SUCI'S FAITH HEALING JOURNEY
Enroute to New Zealand
It was an evening flight to New Zealand and I was uncomfortable in the crowded plane. I wondered how Suci was managing. Time to time she would twist in the seat, indicating that she was not sleeping.
When we arrived in Auckland she was tense and tired. I found a place for her to lie down on three seats in the airport. Devotees were coming with breakfast, and then to take us to the domestic airport for our flight to Christchurch. Many of our devotee friends there had been begging Suci to come.
Kunja Kishori, [recently our guest], now invites us to stay with her
She wants devotees there to come together for kirtan. We have a long standing affectionate relationship with many of those present.
Suci is comforted by the chanting.
JaiSri, Saci [also our guest last year] Suci and Sri Kari sharing
Ramila wistfully deep in thought
chanting soothes the mind - then it is possible to pray
While we were in Christchurch so many words of affection were written in her small book.
Radha, Ramila's daughter writes -
"I am only young. When you are young you tend to think you are invincible and you have the freedonm to die whenever. I am only just learning now that in actual fact, Krishna is in control and I must accept and learn to have faith that He is watching me and looking after me, just as He is to you"
Our next stop is America.
We stay here overnight, to rest before our flight to Chicago, then on to Brazil. Although we barely know anyone here, everyone is very welcoming.
Sucirani meets more friendly devotees.
Enroute to South America
Despite the stop overs, the travelling is very tiring. We finally arrive in Brazil, both exausted.
Giridhari Prabhu and Sucirani
Giridhari Prabhu meets us at the airport and takes us by car to Abadiania our destination. There we meet Sridhara Swami who wants to help get us settled and explain everything. We discover that there are quite a few devotees here at present.
We stay at a local Pousada [bed and breakfast] along with other devotees. They are also here seeking treatment for a variety of severe medical conditions.
Sridhara Swami takes care and shows us around.
The treatment here is somewhat mystical. Joao de Deus is a psychic surgeon who sometimes offers miraculous healings. Reversal of a malady takes place on many levels. He even performs physical operations spontaneously, but without blood or pain. Hundreds of people come here to seek his help in times of need and he treats them all for free.
But we haven't come here depending on him. No doubt we' re here to see if Gopinatha wants to reverse Suci's condition, but we aren't asking for a miracle cure. We want only deeper faith.
If this long trip yields greater dependance on Gopinatha, that will be our spiritual healing.
I set up His colourful altar and stick pictures of Vrindavana and Gopinatha dham on the walls to create a more familiar environment.
Meanwhile, we join the crowds of people at the Casa.
Sucirani immediatly becomes terrified of the thought of a "physical operation". Feeling weak she rests in a quiet room and tries to concentrate on chanting. When we go before Joao who sees each "patient" for moments, he prescribes a subtle [passive] surgery for her. She is relieved.
Gopinatha's intention is not to frighten us, yet we see in life how sometimes frightening things happen.
The enemy of faith is fear. When there is fear there cannot be strong faith. We both recognize that we have come here to face fear and then to learn something about dying,
We are here praying for greater faith.
Suci's altar and diaries
After two weeks Sridhara Swami is leaving, Now it is Kartika so we feel keen separation from Vrindavana. After consulting both Joao and Gopinatha's devotees we change our reservations. Leaving earlier than expected, we return to America and meet more devotee friends.
Return to America
Kaisori, an old friend of Jagattarini, meets us at the airport. We are staying at the house of her friend Padma Malini from Ireland.
Suci and Kaisori Harinama, Padmamalini, Dhanistha, Nataka Candrika
Alachua is a large devotee community. We meet more old friends, who offer wellwishes to Suci
"Yours is the ultimate adventure, Lord Krishna is your personal guide. No matter how dense the forest, He'll never let you get lost. May He grant fearlessness to you, as you fall into His arms "
Madhumati and Suci Kaisori,Suci, Kalindi and Jagattarini
Washington D C.
Our next stop is here, staying with another Padma Malini [Jagattarini's close friend] for some days before travelling to England. She also writes in Suci's small book:
"You are a wonderful example for all of us. Our prayers are with you. Your journey is all auspicious and victory is yours."
Are these words only being spoken by her? In retrospect I see more clearly that they aren't
Tired from travelling, we observe Srila Prabhupada's Disappearance day at the Manor. Again we meet Sridhara Swami who gives Suci a photo of his Nrsimhadev Sila for protection from fear.
Sri Vrindavana dham
As soon as we arrive , Bhurijana Prabhu is leaving for the retreat at Govardhana. He invites us to come along.
Visit to Govardhana
Sucirani bravely decides to travel to Govardhana. Now almost bedridden, she comes to spend a week with the devotees, who assist her and write many kind words in her small book.
Last year 2002 when Suci came to this retreat, she herself wrote the following prayer to Giriraja
" There is hope in the fact that Giriraja is really a person who wants to help aspiring devotees like me,and coming here to pray and chant is to become open to the mercy that He wants to bestow.Very important is to remember that I cannot even imagine how He plans to give that mercy - it will surely be in a way that I could not have anticipated, therefore the advice to be open is important. For me it means to put aside fearfulness - which is one of the things I have come to work on - and to try to focus on chanting. It will not come by my endeavour but by Giriraja's mercy"
After writing this in 2002, she returned to Perth. Just a matter of weeks later she was diagnosed with cancer.
Suci was shocked.
"Was this a fair response to a sincere devotional prayer? How can I trust someone who would do something so awful to me? I asked for mercy, but now I'm worse off than if I'd never asked."
Sometimes such feelings troubled her.
We can understand howevr that she was already seriously ill when she was offering her prayer, Girirja's reciprocation is evident in how she was taken care of in this time of great difficulty.
Return to Vrindavana
Suci still plans to leave Vrindavan and return to Gopinatha dham. She wants to be where she was serving Gopinatha happily, with those she knows well. She fears discomfort and forced reliance on poor hospital facilities. And lastly, she feels unworthy to remain in Vrindavana.
BUT GOPINATHA HAS COME WITH HER
and wont allow her to go. She has finished her travels for this life. Now she has reached her destination.He will take care of everything.
Suci's father, mother and brother Phil come. Phil's a doctor. He notices the care she is receiving and feels satisfied that she is in the best possible place.
Preparing for death: Suci shaves her head, Lalita cries, but is comforted with a warm smile.
For devotees, detachment is not the first priority. They understand that there is someone perfect to become attached to and thereby relinquish the binding influence of worldly attractions. The method for realizing spiritual attraction is given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Chanting chanting, and more chanting.
Suci now wants to be immersed in chanting
During the last week Aendra Prabhu came every evening. His powerful kirtan drew many devotees to Sucirani's side for chanting. She was deeply affected by the kirtan.
Jan 5th 2004 Late in the afternoon, Jagattarini noticed Suci experiencing difficuly breathing. A kirtan began immediatly. Jagattarini seeing her panic, asked Suci to chant in her mind. Her last words were...."I am"
Holding her hand and chanting loudly the small kirtan continued until it became quite clear that Suci had gone.
Then moments later, Aendra and his kirtan party arrived, and began a huge cstatic kirtan that continued to swell for hours. Devotees quickly came to pay their respects
The following day, was the auspicious funeral ceremony. Suci's body was taken in procession to the Yamuna.
Ananda Tirtha lit the fire and cremation took place.
Three days later the Tirobhava [celebration for a departed Vaisnava] took place. We heard from those who knew her, how Suci lived her life and what she had achieved.
In writing about Sucirani I have tried to refrain from the temptation to over-glorify her, leaving aside her "human" struggles. She was not a super being without the challenges that we "mere mortals"encounter.
Suci would not be comfortable with that.
She was sincere so she knew she was struggling to come up to her own expectations, and to subdue her conditioning. Her example is relevant for all of us. If we also keep trying to overcome our frailties, then we too can expect mercy.
Once Suci revealed to me a secret.
She was saving certain articles from her youth because she had a premonition that one day someone would desire to write about her life.
I replied saying that one is only worthy of glorifcation if one has overcome great difficulty.
Sucirani was by nature fearful in the face of difficulties. With respect to her illness, she openly expressed fears at every step. As her condition deteriorated she struggled to come to terms with the reality that she was facing imminent death,and yet without a doubt her departure was both glorious and successful.
By continuing to struggle Suci was forced to accept victory.
one last message written for Suci in her small book
" A venerable body composed of five elements is constantly demanding attention. The intelligence and mind are busy catering to the incessant desires to control and enjoy.
The hard struggle for existence. For what!
Apart from the sweet relationship with devotees what is worth staying for ?
Because of your kindness, the thoughts of lots of devotees are with you petitioning Krishna to take care of you.
You have won the favor of your Guru
Your life is complete. You are leaving us behind. We are sad and happy at the same time.
Save a place for us