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General News    H4'ed 3/25/20

Understanding the Pandemic as an Imbalance of Human Tendencies

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The health of individuals depends on a fine balance between three in-born tendencies - active, passive and the serene. They are also referred to as rajas, tamas and sattva gunas. These tendencies are present in varying proportions in different individuals, making each individual's nature different from another. Active tendency leads to a dominant mindset, passive tendency leads to inertia and attachment while the serene tendency quietens and uniquely heals the disturbances arising from the first two. Serene tendency, being anchored to the 'inner self' or 'pure consciousness', is the base upon which the expansion of active tendency and the attachment of passive tendency rest on. A healthy balance between these three tendencies helps one to lead a happy life. When there is an imbalance, disease manifests in the individual.

Whenever disease sets in an individual, the process of suffering from the illness serves to restore the balance between the three tendencies. While the apparently external disease is successfully treated, be it communicable or non-communicable, not only is physical health restored but it is accompanied by healing at the mental and spiritual levels through restoration of balance between the three tendencies. The nature of the disease that manifests is possibly tailored to the nature of the imbalance that needs to be set right.

Gross imbalance of the three tendencies predisposes the human society as a whole to suffer from diseases. A violent mindset and excessive sensory indulgence are rampant while the serene tendency is very much subdued in the present times. Diseases being nature's way of restoring the balance between tendencies, Covid-19 seems to be nature's answer to set right the grossly imbalanced human tendencies at the global level.

The Pandemic
The Pandemic
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While thousands may die in the pandemic, not all individuals of the same age and sex who are affected by the virus die. Preexisting diseases may play a role, but it is likely that those whose tendencies are more imbalanced become more vulnerable. Undergoing the suffering would eventually serve to restore the balance between the three tendencies.

While the biomedical view considers the physical dimension to be the origin of diseases, with corona virus being the culprit to be eradicated in the present case, when we consider the role of human tendencies in maintaining health, focus on restoring the balance of tendencies is a therapeutic option. The recovery of health of the individual as well as that of a society, can be hastened by reducing the excessive active or passive tendencies wherever possible, accompanied by strengthening the serene tendency through meditation and spiritual practices.

While the corona virus may the physical agent causing the havoc, it will be wise to remember that the virus originated in conditions where there was clearly an excess of active and passive tendencies as epitomized in the animal market of Wuhan but is also found throughout the present-day world.

If there is no substantial change in the human mindset at the end of the pandemic, there is every chance of recurrence of gross imbalance of tendencies in the collective human mind, provoking nature to go in for a new round of disease to set right the balance.

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Vijayaraghavan Padmanabhan is former Professor of Medicine, Madras Medical College. Based in Chennai, India. His interests include Spirituality, Politics, Economics and Medicine.

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