The year 2020 was touted as the next big step to the pinnacle of human ingenuity- where life marked another great milestone and the world moved to an even more connected community. However, the ‘world’, as we know it, had different plans.
An epidemic that started in Wuhan, China, slowly spread across the country and later, to others as well. Within a short span of three months, it had spread to almost every part of the world and is now a global pandemic- COVID-19! The world is in disarray, economies have crashed and humans, as they so dearly understood, have been shown their rightful place in the grand scheme of things. But is there HOPE in these harsh times? Can we as a species come out better?
Tradition Ayurveda says we can!
The concept of Janapadodhwans in Charak Samhita describes how epidemics can start from the contamination of Vayu, Jala, Desh, and Kala- that is- air, water, land and perversion of time. Vitiation of these elements have a broader spectrum of thought than just the pathogen being in it. ‘Janapadodhwans’ explains the gradual degradation of a person’s environment, and how they play a significant role in the spread of diseases. With their greed, Humans have exploited almost every inch of the world, making air unbreathable, water undrinkable, land unliveable and time, well, unnerving!
However, the past three months have shown us how a small pause to our greed, a ‘lockdown’ if I may, is enough to bring back the Janapadodhwans to their rightful order. With lesser people on the street, nature begun to reclaim what is rightfully its. Pollution in every form has come down by drastic amounts. The world has got some much-needed breathing space and is slowly recovering from the pains we have inflicted on it. This is the hope that inspires the future- to think better and be conscious of our own doings.
The pandemic had a profound effect on us individually as well! Ayurveda talks about Dinacharya (daily health activities), Aahara (dietary regimen), and Vyayama (exercise), which are essential for the prevention of diseases. COVID-19 has made proper hygiene- including bathing every day and washing your hands- a norm of sorts. People have taken up eating better food and doing regular exercise during their prolonged stay at home. These are essential parts of an Ayurvedic daily routine and habits that need to continue into a post-COVID world as well.
Above all, the pandemic has brought out something quite wonderful in the people. The sweet music from Italy’s balconies, the diyas that lit-up India’s darkness, the wholehearted support of online communities, and the health care workers churning day in and day out- all these show us how humanity survives its harshest hours by coming together (not literally)!
Code of Conduct
Ayurveda taught us the essence of Achara Rasayana or correct conduct thousands of years back. Its basic principles include non-violence, vegetarianism, cleanliness, compassion, refraining from anger, keeping calm, being peaceful, austerity, respect, and mercy, among others. A daily practitioner of Achara Rasayana not only rakes benefits for his own body but contributes his part to make the world a better place.
So, as we near the end of this article, it is necessary for us to ask questions of the future rather than dwell in the answers of the past! To take up something that’s good for ourselves, the people around us and the world in general! To reflect on the good of people and learn from missed opportunities! This will all go a long way in inspiring a better future.
Be mindful and be safe
(Based on research done for an assignment)
Images- Jared Rice, Rishikesh Yogpeeth, Damir Spanic and Kerala Tourism