There is no home that has not been touched or affected by COVID-19, especially in the last three months. It has caused despair and agony beyond measure with many people looking for ways to stay rooted in hope while praying for some saving grace. It is a phase in which our mettle and strength of faith has been pushed to the limit.
In such a time, we are fortunate to have Swamiji as our Good Shepherd and unto whom we look up. With no in-person events being conducted at the ashram for over a year, the Zoom satsangs with Swamiji in March 2021 brought immense relief to everyone. His words of love were a healing balm.
During one of the satsangs, a devotee had expressed her deep concern about how life seemed suddenly overwhelming on various fronts. How was one to pray devotedly in the midst of such challenges?
Swamiji’s encouraging words were profound:
“It will come to pass. Any bad time will pass by. If you lost a job, you will soon get another. Many of you have got reassurances, and some of you will get. If you are in my fold, be assured. I am always with you. Judging is not the way of Om Swami: I will never judge you. No matter what happens in your life, you should know that there is one person who always wishes you well. That person is me.”
Another devotee recently infected by COVID-19 testifies to Swamiji’s grace as his ‘backbone’ during the darkest hours of his illness. “Have faith,” he testifies, “don’t ever give up.”
When the pandemic engulfed the world last year, much like an unannounced invader, Swamiji immediately reached out to His devotees, providing them with a haven and some solace. His message has continued to kindle the embers of hope during these uncertain times. In his blog post on COVID-19, he points to the essence of patience, tolerance and staying positive.
“What COVID-19 has underscored is the fragility of human existence. We need peace, harmony, and camaraderie more than ever before. Compassion and empathy for our fellow beings and for Mother Nature.”
Spurred into action by Swamiji’s wisdom, devotees across the globe set about bringing healing and transformation not only to the self but to all sentient beings. Galvanizing their faith, they organized themselves into meditation or prayer groups. Over the past year, they have been appealing to the universe for redemption through kirtans and intercessory prayers.
A devotee based in Singapore meditates every evening at 10:00 PM to Swamiji’s COVID-19 meditation video, available on YouTube. This beautiful and calming guided meditation focuses on the wellbeing of all living and non-living entities. Those who have meditated on this have found themselves calmer and growing in faith while handling the challenges that have come their way. With families displaced due to lockdowns, sickness and the loss of loved ones, it has not been easy; but unprecedented courage is something they have experienced.
In another initiative, a group of people from different countries, led by an ardent devotee from the USA, have been trying to spread positivity in the universal consciousness. Calling themselves the Pin-Prick Effect, these meditators have, over the last six years, followed the primary tenet of the spiritual path set by Swamiji by collectively meditating on special occasions. Over the past year, the strength of the group has grown to 147 members. There is a daily silent prayer for all sentient beings at 7:45 AM IST and a 15-minute meditation every Saturday at 7:30 PM IST.
Rejoicing at others’ miraculous recoveries and sharing in someone else’s grief has become a deeply personal journey for these meditators. They have been able to bring succour to suffering families by providing them strength through their consistent prayers.
Transformation in this turbulent time has been slowly and steadily settling in. The evidence lies in Swamiji’s words. “One of the great signs of spiritual progress is when you don’t get disturbed as easily as before and when your emotions don’t take you over completely. An increasing sense of equanimity and the river of contentment flows.”
With Swamiji’s loving hand and powerful presence above us all, devotees have found the strength and courage to keep walking – despite fear and uncertainty – towards greater surrender, faith, and a brighter tomorrow.
“I safeguard the trust placed in me with my life. Whether I’ll stay with you till the end, take that as a given. Om Swami doesn’t let go of the hand he once holds. That much, I can assure.”