Will This Pandemic Ever End?


Will this covid-19 pandemic ever get over? Life has become so uncertain. You never know when you or your near/dear one will become severely sick and need to go to hospital. On top of that will you get bed there. You can’t go anywhere, can't breathe outside. Life has become so still. Is it the result of our collective karma? How long will this go?

Apart from the usual guidlines like handwashing, social distancing, and yoga & meditation etc, what else (spiritually and other) can I do to protect myself from getting in the trap of covid19 and be safe?

—SP, India


Dear Friend,

You ask whether Covid will ever end? Yes, you can be sure it will end but, like the common cold or flu, I have read that it might still circulate depending on individual immunity, variant versions which arise, and the length of time the vaccinations are good for.

But even if we said, “Oh, yes, it will end in six months,” will we have learned nothing? A casual study of human history reveals that plagues have come periodically to all nations. Prior to Covid-19, we already were warned by Saars, swine and bird flu, Ebola and other (fortunately) more localized outbreaks. The world is so connected that nations and individuals must learn how to be ever-ready to combat the next pandemic.

Is there, however, a spiritual basis for such things? Paramhansa Yogananda taught that, yes, such catastrophes have their basis in humanity’s inharmonious attitudes and actions. I can only hazard a guess but, given Yogananda’s advice to this effect, humanity needs to live more in harmony with the earth. Cities are toxic stew-pots that easily foster disease by virtue of crowded conditions and mass consciousness. I know we won’t end cities anytime soon, but even cities can be places where food is grown on roofs, in parks, in gardens.

More important than harmony with earth is harmony with God and one another. Fighting among religionists is perhaps the greatest blasphemy of all. One expects materialists to be greedy, but those who profess religions are among the most violent or most prejudiced among us.

But let’s get down to what you and I can do! For the obvious value of protecting ourselves from the disease (Covid-19), we should of course observe the recommendations of medical and governmental authorities. Some people refuse to wear masks or distance, but they are ignorant. But even if they were correct, medically, they simply add to the disharmony in society. So why not, as we say in America, “go along with the gag!” (pun intended)

For most of us there’s no great harm in learning to wear a mask, especially if you are sheltering in place at home where you don’t need to wear unless you have to go somewhere. As you know, being forced to stay indoors is a great opportunity to meditate and pray more — and to practice yoga and other things to keep the body fit and healthy. In America, some people who are not going to work and who are staying home are cooking healthy meals instead of going to fast food places. Less car driving is reducing pollution; animals are appearing everywhere as the “noise” of traffic and human activity slows down. Depending on where you live, there may be outdoor parks or forests where you can safely walk or exercise.

This threat to humanity is worldwide, so it is difficult for any single individual to feel like we / I can make any real difference to the situation. But we mustn’t be discouraged. Can’t we find ways to counter the public divisiveness on social media, in our family, neighborhood or workplace by taking the extra step speak up in harmony, in gratitude, in praise of the good work others are doing, especially in hospitals, clinics and everywhere? Reach out by phone to your extended family, co-workers, friends, and neighbors to see how they are doing and if there’s anything you can do to help them. Many people are volunteering to staff public vaccination sites and, not being doctors or nurses, they are doing paperwork, or set up, or clean up. Start a neighborhood litter drive and pick up trash off the streets or in public parks. (Wearing masks, and being outside, and keeping your distance: this can bring people together while yet keeping everyone safe.) Offer to help grade school child(ren) with tutoring if they cannot go to school. There are really many things you can do.

Spiritually speaking, I encourage you to deepen your contact by way of online satsangs, classes, and Sunday gatherings. This is an important time to come together with other devotees even if it is just online. It is not as good, yes, okay, but let that go and use the tools we are given to maintain a spiritual connection. You can also watch prerecorded satsangs, classes on the Gita (devotees in Mumbai have been offering a Gita class daily on Facebook, e.g. Ananda India).

There’s is much that you can do individually to keep your spirits strong and much you can do to help others. Let God and the karma of the planet take their course, but you and I need not be defeated in our faith that holds that all is for the best. All we need to do is improve our knowing of this truth. It is difficult to see so much death and suffering, and we should pray for those especially. But as Buddha discovered, no one is free from the threefold suffering of this world. The most important thing is to live in God, serve God in others, and live in freedom and truth.

Blessings to you,
Nayaswami Hriman