from Corona to Karuna

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from Corona to Karuna

Sunday, 24 May 2020 | Radhanath Swami

from Corona to Karuna

There is no escaping the law of Nature. We can find comfort and peace in the Godhead by chanting His name, writes Radhanath Swami

The corona phobia is spreading all over the world more rapidly than coronavirus. It is the subject discussed everywhere. Transactions have reached an impasse. Almost everyone has self-quarantined themselves in their respective places. Roads appear derelict. The future is uncertain. Many people all over the world are dying due to the deadly virus. The eerie statistics make for the news headlines. Scientists are racing against time to find the vaccine. Governments are implementing lockdowns in their country to restrict the spread of the pandemic. The atmosphere is sombre everywhere!

Nobody wants to die. That is the fact of life. Every living entity struggles hard to keep himself alive in this world. But death is forced upon us by the cruel nature. Why? Why Nature is so cruel? I want to live forever but I am forced to die. Why such dichotomy? An intelligent being will understand something is notoriously wrong here. Actually, we don’t belong to this world. This is not our real home. We are not in our natural environment now. When we are in exotic environment like water or air, we are afraid but when we land on land, we feel safe as that is our natural environment. Similarly, leaving our natural environment, the spiritual world we came to alien environment that is the material world thus inviting monumental anxiety.

If you just turn back the pages of previous newspapers you will get spooked. Before coronavirus outbreak there were other calamities keeping us engaged constantly. India and Pakistan were on the brink of war, there was Dokhlam standoff, communal violence over CAA, rising rape cases, economic slump, heavy floods due to torrential rains, Cyclone Fani, Cylone Bulbul, etc.

You may think this was only for India. But for rest of the world too, list is endless — Massive fire in Amazon forest, melting of ice caps due to global warming, US Iran War, two major 737 MAX flight crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, rising gun violence in the US, US-China trade war, Australian bush fire, rising cases of cancer patients, Swine flu outbreak, and many more. These are few amongst many hitting us like the constant tides in an ocean.

But Coronavirus outbreak is a Pandemic! It is declared global emergency by WHO. It is not a measly problem of some one country! OK. Accepted the fact that it is a pandemic affecting the whole globe and we need to follow proper precautions and guidelines laid by the government. But Lord Krishna has already declared in the Gita (8.15) that this world is a place of misery. Birth, Death, old age and disease (Janma-måtyu-jarä-vyädhi) are constantly haunting and daunting us. For a given individual anywhere, he has some or the other problem in his life making him miserable. Whether it is a small epidemic or pandemic. He is in anxiety most of the time.

The pain in the body is a good natural mechanism to alert us to take the treatment. In COVID-19 case the patient has flu like symptoms of fever, cold, cough, and so on. When he gets the symptoms, he can rush to the hospital to take treatment in time. Many are getting cured and being discharged from hospitals. So, the point is pain in the body coerces us to go to doctor and take treatment. Similarly, the constant miseries inflicted upon us by nature are indication that we need treatment. And the best treatment recommended in this age is chanting the Holy names of God.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Chanting will make us peaceful in this world and next too. That is the immense power of Holy Name. It is more powerful than Coronavirus also.

Also, if one understands the teachings of Bhagavad Gita that one is not this body but spirit soul (2.22) he will be peaceful. Just as we change clothes daily while the person remains the same, the soul keeps changing bodies according to his karma. The soul is unaffected by the miseries of this world. The body is subjected to the change but the soul is unchangeable. The moon although appearing with the clouds is not affected by the jittery movements of the clouds, it remains steady as it exists at different level than the clouds. Similarly, the soul remains unchangeable in this changeable world.

Bhagavad Gita also speaks about law of Karma. The laws of Karma are extremely stringent. One may escape the laws of government but one cannot escape the laws of nature. Nature awards exactly the reactions to the living entity according to what he desires and deserves. Nothing more or less.

Sometimes, nature divulges mass Karmic reaction in form of Tsunami, earthquakes, volcanoes, massive floods, severe drought, etc. So many people get affected. It may seem Nature acting blindly. Material Nature may act in mass but not blindly.

Only they will die who are supposed to get the Karmic reaction others won’t even though in the epicenter of the calamity. And we have witnessed many cases of people or small children surviving massive earthquakes buried under debris for days while those staying in their safe and affluent houses are killed. Nature’s law punishes the sinful and awards the pious without a doubt.

By chanting and reading Gita daily we will fully get cured and go back home back to Godhead where there is no — birth, old age, disease and death and no Corona but only Karuna (mercy) of God. Everything is within the plan of God although it may not be exactly the plan of God. If we remain alive through this pandemic, we will serve God here and if we die, we will go to Kingdom of God and serve Him there. The eternal nature of Soul is to serve God always.

The writer is a spiritual guru at International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)

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