Hinduism Views on Unhappiness and Clinical Depression

Hindu Science of Mind and Body

Hindus see physical matter as a manifestation or product of consciousness whereas in modern science, consciousness is a product of the physical brain. This has implications for psychology.  A western psychiatrist might look for the cause of depression, and find that in depressed people, particular chemicals in the brain are out of balance. He would therefore conclude that the depression is caused by the imbalance of the brain’s chemicals, and that it can be corrected with medication that will balance those chemicals. The Hindu however would be more inclined to conclude that it is the depression which has caused the chemical imbalance. In order to treat the depression, another cause must be sought. Treating that cause of the depression and alleviating it will then result in the balancing of the chemicals. This does not mean that Hindus would necessarily be opposed to taking prescription medications for depression.

Hindus differentiate between mind and consciousness. The mind is a supersubtle material which is used by the consciousness to perceive physical reality. Mind (manas) is the lowest level of the 3-layered consciousness (citta). The practice of yoga aims to calm the mind, which is otherwise in constant flux, thereby enabling the citta to unite with pure being (sat) and leading to the ultimate bliss (ananda).  While the body and mind are instruments of knowledge, they need to be quieted in order to arrive at true knowing. The mind is seen as a mediator between subject and object, and it cannot by itself truly experience the object as it is in itself. Hindu spiritual practices therefore attempt to still the mind to enable true knowledge. It is assumed that the rishis (seers) of the tradition successfully attained that true vision.

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How to Fight Depression?

In the article “Hinduism and Depression,” Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami confirms that the most popular method of coping with depression in our modern age is the scientific, or simnif, approach. People take drugs to make themselves feel better. Hinduism doesn’t recommend it. However, Hinduism does not oppose in general the idea of the psychotherapy, admitting that talking to a friend, or especially to a professional counselor can help alleviate depression. This psychological method is called mulif.

Hinduism highlights that the common cultural practices such as singing, dancing and playing a musical instrument are also effective ways of combating depressive state of mind. These activities help lift up the physical and spiritual energies, raising the consciousness and learning to avoid the grosser states of mind—doubt, depression, and discouragement.

The method to cure depression is through meditation is called the shumif approach. As Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami admits, “This is the most advanced method, because the hardest time to meditate is when we’re upset, sad or bothered.” So you have to be really good at meditation to successfully meditate your way to a happier mood.

The main goal is to claim the spiritual happiness that is inside of you. Happiness is already part of your inner self, but you need to learn how to experience that part of yourself that is always happy. Hinduism gives inner ways and outer ways to accomplish this. The monistic or meditative way is to turn within in meditation, go deep into the lotus of the heart and experience your inner self, your inner light, and your spiritual energy. That will make you truly happy.

The theistic way for easing depression is the dimfi, or inner place, perspective. You go to the temple and make offerings to the deities. You come in an unhappy state, receive the blessings and go away uplifted and happy. Why? Because you have connected with our inner self through external worship. Actually, you have connected with the same blissful state that can be achieved through meditation. These are two ways to internalize your awareness, to move your awareness into our spiritual being.

Gurudeva gave you a third way: "If you want to attain happiness, make others happy." That is a wonderful statement. Quite often you are unhappy and depressed because you are self-centered. You are in a selfish state of mind, concerned only about your life, your own problems, and your challenges. "Life is not treating us fairly," you think, so you are unhappy. What's the antidote? Do something for other people. Try to make them happy.

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Seven tools for fighting depression and unhappiness:

  1. Refine your consciousness and build self-control through education and cultured activities.
  2. Clear the subconscious of negative memories, reactions and grudges through affirmation, self-reflection and sadhana.
  3. Fill yourself with gratitude for life and for all that you have.
  4. Know that happiness and unhappiness are states of mind. They are not the real you. You are the pure awareness that experiences a state of mind; you are not the state of mind itself.
  5. Learn to change your state of mind in meditation, turning awareness within to your spiritual nature, the radiance within you. Direct awareness through controlled breathing.
  6. Tune into your innate happiness through religious devotion.
  7. Become fulfilled and uplifted by doing things for others.

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Healing Mantras for Depression

Mantras are energy-based sounds. It is a mystical power charged with divine Energy which enables us to connect with the nameless, formless, timeless, space less divine Power that can take any form to appear before an earnest devotee, anywhere or at any time. Mantras were originally conceived in the Vedas, India’s oldest and most revered spiritual text. The word "mantra" is derived from two Sanskrit words, "manas" which means “mind” and "trai" which means “to free from”. So the word “mantra” literally implies “to free from the mind".

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Research has proved that Mantras when chanted properly with devotion and faith evokes the production and spreading of curative chemicals in the brain. Mantras are said to be helpful in controlling blood pressure, cholesterol levels, adrenalin level and even normalize heart beat rate. Mantras can remove negativeness like fear, anger, jealousy etc and bring in positives like improved concentration and memory power, control over emotions, improved blood circulation and also activate our body’s natural healing processes. Mantra Chanting therefore brings in a calming effect on our Nervous System helping you to relax and be stress free. Mantras can be used to awaken the Kundalini and stimulate the Chakras. They also can be of great help when doing meditation. Mantra meditation, these days, has gained great popularity as a relaxation technique and stress buster.

The following mantras are considering being the most powerful and effective, when you attempt to combat clinical depression. Write down your intentions before starting your mantra the first time. In this case, you may write that you want to feel uplifted, joyful and full of positive energy every day. State exactly what you want the mantras to do for you.

Repeat this specific mantra to heal depression: "Om Bhoginyei Namaha," pronounced "Om Bhoh-geen-yei Nahm-ah-hah." The direct translation is of the Hindu goddess Shakti, "Salutations to the She who has the experience of perpetual bliss."

Another very powerful healing mantra is: "Ra Ma Da Sa, Sa Say So Hung." Use this mantra to heal depression, activate and balance your chakras (the energy centers of your body), and transform your body into a healthy one mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Translation -
Raa- Sun
Maa- Moon
Daa- Earth
Saa- Impersonal infinity
Saa Say- Totally of infinity
So- Personal sense of merger and identity
Hung- The infinite vibrating and real

Repeat your mantras, as often as you wish, silently, out loud or both. Designate 20 to 30 minutes daily to speak or mentally say your mantras, if you desire to. Many spiritual disciplines perform mantras for 40 days although positive results can happen several days earlier.

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