The word “kovida” appears in a celebrated verse from the Bhagavata-Purana:
“Those who are intelligent and philosophically inclined (kovida) should endeavour for that which is beyond the material world. Happiness derived from material sources is obtained automatically, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them” (Paraphrased, SB 1.5.18)
Just as COVID-19 appeared without any invitation, our allotted material happiness, prosperity and well-being automatically appears according to the karmic cycle. That’s not to say we don’t endeavour determinedly and act dutifully, but it does mean we understand that, on the material level, whatever will be, will be – que sera sera. This being the case, we need a spiritual compass to navigate the course of life which is riddled with surprises beyond our control?
1) Adjust your expectation – false expectations will bring great frustrations. We’re not designed to control the world, so don’t be surprised when things don’t go to plan. If something can go wrong it will – expect the unexpected. Disempowering? Not really, because the good news is that happiness is not outside of us. Contentment in life is not based on controlling the external world, but rather on conquering the inner world. We don’t have to wait for a change around us to find peace within ourselves.
2) Accept your situation – every external situation can bring internal growth. Properly digested experiences will nourish us with strength, wisdom, humility and powerful insight. The unexpected occurrences are part of a master plan to reconfigure our consciousness. We only have to learn some acceptance and stop fighting, denying, or cursing a situation. Our gut reaction is to blame others, blame the stars, blame the government or blame God. In the blame game, however, we end up staying the same.
3) Aspire for connection – in the midst of the unpredictability and rollercoaster ride of life, we need a permanent anchor. By rooting ourselves in the spiritual reality, we learn to view life’s occurrences on the backdrop of eternity. Come what may, success or failure, fortune or frustration, highs or lows, our spiritual status remains unharmed and untouched. This connection is known as “yoga,” a process which reconnects us to the eternal HQ. In the world but not of it.
Let the mantra become part of you: adjust your expectation, accept your situation, and aspire for connection.[ distress ] [ expectation ] [ happiness ] [ kovida ]