Dr. Neerja Misra (Associate Professor, B.S.N.V.(P.G.) College, Lucknow: The preserver of the universe, Vishnu, descended on the earth nine times in different forms in order to restore the cosmic order. In each of his avatars he eradicated evil and revived dharma. The tenth avatar, Kalki, is yet to appear. The Puranas predict that the tenth form of Vishnu, shall appear at the end of the kalyug and herald the dawn of the satyug.
Now consider the following: not satisfied living on earth, we were in the process of trying to build colonies on the Moon and Mars. Sending satellites in search of habitable planets. Nations have been constantly trying to encroach on lands belonging to other nations: not satisfied with what they have people have been trying to usurp land and resources belonging to other people and communities. The rich have been wasting resources and using those meant for others. The intelligent and capable amongst us have been exploiting the poor and uninitiated and using up their share of nature’s benevolence.
Constant encroachment of forests to accommodate a large and growing population caused a large number of species to be endangered or extinct. Countries have also been building up their nuclear power capacities to show other countries that they can destroy the whole world. Every person was trying to achieve their own goals. No one had the time or patience for the elderly or differently abled. Children and women were being raped and trafficked shamelessly. People were being attacked, killed and mauled in the name of religion. It was as if mankind had entered a huge large tunnel and there seemed no light at the end. Enter the coronavirus: a single jerk has brought the entire mankind down to its knees. Suddenly all plans to visit the Moon, Mars and the Sun disappeared overnight. No one was now interested in another person’s property- they just wanted to protect their own and survive the pandemic. People during the lockdown were getting used to relaxation and trying out Yoga and meditation. Busy parents were finding the time to spend with their children.
Adults were finding time to look after and do things for their old parents. No country was now talking about nuclear power – every country was trying to minimize its loss of life and property. Endangered and rare species of animals could now be seen in the clean environment. Rivers became pure as industries closed down. Could this by any chance be the dasha avatar of Lord Vishnu signaling the end of kalyug? for it seems that mankind shaken by the reality of a transient universe will rediscover God. The splendor of devotion is all encompassing. The tribe of believers will increase. Things will never be the same post the coronavirus. Or to put it differently the virus will not go away unless we are suitably chastened. For all cataclysms do not mark the end. They are a call for repentance and revival. As our Puranas say that when atrocities reach their peak the Lord shall appear and destroy evil. This struggle will definitely destroy all evil and provide great clarity to mankind. People will learn to overcome hate and prejudice. They will learn charity and sympathy. They will learn the power of prayers and seek inner peace instead of a mindless acquisition of material things. People will spend more time with their families and learn to prioritize other’s needs over theirs. They will have faith.
They will learn patience and above all they will learn to be at peace with themselves. Is this not what the dasha avatar was prophesized to do in the Puranas? Victory of good over evil? Restoration of dharma? This virus could well be the tenth avatar of the Lord. The Lord has always appeared in a form more sublime than the previous one. From the Mastya avatar to the Kurma and Varaha avatar and from Lord Rama to Krishna to Buddha, each consecutive form has been more sublime than the preceding one. The world that was mindlessly running along blindly has finally paused and stopped to think what wrong it was doing to itself. Evil may finally be destroyed and the world may awake to a new and more holistic society. The only challenge that lies in its way is the time that the world will take to finally purge itself of its sins.