Prayer is not the only way to freedom from suffering. Many people, both new age and traditional are praying for the welfare of the planet.

Prayer has its place say the sages but so does practical action. The latter is also prayer and meditation though I personally think practical action at a time like this, the COVID crisis, is more important than sitting and letting your mind wander, which sadly to say is what many of us do when we meditate. You may be the exception, so do let me know if you are.. would love to meet you.

Action in this time of crisis is necessary. The world or the individual is always in some sort of crisis but COVID is a huge one affecting all.

It is said in Ayurveda, that we should help those who are suffering in the following way

‘Those who have no means of livelihood, who are suffering from disease and who are afflicted with grief should be helped to the utmost extent( to get over their troubles). ‘ Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutra Sthana. chapter 2, verse 27.

Furthermore, it is said that

‘’Beggars should not be disappointed, abused or objected to.’’ Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutra Sthana chapter 2, verse 24.

Interestingly these verses come in the chapter on daily routine for prevention of disease.

So one could say helping others could increase our immunity.

There is much more advice on healthy conduct to ward off diseases.

I have chosen these two as these seem to be the most poignant and more applicable right now. Selflessness is also mentioned.

At the end of the chapter, it is written that those who follow the rules of ethical conduct given will have a long, happy, healthy life.

I am not saying prayers don’t help as prayers are an integral part of the universal knowledge systems entrenched in the Vedas and for that matter in most religious or spiritual traditions. Prayer is a more subtle form of healing for oneself and the universe at large.

What is prayer though? A dialogue with or request/plea to the higher powers for healing or begetting something.

Some say, praying is only effective when u are at the end of your tether and begging to the almighty from the bottom of your heart. Others say it is an affirmation of sorts. Whatever it may be to you, then do it with full conviction.

I am a believer that prayer done with as much positive, selfless action as you are able will make some change. And do remember that action is no lesser a prayer.

Communication with the almighty has many shapes and forms. The more heart in the communication the more effective the prayer.

It is my Ayurveda and Yoga Guru, Vaidya Vasudevan, who emphasized that I read Sutra Sthana of Ashtanga Hridayam to understand all the basic principles of Ayurveda and it is he, who imparted this wisdom to me through his lineage.

When you study from a genuine lineage of Ayurveda, the wisdom imparted is more authentic and powerful.

Renu Gulati

Born and raised in the UK, Renu Gulati is the founder of Stree, a women's empowerment and heal the earth initiative.

She had a keen interest in natural products and holistic healing from a young age. In the UK, Renu worked extensively in the area of women’s empowerment  She is an Ayurveda lifestyle and diet consultant, teaches cooking classes along with running a women's empowerment program – STREE.