There’s been quite a witch hunt in the Croatian newspapers in the last few days; a Hare Krishna family had a son die from untreated pneumonia and diabetes, and although his sickness wasn’t sudden and he asked them for help, they “treated” it with yarrow tea and prayer instead of taking him to a hospital. They called the ambulance only after he stopped breathing and even then they didn’t attempt reanimation.
There are several issues involved here. First, the Hare Krishnas aren’t known for their faith in either science or anything to do with the Western world, to put it mildly. More accurately, if something isn’t in Srimad Bhagavatam and Prabhupada didn’t recommend it, they will most likely feel that it’s either not important or that it’s actively harmful. Also, there were numerous incidents in their movement throughout its history, from pedophilia to murder and other forms of violence, that are directly opposite to what their teaching is supposed to be, so I wouldn’t put much past them. However, they are not opposed to Western medicine either as a matter of teaching, or from precedents set by the founder, who sought medical assistance several times in his life, for various issues, from minor (difficulties urinating) to life-threatening (stroke and diabetes). So, if there’s a “religious” reason why those parents didn’t bring their seriously ill son to the doctor, it’s not because their religion forbids it, or because its founder set a negative precedent. More likely, it’s a result of their “original thinking”.
The second issue is that the incident was reported in a very particular way with a very clear message, in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, where at least half the population is seriously sceptical towards the official reporting of the facts and towards the official medical recommendations, and this incident was reported in form of a message that says, basically, that if you don’t buy all the garbage we’re feeding you from the official sources, then you are no better than this family of cultists that “refused science and medicine” and is now to be officially prosecuted and their other children are to be taken away from them. The message is quite clear – obey unquestioningly or we’ll crush you like cockroaches.
The third issue is that I’m apparently an evil cult leader and I’m invariably accused of all the evils done by every idiotic cult or sect in recent history, so let me tell you what I did when my children were sick, in the beginning of 2020. They both had 40°C fever and obvious symptoms of a viral pneumonia. Romana took them to the doctor, and they were both misdiagnosed – one with “some virus that’s always going around in the spring” and the other with spring allergies. I was suspicious, but I became certain it was COVID-19 when I got it myself. They had a nasty enough version, Romana as well, but I really got wiped out by it and made it out alive with the narrowest possible margin. All the while, the doctors were useless, they either didn’t know anything or actually lied, the politicians lied that there are only 7 known cases of COVID in the country, they know for certain it’s all contained, and all the while I had kids who survived it and had to go back to school because the super-authoritative medicine we are supposed to trust unquestioningly diagnosed them with “some virus that’s on the way out” and “allergies”. In the meantime, I the evil cult leader told my younger son who was coughing his lungs out during the recovery phase to wear a medical mask in school in order not to spread it to the other kids. Mind you, nobody wore medical masks at that point, so everybody was looking at him funny, “there was no COVID” in Croatia, and what his entire school including the teachers came down with were “spring allergies”. So, what’s the difference between the recommendations given to my kids by the official medicine, and the recommendations given to the kids of Hare Krishnas by their parents? It’s both useless and irrelevant, but I can’t see the doctors misdiagnosing my kids facing any consequences, and, arguably, they really didn’t know enough to do any better, but all of the sudden this useless, hapless medicine is portrayed as something only a fringe lunatic would go against. No, the problem is that the official medicine is useless or actively harmful often enough to warrant serious scepticism, and people need to make educated guesses whether some ailment falls into the group that medicine treats well, or into the group where medicine will do more harm than good, for instance getting you addicted to drugs promoted by the pharma companies that routinely bribe them. In this particular instance, the Hare Krishna parents had insufficient knowledge to make a proper call, they misjudged the situation completely, and as a result their child died. However, it can be said that I also misjudged the situation when I sent my kids to the doctor when they had high fever and pneumonia, because the doctors misdiagnosed them, recommended worthless treatments and sent them home to get better on their own; even worse, they sent them back to school while they were most likely contagious with COVID.
Completely rejecting medicine is obviously not a correct answer, because if you break a bone or have a stroke medicine is going to really help you, but trusting it unquestioningly is barely any better than rejecting it unquestioningly, because medicine has been so corrupted by industrial bribery and connections to politics, that there are areas where they are actively harmful, and one would be much better off avoiding them entirely.
The problem with COVID, in particular, is that the current treatment is actually not universally supported by the medical professionals; in fact, they seem to be the greatest opposition to the official stance, which is advocated by something that resembles a conspiring cabal or a cult of “elites”, consisting of “doctors” who actually produce bioweapons, politicians with anti-capitalist agendas and who knows what else, and since I know for a fact that they lied when I could personally verify their statements, I am certainly not going to trust them at anything they say that I can’t personally verify.