On October 23, while I was stopping briefly at the ISKCON center in New Delhi on the way from Govardhana to Mumbai, an anguished disciple of my godbrother Jayapataka Swami told me that Jayapataka Swami had fallen unconscious while in Mumbai to attend a meeting and had been rushed to the hospital, where he lay still unconscious and in critical condition.
When I reached Mumbai I got a fuller story. He had suffered a major stroke, with hemorrhaging in two locations in the brain, one of them in the brain stem, an area so neurologically delicate and so hard to reach that no direct intervention was possible. All that the doctors could do was struggle to keep him alive.
The public word was that his chances were slim; the private word, practically hopeless. This was the sort of attack from which patients don’t recover. The doctors were going all out, doing everything they could, putting up a valiant fight in a battle they would have to expect to lose.
I visited him in the intensive care unit, where he lay still comatose, machines monitoring his vital signs, signs of a life kept tenuously holding on by transfusions, injections, fluids cycled through tubes into his body, and a machine to enable him to breathe. Every few minutes a nurse would snap into a slot a new cartridge to pump into him something he needed.
All I could do was was chant for him and offer my most full-hearted wishes for his well-being, whatever Krishna might desire. Though one optimistic doctor said that anything was possible–he’d seen so many patients defy the textbooks–I thought it likely I would never see Jayapataka Swami again.
Now he is fully conscious, breathing without mechanical help, sitting up (with some assistance), and exercising all four of his limbs. He speaks, though with effort, and clearly shows that he is “with it,” in command of his cognitive powers. Six weeks ago nearly certain soon to die, he is now soon to be moved out of intensive care.
I join thousands of his friends, well-wishers, admirers, and disciples all over the world who are grateful he is still with us and recovering, against all odds. We are grateful to the doctors, who have worked with such dedication and expertise. But sometimes, despite the best doctors, even a patient with only a mild ailment may die, and sometimes even a patient with no doctor may survive the most severe threat. Finally, everything is up to Krishna. So above all we are grateful to Krishna, who has so kindly intervened in Jayapataka Swami’s life.