Tulsi Gabbard Endorses Vedic Residential Retirement Villages

By Ananta Sesa Dasa

Last summer, one of the Vedic Care Cooperative’s core members, Gurudas, attended a gathering at Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir in Sunnyvale, California to discuss residential retirement villages. Despite being largely unknown in this temple, Gurudas was invited to sit with the inner circle to discuss residential retirement villages. Since this is a key goal of the Vedic Care Cooperative, he jumped at the opportunity.

Also in attendance that day was Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the first Vaishnava to ever be elected to congress. According to Gurudas, when Tulsi Gabbard arrived, she was vivacious, smiling, knowledgeable, and very much at home in the temple surroundings.

The congresswoman quoted readily from the Bhagavad-Gita, citing her two favorite verses:

Avinasi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idam tatam
vinasam avyayasyasya
na kascit kartum arhati

“Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul” (BG 2:17).

Nainam chindanti sastrani
nainam dahati pavakah
na cainam kledayanty apo
na sosayati marutah

“The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind” (BG 2:23)

Tulsi said that keeping these verses in mind can help combat the problems of the material condition and to focus on living a Krishna-centered life. Tulsi has stated that she tries to apply the principles of the Bhagavad-Gita to every aspect of her life. “No matter where I go,” she said, “I have my japa mala with me, so whenever I have a spare moment I rest my mind and heart in the Holy Names.” She then encouraged everyone present to do the same. Whatever you do in life, you can make Krishna the center.

Tulsi expressed an interest in establishing residential retirement villages and hospice facilities that were Krishna-centered. Typical facilities are not geared towards the Krishna-conscious devotee. One finds meat-eating, gambling, overuse of prescription treatments, atheistic or bias staff, and all sorts of materially-conditioned souls in other facilities. Being in this association at the end of one’s present body could do great harm to the devotee. However, in a Krishna-centered environment, the associations will all benefit the devotee, and help him in his transition.

According to Gurudas, those present were greatly encouraged by the congresswoman’s interest and support in these ideas.