COVID causes mental crisis

Aligarh: The Covid19 pandemic has created a global crisis with far-reaching social and economical repercussions and one of the biggest challenges this crisis has brought is of mental health, said Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Indian spiritual leader and Art of Living founder.

He was addressing at the inaugural function of the two-day international webinar on ‘Role of Faith in Facing Personal and Collective Crises: What Religion Can Offer to the Post-Covid World’ organised by the Dara Shikoh Centre for Interfaith Understanding and Dialogue, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

He explained that faith gives courage to people and prevents depression.

“During crisis, people tend to become either aggressive or depressed and these two extremes can be prevented with spiritual knowledge,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar adding that spirituality leads to serene, calm and meditative state.

He added that Coronavirus is a catastrophe, but not an apocalypse and faith can help us to search the silver linings despite the dark clouds of gloom.

Quoting the Holy Quran, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that ‘Whoever kills an innocent life, it is as if he has killed the whole humanity’. One can find similar verses in the Vedas.

He emphasised that the five pillars of Yoga includes Ahimsa (Non-violence), which leads to salvation. Therefore, in these turbulent times, it is imperative to extend the message of interfaith harmony to all.

Presiding over the inaugural function, AMU Vice Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor said that the respect of all faiths is a hallmark of a civilised society and dialogue is the key to interfaith understanding.

He added that after the pandemic took over the world, it has become more important than ever for all religious communities to come together.

“People are also realising the value of family ties besides becoming more spiritual. It is time for harmony and brotherhood and all of the humanity needs to remain united to combat the crisis,” said Prof Mansoor.

In the keynote address, Mr Moosa Raza stated that all religions recognise the unity of God with the same message despite differences in the methods of worship.

He added that there is a need to respect the differences and for unity to overcome the health crisis.

Dr Haddad Adel, former speaker of Iranian Parliament pointed out that the pandemic has shown the weakness in the modern medicine system. In such a situation, it is of utmost importance to strengthen internal resistance against difficulties.

“Faith and religion will help us to bear the pain and move forward,” he said.

“There are a number of Hadiths (Sayings of the Prophet), which sanction steps such as social distancing, lockdowns and isolations during pandemics,” said Hazrat Ghulam Mohammad Vastanavi, the former rector of the Darul Uloom Deoband.

Prof Ramesh Pandey, Vice Chancellor, Sanskrit University said that India has a rich tradition of tolerance and respect and our religious scriptures make the whole humanity as one family.

In the welcome address, Prof Ali Mohammad Naqvi, Director, Dara Shikoh Centre for Interfaith Understanding and Dialogue said that this is a historic and a unique webinar in which spiritual gurus, saints and scholars of various religions from across the Nation are shedding light on how world religions can play a vital stabilizing role and offer a beacon of hope amid the ravages of Covid19 outbreak.

Prof Akbar Husain, Webinar Coordinator, presented the precis of the speeches of various scholars participating in the webinar. He expressed views on the role of spirituality in heeling.

Extending the vote of thanks at the inaugural function, Dr Mohd Shahid spoke on people becoming more sensitized about cleanliness, personal hygiene and healthy ways of life.

“Time indeed is the great healer. Let us be patient with courage, compassion and spiritual understanding to overcome this crisis,” said Dr Husain Haider, while conducting the programme.

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