There is more to it than tagging “coronavirus pandemic” as “force majeure” or “act of God”. “Force majeure” is a clause that is used in businesses and insurance to label natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, storms, epidemics and pandemics under a single umbrella term; and is also called as “act of God”. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “act of God” as an extraordinary interruption by a natural cause (such as a flood or earthquake) in the usual course of events that experience, prescience, or care cannot reasonably foresee or prevent. “Force majeure” is a French word that means- a superior force. But is that stronger frequency God only, is the question?
To allege and accuse God of destruction would be a sheer blasphemy. One must see the overalls of someone on the timeline of his life or lifetimes in the case of God and then reach to a conclusion based on stringent facts and arguments. Well, irrespective of differences of faiths, God is unanimously hallowed and hailed as love incarnate. The ancient Vedic wisdom delineates God as- सः ईश्वरः अनिर्वचनीय-प्रेमस्वरूपः।। And John 4:8 too describes, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” That's why in all His forms, God has been seen showering compassion only on all creatures. If ever do we come across cases of annihilation by God, that must be the destruction of evil only. Verily, God does even that compulsively when the wrongs of people breach all bounds of morals, ethics, culture, and humanity. And the beauty in God's conduct of annihilation is that He does even that with a compassionate heart. To quote one of the many such instances, let's take a reference from Ramayana authored by Saint Tulsidas called Ramcharitmanas. This excerpt is from its Kishkindhakanda chapter wherein Lord Ram has almost killed the vile monkey king Bali.
Bali: Even though, O Lord, you descended on Earth for upholding righteousness; you have struck your arrow to kill me as a hunter would kill a wild beast from its back. धर्म हेतु अवतरेहु गोसाईं- मारेहु मोहि ब्याध की नाईं---।।
Ram: Listen, O Bali– a younger brother's wife, a sister, a daughter-in-law, and one's own daughter– these four are alike. One would incur no sin by killing him who looks upon these with a pervert eye. अनुज बधू भगिनी सूत नारी। सुनु सठ कन्या सम ए चारी।। इन्हहि कुदृष्टि बिलोकइ जोई। ताहि बधें कछु पाप न होई---।।
Bali: …My Lord, I'm a sinner; yet, it is my fortune that I have found shelter in You at the hour of my death. --- प्रभु अजहूँ मैं पापी अंतकाल गति तोरि---।।
Ram: Shri Ram caressed Bali's head and said, “I make your body immortal, you may keep your life”. बालि सीस परसेउ निज पानी--- अचल करौं तनु राऽहु प्राना---।।
Bali: I'm getting death at your hands; shall I ever get such an opportunity again? बहुरि कि प्रभु अस बनिहि बनावा---।।Ram: Then, Shri Ram sent Bali to His own abode. राम बालि निज धाम पठावा---।।
The foremost concern of God is to transform and evolve creatures, humans being His priority. So, for this cause, like a loving mother, God even becomes harsh to correct His children. And, when we have corrected ourselves, then, like a loving mother only, God just puts aside His annoyance and no more hides His compassion. In simple words, God loves, and only loves. As a matter of fact, when it comes to bearing the brunt of punishments, then, there, it is not God who is responsible; instead, it is the nature that punishes us or, say, reciprocates in the tenor we carry out our actions. The 20th century seer from India, Paramahansa Yogananda clearly quotes in his book 'Journey to Self-Realization'– “The sudden cataclysms that occur in nature, creating havoc and mass injury, are not 'acts of God'. Such disasters result from the thoughts and actions of man. Whenever the world's vibratory balance of good and evil is disturbed by an accumulation of harmful vibrations, the result of man's wrong thinking and wrong doing, you will see devastation…”
The aforementioned philosophy of balance is a stylized reiteration of ancient Upanishadic ideology only. The Ishavasyopanishad renders - ऊँ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते। पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते।। Translated to English, it says: “That is the Whole. This too is the Whole. The Whole comes out of the Whole. Taking the Whole from the Whole, the Whole itself remains.” Just like a hydrologic (H2O) cycle, the universe too is a closed system. In the hydrologic cycle, the water evaporating from the oceans is equalized by the water returned through precipitation and surface run off. And, when condensed, it downpours over Earth as rain. So, the sum total of the water remains same in any and every condition. At no time any water is added to or lost from the cycle. In the same manner, the universe also continues to sustain in its perfect state of balance only, come what may. If the balance is anyhow disrupted, the universe then has its own ways to restore it. And this law of restoration extends to all forms of creation.
Ever thought, why do we get sneezes, hiccups, yawns, and tremors in our body, uncalled? Are these 'acts of God' too? Never! It is body's own mechanism of restoring its perfect state. Sneezing is one of our protective reflexes occurring at the entry of foreign particles into our body through our nose. To throw them out of the body, the tiny nerve endings in the nose send a signal to our brain, which then sends messages to numerous parts of our body to facilitate the sneeze. Talking about hiccups, the brain sends signals for the diaphragm to shift forcefully downward, suddenly pulling a lot of air into the back of the throat. This happens at the times of too much stomach full or alcohol intake or sudden changes in temperature that body is not accustomed to, or smoking or stress or excitement. In the same vein, Robert Provine, a professor of neurobiology and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County associates nervousness to yawning. The physiological consequences of yawning are analogous to those which are needed to effectively cool the brain, such as increase in the peripheral and cerebral blood flow, says Provine. And tremors, which are involuntary, rhythmic muscle contractions leading to shaking movements in one or more parts of the body, says the scientific community, too are triggered by stress or strong emotions.
More to know is the analytical response delineated by Dr. Kalyan Gangwal, President of Sarva Jeev Mangal Pratishthan and the veteran non-violence activist. He bluntly correlated Nepal's earthquake with its violent acts of animal slaughtering, stating it as one of the main reasons. He quoted scientist Albert Einstein's Pain Wave Theory (PWT) to present his hypothesis. To support his argument, Dr. Gangwal also cited the BIS theory of Delhi University's trio of scientists– Dr. Madan Mohan Bajaj, Dr. Ibrahim, and Dr. Vijayraj Singh. BIS or Breakdown of Integrated Systems alias Bajaj-Ibrahim-Singh theory states that when the living beings are killed, be it plants or animals, then waves are created in the atmosphere because of their pains. When there is imbalance in these waves and Gravity Waves, then, there is movement in the tectonic plates of the earth and natural calamities, especially quakes, take place. The trio substantiate their theory through several examples from across the world, Poland being the most striking one. They quote in their research paper that in the year 2009, in Poland, 1.39 million cows and 20.7 million pigs were slaughtered. Along with this, Poland also killed 30,000 horses, of which it is an annual exporter to Europe. Then, at the end of May 2010, Poland witnessed massive floods, which were worse than the country had observed in the last 160 years. Many people lost their lives as homes and streets in some areas were submerged under five to six meters of water. In the capital of Warsaw, 120 schools were closed and people were trapped in their homes and needed rescue. The flooding also caused an increase in infectious diseases as wells got contaminated. Across the country, 23,000 people were evacuated. As per a June 2010 United States Department of Agriculture's Global Agricultural Information Network report, 450,000 hectares of farmland was water damaged or flooded, affecting 4,300 farms, all of which had animals too. Therefore, in a nutshell, whatever the form be, nature has a tendency to shed off its surplus or the unwanted to regain its true state i.e. balance.
Paramahansa Yogananda further says, “The world will continue to have warfare and natural calamities until all people correct their wrong thoughts and behaviour… When materiality predominates in man's consciousness, there is an emission of subtle negative rays; their cumulative power disturbs the electrical balance of nature, and that is when earthquakes, floods, and other disasters happen. God is not responsible for them! Man's thoughts have to be controlled before nature can be controlled.” (Man’s Eternal Quest)
The current state of the world amidst the coronavirus pandemic wherein humans are home-locked is in itself a clear depiction of the above laid parallelism. WION, an International news channel owned by Essel Group, a few days back highlighted the same concept through a video shared by Prince Khaled. In that, the news presenter Palki Sharma said: "This coronavirus pandemic has hit the reset button on a lot of things. For starters, we have begun appreciating old values and simpler things in life. But I want to focus on one issue tonight and that is co-existence. Since humans began retreating from public spaces in fear of the coronavirus, nature has begun reclaiming its space. Dolphins have returned to Italy's coast, thanks to the missing cruise ships. There are swans in Italy's canals– canals which are otherwise populated with gondolas and tourists... the birds have returned. In Singapore, otters are roaming freely; thanks to the empty public spaces.”
Well, it is for us to decide now whether we want to die together or we want to live together; for, if we want to live together, we ought to live in harmony and in compliance with nature's and God's laws.