Stay Home, Stay Safe… a scene down Dempo Bhat, Tonca, Panaji, during coronavirus lockdown times. Atleast this lucky family of Mary Fernandes has an airy courtyard for gupshup in the evenings! (Pic by Pankajbala R Patel)
Novel coronavirus or no novel coronavirus!
HOW long can one sustain a forced lockdown for whatever reason? As I write this up on a Friday, April 24, 2020, 34th day of continuous coronavirus lockdown, I must confess fatigue and depression is setting in. Having lived in indifferent rentals all my life I’m no home bird, home for me is always out of doors (ask my dead parents, ask my current husband, ask my friends)! So lockdowns are very cruel on me. Coming from a woman I feel safe and secure outside and not indoors…of course I could live in a rose garden or garden of paradise forever!
This said I must also confess that I’m alarmed by how addicted and obsessed I’ve becoming with my hand phone and social media! Once upon a time it was like waking up, making tea and quickly checking if the newspaper man had brought all the English dailies … gen passé still trusts black and white newspapers in hand and I’m thinking I still much prefer to engage myself with various news and other stories in newspapers than go online, many are doing that but there’s no satisfaction with online media…all the tap tap tapping to open up finely illuminated online e-papers and PDF files and no matter how superior the online presentation I have little patience to read news, reports or features online…the eyes weary and the mind loses concentration.
I always get this creepy feeling that I’m suffering from an overload, a surfeit of copy, there is so much online to distract, seduce or con the senses and in the end I don’t remember even what I want to remember and when I try to get back to it I can’t find it! Until I get the hang of copious software and even after I get the hang of it I will always like it black and white, my dears — here today, here tomorrow and here for always. Something like that. Black and white is forever while on-line is ephemeral and now you see it, now you don’t.
BUT all that doesn’t mean I don’t like some of the videos which friends route to me, one of them about definitions of Hinduism and Hindu by Francois Gautier amuses, so I’m sharing it here:
- Believe in Goa! Aastik accepted.
- Don’t believe in Goa! Nastik accepted.
- You want to worship idols, please go ahead – no problem. You are a murti pujak.
- You don’t want to worship idols – no problem. You can focus on Nirguna Brahman.
- You want to criticize something in our religion. Come forward. We are logical, nyaya, tarka, etc, are core Hindu schools.
- You want to accept beliefs as it is. Most welcome. Please go ahead with it.
- You want to start journey by reading Bhagvad Gita – sure!
- You want to start your journey by reading Upanishads – go ahead.
- You want to start your journey by reading Purana – be my guest.
- You just don’t like reading Purana or other books. No problem my dear. Go by Bhakti tradition (bhakti, devotion).
- You don’t like idea of bhakti! No problem. Do your karma. Be a karmayogi.
- You want to enjoy life. Very good. No problem at all. This is Charvaka Philosophy.
- You want to abstin from all the enjoyments of life and find Goad – jai ho! Be a Sadhu, an ascetic!
- You don’t like the concept of God. You believe in Nature only – welcome. (Trees are our friends and Prakriti or nature is worthy of worship.)
- You believe in one God or Supreme Energy. Superb! Follow Advaita philosophy.
- You want a Guru. Go ahead. Receive gyaan.
- You don’t want a Guru…help yourself! Meditate. Study.
- You believe in female energy! Shakti is worshipped.
- You believe that every human being is equal. Yeah! You’re awesome, come on, let’s celebrate Hinduism! Vasudhaiva kutumbakam! (The world is a family.)
- You don’t have time to celebrate the festival. Don’t worry. One more festival is coming. There are multiple festivals every single day of the year.
- You are working person. Don’t have time for religion. It’s okay. You will still be a Hindu.
- You don’t like to go to temples. Devotion is loved.
- You don’t like to go to temples – no problem. You are still a Hindu.
- You know that Hinduism is a way of life, with considerable freedom.
- You believe that everything has God in it. So you worship you mother, father, guru, tree, river, prani-matra, earth, universe!
- And if you don’t believe that everything has god in it – no problems. Respect your viewpoint.
- “Sarva jana sukhino bhavantu” (May you all live happily.)
You represent all this. You’re free to choose, my dear Hindu! This is exactly the essence of Hinduism, all inclusive. That is why it has withstood the test of time despite repeated onslaught both from within and outside, and assimilated every good aspect from everything. That is why it is eternal! There is a saying in the Rigveda, the first book ever known to mankind which depicts the Hinduism philosophy in a nutshell – “Ano bhadrah Krathavo Yanthu Vishwathah.” Let the knowledge come to us from every direction. Overall…freedom to be who you really are!
PERSONALLY, by the end of this coronavirus lockdown I don’t give a damn if I’m a Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Buddhist or whatever. Let me say I’m everything or nothing and will die denying the existence of all viruses real and unreal. On that note it’s avjo, poiteverem, selamat datang, au revoir, arrivedecci and vachun yetta here for now.
— Mme Butterfly