A deadly virus is drastically changing the ways in which we live and work. With many nations in lockdown mode, people are confined to their homes, unable to step out except maybe to buy essential things. Horrifying images from hospitals in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy, currently the worst affected country, have shown the destruction that the virus is capable of. Lakhs of people have been affected all over the world, and the death toll keeps rising every day. While China has managed to stop the march of the virus by using draconian measures, the rest of the world is just learning the lessons from Wuhan. And the key lesson that Wuhan has taught the world is the importance of Social Distancing.
Stage 3 of transmission is the most dangerous phase as it signals that the virus is spreading in the community. Once this happens, chaos will ensue as has happened in Bergamo, where hospitals overflow with patients, and doctors are faced to make a choice about who should live and who should be left to die. To prevent this situation, lockdowns have been put into place so that there will be minimal contact between human beings, which will hopefully ‘flatten the curve’.
We have been told not to shake hands, hug, kiss, or touch each other. Human beings are social animals, and this call for social distancing and self-isolation comes with its own side effects. Technology has already turned many of us into social recluses who would rather spend hours staring at the phone screen or computer monitor than meaningfully connecting with the person sitting right in front of us. But even in the midst of this technology-induced self-isolation, we are surrounded by human beings and the hum of life that flows on ceaselessly. But no longer.
Trapped within four walls, we are left to fend for ourselves. The lucky ones have family. But there are many out there, living alone in fear, rising panic, and anxiety. While physical health is important, we often pay less attention to spiritual health. Spiritual health is possible only when we go beyond self-love and love of friends and family. When we show love and compassion towards a lonely neighbour, a homeless person, a stray cat or dog, it indicates a healthy spiritual constitution. In these troubled times, we can ensure our spiritual health by doing many things. Like reaching out to our neighbours who need help and support, especially if they are living alone. We may not be able to visit them, but we can give them a call to find out how they are, and if they need anything. There are individuals and organizations who are trying to help such people by delivering things they need, like food, medicines, etc. We can connect them with such good Samaritans. We can also make online donations to charitable institutions and NGOs serving the poor, the homeless, the destitute, and even animals. Many pets are being abandoned by owners who fear they might get the virus from dogs and cats. We can contribute to NGOs that take in such animals. We could also donate money to support vulnerable communities like those working in the informal sector who have lost their livelihoods. It's important to remember that even a small amount helps in such situations. By loving and caring for those who are outside the family and friends’ circle, we can boost and nourish our spiritual health.
Now that places of worship too are closed, spiritual sustenance too is in short supply. But this can be remedied. Many spiritual services are now available online in the form of virtual poojas, homas, mantra chanting, etc. If you feel that you need to get in touch with the Almighty to seek his protection from the virus and his blessings for yourself, your loved ones, and for the rest of the world, you can participate in our free Homas invoking three powerful deities – Goddess Durga, Lord Dhanvantri, the divine physician, and Lord Bhairava. AstroVed is performing these Free Homa for the health and well-being of all humanity, as we believe in the idea of an interconnected world or Vasudaivakutumbakam.
Social distancing need not mean loneliness and lack of connection, see it as an opportunity to improve your spiritual health by finding new, creative and healthy ways to express your love and concern for your fellow human beings.