Friday, August 14, 2009

Swine Flu and Hindu culture

Since the outbreak of swine flu, Pune is worst affected with almost a death every day so far.

The best way to prevent Swine Flu spreading is asking patient having symptoms of flu like fever cough and running nose to take a lot of water, to wash hands whenever it is in use and take rest at home for 4 days so he does not transmit it. Masks are of limited value in this disease. This virus can spread through droplets on your skin, through contact etc, and I have seen that the masks in Pune are worn as fashion statement, while walking on road today morning I saw people wearing masks coming out for a morning walk with their dogs!, many wearing masks around their necks, and so on. Instead, avoiding crowded places or cinema halls or malls where air conditioners are on, is advisable, because you get re-circulated air, where the virus density multiplies.

If you remember, 2 years ago SARS was blown out of proportion, what happened? Humans develop immunity to the virus, the same is going to happen, we develop immunity in due course of time, the virus is in the air, you cannot stop it, our body is already developing the immunity so nothing to panic. We need to take care of children and elderly who have less immunity and do not let them go to crowded place that is all. I am amazed to hear that people are selling masks of RS 20 each that are available to less than Rupee 1 in the market and N95 variety which normally costs around Rs 90 is sold at Rs 250 to 300. Look, who is benefitted?You might what it does have to do with Hindu culture. Hindu culture believes and follows one principle called ‘Prevention is better than cure.’

Purity and its opposite, pollution, are vitally important in Hindu culture. Purity is of three forms -- purity in mind or speech or thought, body and deed. Purity is the pristine and natural state of the soul. Impurity, or pollution, is the obscuring of this state by adulterating experience and beclouding conceptions.

1. Greeting: Now-a-days many Hindus are accustomed to the Western habit of handshaking. Others, however, prefer to press their palms together, and give a simple bow. In the East, you always greet in a non-contact way, so that in Hinduism, the method is "Namaste," then bow, and already you brought the good will of the person. What "Namaste" means is, "I worship the divine within you." This way we maintain a hygienic distance from one another.

2. Hugging and Embracing: Hugging and embracing is found in Hindu culture; but it is restricted to close relatives, Guru/disciples and associates that too in a private place. In Mahabharata and Ramayana, we find this very often. Hugging and Embracing improves pranic energy and this practice is not allowed with strangers.

3. THE LEFT HAND: In Hindu culture the left hand is considered impure because it is used (with water) in the place of toilet paper for personal hygiene after answering the call of nature. Handing another person anything with the left hand is considered a subtle insult.

4. SHOES: Shoes are considered impure. The cultured Hindu never wears shoes or sandals inside a temple or shrine, nor in his home or the homes of other Hindus. Carrying shoes in the hands from one part of the premises to another is also avoided. An ultimate insult is to be struck with a shoe.

When talking to elders or revered persons, we were told to cover the mouth with you palm so that they can feel our bad breath. Washing your feet, hands and mouth is compulsory when return home, after nature calls, before, and after having food. We were told to drink water from glass or a tumbler without a contact to the lips. Women during their menstrual period often asked to stay separately and prohibited to participate in the household work. Sex with a woman who is in menstrual period is prohibited.

When we look at these rules/instructions in a more scientific way then we would understand how much importance was given to hygiene in Hindu culture. Now in the modern times it became a fashion to follow western culture. We ape them and now imported viruses like swine flu contaminate us. The medical fraternity advocates preventive measures, which are part of Hindu culture that are almost forgotten in the urban India.

Jai Ho!!!

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