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Prabhupada on Illness
What did Srila Prabhupada say about devotees' illness? He was concerned and compassionate; he used to sign all his letters, "Hope this meets you in good health." In Srila Prabhupada's early letters, he often recommended home remedies for illness, and he suggested that devotees take good care of their bodies as instruments in Krsna's service. "As you are sick with the flu now," he wrote to a disciple in 1969, "I think it is best that you do not exert yourself by working too much strenuously but rather you rest as much as possible until you are feeling better" (Letter, January 16,1969).
Srila Prabhupada taught that Krsna conscious life provided its own system of hygiene, including a balanced diet, exercise, rest, and optimistic mentality.Ever since Srila Prabhupada first came to America in 1965, he contended with his own illness associated with old age. From his own experience, he directed his disciples.
Physically and mentally we may be disturbed sometimes, but we have to stand erect on the spiritual platform. I may inform you in this connection that 1 am at the moment physically unfit; I am having always a buzzing sound in my brain. I cannot sleep soundly at night, but still I am working because I try to be in position of spiritual platform. 1 hope you shall try to understand me right and do the needful. Letter, June 10,1968
Prabhupada did not endorse a particular school of medicine or put full faith in medical panaceas. Neither did he say that doctors should be avoided. He advised that devotees take normal measures for recovery but mainly depend on Krsna by chanting Hare Krsna.One time when Srila Prabhupada was lecturing on the twenty-six qualities of a devotee, he commented that "a devotee is friendly." He said that when fellow devotees become sick, we should be very sympathetic to them and take care of them. The devotees are somewhat like soldiers in battle. When one of them gets sidelined, he or she sometimes has the unfortunate experience of being neglected. As ISKCON matures, it will give more emphasis to the care of the ill and aged workers of the movement.