HFE – Newsletter no.1

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Dear friends, family, community and fellow Hindus,

Pandemic Challenges

It is the first time in modern times that humanity is challenged with such a worldwide pandemic endangering people around the world, people of every origin, every religion, every class and every colour. Power-play by nature itself and one should wonder why this is happening, how it is happening and what we can do to bring it to a full stop.

What a virus (invisible) can do? A virus is a natural thing, an organism necessary to maintain balance in nature, an organism wanting to survive like any other, an organism that feeds like any other animal, an organism which has aimed its arrows on humanity. And most likely we invited it due to our way of living. Humanity is growing and growing, consuming and consuming, packed together in cities, trains, companies, cars and events, humanity is eating animals like we have never done before, humanity is in haste not paying attention to their own wellbeing, their own health, their own mental health and humanity is paying no attention the health of the globe and the ecosystem we live in. Due to that growth and lack of respect for nature we ended up polluting the world, ended up living to close together, ended up living closer to animals due to the lack of space elsewhere for those others on earth and are we eating animals carrying all kind of diseases they are very well immune for. Maybe this is the turning point which shows us we are going at it poorly.

Uncertainty:   Unprecedented… This is our generation’s war…Nothing will ever be the same…Given the level of ambiguity and uncertainty about how life will look tomorrow, next week or a month or two from now, the level of anxiety many of us have had to process through has been high. In the face of the financial and physical stress, it can be difficult to consider our emotional and spiritual health. However, in a world of uncertainty, Hindu teachings and practices are helpful in taking care of ourselves in the most essential and basic of ways.

As the Vedas (Hindu Scriputes) and all related scriptures tried to explain to humanity, it is a common sense that along with modern science that we have to take

care of our selves, the community, the ecosystem and the world much better. We should eat less meat, which will lead to less polution, less deforestation, more healthy fresh food for the poor, less water spillage, less pesticides and healthier and more resistant people. By skipping meat we make sure we do not introduce new bacteria or new viruses into our lives, we respect animals and the biodiversity we are killing right now. Maybe we should not only focus on economy, money and consupmtion which has led us to be less in touch with ourselves, our souls, our minds, which has led us to overconsume and polute, which has let us to over eat and develop diabetes, which has led us astray from where we as humanity should go.

How to end the Pandemic: Baring these thoughts in mind, we first have to end this pandemic, end the fear, and the deaths, before we can learn from the mistakes we have made. And in this battle against corona there are a few things we still can learn from the Vedas, from Hinduism, from Hindu philosophy and Hindu history. The Bhagavad Gita can be a particular source of comfort at this time. Arjun’s war was very different from what we are facing today, but he too felt overwhelmed by the circumstances he was in, and Krishna encouraged him to let go of the fruits of his actions, while doing the right thing.

Remembering some of the many principles of Dharma:

  • Satya (truth),
  • Ahimsa (non-harming),
  • Karuna (compassion), and
  • Aparigraha (non-greed)

They all grounded in our individual context, to make decisions while letting go of expectations of the results,  the much needed clarity and peace in our minds. Routines are important, and predictability in your daily tasks can be soothing as given below:

1.Dharma: We are obliged to society to keep social distance and follow your local government guide lines. But also enforce them by spreading them to your fellow people and letting them know that social distance is very important to save those who are older and weaker.

Links:  National ministry of health website and National corona platform of the government
2.Dharma: Take care of the ecosystem and society. Help (Karuna) the weak and elderly in your society and neighborhood by doing their groceries, picking up medicine and keep them from mental isolation by staying in touch.

Links: Help them to install video conferencing tools. Provide them with a leaflet, you printed, explaining how to download Skype, hangouts, face time, etc and how to use it.

3.Dharma: Take care of your elderly and the weak, and help and lead their community in the crisis time.

Links: Keep in touch with your parents and grandparents and Keep in touch with your weaker and older neighbors

1. Karma: Yoga strengthens the immune system. It is  proven by modern science, and eases your mind and stress, making you more focused, relaxed and solution driven

Links: *So, make sure you start doing yoga while you are at home, you now have the time and space, but more importantly it is something you can do to battle the disease.

*Check (URL) for movies on Vedic Yoga and start your day accordingly

*Spread the news and URL to all

2.Karma: Healthy food strengthens the immune system, body, energy levels and mental status of the human body. So, stop hording unhealthy long-lasting products and snacks, but start eating fresh healthy vegetables and fruits, nuts and peas, lots of

water and herb tea like fresh ginger tea. This way you can strengthen your body, but by spreading this you can strengthen the immune system of society

3. Karma: Stop spreading fake news, stop criticizing your government and medical scientists, stop harassing healthcare professionals, they are working day and night as best as they can in a situation that is also new for them. But start thinking how you can help others, how you can help society. This means stop hoarding mouth masks for you, but donate them to healthcare professionals, elderly homes and healthcare clinics for instance

4..Karma: Stop thinking about yourself, keep social distance and help those in need, as this will help you and your family. It is our responsibility. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social disconnecting, and we can still find ways to connect with friends, family, and others who inspire us or make us laugh with the limitless potential of the internet.

5.Karma: Though many Mandirs (temples) are currently closed to devotees, many are also using streaming services to help people feel spiritually connected, and it can be an easy and convenient time to engage in them virtually, or bring practice to your home. Puja in particular can call upon all the senses: the smell of agarbatti (incense), the reverberation of a bell, visually pleasing murtis, the sensation of bringing our palms together, and the taste of Prasad melting on in our mouths. All this happens during puja and are lovely ways to set aside stress and center ourselves. Music can decrease stress, and bhajans, with their uplifting lyrics, can bring peace of mind.

Yet the only thing the Hindu Forum Europe can do is implore all of you to learn, change and grow by doing the best you can to help. From that perspective Hindu Forum Europe implores all the Hindu platforms to share above information, but also to be a part of the solution. We hope all the Hindu member organizations will discuss with national governments on spreading the right information, but also spend time to set up guide lines for when things go less fortunate

Some thoughts:

How can we Hindus still perform our last rites on our departed keeping Hindu principles in place where possible  – Set up a hotline and website spreading this information. (Follow instructions given by the Your Government)

How can we keep our elderly from isolation?  Set up a hotline and website spreading this information

How can we keep our religion going?    Set up online sessions and/or blogs and Set up online guide lines for home puja.    Set up radio shows on existing radio stations

How can the Hindus help and be of added value? Set up social campaigns encouraging the Hindu community to aid neighbors

But after having said this all, the Hindu Forum Europe first of all hopes you are all well, and wishes everybody strength and good luck in these times and those to come. We hope you and your families are still okay, we hope for those less fortunate that society does not forget them, we hope humanity will come together with respect and fight that what we possibly have caused ourselves, we hope the sick will get better, we hope that those who die won’t die alone, we hope that we will learn from today to create a better tomorrow together. We pray for everybody, hoping that everybody will find the strength in them to help themselves and society, that everybody may find the strength to help others; we pray that our future decisions will overcome COVID 19.

We wish you all the best and good luck. We do believe that we as humanity, as a community, as a planet will come out of this stronger.

This newsletter has been in close deliberation with the all the various members of HFE UK, Spain, Netherland, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg and Finland who meet on Zoom and share their views, learnings, feelings and what needs to be done for our community.

Usefull Links:

  • Corona FAQ (Q&A) World Health Organisation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPITHEiFWLc&feature=youtu.be
  • Corona information English- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yuRgkuhD5c
  • Webcast Sabha for kids (age 8+)  – events.uk.baps.org/live – from 11:00-11:45  UK
  • Webcast Matru-Devo Bhava for mothers and young kids – events.uk.baps.org/live– from 11:50 : 12:20
  • Corona regulations The Netherlands – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CXWT9ohgdw
  • Corona prevention guide lines the Netherlands – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dutqIwEt78

Latest Updates as on 9th April 2020

EncAs of 09 April 2020, 665 778 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Spain (146 690), Italy (139 422), Germany (108 202), France (82 048), United Kingdom (60 733), Belgium (23 403), Netherlands (20 549), Portugal (13 141), Austria (12 969), Sweden (8 419), Ireland (6 224), Norway (6 010), Denmark (5 402), Czechia (5 312), Poland (5 205), Romania (4 761), Luxembourg (3 034), Finland (2 487), Greece (1 884), Iceland (1 616), Croatia (1 343), Estonia (1 185), Slovenia (1 091), Hungary (980), Lithuania (912), Slovakia (682), Bulgaria (593), Latvia (577), Cyprus (526), Malta (299) and Liechtenstein (79).

As of 09 April 2020, 59 508 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Italy (17 669), Spain (14 555), France (10 869), United Kingdom (7 097), Netherlands (2 248),

Belgium (2 240), Germany (2 107), Sweden (687), Portugal (380), Austria (273), Ireland (235), Denmark (218), Romania (209), Poland (159), Czechia (99), Greece (83), Norway (80), Hungary (66), Luxembourg (46), Finland (40), Slovenia (40), Bulgaria (24), Estonia (24), Croatia (19), Lithuania (15), Cyprus (14), Iceland (6), Latvia (2), Slovakia (2), Liechtenstein (1) and Malta (1).

EU/EEA and the UK Cases Deaths
Spain 146690 14555
Italy 139422 17669
Germany 108202 2107
France 82048 10869
United Kingdom 60733 7097
Belgium 23403 2240
Netherlands 20549 2248
Portugal 13141 380
Austria 12969 273
Sweden 8419 687
Ireland 6224 235
Norway 6010 80
Denmark 5402 218
Czechia 5312 99
Poland 5205 159
Romania 4761 209
Luxembourg 3034 46
Finland 2487 40
Greece 1884 83
Iceland 1616 6
Croatia 1343 19
Estonia 1185 24
Slovenia 1091 40
Hungary 980 66
Lithuania 912 15
Slovakia 682 2
Bulgaria 593 24
Latvia 577 2
Cyprus 526 14
Malta 299 1
Liechtenstein 79 1
Total 665778 59508
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