Lockdown or Rebound?
All of India remains under lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19. Our leaders have acted appropriately by enforcing regulations based on the experiences of other nations, and consequently, India is one of the best-performing countries in this global fight against coronavirus. While we all stay at home, I hope none of us are allowing our spiritual practice to get locked down.
All my life, the sounds of the Lords name have always filled the air around me. But today, with temples, mosques and churches all closed, and spiritual gatherings of any kind strictly prohibited, there is an almost deafening silence. Does the lockdown mean our spiritual practice is also locked down? Absolutely not. In fact, the lockdown provides us with an opportunity to do more spiritual practice, not less. But how? I can’t even go to the mandir? Let me describe two simple spiritual practices you can adopt that Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj often advocated. These can be done (and should be done) anytime and anywhere, lockdown or not.
In all my father’s discourses and literary works, he advises spiritual aspirants to always remember Shri Radha while lovingly reciting Her name on their breath. This is his Jagadguruttam Mantra for the modern world. The ideal japa, the simplest method and most accessible means to bring God into your life, keep Him there and ultimately realise Him. When we breathe, two things naturally happen – inhalation and exhalation. While you inhale, you should do the japa of ra, without making any external sound, just using your mind. Similarly, when you exhale, you should do the japa of dhe. This practice is called naam japa. You can do this silently wherever you are. But be sure not to forget to engage your mind in loving meditation on Shri Radha Rani. Involvement of the mind in any form of devotional practice is essential. They are truly blessed whose hearts are absorbed in Shri Radha while constantly chanting Her name.
The second practice is to always remember that you are not alone. Every hour, on the hour, think for a few seconds, “God is with me; God is watching me.” Again, you need not utter a word, and no one need know. While sneezing or coughing, during bouts of fever or when your breathing is heavy, during all these moments too, remind yourself of the presence of God - the omnipresence of God – which means you are never alone. When this becomes your habit, then reduce it to every half an hour, and so on.
These simple practices have immense power, capable of elevating you to tremendous spiritual heights. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes, and the more tangible God will feel in your life. Use this lockdown to grow spiritually.
HH Dr Vishakha Tripathi
President, Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat