17 May 2020, Amritapuri
~from Amma’s message during corona times
The corona pandemic is completely refiguring how we look at life. Nature, reeling under exploitation from human beings, has got a respite and a chance to heal. When we sprain a joint or fracture a bone, that part begins to swell. The swelling is a protective reaction of the body. It is the body’s warning that that part needs to heal. Similarly, we have been torturing and exploiting Nature. And this is Nature’s protective reaction to heal herself. This is what Amma feels.
Businesses have closed, air travel has stopped and many people incurred heavy losses. On the other hand, the air is cleaner, and the environment has tilted back its balance a little. Due to the reduction in air pollution, the Himalayan peaks are now visible from Punjab. Waterways are getting cleaner. The Ganga—which was previously 75% polluted with factory waste, effluents, carcasses and the blood of slaughtered animals—has now become a little cleaner. There are reports that the river dolphins, an endangered species, have begun to swim in its waters again. When we see all this, we realize that some degree of balance is being restored.
While on one hand, the death toll is causing agony, on the other, we see nature’s harmony is restored. The daily accident toll is down because people are staying indoors. Crime rates of homicide, assault, arson and theft have plunged. We pray for the departed souls and the peace of their families and do what we can to help them.
But at the same time, seeing the other side, we should realise that this is also a learning curve for us. There is a silver lining to every cloud. During these corona days, many things have surfaced to show us a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel.
We have realised that what we considered essential was really inessential. Our young ones have realised that they can live peacefully, even when they lack a few things. Many things people were previously were unable to give up for even a single day, they are now doing without. For example, alcohol. Because of its non-availability, at least a few people have been able to kick the habit.
Similarly, shopping addiction. There are people who are compulsive shoppers, buying things that are needed and not needed. Although you don’t have to stop shopping, Amma hopes that this break has given you the awareness to practice some restraint and control in the future. Many people have been successful in controlling their urge to eat meat and have become vegetarian. So many things we thought we could not control have been controlled. This teaches us that we can live like this also.
There are people who used to order-in or eat-out every day. They would throw out food prepared at home and go out to eat every day. People have learned to control this urge as well and appreciate the food cooked at home. Amma is not asking you to stop eating out. Those restaurants are also running a business and need people to come and eat there for their livelihood. But this was a good opportunity for my children to look within and understand themselves.
Many children have been able to overcome some of their vices. Post-lockdown, they should make sure they do not slip back into their clutches again.
Many families come to Amma and cry because the father is an alcoholic. Seeing their tears, Amma feels sad. Amma hopes that these fathers will try and continue to practice this restraint. Amma requests my children to do this.
Man has this mistaken notion that this earth belongs only to him. With this as our outlook, we have been exploiting nature, her resources and her creatures for centuries. We didn’t realise that what we were doing was tantamount to sawing the very branch of the tree we were sitting on. Today, only 30% of the earth is forestland. If we go on like this, in just a few years the last tree will disappear from the surface of the earth.
The state of the ocean is no different. The greatest killer of marine life is not a shark or a whale. It is plastic. Even the sky is getting covered with pollution. Outer space is hazardously scattered with debris from derelict satellites and other old space equipment. Our skies are polluted with smoke and emissions from factories. Waterways are polluted with household and other waste. The soil is contaminated with chemical fertilisers and pesticides added to increase yield.
Animals are injected with hormones to fatten them up. And consuming all this is the man. Therefore, the increase in his diseases. The natural immunity of human beings as well as of nature has greatly decreased. Human beings have thus fallen prey to more and more novel diseases in recent times. We need to awaken!