When Obiwan Kenobi felt the end of Alderaan
it was as if a hole appeared and swallowed, to a man,
the lifeforce of each precious soul existing ’til that time
and twisted, perhaps frayed, the cord of which we form a line
I wonder, when tsunamis hit, when earthquakes take their toll,
how many sense the devastation wrought, and still console
themselves that these are unknown folk of far and distance lands
and do not feel the spike that drives itself in others’ hands
In retrospect, we call it karma, God’s will, or bad luck;
but are we all so ignorant, fresh off the turnip truck,
that we must have some writing on the wall to comprehend
or find a mystic omen first, and then assist a friend?
The world is what the world is, whether nature’s realm, or God’s;
but sadly, we each feel so distant from it, and at odds
with every notion that connects us to each living thing,
and every song that all life forms but us have learned to sing.
The lost, the dead, the wounded? These poor souls have passed the test.
There but for the grace of some God, we think, we live and have been blessed;
but blessed not with just life, but opportunity to grow
and prove our faith in something is of substance, not just show.
How can we ease the suffering? How can we stop the pain?
How can we more control the world so it won’t hurt again?
A better question, one that might serve better those who grieve:
How long ’til each of us becomes what we say we believe?
30 DEC 2004
Dear friends and devotees,
Jaya Sri Rama. Please accept my humble pranams.
We are all very saddened about the terrible devastation that has fallen on our brothers and sisters in South India and other parts of the world.
In response to the recent tsunami, the Bhaktivedanta Ashram is arranging a team of volunteers in Tamil Nadu to begin relief work to help the victims. Relief activities are expected to begin on Thursday, December 30th. Within several days an additional team of volunteers from our Orissa ashram will join them to provide further relief supplies including basic necessities for children and their families. Due to the long term effects of this disaster, the Bhaktivedanta Ashram plans to open a permanent relief center in Chennai so that relief activities can continue even after the immediate media attention dies down. With our past experience of the Orissa cyclone in 1999 we know that such disasters lead to long term difficulties for the victims that continue even after the relief organizations leave. With that in mind we are planning to maintain our relief center in Tamil Nadu permanently so that we can continue caring for those in need, especially the children who are affected by this disaster.
Reports indicate that the death toll in India has reached over 12,500 so far, with children accounting for up to a third of all the dead. Health reports state that the spread of disease could kill as many people in the coming weeks.
In such a situation with millions of displaced people suffering in need of food and clothing it seems an impossible task, but we should not let this discourage us. Let every one of us help in whatever little way we can.
I would like to again thank all of our friends and donors who have contributed towards our projects in the past and request everyone to offer whatever service they can, regardless of how small, to help this urgent cause.
Yours in service,
Jahnava Nitai Das,
Bhaktivedanta Ashram & Bhaktivedanta International Charities