Excerpts from 'Live'Caitanya Kathamrta
Srila Subhag Swami Maharaja
Corona - Being Optimistic Amidst A Crisis
Now we are faced with a challenging situation--the corona virus. We don't know who will be infected by this virus. At any moment, we might have to leave this body. Prabhupada told us to keep this is mind and always be prepared. A large number of people have already been infected. Even some prominent personalities with important standing in the world, like the Prime Minister and Prince Charles in the U.K., or the wife of the head of the state administration in Canada, haven't been spared. So, we can't predict when this might come to us, or who all will be affected. The trend has evoked fear, and hence the government is putting various restrictions. We are all locked in ourselves, in isolation. But with the habit of travelling around freely outdoors, how long can we stay inside?
On the other hand, for a devotee, any situation is a blessing bestowed upon him by Krishna. He knows well how to use it to be with Krishna. To be with Krishna implies discussing and listening to krsna-katha, hari-katha and serving Krishna, especially by more and more sravana and kirtana. One must chant more and also hear more, from the proper source. Now Krishna has given us this opportunity to increase our practice of Krishna Consciousness. In one sense, this is a blessing. As long as we are isolated, it is best to always be in Krishna Consciousness. From the material viewpoint, it is uncomfortable being locked in; time may seem to be passing slowly and we can't even go outdoors. Better to be with Krishna. This way, we can easily get the ticket for going back to Godhead, where life is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss.
Take Up Krishna Consciousness In An Emergency Mood
Here in this world, everyone has some or the other worry. Right from waking up in the morning, everyone is inflicted by tension. President Trump is in tension and so is the President of Canada, since his wife is now sick. Both Prince Charles and the Prime Minister of the U.K. are in isolation. Germany, a so-called advanced nation, has its president in isolation. What (sort of) advancement is this? Instead, one should take up Krishna Consciousness in an emergency mood, knowing well that he can die at any moment. This is what jnanisand devotees never forget. Thus, we can become serious and determined, knowing how futile our material efforts are and how uncertain this opportunity of getting a human form is. We don't know when we have to leave the body. Thus, we should be very serious and sincere to our previous acaryas and tread the path they have shown, for it is the easiest way to go back to Godhead and make our devotional life successful.
'Isolation with Krishna' : Are We Joyful or Morose?
While so many people are in isolation, the 'Hare Krishna' devotees are in 'isolation' with Krishna. This is real isolation, away from the material world, like Vaikuntha, vi-gata kuntha. Devotees have no tension because they are in the association of Krishna. We are doing what Prabhupada told--to hear, speak and discuss hari-katha; and in this way, we are associating with Krishna and thus becoming 'Krishna-ized'. As much as we are doing sravanaand kirtana, that much we are associating with Krishna; and associating with Krishna means being in Vaikuntha, the spiritual plane. Krishna is joyful, and so we are becoming joyful, prasanna, as well. Others who are not doing this are visanna, morose. One can ask himself whether he feels joyful or morose. If you are hungry, and someone supplies adequate foodstuffs, do you feel satisfied, nourished and freedom from hunger? You don't have to ask others. Krishna Consciousness is similar to this. If we like krsna-katha, if we like Prabhupada, feel inspired by him and use our time properly, then we get the eternal benefit, which cannot be destroyed. Others are not free from anxiety and tension, but we are free from tension; we are joyful. Isn't it? Ask yourself. Be happy! We want everyone to become happy. Krishna is bliss personified. If we associate with Krishna, we will be blissful.
Devotees Achieve A Good Destination
The corona virus is going on, but we go on doing hari-katha, harinama, and eventually we will go to God. So, our path is better. If someone is ignorant, what then is the difference between beasts, birds and such a person? The animals are in darkness (ignorance) and so are such people. Externally they may seem well-dressed, materially educated, rich or beautiful, but all they desire is to enjoy riches, followers and beautiful women, without any regard for their destination in the next life. They don't know where will they go after this. Once, the grandson of a very famous and wealthy person came to Prabhupada and offered his obeisance. Prabhupada asked him, "Where is your grandfather now, who was once a very wealthy man, famous in the world?" He couldn't answer. But we know about our founder-acarya Srila Prabhupada; he has gone back to the spiritual world, where life is eternal. No birth, no death, no disease and no misery, vi-gata kuntha--no tension. We should practice simple living and high thinking. 'Simple living' means using only as much as necessary to maintain the body in order to serve God, to realize the self, to realize God, and to understand who you are, who God is and what your relationship with God is. We have to mold our life in this way.
Prabhupada taught this to the whole world. Those who are following are fortunate and, as a result, their future is bright. Others' lives are full of darkness. Their future is dark. You can inquire from them about what might happen if they are infected by this virus, or what their destination after death will be. They might not be able to answer but we can tell.
Blissfully Chant Harinama
Devotees are chanting on beads; they have no tension. Others are worried about when they will die. They are perpetually haunted by doubts: "Should I go home or not?" "Should I associate with others or not?", "While going to the market, should I talk to another person or not?" Sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat, this body is asat, non-permanent, but everyone identifies the self as a man or woman, Bengali or American, and so on. "I am president", "I am M.Sc., PhD", "I am a dog". Such conceptions are foolish and such people are in ignorance. This is not a personal opinion, but Krishna Himself says this. It is better to follow Krishna than to follow our own mind, which is full of ignorance. Anyone who serves Krishna should be considered very intelligent. Krsna yei bhaje, sei badacatura. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakura has said, "grhe thako vane thako, sadahari bole dako". 'Grhe thako' implies that it is no impediment, even if one is a grhastha, with wife and children. He should just chant harinama. Mahaprabhu told us to chant Hare Krishna in the morning and evening by clapping hands in kirtana together. By clapping in kirtana, one becomes free from all previously committed sins, similar to how by clapping, all the birds on a tree fly away. Thus, life will be filled with bliss: anande bolo hari hari hari karibe bhava pari. Outsiders might not be very enthusiastic when asked to chant 'hari hari' joyfully. They won't agree and won't chant 'Hare Krishna'. Instead, they will look to gratify their senses: "Where is chicken leg-piece?". They may be cautioned, "Don't go there. Don't go to eat meat. Go and pray. Don't accumulate reactions, else the corona virus will catch you." But they will still not cease to satisfy such illicit desire.
In this regard, it is said:
krsna bhajan bina ar sab miche,
palayate path nahi yam ache piche
"Except loving devotional service to Krishna, everything else done in this material world is an illusion. And one will have no way out to escape his sinful deeds because Yamaraja, the god of punishment, is always waiting to punish such an arrogant person."
Antiseptic for Corona
This corona virus can't do anything. Although it can't be said with certainty that one can be saved, but rakhe krsna mare ke, mare krsna rakhe ke? In the real sense, neither the doctor nor President Trump can protect you. So, instead, we are chanting 'Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare RamaHare Rama Rama RamaHare Hare'. Even if devotees do get infected by the corona virus, still there will be a smile on their faces. But this can't be said for others who won't chant hari nama when asked to do so. This is because they are committing sins. They don't have any real shelter. None of their treasured assets -- money, mother, father, husband, big position, ministry, science, education or intelligence -- can save them. Rather, Krishna will act here. Therefore, we are chanting 'Hare Krishna'. Regardless of whether or not the corona virus affects us, whether or not we die, a joyful journey back to Godhead, and a blissful spiritual life thereafter awaits us. Even while we are here, we are living in the spiritual world.
Everyone else, be it Indian or American, is committing sins. Hence, we are telling them, "karo-na.....paap karo na", not to commit sins, not to eat meat; otherwise, they will accumulate reactions and the corona virus will catch them. But even if the corona virus catches us, it can't do anything. This is because we already the have antiseptic. And what is this antiseptic? Chanting 'Hare Krishna'--this is our antiseptic. What can the corona virus do after all? We will change the body and go to Krishna anyway. But others are unsure about their destination. Therefore, the only solution is krsna-bhakti. Together, we will chant 'Hare Krishna' sitting within our homes. One who has no intelligence will not partake in this chanting; but one who is intelligent, he chants and remains in the shelter of Krishna while living here and also achieves a good destination thereafter. So, keep chanting 'Hare Krishna' and go towards Krishna, Vaikuntha in an express train. This is intelligence.