Face to face with death
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.
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