In ancient Indian lore, whenever people approached sages and rishis (including Shiva) in times of need, the response was that the sages went into meditation. We don’t generally hear of sages responding with “let me just grab my tool kit and weapons and meet you down in your village and we’ll sort this thing out”.
No, the response was tapas.
The whole virus situation is calling all of us to do the same in a sense.
Osho, ‘Tantric transformation’
I have heard a very beautiful story, a very ancient one…
In a province, no rain had fallen for a long time – everything was dried up. At last the citizens decided to fetch the rainmaker. A deputation was sent to see him in the distant town where he lived, with an urgent request to come as soon as possible and make rain for their parched fields.
The rainmaker, a wise old man, promised to do so, on condition that he was provided with a solitary little cottage in the open country where he could withdraw by himself for three days – no food or drink would be required. Then he would see what could be done. His requests were met.
On the evening of the third day abundant rain fell, and full of praise, a grateful crowd made a pilgrimage to his house and exclaimed, “How did you do it? Tell us.”
“It was quite simple,” the rainmaker answered. “For three days all I did was to put myself in order. For, I know that once I am in order, then the world will be in order, and the drought must yield place to the rain.”
Tantra says that if you are in order, then the whole world is in order for you. When you are in harmony, then the whole existence is in harmony for you. When you are in disorder, then the whole world is disorder. And the order must not be a false one, it must not be a forced one. When you force some order upon yourself, you simply become split; deep down the disorder continues.
I believe that life is not vindictive, but corrective. No one is ever being punished but only being asked to respond appropriately. Life is a ‘call and response’, like a kirtan.
I am very heartened by how PM Modi has been guiding the nation through this time. His steps are those of a conscious leadership. For instance, rather than following artificial parameters like lockdown until the ‘end of the month’, choosing a period of ’21 days’ has more significance from a subtler perspective, the number being an important one in yogic sciences. Diverting attention and resources towards the poor of our society is also a response arising from our shared consciousness, bringing the much needed well-being and harmony in our society.
While no-one knows how the situation will play out, our best response is to go within and realise the power of our Being. Challenges like this can be used as facilitators in going deeper within ourselves. In a way it feels like the virus is putting everyone through a fast-track sadhana (or at least that’s the opportunity it offers) – becoming more conscious of our lifestyle, putting more focus on the essentials of life, spending time alone, reflecting on our mortality and connecting with the source within us.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is being called to go deep into meditation. Maybe some will take up yoga to better understand their bodies and energy, some may change their line of work to something that feels more authentic, some may feel called to devotion etc. A conscious response arising from a desire to align with our true selves is what is important.
In the Indian traditions, we always placed emphasis on maintaining not only our bodies but also living spaces in a certain way. Not by increasing the use of Mr Muscle and Cleenex, but things like lighting lamps in the evening, using incense and the sound of bells, keeping certain plants like tulsi close to us, etc. This Navratri time also offers an opportunity to practice these ‘rituals’ (for want of a better word). The subtle way in which they alter the feel, aura and vibrations of the environment in which you live is powerful.
If anyone has any questions regarding how to manage fear, anxiety or would like me to do a meditation or silent sitting, I’m always happy to respond best I can and share from my own experience so do feel free to reach out via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, many spiritual gurus are doing great work in sharing meditations and talks. I’ll include some links below. And if you care for some mystic/devotional poetry, you can check out my recently created Instagram account here.
A single understanding:ashtavakra gita
“I am the One Awareness,” consumes all suffering
in the fire of an instant.
Be safe, be well.
May we remember through all the challenges that we’re the Light of this universe.
Prayers that all humanity is led through these times by wisdom and Grace.
May all beings be happy and healthy.
Let there be Peace. Let there be Peace.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.
Some links offering peace and wisdom in these times:
- Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev goes live on his YouTube channel everyday at 6pm India time
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar offers meditations on his channel everyday at 12noon and 7.30pm India time
- Remaining True in a Time of Crisis by non-duality teacher Mooji
- Communicating Peace and Finding Peace during Covid by British non-duality teacher Rupert Spira
- Staying Conscious in the Face of Adversity by Eckhart Tolle
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