June 2020

So long as our attitude is purely materialistic and selfish with no touch of spirituality, nature will continue to be disturbed by our actions. It is an echo. Nature is only echoing our behaviour. If we don’t change, nature will make us suffer. Chinmaya

Nowadays everywhere, there is only one topic of discussion – the Corona Virus Pandemic. Lakhs of people are getting infected all over the world and thousands are dying every day. There are panic and unrest everywhere.

How did it all start?

The virus is believed to have originated from the wholesale seafood market located in Jianghan District, Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Its lanes are narrow. Here around 120 different kinds of mammals, animals and birds are kept in the most unhygienic environment with poor ventilation. These animals are tightly squeezed together in cages, and these cages are stacked one above the other. Hence often these beings are found drenched in excrement falling from above. These unhealthy conditions make them prone to various illnesses. The sanitation is dismal with garbage and filth piled on wet floors.

These animals are mercilessly and openly slaughtered, brutally skinned and deliciously eaten, and their skin carries a very high price in the cosmetic market. The beings include bats, venomous snakes, crocodiles, dogs, crabs, camels, ostriches, donkeys, wolf puppies, peacocks, worms, rats, rabbits, porcupines, cockroaches …

There is hardly anything which is not available in this market!

A Chinese citizen was asked, “Any animal which you don’t eat?”

He had to think hard! After a long pause, he said, “We eat everything!”

What is wrong with non-vegetarianism?

The human body is designed to be a vegetarian. So say the scriptures. So says modern science.  Nature has never designed our body to digest animal flesh. Hence canine teeth are not given to us.

The digestive juices in our stomach are milder compared to that of the carnivorous animals. Hence our intestines are designed to digest only fruits, roots and vegetables and not flesh or meat of any kind.

Also, our intestines are 25-feet long, compared to the lions and tigers, which are only 5-feet in length. This means the meat we eat remains in our body for a longer time. These undigested meat rots and putrefies in our body and can lead to various diseases.

Also, the violent method of killing creates fears and anxieties in these animals. These negative emotions create lots of poisonous toxins in their body. These toxins, which are not destroyed while cooking, enter in us when we eat them. These toxins, in turn, create varieties ailments in our body.

Hence meat-eating is absolutely unhealthy for human beings.

The epidemic, which showed its first symptoms on 1st December 2019, soon spread in China, and in no time, out of China.

To date, there has been no vaccine invented to prevent this virus attack.

Where have we gone wrong?

The above quote answers it all.

Scriptures teach us to perform Pancha Maha Yajnas – the fivefold duties, and one among them is Bhoota Yajna.

In Bhoota Yajna, we are advised to take care of all other beings. We are asked to feed them and be kind towards them. Our ancestors knew that for the smooth functioning of the cosmos, all beings have an important role to play – be it animals, birds or insects.

Being the crest and crown of creation, being the most evolved among all beings, it is the duty of mankind to look after the welfare of all beings. As Sadhu Vaswani has said nicely, these birds and animals are our younger brothers and sisters. This Mother Earth belongs equally to them as it belongs to us. 

Is there a relationship between our behaviour and the nature surrounding us?

Bhagavad Gita says yes. यज्ञात् भवति पर्जन्य: (= from yajna comes the rain.)

When we live on this planet with an attitude of Yajna Spirit, nature functions with perfect harmony.

What is Yajna Spirit?

 Yajna means sacrifice. Yajna Spirit means sacrificing oneself for the welfare of the totality. The Yajna Spirit is the right attitude to living life.  When we live a life of sacrifice and service, pouring out our God-given talents and abilities for the welfare of all, performing all our duties as a worship of the Lord, as an expression of gratitude towards Him, without ego and egocentric desires, not in a spirit of competition but in a spirit of co-operation – then that attitude is called Yajna Spirit.

In the Chinmaya Mission pledge, Pujya Gurudev has introduced Yajna Spirit thus, “Producing more than what we consume and giving more than what we take…”

Wherever people live harmoniously with such an attitude of Yajna Spirit, rain happens. Rain represents all natural phenomena that support life on this planet. Rain represents the smooth and efficient functioning of the cosmos. It means a perfect ecological balance.

Hence the functioning of the cosmos is deeply connected with the way we live our lives.

It is said in Mahabharat, that when Yudhisthira was ruling the kingdom, righteousness prevailed everywhere. Like the King, people were truthful, good-hearted and service-minded. There was no corruption or dishonesty of any kind.

And how did nature respond to this goodness of mankind?

It is said there was no disease of any kind in the kingdom. Natural calamities were unheard of. Seasons changed in perfect order and rhythm. There were perfect rain and perfect shine. The rivers turned perennial and the trees became fruit-yielding throughout the seasons. The rich flora and fauna added beauty to mother earth. There were prosperity and plenty everywhere.

When Pandavas were hiding during the ‘ajnaata vaasa’ – the one year of exile, Duryodhana sent his army in search of Pandavas. Interestingly, the command given by Duryodhana to his armed forces was: “Wherever you find plenty and prosperity, search there intensely. Because wherever this Yudhisthira goes, prosperity just follows his footsteps!”

The Lord in the Bhagavad Gita advises mankind – परस्परम् भावयन्त: श्रेय: परम् अवाप्स्यथ |

(=cherishing each other, may you attain the highest good.)

This is the loving advice of the Lord to all human beings, “May you live in Yajna Spirit. May you worship the cosmic forces by living a life of sacrifice and service. They, in turn, will bless you with material prosperity and spiritual evolution. Thus may you attain the highest good, i.e. liberation from this birth-death cycle.”

On the other hand, the Lord shows great displeasure against people who don’t follow this teaching.

The Lord says: अघायु: इन्द्रियाराम: मोघम् पार्थ स जीवति = Such people who live a sinful and self-centred life steeped in sensuality, indeed they live in vain.

भुञ्जते ते तु अघम् पापा: ये पचन्ति आत्मकारणात् = Those selfish people who ‘cook only for themselves’ verily eat sin!

Coronavirus appears to have emerged from the wrath of the Lord. Let us admit our mistake of living a life unbecoming of human beings.

After the Coronavirus attack, people, throughout the world are adopting the Indian ‘Namaste’ posture! In our culture, we greet each other not by hand-shakes, ‘Hi’s, and hugs, but by saying Namaste.

Namaste means -नम: ते  = prostration unto the Lord in you.

Namaste is a beautiful way of saying, “You are Divine. The Supreme Lord resides in you. Hence you are worshipful. It doesn’t matter what your gender, religion or nationality or even character is. I prostrate to the Divinity in you.”

Lord is none other than the Consciousness in each one of us. Hence all living beings are the different manifestations of the same God. No doubt why the Lord says in the Gita – भूतानामस्मि चेतना = I am the very life principle in all beings.

How great is our culture! A culture that teaches us to respect and revere every living being seeing the one Lord in them! A culture that makes every being a vehicle (Vahana) of gods and goddesses and asks us to love them, protect them and take care of them!

If only we had practised ‘Namaste’ in the true sense of the term, we would not have been seeing these terrible times!

What a contrast! Other cultures see ‘food’ and ‘business’ in all beings and our culture teaches us to see ‘God’ in all beings! How fortunate we are to have taken birth in this holy land of saints and sages that has taught us to see God in all and to love all!

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