Swami Sarvadevananda's Letter
Glory to Sri Ramakrishna
March 23, 2020
Dear Children of the Divine Mother,
May you all remain well in body, mind, and spirit, is my prayer.
Please continue to take all precautions suggested by health experts to avoid infection.
The Corona virus has turned the world upside down. Everything seems uncertain, and life itself hangs by a thread. What is the force working behind this virus? Is it matter? Or is there some cosmic intelligence behind it? Even agnostics and atheists will have to stand in awe before this pandemic, and question, “What is the force behind it?” With all our scientific knowledge and military power, still we are helpless to stay it.
We as devotees, accept that there is a bigger power behind this cosmic drama. Call it by the name of “God”, “Allah”, “Kali”, “Brahman”, “Atman”, or any name — it is the energy behind all created forces in the universe. At present, let us not focus on the terrible aspects of this spreading disease, but throw our minds toward the Divine Mother, who is the Source and Goal of this universe and everyone and everything in it. As Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda remind us, Mother Kali creates and preserves, and again, She destroys.
Coming to this world, we have forgotten our primary duty, and have misdirected our attention to the momentary things of life. This crisis is granting us an opportunity to awaken to what is truly important. We are coming together globally, setting aside our superficial differences, for our common survival and for the well-being of humanity. Barriers of religion, nationality, and culture are breaking down. We are becoming one global family.
From the individual perspective, we are facing fundamental questions regarding our very existence in this world: who are we, and why are we here? What is our goal? What is our duty?
I suggest the following:
- That we intensify our spiritual practices, by doing extra japa, or repetition of the mantra, over and above our usual amount, by singing bhajans and spiritual songs, by praying for the welfare of all, by deeply studying spiritual texts, and so on.
- That we begin special chanting of “Jai Sri Ramakrishna” or “Jai Ma Sarada” (meaning “Glory to” or “Victory to” Sri Ramakrishna and Ma Sarada), or our initiation mantra in the same way that we chant “Jai Sri Durga” during Durga Puja time, for the welfare of all, and that we continue this practice until this crisis subsides. Let our target be that we individually repeat the Divine name hundreds of thousands of times.
- That we serve those who need help, perhaps with grocery shopping, doctors’ visits, etc., and keep in touch with those who are living by themselves, by phone.
We are to remind ourselves and others that we are never lonely, but always are connected with God alone; that is, not lonely but alone with God, who is the source of eternal joy, peace, fearlessness, and freedom.
Here are some inspired writings about the current situation. You may get some extra benefit by reading this.
Though due to time constraints I may not be able to respond individually to your messages at this time, but please know that I have each of your welfare at heart and pray that the Divine Mother keeps all of you healthy, and safe, and inspires you to dive deep in spiritual life.
Lots of love and best wishes for you all,
Yours in Mother,
Minister, Vedanta Society of Southern California
1946 Vedanta Place
Hollywood, CA 90068
“WORK HARD. BE HOLY AND PURE, AND THE FIRE WILL COME”