Better to Be Safe Than Have It On Your Saree
West on the 401, Ontario
I had contemplated the safety measures taken for our ashram dwellers. Bearing in mind that one of our senior monks from India, Aindra, had lost his life, a victim of a gas leak from a propane tank that fuelled flames, I questioned just how safe are our ashrams and temples.
In the 90's we lost a pujari priest to serious flames arisen from Diwali candles placed on the altar floor. A flame crawled up his dhoti and then it was all over. A young woman visiting from the States was cooking when the end of her saree caught on fire from the gas range at the stove. She survived but the burns were serious enough. I have heard of more fire horror stories in addition to this. In general more could be done to protect the people in such sacred domains.
We also hear of lives being lost to the waters of the Ganges. Almost every year a bather, one of our pilgrims, is swept away by the serious currents of this turbulent but holy river. Perhaps safe docks for bathing could be constructed or designated zones be established. What about life guards being engaged at least during heavy trafficked festival times.
It seems fire and water continue to consume our family. There is, however, another culprit or cause for the death of the spiritually bound and that is ourselves. How many death tolls have you heard of that have been the result of nighttime driving or over fatigue behind the wheel?
While we have our mantras to protect our souls, some time needs to be reserved to look at the practical end of things. Securing safety is a use of our God-given intelligence. There is no guarantee for security in this world but those who are thoughtful (sattvic) make an effort.
I would put this subject under "Devotee Care" and reserve some time to see to the increased safety of our monastic people, the deities and people in general.