If there is a terrible wind storm does it matter if the cause is the ocean, global warming, or a conspiracy of mad scientists who want to destroy people by installing huge wind machines? Vaishnavas see the immediate cause as material nature, the secondary cause as karma, and the ultimate cause as Krishna. If this virus was made in a lab (and maybe it was), does it change anything? Someone may spend their whole life going down that rabbit hole of investigation and at the end still may not know for 100% what the immediate cause was. The only result would be a wasted life.

Blaming others for our suffering is the mentality of external persons. It is the mentality of Ravan and Kamsa who felt that there was some kind of conspiracy against them, yet were unable to see their destruction as the result of their own misdeeds.

Contrast that with the mentality of Dharma the bull. When Maharaja Parikshit asked him who broke his legs, (even though Kali, who did it, was standing in front of him), Dharma replied, "Well, it’s hard to say. Some people blame material nature, others see it as a result of their own deeds, yet others see it as coming from the Lord." From his words, Parikshit Maharaja could understand that the bull was a great personality.

Similarly, when Vasudev met Kunti at Kuruksetra he asked her who did all these things to her. Kunti could have correctly said that there was a conspiracy with Duryodhana, Dhrtarastra, Karna and others. She could have said, "They conspired to kill my son Bhima with poison, they conspired to kill us in a burning house, there was a conspiracy to cheat my sons in the gambling match, etc, etc, etc, but she didn’t. She saw it as the hand and mercy of the Lord.

Last night I had the good fortune of having a discussion with a learned and saintly sadhu. I very much appreciated his perspective. He told me that this epidemic was the collective karma of the world primarily due to the sin of cow killing. He said that over the years this viral epidemic had been predicted by many Vedic astrologers and seers. He said that according to them, it is a time of purification for the world. While for saintly persons it is a time of test; where will we look for the cause of our problems? Whose conception will we follow? Will we eat from the mental plate of angry non-devotee conspiracy theorists, or will we take shelter of the Gītā, the Bhāgavatam, and the holy name? Whether we like it or not the world is going through a very heavy time. And according to many Vedic astrologers it’s going to get worse the next year or two with likely economic collapse, possible starvation, and even war.

I respect the many devotees who are concerned about exposing the conspiracy they consider to be going on. And again, the conspiracy may be real, but with all respect, anger and criticising devotees for being "blind sheep", is not going to help anything. There is no shelter in that.

Whatever caused the wind we should deal with it and see the lesson in it that Krishna has for us. What does it matter which direction the wind is coming from?

My pranams to all of the dear devotees of the Lord in all the many different lines they come in. This is the time for us to repay the debt we have to our guru-janas, to Srila Prabhupada, to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Vedic literature. The world desperately needs enlightened Vaishnavas to teach by their example how to deal with the current and coming crises’. We have been accepted and given mercy by great souls, now is a test, now is the time for us to repay that debt.

Vaiṣṇava-kṛpā-prārthī, Madhavananda Das.