Swami Chetanananda’s COVID-19 Message

Devotees and Friends:

We are truly passing through a global crisis. During my lifetime I have never come across such a horrible situation. We shall not be panicky or lose our hearts in fear. Please remember the tornado or hurricane does not blow all the time. It comes and goes. This terrible coronavirus will go away eventually. Scientists all over the world are working day and night to invent a vaccine of this deadly virus for saving the humanity. When I read the news of China, Iran, Italy, USA, I observe how human beings are helpless. The government, money, doctors cannot save our lives.

We must be bold and have patience. Use commonsense for physical hygiene. Avoid public contact and maintain aggressive social distancing. Follow the guidelines of the city or government. Most of us are now home-bound. So eat less as we are not doing too much physical activities. Do your regular work from home as much as possible. Walk or do some physical exercise daily. Study and practice spiritual disciplines more and pray to the Lord wholeheartedly: “May all be happy. May all be free from disease. May all realize what is good. May none be subject to misery.” Sometimes we find that good comes out of evil. Perhaps the Supreme Being wants to stop our outgoing tendencies for the time being and turn our minds inward, so that we can get time for introspection and to focus on the true goal of our lives.

There is a beautiful message of Vedanta: “What will not happen will not happen. What will happen will happen. – This knowledge destroys the poison of anxiety and eradicates all delusion.”

In May 1898, during the plague epidemic in Calcutta, Swami Vivekananda wrote a manifesto. In part he said:

  1. Please do not panic due to unfounded fear. Depend upon God and calmly try to find the best means to solve the problem.
  2. Always keep the house and its premises, the rooms, clothes, bed, drain, etc., clean.
  3. Do not eat stale, spoiled food; take fresh and nutritious food instead. A weak body is more susceptible to disease.
  4. Always keep the mind cheerful. Everyone will die once. Cowards suffer the pangs of death again and again, solely due to the fear in their own minds.
  5. Do not pay any heed to rumors.

We requested our members not to come to attend the Sunday services for some weeks, but we shall send the spiritual food to your homes through live streaming. Do not lose faith, we shall see the light.

Swami Chetanananda
Vedanta Society of St. Louis

March 17, 2020