First thing – I want to avoid the usual line of arguing about it altogether and I will use two starting points to take the matter into an entirely different direction. First is Risiraja’s blog on how immune system can be explained in Vaisesika and second is Prahladananda Swami’s interview on Namarasa’s podcast. In this interview Maharaja raised a very important point but he did not develop it. I, on the other hand, can’t stop thinking about it every time the subject of vaccinations comes up.
The point is very simple – in Vedic science there is not principal difference between dealing with new ideas and eating. Both are “digested” by the same prana winds. When a new idea comes to us we first ingest it, we hear it with all the details, and then we digest it – we try to make sense of it in our own internal framework. What is important? What are other parts? How are they connected? Once we know how the idea works, how the argument is assembled and from which parts, we have effectively “disassembled” it just like our stomachs break down food into essential ingredients for nourishing the body. Then comes the stage of making all these new understandings useful in our own lives, and parts that we identify as garbage need to be discarded just like our bodies do with waste.
Let’s say I heard a Bhagavatam quote in a lecture. Part of this memory is “who said it” and it gets filed under “such and such devotees’ teachings”. The meaning of the quote gets extracted and filed under “essential knowledge”. The explanation behind the meaning goes into a separate section of my memory and various interesting points, like maybe word play in Sanskrit sloka, gets filed separately. Other parts, like exact time stamp when this quote was spoken gets discarded and forgotten. Also where I was at the time, what I was doing, what I was wearing, what else was on the speaker’s table if I was watching – there is a lot of stuff that does not need memorization.
Now, with food, we also happen to absorb stuff that our body does not know what to do with and it’s known as “ama”, poison, in Ayurveda. Much of it goes deposited in our fatty tissues and anyone who tried fasting for longer than three days knows that point when these toxins get recalled and enter the bloodstream as body starts “eating” itself. Namarasa himself couldn’t get past that point because it completely messes you up. Even if you don’t fast, these unidentified toxins can later develop into tumors and all kinds of nasty stuff. They are the cause of ALL diseases in the body.
When we talk about absorbing ideas we have exactly the same problem – some stuff doesn’t get processed, doesn’t get identified, doesn’t get broken down, doesn’t get utilized, and doesn’t get forgotten. It just gets deposited as a seed of future karma, as a samskara, as a vasana, as a long lasting impression. Because we don’t know what it is we don’t know what to do about it and eventually time comes when it starts controlling our lives just as toxins stored in fat or elsewhere eventually get released back into the system.
This is the reason we are advised to avoid certain ideas completely, like mayavada explanation of the scriptures or association of people addicted to sex. There are parts of their presentations that we don’t know how to digest and discard and we unwittingly absorb them. We don’t even know how it happens and what gets slipped under our radar as we are busy enjoying stuff that we find attractive and understandable. Just like we have no idea what goes into our body when we drink something like Coke. We like the coolness, the taste, the fizz, but chemicals that made it taste this way or give it its color? No idea, no time to think about that. Or how about the image of successful people drinking Coke in TV ads? We absorb that as well. What about the familiarity of a western drink in a foreign country somewhere in Asia, for example, where everything is weird and when Coke literally becomes the taste of home? We absorb that, too, and it’s all poison for our consciousness.
This is where we can turn to things like viruses and bacteria. They get inside our system with food or with air or in some other way, and so the first line of defense is to avoid polluted environment. It also means that we should avoid polluted people. Let’s say this Covid virus came from Chinese wet market – avoid meat eaters. Let’s say it came from a Chinese or even American lab – avoid Chinese and Americans, who are all proud about their society’s capabilities.
Here is another crucial point – everything in the world is information, the only difference is the degree of “grossness”. Let’s say, again, that the virus came from eating bats. This means first someone had an idea to eat exotic meat and that these people did not care about properly cooking it. So, even if the virus came from meat, its path to us started with an idea: “bats must taste nice”. Let’s say it came from a lab – same thing, first someone had an idea to produce a new kind of virus and later someone did not care to keep it locked safely. It always starts with an idea. Avoid ideas and you will be safe from viruses.
But how can we avoid ideas? We live in a society – how can we avoid them? Well, Srila Prabhupada gave us a system where the goal was to exclude and extricate us from the society as much as possible. We didn’t think we could do it and we absorbed the idea that we should be an integral part of the society instead, getting education, jobs etc. See – education and jobs we understand and can utilize, but secret labs where they develop biological weapons comes with accepting the society as a package deal and we absorb those parts unwittingly.
The argument can be made that we have to preach. Okay, but preaching is not the same as mingling with people and every devotee who has been on the streets knows how one can be among people but not WITH people, how one can be unaffected by them as he does not take their association. I won’t go as far as to claim that true sankirtana devotee would never get infected and, please, don’t try this at home, but all viruses still get absorbed as ideas first.
What happens when one gets infected? It’s up to the immune system and it will work according to the same mechanics – identify, understand, disassemble, utilize, discard. If it’s a seasonal cold we know our immune system will tackle it in a few days, but when it’s facing a new virus we might get into serious trouble because the immune system simply does not know what to do. If we are talking about food then Ayurveda would recommend some help with digestion. Maybe a glass of water, maybe some lemon juice or ginger or black salt. If we are talking about ideas or difficult situation then we can ask someone who understands, someone who has experience, or we can google it.
As devotees we should know that all answers can be found in Srila Prabhupada’s books, especially in Srimad Bhagavatam. To get answers from Bhagavatam, however, one has to be a humble and serious student of it for many many years. Not everybody can just open Bhagavad Gita on a random page, read a paragraph, and realize that he “gets” his problem now. I mean everybody can do it in theory but they have to reach a certain level of purity first.
Similarly with viruses – to understand the ideas behind a virus and learn Bhagavatam’s answers to it is not easy. First, we don’t even think of viruses as ideas, we think of them as “things”, but they ARE embodiments of certain ideas. Earlier I described ideas that carry them, for example, and it’s as far as I could get, personally, but I’m confident, however, that by studying how Covid works we CAN figure out the idea behind it, what drives, what it wants, and what it preys on in our psyche, and once you know the idea you can figure out the defense.
This is what vaccination does, too, but it’s an equivalent of googling the answer to your problem instead of getting it from guru or Bhagavatam. If one tries to figure out the problem himself it’s the equivalent of developing natural immunity. If one asks others it’s the equivalent of developing passive immunity in a herd. In modern medicine one still requires blood or serum injections for that but I think for less visible infections simply hanging around people who have immunity is enough. Mother licking baby’s pacifier to “clean it” after it falls on the ground passes immunity with her saliva, for example.
If we were to rank these, then personal immunity and immunity passed by “guru” are obviously better than googling, ie vaccination, though it depends on the problem – sometimes google DOES know better. Sometimes google is all we have, especially under lockdowns, but google comes with its own dangers, too – we don’t know what other stuff gets slipped under the radar with google sourced solutions. Wikipedia, for example, has a clear “left-leaning” agenda and so you might just absorb their certain outlook on the world together with their solution. Need I mention that their outlook is atheistic, too?
When accepting a vaccine we might absorb ideas like “government knows what it is doing”, that “scientists know what they are doing”, we might absorb “life is nothing but chemicals” foundation for their science, we might absorb pride associated with the status of being vaccinated as opposed to those holdouts no one has anything good to say about. There are sooo many things attached to vaccination. If one is aware and is able to deal with them – fine, and if one is not then, quite besides developing immunity to Covid, one might also make his next evolutionary step towards demoniac species of life.
The other day I heard someone laughing at the idea of Bill Gates “liquid chipping” people. On one hand it’s clearly nonsense but on the other hand the principle still works – by installing vaccine immunity on one’s body’s operating system one, effectively, installs something like “Windows”, and so at some point someone might try to exploit Windows vulnerabilities and thus get control over your body. It probably won’t be Bill Gates or any other human on this planet but, once again – viruses are not things, they are controlled by somebody else in the same way Vayu controls all movement in the universe or Mitra controls all evacuation systems.
We, people, claim control of vertical slices in the universe – false ego, intelligence, mind, senses, and sense objects of ONE body. Demigods and similar beings control horizontal slices instead. Only the sense of sight, for example, but in ALL bodies. Thus those who control the viruses do not need to be embodied like us and those who exploit presence of vaccine produced antibodies do not have to be embodied either. One day they will just call the chips and make everybody with Pfizer antibodies to develop cancer, for example. I hope it won’t happen but, just like with Windows, if you have it installed then you know that one day Microsoft might trigger an automatic update that will take over your computer, lock you out, and possibly corrupt it forever, and that’s not counting danger the obvious from hackers and computer viruses. If we come back to ideas then acceptance that “government can be trusted” might one day lead to accepting a government advice that is clearly harmful – and that is besides demigods controlling the viruses or antibodies placed inside us making their own move.
So what would be the vaccination advice based on all that? It depends on the situation. If your digestive system is strong then you can eat pretty much anything without fear. If you know Srila Prabhupada’s books very well you will know how to deal with each and every situation. If not, you might need digestive aids, advice from experts and/or senior devotees, or, if nothing else is available – google. Just as with knowledge and digestion – you CANNOT build your immunity in one day and so if you know Covid might really really wreck you – vaccination is the only practical choice.
These days they might require even young healthy people to get vaccinated so I might go against “what science says” but, as I said in the beginning – this article is not about the usual arguments but about looking at this matter from a different angle. From the angle of Vedic science where same principles work behind every possible development in the universe at every level – mind, intelligence, society, cells, viruses – everywhere.
Solving a problem by applying a slightly modified version of its very cause is mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam in as a matter of fact kind of way (SB 1.5.33). Thus, by itself vaccination is not a new principle. The difference is that scientists spent a lot more time then devotees on developing its particular application. Is there anyone who knows Ayurveda well enough to explain attack vectors of the viruses and how viruses are controlled? I don’t know, so far they only talk about Ayurvedic treatment, and I don’t think they understand how it works either. I mean they understand it from the chemical point of view but not from the point of view of Ayurveda itself.
Chemical compounds in healing herbs is one thing, but why they are produced by the plants is quite another. What is it that the plants want to express by producing these chemicals? There is an idea, a desire behind it, behind their incarnation as a plant body, and I don’t think anyone knows that. It’s like if you want to build the house you invite people who like to manifest their strength or carpenter skills and we can understand these people, we understand why they want to do what they do. Why plants produce specific chemical compounds, however, is not a question considered by today’s Ayurvedic practitioners but it should be. So far they only consider what these compounds are, but not why and how, which is required for the full knowledge of the subject.
Once you know why you can recognize why viruses act in the way they do, too, and when you also know how you can either avoid getting into the virus way altogether by letting it satisfy its desires somewhere else, or you can block the way virus affects you – which is the principle behind vaccination as well. Modern science, therefore, is a step ahead of modern Ayurveda because it answers both what and how. Ayurvedic solutions presented so far only deal with what, and even then only with symptoms, not with the virus itself like modern science does.
“Why” is a question for students of Bhagavatam, however. “Why” is not a question of chemicals and not a question of herbs, it’s a question of souls. What is it that the soul wants to achieve? What is it that it sees in the Lord, as reflected through material nature, that the soul finds attractive? Every soul has a place in Lord’s world according to isavasyam idam sarvam principle from Isopanishad. We and viruses are not supposed to cross our paths unless we step outside our jurisdiction – ma gridhah kasya svid dhanam. Don’t eat freaking bats, for starters. Don’t hang out with people who eat bats. Don’t think that bat eating people are okay, hard working, industrious, honest in their own way etc. The society accepts them because everyone eats meat anyway. We accept the society because we need their food, money, internet, entertainment etc, and in this way bat viruses reach devotees. It’s not that complicated. It is obvious. Why do we overcomplicate things? That’s another “why” question and it should be answered by becoming a student of Bhagavatam, too.
Ma gridhah kasya svid dhanam – we are given Bhagavatam and Hare Krishna mantra by Srila Prabhupada, and the goal of establishing independent varnasrama society built according to Bhagavatam principles. Everything else is foreign and an “ama” and has to be paid for with karma. Srila Prabhupada even wanted us to establish our own country with Mayapur as the capital. Otherwise, his own answer to the direct question of injections (includes vaccines) is pretty simple:
Revatīnandana: Should we try to avoid getting injections as much as possible?
Prabhupāda: That is my opinion. But as soon as you go to a medical man, especially in your country, first of all you have to give blood. Immediately. [laughter] One ounce of blood immediately. First business. And then other injection. Because I underwent so many medical examination, I have got experience. For my immigration.
I think, three or four times I was under health examination, and blood-taking, and injection. Of course, it is not very painful. [chuckles] That arrangement is there. But the business is like that, “First of all give your blood; then talk of other things.” Better to die without a doctor. [laughter] That’s the best principle. Don’t call any doctor. Simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and die peacefully.
Revatīnandana: But what about when you’re not going to die? What about when you have some problems that’s not fatal. Then who do you call?
Prabhupāda: Then go take injection. What can be done? [laughter] There is no alternative.
So, if we want to be part of their society, if we want their jobs and we want to travel places – “What can be done? There is no alternative.”