When disaster strikes the world, people respond in various ways. Most people want to stay positive and productive amid grim realities. Some want to know how they can help ameliorate things. People of faith wonder if this is divine retribution!
Spiritual leaders and organizations are crucial at such times, in providing physical, mental and spiritual guidance.
Swami Mukundananda, an international authority on mind management, founder of the wellness system, “Yoga for the Body, Mind and Soul” and global spiritual leader, had kept a relentlessly rigorous schedule travelling around the world conducting life transformation and holistic health programs for the past three decades. COVID-19 suddenly brought his travel to a complete standstill.
Rather than see it as an opportunity for a long overdue vacation, Swami Mukundananda and the JKYog team worked hard with a sense of urgency and compassion, to take a series of programs to online platforms. Over the course of nearly 3 months, JKYog has connected with millions of followers seeking ways to cope with lockdowns, job loss, death, and much more.
In a recent #JKYogOnline webinar on the COVID-19 crisis, Swami Mukundananda addressed many questions related to the pandemic.
Responding to COVID-19: Community Above Calamity
It is harder to keep the community in high spirits during the long periods of lockdown.
Elderly people, those with chronic medical conditions and disadvantaged sections of society need help more than ever.
Swami Mukundananda stated that, above all, this is a time to be united, strong, aware of our social duties and to adhere to the regulations laid out by respective national governments. He also expressed his heartfelt appreciation to those fighting on the frontlines and supporting essential services, who are our heroes in this situation.
Grocery and medication purchase and pickup services are in full swing for the elderly and disadvantaged members of the community at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas. Those unable to cook can pick up meals prepared in the temple canteen.
Temple services, youth classes and other workshops have all been moved online. To keep the community upbeat and connected, many festival celebrations are broadcast online worldwide, from the temple.
The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas recently honored and provided lunches to first responders, essential workers, and fire and police department employees of the city of Allen, Texas.
“We appreciate the many health and cultural classes offered in the temple as well as the community outreach for those in need. Just last week we were honored with boxed lunches when the temple organized Frontline Heroes, an event to show support and say thank you to all the Allen employees for serving the community in the face of this pandemic,” said Allen City police chief, Brian Harvey.
Mayor of the City of Allen, Debbie Stout shared, ”Thank you for your outreach to the community, your efforts to support the homeless and less fortunate in our area and also your show of support to our first responders.”
Per Texas guidelines, religious ceremonies are essential services. People must still follow social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Recently the festival of Ramanavami was celebrated uniquely. Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas priest, Pandit Kaushik Kumar Purohit performed the rituals which were broadcast worldwide via Zoom. What would have otherwise been a celebration restricted to the Dallas community in the absence of COVID-19, expanded to bring together people of different countries in prayer and devotion.
“Institutions like RKT play a great role in promoting our cultural traditions, heritage and values,” shared Consul General of India at Houston, Aseem Mahajan, congratulating JKYog and the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas at the recent virtual groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 2 expansion of the temple.
#JKYogOnline Courses: Turning Adversity Into Opportunity
It doesn’t stop there.
Swami Mukundananda remarked, “When we exert all our abilities to handle and face challenges we find that we grow from within.”
This growth he explained, needed to be accessible to people. Precisely for this reason, JKYog took a whole series of life transformation programs and enrichment offerings online.
The #JKYogOnline courses such as the Happiness Challenge, Life Transformation Challenge are now flocked by millions worldwide, looking for stress relief, self-development and spiritual growth. Ranging from health webinars to Sanskrit classes, Indian Classical Music Lessons, and Yoga and Meditation sessions, and children’s classes there is something for everyone.
“Despite the diversity of our audience, coming from countries worldwide, many commonly pondered life questions and looked for ways to manage their emotions, handle stress and find purpose amidst chaos and calamity. The need was tremendous,” said Shreya Bhat, President of JKYog.
Samanvi Devi was one woman in Delhi whose family was quite impacted by the virus. Her husband lost his job, her eldest brother was diagnosed with cancer and money was very tight. She began Swami Mukundananda’s Happiness Challenge, feeling depressed and overwhelmed with the chaos in her life. She found herself getting stronger every day. It was a turning point in her life. “I realized the Lord had given me so much and inside I found strength, I found purpose amongst disorder. The stress was making me ill and I would’ve become very sick.”
When You Can’t Go Outside, Go Inside
Social distancing is the new normal. Children are looking for fun ways to stay engaged in the absence of being able to play with friends. Parents are struggling to balance remote work with family responsibilities. Frontline responders are fighting difficult battles against COVID-19. People are anxious and uncertain about the future. Stress levels are generally higher than before across the board.
Swami Mukundananda shares, “We can merely survive a pandemic, or we can even thrive in it. The difference between the two is how we face the crisis. When stress accumulates inside us, we are much more susceptible to illness, including viruses. Bodily immunity reduces, and we become quite vulnerable.”
Jeanette Kaspryzk’s health improved greatly with the JKYog offerings. “I find that it relaxes me and helps me calm down. I was taking 4 different meds including for anxiety and now my BP without medicine has gone down.”
Swami Mukundananda himself has been on the internet reaching people in various time zones around the globe, on Zoom, conducting his programs and taking time for Q&A sessions with the audience.
JKYog president Shreya Bhat describes his work ethic as relentless despite COVID-19. “He still works tirelessly day and night, careful to make the most out of each hour and minute of every day by helping people grow to reach their full potential and guide them to find happiness in their lives.”
With logic and simplicity, Swami Mukundananda lays it bare. “What will matter at the end of our life and give us maximum satisfaction is how good we can become. Coronavirus has forced us to stop running around on the outside to turn deep within ourselves to really look at our priorities and focus on the most important tasks of our life.” JKYog fulfills the need to answer these big life questions.
Visit www.jkyog.org/online_events to learn more.