When there is a fear of death, people generally suspend all the conditions and reservations they might have in life and do everything possible to stay alive. This fear is so strong that in the event that the risk of dying is high, even powerful people ignore masking it before others. Western people, for example, who are so proud of their social traditions of expressing love through physical contact either by hugging or kissing, are now experiencing major changes in their social practices.
Important people of the world such as President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Chancellor Merkel, President Macron, Prince Phillip, the king of Spain and others have taken to greeting people with folded hands and a ‘Namaste’. No one wants to die – at least for now. In fact, almost everyone suffers from varying degrees of thanatophobia, which is the fear of dying or being dead. It fundamentally stems from one’s attachment to their impermanent physical being and the lack of ample understanding that the body is temporary and short-lived but the SELF, that occupies a body during a lifetime, is indestructible and permanent.
The health and the duration of the existence of the short-lived perishable body, which is the temporary abode of the SELF, completely depends on how well it is cared for. According to Dharmic culture, the body is called a temple of Divinity. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘temple’, which basically means a place of worship, as ‘a building used for the worship of a god or gods, especially in religions other than Christianity.’ However, the term ‘temple’ can be translated in a couple of Indian languages as follows:
- Devalaaya and Devaalayam (house of God) ದೇವಾಲಯ and దేవాలయం
- Devasthaana and Devasthaanam (place of God) ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ and దేవస్థానం
- Koil (House of the king – ko – il) கோயில்
Although most of the followers of the Sanatana Dharma are aware that Brahman is omnipresent, a place which has been consecrated as a temple of God is highly venerated and kept clean at all times.
क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत |
क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोर्ज्ञानं यत्तज्ज्ञानं मतं मम || १३ २ ||
SBG 13:02 You should know that the Kshetrajna or THE EMBODIED SELF IN ALL BODIES OR KSHETRAS IS ME, O Arjuna. Knowing about the Kshetra and the Kshetrajnas is called knowledge.
This is a clear statement of Krishna indicating that the SELF in all beings is none other than Him. Therefore, from the definition of the term ‘temple’ given above and based on Krishna’s statement that the SELF in all beings is Brahman or Krishna, it can be concluded that the body is His temple. Such being the case, the body deserves the respect and treatment that one would give a temple that is in the form of a stone edifice. Since Dharmic traditions accord utmost importance to maintaining personal hygiene and respecting the personal space of people, followers of the Sanatana Dharma, greet each other with folded hands saying ‘Namaste’, ‘Namaskar’, or ‘Vanakkam’, respecting their divinity and sanctity.
Cleanliness and purity are values that have been referred to in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita. The Sanskrit term used in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita to denote cleanliness is शौच – SHAUCHA. It is a rather interesting term because it has many meanings such as cleanliness, purity, purity of the mind, honesty and even integrity. Oxymoronic that it may sound, the Sanskrit term for toilet, which is ‘Shauchalaya’, literally means a place of cleanliness and purity. The emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene has always been extremely high in Dharmic traditions. The term ‘Shaucha’ has been used multiple times in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita which indicates how intrinsically the concepts of cleanliness and purity are intertwined in the fabric of Dharmic culture. The term ‘Shaucha’ can be found in the Shlokas 13:07, 16:03, 16:07, 17:14 and 18:42.
Demographic and political influences cause massive cultural syncretisation in human societies, which force people to drift far away from their own time tested traditions that were created by their forefathers over generations. In the case of Indians, particularly young ones, it is the lack of the proper passing down of Dharmic family traditions as well as pseudo-westernisation that have greatly contributed towards such cultural decadence. Krishna said in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita that whenever there is an imbalance in the society, He would manifest Himself. Relating what he said to the current Coronavirus situation, His words may be interpreted as acts of nature that happen from time to time only in order to set things right. SBG 4:07-08.
Since many millennia, Indian people, who belong to the oldest, most ancient yet constantly evolving civilisation of the world, have been subjected to brutal attempts of barbaric foreign forces that conquered large masses of people and ruled over them using their pernicious religions as mass mind control systems. One of the elements of their modus operandi has been to get indigenous people to detest their own culture in order to prepare them mentally to accept the new dogma taught by those marauders and soul vultures. Another social disease that joined the list of agents provocateurs that caused Dharmic Indians to look down upon their own philosophy, culture and traditions is what is known as ‘Macaulayism’. This formed the foundation of the dreaded social malady of pseudo-westernisation with which many young Indians have been affected.
The Coronavirus crisis, which seems to be a balancing act of nature, is an event that not only reminds people how vulnerable, impermanent and inconsequential their physical existence in this world is, no matter how rich, educated or good looking they might be, but also teaches them the need to prioritise paying topmost attention to the health and hygiene of themselves and of others. It validates the philosophy behind general Dharmic social customs. Before the arrival of plunderers, mass murderers, conquerors and colonisers, India or Bharat Varsha, was known to be the Vishvaguru or Teacher of the world. It is high time for India to regain the status that is rightfully hers. As the Coronavirus has already triggered the process by inducing important people of the world to take the lead and follow Indian traditions, others should soon follow suit.
Many countries are under lockdown at least for the next few weeks. Just as an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty as against a pessimist who sees the difficulty in every opportunity, we too can decide to make use of this time to reset our lives as if there were a reset button that we could press and turn everything back to how it was in the beginning.
Although it is a time of protecting ourselves from infection and avoiding playing a part in spreading the virus, it is, thanks to the fact that most of us are indoors, a curative period of time for mending things and invigorating ourselves. The mending and restoration can be of physical health, of disturbances in the mind or of troubles in relationships with others.
Below is an adumbration of ideas and suggestions for people who would like to treat their precious time during the current situation as a boon contrary to dreading it or calling it a bane.
Making optimal use of time
- Make use of this time to interact more with your family members.
- Increase the amount of reading you do.
- Find videos on YouTube that teach you home workouts and use them to stay fit.
- Search the Internet for vegan culinary ideas, recipes and diets and should you be an omnivorous person, consider using this time to comfortably evolve towards a life of plant-based eating and living.
- Work on your hobbies or develop new ones.
- Those of you who have children in the family, spend more time with them, shower them with love and attention, help them with their schoolwork and teach them values that will guide them through their future.
- If you have pets, show them too how much you love them and make them feel safe and secure.
- Introspect and do a thorough self-analysis by making two separate lists of all your qualities that you feel are good and of those you feel are undesirable.
Focus on personal as well as social habits
- Maintain personal hygiene. Shower at least twice a day and clean yourselves well.
- Always wear clean clothes.
- Pay attention to what you send down your oesophagus. All known seven Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Make sure that you do not ingest carcasses, bones, blood or other fluids from animals. I personally find it disgusting to consume meat, eggs or even dairy products which are basically made from pus containing mammary secretions of animals.
- Respect the personal space of people, avoid shaking unsanitised hands with strangers or touching them unnecessarily. A polite and respectful ‘Namaste’ should do.
- Whether you already have or have not read the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, do it now. You may make use of our TVM Gita site and my audiobook, EBooks or paperback books.
- Respect life, Respect nature. Remember that a plant-based diet is a result of evolution in human dietary habits.
Let us take a resolution to respect the values that our great forefathers gave us. It was they who faced it all, stood tall, developed the great Sanatana Dharma and left it for us so that we may live a healthy, peaceful, happy, rewarding, fulfilling and Karmically beneficial life.
Stay safe, healthy, peaceful, thankful and abundantly blessed.
#coronavirus #namaste #healthandhygiene