Quotes from sastra about Material Lamentation, Grief and Depression

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Gangadhara das: Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Here are some quotes from sastra about material lamentation, grief and depression

Material Lamentation, Grief and Depression

Causes and Consequences

1. The mind is the root cause of lust, anger, pride, greed, lamentation, illusion and fear. Combined, these constitute bondage to fruitive activity. What learned man would put faith in the mind (Sukadeva Gosvami; SB 5.6.5)?

2. One’s kingdom, military power, treasury, servants, ministers, friends and relatives are all causes of fear, illusion, lamentation and distress. They are like a gandhara-nagara, a non-existent palace that one imagines to exist in the forest. Because they are impermanent, they are no better than illusions, dreams and mental concoctions (Angira Rsi to King Citraketu; SB 6.5.21-23).

3. Indulgence in grief destroys one’s personal beauty, duration of life, prosperity and virtue. One who constantly dwells upon his misfortune loses all enthusiasm, mental equilibrium, and bodily strength. In this way he meets with total defeat in life (Bhisma; Mahabharata Santi-Parva, p. 602).

4.When one’s higher awareness fails and finally disappears and one is thus unable to concentrate his attention, his mind is ruined and manifests ignorance and depression. You should understand this situation to be the predominance of the mode of ignorance (Lord Krsna to Uddhava; SB 11.25.18).

5. Do not yield to depression, for it corrodes one’s good intelligence (Arjuna to Maharaja Yuddhisthira; Mahabharata Sabha-Parva, p.124).

6. Moroseness is a great impediment to action (Lord Krsna to Arjuna; Mahabharata Drona-Parva, p.438).

7. When on falls down from proper behavior then he becomes victimized by grief. Such sorrow is very destructive for it takes away one’s natural beauty, it diminishes one’s strength and energy, it clouds one’s understanding and it causes disease (Vidura; Mahabharata Udyoga-Parva, p. 334).

8. If one puts a hot iron rod into a pot of water, the water also becomes hot. In the same way the burning of mental grief brings on innumerable bodily miseries (Saunaka to Maharaja Yudhisthira; Mahabharata Vana-Parva, p. 143).

9. You cannot diminish misery by obsessively dwelling on it. Such indulgences only serve to magnify one’s grief (Vidura to Dhrtarastra; Mahabharata Stri-Parva, p. 541).


10. O ocean of mercy, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! Let there be an awakening of Your auspicious mercy, which easily drives away all kinds of material lamentation by making everything pure and blissful (Svarupa Damodara Gosvami; Cc Madhya 10.119).

11. By discussing spiritual knowledge one can conquer lamentation and illusion (Narada Muni; SB 7.15.23).

12. While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead (Lord Krsna; Bg 2.11).

13. How is it that, even though you yourself are an object of pity, you are grieving for the condition of another. Soon, others will lament on account of your death, and then later on, these people will cause still others to lament when they pass away. You are falsely lamenting for the condition of the body because you fail to understand that the real person is eternal and unchanging (Bhisma to Maharaja Yudhisthira; Mahabharata Santi-Parva, p. 593).

14. Carefully consider the position of the atma. In other words, try to understand who you are ‚Äď whether body, mind or soul. Consider where you have come from, where you are going after giving up this body, and why you are under the control of material lamentation. Try to understand your real position in this way, and then you will be able to give up your unnecessary attachment. You will also be able to give up the belief that this material world, or anything not directly in touch with service to Krsna, is eternal. Thus you will attain peace (Angira Rsi to King Citraketu; SB 6.15.26).

15. That which is universal or unavoidable should not be grieved for (Vidura to Dhrtarastra; Mahabharata Stri-Parva, p. 541).

16. Mentalgrief is one of the main causes of bodily illness. For this reason a good physician always allays the mental suffering of a patient by giving good instructions and offering desirable objects before administering any medicine…Just as water can put out fire, so mental distress can be quickly dispelled by enlightenment of real knowledge (Saunaka to Maharaja Yudhisthira; Mahabharata Vana-Parva, p. 143).

17. One who is … transcendentally situated… never laments or desires to have anything (Lord Krsna; Bg 18.54).

18. One who neither rejoices nor grieves, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things ‚Äď such a devotee is very dear to Me (Lord Krsna; Bg 12.17).

19. When one has fallen into a very distressed condition of life, being bereft of friends, family, wealth and reputation, he should practice fortitude and not give way to grief under any circumstance If a distressed person remains fixed and undisturbed, he can easily regain his position when the next opportunity arises (Bhisma; Mahabharata Santi-Parva, p. 602).

20. One should never indulge in excessive affection or concern for anyone or anything; otherwise one will have to experience great suffering, just like the foolish pigeon (the Avadhuta Brahmana to King Yadu; SB 11.7.53).

21. It is very foolish for a person to become proud of his prosperity, because all positions within the material world are reversed in due course of time…You should cast off your false pride and the great attachment which you have for the objects of affection. If you do this, then you shall also be able to bear the great burden of grief when your hour of misfortune arrives. Grief is useless for it never dispels an adverse condition. Patience and forbearance are what is required, for everything can be attained in Time’s due course (Bali Maharaja to King Indra; Mahabharata Santi-Parva, p. 602).

22. You should not allow yourself to become overly aggrieved on account of your suffering. Not only you, but everyone is working under the direction of the Supreme Controller, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and nothing can take place without His sanction. Because we are all controlled living beings, no one should become proud of his God-gifted strength or abilities, nor should one become angry at life’s reverses. Our duty is just to remain on the path of virtue in all circumstances, and in that way our success is guaranteed (Markandeya Rsi to Maharaja Yudhisthira; Mahabharata Vana-Parva, p.154).

23. The Supreme Lord says: ‚ÄúI have arranged so much misery, pain, trouble and danger, not to make you suffer, but to teach you that all this misery is unnecessary; so you will search for that happiness which is eternally desirable, the joy that is eternally adorable‚ÄĚ (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura; Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur, p.94).

24. One who earnestly waits for you to bestow your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim (Lord Brahma; SB 10.14.8).

25. You should understand this essential fact: life is temporary and filled with various kinds of miseries. Therefore carefully take shelter of the holy name and remain always engaged in His service as your eternal occupation (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura; Arunodaya kirtana).


Quotes from the Mahabharata are from ‚ÄúShrila Vyasadeva‚Äôs Mahabharata, Summarized byPurnaprajna das‚ÄĚ (New Jaipur Press, 1998).

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