If you’re reading this now, you’re probably trying to cope with anxiety and stress of the unknown. You’re probably barely coping, some might say. The barrage of news at your finger tips, whether you want it or not, doesn’t stop.
While the news can be depressing, and we don’t know what the future holds for us, the reminders we’re getting from the situation we’re all in together are stark and sobering.
If you’re reading this on your mobile device, from the comforts of your home, you’re already lucky to have the luxury to do so. Meanwhile, in one stroke, a billion people in India became jobless, stranded in limbo trying to get home, and starving with small mouths to feed.
I dare say there are some of our neighbors going through similar challenges. I should be thankful, and I shouldn’t need reminders to be.
Another reminder that hasn’t been repeated enough amongst ourselves – even though it is so obvious and in your face – is that this disease, like any other disease, does not discriminate. It doesn’t discriminate religion, race, sex, age, sexual preference, political preference, rich or poor, educated or not, spiritual or not. No matter how closer you think you are to God or not, every single human being in existence can get it, and possibly die from it.
And here’s the clincher. For us to not get it, we have to help the people around us not get it. It is so cliched, but we are now more connected to each other than we ever thought we would be. The Muslim, the Hindu, the Christian, the Jew, the Buddhist, and even the Sikh next door, is helping us not get it while we are helping him or her not get it.
This itself should tell us that we are all one of the same. We are connected to each other for the sake of our survival, and that we need each other more than ever now. I mean, literally, this disease is spreading to all corners of our world, which means nobody can run away from it and claim that their race or religion is superior to save us from it. Rather, practicality and common human decency to treat each of us as humans the same as us, will save us.
This universal message has been taught to us by the great Masters of any religion or spirituality since the day we were born. Yet, we have never been as disconnected as humans as we were before Covid-19 decided to make it’s presence known.
You’ve heard it before.
“Love Thy Neighbor”
“Don’t return the hand of the needy. That hand is trying to give you Jannah”
“If a man going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing, is carried away by the current – how can he help others cross?”
I still find it amusing to see some reflex reactions from people blaming this calamity on sexual preferences or supposed non-religious behavior of some people at some location. The next you know, the disease is in their backyard, equally affecting people supposedly religious. And yet, the realization that race and religion does not matter as much any more as the type of food we eat or the clothes we wear still begs to be asked of these people.
For the believers of spirituality, challenging this disease in the name of God, such as attending large gatherings that bears the risk of transmitting the disease to one another, simply defies the fundamental fact that we’re being selfish and not helping our brothers and sisters. In fact, we are making it worse. Sure, we might die in the name of God and go to the heavens promised, but we’ll be leaving behind hungry mouths and even more people to die. To what ends? For nought. For the record, I personally don’t think you’ll be going to heaven with that logic.
Let’s save our own lives, by saving our friends and neighbors, and any human that bleed the same red colored blood that we do. Let’s do it by staying away from each other, for a while. Not because the government tells us to, but because we are doing it for ourselves. Because we are connected.
Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
Private medical specialists urged to step forward (Asia Samachar, 30 March 2020)
Virtual Sikhi (Asia Samachar, 16 March 2020)