The entire night sounded like a war zone. The New Year Diwali festivities resounded throughout the city - explosions of fire works popping continuously and lighting up the night. I had never seen anything like it, as I peered out the window from the five story room I stayed in. The coloured meteors punctuated the dark sky.
And the powerful banging did not let up, when Ekachakra, my walking companion, and I went south and then north at Juhu Beach. Upon reaching the temple after a sweaty walk I learned of another passing - a devotee woman Devaki, from South America. She died as a result of an automobile accident.
Someone described her as a young princess, beautiful in body and spirit. Her husband I know well. Ekanath Gaura has our condolences.
This world is a place of death. In Sanskrit the word is "martyaloka". Life exists but it is always followed by death. In this way the wheel of action persists. In the Bhagavad-Gita this concept of life is underscored by Krishna when he says "one who has taken his birth is sure to die and after death one is sure to take birth again". (B.G. 2.27)
Death is all around and many of us are ill-prepared to deal with it. If you live a full life covering a span of perhaps 7 or 8 decades then you may be in a better position to receive death. Of course there is never a guarantee when it will happen.
I have wound up my stay in ISKCON Mumbai. The hospitality was incredible; the prasadam (sacred food) was a delight. The only thing that leaves me baffled is the arrangement for female
pilgrims who come for darshan (deity viewing). They are situated in the back of the room. This is something that I have not seen in a Hindu temple anywhere, what to speak of an ISKCON center. It certainly was not a standard established by our Guru, Srila Prabhupada.
I would consider this a very bad arrangement. It should be adjusted so that there is fairness and encouragement. My suggestion is that one half of a temple floor or even a third, be reserved for
the women, up close near the deities. The current system is unacceptable as far as I am concerned.