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Curing Depression with Spirituality

Friday, 05 October 2018 / Published in Articles, Nandanandana das / 16,868 views

By Sri Nandanandana das (Stephen Knapp)

Depression, according to recent statistics, is practically an epidemic, with over 70 million people suffering from its affects, such as a feeling of moroseness, uselessness, lack of energy, inability to sleep, and a poor attitude toward life in general, among other symptoms. Depression causes a pessimistic view of things. It also discourages enthusiasm and stifles one’s initiative. It may also produce despair and bring about sickness in the mind and body. It can make one resort to rash and thoughtless actions that a person may later regret. Much of the time such thoughts are completely unnecessary. Thus, it is imperative that we help cure depression so that people can live with more happiness, ingenuity, energy, and are thus able to reach a higher potential in life. The reason for depression may be different for each person, and there are a variety of causes. So it must be analyzed and understood. So what can we do to help cure such an attitude, as long as it is not a biological problem?

Spiritually, there are many ways to help take care of this condition. So let us take a deeper look at this.

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

Physical, Biological or Medical Factors

1. There are physical factors such as digestive problems, diabetes, anemia, or other diseases which cause discomfort. This will naturally cause a lackluster mental disposition. Having parasites is another biological factor that will deplete a person of their energy and well-being.

2. Sometimes the diet will also cause depression. There may be a lack of vitamins and proper nutrition. Or there may be too much of something, like sugar, which can also cause highs and lows in blood sugar levels which will certainly create changing mood shifts.

3. There is also the depression that new mothers may feel right after giving birth to a child. The hormones are often quite imbalanced at that time and a new mother may feel a multitude of changing feelings about things.

4. A weak nervous system, or overwork and tension are also causes of a depleted mental disposition. And a negative attitude itself can cause further digression in one’s outlook on life.

External Factors

1. It is often seen that something as simple as the weather or a cloudy day can cause melancholy and depression.

2. One’s social status that may be viewed as unsatisfactory may also cause one to feel dejected.

3. Sometimes a young girl in one ethnic group may be attracted to a boy from another group and then be very depressed and disappointed because such an arrangement would never be approved by the parents.

4. Having a husband that forces the wife to be or remain alienated from their surroundings or from family and society will also cause loneliness and depression in such a woman. This is also found amongst certain ethnic groups or religions.

5. Associating with other negative people or listening to music with dark lyrics or messages, will also cause a person to have a most negative outlook.

6. Being a victim of a burglary or robbery, or losing everything in a fire, tornado, hurricane, or similar causes.

Psychological or Emotional Factors

1. There may also be the recollection of bad habits or mistakes that we wish we could have corrected or had never done that still haunt our memory with guilt.

2. Emotions that are aroused such as anger, revenge, jealousy, and envy will also affect a morbid state of mind.

3. The inability to face difficulties or worries about the future can also bring depression. Unnecessary fear and anxiety will also cause despair.

Metaphysical Factors

1. Other unknown causes such as curses that have been cast can affect one negatively.

2. There are other subtle influences, such as ghostly beings, that may affect a person in the wrong way.

3. Disappointment in, or the perceived neglect from, one’s spiritual master or religious organization that a person may belong to if things do not go well, can also cause deep scars and depression that can affect a person for years.

These are a few of the causes that may bring about a feeling of depression or misery in a person. And what is worse, if the depression is not remedied, then it can escalate to feelings of suicide. When a person in despair feels that all of their basic defenses are broken and there is no one to turn to, nor can they find a comforting voice to console or support them, then they may conclude that there is no way out but through death. If their cry for help is not heard or seems to be ignored, or if they do not know where to find help, then suicide may be considered as a last resort. But it must be understood that suicide is never the end. And suicide, and the state of mind that one has to compel one to commit suicide, is never a way for progressing into the next realm. Death is never the final act. It only opens the door to additional challenges that must be met or endured, depending on how one leaves their body.

SUICIDE AND THE REACTIONS THAT FOLLOW

Depression is very common today, and almost everyone goes through it at some point in life. Many are not able to overcome this negative state of mind. They seek medical and psychiatric treatment, and in extreme cases even resort to suicide, thinking that such a step will solve all of their problems or allow them to escape from life.

All the Vedic scriptures and sages of the East and the West have vehemently condemned the act of suicide. They declare emphatically that absolutely nothing is solved or gained by getting rid of the physical body by force. On the other hand, the results of suicide are disastrous in the extreme.

Scientists and psychologists today, researching in psychic phenomena, have corroborated some of the teachings of the sages. The sages state that at the time when the soul is to depart from the body, the dying person sees, as on a cinema screen, all the actions done by him during the present lifetime, from childhood up to the moment of death. And from all these varied scenes, the most prominent one arrests and engages the soul’s attention, and the soul leaves the physical body in that state of consciousness.

If there is intense attachment to someone or something, then the soul will depart with that person’s image in mind. Intense hatred means that the hated person’s image will remain in the mind as the predominant thought or image at the time of death.

A person who had been strongly addicted to liquor and drugs will leave the body with thoughts of liquor and drugs, or the desire for more intoxication. Sometimes they leave the body while under the influence of intoxicants, which has a most regressive affect on entering the next realm. On the other hand, a person who had lead a pious and virtuous life, with thoughts of God, will depart from the body with thoughts of God. The last thoughts determine the conditions and nature of the next birth. This is what the sages have said about the phenomenon of death.

This argument seems reasonable because the last dominant thought in our mind at the time when we just drop off to sleep can often be the thought that dominates our mind the next morning. It is for this reason that we are advised to sing the Divine Names of God or hymns at the time of death in order to focus the attention of the dying person on holy and noble thoughts.

It is needless to add that if the soul departs from the body with thoughts of anger, hatred, jealousy, worry and fear, or in a state of great mental turmoil, then such thoughts and agitation will be carried over and immediately experienced in that realm also. In fact, this state of mind will help determine which realm we go to next. That is why sages say that suicide does not solve anything whatsoever. On the contrary, it makes the condition of the soul much worse.

They give an analogy to explain this truth. When we experience a nightmare during sleep, we wake up abruptly with a shock. But we feel a sense of relief at the same time, because the consciousness has rushed back to the refuge of the physical body. In suicide the soul does not have a physical body to return to as in the case of a nightmare. Hence, it undergoes great misery and suffering, perhaps more than during its sojourn in the physical body. Furthermore, it is said that such a soul has to roam about as a ghost for a long time contemplating his misfortune for the foolishness of killing himself. Plus, you also leave others, such as parents or your children and friends, in so much pain as you leave them behind to suffer your absence, losing you, wondering what went wrong. This is also your responsibility for which you are accountable.

As the body is a precious instrument given to us by God for realizing Him, forcefully discarding it will bring adverse reactions. The repercussions may last for a long time and the soul may encounter unfavorable conditions for many births. Hence under no circumstance should one resort to this most thoughtless and rash action of suicide. You never know where life is going to take you, so please hang on and find out. Often times we take things too seriously. Life is but an adventure if we can just detach ourselves a little bit. The only thing that really matter is how much spiritual development you make in this life. Everything else will pass.

BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE

Adversities, trials, difficulties, calamities, diseases, afflictions, pains and sufferings are all blessings in disguise. They strengthen the will and increase the power of endurance. They turn the mind more and more towards God. They instill in us discrimination and dispassion. They draw out all our latent faculties. They force us to perform even beyond our ability. They develop all the talents and capacities lying dormant within us. As it is often said, if it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger. It is often the reversals or challenges in life that draw out of us many of the abilities that we never knew we had.

It is easy to bask in the sunshine of prosperity. The crucial test is your reaction under adversity and hardship. God wants us to enjoy eternal bliss and peace. For this purpose the body and mind have to be thoroughly purified and strengthened, then they may be able to bear the pressure of His matchless bliss and peace. This process of purification and strengthening cannot be affected without one confronting adverse conditions and circumstances.

Furthermore, nature’s law of cause and effect operates with relentless precision. Many of the difficulties that we encounter in life are but paybacks or lessons that we need to learn because of past karma. The wise and discriminative person will allow the effects of his past actions to bear fruit by meeting all the conditions of life with patience, good cheer, calmness and faith in God.

HOW TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION

In spite of what a person who is suffering depression may think, it is actually very easy to overcome depression from a spiritual point of view. It is not at all as difficult as one imagines. And this is a major issue, since it is all a matter of perspective or point of view, which is based on the mental disposition. This attitude and perspective is what must be changed. Mind has the mysterious power of magnifying a problem and making it appear formidable and bigger than it is. Do not listen to the promptings of the mind. Reject them ruthlessly and throw them out.

Although spirituality may not be able to cure all forms of depression completely, it will certainly help. In many cases, developing oneself spiritually can lay the groundwork so that if you are depressed, you may change your view which may allow you to rise above a depressed state of mind. In other cases, it can lift you right out of any depression or despair that you may feel. Here are some practical hints that will enable you to triumph over this malady once and far all. These recommendations range from attending to physical or medical factors, through external, psychological, and up to metaphysical factors:

1. First try to analyze yourself thoroughly and find out the cause of the problem. Do not be hasty. Sit calmly and think over the matter. Spend some days over it if necessary. Put your thoughts down on paper and reflect over them. If necessary get the assistance of someone whom you love and trust and who will be sympathetic to your feelings. Pray to God within to lead you to the right person.

2. Do not listen to the promptings from within that your problems cannot be solved and overcome. The Divine within you, and the loved ones around you, can effectively solve or dissolve all your problems. Just do not give up.

Physical and Health Problems

3. For physical and health problems, these must be understood and adjusted and cured as best as possible. See your doctor or go to a health clinic to find out what is the cause of your difficulty or pain, and then work on resolving it.

4. Keep the body fit by doing regular physical exercises, and by participating in healthful activities. A hike in the countryside will be refreshing and invigorating both mentally and physically.

5. A pure, nourishing diet is very important for the health of both the body and the mind. Take more fresh fruit and vegetables. Take health tonics. They are available from health stores. Vitamin tablets from natural products may be highly beneficial.

6. The nervous system must be strengthened by means of proper exercise, relaxation, pure food and regular prayer. A regular yoga routine is also most favorable. A useful nerve and brain tonic may be prepared as follows: Soak eight dates, a similar quantity of almonds and four cardamoms in a bowl overnight. In the morning remove the skins from the almonds. Reduce the ingredients to a paste, add honey and butter and take with warm milk. This delicious tonic rejuvenates the nervous system quickly.

External, Psychological and Emotional Factors

7. Check undesirable habits. Overcome them by developing virtuous qualities. Lead a life of purity, righteousness, and simplicity. Such a life will free you from worry, fear and depression.

8. Also, select your association carefully. Choose those people who are also on the spiritual path to be with or converse with. You may also have to be around those people who are not spiritually inclined, or who are negative or materially and sensually motivated, but you do not have to give your confidential reasoning or outlook to such people. You hold yourself back from bringing them into you circle of trust and confidence.

Being selective in who and what you associate with also means to avoid viewing too much television, movies, or materialistic music. Also do not frequent places where gambling takes place, or where liquor is served, or where there is evil company. Also you must avoid literature or magazines that discuss or promote violence, sex and crime because that will do one of two things: Either it will make your consciousness disturbed with new desires or temptations, or it will make you feel less hopeful or even hopeless regarding the condition of the world. Things are hard enough as it is than to make things more difficult on ourselves by associating with the wrong people or media.

9. Do not try to evade or run away from your problems, difficulties and trials. Face them bravely through calm reflection and discrimination, knowing that the Divine within is your guide, protector and savior. Know also that everything in this world that you now hold so dear is not lasting, and will soon disintegrate and pass away. You are only a passing pilgrim on this earth plane.

If you constantly reflect and discriminate thus, then all such emotions and feelings that have such a tenacious hold on your mind will be loosened, and an inexpressible freedom, lightness and joy will fill your heart.

10. Be content. A person who is truly content can find happiness everywhere. When such joy comes from within, there will be no need to look elsewhere for fulfillment. But how do we do this? Adopt the life-style of “simple living and high thinking”. A great deal of unhappiness today may be traced to unfulfilled desires. There is no end to desire. Each desire breeds a host of new ones. Modern man longs to own TV sets, video recorders, dishwashers, expensive cars, swimming pools and other items of luxury. Reduce your desires and lead a life of contentment and simplicity. In other words, have only what you need, and need only what you have. But this contentment is the self-sufficient spiritual happiness that comes from within. External happiness that is based on the conditions of our surroundings will guarantee you only future disappointment because they all have a beginning and an end. This may sound simple enough, but another saying is that even a child of eight years old may know this, but hardly a man of eighty can truly practice it. That practice is the goal, but only those who have knowledge of this objective have a chance to attain it. Thus, the knowledge of the goal itself is also a rare treasure that you have, and a reason to rejoice.

11. Help others. Use your talents and make a contribution to the well-being of other people. Focusing on relieving the troubles and difficulties of others can always help you rise above thinking only of your own problems. You may serve the sick and needy through a service orientated institution. If you take up some useful activity for the good of others, you will have no time to think about yourself. Losing oneself in selfless service is one of the most dynamic methods of overcoming depression. If you give cheer, joy and happiness to others, you will also receive cheer, joy and happiness in return.

12. Know that for every problem that confronts you—however difficult and complicated it may seem to be—there is the requisite guidance, strength and wisdom readily available to you from the Divine dwelling in the chambers of your heart. God is nearer to you than your life-breath. Turn to the Lord with a childlike faith and experience the miraculous results.

13. Forgive yourself. If you are haunted by memories of abuse or actions you have done that you now greatly regret, then learn to forgive yourself. We are all human beings and none of us are perfect. The faults or guilt that you may carry are burned up in the fire of remorse. Let go of such memories and let God do the rest. Let yourself be open to the guidance that God has always been willing to give you. Sometimes it is the reversals in life that make us realize how fragile we are, how vulnerable we are, and how we must acquire the shelter and guidance of something far bigger than we are, and someone far more caring and loving than we are. And there is none better than the Supreme Person.

14. The constant repetition of some beneficial formula or affirmation will strengthen the mind considerably. This is especially for those who have been negatively conditioned because of being ill-treated, demeaned, criticized, or abused without proper love and respect sometimes over the course of years, or who have low regard for themselves as low. Such repetition is called auto-suggestion. Here are some proven affirmations for this purpose. Repeat them as many times as possible during the course of the day, and when you are just about to fall asleep at night:

A) I am Thine. All is Thine. Thy will be done, O Lord.

B) Let go and Let God.

C) What cannot be cured can be endured.

D) What does not kill you only makes you stronger.

E) Whatever has happened has happened for the best; whatever is happening now is happening for the best; whatever is to happen in the future will happen for the best.

F) Through the Grace of God, I am getting better and better every day in every way.

Another saying of mine is:

Everyday I try to live in a way to keep myself in a state of balanced awareness. That way everyday is an adventure. I am not attached to any particular thing or outcome, so I never get angry or upset over things. Everyday is simply another part of the adventure, another day of coming closer to realizing my true spiritual identity, and I remain in a state of joy, wonder and appreciation.

Metaphysical and Spiritual Factors

15. The easiest way to tap into the Divine power within is to repeat God’s holy Names. Select from the scriptures the Divine Name which means the most to you and repeat it constantly, without a break. One of the most recommended in this day and age is the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra. You can chant it mentally or as japa meditation. In a short time you will experience its power. In this one method of spiritual practice all the holy scriptures of the world are unanimous. The power latent in the Divine Name is like the power latent in the seed of a tree. Just as the seed needs soil and water to enable it to germinate into such a big plant, so also the Divine Name needs to be constantly repeated to make its power manifest.

The Divine Name and spiritual practice will also raise the vibrational level of your mind and then stifle the agitation that may exist therein. This will also create a shield of resistance or protection from any dark subtle beings or curses that may try to affect you in a negative way, or that try to create difficulties in your life. The benefit of spiritual practice is that the higher your own vibration becomes, the more you will rise above all other forms of darkness, confusion, negativity, or evil forces and influences. The clearer your views of life and your purpose in it will be.

The Divine Name is the one sovereign, infallible remedy to get rid of depression once and for all. On the highest of levels of spiritual development, you can enter a spiritual ecstasy that allows you to forget all troubles, difficulties and material conditions. But that is another topic.

16. Attend regular prayer services in the temple or ashrama. The holy vibrations will give you added mental and spiritual strength to cope with your problems.

17. Study the scriptures daily. This will give you discrimination, which will give dynamic strength to the mind. It will be your most effective weapon to seal the lower promptings of the mind.

Through such spiritual practice, you must realize that you are not your body and mind. Nor are you the suffering that can come from identifying with them and whatever happens to them. You are different from all of that, from the drama that goes on around you. If you actually realize this, you can rise above all the good or bad that happens. You cannot allow yourself to become overwhelmed by what takes place in the world or in your own life, or you will become totally ineffective in doing anything about it.

If people ridicule you and criticize you for petty reasons, you do not have to believe or accept it. You can deflect such things by the strength of knowing yourself truly, and then move on in your own self assurance of that understanding of who you really are.

Your spiritual identity is always whole and complete. You simply have to get back to that and reconnect to your real identity. Love and light is always surrounding you. It is you. You just have to connect with it. When you do that you will know there is no reason to sit in darkness and cry. There is much good and worthwhile about living. This becomes all the more obvious as you increasingly reawaken the perception of your spiritual identity, which is filled with light and love in connection with God. The source of all light and love that shines on all beings. It is only we who separate ourselves from that spiritual light, we who create the darkness. It is all a matter of focus, of changing our perspective. It is only we who deny ourselves the potential of receiving a million miracles that could come out of nowhere, unexpected, but always possible by God’s grace.

18. Develop a constant attitude of gratitude toward God for having provided you with your physical and material needs. This will give you an abiding sense of contentment and peace, and free you from depression, cares, and worries.

Even physical deformities or deficiencies are but outward appearances that do not necessarily hamper the person’s inner being, unless the person allows them to do so. No one is born without the inner tools to master one’s purpose in life and make their outer expressions manifest their real inner potential. The secret is to find your purpose.

19. Select any suitable method or a combination of these methods and put them into immediate practice. You will succeed with patience. Never despair. There is enormous power within you. Tap that power diligently and come out victorious. Then share your knowledge with others and be a blessing to this world.

At the height of spiritual realization you will understand that all there is in the end is love. The foundation upon which the universe manifests is compassion, and that compassion is to help and support you, only if you are open to it. Only if you are willing to perceive it, like the sun shining on everyone, unless they cut themselves off from it. But it is up to you to learn how to adjust your vision and to accept the lessons that are meant to mold you into the better person that you are meant to be. We must remember that we are all here for a reason. If you were not meant to be here, you would not be here. You would be someplace else. But you are here, so do not be afraid or hesitant to find your destiny and fulfill your purpose. Providence will lead you in the right direction.

Anyone who is charge of an ashrama or temple should understand these points about depression so they may more appropriately know how to advise or direct a person in need.

There is an old Buddhist saying that if you have a problem and cannot solve it, then why worry about it? And if you have a problem that can be resolved, then why worry about it? Worry will not make it any better. So let us be free of too much worry and concern.

There is another old occult saying that points out how every problem is only a temporary illusion. They may have a cause, a beginning, but they also have an end. They are all temporary and it is not to our advantage to get so wrapped up in the illusion or temporary nature that we forget the real goal of life, which is to focus on our spiritual progress.

The Glories of Brahmacarya
Joyfully Being Alone

23 Responses to “Curing Depression with Spirituality”

  1. Suresh das says :

    This is a very well-presented and easily understandable article. These are many good ideas, and points offered as well, as methods for overcoming depression. However, what do you have to offer for someone who has lifelong illness, for which there is no cure? Each year what I have deepens more and more. I now count moments of peace, sometimes seconds of peace, between days and days of endless suffering. My special prayer that I formulated this year is “thank you Lord Krishna for allowing me to feel peace in this moment”. Whenever there is a moment or a few seconds of peace and relief, I have to tell you it is a total celebration for me.

    What I find with people who suggest ways to overcome depression, is they tend to oversimplify the problems, or believe that somehow a person suffering from depression can somehow just “snap out of it”. Unless you have experienced it firsthand you just can’t understand. What I have found, in suffering from depression for the last 41 years, is it isn’t going to kill me, but it isn’t ever going to go away either. There is no cure, there is no relief, only coping, and somehow finding a way to going on. I choose to stay among the living. That being said, I struggle to live one day at a time.

    Take for example you suggest taking vitamins and herbs as a cure for depression. Every day I take a battery of herbs, and pills, such as St John’s Wort, Vitamin B, Kava-Kava, and every herb known to man for depression. All of this feels like I am throwing a “flower garland at a raging elephant”. I have tried conventional pharmaceuticals; however they don’t make anything strong enough to affect my mind, and after a short period the effect falls away. The side effects are horrible too. I have to make a living, and pay my bills. I can’t take meds and be zomby all day. I gave up on meds 6 years ago, and am trying to make it on herbs and supplements.

    You suggest writing down thoughts as a method for overcoming depression. Great idea again. I have been writing for the last six years. I have written over 3,000 pages of thoughts, memories and feelings. I have spent the last six months writing here at Dandavats, clearing out past memories and hurts from the past in my relationships with devotees. What is nice about journaling is once I write down a bad memory, it never haunts me again – I’m free, at least from that experience. Writing is very helpful, but it only brings temporary relief.

    You suggest chanting. I chant every day, and have done so for the last 36 years. Unfortunately, I have to report, that chanting doesn’t stop depression. If it didn’t stop it for me, what hope is there for others (the nondevotees)? Who would agree to go on chanting for 36 years and not feel an effect? I felt something wonderful many decades ago, but in the here and now, there is nothing. I continue to chant out of duty. I bow my head to God every day, and I hope someday I can feel the effect of my chanting. I have faith that it is cleansing me, even though the feelings at this time are imperceptible for me. I chant because I must. I have tried everything else, and everything failed, so all that is left is chanting. I accept all the philosophical reasons from our scriptures for chanting. I ultimately know that Lord Krishna can do as He likes with me. For now though, I can’t feel anything, and so despair continues.

  2. Akruranatha says :

    One thing that helps some people with depression or what used to be called “melancholia” is vigorous physical exercise. Sri Nandanandana mentioned this, but I am repeating it here for emphasis.

    In Europe in the old Aristotelian system of medicine, the melancholic “black bile” humor was said to be overly prominant in those afflicted. This was often the case for sedentary people such as scholars (in literature often wizards and sorcerers were portayed with this type of personality, for example Prospero in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”)

    Those who spend their time pouring over books and remaining inactive and contemplative (the “father of sociology” Max Weber was seriously affected, and the great philosopher David Hume suffered a deep depression which served as impetus to his analytical exertions) can succumb to a sense of futility and hopelessness, which may be caused, in part, by lack of vigorous exercise.

    Material life without Krishna consciousness is certainly futile. When nondevotees have sufficient economic comfort to not be forced to struggle hard for mere survival, and have an opportunity to stop and think about the meaning of their lives, it is amazing that more of them do not become depressed.

    What have they got to be sanguine about? Material sense pleasure is just temporary, is not completely satisfying, is elusive, and then we all have to die and do not know what lies beyond or what meaning any of it has.

    For those who do not know about the ever-fresh qualities of Sri Krishna and His connection to the world, it is a wonder they do not all become suicidal.

  3. Gupta das says :

    Dear Suresh Prabhu:

    Allow me to share a few observations. In your own words, you view depression as a “lifelong illness” which “has no cure.” According to your good self, your depression “isn’t ever going to go away.” Thus, there can be “no relief . . . only coping.” In these candid expressions, you provide yourself a great deal of useful information, and offer yourself a perspective by clearly articulating your beliefs about the emotional signal and experience we refer to as depression.

    Before exploring that useful information, however, let’s take one step back to consider the kitchen sink use of this word depression – a fashionable term which, as Nandanandana Prabhu convincingly articulated, has come to be associated with practically everything under the sun. Depression is held within modern psychiatric and medical theory to be, more or less, an incurable illness which, to a limited extent, may be controlled by expensive mental tinkering and by even more expensive medical diagnostics and suppressive drugs.

    These so-called scientific approaches and explanations of the etiology of depression are, in actuality, merely creative fabrication. Depression is not an illness and you are not broken. Depression is a powerful emotional signal. It is a communication from yourself to yourself which addresses motivation, that is, the nature of desire within consciousness for exploration and experience.

    I will interject here that any attempt to understand our experiences ‘in the material world’ separate and apart from the actual dynamics of consciousness is rather pointless, or, as shastra might offer, is maya. That does not mean that external involvement does not or can not help. Healing modalities may well provide acceptable permission to uncreate what you have created. All vital movement and balance, however, takes place within, first.

    The more this significant emotional signal is ignored, suppressed, overcome, drugged, explained or philosophized away, seen as something bad or wrong, or viewed as an experience apart from yourself, the more the signal will inevitably increase. Yes, increase. That is because you yourself provide this emotional signal to yourself about a part of you that requires your attention. As a person ringing a doorbell will increase their determination to attract attention if the door is not answered (by ringing the bell more frequently), similarly, the more you push that emotional signal away and view it as bad, harmful or sick, the more you will insist on a response by creating an increasing volume of conflicting experiences.

    The clear communication you have offered to yourself is that this perceived illness is controlling of you, is denying you choices, movement and freedom. This is an expression of victim – that you hold little or no control in your own life, that you are helpless, that there are vast hidden forces affecting you. Thus your internal motivation – your creativity and freedom of movement within consciousness – is suppressed as a result. That oppression is further evidenced in your report that you “can’t feel anything, and so despair continues.”

    From this platform consider an approach which acknowledges you. Consider paying close attention to your signals to yourself by exploring and addressing the beliefs you hold in viewing yourself as a victim who has little or no control of your own life. Recognize your own creations! By approaching your expression in this manner, you may then allow the signal to subside proportionately. Recognition is the vehicle that can take you from victimization to empowerment, from lack of control to the fullness of trust, from depression to balance.

    As this note was only intended as a brief comment, I will close by mentioning that I am quite aware that this short explanation may well be viewed as somewhat simplistic. In response, I will share this thought: that the basis of all of our reality and experience can undoubtedly only be understood in perspective when viewed within the context of consciousness and choice. From that point of view, spirituality is simple. Simple, restorative and liberating.

    Wishing you the best in your spiritual journey,

    With regards,

    Gupta das
    Joseph Fedorowsky

  4. amalagaura says :

    I am also struggling with depression and I found this on the internet which is quite helpful: www.emofree.com

  5. krishna-kirti says :

    Psychotherapy is the new opiate of the masses.

  6. Suresh das says :

    The main urgency one feels whenever any one has any kind of illness, or pain in their body, is “how can I be healed – how can I get relief”? Some illnesses can be healed, but some are terminal. If someone has a terminal illness, then learning how to cope with it, and live with it, while waiting for the inevitable to happen, is sometimes the only course a person can take.

    I have a diagnosed mental illness. I have spent thousands of dollars in therapy, because what I have just isn’t going away, and can not be healed in this lifetime. I tried everything I could think of, but it only got worse. I was so out of control, overwhelmed, and filled with anxiety and fear, that I finally accepted I just couldn’t fix myself on my own, or by conventional means (including Krishna Consciousness), so I sought professional help. My PDoc told me, after extensive testing and diagnosis, that what I have would never heal and would worsen year by year. Astrologically I can also confirm that what I have is going to be life-long and is not a temporary phenomenon.

    I do exercise strenuously. I rise early each day, do ten 5-breath Sun Salutes and Down Dogs, walk 3 miles chanting japa, as well as go to Ashtanga yoga class 5 times a week. I could probably do even more exercise, but being now in my mid 50’s I tend to get injured a lot, the more I workout, so I can’t push too hard, at the same time.

    I am always open to new ideas, and new ways of seeing things, and doing things. For instance, in the last few months when I was going on my japa walk, I was feeling that my chanting was hopeless, because I can’t feel anything. Now, when I go on my walk, I hope and open my heart to the possibility that I may feel something someday. I have been practicing thinking the way a Vaishnava should “when will that day come when I can feel the presence of the Lord again”?

    Because I can’t feel the pleasure of spiritual life, I feel that I must have misunderstood Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, so I continue to study and go on with my spiritual life. I haven’t given up in frustration, in spite of the difficulties I have experienced. I believe in Lord Krishna as my master and Lord. I accept Srila Prabhupada as my eternal guru. I want the process of Krishna Consciousness to work and to come out victorious for me.

    I sense that the Supersoul is the one who”ringing the doorbell”. Happiness in my life has been removed for a purpose. Something, or perhaps many things I am doing are unacceptable, and need to be changed, so that I can return to a natural condition of happiness.

    I have accepted that because I have chosen not to fully surrender to Lord Krishna at this time, that my suffering in this Material World must continue, and that my suffering is my own making.

    I am also open to new processes and ways of thinking. There are many great ideas in this article that I intend to pursue to see if they improve my attitude and ways of living, so that my suffering can be minimized as much as possible.

    I am just stating, in regard to this article, “Depression can be cured by Spiritual Life”, that this is not a simplistic statement or process. A person who is suffering from deep depression feels a sense of urgency. If they don’t get relief pretty quickly, within a reasonable amount of time, there is always the chance they may end their life, if the anxiety and torture is extreme enough.

    The Krishna Consciousness science is a long-term process, that may take many decades, perhaps many lifetimes (many more than many of us would like to believe it may take), to complete. Suggesting that any one can just take up Krishna Consciousness as a way to find immediate relief from depression and despair may not work for every one.

    Anyone who has not experienced severe depression or mental illness simply can not understand what the experience is like. Most who are not experienced share the belief that a person can quite simply “snap out of it” by chanting, taking some herbs, or some other intellectual or philosophical process, which just isn’t true. That was the main reason I replied to this article, offering myself as an example.

  7. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Some people experience relief from depression by practicing Pranaayam. There many methods of Pranaayam, but I found these simpler to do: Bhrasrika, KapalBhati, Anulom-Vilom, Ujjayi.
    Also, gentle walking and chanting Hare Krishna at the same time helps calming the mind.

  8. Tamoharadasa says :

    This is a very powerful stream of comments. Perhaps we are not so qualified to address clinical depression, which is diagnosed by medical professionals. There definitely is a “disease” element here, tied to brain chemistry, as opposed to the more common situational depression brought on by acute problems in life, from which a person eventually recovers, sometimes with intervention in the form of drug therapy. The longer term clinical depression is sometimes very hard to treat effectively. Prozac, amityptaline, and other anti-depressant drugs are available, and for some prove almost miraculous. I have found this so myself in past circumstances of difficulty. Suresh Prabhu clearly is suffering from the long term type. He has not found medical treatment particularly effective.

    I have a suggestion or two; just as one can dovetail anger by protecting the devotees from the demons, or dovetail a musical skill by practising kirtana etc., in the same way some of this “down” can be utilized by meditationg upon seperation from Krsna , and thus our depressed state becomes ecstatic (?) by bringing Rasaraja into the picture.

    The above is at least an alternative approach. By engaging in this Movement, Suresh Prabjhu is likely already well aware of this possibility, however, as he lives this daily. And neither will this remove the daily impediments to a normal life that depression can often cause, such as an inability to hold down a job. Suresh Prabhu describes that he is active, despite the drag down, and he deserves fullest credits for courage and keepin’ on keepin’ on. Next time we see him, a great big hug is forthcoming!

    Time and again I have seen the power of Vaisnava prayers for healing the sick, beginning with our Prabhupada when he was “ill”. I humbly therefore call upon all the readers of this stream to please offer choice prayers to the Lord on the behalf of Suresh Prabhu.

  9. Tamoharadasa says :

    One more comment, if the readers will tolerate; The topicn arose in the initial article as to our state at the time of death, and where it is likely to lead us. The analogy is given of a tree. The tree grows it’s whole life, and often has a slant this way or that. When the tree dies and it dries up, it will keel over, and this fall will be in the direction to which the tree leaned all its life. So, although our conscioussness at the time of departure is the criteria, this will be in the direction which we leaned all our lives. Suresh Prabhu’s direction is towards Lord Krsna! He will be releived of his current anxieties, and bathe in the radiant love and well-being of his Master. He knows our wages fair, and will not forget you in your time of greatest need.

  10. Bhakta Piyush says :

    Sincerely trying to glorify the Lord AND His devotees past and present. Enthusiasm to help devotees or to actively assist a devotee community and help develop a project with a spirit of co-operation. Running about trying push forward this Hare Krishna movement surely will please devotees, Srila Prabhupada and Sri Krishna. Accepting difficulty or tapasya, performing sacrifice and giving up ones hard earned results will surely burn the undesirable if we remain “in the fire” of preaching. This is good, karma free, excercise.
    Sincerely trying with one’s heart to please the devotee’s for if a devotee of Lord Krishna is pleased then Krishna will be pleased and if Krishna is pleased then our life is successful. I am a fool just begining to realize this, after so many years.

  11. Akruranatha says :

    I really appreciate Suresh’s candor in disclosing such private details in public.

    I would never presume to give medical advice, as I have no training in the medical arts. (I do sometimes encounter medical and psychological issues in practicing personal injury and medical malpractice litigation in California)

    Even the radio and TV doctors, who are trained, practicing physicians and psychiatrists, always give caveats that they cannot treat patients on the air, and that individuals should privately consult qualified physicians who can learn more about their individual cases.

    I just participate in these conferences because I like to talk to devotees. I probably talk too much, but if I try to keep it Krishna conscious there may be some benefit for me. :-)

    One observation about medicine: While Srila Prabhupada was reluctant to use western medicine, he did tell western devotees that they should not avoid western medicine.

    Sometimes devotees are distrustful of western medicine, and sometimes they become enthusiastic about ayurvedic or homeopathic doctors or iridologists or fasts and fad diets or other techniques. Making choices about medical treatment is a highly personal decision and I would not presume to interfere with the choices made by someone I met on the internet.

    My own faith and determination are such that I do rely largely on western medicine. I have been fortunate in not needing much medical attention (but I still pay huge monthly insurance premiums) :-( Still, I think western medicine is very effective at least in some areas and treating some types of illness.

    I know devotees who have tried to treat cancer with alternate treatments which might have been treatable by surgery. I know radiation and chemotherapy can be horrible, but advances are being made and I think that devotees should explore all options. I know devotees who miraculously beat cancer when they were told there was no hope, but I also know devotees who died of cancer when western oncologists said they probably could have survived with conventional treatment.

    Our bodies belong to Krishna and we need to keep them fit to do whatever service is required of us. When Sanatana Goswami contracted an itchy rash, having bathed in bad water in the Jarikhand forest, and wanted to throw himself under the wheels of the Ratha Yatra cart to avoid offending Lord Caitanya (who would embrace him in spite of oozing sores on his skin), Lord Caitanya told him he could not do that. The Lord said that He was the proproetor of Sanatana Goswami’s body and had much service to still accomplish through that body. Then He embraced Sanatana Goswami and made the skin desease go away.

    Such are the pastimes of the Lord and His intimate, eternal associates.

    We all know that actual suicide is a terribly sinful act in the mode of ignorance for which there can be horrible karmic consequences. On the other hand, the types or degrees of treatments terminally ill devotees should accept raises all kinds of ethical questions.

    Generally, I would not try to interfere with the medical choices made by someone outside my immediately family or very intimate friends, unless they specifically asked for my advice. That would go beyond my sense of personal boundaries. I do not want to be a busy body and disturb someone by offering unsolicited and unwanted advice.

    I do have to wonder though, as a matter of public policy, at how prominant the uses of the new neuro-inhibiters and mood management drugs have become. There is something wierd going on when such a huge percentage of the population is being diagnosed with “imbalances” in the chemicals of the nervous system that supposedly need to be treated with drugs like prozac, zoloft, xanax, wellbutrin, etc.

    I get the sense that the western doctors have really gone overboard in prescribing such medications. I heard a news story about how traces of these drugs were found in fish in Missouri, and the explanation was that the fish had contacted the drugs through the urine of human patients which the sewage system had dumped in the water!

    I do not want to sound like Tom Cruise and say antidepressants should hardly ever be prescribed. I am sure they have helped many people who really welcomed that kind of help. However, it makes sense to examine whether they are being overprescribed. They are not easy to get off of, and the dosages and combined prescriptions do seem to have to be tinkered with a lot.

    (I remember hearing about a book called “Prozac Nation” some 5 or 10 years ago where a medical writer explored some of these issues, but I did not actually read the book. It sounds interesting. . . )

    One thing, though, is there really are lots of seriously ill people out there who could be a great danger to themselves and others, but who can live relatively normal lives through treatment with various drugs. (I am talking about schizophrenia and other serious pschotic conditions.) Sometimes these people discontinue their medication, either being disturbed by side effects or just deciding they can try to live without them, and the result is often terrible.

    Another thing is, all of us who have accepted material bodies can know for certain that ultimately the body will be subjected to various diseases, old age and death. These diseases we encounter may well involve mental delusions and senility. (I already feel my memory is not as sharp as it used to be and I am only 48.)

    Anyway, Suresh’s own experience as expressed here shows that he has been thoughtful, disciplined, intelligent, has explored and tried many alternatives, and somehow has been experiencing some serious, intractible problems. Meanwhile he has continued to be a faithful devotee. I wish him all the best and hope that he finds all success in his Krishna consciousness.

    Suresh’s account reminds me of Lord Brahma’s famous prayer (SB 10.14.8):

    tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano
    bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakham
    hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
    jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak

    “My dear Lord, 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.”

  12. Suresh das says :

    I went through the psychotherapy route for some time. One of the problems is it is generally not covered by medical insurance. Psychologists, who can only talk and listen, and not prescribe meds, charge $100 an hour and up. Psychiatrists charge $300 a session and up. Therefore, a person must be very wealthy, these days, to receive proper, long-term treatment, and medicine, for mental illness, or depression, at least in the U.S.A.

    The current selection of meds, don’t actually work as well as advertised. You see pictures of people smiling again in magazines, who take the meds. But, nobody is smiling or laughing. It is totally false advertising. The drugs mostly control anxiety. They provide Serotonin to the brain, for bodies that are unable to produce it. These drugs do not leave one with any sense of joy or satisfaction. Their net effect is that all suffering, as well as all emotion, stops. I would compare the effect of taking anti-anxiety and depression meds to living in the Brahmajyoti, where all suffering has stopped, but where a person is unable to feel any form of emotion or sense pleasure. Meds, in my opinion, are very impersonal. They also tend to work only for a short period, and then gradually loose their effectiveness over time. You have to change to another med, after some time, as well as keep increasing the dosage. The meds cost $200 to $300 per month. One has to be very rich to receive proper treatment and care.

    The meds have nasty side-affects too. Huge weight gain, joint pain, heart palpitations, lethargy, exhaustion, sleepiness, and dullness, are just some of the symptoms. The real purpose of prescribing these drugs, I think, is just to keep people from jumping. A person can not possibly function as a contributing member of society, or work seriously at one’s occupation, and take these forms of drugs at the same time. At least it didn’t work for me.

    Psychotherapy, and their accompanying meds, is not designed to heal anyone, but to keep people coming back again and again, for their entire lifetime if possible. It’s a racket, designed specially by the medical community, and the big pharmaceutical companies, in my opinion. I asked my doctor if he could just prescribe something that would just leave me with a sense of happiness. He replied if such a thing existed he would be out of business.

    Maybe I was too impatient, uncooperative, and suspicious, so therapy and pharmaceutical drugs didn’t work in my case. I was feeling better after a few months of taking the meds. My moods were more tempered and even. I guess my fear was I might get too comfortable and forget Krishna Consciousness. I was also 30 lbs overweight. I couldn’t feel any emotion of any kind. I just wanted to experience life again and accept the ups (but mostly downs). I didn’t want to spend every penny I have ever earned on therapy and drugs. I thought I might be stuck there forever.

    Things had been pretty tolerable until this last year. I have been experiencing anxiety attacks every hour or so, every day, all day, and into the night too. I am just not in a normal state of consciousness. Whenever I have spoken to psychologists I meet, even friends, they have immediately referred me to a suicide hotline, based on my symptoms.

    I have really slowed myself down. I used to go to the temple, or to festivals like Rathyatra, with an “I know everything” as well as critical attitude. That has come to screeching halt. I go now and really listen and participate with much more humility. I just can’t feel anything. It was a very strange experience for me at Rathyatra last summer. I really listened to the kirtan, and the sounds of the festival. I am really big on listening to sounds, and feelings. I chanted with the devotees in the parade and helped pull that carts. The festival unfortunately was a rather dark experience for me. I didn’t feel a sense joy or happiness there – mostly despair. I was really surprised by my experience. I feel the same way when I go to the temple. I don’t feel much sense of lasting joy or much happiness when I participate in the kirtans. It may be that I am so conditioned to misery that I can’t remember good experiences, or maybe there just aren’t enough of them to create a lasting impression. That’s why I wrote in this article. It was bothering me. I couldn’t understand why this was happening?

    I distributed Srila Prabhupada’s books for six years, as an initiated temple devotee. I have probably sold over 10,000 books in various sizes. I was able to distribute books because it gave me a deep feeling of joy and bliss, but one day it all stopped, and no matter what I did I could not revive my happiness from distributing books, so I couldn’t go on with that service.

    I feel emotionally incapable of distributing books at this time, as one devotee has suggested above. The very thought of it puts me in total anxiety. Some of the strongest devotees are the book distributors. I person who is suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder is hardly the person who can approach people in noisy, crowded public places to sell books. It seems it would be best for me, as an individual, to concentrate on chanting, and taking care of my own spiritual life. There is little point in my representing the Krishna Consciousness Movement, in my current state of mind. I have to fix myself first, as my immediate priority.

    You don’t want prospective devotees to look at me and say “if I follow Krishna Consciousness, will I end up like him”?

  13. dvard says :

    I just had a big surgery and then, after recovering a little, a serious chemical imbalance surfaced. I only want to add that while anchoring themselves to Srila Prabhupada and Supersoul, everyone should be aware that many people suffer depression, fuzzy-headedness, sleepiness, intolerance of cold, hoarseness, and other problems due to thyroid disfunction and doctors OFTEN test the thyroid but do not recognize problems because they neglect the more subtle indicators that characterize more competent and comprehensive thyroid treatment. It isn’t so hard to treat this either. Serotonin levels and pituitary can also be involved. All of these were factors in my case and I am relieved to be in the process of being “tweeked” with various suppliments including thyroid support. I’m glad that it was pointed out that depression isn’t always due to psychological or external circumstances. I would like to also point out that it takes considerable fortitude to deal with the astonishing intensity that a chemical imbalance can display. Suresh is an amazing example and I appreciate anyone who struggles to maintain their spiritual life, no matter. Mukunlalji once told me, “Don’t accept illness”. Hare Krishna. (BTW, “Ultra-metabolism” by Mark Hyman MD offers a comprehensive scoop on thyroid and its treatment)

  14. asprng_vaishnav says :

    A friend of mine used to get occasional panic attacks. He did not want to take western medications because of side effects. He took Brahmi extract tablets and his panic attacks stopped. Brahmi is an ancient ayurvedic herb, during vedic period as well as until recently students used to take Brahmi extract to improve mental function.
    Another friend used Brahmi to treat his mild depression.
    Both of them used this website http://www.tattvasherbs.com/bacopa.htm.
    I am not a sales agent for this website nor I receive any monetary gains from them.
    I use that ayurvedic pharmacy because the owner is Srila Prabhupad disciple and he seemed to be a very sincere Vaishnav, so I trust his products. I do not trust Indian stores in the US to get ayrvedic supplements.
    If I feel depressed, I try to live one day at a time. I try to focus one task at a time and once that is finished I go on to the next task. If I occupy myself doing chores and some spiritual activity, my waking hours are passed. One can try to treat depression in this way.
    Western depression medications are proven to cause people to commit suicide. There was a big news in the recent past. So be very weary of prozac etc.
    For big pharma companies, selling psychiatric medications is a trillion dollar industry.
    In the US, they drug many school-going children saying that they have ADHD.
    Mataji and Prabhuji, do not fall into this trap and drug your kids as those ADHD meds have serious side effects.
    Brahmi can be safely used for treating ADHD. Also if children from age 5 thru 18, if they practice Pranayam, their focus and concentration will increase in schools and studies.

  15. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Another way to treat depression:
    We can try to be like Arjuna from Mahabharat. Although we may not have a fraction of capabilities of Arjuna, we can try to have Arjuna’s attitude. Most of us know this story when Acharya Drona tested his disciples in archery, only Arjuna passed saying “I only see the eye of the bird.”
    We can try to focus our mind one task on hand at a time, instructing our mind that I want to chant this round very attentively. Once we finish that, then go on to the next round or next task and do the same.

  16. Suresh das says :

    While I was writing at Dandavats yesterday, a poor, young man knocked on my door. He was selling magazines door-to-door. The weather is abnormally cold at this time. He was underdressed, and freezing. I gave him a warm coat in charity. Immediately I felt better, and a sense of joy and relief flooded over me. This is probably part of the answer I have been missing. I haven’t been giving enough to help others, and doing it selflessly.

    Householders are the breadbasket of the world. It is our duty to feed and care for everyone, and every living being. I can not expect happiness, while other living beings are starving and in want – especially the devotees and the cows. Money has been tighter, and hasn’t been coming easily for me over the last few years, in spite of great effort and hard work. Since I am in a difficult mental condition, I haven’t been able to work as long, or as effectively. In spite of this, I will try to offer as much as I can to help others.

    It may not be possible for me, at the same time, as an individual, to realize a joyful state, even if I practice Krishna Consciousness, give in charity, as well as perform other types of pious activities. The Vedas state that all of us are predestined to experience a certain amount of happiness and distress, based on our previous deeds. No one can increase their happiness, or decrease their unhappiness or suffering. I know, philosophically, if I reach the Brahma-bhutah prasannatma platform though, there will be no more depression, but I am not on that platform at this time, and it is probably a long way away from me.

    Every one wants something other than what they have. Lord Krishna has given me some very special circumstances. I must repeat something over and over without cessation, continuously. Whenever I chant and hear the Hare Krishna mantra there is peace of mind in the moment, but as soon as I stop my suffering begins again. I must either chant Hare Krishna incessantly, or I am forced to repeat some other nonsensical phrase. I can’t stop the repetition – only dovetail it in a spiritual way.

  17. Devidevidasi says :

    Hare Krsna everyone.

    Thank you for this discussion. There are MYRIAD reasons why any physical and mental illnesses appear in our lives. AND MYRIAD ways which treatments may or may not work for someone. As with anything else in the Material Realms, it is VERY easy for someone who has not experienced it AND LIVED WITH IT every moment of their day to day life, to pass opinion on the situation of someone else. For some of us with these conditions, we may never know why or how, just that it is. I personally feel that it is like paralysis or any other condition. IT IS VERY PERSONAL, and most other souls will never understand how to live with it one day or moment at a time. Although most souls love to tell others how to alleviate their issues. It can be helpful OR it can be just one other way that most souls want to help someone else, so that they don’t have to look at themself too closely.

    After being diagnosed as Depressed and Anxious most of my adult life, it comes down to many other physical conditions, too. I have had numerous other physical/neurolodical health issues which went undiagnosed for over thirty years, including Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries. All of those other health issues led to chronic: under-employment, unemployment, and homelessness. These also gave the appearance of my being “lazy and unmotivated”– a failure in material ways. On the other hand, the parts of the brain not as affected are quite brilliant and witty and wise. Just because I have diagnoses now doesn’t mean my life works any better. I just understand now…

    One thing that I firmly believe is a major cause of Depression and Anxiety is LIVING IN CITIES wherever they are. Most souls think cities are fine. Yet, just because something is socially acceptable does not mean that it is healthy or appropriate. We know this from the Vedic teachings. Our nervous systems are not able to handle all the massive amounts of energy coming at us from all directions all day every day. I believe that Srila Prabhupada understood this and encouraged us to fulfill his orders of establishing more rurally inclined lifestyle. I fully encourage more energies put into manifesting ways for us to live away from cities in like-hearted enclaves.

    Suresh prabhu, please accept my obeisances and respects for putting yourself/Self out in this discussion to share your truth and experiences. You are to be commended for your endeavors to practice appropriate self-care.

    For myself and others I would just like to say this, too. Not all of us are destined to be working out there 40 or more hours a week, even though we look “okay”. Not all of us are destined to be super active and UP all the time. I feel STRONGLY that even though my life has been very materially challenging, I have been saved from other distractions to my spiritual life. I can’t say how my life would have been different. I just know that my journey through these health challenges has been intensely personal. And all the well-meaning lay people OR health practitioners can’t change my brain or make me remember things any better. It’s really funny and sad how when someone first hears about my brain issues, almost everyone suggests (without asking if I already do) to “make some notes” for myself and stick them up. They don’t understand how intensely personal life is for each of us and how their immediate comment shows that they probably like to try to fix everyone without getting to know them.

    I also understand Suresh prabhu’s sharing about going to a festival or temple and not feeling the bliss. And many of the other things he has said.

    My most intense lesson with all this has been how to SLOW DOWN INSIDE AND LISTEN to what I am guided to do in each moment, rather than thinking I know. Practicing this has changed my life In ways beyond what I would have thought.

    This is a lesson that would benefit infinite numbers of souls, no matter what. ASKING Their Lordships for guidance, even in the most “insignificant” moments. That way, when you really need to listen to your guidance, you’ve have enough practice with the small questions that you can trust what you hear with the “big, important” requests.

    Thank you for listening. And anyone else who is out there and dealing with your health issues, WHATEVER THEY ARE, take heart.

  18. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Some people told me that Tatva’s Herbs website url in #15 does not work. I made a mistake there. Here is correct url: http://www.tattvasherbs.com/bacopa.htm
    Hari Bol

  19. rashmi bhandary says :

    Hare Krishna!
    I know I’m not qualified but would like to share my experience.My mother and I first went to the Hare Krishna temple 11 years back.We loved it and took to chanting.After a month my mother
    had an attack and was hospitalized and was diagnosed with Hypomania. During the episode she was chanting and our families were very critical about ISKCON and discouraged us as she had no previous history of the illness.She recovered and was under medication for some time ,but still would get these attacks 2-3 times a year.What kept us going was chanting.Its been quite some time now since my mother is not under any medication and these attacks have not come for the past 3 years.
    During this difficult time chanting gave us strength.Even though the quality of chant is not good,we now chant 64 rounds ,my mother clocks 120 rounds almost every day.We are grateful for her illness as it has brought Krishna to our lives.
    Kindly excuse me if I’ve offended or said anything wrong.
    Hare Krishan.

  20. Nitaichandra says :

    Chanting Hare Krishna must give result if properly executed.
    We will give here the rules.
    Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s Govinda Bhasya verdicts to sit straight and motionless as a mountain. We’ll give the full text for complete understanding.
    “In the Svetâsvatara we read as follows (II. 8):—

    Let a wise man hold his body with its three erect parts (chest, neck and head) even, and turn his senses with the mind towards the heart, he will then in the boat of Brahman cross all the torrents which cause fear.

    (Doubt).—This description of the posture is enjoined by the Revelation. The question arises : Is this posture compulsory in every japa or recitation or is it optional?

    (Purvapaksa).—The recitation of Om is a mental process. No particular bodily postures are absolutely necessary for the due carrying on of any mental process. Therefore, the Âsana (posture) taught in the above Śruti is not compulsory.

    (Siddhânta).—This view is set aside in the next sutra.

    SÛTRA 4.1.7.

    Sambhavât – on account of possibility.

    7. (Let him recite the name of the Lord Hari) in a sitting posture, (for prayer is) possible in that posture only.

    COMMENTARY:
    The Lord Hari should be meditated upon by the devotee, in a sitting posture. Why? Because meditation is possible only when one is sitting. It is not possible when one is lying down at full length, or is standing or is walking. Meditation is possible only when one is quietly seated. Those who learn to know God should perform meditation (Dhyâna). Now Dhyâna can be performed only by him who is in a sitting posture and not in any other state. The next sutra makes it still more clear.

    • Padmapani_das says :

      “In New Dwaraka he (Prabhupada) told me, ‘In the evening, if I get tired, I walk and chant. If you are tired, then walk and chant like I do. Sometimes, if I am tired, I pace back and forth in the room. Simply, in one room you can do everything. If you are tired, you can stand up and chant, like I do.’
      It was common to see Srila Prabhupada walk in his quarters or sit in his rocking chair while he chanted rounds. In the evening he sometimes chanted rounds while I massaged him in bed.
      ‘There, I’m finished,’ he would say.”

      – Srutakirti das

  21. Nitaichandra says :

    This comment of HG Srutakirti Prabhu is for his type of chanting. Srila Prahbupada was translating in the morning hours, but a mukta chants the whole day.

    We are discussing the diksa vow of 16 rounds every day.

    “Right posture makes the mind calm.” (Tantra-raja-tantra 27, 59)
    “For purification of the body and for success in yoga, posture is absolutely necessary.” (Rudra-yamala-tantra 2.24.38-39)
    “By the practice of good posture the body becomes disease-free, firm and efficient.” (Graha-yamala 2.85)

    Once in Los Angeles, disciples asked Srila Prabhupada what would please him most. “Chant sixteen rounds of japa at one sitting without interruption.”Book distributors asked in a darsana with Srila Prabhupada how to do more books. He paused and then said: ”chant 16 rounds japa in one sitting.’’

    If one chants sitting, after a good night rest, how you can have nidra devi visit. But even if you have to stand to avoid dozing, then standing still as a mountain, or leaning against or holding on to something mountainous is closest to the standard. If somehow you have to walk to stay awake then walking as a mountain (only the legs moving) gracefully striding as an elephant, is nearest in the process recommended by scripture, described in http://www.dandavats.com/?p=43162 , in making the consciousness fixed in
    hearing and being in the holy name of Krishna, which is non-different from Krishna.

    • GaurNitai Dasa says :

      Proper posture and keeping body still is essential. Try this yourself. Just lie down and try to chant. You will notice a huge difference. In fact you cannot call it as chanting when lying down, even if you are not sleepy. I was on bed due to back injury for a few months, and that period was the worst in terms of my spiritual life and consequently my consciousness went down, and down.

      No wonder, Srila Prabhipada famously remarked "Sit properly!"

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