“Grief and gratitude are kindred spirits, each pointing to the beauty of what is transient and given to us by grace.” (Patricia Campbell Carlson)
We’re living in a time of paradox. The pandemic has trespassed all national borders. Tragically, thousands have died, and many more are ill or fighting for oxygen. The world is in lockdown, and we don’t know how or when it will end.
Yet, with humans locked up, Bhumi Devi, Mother Earth appears to be on hiatus, rejuvenating herself, taking her time to heal. We’re also being forced to take a “time out” to reflect on where we’ve gone wrong, to pause to reexamine our lives and our patterns of behavior.
Many people are reaching out to others, realizing our interconnectivity, and thinking more cosmically about their lives and their impact on the world.
In Delhi, where particle pollution has fallen by 60%, daytime blue skies are seen overhead, and at night, residents are seeing stars in the sky for the first time in a decade.
The mountains of the Himalayas are now visible from a distance for the first time in years.
The Yamuna river, who is considered a goddess in India, is also blue again, flowing unimpeded by industrial waste.
It appears we’ve been given a choice: what do we want a post-pandemic world to look like? Or which face of the goddess do we want to see?
To live in dharma, is to live simply, in goodness, in harmony with the earth and in gratitude for her bounty. And to know that we share this earth with unlimited living beings of all species, who are equally entitled to that bounty.
To live in greed, usurping more than our allotted share of nature’s gifts, causes imbalance and upheaval to ourselves, to others and to the earth.
God’s energy is divine and works under His direction. We are also His energy, and meant to live in cooperation and love.
When we coexist in harmony, we see the smiling face and blessing hand of the goddess, as Sri Radha, dancing beside her beloved, Sri Krsna, and inviting us to join them in Their divine lila.
When we choose greed, vying for more than our share, we face the anger of Goddess Durga, wielding weapons in her many hands, riding on her fierce tiger. Her weapons strike us with the miseries of this world, as just reward for our arrogant exploitation.
Which face of the goddess do we want to see? Which future will we choose for a post-pandemic world?
Rukmini is spiritual activist in women's empowerment and interfaith dialogue.
She is the founder of the Urban Devi Collective - urbandevi.com