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What corona taught us? 8 great lessons from corona

‘Corona pe charcha‘ – what corona taught us?

A student from Gita-Class called me and stated that after the lockdown she is back in the college hostel and it is very difficult for her to go back to her old lifestyle and that her friends find her behaviour weird.

I asked her for a reason, and she said that corona has changed her perspective towards the world!

I suggested that she should organise a ‘Corona pe charcha’ with her friends and share her experiences with corona.

The next day after dinner her friends1 were encouraged to speak in this informal meeting and the outcome was amazing.

The ‘Corona pe charcha’ went on for 4 hours and even after they dispersed, they continued their discussions separately and it went on till 4 in the morning. Everyone shared their own experiences during lockdown this really helped all of them to open up and inspire each other. They gained more strength.
I would like to share their feedback with you all. Hope you all remember that I had shared 108 ways to unlock the lockdown in March last year. They have followed some of it and it’s reflected in the ‘Corona pe charcha’.

Actually it was not Covid, it was Govinda who came as JagatGuru! Here are 8 great lessons from that discussion. Hope it inspires you

Acceptance
1) Acceptance – Was complaining about corona for months and days nothing changed!! So, it’s better to accept it. Refusing to accept what we cannot change and fighting against it leads to frustration and sorrow. Accepting the situation and moving forward is what matters. we understood that. discrimination is necessary. Acceptance is the key.

Attachment
2) Corona causes respiratory distress. Attachment causes emotional distress. Reverse transcribe2 to investigate and find what is the cause of our sorrow.

3) I was able to understand my attachments to various things or persons, which I didn’t know existed before. The attachment leading to expectations and sorrow was more evident now.

4) I realised how difficult can it be being with yourself and how boring can be those things that made us really happy earlier (like watching a movie, how many times you can watch the same movie?). There is really no happiness in all these things.

5) Attachment to our own body-mind-intellect (BMI) leads to being more selfish and refusing to help others in need. All other relationships are secondary when a crisis arises. Only ‘Me’ is important. The understanding that we are not just limited to this BMI can help us to extend our help.

Present Moment
6) Living in the present moment matters – Thinking of those corona free days in the past or worrying about our future can only bring sorrow. Future is not going to be like what we plan. No one ever imagined such a situation (present). Do whatever we can at this moment.

7) There should be an aim in life to which we need to work on so that we won’t waste our time. We wasted a lot of time during the lockdown.

Awareness
8) When we face trouble in our life sometimes, we end up thinking about why this happened to me in spite of my sincere prayers. But later I could realise that these troubles were meant to remind us ‘God is always with us’ as unconditional love.

9) We were in rat race not realising how insignificant we were in this universe. in the lockdown, it came to a stop. Then we were able to be more aware of ourselves and our surroundings.

10) During the lockdown when I had to spend times alone, I understood that I can be happy even when I am alone as well as with others. Being alone and being silent gives us a better understanding of ourselves. Lot of new talents that we never knew about ourselves came up.

11) With a lot of time came a lot of introspection. I got to know me better, appreciate all the changes that have occurred in me all this time and could accept myself and the outside world the way it is, instead of resisting about its true nature.

12) Have realised that I did not know myself at all and all the misconceptions or concepts I thought I knew about myself were wrong. Gave me time to contemplate and assess the internal wiring.

13) We can be satisfied with whatever we have and we learned to be self-sufficient also.

Family & Values
14) Value of my mother, her hardships- got a lot of time and also space to see, understand and realise what all she does and how much vital her role is in bringing up and keeping our family together.

15) Sacrifice – During this crisis, there we people who were ready to share whatever little they had. It is not only about giving when you have in excess but it’s also about giving happily whatever little you had.

16) While being around the same people for 9 months, giving love is what matters than expecting others to do something for us. It’s about what we can do for others that makes us happier.

Temporary nature of the world
17) Temporary- World around is temporary. Today one may die. tomorrow I may die due to covid. So, I can’t be really assured about life.

18) People who promised to be together kept one-meter distance between them…some of them are no more. Can anyone be sure of being with someone forever? If I turn corona positive, then I’m sure no one will come to me or even talk to me also. So, what does this ‘forever’ mean?

19) Nobody and nothing is permanent and it’s ultimately us and only us who is going to be with us. I could deal with my happiness and my grieving without having anyone else with me, without sharing anything with anyone.

20) Change is inevitable. Before corona and after corona – body changed, ideas changed, thoughts changed, the mask came, sanitiser came, the online class came…

Fear
21) Fear – Fear of death is the greatest fear that anyone can have. If I can overcome that then I can live happily.

22) An invisible virus could even, make us die out of fear. We think that we are the strongest and intelligent creatures on this planet. What stupidity.
If we know the cause of the virus, we can take precautions. Similarly, if we can find out what is the cause of our problems, we can take precautions to prevent it.

Amma & Gita
23) Learnt to appreciate my teachers and my parents and truly understood the import of Amma’s statement that anybody can be our teacher.

24) Could start offering my actions to Amma. And that gave me happiness while performing those actions.

25) Without questioning we have to accept whatever the guru says. It always helps us to grow even if u don’t understand it right now.

26) Understood the effect of what a small gesture like a smile and few kind words can do. when Amma asked to call everybody else during lockdown what they would feel and experienced, we experience the same sort of relief/happiness when they called.

27) Whatever selfless actions we did, we observed that other people who saw Amma in that action. We could become an instrument in Amma’s hands.

28) Being in a good Satsang can inspire us.  Being happy with oneself is what we really need. Get vaccinated with GITA

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1- the students who participated in this discussion are dt, ag, sn, dr, dn, av, ak, & aj. regulat attendies of the Gita class

2- For multiplication of RNA virus, it has to undergo a process called reverse transcription, whereby the RNA is converted to DNA. Usually, it’s the DNA getting converted to RNA -transcription. Hence it is reverse transcription.
So in life when we face problems we need to turn back (reverse) our attention from problem to the cause. In that investigation only we get the cause of the problem similar to doing an RT PCR to find out coronavirus (cause).







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bliss

that day when i cried

watching ’embracing the world’ video triggered some memories in me. it was sometime back in 1997 and i had been a part of amma’s free housing project – amrita kuteeram. amma had organized a team of volunteers which was to build 25 thousand free houses for the poor. as a forerunner, we visited every applicant’s address and our task was to filter out ineligible ones. the selected applicant or families were sorted out again according to the urgency of the need and that task was to prioritize constructions for the first year, second year, consecutive year and so on.

amongst one of the applicants, we found a special case wherein reading the address in the application the address, not even locals let alone ourselves, were able to find the address mentioned. to our surprise, even though the house address was in the city itself, it was not at all easy to identify this house. with the help of a local man who had in fact submitted an application in their name, we tracked the location of the family.

it was around 4pm when we reached the address mentioned in the application. there was an old lady living under a dozen palm leaves set against a jackfruit tree. this old woman was in her 60’s and looked deathly pale. the little hair, she had was tied up and she was wearing a violet blouse and was wrapped by a dirty cloth. there was no emotions of life on her face. her paleness was so deathlike that if one would look into the eyes, it was as if she were not alive. she could not stand up properly and was sitting in folded-legged with knees up and with the face in between her knees.

as was our task, we enquired about her details and whereabouts. her name was kathu. she had 4 children: 2 boys and 2 girls. the eldest one who was in his early forties was completely unstable, psychologically. he would not talk to anyone. for years, he had been living under another jackfruit tree nearby. he did not do any work either. he would not even get up at all and would be lying under the tree all the time. in fact, the place where he was lying down was devoid of grass while the surrounding area was thick with green grass. kathu’s first girl child got married and living with her husband. the second girl got married and then had separated after a year. she was also psychologically unstable. the main problem with her was that she would abuse everyone around with really foul language. no one could stand up to her and she was in the habit of always talking to everything around! kathu’s fourth child was a boy who was not as psychologically unstable and was in his late 30’s. he did some work, brought back little to the house, that actually fed the others. however, his mental stability was like the phases of the moon and almost always varied as per the moon’s position.

after all that information, we asked her whether she had food. “nothing is there” came the reply.
we insisted “break fast?” and then “no” was the reply again.
we kept going “yesterday?”. again no was her answer.
with that, we asked: “no? when did u last had food?”. she weakly mumbled “one week ago”.
shocked we asked “what was it?”. she again replied “some raw onions.”.
to verify our shock, we kept asking “where did u get that?”.
kathu replied “my son brought from leftovers of a marriage party.”.

it was extremely shocking. i could not believe my ears. i was afraid to ask further -when she had food before that?

even though i had heard about poverty, i never thought of it in such a condition here in the state of kerala. a local politician also had been assisting us, guiding us to find the houses of the applicants. that very politician has never came across this family although he and his family had lived in the town, alongside the same road!

one of us went to buy some food items. in 10 minutes, he was back with rice and tapioca and we gave all that to the old lady and asked her to prepare food for the family. she was so weak and could hardly get up and walk. she took a vessel and started walking. we were surprised. what was happening? where is she going? lo! there was no water in the house to cook food. she would have to climb down a 50 meter hill to get water! touched and shocked, we asked her to sit back and bought water ourselves. we were told it was her younger son who brought water. we then helped her prepare tapioca. it was washed and put in the pot. we asked her to light a fire. she did not even have a match box. luckily one person in the group, a cigarette smoker, had a matchbox. so we lit the fire, put rice in another vessel and allowed her to do the rest.

while the water is warming up in the vessel, we added her name to the top priority list and started our journey to the next applicant.

that night, i could not sleep. i was crying thinking about her and that family – the helplessness of that lady, the craziness of the children. my tears lasted not just that day, but for a full week! every time when i sit for food, i see her suffering face. i have heard about poverty but had never imagined such a plight especially in our kerala state which boasts of 100% literacy rate.
later an ‘amrita kuteeram’ house was built for her. the locals even came forward and gave a helping hand to finish the house early.

to me, in the past, when amma was talking about helping the poor it seemed only as a nice idea; when amma mentioned not to waste food and water it had rung inside me only as an economic statistic. i had never ever thought that such shocking realities exist. that day was an eye opener to me. i saw the plight of hunger. today, even after decades, memories remain afresh of one of those houses that i then visited as part of the housing-enquiry. guess why?

that was the first time i cried for someone. this is the transformation amma has brought in me.