New Delhi/Coimbatore: At a time when the whole world is grappling with an unprecedented global crisis - COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of Sadhguru, founder, Isha Foundation, has been on trying to mitigate the problems faced by the marginalised section of the society in Tamil Nadu. Isha Outreach’s efforts include distribution of protective gear to frontline workers, infrastructure support for isolation wards and a daily supply of cooked meals and an immunity booster drink to thousands of people. The renowned Indian yogi, mystic, visionary and philanthropist who has dedicated himself to the elevation of the physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of all people has contributed more than Rs 9 crore, raised through auctioning of his paintings, towards COVID relief.

‘Bhairava’, the eponymous tribute to Isha’s iconic bull by Sadhguru, was donated to the highest contributor to Isha’s Outreach initiative at close of online bidding on Sunday. ‘Bhairava’ painting was put up for online auction a month ago. Donating Rs 5.1 crore, the contributor became the owner of the unique artwork by Sadhguru that has been created entirely with organic material.

This is the second artwork that Sadhguru has contributed to Isha Outreach’s efforts. ‘‘Our efforts to provide nourishment to daily wagers in rural India who have no other means, is expanding into thousands of people every day. In this effort to generate funds for feeding the underprivileged, this painting is an offering,’’ said Sadhguru.

‘Bhairava’ is Sadhguru’s tribute to Isha’s much-loved bull who passed away in April. Sadhguru used cow dung as a backdrop for the artwork that has been created using charcoal, turmeric and limestone.

On 30 April, Sadhguru’s abstract painting titled ‘To Live Totally!’ (5 x 5 ft canvas) went under the hammer and fetched Rs 4.14 crore for Isha’s pandemic relief. The money was to be used for Isha’s pandemic relief efforts in rural Tamil Nadu around Isha Yoga Centre. The proceeds from both the paintings will enable Isha Outreach's #BeatTheVirus campaign to continue its ongoing daily meal distribution.

Sadhguru had announced at a sathsang that “whoever donates the maximum amount for the #BeattheVirus fund, will get the painting,” adding that “smaller copies of the painting” will also be available for buyers. #BeattheVirus is Isha’s on-ground campaign to prevent the pandemic from entering the villages of Thondamuthur block which has over 2 lakh residents.

Every day, a taskforce of nearly 700 Isha volunteers deliver freshly cooked meals prepared in decentralized kitchens along with Nilavembu Kashayam, an immunity booster drink to the villages. Besides daily nourishment, volunteers are supporting administration efforts in awareness generation, supply of essentials, and equipping frontline workers and first responders with protective equipment.  A standby isolation ward has been set up by the local administration in the Pooluvapatti Primary Health Center (PHC). Isha is supporting the ward with medical infrastructure and other essentials.

The pandemic has paralysed rural economies and left hundreds of thousands in rural India without livelihood. A majority of the rural population are daily wagers, who have been the hardest hit with the nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of the pandemic.

 

“Though the government and the administrations are doing much to reach out to the poorest of the poor in society, still many shall fall through the cracks. It is the responsibility of every citizen to ensure nobody goes into starvation mode,” said Sadhguru.

 

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March this year. The outbreak was first detected late last year in Wuhan, China, and spread rapidly around the world, bringing major economies to their knees and forcing several nations to enforce total lockdowns.

Tamil Nadu is one of India’s red states with over a lakh people infected by the virus. Its capital city, Chennai, has over 60,000 positive cases and had till recently been under strict lockdown with curfew imposed in several areas. The administration has gone all out to contain the spread of the virus in the state with healthcare professionals, security forces, sanitation workers and health department officials working round the clock. In his online Tamil Guru Purnima address yesterday, Sadhguru appealed to citizens to “take a pledge” that they will strictly adhere to distancing norms and prevent further spread of the virus.

The pandemic has already infected more than 10 million people worldwide, including more than 500,000 deaths. According to the latest WHO numbers, as of 5:30am IST on Saturday, the total infected population worldwide had reached 10,922,324, including 523,011 deaths.