Passing the Lockdown
Sukadeva Swami: I am 63 years old and this is first time I can remember to get locked down like this from a pandemic as covid19 outbreak. Spiritual life is as it is a social isolation unless it is for preaching purposes. Spiritual life is internalization, doing all the external activities for internal transformation. We want to find ourselves free from the bodily influence, gross and subtle as well. That way lock down is providing all day the opportunity for self- examination and self- improvement. Also the lock down has brought in many things positively in the outside world which our preaching couldn’t make it happen. From preaching Individuals take up lessons voluntarily but it isn’t official or state policy, the effects of preaching are generally not wide spread.
May be that Krishna has forced it on us and Krishna is giving us the exposure of what life can be all about. Life can go on with or without work, with basic necessities of life. In Lock down, what they haven’t locked down were vegetables, medicines, provisions and lock down has closed down cinema halls, sports stadiums, clubs, liquor shops and transport across the country (public transport esp, buses, trains and flight services). They allowed the agriculture and dairy industry to go on with their production. This is the point, we only need milk, vegetables, grains and dahls. Not even the fast food items which business is all closed down. Air, water, sound pollution has come down or almost nil. This is what happens when majority of people practice Krishna consciousness. The industry, the mega construction, the factories all were shut down. Because of lock down, these artificial needs and non- essentials were not available and which were harmful to health and health in general has improved. The hospitals were all shut down but patients weren’t suffering. This means the medical lobby was unnecessarily investigating and prescribing and this has stopped. Overall, simple living is enforced by the lock down. Devotees could happily realise this. We don’t know how the public felt all about this. Because they don’t have spiritual education or practices, they must have felt forced situation on them.
In the fear of contracting the illness, people have taken to better standards of cleanliness like taking bath, changing clothes, no open coughing or sneezing, confining the effects using masks etc, using more of ginger, black perpper, lemon, lavang, and turmeric which are natural antiseptics and immune boosters. Indians have also understood why Hindu traditions follow foot wash when coming home, not using shoes inside the house, using cow urine and dung to clean the surroundings, why during the occasions of birth, death, periods in women isolation is observed. Upper class people were keeping lower class people at a distance, not allowing them to mix freely. It isn’t discrimination but keeping hygienic standards. Later it has become a perverted practice of discrimination, because it was based on birth and both so-called high-class birth or low-class birth were all of low class standards only for want of spiritual education and training.
As devotees, we feel, we do take lessons from effects and practices of the Pandemic, avoid all unnecessary demands in life, save time to spare for spiritual awareness and advancement. We pray that after lock down also if people can avoid smoking, liquor, meat and sex and crime inciting cinemas, casinos, clubs, commercial sports industry, commercial hospital industry etc. it is good to emphasize on simple remedies for common ailments. Minimize or avoid gambling industry. Give more emphasis to the fields of agriculture and cow protection. In both these life line activities, avoiding artificial ways of enhancing production by using chemical fertilizer and pesticides is suggested. Not making agriculture a corporate industry but decentralizing it to individual farmers that way engaging the bulls for tilling and transport. This will enable using the cow urine and dung fully and not sending the non-milk yielding cattle to slaughter house.
Even without pandemic, devotees are in lock down mode only as the devotees are against the abuse of material sources of mother earth or consumerism of money mongers and sense gratifiers. Lock down time, we are able to give quality time to our spiritual sadhana esp kirtan, chanting and reading and maintaining our places with cleanliness and punctuality.
Pandemic has shown us overwhelming need of Krishna conscious preaching, the scope and practical benefits and a philosophy to live for in life. Of course the preaching, because of social distancing has gone to a new dimensiondigital or online praeaching like, zoom, twitter, face book, u-tube etc. people are already addicted to these things for getting spoiled, now the devotees can spread the message of Krishna consciousness and give sastric direction to society at large. A special note to India is that, in BJP Governance and shri Narendra Modi stewardship, sanatana dharma as practically and authentically shown by srila Prabhupada is the best alternative way of living and being scientific can have universal appeal and the devotees have to preach vigorously leaving the rest to Krishna. With social distancing and lock down over long periods, there is jolt in the material relationships and attachments of people and this is a plus point for Krishna conscious preachers.
Although everybody was giving many ideas how to deal with this pandemic, as Srila Prabhupada said only invocation of Krishna or God with nama sankirtana is the unfailing and positive approach to the present fearful condition of world.