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Face to face with death

Friday, 04 January 2008 / Published in Events / 4,636 views

By Partha-sarathi dasa

Iraq is always an intense place with death around every corner. You never know when some car bomb will go off or you might be in the kill zone of an ambush. Soldiers everyday die, but is it really possible for me to be fixed on Krishna? I always wondered this. Little did I know that Krishna would give me a first hand lesson in death. I keep on staring at the crimson blood on my uniform as I sit in my vehicle.

The events of today, permanently etched into my head. Earlier, I was driving down the road, I was part of convoy heading to another base camp. The team and I were scanning the surrounding to avoid being ambushed. It was three of us in my vehicle. Ahead I notice another US convoy, coming our way. I just turned my head for a moment, but as I looked again, I saw a flash of light and the boom that always follows. Almost instantly the vehicle went into flames.

The air quickly filled with the stench of burning rubber and metal. Without hesitation my driver and I come to a stop and jump out of the vehicle. Our gunner sets up security to protect us and secure the site of the burning vehicles, other soldiers are following suit. As my driver and I run up to the vehicle , I was praying my beating heart out, ” My dear Lord, please let these soldiers be O. K..” I prepared myself for the worst and hoped for the best. It was worse than I thought. The passenger and gunner were seriously injured, each was covered in blood. The driver was not really hurt, the blast came from the right side of the vehicle. We grabbed them out and started to provide first aid. Two soldiers worked on the passenger, two other soldiers worked on the gunner. We are taught to reassure the casualties. To make them feel as if everything will be OK.

I bend down towards the soldier and start describing to him the glories of Krishna and about the lilas of Lord Narasimhadeva. The soldier is trying to talk but blood is oozing out of his mouth with every exhalation. I try harder to concentrate on describing the wonderful slokas in the Srimad Bhagavatam. The convoy commander decided to call in a medical evacuation or medevac, as we prepare the soldier to move, I rip the piece of dhoti from Lord Narasimha, that I have tied around my wrist and place it in the soldiers hand. I just turn to him and say” Hare Krishna!”and walk away. Hoping that Krishna has heard my prayers.


  1. 0
    Citraketu dasa ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hare Krsna!


    This is certainly a brave situation. It is so unfortunate these things have to go on in the world. Hopefully your prayers did some good and perhaps the soldier appreciated your efforts. Krsna is all-cognizant so He must always be aware of our prayers. There apparently was no chaplain present and you apparently served in that role.

    God must have a special plan to have material nature and human society arranged like this. Therefore, we should not blame God for the difficulties we may encounter. We need to remember that our perception of things may not be accurate. It is a challenge of our human intelligence to conceive of how God Himself perceives things.

    Some people may not understand the Krsna concept of God. There is much work to be done to establish a crystal-clear interfaith dialogue. Perhaps this is something behind these wars. In the mean time we need to act according to our heart with faith and sincerity as you have demonstrated.

    Your servant in Krsna consciousness,

    Citraketu dasa

  2. 0
    radhe108 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hare krishna , this description is scary infact . Hope you and your comrades are always safe by Lord’s grace . Thanks for sharing the incident ,.
    I also wish to join army, I will get job from coll. but if I get into army ,I will go .
    Haribol , and Happy New year 2008 . pranams.
    Jaya Sri Jagannath.

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    satyahit2 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    now we read that some passenger comercial airplanes are fitted with heat detecting laser weapons underneath the planes to avoid being hit by a 200$ shoulder mounted rocket .
    well i did not intend to say more but then coment is restricted so to spell this issue out more it appears that Partha Sarathi’s reasons for fear of death are getting closer to home or so Homaeland Security thinks .

  4. 0
    abrennan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear Partha-sarathi, always great to hear from you. I hope you are preparing to write a book of you experiences. It is heart rending but also somehow empowering to read of your experiences. I hope this new year improves you circumstances.

    My prayers are with you and those in your community.

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    elaine oehman ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Thank you for your article that showed so much strenth,courage,faith to rethink and relive the sad experience of war all over again.

    Death is imminent whether in war or peace. It comes in many ways-peaceful or brutal. As
    close as you were reminds me a few months ago when I had to drive to Binghamton NY to be with my Mother(92+yrs)24-7. For a day or so she seemed to be improving-then it hit.She was taken off all meds and placed in “Comfort Care” to leave her body.

    It was such a short notice that I left only with what I had on. I did have my Tulsi neck beads on and my Tulsi chanting beads in my purse. My Tulsi neckbeads were to small to put on her so I wrapped my Japa Beads around her swollen,bruised hand/wrist. Sometimes she would try and touch them or try and pull them off.By this time I was tired numb and blank with un defyable emotions.

    When I held her hand i would chant gently ,softly the Maha Mantra on the beads on her wrist. The doctors ,nursers never questioned it were just courious.What family was sibling,some unknown relatives to me was a typical Kali Yuga event. I could not get away but was at peace.

    A few days later my Mother left her body with the Tulsi beads still with her and the memory of Mitra fixing her prashdam a nd talking about Krishna a few years back and hearing the Holy name of Krishna.I will never forget her face just like you will never forget the s0ldiers All u had to offer was a piece of dhoti from Lord Narshima and a whisper of the Holy Name. How fortunate those soldiers were.Krishna always hears our prayers from the heart.


    bhakin elaine (Mitravinda devi dasi mother)

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