The COVID 19, aka Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 has been one of the most devastating events in recent history, eliciting a multi-pronged response from the global mainstream society guided by standard Western practices. As a western trained Emergency Physician and Epidemiologist trained in Infectious Disease, I have been following this epidemic closely from its infancy. The potential for a pandemic was quickly apparent. As a disciple of the supreme pontiff of ShriKailasa HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam I have been similarly following the response to the epidemic by ShriKailasa.
While this response from ShriKailasa would be highly unorthodox by western standards, I have known HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam long enough to suspend all disbelief. Previous research which has been conducted by various doctors and other scientists as well as myself has elicited frankly surprising findings and has proven a scientific legitimacy to vedic techniques even when measured by Western modalities. I have personally seen the powerful effects of yogic techniques and concepts which can be easily measured and reproduced. This gives me cause for consideration that there is likely a scientific legitimacy to the vedic response to this pandemic.
The 2019-2020 Coronavirus Pandemic is caused by an agent known as SARS-CoV-2, also COVID-19, and commonly referred to as Coronavirus. The family of viruses known as Coronavirus has been well known in virology since the 1960s. These viruses affect both humans and animals. In humans they were historically associated with mild URI sx and the common cold and not known to be dangerous. Since 2000 three different novel members of Coronavirus family affecting humans with high mortality rates have been discovered. First was the SARS virus, then the MERS virus, and now COVID, which is commonly called Coronavirus. It was first described on November 17, 2019. The virus was identified and sequenced by December 17, 2019.
The epicenter of the global pandemic was Wuhan China, and the outbreak was initially linked to a market where various species of exotic wild animals are sold for meat. Due to the zoonotic nature of many types of Coronavirus (ie many types of this virus affect animals) it was postulated that an animal form had come into contact with humans through the market and mutated to then primarily affect humans. In early 2020 the international community became increasingly concerned about the pandemic, noting a mortality rate around 3.5%. By March 11th with cases all over the world it was declared as a global pandemic by the WHO.
The response to the virus has been initially slow in China and many other countries due to concerns about negative attention and a desire not to disrupt local economies. As the scale of the epidemic became evident increasingly Draconian interventions have been implemented to control it. In the area around Wuhan, by late 2019, travel bans were instituted and throughout China major events were cancelled. As the epidemic progressed, China was able to implement aggressive measures to control what was a raging epidemic. Mass quarantine was put into effect. People who tested positive were put into quarantine centers outside of their homes, people were made to have CT scans performed en mass for screening; most people were confined to their homes in affected areas for weeks at a time. Meanwhile hospitals at the epicenter were rapidly overwhelmed, contributing to high death rates, and mobile hospitals with massive capacity were built. The efforts proved successful ultimately, and COVID was contained in Wuhan China by mid-march.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has been exploding throughout the rest of the world. Major subsequent epicenters developed in Iran, Italy, then later Spain, France, and now a number of epicenters have evolved in the United States. At the time of this writing, nearly 500,000 cases have been confirmed, with many more cases that have not been confirmed, and over 22,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html). Much of the world has been put under various forms of quarantine, lockdown, shelter in place orders. This has created economic global devastation. Hospitals in affected areas in Europe and the United States have been overwhelmed with critically ill patients requiring ventilation and critical care. Patients are now dying due to lack of resources even in the most resource intensive environments like New York City.
One thing that is striking about this pandemic is how India has been relatively spared. India is directly adjacent to China and has a massive population of approximately 1.3 billion people living in close proximity. Despite these seemingly dangerous characteristics, as of the time of writing there are only 694 confirmed cases and 14 deaths in India. Since the population of India is predominantly Hindu, it is worth considering how traditional Hindu practices may have a protective effect. Since the epidemic has been attributed to an animal meat market, the vegetarian lifestyle of most Hindus is highlighted. Viruses originating from animals would be less likely to spread to humans in this manner in a vegetarian based society. In this case however the virus was already adapted to a human host, so practices outside of vegetarianism have to be considered. The traditional Hindu greeting of Namaste, with hands bent in prayer position, prevents spread of virus through direct contact. This is in contrast to handshakes and marked contrast to the greeting by kissing of cheeks: this specific practice has been linked to the high rates of spread in north Italy. Many have advocated that the world take up the Namaste greeting at this time, a nod to a tradition Hindus have held for many thousands of years. Other traditional Hindu practices of frequent bathing, maintaining interpersonal distance, and avoiding sharing dishes may be helping to prevent Coronavirus spread as well.
Many Hindus have made various spiritual efforts as well to control the virus. These efforts may not be studied, appreciated or understood by mainstream science; this does not necessarily mean that they lack scientific validity. The efforts by ShriKailasa, have been nothing short of remarkable. While they are highly orthodox, they are worth reviewing for a couple of reasons. One is that the spiritual techniques taught by HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam have already been scientifically validated time after time. From increased mitochondrial activity to changes in gene expression to increased stem cell levels, various extremely positive biochemical effects have been demonstrated in connection to his spiritual techniques. Several articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Much other research which has not been published shows findings that defy conventional scientific explanation. ShriKailasa has a track record of scientifically validated spiritual techniques. Another reason these efforts are worth looking at is that, to date, to our knowledge, there are no reported cases of Coronavirus amongst members of ShriKailasa sangha. This community number tens of thousands all over the world, including a number of highly affected areas, so the absence of cases is increasingly remarkable.
In a satsang relayed through the internet globally to his disciples and devotees, HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam offered his recommendations to kailasas to protect from the Coronavirus epidemic. First he recommended all his devotees disciples comply fully with public health strategies put in place where they resided. In addition he recommended that they implement 4 vedic strategies from March 13th through April 4th. The first was Paccha Pattini Vratham, a specific restricted diet connected with the goddess Devi, and related to a festival known as Masi Magham. For this diet, people consume largely jaggery water, dahl, buttermilk, and coconut water. The second intervention is called Akhanda Mahavakya Japa, chanting of a specific mantra. At various times large number of devotees have gathered to perform this chant over teleconferencing. While it may seem difficult to connect these chants to protection from a virus, preliminary research (unpublished) has linked this mantra to increased gamma wave activity on EEG. Gamma waves have been shown to activate the immune system in other disease processes, for example reversing the pathology of Alzheimers Dementia. It is plausible that other immunomodulating effects could be protective from infection.
The third and fourth strategies that HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam recommended have been even less studied. They are the traditional Hindu practices of fire walking and lemon piercing. When allowed by law, he recommended that his disciples and devotees undertake these practices specifically to protect from infection. In fire walking the devotee or disciple walks across a 11 ft bed of hot coals. In lemon piercing a needle is passed through a lemon and then into the skin of the devotee. He states that both of these practices stimulate the immune system as well, and that those who undertake these practices would be protected from Coronavirus. At the physiological level stimuli like piercing, particularly with organic acids from lemons, and exposure to extreme heat seen in fire walking certainly could stimulate immune function; rigorous research has yet to be done. The previous remarkable scientific findings from vedic practices and the fact that exactly zero devotees or disciples of HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam have been affected to date both support the idea that these recommendations have merit.
In addition to protecting his sangha, HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam has declared that not only should his sangha take responsibility for keeping themselves well, they should take responsibility for global health. He declared that these spiritual techniques, though intangible, would heal the world from Coronavirus altogether. The mainstream scientific community is predicting that various forms of quarantine will be necessary for 12-18 months, and that the Coronavirus will become a seasonal pathogen affecting humans indefinitely. ShriKailasa will be closely watching the trends in disease incidence and mortality. Should there be a shocking and unexpected end to the epidemic, devotees and disciples will be clear that HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam has healed the world. The scientific community may find this unfathomable. However the individual scientists who wake up to the possibilities of Vedic science and commit serious study to the works of HDH Nithyananda Paramashivam will find out differently. When Vedic sciences and mainstream science finally merge, phenomenon like this will be better understood and the world’s population will benefit tremendously. The Rishis of the Vedic sciences have been setting the pace for thousands of years; it is fast becoming time for mainstream scientists to catch up.
About the author: Peter Bloomfield MD MPH is a practicing Emergency Physician who obtained his MPH in Epidemiology/Infectious disease and practices both as an academic professor and in community hospitals.