COVID-19 : A SPIRITUAL GUIDE TO OVERCOMING FEAR
For many of us, the advent of COVID-19, has brought about fear. The fear of contracting the virus, the fear of losing our livelihood, the fear of not being able to travel overseas to attend an emergency.
Is COVID-19 the cause of this fear mongering within us? Think deeply and we may come to realize that COVID-19 is just a trigger. In the past we may have encountered other instances when we suffered much anxiety.
So to overcome COVID-19 or any such triggers, we need to be able to manage this emotion called fear. Revered Sree Narayana Guru has explained the ‘why’ we fear and how to overcome this fear in the Daivadasakam. I shall focus on verses 1,3,5 and 10
From the most high, O Divine,
protect us here, do not leave us.
You are the navigator of this ocean of ephemeral becoming, and (to us)
your name is a mighty steamship.
In verse 1, Man is imploring the Lord or Supreme Power to help him overcome obstacles/dangers in this ocean of life. The word “Bhavabdhi’ refers to the Ocean of life. It implies the Fear in Man as he navigates his life’s journey in an environment of change. The Ocean’s surface is continuously in a state of flux. We are afraid of the strong waves we encounter on the surface and even more afraid of what lurks beneath, the unknown. We are certain that we need a mighty steamship to manoeuvre this Ocean of life and we implore the Lord to be the navigator/pilot/captain of this vessel and we dedicate this Steamship to the Lord.
Ever having given us food and clothes
And providing for all such needs,
Making us rejoice in our contentment,
You are our only Lord.
In Verse 3, we acknowledge that the food that we partake and the clothes that we adorn are the offerings of Nature. Man is unable to create anything out of nothing. He can, however, employ the gifts of nature to feed and clothe himself. However, he must put in effort to utilise the offerings of nature to provide for himself. The compassionate Guru advises contentment. Contentment is only possible if we share the benefits, that accrue from our efforts, with others. Implicit in this is that we must respect Nature and share this planet with all other creatures. If we are willing to strive to provide for society, if we have a mindset of sharing and caring, then we can be assured that Nature will make available the necessary tools for a comfortable life. We will never fear circumstances that may take away the wealth, position, or the status we have acquired. Revered Sree Narayana Guru has emphasized in his teachings that Man has let greed overcome him. Man is not contended with securing land for his use but has also exploited what is below the ground. In the process he has displaced the other creatures on this planet and altered the balance of the Environment. Conservationist have attributed the emergence of viruses like COVID-19 to humans displacing animals from their natural habitats which has caused these animals to come into closer contact with humans. Trafficking exotic animals for financial gain has also contributed to these zoonotic diseases. If Man respects nature, we will not need to fear such pandemics.
You are the creation, the creator too,
As also the myriads of created things.
You again, O God, are the Substance
Of which all creation is made.
In Verse 1, we have noted that Man has a Fear of the Unknown. But if there is no unknowns, then this fear should dissipate. In Verse 5, Revered Sree Narayan Guru states that the Lord who we saw as a Power apart from us is actually the substance of Creation, which implies that each and every one is an embodiment of the Supreme and so are the Plant and animal kingdoms as well as all non-living things. So if the Lord is present in all, why do we need to Fear the unknown?
In the deep ocean of your Glory
Let us all become immersed,
There to dwell, dwell forever,
In Felicity Supreme!
The concluding verse 10 reveals the Truth of our Being. The Ocean of Change that Man feared in the First Stanza is the Very Source of Calmness, which you will only realize when you go to the depths. Similarly, when Man looks deep inside himself, he realizes his True Nature and then there is no more fear when he realizes the Oneness in everything. So never Fear.
I understand that Sree Narayan Guru composed the Daiva Dasakam at the request of an educator who wanted children, regardless of faith, to chant an universal prayer. The composition flowed from the lips of the Guru. In ten verses he provided the tools for a seeker to be transformed from an ignorant to a knower. Only a Realized Master with compassion can deliver this masterpiece. Our Salutations to the Guru.