The King2 mins 116 2 mins 116
A king passed a rule in his kingdom which was to be followed by all citizens. The citizens who failed to follow the rule were to be punished. Some citizens violated the rule and were punished by the court of law (dharmasanam) present in the kingdom. Now, suppose these punished violators praise the king a lot and pray to him, will the king cancel their punishment using his supreme power? The other citizens who followed his rule were not punished, even though they never praised the king. Hence, the main point here is to follow the rule of the king. Whether citizens praise the king or not is immaterial.
If you replace the king with God and the kingdom with this entire world, you will be able to relate the above story to the present context. God has given the divine constitution called the Dharma Sastra, to humanity through ancient sages. Every soul is expected to follow that divine constitution of God. The constitution recommends doing certain meritorious deeds and prohibits sinful deeds.
If one does not do the meritorious deeds, one only misses some benefit like going to heaven. But if one commits sin, one faces inevitable punishment. The punishment includes being sent to hell after death and undergoing suffering there. But it also includes hell-like punishment here on earth, when the sin committed is highly intense (Atyutkaṭaiḥ papa puṇyaiḥ, ihaiva phalamasnute). The present calamity is punishment given by God to souls here on earth. Hence, it is indeed the result of the intense sins done by the souls in this world.
Following justice, doing meritorious deeds and not committing sin is the path of pravritti or worldly life. Devotion to God, which includes praising God, is the path of nivritti or spiritual life. A soul’s efforts in nivritti do not save the soul from the punishment of violating pravritti. Hence, praying to God will not stop this calamity, since it is the punishment for the sins committed by souls in worldly life (pravritti). Pravritti and nivritti are independent fields and nivritti never interferes with pravritti. Even if a soul is an atheist, but if he or she follows pravritti (worldly justice) strictly, the soul will not face any punishment. By avoiding sin, one certainly avoids the punishment of sin. Such a person will escape the infection even in the present epidemic.