The pandemic, disturbed mind and India’s spiritual retreat

The COVID-19 pandemic is kinda Gordian knot challenging the peace of mind. It is disturbing our usual life, food, fun, work, health and relationships.  The unexpected event is now putting the expression “WHY?”- the own existential question, in front of us. As we are struggling to find antidotes and vaccines, ideas from the ancient Indian world can espouse the cause for these overstrained human minds. The Hindus demonstrates how facing any adverse condition with a disturbed mind and total awareness of the pros and cons of every probable Karma or activity and the results along with staying balanced, can yield the actual inner peace. The impatient mind has necessity or desire at its core that forces to act. Vedas talk about how to act, or itself is a journey of action towards the eternal in the frame of Prakriti. Here Prakriti has a strong presence and also there in the form of the words- that lead oneself towards learning/realization or gain Shiksha, which is eternal for any human mind. Some argue that hence it is also called Apauruṣeyā from where the understanding of the unchanging, unperturbed and unaffected is coming out.

Any action starts with restlessness in mind. In terms of the Shastras, it is called “Vikar”. In the end, as the task is completed, the mind attains peace or the situation of Nirvikara. Suppose a student has an exam knocking at the door. An impatience would rise in his mind, reminding that he needs to sit for study now. Very soon, he settles down with his books and tries to focus, otherwise, the fickle mind would resist him from concentrating. Till the exam in this way, juggling with calmness and hectic, the stages will return repeatedly. Now, if the result is good, then there will be mental peace.

The instability of the mind can be compared with Prakriti and the balanced mind is Purusha. Every time we move from the path of conflict towards tranquillity. As the mind gets silenced, it is like functionally prepared to be the platform to manifest higher thoughts. It comes out of the area where the reasoning is in its limit and becomes ready for intuitive thought and clarifications. However, there is a difference between a calm mind and a silent one. A calm mind is still open to external ideas disturbing the balance. On the other hand, the silent mind stops all the activities from inside and outside the mind. It is worth mentioning that this compels to healthy Yogic practice.

The person who has no place to stay, is in search of a home. The one who does not have any job seeks permanent employment. In the end, there is the ultimate urge to attain peace. Agility and crisis give rise to work. So Bhagavat Gita’s lines also asseverate that nature or Prakriti is the root cause of all actions. The mind is not made up of atoms having its distinct nature from the other objects in this physical world. The things grasped by it are never the objects, but just images. In other words, objects are the reflections on the psychic plane.

(Life of Rama)

 Thus, if restlessness is missing, then no mood performing activities would develop. A stoic mind does not work. As far as the ultimate peace is concerned, if that is not brought to fruition, the human thirst would not be quenched. So the origin is from turbulence or chaos, like in the case of “libertinism” and the ultimate goal is pleasure and quietness. Rama and Yudhisthira remained successfully undisturbed throughout their life despite all the spanner in the works. All it’s cracked up to be, another name of Rama is Purushottama (Purusha + Uttama/highest) and Yudhisthira itself means one who stay static (sthir) in war (Yuddha).

(Two avatars: Two Balanced Minds)

In this context, a great example of Purushakara can be given from Mahabharata. Arjuna was committed to kill Jayadhratha but was unable to touch him till the afternoon. At once, Krishna ordered him to come down from the chariot and fight standing on the land. Then he creates a Mayasarovar or lake and washes the body of horses and their wounds. Here, in this context, Dritharasthra blurted in front of Sanjaya, “AAMOF! I should have analyzed the results of the war knowing this type of rare “Nirvikara” in Krishna’s personality”. Any self-realized mind of these kinds is free from the necessities to occupy itself, the influence of activities. It is independent.

আমার মুক্তি সর্বজনের মনের মাঝে,
দুঃখবিপদ-তুচ্ছ-করা কঠিন কাজে।
বিশ্বধাতার যজ্ঞশালা আত্মহোমের বহ্নি জ্বালা—
জীবন যেন দিই আহুতি মুক্তি- আশে।
এই আকাশে আমার মুক্তি আলোয় আলোয়
আমার মুক্তি ধুলায় ধুলায় ঘাসে ঘাসে
এই আকাশে আমার মুক্তি আলোয় আলোয়।।।
Aamar mukti sarbojaner moner maajhe,
Dukkhobipad-tuchchho-kara kotthin kaaje.
Bishwodhaatar jogyoshaala atmohomer bonhi jwaala-
Jiban jeno diyi aahuti mukti-aashe. (song of Rabindranath Tagore)
My liberation is in the universal mind;
In arduous tasks which flout all pain and danger.
At the Creator’s sacred shrine,
The searing pyre of self-immolation
May I consecrate my life in search of deliverance To the heavens.
– Translated by Chinmoyee Ghosh

Content inspirations:

Writings of Joydeep Basu

Image courtesies:

Nature is art. 💗

Posted by Wild Free on Monday, June 22, 2020

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