After receiving both triple bypass heart surgery and hip surgery, his Holiness Mukunda Goswami has returned safely home to ISKCON’s New Govardhana farm in New South Wales, Australia. His occupational therapists expect him to be “back to his normal self in no time.”
An ISKCON pioneer, guru, and one of Srila Prabhupada’s very first disciples, Mukunda Goswami – known respectfully as “Maharaja” – was taken to the Tweed hospital on Australia’s Gold Coast when he slipped and broke his hip on October 22nd.
There, doctors discovered an underlying heart condition, and Maharaja was transferred to Gold Coast University Hospital and advised to go through two highly risky surgeries. Devotees around the world held vigil kirtans and prayed fervently, and the triple bypass and hip surgeries were ultimately successful, going off without a hitch.
Before his surgery, Maharaja was in good spirits, chanting Hare Krishna and listening to recordings of his beloved Srila Prabhupada. Afterwards, as soon as he was shifted from intensive care to the cardiac ward, he began having his disciples read Srimad-Bhagavatam aloud to him. Despite extreme exhaustion, he chanted japa whenever he could on an electronic finger counter.
In early November, Mukunda Goswami was transferred to the rehabilitation facility of Murwillambah hospital, which is a fifteen-minute drive from New Govardhan. There, he worked with physiotherapists and gradually increased his food and drink intake.
One of the therapists commented that she was “blown away” after looking “Mukunda Goswami” up on Google and learning of his world renown and many achievements.
On Friday November 27th, Maharaja returned home to New Govardhana, where his residence was decorated with a welcome sign for his arrival.
His house, which already included safe wheelchair access throughout, has received several safety improvements to prevent future accidents, thanks to the kind donations of devotees around the world.
The tiled floor in his bedroom, bathroom and study, on which the fateful slip occurred, has been treated by floor grip specialists to make it safer to walk on. Nonslip memory foam floor mats have been placed in his bedroom and bathroom. Extra support rails and a ramp from the carport to his bedroom have been installed, his office chair has been fitted with braking wheels, and the house is furnished with chairs that have armrests which make them easier to get in and out of.
Maharaja’s house is now fitted with extra support rails and a ramp.
Meanwhile, the house is now fitted with a CareAlert system, enabling Maharaja to call his caretakers in an emergency. And he now wears a CareAlert pendant that, in the event of an accident, dials five emergency numbers in sequence until someone responds.
Despite all the precautions, therapists expect Mukunda Goswami to recover fully soon.
“Remember five weeks ago he was fit, able and independent, walking everywhere, delivering the Conch newsletter himself every month to devotees door to door, and driving himself to the pool three times a week,” says his caretaker Krishna Kirtan Das.
Mukunda Goswami will now continue physiotherapy as an outpatient until he’s walking normally unassisted; and will likely resume swimming at around twelve weeks after his surgery.
He’s eating well, getting strong and has been off pain medication for nearly a week. Two local initiated devotee doctors are caring for him, as well as registered nurses, one of whom lives very close by.
Most importantly, Maharaja is in good spirits, joking about having to wear his alert pendant 24/7: “The three stages of age are: independent, dependent and pendant,” he commented.
“He also said that his favorite word in English these days is ‘discharge,’” Krishna Kirtan says. “He’s so happy to be home and out of the hospital!”
Jun 25, 2022
Radhapriya Chawla, ISKCON Toronto Communications