The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti has dominated our thoughts. I recently came across some statistics which got me thinking about global disasters. Disraeli once said that there were three kinds of lies in this world - lies, damned lies and statistics! I agree in many cases, but I was satisfied by the integrity of this source and the relevance of the figures so I'll go ahead and post them anyway. We are 25 days into 2010 and so far this year...
- 74,000 people have committed suicide
- 505,000 people have died from cancer
- 84,000 people have died in a road accident
- 42,000 mothers have died while giving birth
- 210,000 people have died of hunger
(www.worldometers.info, Realtime Statistics Project)
If we broaden our vision (beyond simply what the media decides to cover as the 'issue of the day') we may find that we are actually living in one huge disaster zone. When they asked Srila Prabhupada why the death rate was so high in India, he replied with the greatest of clarity - "the death rate is the same everywhere - 100%." Nobody makes it out of this world alive.
The Haiti disaster reminds us of the cruel realities of this world and the pain of seeing people suffer. Maybe that's something we could reflect upon every day. The Haiti disaster impels us to come out of our comfort zone, make some sacrifice (time, money, resources) for the upliftment of others. Maybe that's a sentiment we could consider cultivating everyday. Truth be told, this entire world is a disaster zone. The Vedic scriptures define a real spiritualist - one who is unable to tolerate the sufferings of others. We pray the victims of the Haiti earthquake find peace. We also the pray the millions of other suffering souls in this world will find the same.