A more refined Humanity
A more refined Humanity
DR. V. RAMAKANTHA is a former Indian Forest Service officer and member of the Green Kanha Initiative at the Heartfulness Community’s Meditation Center at Kanha Shanti Vanam in India. Having spent most of his working life living in forests and jungles, in tune with the natural world, his slant on our current corona crisis is steeped in nature and also in the stories and traditions of ancient India.
Dr. V. Ramakantha

While people around the world are worried that shaking hands, hugging and kissing might help spread the virus, the Indian traditional greeting of ‘Namaste’ comes in handy. Even Prince Charles and President Trump have popularized it as a fashionable corona greeting!

When we fold our hands in greeting, it is to communicate that “You and I are one and the same, sparks of the same Divinity; and I salute the Divinity within you.” When the world appreciates this greeting with folded hands, it is likely to stay even after the threat of the virus vanishes.

The slowdown and shut down of activities we are facing also offer us an opportunity to ponder over some basic issues. There has never been a paucity of wise people, sages and philosophers around the globe who can influence society by their reflections on the purpose and goal of human life. Ancient Indian literature, about which I am familiar, is replete with analyses, stories and metaphors concerning the transient nature of human life on Earth. Also, Indians, like other Asians, stand out in having no compunction in talking about life and death in the same breath! In a way, this nonchalant attitude helps us deal with the corona crisis.

Here, the story of ‘The Woman and the Buddha’ is worth recounting. A grief-stricken woman approached Buddha and pleaded that he should bring back her husband, who had died. The Compassionate One pondered for a while, and said that he would help her, but she had to first bring a fistful of mustard seeds from a home where there was no death. The lady was pleased with the offer of help. She went looking for the mustard seeds. Wherever she went, she was told that there was a death in the family. She eventually discovered the truth that death is inevitable. In helping her to discover the truth for herself, Lord Buddha expressed his compassion.

There is another piece of great perception in the epic Mahabharata:

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May 2020