‘जान है तो जहान है’ – If there is life, there is the world.
Nations, corporations, and ideologies have paused their fights with each other to battle an invisible virus. There are no hierarchies in nature, only cycles and networks. Our vulnerabilities towards this virus display an elusive egalitarianism, reminding us all that we can also be at the receiving end of the food chain, as fodder for a parasitic virus aptly called the Coronavirus.
The fear of death connects humans in a way that the travails of inequality could never do. A few years ago, millions of liters of milk were discarded to control prices amidst a supply glut in the developed world, even as deaths due to starvation and malnutrition persisted elsewhere. The travails of humanity have been neatly separated by the impersonal coldness of bad news, delivered to our doorstep and couched quietly beside the milk pouch. It took a global pandemic to remind us of how united we are in our fear of our own mortality.
The natural world is expressing us to go inward and not be dependent so much on external factors for peace and joy.
For a long time, humans have not allowed themselves to be connected by compassion and love as much as by fear. Each morning as the sunlight washes into my home, it remains a symbol of energy, hope, and non-judgmental grace. Just as flowers cannot blossom without sunshine, humans cannot flourish without nature. Despite how cruel we are towards it; we are all dependent on the kindness of nature.
Cows are programmed to eat vegetarian food. The mad cow disease outbreak was a result of cows being fed diseased sheep in an effort at efficiency. The aspect of nature that modern civilization finds hard to understand is that there is nothing redundant or suboptimal in nature. Yet industrial agriculture, food processing, and pharma rely on discarding, neutralizing or containing nature to improve cost-benefit ratios. There is a certain ruthlessness in how money operates that goes against the human psyche. But has been willfully embraced by the human appetite for greed.
Now, as we remain caged, animals and birds roam free and peacocks come out to dance on our city streets. The natural world is expressing us to go inward and not be dependent so much on external factors for peace and joy. The quality of time with the family, silence, meditation, and contentment – it is time to rediscover what they mean to us.
The health of humanity relies on protecting the earth and allowing all life on earth to flourish alongside ours. We are a part of the earth’s living web of life. Indigenous health systems and knowledge systems that are based on interconnectedness need to be recognized and rejuvenated in times of such a health crisis. Health is a continuum, from the soil to the plants, to our gut microbes.
India’s greeting ‘Namaste’ has gone global in times of the Coronavirus.
The Corona crisis creates a new opportunity to make a paradigm shift from the mechanistic, industrial age of separation, domination, greed, and disease, to one based on a consciousness, that we are a part of one earth family. That our health is one health rooted in ecological interconnectedness, diversity, regeneration, and harmony. “No one is safe from the Coronavirus until everyone is.”
India’s greeting ‘Namaste’ has gone global in times of the Coronavirus. The significance of Namaste is not separation but a deeper unity that connects us all. Namaste means ‘I bow to the divine in you’. It signifies our interconnectedness with a sacred universe, where everything is permeated by the divine for the benefit of all and the exclusion of none.
This consciousness of oneness and unity is what we need to cultivate in these times where a small virus has connected us across the globe through disease and panic.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.