For the first time in the history of the world, we are facing a very strange situation. The tiniest, most primitive, invisible form of life is now controlling the behaviour of the most evolved, the most arrogant and the most powerful life form on earth!!
Slowly but surely the world is beginning to understand that Nature is not a dumb, inert, lump of mud that rolls along and accepts all the profanities we are doing against her but she is a living, pulsating organism, a million times more powerful than can be imagined by the greatest intellect of this puny human being. For hundreds of years she has suffered in silence due to our inequities. Recently during the past few decades she has lashed at us with her earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, cyclones and severe climatic changes but we have chosen to ignore these warnings and have callously pursued our own selfish designs without casting a thought to the atrocities we are committing on her. Now Nature has taken a really firm stand and brought our wonderful civilisation to an absolute standstill!
Despite our great technological advances and magnificent methods of transportation we cannot move anywhere. We are helpless to combat her cleverly thought out plan to keep us petrified. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, nobody can plan anything. Everyone has to accept the present situation and wait for what is going to happen without planning and plotting as we are continuously doing. The pathetic fact is that we are totally responsible for what is happening in our lives, both individually and globally. We cannot treat Nature like dirt and expect to be treated with love by her. We have been behaving as if the human being has the sole proprietary rights on the world. Every creature that lives on this planet has as much right to live here as we have. Even the tiniest insect has equal rights. We don’t own the earth. On the contrary she owns us. Our bodies are made out of the five elements and will return to those elements when we die. During the brief period between birth and death Nature has loaned us these elements to make the best use of them. We have rented this body from her. We are not the owners! She does not ask for rent yet it is a fact that she will demand that every particle of the rented house has to be returned to her at the time of death.
Life is a contract between the human being and Nature. It is a transaction between us. She has given us the house and compound and all the benefits of living in this paradise but there is a condition attached. We have a duty to see that the precincts we live in are kept clean and unpolluted. We also have a duty to see to the welfare of our co-inhabitants. If we overstep our limits, as we have been doing for many decades, she will see to it that we are made aware of the fact that we are living in a rented house and that we have a responsibility to see that both the house and surroundings are kept clean. Our bodies are made up of the same five elements that make up this planet. Each of these elements has to be kept in perfect condition if we want to lead a healthy life. If the elements outside are polluted by us, obviously our bodies will also be polluted. Intelligent though we claim to be, we fail to understand this. All the problems that assail us come with the inability to see this truth.
The Bhagavad Gita says that in the beginning the creator made this creation as a yajna. He sacrificed himself to produce this world and thus the spirit of sacrifice or yajna was instilled in every creature. What this sacrifice entails is that we owe a duty to everything in creation. Every creature has as much right to live its life to the fullest as we have. If we kill and eat them we are denying them this fundamental right. So we have to sacrifice our desire for a tasty morsel of flesh so that the animal can live out its life in happiness and harmony. We have to stop cutting down trees to expand our own lifestyle and make toilet paper and other articles for our consumption, for the tree also has a right to live its full span of life. The human being is the greatest and most ferocious predator on earth. We don’t mind despoiling everything in order to create a comfortable lifestyle for ourselves. Let us see how we use and misuse all the elements which we are enjoying without a care as to how fast we are destroying natural habitats, animals, forests, oceans and so on.
The five great elements are known as the “Pancha Maha Bhutas”. The grossest of all these is “earth” and I do not need to tell you how guilty we are of polluting it. She is our very first mother for we have all sprung from her loins. The human being is totally responsible for the havoc we have been causing to her. We show absolutely no respect for her. We treat her like dirt and hence she is sending us worms and viruses! From the time humankind has lived on the earth we have started despoiling her. We have stolen all her precious articles- gold, silver, diamonds, coal, petroleum etc. by digging deep into her bowels. We have turned a deaf ear to her cries.
We are also fast denuding her of her beautiful garments, like trees, grasses, flowers. We tunnel into her bowels to make our metros and tubes, we cut through her mountains to make our paths easier, we crush the stones and rocks to make our houses. Beautiful rounded pebbles from the rivers that have taken millions of years to shape are broken down in minutes to make our roads. We are the greatest predators. There is no animal as cruel as the human being. We prey upon the glorious creatures of the earth. By cutting forests we deny them their habitat and then kill them when they come into our fields because they have nothing to eat. We treat domestic animals as if they live only to give pleasure to our palates, uncaring of the inhuman way we treat them.
After earth, the next gross element is water and again all of us know how we are misusing the greatest of her gifts – the gift of water without which we would not be able to live. We despoil her oceans by throwing our plastic wastes into them thus killing her aquatic children for they are also her children and they don’t treat her like we do. We despoil the rivers that are like her arteries by flushing our filth and toxic wastes into them thus killing millions of fish and other flora.
Next comes the element of Fire. This is given to us in the form of the sun. Fortunately for us we cannot do much damage to it even though we try our best. Since it is so far away from us the only thing we can do is to try and harness heat from it which hopefully will not cause much damage to it.
Now comes the element of air. It is an essential ingredient for us. We cannot live without air even for a few minutes, yet we have tampered unbearably with it. All the toxic fumes from our vehicles and factories and cigarettes are being belched out into the air with the result that our lungs are filled with toxic material. We have lung problems, coughs, asthma, and a host of related problems but we still do nothing to stop this. We continue down our path of damnation, uncaring of the fact that we are not only polluting ourselves but the whole planet.
As has been said before Hindu Dharma is also a way of life and even though we did not have satellites and radar frequencies in ancient times yet our rishis with their far sighted ability to look into the future gave us methods by which we could get protection from all sorts of negative vibrations. This knowledge has been woven into the very fabric of our lives. First of all we never believe in touching the other person in order to express our pleasure at meeting them. We don’t hug each other or shake hands. Our classic form of greeting is “Namaste” in which we close both our hands together and place it next to our heart chakra in a beautiful gesture. This is a symbol of acknowledging the divinity lodged in the person who you are greeting. We always stand about three feet apart from whoever we are greeting. This form of greeting is slowly being adopted by a lot of other countries recently since the start of the corona virus.
We do not take anything from another person’s plate nor do we drink from another person’s glass. When we cook we do not taste the food from the pot by putting the spoon into our mouths and re-using it. In the west even chefs of big restaurants scoop up stuff from the cooking pot and put it into their mouths to taste it. These are all sure ways to pass on any type of germs and viruses. We always keep the footwear that we have been using on the road, outside the house and use something else inside or go barefoot.
Our food also has some very important ingredients that act as a guard against all types of diseases. These are turmeric, asafoetida and ginger. We add turmeric into all our dishes and asafoetida and ginger into many dishes and these have now been recognised as the best possible deterrents for all germs and viruses. In olden days we used to drink water boiled with dried ginger and cumin seeds.
These are all the external habits that are ingrained in us from the time we are capable of following them. Apart from that our religion is based on something called Dharma. This word is difficult to express in English but we can explain it by saying that the universe is governed by some laws that make it into a cosmos and not a chaos. The Rig Veda has a beautiful hymn to the Supreme person in which it is pointed out that the Supreme sacrificed himself in order to make this world. The figure of the Supreme person is showed as containing everything within the universe in his own body. This is one of the first teachings that we are given – that we are children of the universe and thus we are related to everything – human and animal! Therefore we have a moral responsibility to every single creature on earth.
Bharat was perhaps the only country in the world in which the majority of people gave up eating meat purely for moral reasons and not just for health reasons! We have always believed that every creature has an equal right to live its life in just the way it wants to live. When the human being lives according to this eternal dharma there will be no problem for any creature. The moment we start flouting the laws of nature all types of complications will arise for all creatures. We consider ourselves to be totally evolved and thrust our views on the rest of the world. We consider everything to be inferior to us and even though we might not voice it, we feel that we are the only ones who have a right to live on this planet. We have forced many other creatures into the category of “endangered species” not realising that without the support of all the creatures on this earth we ourselves will become an endangered species!! We have destroyed the water systems, the planetary systems and the food systems.
But nature will not take this lying down. Again and again she is forcing us to understand that we have to keep to her laws or she will take over. This particular pandemic of the Corona virus is another method she has taken to force us to our knees. Despite our great technological advances we are totally helpless against this invisible creature. Today we are being forced to realise that we either co-exist or non-exist!
Hindu Dharma is a religion that fully accepts the fact that we are beset from all sides by planetary influences from the firmament and from all types of negative influences from our surroundings. Therefore from ancient times our rishis have given us very positive instructions about battling with these types of encroachers. We have mantras which are sound vibrations that can actually make a “kavacham” or armour around the person who repeats them. Some of the most famous of these mantras are found in the Devi Mahatmyam which is actually a most esoteric treatise on the Divine Mother in all her forms both fierce and subdued. She is the manifestation of nature and she will fight anything that interferes with the health of her devotee. The three famous hymns in the book are Devi Kavacham, Argala Stotram and Keelaka Stotram.
These should be chanted or heard daily to lessen the ferocity of the attacking forces of Nature. Daily meditation, pranayama, practice of asanas and chanting of mantras are most effective in protecting us from any evil.
We also have mystical designs which in olden days used to be drawn at the gate or at the exits. These intricate, geometric designs have a unique ability to ward off evil vibrations. This is something all housewives did in the morning after cleaning the house. Apart from this which we have something called yantras which are again extremely complicated geometric designs drawn on copper, silver or gold plates which are activated by some priest and kept in our houses to ward off evil vibrations. The Sri Yantra is the most famous of these and to this day even great mathematicians are unable to find out the method of drawing it. This is a yantra to the Divine Mother Goddess. We have yantras for all our deities which can be used for suitable occasions.
In olden days every household used to do a small havan or fire ceremony in which cow dung cakes were lighted in a pit or copper pot specially made for this and offerings of whole rice and ghee were put into the fire. There were certain resins that were used to feed the fire that had special benefits. The smoke arising from this combination had the ability to purify the elements both within the house as well as outside. The ashes used to be put in the garden and increased plant growth.
Cow dung and cow’s urine also have special curative properties. The floors were smeared with cow dung which kept off ants and other insects. Cow’s milk is considered to be medicinal and everyone was encouraged to drink it daily. Cow’s ghee is one of the best types of cooking material. In fact everything produced by the cow has great curative properties. That is why the cow is considered a holy animal. But it must be remembered that this applies only to our “desi” or local cows, small in stature and fed only on grass and leaves and to a certain other type of cow called Brahmini. It doesn’t apply to foreign breeds that give a huge amount of milk and are fed on artificial feeds and injected with chemicals.
The various deities that we worship are specialists in their field. Each of them has a function to perform and we can approach any that we think might help to solve our specific problems.
Of course our houses were also built according to the ancient method of architecture known as “vaasthu” which ensured that the people living inside were protected from malefic forces both from planets and other creatures. We also had talismans which were mantras written on copper paper and inserted into small copper, gold or silver containers and tied round the waist or wrist of the person. The wearing of threads that have been knotted and potentised with mantras, are also common to our culture. These are tied round devotees or sufferers.
Actually Hindu Dharma places a lot of importance on the tying of threads. All Brahmins wear the sacred thread across their shoulders. We have a festival called Rakhi in which thread is tied during a special ceremony by the sister on the brother’s wrist to protect him from all harm. Threads are tied at the beginning of all our ceremonies and form a bond between the deity and the devotee. Of course all these threads have been sanctified by the repeated chanting of mantras by the priest or some holy person. Copper rings and bangles were also worn in order to ward off negativity. Copper actually has the ability to remove the tensions in the body and you will find that when the body is healthy the ring or bangle shines like gold and when it is unhealthy it turns black. Beads made of mercury were also used to ward off unhealthy influences.
When you come to think about this, all these things are actually an aid to bolster our internal immune system. The human body is the greatest of all yantras and it can ward off all negativity provided it is not weakened by the extremely debilitating emotion of fear. So the best way to combat any deadly disease or virus is to be totally fearless. Fear is a very strong vibration and the more a frightened we are of anything the more it takes on a physical reality. That’s a natural law. The more you feed the energy of fear the more profound it becomes and the more vulnerable we become to external forces. When we chant mantras and wear a talisman the mind immediately feels protected by something superior to itself. Of course it is a fact that these mantras and yantras do have a special power but they also have the power to strengthen the mind.
Hindu Dharma is also a way of life with an inbuilt method to protect us from every type of negativity. At this global crisis that is threatening the life of every individual, let all Hindus return to our ancient way of life and set an example to the world how Nature expects us to live our life. All the problems that we are facing in the world today are due to lack of compassion for everything, not just for animals and other human beings but for Nature herself. The world has to learn that the Cornona Virus can only be treated with the Karuna Mantra. “Karuna” means “compassion” in Sanskrit.
(This article first appeared on the author’s blog and has been presented above with edits)
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