The Kautilyan Perspective Exclusive to Vedic Management Centre by U. Mahesh Prabhu
Let me start with an ancient Vedic Sanskrit tale:
A long time ago, the goddess of disease went from village to village, making people severely sick. However, in one village, the local village goddess stopped her from entering since she was morally bound to protect them. The goddess of disease argued, “It is your Karma (virtue) as well as Dharma (Duty) to protect – it is mine to cause illness and death to balance the population on Mother Earth. We are part of the same creation. Therefore, you should allow me to enter and do my Dharma.” The village goddess granted permission – reluctantly – on a condition that the goddess of disease would not take the lives of more than two people. Once the stipulated time was complete, as the goddess of disease was about to leave, the goddess of the village called out the goddess of death and asked: “What did you do? I allowed you only to take the lives of two people – but so far, ten have died!” The goddess of disease replied, “I did just as you requested – but the others died (or are dying) out of the fear of disease.”
What is happening around the world today is not much different than what occurred in the story – fear. The Fear of disease and death is driving people into distress and panic. And that itself is proving to be worse than the disease. As of today, there are over half a million people infected by this virus and while over 25,000 people have died over most of the rest have recovered. (note these figures are constantly changing)
The governments of different countries, dominated by Fear, have taken drastic measures such as enforced lockdown to hold population to their homes, so as not to spread the disease. This will, particularly in the long run, leave their citizens without enough means to survive, which, in turn, leads to public resent and backlash. The result is an environment of social disharmony, crippling the global economy; that itself is now on a ventilator. The consequences for people surviving the virus – which will be almost everyone alive today – the governments have yet to comprehend.
The Fear of the virus added with continual economic uncertainty is certain to make the situation worse.
Meanwhile, there are countless media outlets filled with umpteen analysts, columnists, and journalists casting doom in the future. Let me spare you the “dire consequences” and present you a viable approach to resolve the problems resulting from this pandemic.
The first thing we all must understand is the fact that everything that is born is bound to die. This is not to say that we must be careless or reckless amid this crisis. On the contrary, while trying to stay afloat, we must do everything that is helpful and compassionate without any trace of Fear.
Hope and Fear are largely figments of imagination. The chances of either becoming a reality are usually about even. However, if you hold on to Fear, you will cripple your mental ability and your ability to work will suffer. Contrary to this is encouraging hope; this gives you strength and courage. Hope is the root of perseverance, a key ingredient required to respond and succeed.
If you are not a medical expert and have little understanding of the technicalities involved, there is much better you can do instead of listening to dire scenarios and shifting statistics that uphold them. You can create a scenario in which the virus is gone, and recovery is developing. This will give you something constructive to work with; to keep your mind productively engaged.
To conclude: do note that scientists have confirmed that the COVID19 virus takes some days to show any symptoms, and sometimes may not show any at all. So, there is now ample time before you can reach a critical state. Most people who have died are those who already have old age or a compromised health condition and were unaware and unprepared for this danger. Now there are many confirmed reports that the great majority of people will recover with only mild symptoms, while those in a critical phase will largely recover as well. This is not to downplay the importance of saving every possible life.
The situation is likely not as dire as what was initially thought. The numbers of people that test positive for the disease are far removed from the actual count of those who will be severely affected. But certainly, you must follow any helpful regulations, and instead of imagining the losses that may befall you, focus on what positive you can do for the future. This would be the best service you can do for yourself and others. Only such an calm approach can ensure both health and economic recovery, which are necessary for social stability and happiness.