Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, confused medico Jeeva discovers the real lockdown we are in.
Jeeva, named by her late grandma, was pursuing her final year medicine in one of the prestigious colleges in Bangalore. She was the kind of girl whom everyone used to love to be with. Her care and service attitude was unmatchable. After all, she had chosen medical field to serve people, to save lives.
Books were her best friends. She was an ardent reader with her own personal library of books in science, drama, self-help, poetry, biographies, etc. She was having the satisfaction and pride of having read all that. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown across the country, she was staying at home thinking about how to make the best use of time.
Being flooded by a plethora of COVID-19 messages on social media, she was a bit fearful of catching an infection, so she was diligently taking all possible precautions. However, she was puzzled by seeing the countries with advanced medical facilities failing to combat this pandemic. Being an aspirant doctor she started wondering for the first time in her life, how medicine, science, and technology have all come to a deadlock, unable to stop this disease and death! She started inquiring herself, “What’s happening to mankind? Why do we get such diseases, why do we have to die? Why our life is becoming miserable filled with so much pain and suffering? What is this life all about?”
More than a month had passed, the exponential increase in infections and deaths worldwide had made Jeeva even more thoughtful about her questions. Unable to find out the answers herself she yelled: “I’m totally confused and stressed”. Being depressed, she felt, “Will my aspiration to save lives remain as a mere hope?” She finally concluded, “These questions have no answers at all”.
Gazing at the dusty bookshelves she thought, “Let me clean this, it will give me some solace”.
While she was cleaning, she chanced upon an ancient scripture that was lying somewhere in the corner. Untouched by anyone for a long time, the book was quite dusty. Blowing the dust off each edge of the book, she recalled: “This is the same book my grandma used to read every day religiously.” Suddenly, it sprung to her mind, “Grandma had seen many of her relatives suffering and dying but she had always remained undisturbed”. Jeeva pondered, “Is this scripture, the secret of my grandma’s composure?”
Right from a young age, being passionate about science, Jeeva had had atheistic views about God; so she had never read any scripture. This was the first time, she was holding one in hand. “Let me give it a shot, what am I going to lose, anyway I’m free now”, she murmured herself. Jeeva started skimming through the book.
Just after reading a couple of chapters, Jeeva became so jubilant. With the joy of having discovered answers for her pestering questions and with tears pouring down her cheeks, she exclaimed, “Oh! This is a real lockdown! Truths of life are so simple. Thank God for revealing me this; I feel so relieved now”.
Jeeva was such an avid reader and the content in the book was so illuminating, so scientific that she read the entire book in one sitting.
But which book was it that had answered her questions and transformed the atheist Jeeva to feel thankful to God?
The front cover of the book had a picture of Arjuna and Lord Krishna, riding on a chariot drawn by white horses, and it was titled “Bhagavad-Gita as it is”.
The problem statement:
The thoughtful concerns that were pestering medico Jeeva are more or less concerns of all Jeevas. Jeeva in Sanskrit means a living entity, the immutable soul. As living entities, we all aspire for a happy, peaceful, secure, trouble-free life. Don’t we? None of us want the miseries of diseases and death.
Nothing wrong, because that is the constitution or entitlement of every Jeeva. So naturally, the one and only goal of all our medicine, science and technology, etc is to nullify these miseries and give us maximum happiness. And the amount of progress that we have made in this regard is truly commendable. But when all this progress that we have made, not coming in handy in saving lives at this critical hour of COVID-19 pandemic, makes one ponder how puny is our advancement, how secure is our life?
No doubt, with more significant efforts put in, we may soon come up with a vaccine triumphantly and lift all lockdowns with a great sigh of relief. But unfortunately, problems doesn’t end there! Deaths occurring due to COVID-19 are fractional compared to the total deaths (Around 150,000 people die each day [i]). We have so many other enemies out there who have killed or will kill us; it may be a severe heart attack, or incurable cancer, or even a massive flood or an apparently simple hunger that kills 25,000 people each day [ii]!
So questions puzzle the inquisitive minds: What’s all this, why do we have to suffer diseases and death much against our wish? What is this life all about?
Unfortunately, most of us miss asking this amidst the rat race we are in!
Better late than never; delving into the God-given timeless scriptures one can discover the answers; medico Jeeva did the same accidentally. Let’s try to see our life in the eyes of God…
Imagine a world with the most ideal government which is providing the best of the amenities to its citizens; taking complete care of them. And citizens are absolutely enjoying being under the care of such a government. In return, citizens are happily serving the government; following the imposed regulations say paying taxes, etc. We all adore to be in such a world, don’t we? But imagine in the same situation, some of the citizens turning out to violate the rules and become outlaws causing trouble to other citizens and government. In such a case, to bring back sanity, the government will have to set up a criminal department to catch hold of the unlawful citizens and restrict them to a certain place called prison and punish them; to teach lessons and bring them to their senses. Isn’t it?
This analogy helps us in reconciling the meaning of life, to get a bigger picture of it. We, the Jeevas were the residents of the eternal kingdom of the God called Spiritual World (Vaikunta Loka). Vaikunta means a place that is free from all kinds of miseries because the Supreme God will be the center of everyone’s lives and all happily serve Him and be blissful. But when we developed the desire to enjoy with no compliance to God, cause disturbance there thinking why should I serve God, why don’t I enjoy without serving God then we will be sent to this temporary Material World (Kunta Loka). This is the place to fulfill our unlawful or material desires. So Jeevas here get different varieties of material bodies according to their desires and karma. Anything material has a beginning and an end. So Jeeva changing one material body to another is seen as death. So a self-centered, godless life in the material world will be filled with miseries (Kunta) of repeated birth, disease, old age, and death which we see daily. By the way, thanks to Novel Coronavirus for exposing this truth evidently!
So clearly the reason for all our sufferings is our lockdown in this material world, with no entry to the spiritual world!
The way ahead!
Nonetheless, the material world is also a place for rectifying our mistake of independent enjoyment. To help us (His children) rectify this mistake, all-merciful God has given His instructions in the form of scriptures. Scriptures are the road-maps for our journey to eternal, blissful life which we all are looking for. They are the only refuge, the only way. Our other mundane attempts to fight miseries will give us only temporary happiness and not permanent because we are in a world which is by nature temporary and miserable. If we don’t even know where we are, how will we ever go where we want to go?
Scriptures are vast but Bhagavad-Gita has the essence of all scriptures. Reading Gita will help us understand who we are, where we are, who is God, what’s our relationship with God and brings a genuine attitudinal change in us. Srila Prabhupada, the greatest exponent of Vedic scriptures and the Founder-Acharya of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) says, “Bhagavad-gītā is a transcendental literature which one should read very carefully. Gītā-śāstram idaṁ puṇyaṁ yaḥ paṭhet prayataḥ pumān: if one properly follows the instructions of Bhagavad-gītā, one can be freed from all miseries and anxieties of life”.
So the whole message of these scriptures is “Revive yourself and Return back to the spiritual world” and “Never get locked down again” meaning never take birth in this miserable material world again. Living life completely centered on this understanding will help us transcend all miseries of birth, disease, old age, and death and make us eligible to enter the spiritual world. That’s how medico Jeeva’s grandma or for that matter any of our forefathers led life – a life truly guided by scriptures.
So through scriptures, the all-merciful God is personally inviting all the Jeevas who have locked down themselves in this temporary material world within temporary material bodies to His eternal spiritual world, offering an eternal spiritual body to live a blissful life with Him eternally!
By the way, medico Jeeva is now on cloud nine having discovered the real lockdown we are in. She is busy sharing her discovery with all her acquaintances.
She has also decided not to get locked down again. What about you?