Trapped in the net of ignorance for ages we have become unaware of this reality in our life. Recently, a youngster came across a discussion where she heard about wiping out ignorance. She came and asked me: ‘What is the meaning of ignorance? Whenever I read a new chapter in my school, I come to know about something, and then does it mean that I could wipe out my ignorance about that subject?’ I told her about an explanation well given by the American novelist David Foster Wallace through the conversation of two fishes:
“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
Ignorance is a lack of knowledge, but this knowledge is not only acquiring knowledge. Behind all experiences lies the vast ocean of truth, ‘To get complete knowledge, there is only one way, the way of experience, and there is no other way’ – Swami Vivekananda famously said.
The infinite well of knowledge is in the experiences
If we go through every experience with a conscious research-oriented mind, we will find that behind the actual happenings, there is an infinite well of much higher knowledge. Only the heart can captivate this; the essence of our true self, which dwells in our body in this physical realm. This higher knowledge is gained through the gradual unfolding of wisdom, leaving the petals of ignorance to fall and slowly disappear.
Repetition of life episodes; it is a divine intervention
To help us to gain such lessons of life, The Eternal has many times given us situations in various chapters of our life, – ‘Life is like a great Teacher …..she will repeat the lesson until you learn’ – Ricky Martin. Since we are like the fishes in the water, with the shroud of ignorance, there was no other way but The COVID-19 pandemic to come on stage to play its role; it has done what it was supposed to do. It had a purpose – either wake up or you shatter. They say history tends to repeat itself.
COVID-19 pandemic: a self-reflection
From time immemorial, saints and sages had come innumerable times to hammer on our wisdom, the most precious gift that lay buried deep under the majestic ego. We forgot that it is the cause that produces the effect, the effect will not come by itself.
The virus is contagious, we all know about it. All ways of sanitization and social distancing has become a way of life. This is what we apparently see from our inside to outside. However, if we were to see from the outside to our inside, then what do we see?
Great seers have known that the outside world is just but a reflection of our inner thoughts. Taking into consideration that we all agree to this, then it’s logical to think that the virus outside is the manifestation of the inner viruses of our mind. We have let the virus grow rampantly in our minds by nurturing it in every experience of our life.
Building up immunity within our inner composition
Relationship in the family has become oriented with the viruses of worldly greed of material things and matters: the attitude of comparison with others, allegations used for self-benefit, blaming for the purpose of shrugging off responsibilities, doubting each other, hidden jealousy, hatred, unvirtuous relationship between spouses, unfilial children, conditional love of parents, quarrels of siblings, and it goes on.
These viruses under the nourishment of human mind had so much to reveal itself in all our actions, speech, and behaviour that it is beyond our comprehension that they have indeed become contagious. We do not anymore find it abnormal.
These viruses are the essential elements of the Ego. The Ego has become so demonic today that the virtues of benevolence, loyalty, righteousness, filial piety, and respect, have lost their luminance long ago. Today, we no longer hear these terminologies, as we think that these qualities are no more applicable in this era, after all, we call ourselves modern! We do not advise each other on these virtues or teach children the same. The result has been devastating.
“All reasoning for a self-centric mind has made us insane and we have become like the bee sucking the honey whose feet get stuck in that honey itself.”
COVID-19 pandemic has lockdown us – forced to be within the walls of our home. Isn’t it a chance which God has given us so that we can lock down our ego-mind in order to succumb to the devastating injuries it has made in this worldly realm?
In the process of self-reflection, there is a possibility for the true Heart to emerge, fathoming the waves of true living of harmonious life.
Whenever any untoward situation arises, we can take that situation as an opportunity of practicing not being rebellious or hostile or arguing; instead, give a pause to your reaction and take one step backward for the purpose of analyzing the whole situation. With this conscious effort, we can subdue our minds for self-reflection.
We all have come to this planet to fulfill a purpose in this lifetime, a purpose which is contributory to benefit all of us as a whole. However, due to the tendencies of the ego-mind, unaware, we have become rebellious, demanding on our rights (we thought), argumentative, and belligerent. We need to remind ourselves that we have come to contribute, not to claim from anyone anything.
It is because of the emergence of selfishness, jealousy, greed that has been so nourished and nurtured with care that it has become contagious. At the same time we also have the responsibility to identify these viruses in our mind, and should realize all complains, criticism, protests, blames, retaliations, revenges are only means for temporary solution of the concurrent crisis.
Its vibration and influence have resulted in a vast damaging effect for all the generations. We should delve deep inside our hearts only to help ourselves to be more yielding to every situation for the purpose of nurturing such values which help towards the formation of a world filled with rich values and wisdom. This would then mean to be a transformation, the way which sages had always directed us to.
Wearing masks – is an external preventive measure. However, when inside, can we take this as a signal to pause before we speak? The inner mask can act as a shield to stop spilling over of undesirous or unpleasant words from our inner chatterbox. To help the degeneration of human relationships over speech, we can practice the art of listening more in order to build up respect for each other, for every situation, for every matter, for the purpose of heading towards a golden habitation on this planet.
Finally, social distancing but nearing each other
Social distancing – is a must for our own benefit and the other person. At home, when we are in the family, we had made all our relationship very demanding. This can be taken as a great opportunity to mentally distance ourselves from each other. This has to be done for the purpose of seeing oneself and the other person. However, a conscious effort is needed to gain a new perception based on insight. You are then a renewed person!
The collective conscious effort of all individuals would mean pleading for forgiveness to the Eternal Life for the wrongs we have done. When our prayers are put into action, it would mean sanitization of the Heart, which in turn would bring us to the platform of pure faith. Once faith is established, wisdom flourishes to show us the gateway of infinite knowledge of recreating the agonized world. We would know that anger, blame, hatred, punishment, demonstration, revenge, etc. are all affairs of the poisoned mind and do not bring any good vibration to save the human race.
Once lesson learned, the pandemic would wave us to say good-bye.