Image: Ananda Loka Das with plantains after Hurricane Fiona
Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico hard on September 19th and many Puerto Ricans are still recovering from the destruction. As reported by NPR The category 1 storm devastated most of Puerto Rico’s plantain crops– a staple food.
Puerto Rico has been severely impacted by Fiona, leaving many homes uninhabitable, communities under water and bridges and roads ruined. Early data points to a difficult road ahead as locals work to recover.
ISKCON News was quick to reach out to the devotees of Puerto Rico to see what their immediate needs were, and to everyone’s surprise, it was reported simply; ‘All is well’.
ISKCON News spoke to Arisudana Das, the temple president, who reported to us no major damage to the temple, all devotees are safe, and there have been no casualties. When Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico in 2017 it was a Category 5, so they were prepared for Fiona’s impact. In fact, the temple did not even receive water damage. There still is no electricity, but as Arisudana Das reported, “We are prepared for this kind of situation”.
Kind Prayers Exchanged
HG Kalakanta Prabhu ACBSP sent prayers to the devotees and Puerto Rico and HG Ananda Loka Das shared their exchange with ISKCON News.
Kalakanta Das: “…May Krishna bless and protect you. What else can I say? Devotees are so wonderful.”
Ananda Loka Das: “Hare Krishna Kalakanta Prabhu, Please accept my humble Obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I am so very happy to receive your reply, blessings to all the devotees here in Puerto Rico and suggestions on the class l was asked to give after the hurricane at the Sunday feast lecture, you have no idea how much it means to me, Thank you! Yes, I’m in agreement with you that devotees are wonderful “And amazing.” And if l may l’d like to elaborate on your point. Arisudana Prabhu asked me to give class and l was reluctant because of the service l’m trying to do taking care of There Lordships and Ladyship as the only full-time pujari, I just didn’t want to speak.(selfish on my part).
At one point he said to me, ” some people think l don’t do anything here”. At the restaurant in San Juan over an hour away from the temple and his house, he is the lone cook, manager accountant, and pot washer, you get the Idea. He does have a nice devotee that helps. He also has a Wednesday night Gita pizza program, he does single-handedly. His wife a wonderful devotee is a nurse and works the graveyard shift at the hospital in San Juan, so he has to be home to care for his two daughters and l think a young child at night. Still, he comes to the temple every night to bring bhoga and spend a few minutes with each devotee, He’s extremely personal caring, a little of laid back, loving, patient, kind, and much more. Then there’s the responsibility of TP and management, you are well familiar with what that entails, only here in Puerto Rico it’s like serving in India or a third-world country, he cooks for the Sunday feast every Sunday, and lectures, he’s has been through two hurricanes that l know of, and he’s been doing this for years. He said ok I’ll go and prepare for class, “Some people think l don’t do anything around here”.My reply was l do know, l canceled my traveling plans to serve at three temples when I was asked to serve here because there would be no pujari. By this time he was sitting in his car, he jumped threw himself to the ground and offered his obeisances, l was so moved……almost to tears, l also got down and l apologized and said l will give the Sunday feast lecture Prabhu. So thank you for your help in this matter.
Ananda loka das vanacharya”
Continued Prayers for All Victims of Hurricane Fiona
Hurricane Fiona may not have affected our ISKCON centers, but the pain and devastation left behind in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic is massive. May we all pray for the safety and welfare of this planet and all its inhabitants. May Krishna continue to protect the devotees so that we may serve our communities with relief in such tragedies.
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