11 Sep

Bangkok & Yauvi, Travels With Pancha & Rosalie

CPR and Last Rites on a Street in Bangkok

By Pancha

I meant to write chronologically about our travels, but today’s extraordinary events require me to discard that plan and tell what happened. Readers may consider foriving me for giving spiritual color to the following events.

Because Rosalie acted in her spiritual role as a caring Vaishnava, I will refer to her as Yauvi, which is a nickname drawn from her initiated name, “Yauvanananda devi dasi.” This name means “servant of the embodiment of youthful bliss.”

The Vaishnava theology teaches that we are all spiritual beings. God is the supreme spiritual being. His body is sat-cit-ananda vigraha, meaning that He has an eternally youthful spiritual form full of bliss and knowledge.

Yauvi went to the local market market this morning, just a few blocks from our guesthouse in Bangkok, while I prepared our deity, Sakshi Gopal, for His morning worship. Yauvi buys flowers and fruits which we offer to God each day with what love and devotion we can muster for Him.

She had purchased the fruits and was about to buy a nice, ready-made flower garland when there was a clattering and crash several feet away. A middle-aged Thai man lay there next to his bicycle. His arms and legs were moving slightly, and his breathing was intermittent and shallow. His eyes rolled back in his head. He was not hit by another vehicle. He simply fell from his bicycle. Perhaps it was a heart attack.

Yauvi went to him, chanting the Hare Krsna mantra so that he could hear. When she saw that his breathing was difficult, she understood that he might be dying. She began administering CPR by pressing on his chest, remembering a CPR class she took years ago. The man listened to her as she repeatedly spoke the Hare Krsna mantra. He would open his eyes, look at her, then close them again. His breathing remained weak, and after five or six minutes, he breathed his last.

Yauvi continued to give CPR, but she saw he was unresponsive. As she did so, some Thai people came and tried massaging his arms and legs. But it was to no avail; he was gone.

After twenty minutes or so, an ambulance arrived. The paramedics tried CPR, but gave up when they saw he was gone for good. They removed his wallet and photographed its contents. Then, without any hurry, his body was loaded into the ambulance and they left.

The man looked well-to-do, dressed in a nice shirt and shorts. His wallet was full of money and stuffed with credit cards. His newly purchased groceries lay in a heap on the street.

As Yauvi worked on the man’s chest, she thought of how all living beings are leaving their bodies: the insects, the animals, the human beings.  For some reason, she didn’t feel traumatized or especially disturbed. It was sad that the man had to die in the street, away from family and friends, but somehow or other he at least had the benefit of being cared for in his last moments by a person who tried to revive him and who spoke holy names of God for his benefit.

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