COVID-19 Induced Distress and Its Management through Vedic Sciences

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D.

Stress is a universal truth that afflicts one and all. Every living being; reptiles, birds or animals; everyone goes through pangs of stress. In case of reptiles and animals, stress is for the most basic necessities for their survival. Maslow’s Physiological and Security needs of hierarchy are primary needs of all and that includes humans as well. Reptiles and animals get anxious and go into stress whenever their survival is at stake i.e. whenever their requirement of food, safety and progenies are threatened, they will either submit to more powerful or fight with the competitor. Animals including human beings are affected by emotions for their family & friends and that is one of the major causes of stress. 

Whenever under pressure individuals perform and achieve targets and objectives, it is called Eustress and when one is unable to manage himself, unable to achieve targets and feels that he cannot fight it out, he resorts to running away from the situation. Soon he gets into severe depression followed by stress called Distress.

Covid-19 is a very unique situation the world is witnessing in first half of 2020 and it may prolong for longer duration. Today, survival of humans as a race is threatened and like all other animals, man is also prone to distress. Esteem and Self-actualization are appearing distant and difficult to achieve. Respect, recognition and feeling of accomplishment is essential part of human life is finding back seat when people are contracting Covid-19 in hundreds every day. Death of loved ones has stressed them out and it is affecting all countries, races, caste, creed and colour across the planet. Governments all over are attempting to find remedies to the deadly disease. Physical social distancing, isolation, lockdown and quarantine have been found to be reasonable means to prevent spread of the disease.

Type of job, place of work, indoor or outdoor etc. does not matter, he/she needs that space and recognition in one’s life. In the situation that we all are in today during Covid-19 crisis, both boredom and anxiety are affecting all of us and getting locked into house aggravates the status.

Lockdown was ordered across India on 25th March 2020; no one is permitted to move out and all offices have been closed down. Work from home is the new norm where there are no work place friends to share intimacies. Zoom conferences are formal digital spaces where intimacies and informal discussions are not possible. There is limited space in house in urban colonies to move around, limited number of people to interact with and limited time-consuming activity to fill the time gap. There are very limited number of people in the home with whom one can interact and share feelings. Even if there is a standard family of four with aged parents in the house, inter-personal relational issues amongst the members is a reality; ghar-ghar ki kahani is the order of the day (pun intended). Consequently, it is difficult to share one’s inner feeling with relations at home. At times, it is observed that sharing and caring with spouses are formal and dutiful relations. Very limited interaction takes place with aged parents and conversations are limited. Majority time is spent on mobile, television and computers and still lot of time is available where all sessions of Time Management seem ineffective. Since 25th March 2020, Entire India is going through this phase with intermittent speeches by PM Mr. Narendra Modi and respective state CMs and other dignitaries of the government. All efforts are made to keep the population aware of the latest situation and providing all possible help for safety.

However, stress is coming up as the next issue with stay indoors regulations. All efforts by the government and other agencies, there is limited positive impact and social relational structure is affected adversely.

Euronews has reported increased cases of domestic violence and divorces in France since lockdown was imposed in the country. Tablighi Jamaat has continued its central prayers and congregations despite lockdown and orders from the government. Nefarious elements have continued to assault police and medical and health workers. People connecting up with psychiatrists and psychologists has gone up since the lockdown has been affected. Who would not go crazy in such a sensitive environment where disease and death hangs all over?

Management way of looking at Stress

Over a period of time, both boredom and anxiety are visible in society. India Electronic Media is all full of shows to help us all overcome the isolation and attempts to bring smiles on our faces. Boredom on account of limited activity and anxiety on account of increasing number of infections and deaths due to the deadly disease. The reality of impact of Covid-19 is giving no respite; whopping 2,18,386 deaths have been reported so far as on 29th April, 2020 and end is nowhere in sight. India has suffered 1007 deaths.

More and more cluster is cropping every day and more and more teams are ushered into service of mankind. This is biggest humanitarian assistance ever organized in the history. Economic slump, china hiding the facts and President Trump threatening China of dire consequences is further adding fuel to the fore of increasing stress levels amongst all sections of society. Anxiety, depression and stress are natural outcomes that are of bound to impact most of us.

Management of Covid-19 Induced Stress

Covid-19 has been studied by experts and they opine that prevention is better than cure. Means to handle the disease are in three stages: –

  • Stage 1- Prevent contracting the disease by staying at home and not coming out in public.
  • Stage 2. Isolate and quarantine at home for those infected.
  • Stage 3. Medical treatment at designated hospitals for serious cases.

Stress in all stages of treatment may show some or more of following symptoms: –

  • Boredom, anxiety, fatigued and wear out
  • Lack of involvement and loss of interest in usual enjoyable activities
  • Physical symptoms like high blood pressure, indigestion and uneasiness
  • Short temper and anger
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Fear of unknown- fear of getting infected and if infected; fear of death.

Stress is outcome of psychological, biological and personality traits. Ability to handle mounting isolation and hopeless situation will decide if one will get into depression and stress. In order to come out of stress, we have to understand the corona virus and Covid-19 disease, its symptoms and how best we all can save people by efforts of individuals, elders in the family and following instructions given by the government from time to time. Some of the common measures are: –

  • Organise the day. Start the day with morning physical exercises at home, call it one mat exercises.  Limitation of space has to be taken into account and exercise for minimum of 30 minutes daily. Thereafter divide the individual and family time plan.
  • Plan and follow time table. It may include daily office chores, house hold jobs and hobbies. Family work plan will bring in variety and motivation to overcome boredom.
  • Set Objectives. Weekly/fortnightly or monthly objectives be planned for seeking satisfaction and constructive use of time.
  • Complement each other more often, laugh more than yesterday and find reasons to stay positive.
  • Be passionate about life with simple rule- This too shall pass.

Indian Vedic Sciences and Stress Management

The fact that covid-19 is likely to affect many of us and its impact worldwide is disastrous; can be considered from the Vedic perspective as well.  Indian Vedic sciences is ocean of knowledge on stress management; only a fraction is discussed here.

Breath is basic parameter of stress; it exists in our breath and if you are able to control your own breath, stress can be identified and remedial yogic and breathing exercises can be practised to overcome the same. Fear of Covid -19 infection or death is likely to change breath pattern, it will become fast, heavy and compulsive indicating higher stress levels. Thoughts of fear and death release certain stress causing toxins in human body that can be consumed by various yogic asanas and pranayama. Chanting of Oṃ (ॐ) and Prāṇāyāma like anulom-vilom and bhrāmari will help in normalising blood pressure, mitigate toxins and give a soothing feeling.

Knowledge of Triguṇas  i.e. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas can help change own prakṛti from tāmsic to sāttvic. There is a predominant Guṇa in each one of us and the Guṇas change with the time of the day, kind of activities, and thought process.  Every time there is a thought of fear or death or isolation, they reflect one getting into Tamas or stress due to negative thoughts and belief. That will result into change in behaviour of person, severe depression and stress. One has to act immediately to come out of Tamas and enter the state of Rajas. The activity will use the toxins of the body and one starts feeling better and will now think of better days in times to come. The process will take one from Rajas to state of Sattva where ultimate relief from stress is felt. It is easier said than done but support of friends and family members can take one out of depression or the stress.

‘Stay home stay happy’ is the soul’s answer to stress management. Primarily, if we are able to consume the enzymes released in the body due to psycho-social conditions created in the Covid-19 rich environment, we shall be able to convert distress into eustress. Gainful use of time available is the call we need to take and shall be able to not only save ourselves and family members but also will be able to enjoy the time of togetherness gifted by the God Almighty.

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D. Group Commander, Group HQ NCC, Gorakhpur (UP)

A Spiritual Perspective on Menses

– Dr. Athavale & Dr. Nandini Samant

Introduction

Menstruation is basically a physiological phenomenon unique to women. In many parts of the world, menstruation is still related to a number of myths and taboos. For example, it is believed in Afghanistan that showering during menses causes infertility. According to a cultural belief held by some sushi chefs in Japan, women cannot be sushi chefs because of menstrual cycles. They believe that menstruation causes an ‘imbalance in taste’ and therefore sushi cannot possibly be properly prepared by a woman. Menses is thought of as a disease in Iran. Traditional beliefs in Bolivia misinform young women and girls that the disposal of their menstrual pads with other garbage could lead to sickness or cancer, according to UNICEF. Such myths and taboos about menstruation present in many societies adversely impact on women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle.

Vedas have also advised women with menses to refrain from entering holy places, cooking, etc. However, this advice is from a spiritual perspective alone and needs to be understood in that spirit. Any distortions in the implementation of the spiritual science are man-made and need to be recognized as such. However, due to a lack of understanding of the underlying spiritual science the advice of the scriptures is vastly misunderstood and hence frowned upon by society in the present times.

This resistance happens in the case of other sciences too. For example, modern medical science advises people suffering from a contagious disease like flu (Influenza), to rest and to keep to their room to prevent infecting other family members. They are asked to cover their nose with a tissue while sneezing for the same reason. When the disease spreads rampantly in society to an epidemic level, such as the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and Swine flu pandemic of 2009, infected people are forced to remain in isolation, away from society. All this is advised in the interests of the individual, family and society at large. It is not discriminatory to the person suffering from flu. We understand this because we are well aware of the science behind the restrictions. However, if an uneducated person from a tribal area traveling to a city suffered from flu and was advised to keep away from others, he could well feel ostracized. What would we think if he refused to believe the science and demanded to be shown the influenza virus! We understand that it would be in his best interests to believe those learned in that area, namely, the doctors. Similarly, Vedas are the authority in Spirituality. In this article we have explained the spiritual science underlying what the Sanatan Dharma says in the Vedas about menses and corroborated by research using modern scientific equipment. This is solely from the perspective of creating awareness in society about the spiritual aspects of menses.

Here, we will understand the basic principles of Sanatan Dharma and What happens at the subtle level during menstruation ?

Later (in upcoming article ) we will discuss the following topics –

A. Why is menarche celebrated ?

B. How can women by avoiding cooking or touching food during menses benefit themselves and society ?

C. How can women refraining from spiritual activities such as pooja or entering a temple during menses benefit themselves and society ?

D. Understand the underlying spiritual science and benefit from the advice of scriptures

Basic principles of Sanatan Dharma

To understand how Sanatan Dharma looks upon menstruation, let us get acquainted with some of its basic principles relevant to our topic.

A. Sanatan Dharma looks upon life as a continuum of births till the jīva (Embodied Soul) attains Mokṣa (Final Liberation or God-realisation). All efforts during one’s lifetime are looked upon from the perspective of ultimately moving towards Mokṣa.

B. Spiritual purity (Sattva subtle component) is looked upon as the foundation of any success or achievement. Subtle is that which is beyond the perception of the five senses, mind and intellect. Bhagawan Shrikrushna speaks of the 3 subtle basic components of the universe, namely Sattva, Raja and Tama

सत्त्वं रजस्तम इति गुणा: प्रकृतिसम्भवा: |

निबध्नन्ति महाबाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययम् ||

(Śrimad Bhagawadgīta Chapter 14, Verse 5)

Sattva is the component that represents spiritual purity, equanimity and knowledge. Raja represents action, excitement and passion, while Tama represents ignorance and inertia. Each person is made up of a proportion of these three subtle components. Depending on which subtle component is predominant in a person, he or she would be either Sattva-predominant (Sāttvik), Rājasik or Tāmasik. His or her value system, attitude and behaviour will be aligned accordingly. That is why, Sanatan Dharma advises spiritualisation of all aspects of life. Spiritualisation means making every aspect of our life such as our home and premises, bath, dress, diet, jewellery, music, dance, office work sāttvik and enriched with Divine consciousness (Chaitanya). This way our day to day efforts in life lead us to eternal bliss (God-realisation).

What happens at the subtle level during menstruation ?

According to Scriptures

The Scriptures refer to a menstruating woman as ‘Rajaswala’. This is because during menses the Raja subtle component in her is increased. The increased Raja is in anticipation of conception to nourish the baby. When fertilization of ovum and consequently conception does not take place, the excess of Raja is excreted from the body in the form of menstruation.

According to Ayurveda

As per Ayurveda, during menses the Apāna Vāyu is activated in the woman. ‘Prāṇa’ is the subtle vital energy which drives the various actions at the level of the various koṣas. There are 5 Prāṇas, each with a specific action. Activation of the Apāna Vāyu causes movement in the downward direction to facilitate the excretion of uterine tissue and also body toxins (Aām). The high Raja subtle component in the woman during menses causes an imbalance of the 5 Prāṇas.

Subtle picture of a woman during menses

The true measure and analysis of what happens in the subtle dimension can only be through the medium of the sixth sense. At the Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay (Maharshi Spiritual University), we have seekers in our spiritual research team who can actually perceive subtle vibrations emitted by an object or individual. After studying these vibrations they sketch them on paper. We call these sketches ‘Subtle pictures’. They serve as spiritual x-rays and provide clarity about the true nature of the object or individual. The readings are then confirmed or corrected by H.H. (Dr.) Athavale to get the accurate values. The following subtle picture of a woman during menses gives us an idea of what happens during menstruation in the subtle dimension.

The above subtle picture shows how there is emission of Raja-Tama subtle vibrations from a woman during menses. As a result the environment gets charged with the distressing Raja-Tama vibrations.

Universal Aura Scanner study of a woman during menses

The Universal Aura Scanner (UAS) is a scientific instrument that has been invented by Dr. Mannem Murthy, a former nuclear scientist from India. We have used this instrument extensively since 2014 and have recorded more than 10,000 readings in various experiments. It is our experience that it gives accurate readings. We have presented scientific papers based on these studies since October, 2016 in 15 National and 48 International Scientific Conferences. For more details about experiments done using UAS please refer to http://www.ssrf.org/. For more information on the instrument and its usage, please refer to http://www.vedicauraenergy.com/universal-scanner/

Please note that an average object or person can have negative energy, but it is not necessary that the positive energy be present. The negative energy readings are of 2 types and are denoted by ‘IR’ (Infrared) and ‘UV’ (Ultraviolet). IR denotes a lesser form of negative vibrations, while UV denotes a more intense form of negative vibrations. The total measured aura (TMA) is a measure of the object’s or person’s negative energy, positive energy in addition to other miscellaneous components. The TMA of an average object or person is 1 meter. When the TMA of a negativity emitting person or object (which does not have any positive energy) is high, this high TMA is a reflection of its high negativity.

We used the UAS to measure the positive and negative subtle energies and the total measured aura around a woman during menses, after chanting for 15 minutes after this reading and after her 5th and 7th day head bath. This pilot study was conducted on 1 subject only.

From the above table it is apparent that during menses high proportion of both types of negative energy with complete absence of positive energy was found in this subject.

Negativity eliminating influence of chanting

We can also see that after 15 minutes of chanting ‘ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय।’ both the types of subtle negative energies in the subject were completely wiped off. Besides, positive energy was also found in her. This shows that if a woman, though high in Raja during menses, does chanting as much as possible along with her regular activities, the negative influence of menses at the spiritual level can be reduced.

The table also shows that on the 5th day of menstruation, after the subject had taken the head bath as prescribed by Scriptures, her IR negative energy reduced by nearly 40 percent, while the more intense UV negative energy disappeared entirely and positive energy was found in her. This subtle IR negative energy further reduces or disappears in the following days with an increase in positive energy as is apparent from the last column in the table.

(….to be continued)

 Dr. Athavale M.B.B.S., Clinical Hypnotherapist & Dr. Nandini Samant M.B.B.S., D.P.M. (Consulting Psychiatrist), Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay

Subtle Effects of Music

– Dr. Jayant Balaji Athavale & Mr. Sean Clarke

Music can affect us at the physical, psychological and the spiritual levels. Physical and psychological impacts of music such as changing our heart rate or our mood are more well known, but the spiritual impacts are not known to the majority of people. The reason for this spiritual impact is because everything consists of the three subtle basic components of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.

Music too is made up of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Some types of music and dance are more Sāttvika and some are more Rājasika and Tāmasika. One’s choices in music and dance can increase Sattva or Raja–Tama in one’s life and in the environment thereby affecting one’s spiritual progress. It follows that if one listens to music that is higher in one of the components, it is likely to increase that component in us. Using a Universal Thermo Scanner (UTS), the Maharshi University of Spirituality conducted an experiment to find out how different types of music affect one’s consciousness.

1. Setup of the experiment

1.1 About the Universal Thermo Scanner

This instrument is used to measure the energy and the aura around any object (living or non-living). It has been developed by Dr. Mannem Murthy, a former nuclear scientist from Hyderabad, India in the year 2003. It can measure distressing vibrations along with positive vibrations emitted from an object. It is also able to measure the extent of the aura of the object into the surrounding area. When taking a measurement, the 2 arms of the scanner open out and the reading is taken based on how much the arms opened out in degrees. Only when the arms open out to 180° can the aura in relation to that aspect be measured.

Universal Thermo Scanner
For more information refer to: http://www.vedicauraenergy.com/universal-scanner/

1.2 Methodology

Four clips of music were selected for the experiment

1. A music track by a popular heavy metal band

2. A compilation of sounds by Marconi Union called Weightless

3. Indian classical music performed by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi

4. Holy songs sung by a Saint of the highest level – His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj

Please refer to the following link to listen to the clips – https://www.spiritual.university/spiritual-research/experiments/subtle-effects-of-music-using-universal-thermo-scanner/

1.3 Steps in the experiment

  • One individual from the Maharshi University of Spirituality took part in the experiment.
  • A baseline reading was taken of the subject using the UT scanner before the experiment.
  • The subject listened to the first clip for 5 minutes and thereafter a reading was taken of him with the UT scanner.
  • Then the subject was left alone for 20 minutes before listening to the next track. This was so that the subject’s aura would return to the original baseline reading before commencing listening to the next track.
  • Similarly, the subject listened to the second, third and fourth clips for 5 minutes each with a 20-minute break in between listening to each clip. A reading was taken of the subject using the UT scanner before (baseline reading) and right after (impact) listening to each clip.

2. Observations

The UTS instrument allows one to measure four types of energies emitted by a subject: infrared, ultra-violet, positive and total measured aura. Infrared and ultra-violet readings are considered as reading of a negative nature by the scanner. Also, only if both the arms of the scanner open out to a full 180 degrees can the distance of the aura of that aspect be measured. If the arms of the scanner open to less than 180 degrees, then it means that there is no aura in relation to that aspect.

Observations of the subtle effects of listening to each type of music are listed below –

3. Analysis and Conclusions

Based on the observations, listening to heavy metal had a spiritually harmful effect. Incidentally, in a separate study, lab rats who listened to a music track from the same band showed impaired learning ability and they turned aggressive and cannibalistic (Wertz, 1998) as compared to a control group.

The impact of listening to the clip of relaxing music was spiritually neutral. Interestingly, scientists have recently stated that this clip is the most relaxing piece of music ever (Forbes, 2016), so relaxation does not necessarily equate to spiritual benefit.

The artist singing the clip of Indian classical music is Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who is one of the most celebrated artists in Indian classical music. Listening to this music did have a spiritually positive effect on the subject. More research needs to be done to determine if this positive effect was due to the extensive training of the artist, due to the genre of the music, vocals, instruments or a combination of these factors.

The subject benefited the most spiritually by listening to the song sung by a Saint. The benefit was far greater than that from listening to the clip of Indian classical music. This was despite the fact that the Saint had not received any formal training. Generally, an artist with more training is held in higher esteem, but this experiment indicates that conventional musical training may not be the main factor in determining the spiritual positivity of the music sung.

4. Spiritual science underlying the effect of each of the music clip on the subject

4A. An orchestra lacking in the Sattva subtle component produces music that is spiritually harmful :

If the various aspects of a musical composition such as its objective, music composer, the composition, instruments used, presentation, etc are lacking in spiritual purity, then the music created becomes spiritually harmful. This is the reason why ‘Heavy metal’ music was found to be spiritually harmful.

4B. Due to its foundation of Spirituality, Indian classical music is spiritually beneficial, whereas due to lack of a foundation of Spirituality, even the world’s most relaxing music is not spiritually beneficial :

Music is a medium of God-realisation. Indian classical music has a strong foundation of Spirituality. That is why, it has the capacity to create spiritually pure vibrations. The higher the spiritual level of the composer, the higher the proportion of spiritually pure vibrations emitting from his music. Such music is spiritually beneficial to the audience. (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil (Sangeet Visharad)

4C. Reasons why devotional song (Bhajan) sung by His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj is spiritually beneficial:

4C 1. Blessings of His Guru : His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj wrote and sang bhajans as His spiritual practice (Sadhana) as per the instructions of His Guru. That is why, His compositions have the blessing of His Guru.

4C 2. High spiritual level of the singer : There is Divine consciousness (Chaitanya) in the speech of a person with high spiritual level.

4C 3. Lack of ego : His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj always said that ‘His Guru got the bhajans written and sung by him’. Thus, He did not have any ego about His poetry and singing. That is why, His bhajans are enriched with Chaitanya.

4C 4. The topic of the bhajan being spiritually pure : All the bhajans by His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj are on various aspects of spiritual practice and spiritual experiences in a seeker’s journey. Thus, the topic of the bhajan is spiritually pure (Sāttvika).

4C 5. Origin of the word and sound being one and the same : The poet writes the song. Then the music composer composes suitable music or the poet strings words as per the given music. For poetry and music to emerge together is very rare indeed. However, in the case of bhajans by His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj, the words and the music have always emerged from the same divine source. That it why, there is lot of Chaitanya in the bhajans.

– Dr. Jayant Balaji Athavale, Founder, Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalaya, & Mr. Sean Clarke, Spiritual Research Team Member, Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalaya, Goa