News teams from Mathura again came to Radhe Kunj, Bhakta Bandhav Vrindavan, to hear from us how we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. They came many times to witness our Prasadam distribution not only locally, but all around the different poor villages of Vraja. Now they wanted to know more about our activities, and especially wanted to know about our practice of kirtan, which is said to increase immunity. There have been in depth studies I will share for example, that show:
“The study shows that amateur group singing leads to increases in both positive affect and the production of salivary immunoglobulin A, a protein considered as the first line of defense against respiratory infections. It replicates previous work demonstrating an association between singing and immune function, and suggests a possible influence of musical behavior on well-being and health.”
When the news reporters came, they wanted to interview a Westerner who speaks Hindi, so I spoke with them. In our last news interviews with the Hindi TV channels, devotees were asking for English transcripts of the discussion, so it’s been put below:
Our Vedic culture teaches how we should dance while doing kirtana. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught the devotees to dance in kirtana. By dancing in kirtan, the body will be healthy, and the soul will achieve spiritual strength and satisfaction. Suprasidati – how to be happy? Follow this process of bhakti. In your homes, you can do kirtan together, you can dance in kirtan. This kirtan, singing and dancing, has been discovered to be very good for increasing the immunity system (and protecting against respiratory infections).
Do you think we will be able to defeat corona by doing kirtan and dancing.
The coronavirus is a manifestation of global karma in this world. And we will have to accept and tolerate this karma. But our Srila Gurudeva would say, “If you look in the ocean, there are many waves coming one after the other. So in this world, there are so many problems, coming like waves, one after the other. If you want to conquer over all these problems, then there is one method. The Bhagavatam teaches (2.3.10):
akamah sarva-kamo va
yajeta purusam param
How to achieve the supreme destination? By intensely practicing the process of bhakti-yoga, such as kirtan, bhajana, japa, and dancing for the pleasure of God, then you will cross over this samsara, and be immersed in the ocean of bliss.
What is the difference between your previous daily activities and what you do now in the time of the coronavirus lockdown?
In whatever situation we are in this world, we will never give up the performance of bhakti such as kirtan. Our Haridas Thakura, who was a perfected soul, stated:
khanda khanda hai deha jadi jaya prana
tabu ami vadane na chadi hari nama
“I will never give up chanting the holy names. No matter how much I am attacked and disturbed.”
So in whatever situation we may be, we will not give up our observance of this Bhagavat dharma or Sanatana Dharma.
Do you think that by chanting harinama, bhagavad-nama, you will be able to be victorious over all obstacles and problems?
Kirtaniyah sada Harih. By always performing kirtana, then maya, Kali, and all inauspicious spirits will flee in fear. There is a verse in one of our kirtanas:
advaitadi bhakta vrnda nace ghate ghate
palaya duranta kali padiya vibhrate
By witnessing the devotees, headed by Sri Advaita Acarya, ecstatically dancing in kirtan from place to place, Kali, the personification of the darkness of the present age, flees in fear.
There is another important verse in the Bhagavatam (1.1.14):
āpannaḥ saṁsṛtiṁ ghorāṁ
yan-nāma vivaśo gṛṇan
tataḥ sadyo vimucyeta
yad bibheti svayaṁ bhayam
Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, which is feared by fear personified.
Fear personified flees in fear seeing anyone performing nama-kirtana. So the fear that people are experiencing from the coronavirus pandemic, by doing kirtan together, this fear will leave you and you will be free of all tension.
We are amrtasya-putra—the children of immortal nectar. Amrta means that which is beyond death—mrta. When the soul is established in its transcendental nature, then all these other things are very small. We will have no tension whatsoever.
So by Krsna’s mercy, corona will go away?
Compared to Krsna’s karuna, mercy, corona is a very small thing. But it is one time now that has come in this world as a lesson to us. We can learn how to properly take care of the environment. How to follow certain basic rules and regulations, understanding that not everything in this world is meant for our own enjoyment. We are trying to enjoy everything, so now we can learn to respect Prthivi-devi, mother Earth. She is our mother. So we should not pollute the Earth, throw garbage here and there recklessly. The Earth is now giving us some lesson. We should learn this. And then going forward, after this lockdown opens, we should act in a better, more holistic manner.