I am a practicing Hindu and an Indian at heart. I like to share the good things passed on to Hindus since 100's of generations
How does Hinduism Help in Preventing Diseases like the Coronavirus?
Most of you may already be knowing the fact that Hinduism is the oldest religion known to mankind. But most of you may not know that it is by far the most scientific religion known to mankind. In this article we will talk about 5 Hindu practices and their link to health and prevention of diseases like the coronavirus. We will discuss about different aspects of life, right from greeting someone to cooking to cremating the loved ones after their death. At every step of life you will find science behind the Hindu beliefs and practices. I was curious to know more about Hindu rituals and found this book very helpful: Hinduism - Ritual, Reason and Beyond
1. Namaste instead of a handshake!
Back in 2016 when I lived in Buenos Aires, many South Americans asked me this question as to why don't Indians greet someone warmly like the South Americans do. They had objections with the Namaste (joining both the palms together to greet someone) style greeting. I could understand their reaction, especially when the people from this region greet each other with a kiss or tight hug or a handshake. But today when I look at it, the Namaste makes so much sense! It ensures that you greet person with due respect and at the same time ensure that you do not pass on any contagious disease to the other person. Our ancestors must have cleverly decided this way of greeting, especially when we consider the fact that medical facilities in ancient times were very limited and prevention was the only way.
2. Hindu way of cooking and eating food
In Hinduism, there is great emphasis on the way you cook and eat food. Eating animal meat raw is a strict no! Apart from chicken and goat, no other animal meat is encouraged. The reasons why our ancestors chose this way of life is now evident when we have diseases like the coronavirus and the swine flu spreading in humans due to eating of wild animals in countries like China. Other Hindu eating habits include use of garlic, turmeric, ginger and other spices in the daily food. If one goes into the details of a typical Hindu curry recipe, he will find that most of these spices either aid digestion or improve the immune system. Even the Indian tea (chai in local language) is full of spices which improve the immunity. Here's one such tea recipe from India and its health benefits: https://hubpages.com/food/Garlic-Ginger-Tea-Recipe-Health-Benefits. When it comes to the kitchen practices in Hinduism, it is forbidden to cook without taking shower. I still remember my grandparents asking us not to eat anything in the morning until we had shower. It makes so much sense today to follow these practices in the kitchens not just at home but also in the restaurants,hotels and the workplaces!
3. Tulsi- The Holy Basil Worship
The vedic sages of Hinduism knew the benefits of tulsi (also known as the holy basil).They called it the "Elixir of Life" and set a practice of worshiping the Tulsi plant daily. Every Hindu household has a tulsi plant kept in the east direction (east because of the direction of sun) of the house. Hindus worship this plant daily first thing in the morning after shower by watering it. Also they chew a tulsi leaf daily. The Tulsi leaf is a great immunity booster and can help in preventing diseases like the coronavirus in the long run. Some of the health benefits of Tulsi are listed below:
- Tulsi may relieve symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, colds, congestion, coughs, flu, sinusitis, sore throat, and similar ailments.
- Regular consumption of tulsi may lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
- It also helps in preventing ulcers, arthritis, asthama and other breathing problems.
4. Shoes Outside the House Please!
While it is common in the western world to wear shoes inside the house, If you ever happen to visit a Hindu family, a common practice followed is to keep your footwear outside the house (mostly at a corner near the main door). The idea here is again to practice hygiene and avoid outside germs, bacteria and viruses stuck to your footwear being carried to the house. The same practice is followed in the temples and other religious places. It certainly helps in preventing contagious diseases.
5. Burning the dead instead of burying
When the coronavirus broke out in China, the first thing many medical experts suggested was to burn the dead instead of burying to avoid spread of the virus. While this may be something new to the Chinese but Hinduism has been following this since thousands of years. Not just this but before carrying the body to cremation center, Hinduism suggests to wash the body with hot water to avoid spreading any viruses or bacteria that the dead body may carry. Also after the cremation ceremony when a person returns home, it is forbidden for him/her to enter the house without taking a shower outside at the doorstep. Now this may sound strange but again it has science behind it. The purpose is to avoid passing on any possible infection or germs or viruses from the cremation center to your loved ones.
To conclude, I would say that if you understand and follow the science behind religion, the world would be a better place to live in!
Do you agree?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Shrikant Jadhav