is serving free lunch packets daily for 700 volunteers to our local BMC ward. The ISKCON temple in Delhi is currently distributing 1 lakh meals in the afternoon and evening to daily wage workers. We plan to increase number of meals to 5 lakhs in due course of time with the help of donations from devotees.”
Gauranga Das, Director – Strategy & Collaborations - Govardhan Ecovillage (GEV) said, “We are supplying regularly lunch and dinner comprising of rice, daal & sabji to at least 4000 villagers around GEV in Wada especially to stranded and needy people along with the government officials on duty in the wake of the emergency for fighting against the novel Coronavirus.”
“ISKCON family is widespread across the world and in this panic situation, we are trying to reach out to all devotees across the globe to extend our support. We are launching our website this week “ISKCON Coronavirus Resource Center“ which will connect devotees all across the world to assist in this COVID-19 situation. This website will have a dashboard of Reported cases of COVID-19 in ISKCON Community, Confirmed cases, Suspected cases and departed soul due to COVID-19,” addedGauranga Das.
This website will have “Prayer Board”, “Covid Knowledge Forum”, “Information for Communities”, “Ask the ISKCON leader”, “Ask the Devotee Doctor” where devotees all across the globe can post questions about COVID-19 to devotee medical professional. “Volunteer to protect devotee” where devotees all across the globe who wants to volunteer medical help or providing meals to devotees who are in isolation can provide their details and thereby extend help. “Report Suspected Covid patients” where devotees can report about their sickness to ensure the required support is extended.
Gauranga Das added, “Temple wise or zone wise distribution of aids” & another session “Donate for COVID-19 victim” where devotees all across the globe can donate at their own free will and the funds can be used for the devotee fighting COVID-19 battle all across the globe.”
Dr. B. C. Shah – Director of 'Hare Krsna' TV Channel said, “Ours is a satellite licensed 24X7 television channel dedicated to connecting viewers to almighty. During these difficult days, Hare Krsna TV is providing soul cooling music, mesmerizing dhuns, motivational programs by Gauranga Das, Gaura Gopal Das, Jay Shetty, and others. Since we don’t entertain ads on our TV channels devotees can enjoy uninterrupted programs.”
Radha Krishna Das, Administrative Advisor – Annamrita said, “Now amongst this COVID-19 situation Annamrita took this challenge to serve nutritious lunch to all the municipal wards every day through our dedicated staff following WHO guidelines to all the Municipal staff in 24 wards. This includes people dedicatedly serving in departments of Solid waste management, Maintenance department, Public Health Department, Water Department, Social justice department, Disaster management department, and Hospital staff etc. We are also providing khichdi to families staying in slums in various locations in Maharashtra and also to construction workers and their families on various construction sites in Mumbai. Every day around 15,000 municipal employees & 10000 casual workers and slum residents are benefitted by Annamrita’s khichadi."
Radha Krishna Das added, “Annamrita Foundation has also started serving meals in hospitals in Mumbai to almost 5000 plus on daily bases, Health care staff includes Doctors, Nurses, Assistant staff, pathology staff, and office assistants. Major hospitals including Kasturba hospital, Maa Hospital Chembur, Shatabdi Hospital Govandi, GTB hospital patients, BL Nair Hospital and has further received meal also now there is a request from JJ Hospital & St George hospital to supply meals for almost 1000 staff.”
Dr. Ajay Sankhe, Director Bhaktivedanta Hospital & Research Institute which is founded by devotees of ISKCON said, “We have begin ICU and Isolation facilities for COVID-19 patients at Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi - Tembha Hospital (Municipal Hospital), Mira Bhayander in coordination with Municipal Commissioner of Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation, Maharashtra. We are currently handling 47 patients including 13 COVID-19 positive patients. We have started collecting the samples through our Pathology Partner - ‘Apoorva Diagnostics’ which is a NABL approved lab. The collected samples are then sent to the ICMR approved labs for processing. The charges for the tests are placed at Rs. 4500.”
Dr. Sankhe added, “In the last couple of weeks, while many other hospitals and nursing homes in the vicinity are not functioning, we are continuing our services for the welfare of the community. Our medical & para medical team of more than 600 is tirelessly working 24x7 risking their lives and we are treating 500-600 regular patients daily and 60-70 indoor patients which are mainly in ICU & ICCU. Our main specialty doctors are available to manage other emergency cases as well. We have also arranged pick-up & drop services for our staff who are coming from far off places.”