With the globe swamped by a pandemic we are left with two options – live daily in fear, oblivious of the providence or delve deep into self-audit. Why this debacle? What went wrong for this microscopic Corona virus to cruelly shake the world. Change is a dynamic process occurring continually. But major ones come at certain periods with a specific purpose in the global ensemble. Before we dig into its merits and demerits, time to look at its past, evaluate the present and envisage the future.
Though a mythology, the fable of Noah is depicted in most of the primeval literature. In Abrahamic religions, in the Book of Genesis (Chapter 5 to 9) in Hebrew Bible, Noah was depicted as the 10th and the last of the pre-flood patriarchs. According to the Genesis account, he toiled loyally to build an Ark at God’s command, finally saving not only his own family, but mankind too. In addition to the Book of Genesis, Noah is cited in the Hebrew Bible, in the First Book of Chronicles and those of Tobit, Wisdom, Sirach, Isaiah, Ezekiel, 2 Esdras, 4 Maccabees. In the New Testament, in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1st Peter and 2nd Peter. Noah was extensively elaborated in the Quran (Surahs 71, 7, 1, and 21) which contains forty-three references of him or Nuḥ. Sūrah Nūḥ, especially the story of the Deluge is named after him. His life is exposit in Islamic annotations and folklores. In Islam he is described as the ‘True Messenger of God’ (XXVI: 107) and ‘Grateful Servant of God’ (XVII: 3).
Though the origin might’ve been during the reigns of the archaic kings (65,000 BC to 18,600 BC) there isn’t any conclusive evidence. It was first described in the earliest Sumerian Gilgamesh poems as early as the Third dynasty of Ur (2100–2000 BC) and the restitution of order by the First Dynasty of Isin. Later it was compiled in the Epic of Gilgamesh (2700 BC) as the Utnapishtim. The Mesopotamian Gods were infuriated by human noise from the earth. To quell them they decided to send a great flood. Noah is also described in Ancient Greek mythology as Deucalion, the son of Prometheus and Pronoia. In our Hinduism the story of Lord Vishnu and King Manu in Matsya Purana is a depiction of the same. He is described in Rabbinic Judaism. The Bahá’í Faith regards the ark, flood to be symbolic. Their belief was only Noah’s followers were spiritually alive, protected by the ‘ark’, the rest spiritually dead. Their scripture Kitáb-i-Íqán endorses the Islamic belief that Noah had numerous companions on the ark, with his family. He preached for 950 (symbolic) years before the flood.
The basic significance is the prophetic omen were those who obeyed Him would be rewarded, those not would be penalised. This is an echo of our Bhagavad Gita:
‘Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya, Glanirva Bhavathi Bharatha,
Abhyuthanam Adharmaysya, Tadatmanam Srijami Aham
Praritranaya Sadhunam Vinashaya Cha Dushkritam
Dharamasansthapnaya Sambhavami Yuge-Yuge’
Which means, whenever there is decay of righteousness O! Bharata, a rise of immorality, I manifest Myself! For the protection of the good, for the demolition of the wicked and for the founding of virtue, I am born in every age (Bhagavad Gita Chapter IV 7-8). It’s an echo of the end of the Third Dynasty of Ur (2004 BC) with the restoration of order by the First Dynasty of Isin in the Mesopotamian flood myth.
Mythology has a covert message amid a storyline. People read them as a story. Seldom they imbibe the furtive message. They plunder the world, engage in wars, destroy Nature and fight for absolute global monarchy. They forget the misery they impose in their zeal for supremacy destroying the Mother Earth. ‘Dharma’ isn’t about religion, it’s about virtue. That is, what’s right for the Mother Earth to uphold its harmony or energy balance. Faced with a disaster the arrogant, haughty humans are tossed into a vortex of eddies, only to forget why it occurred in the first place. They continue in a similar stride until another disaster re-strikes. Only a few ponder the rationale of the Mother Earth. Noah’s story might be a fable. It teaches a vital truth. Those who obey ‘dharma’ or virtue would be saved from such a calamity or in other words abide by the laws of Nature. The paradigm is universal than focal.
In my hypothetical geo-economic global thriller Pursuit written in 2012, I echo this truth through the words of a blind Buddhist monk Panchet Dzongpa “Nature has its own course. So does history. Energy balance of earth is in dynamic equilibrium. Whenever it goes topsy-turvy Nature plays its role. The global resources are limited. Demands are steeply rising. To maintain the equilibrium, either resources need increase or demands curbed. No way natural resources could be escalated. To bring equilibrium the demands have to be curbed. Several ways by which this could happen. Natural disaster, war or earthquake. Death is inevitable to maintain the equilibrium”
A harsh truth often ignored. History highlights its varied forms of manifestation.
Natural disaster is a major adverse event due to earth’s natural process. It could cause loss of life or damage property, and usually leaves some economic damage, its severity depending on the affected population’s resilience with the available infrastructure. These could be geological disasters as avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, sinkholes or volcanic eruptions. Or hydrological ones as floods, tsunamis or limnic eruptions. Often it presents as meteorological ones as cyclonic storms, blizzards, hailstorms, ice storms, cold or heat waves, droughts, thunderstorms or tornadoes. Sometimes as wildfires and space disasters. History has seen a series of the worst disasters as Antioch earthquake of the Byzantine Empire (Turkey)(526), Haiphong Typhoon in Vietnam (1881), Bhola Cyclone in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) (1970), Haiti earthquake (2010), Shaanxi earthquake (1556), Typhoon Nina, China floods (1931), Yellow River flood (1887), Tangshan earthquake (1976), Haiyuan earthquake (1920), Great Chinese famine (1958 to 1961) the latter ones in China. These were few of the deadliest natural disasters.
Humans lodged wars not for survival, but their intrinsic greed for power, control, supremacy or economic gains. Numerous wars causing loss of lives were fought from the ancient, medieval to modern times. To name a few French Wars of Religion (1562-1598), Thirty Years of War (1618 to 1648), War of Spanish Succession (1701 to 1714), Napoleonic Wars (1803 to 1815), Taping Rebellion (1850 to 1864), Dungan Revolt (1862 to 1867) and of course the World War II (1939 to 1945) had caused considerable loss of human lives.
Likewise, the pandemics also added to the ‘floods’ of Noah’s mythology. Of them, The Plague of Justinian (541 to 542), Black Death (1346 to 1353), Third Plague (1855 to 1860), Spanish Flu (1918 to 1920), Smallpox (1877 to 1977) had the greatest toll on human lives. Now with the advent of the Covid19 pandemic we are in the midst of another calamity.
The message of Mother Nature is clear – the global dynamic equilibrium is lost. Nature has resorted to preserving its balance. This would entail a healthier, safer, cleaner environ eventually leading to a global shift.
In my view, in addition to Nature’s purification, it’s aimed at a global shift of energy. We are aware of the different forms of energy as chemical, mechanical, electrical, light, radiant, thermal, nuclear, motion, sound, elastic and gravitational energy. New energy sources are being explored. With natural resources shifting paradigms, this is a juncture of shift towards new sources. Fossil fuel would soon be depleted. Are we looking for a nuclear fission energy or aiming to harness fusion energy? Wind, tidal, solar, geothermal, biofuel have their limitations. Or would the world evolve to the Vimana ages of Laghimā or levitation (anti-gravity) by use of super-conductors? The prediction of new energy source eruption due to collision of the global plates in the Himalayan belt was already predicted in my book Pursuit. Only time has the answer.
The aim of Nature is for the flourishing of a new world in a pollution-free environ with new sources of energy for a healthier living. Lord Alfred Tennyson might’ve been right in his Morte d’Arthur poem:
‘The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world’
In light of the present, whether it could be termed as a ‘good custom’, is something that needs re-assessment in a new light. Whatever be its nomenclature, an imminent change is on the cards. The Biblical myth of a Damien might be the saviour of 21st Century. As the world prepares for a new Damien, we notice the 666 has already subtly morphed to its new form WWW. With the net boom its practical application in pandemic has increased. In a way, it’s subtly compelling people to go digital. In all possibility, that would take over the reins with the restrictions of human contact.
Economic scenario would also see a shift from past energy sources to a fresh crop of new ones, resultant financial crunch the prime cause. With the shift of global geo-economics, the political scenario is likely to change. Amid the failed isms, a new ism could emerge carving the path of a new era. Political monopoly in the form of man-made bodies as the United Nations might fall apart or be baptized in a new mantra, both in structure and form, to one of true service to mankind. The old cultural milieu could well dissolve bringing forth new ideas, more productive than its predecessor. A shift to a digital form away from its physical nature most likely. The scientific arena could see new innovations catering to the rebirth.
Politicised religion, responsible for numerous deaths over centuries could witness its demise with the birth of a new Messiah chanting the mantra of humanity, so far in oblivion. Humanism could take over from the varied forms, history witnessed so far. With the time in quarantine, people now have enough opportunity to dig inwards, to purify their soul from extraneous vices. It would trigger the inner energy on the concept of Soham, a putative mantra which means ‘I am He’ or fusion of individual with the Mass Universal Energy, a step towards ascension to the Saturnine path of salvation or energy fusion accepting its transmuted form.
It hails a rise of the phoenix from the ashes of the present. There isn’t an easier way of learning for resurgence. It’s a rigid, tedious way to perfection. Only with self-audit, self-actualisation and rectification of past errors, a New World could emerge from reverie to reality, even it involves a colossal sacrifice.