Five Star Hospitals

Trendy hospitals today cover up the dark truths of life besides
providing entertaining diversions. But at what cost?
Recently I had to spend a few days in hospital since my father had some heart problem. Most of the time I was sitting alone chanting, reading books, hearing lectures, or simply observing my surroundings. I noticed how there was a striking difference in the way people in the hospital be- haved, whether they were patients or visiting relatives. Only a few years ago, we would witness relatives of patients praying while they waited for the condition of their loved ones to improve. There would be a temple where everyone could go and offer their prayers. 
Now, it seems, almost everyone is engaged in useless talks ranging from business to share market, movies to cricket to politics. Hospital authorities have in stalled large plasma screen TVs and hi-fi music systems in the waiting areas, as well as patients' rooms. If you feel hungry or thirsty, no problem! A so- phisticated canteen offers an array of lip-smacking preparations and soft drinks to satisfy the senses. After meals, you can take your kids for some fun in the hospital park, complete with swings and rides. 
It looks more like a picnic spot than a hospital. People are enjoying, watching movies, eating as if they were in a restaurant, and the kids have ample space to play around. One might ask, well what is wrong with it ? Surely hospital authorities are only trying to help the patients and their attendants to mitigate the suffering of being in hospital! 
In the past , hospitals and crematoriums were places which exposed the stark miseries of this material world. Disease and death would induce one to ponder that this material world is actually miserable and temporary. Every one has to leave one day so why not take a break from the routine mad rush and take out some time to remember God. 
Although modern amenities look appealing and pleasing to us, they also cover up our vision of reality. And, Krsna warns us about this delusive pleasure in the Bhagavad-gita. He says, "That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects appears like nectar at first but becomes poison at the end … " (Bg 18.38) So what may seem very humane and nice in the beginning, just as we discussed above, may turn out to be harmful like poison. One may be so engrossed in enjoyment that even visiting such places where miseries are most grossly apparent, does not shake us up from our 'all· is·well· in ·this·world ' vision. One may miss the opportunity to realize the futility of this material world and continue his/ her glide towards lower species of life. It is just like a goat standing in a queue outside a slaughterhouse waiting to be slaughtered, while it is happily munching on grass and believing that everything is alright. 
Now the question is how to stop the glide towards hell and lower species of life? Srila Prabhupada has established hundreds of temples of Sri Sri Radha Krsna all over the world specifically for this purpose. He said that the whole world can be accommodated in these temples. Anyone can visit them, take darsana of the beautifully decorated Deities, take prasada (remnants of food offered to God), and associate with devotees. These temples are replicas of Vaikuntha. By visiting these and associating with devotees, one can try and realize transcendental knowledge and eventually the goal of life – the goal of attaining shelter at the lotus feet of The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. 
Sanatana Krsna Dasa is a disciple of His Holiness Gopala Krsna Goswami Maharaja. He is a chartered accountant and actively serves at ISKCON Punjabi Bagh, Delhi.