With swine flu hitting the headlines, people suddenly started realizing that they can die any moment. Before this they enjoyed the illusion of thinking that they were eternal. But swine flu has scared everyone even those who relished pork were scared of live pig as they realised that a live pig can kill them with its sneeze.
Why does a swine virus enter into humans? The answer is very simple. Why does the HIV virus which is a resident of monkeys’ body enter the human body? When we kill the monkeys for our experiments to cure diseases, we are not only killing the monkeys but we are making the virus homeless. Then the virus finds a new home the human body. This philosophical explanation is given by some doctors.
Others say that diseases like swine flu and HIV are caused by close contact of human beings with pigs and monkeys. At one end we kill animals, and on the other hand we stay with them in the same home. Why do we have to be extremists like this? Why can’t we be merciful towards all living entities? Thousands of cows are slaughtered daily, lakhs of pigs are killed for gratifying our tongues, but when fifty humans die of swine flu we all are so disturbed. Do we think that death for a cow, pig, goat, hen or a fish is less painful compared to a human? So do we label them as a useless burden on the earth and think that by killing them one is helping to reduce the burden on the earth?
THERE IS A ROLE FOR ALL
Actually all of them have a role to play. A cow eats grass and converts it into enriched milk for us. A swine eats all the filth we create on this beautiful earth. When we abuse and offend nature by slaughtering creatures that maintain her balance, we get epidemics as a collective reaction to our accumulated sins. These sinful reactions are due to slaughtering of innocent animals. Or else why should the all merciful supreme Father put us in trouble? The very fact that we are punished means we have offended Mother Nature as mother never hits a child without any reason. In order to avoid such wrath of nature we need to follow the laws of nature. We never get tomato flu or carrot flu as those vegetables are our natural food. When we go mad and break nature’s law we get mad cow disease and chicken guinea. Therefore if we want to avoid recurrence of such pandemics, we need to live in harmony with nature.
The swine flu epidemic also teaches another valuable lesson: death can come any time, any day. If we remain conscious of this emergency situation and take to devotional service we will be free from the fear of death. The fear of death arises due to attachment to the body. Attachment to Krishna is the antidote for this fear. The swine flu helpline telephone number is 108. 108 is also a transcendental number as when we chant the maha-mantra 108 times we complete one round of japa. There are 108 Upanisads and 108 principal gopis to whom we pray to for mercy to remove all these fears which arise from bodily conception and non-devotional activities.
When I see pictures of people staying with pigs and their love for them, I feel that it is the perverted reflection of our spontaneous attraction towards the Varaha incarnation of Lord Krishna who had appeared to save the earth. If one is attracted to a swine, we should desire to be with the supreme swine Lord Varaha because His association will not cause us flu but will cure us of the fever of material existence.
Yugavatara Dasa is an Associate Professor in Anatomy and a regular contributor to BTG.