How KC is the solution to all problems 3 – Psychological problems
Transcription by: Ambuj Gupta Prabhu and Keshavgopal Prabhu
So we are discussing the series of how Krishna consciousness is a solution to all problems. We discuss till now two aspects. Corruption and sexual assaults, political problems and cultural problems. So today we will discuss psychological problems. Now the World Health Organization has declared that in the twenty first century, the biggest health problem will not be AIDS, will not be cancer and certainly not been disease like TB or any other diseases. It will be mental health problems. So stress, depression, hypertension, suicidal urges, all such things. Now the extent of the problem can be understood in various ways. Normally, especially in India the attitude is if somebody has to, has some mental health problems, people don’t take it very seriously.“Buckup man, cheer up, don’t take it so seriously!” And if somebody takes it seriously and go to psychiatrist, people think “areisko kya ho gaya hai!”. People start thinking that this person is mad or something like that. This is because the extent or the gravity of the mental health problems has not been recognized till now in India,till a decade.
Now it has been recognized more and more because India is adopting Western values. There is a huge range within these two attitudes. One is dismissive attitude. Ok, it’s just change your attitude, change your thoughts. Don’t think negative. Cool down. This is pep talks to deal with mental problems. That’s one attitude towards mental problems. And the other attitude is oh! this person has gone crazy. He has to go to psychiatrist. Between this there is a wide range where a large number of people fall. What is that range? That range is where just pep talks, pep talks means just inspirational, motivational talks,they alone are not enough to allay or alleviateorto solve the problem of the person. But at the same time the person is not so mentally crazy that he has to be put in some mental hospital or something like that. But within this range there is a huge gamut of problems that originate in the mind and creates serious agitation. I will give afew examples.Stress is just one simple example but I am going to talk about this broadly.
There is very widespread phobia in the West, it is called arachnophobia. What is this arachnophobia? It is fear of spiders. Fearof spiders in particular and insects in general. So people who have this they are paranoid. Paranoid means extremely fearful. If the person is in a kitchen then the person will clean the kitchen a dozen times. And the person will close every single window. And actually, first of all, spiders are not harmful to human beings. Mosquitoes they bite and there may be other insects which are moreharmful. Butthis is just an irrational fear. And it’s not a trivial thing. You tell me. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t work like that. See phobia is a peculiar phenomena. Generally if somebody is fearful then normally when knowledge comes along fear will go away. For example if I am in the dark and my leg touches something soft I am afraid this is snake, I turn on the light and see this is not snake. Then I lose the fear. But in case of the phobia, knowledge is not enough to remove the fear. Because the fear acts at a sub conscious level where our emotions are controlled, dominated and manipulated even without our conscious involvement in it. Some people may have a phobia for certain sounds. Say it is a grinding sound. If something is dragged along the ground,people start feelingqueasy about it. This is example of a not very harmful phobia but phobia is just one example of something that falls in this gamut. Not just something which can be dismissed away by pep talks, not something so serious that requires people to get admitted into a mental hospital.
So like this there are a wide variety of, these are called as, anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders means normally whenever we think about the future we are fearful.For example if I have a exam coming up then I may have anxiety whether I will be able to pass in the exam or not. This in normal anxiety. But anxiety disorder means that when there is no logical reason for that anxiety. And still I feel anxious. So that is called as anxiety disorder. And alot of people suffer from this. I’ll give one example of the anxiety disorder; there was a real life incident. There is a lady; she had a constant fear that I am going to die with cancer. At every month she would go to cancer hospital, oncologists and do an expensive check. And the doctor told her you don’t have any symptoms of cancer. Don’t worry. One year, two year, twelve times, in Indian terms cancer check is not easy. Sometimes the test cost thousands of rupees. So one year, two year, three year, twenty three years, every month she’ll do an expensive cancer check. And the twenty fourth year the test came positive. Then she said,“see doctor I told you”. What does that means? Even after twenty three years of not having result of it but still when it comes out the mind doesn’t think that oh! Twenty three years I wasted. But ok now I found out. This is another example of anxiety disorder. These kind of anxiety disorders can result in physical symptoms apart from diseases.
Physical symptoms means normally when we are tense, our heart beat starts increasing, our breathing starts becoming faster and over all the body comes under physical stress. That is why, one reason why yoga and pranayam are becoming popular is,that they help to relax the body. So generally speaking, if we are in the mode of passion, mode of passion means constant action, action, action, action. Then that is the mode in which we function then primarily the function either the fight or flight mode. Fight or flight. I am thinking that from every direction problems are going to attack me. May be some misunderstanding will be there, may be some, when I am going on road my vehicle will break down or may be I’ll forget something in my exams. So we have that idea that from all directions problems are going to come upon me. And that when I will deal with theproblems, I have only two responses- fight or flight. So if I am strong enough, I will fight, otherwise I will run away. Now this actually puts the body in a tremendous stress. So we do meditation, what we do is we relax the body. And we take the body to a more enlighten, a more mature, a more intelligent response than just fight for flight. But because most people don’t have access to this, so they largely live in this fight or flight syndrome. And that’s why people are under physical stress,tremendous physical stress. And the physical stress results from the mind.There is whole genre;genre is the category, category of diseases called as psychosomatic diseases. “Psycho” is the mind and “soma” is the body. Such diseases originate in the mind but have real affects on the body. So these diseases have had very few precedents in the previous centuries.
Health in the twenty first century, the future of an illusion
There is a doctor, ______,he is reasonably well known doctor. He wrote a revealing book called “Health in the twenty first century, the future of an illusion”. So that is the name of the book the he wrote. People had the idea that in future we will improve the health. The future of an illusion. Why? What is the illusion that he is pointing out. For example many times people who are proud of material science say that in the past there were diseases like plague and small pox which we have now eradicated. Even if that is true, what he points out is,that most diseases originate in certain socio-cultural environments. For example when there was a primary agricultural based civilization, so rats were there. And because rats were there, naturally plague came out. Plague was removed not just by the medication to counter plague but also by the change of the circumstances that resulted in a different civilization coming up. Similarly he said every socio-cultural setting will bring it’s own set of diseases. We may remove the previous set of diseases, but the new socio-cultural setting will bring a new set of diseases. And these diseases in today’s society, now heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, all these are diseases which reallywere not so frequent even fifty years ago. What to speak of hundred years, two hundred years ago. What is this indicating?That in the social culture setting that we have today there are different set of diseases coming out. Now in general, now certainly heart attack and stroke they have physical factors involved. But often the actuating, the triggering incident is some severe stress. Quite often you may see that in movies somebody give a bad news, aaaaa! he is just catching his head. That will give up the over dramatization. But it illustrates the principle,that actually when we get in emotional stress then we become psychologically turbulent. Then these are the kind of diseases come out. Sodiabetes and obesity may not be directly in terms of stress. They may not be caused by stress. But actually often one of their major causes is a misdirect attempt to reduce stress. What is that? That is inappropriate eating.
Eating is meant for nutrition, there is hunger and there is pseudo-hunger. What is pseudo-hunger? If somebody says,“I am hungry for gulaab jamun”!Actually hunger means that the stomach is empty and stomach needs food. But if somebody says that I am hungry for particular food, I am hungry for pizza. So if somebody says like that, actually that is not biological hunger, that is psychological hunger. Psychological hunger means that it a craving of the mind. And psychological hunger, it is called as, doctors called it as pseudo-hunger. Pseudo-hunger means false hunger. Then we try to satisfy pseudo-hunger that leads to dumping the body with more food then it is necessary. And often just not more food that is necessary but food that is incompatible with the body;food that is excessively fatty, food that is excessively toxic or harmful elements which the body cannot assimilate. And most of the fast foods that are marketed in today’s culture actually are sold by triggering psychological hunger. “This is so trendy, so fashionable, take it, eat it”.
There is a doctor John Foreman, he is a quite prominent natural physician and he says that, today our society is committing suicide in the tongue. Our society is committing suicide in the tongue. What that means is that we are eating in ways that are extremely hazardous for the health. This is a subject of elaborate research. Now the point which I making is there will always be people who will be obese. Obesemeans fat. But when the whole diet is rigged, change ina way that the culture seduces people into eating unhealthy foods, and through theirmind fills their stomach with fat increasing substances, then it leads to serious problems.
Now according to many researches, obesity is the world’s number one cause of avoidable death. According to WHO , there are eight hundred million people who are starving in the world or who are under nourished, not starving, under nourished, malnourished. Sometimes see photos in famines of small children with match sticklike hands and blotted stomachs. So they are all mal-nourished children. But the WHO says, that as compared to eight hundred million people who are mal-nourished,there are a thousand million people, there is one billion people who are obese. That means more the number of people who are getting less food are the number of people who are eating more than what is necessary.
When Srila Prabhupada was once in a morning walk in Mumbai, he saw some quite obese people jogging in the morning. Then they were going through slum area at that time as small children were playing. So Prabhupada said, just see in these slums people don’t get enough to eat. And these people have eaten so much that they have to run to decrease their weight. So the problem is not shortage of food. It is shortage of self-mastery, it is inability to control oneself. So this originates in the mind. I am giving all these examples of mental problems that have serious consequences.
So another example of mental problem is addiction. Addiction is a distinctively, almost uniquely human phenomena. Of course sometimespeople have pets. When the owner is smoking,the owner trains his dog to smoke with him. So when the animals get contaminated by human association, then they will also develop some of the bad habits with such human beings. But in general animals don’t get addicted. For example in many traditional places we may have a mouse trap. Mouse trap means there is a small food item kept inside and there is a one way inside. Mouse comes to get the food and gets trapped. So researchers say that,the mouse which is caught by the cheese or say the fish that is caught by the bate. They have excuses. The mouse or the fish doesn’t know in advance that the bate,that what is being touted before it is actually a trap. And secondly they also what is portrait before them looks like food. They don’t know it is a trap and it looks like food. But we human beings don’t have either of these excuses. Isn’t it?Cigarette, who doesn’t know that it is harmful to your health? And who can think that cigarette is food. Isn’t it?Cigarette or drugs or alcohol, none of these are necessities and regarding none of these _____. So we will stick to addictions. It is we who are clearly hurting ourselves because of our own mind. And why we are talking about this within psychological problems? Because addictions or substances that cause addictions are aggressively marketed in our culture and far-far more people are falling to it than in ___. There are some minor addictions. Now say people might take some paan or something like that in the past. But what is happening today is at a far greater scale.
And we have not even discussed the most widespread of all the problems today. That is stress. Sometimes if we have to travel and then say you want to pack in a suitcase. Some people they just want to think, of every possible problem that may come out. This problem is there, I need a torch . This problem is there, I will need this. This problem is there, I need this. Then when they are traveling, they practically want to pack their whole room in their suitcase. Now packing the whole room into a suitcase seems impossible because it is impossible!Just asit is impossible to pack a full room into a suitcase, similarly it is impossible to do all the things that we want to do within the twenty four hours that we have. The twenty hours is like the suitcase. And all the things that we want to do is like a room. When we try to do all the things that we want to do within the limited time that we have, it results in stress. It results in enormous stress. So stress can have many reasons.
Work, watch TV and shop
But one of the primary reasons is that we are seduced into doing many-many more activities then what is necessary for us. For example: survey show that people basically spend their time in three main activities. First is work. That is going into the offices, shops, totheir businessand do work. Now when they come back home first thing they do is sit in an easy chair and start watching TV. So watching TV takes several hours of people, and people say we deserve it. I work so hard, I need to relax. Now whether TV helps people to relax or not that is debatable question. But people do feel, yes, there idea of relaxation is what,that forgetting all the problems of life are relaxation. That’s their idea. So we turn on TV, ok this problem, that problem, forget it all. Just lose yourself into the illusion.
But then within the TV there are so many commercials,so many advertisements. Actually if you see any episode, if there is any popular program, the cost of the production of that episode, that episode be of one hour and within that, may be at every fifteen minute interval that may be advertise is which might take ten seconds, fifteen seconds, thirty seconds and like that.There may be say eight advertisements within a one hour program. And those eight advertisements is just one and a half minute only or two minutes or whatever. But in general the cost of those advertisements is more than the cost of the one hour episode. Why? Because they are specifically designed to trigger desires within people. Trigger desires within people. So apart from that the most episode also whatever the programs might be there they generally show people who are wealthy and people are enjoying life and that also triggers a lot of desires. What happens when we watch television then we get desires. I want to purchase this. I want to purchase that.
The next thing, that the third common activities people do is shop. Shop. I want to purchase this. I want to purchase this. Infact there is a newgenre of addiction that is called as shopoholism. Like we have alcoholism,shopoholism. And actually shopoholism is quite a serious addiction. The number of shopoholics are more number of alcoholics. Now how can you define shopoholism? In general any addiction is defined by three characteristics. First is, there is a constant craving. Second is, there is a failure to control even when onewants. And third is even when one knows the consequences still one keep doing it. This constant craving,inability to control, and continuation inspite of consequences. People who persistently shop more than what they can afford. And they get into debts because of that. They are called as shopoholics. It’s a whole subject. There was a whole book about this. Many books ____ shopoholism, how the media has created that. There are people who feel you are what you shop. You are what you shop. Their idea is shop till you drop. Now when people shop, I have to get this, I have to get this new cell phone, I have get this new computer, I have get this new music device, new IPod, new bike, new TV, new laptop. And there is a wholephenomena called brand obsolescence. Brand obsolescence mean get a brand and after sometime brand become obsolete and we want new brand, a new brand. So actually this is not brand obsolescence, it is plannedobsolescence. Plannedobsolescencemeans that actually it’s planned in such a way that people always will feel that there is something new that we need it.
Now a days because of internet people can shop on the net also. We don’t have to go shop out of the house. Actuallyshopping is what takes the huge amount of time. Either they are shopping or planning for shopping. Actually there are three activities. Work, watch, shop. Three main activities that people do. W W S, World Wide Stupidity! We are discussing here about stress. And why I am talking about stress, we were talking the example of trying to fit a whole room into a suitcase. So what happens is most of the things that we feel, I have to do this, I have to do this,I have to do this. Most of those things are not actually our authentic means. They are not really things that are important for us. But the whole importance of those things is created by the propaganda. I have to purchase this, I have to get this, I have to get that. And in that way, now I have to get something so this is actually cycle. It’s a vicious cycle. So when I work hard thenI feel I want to relax. So I watch TV. When I watch TV there are so many desires I get. I like this so I want to get shop. When people go and shop, earlier you might have provision stores or grocery stores, just go with the list. I want this-this and I take it. But now we have super markets, shopping malls. So super market on the internet, what happens is? It’s a super illusion. Why super illusion?Because if it’s a normal shop we just say I want this, I want this, we’ll get it. But when we walk through super market we see all the objects that was there on display. Or many more what we want. And what happens is as soon as we see it:
dhyayato vishyan pumsa sangasteshupte jaayate
As soon as I contemplate, I have desires. I want this, I want this. And then people say ok, there are so many things I can’t carry it. No problem. We will provide you a card for that. I don’t have money. No problem. We provide credit card for that. People just get trapped in it. Now when we shop more than what we have then, I mentioned earlier people who purchase things that they don’t need they have to sell things that they need. So what happens is that people get the financial trouble and then they feel that I do workmore. And when they work more then they come back home, I was so tired, I need to relax, they watch TV more. And when they watch TV more then what happens? Theyget more desire, they shop more. So it becomes a vicious cycle. Now I am combining two problems over here, psychological problems with the cultural phenomena that induce those psychological problems. Actually if we consider all this stress is often caused because we have so many desires that I have to get this,I have to get this, I have to get that, get that. And we put ourselves under a crushing load of work. And then we find that I can’t cope with this work. Then we will be stressed. Much of the stress that we get is induced by our own choices. Our own choices, by our own choices we take up more work so that we can earn more. Now there is nothing wrong in to be ambitious. All of us are giventalents by God. And we should use those talents properly. But what is the difference between ambition and greed. This is a whole seminar. I have got article on it on my website. But I am just talking about two broad differences. The characteristic is that when ambition make us sacrifice our morality and our spirituality then it becomes greed. That means for the sake of my ambition I want to become wealthy. So I will do corruption. I will do cheating. I do all that. That is greed. And similarly if because of our ambition I don’t have any time for God, I don’t have any time for my spiritual aspect. Then that also is greed. So apart from this morality and spirituality often when we let our ambitions control us then they are harmful for our body. Say a body has a particular capacity, our mind has a particular capacity. How much work can we do. And then we stretch ourselves beyond that, that is whatprimarily causes stress. So as students all of us has studies to do. Often we don’t choose how much studies we have to do. There is certain syllabus. You have to complete that. But we get stress because our culture around us engages us in so many non-essential activities which take away lot of our time. So the typical pattern of more students is that they spend all their semester in fooling around and then when the P.L. comes, actually it is not preparatory leave its panic leave, people get so much panic. I got so much to study. How will I study? Often the stress is caused because we waste our time in non essential activities. Often many of the activities normally non essential, they are often counter-productive. Non essential means there is some which I not need to do. Counter-productive is which harm.Many of the addictions are counter-productive. Stress is a major problem that is caused not just by the culture around us, we may say that,yes, I am working in a company where there are so much work to do. That’s true. It may be there. But within that also it is our own choices that increase the work load or decrease it. Because depending on how we plan our life, depending on how we regulate or co-ordinate our activities, we have that much time available or we have less time available accordingly.
Till now we look at the problems with widevariety of problems in psychological level. Starting from phobias, anxiety disorders, psychosomatic problems, addictions, and stress which are all serious problems in today’s society. Now let’s look at some of the solutions.
At a material level, the solutions to the mental problems are quite illusive. Why they are illusive?Because at a material level understanding what is the mind itself is very complex. What is the mind? Although there are different theories for what the mind is, but there is no clear understanding. And because there is no clear understanding, psychology was originally understood, study of the mind. But subsequently many Russian scientists between 1920’s to 1950’s, 1960’s roughly, there wastheera of logical positivism. Logical positivism was a school of thought. It said that only those things exist which are measurable, and we can quantify them. So I can measure the heart, ok this is much size. But how can I measure the mind. So they said anything that cannot be defined, that cannot be quantified, that doesn’t exist. So they said what you do with the mind. The mind doesn’t looks true. So they change the definition of psychology from study of the mind to study of behavior. Why because they say whether the mind exist or not we don’t know, you can just observe the behavior of people. But just observing the behavior and try to connect the behavior without understanding the underline factors is like treating the symptoms. I have a boil, I just cut-off the boil. Next time the boil comes, I cut-off the boil. It doesn’t work that way. So at a mental level, actually there is no satisfactory solution available.
So certainly there are psychiatrists and psychologists that had done lot of hard work. They have the knowledge. But in terms of practically measuring people it is not ____. And that is why in the West there are so many people who are turning towards Eastern wisdom traditions, Eastern meditative techniques. In America today one out of every ten Americans is a registered yoga and meditation practitioner. Registered means these people have done certified courses and they are doing practice. And there are many more,who practice it without doing any official courses. Why? Because the stress level is so great,the mental problems are so greatthat people feel that we need some relaxation and they find,it helps. Now from the philosophical prospective just doing bodily yoga or doing some breathing exercises that is also notaddressing the mind in a substantial way. So actually speaking there will be many psychologists, psychiatrists who are helpful people, who want to help. But actually speaking the way they have work is theories of, I just talk briefly about this, it’s a elaborate subject.
On the history of how the conception of mind work.So there was a famous psychotherapist Sigmund Freud. He had the idea that all problems at the mental level originate from repressed sexual desire. So he was from a material point of view, he is a very intelligent person. But he was also a perverted person. In his childhood he had sexual attraction towards his mother. And naturally at cultural level, at social level he couldn’t act on that attraction. So that he felt was repressed. And from his own individual experience he generalized. And he said actually every boy has sexual attraction for his mother. And he called that as Oedipus complex. And every girl has sexual attraction towards her father. He called as ____ complex. And the idea was because our culture does not allow us to express these natural attractionsthat’s why we get mental problems. Now we consider this theory to be crazy. And simply crazy because for millennia people have been living without mental problems,if this was always there then this will always be a problem. Isn’t it? But somehow because of whatever_____ especially if any school of thought gives people a license to enjoy sexually, people will thoughtlessly accept it. That’s why his idea became immensely popular. So this idea was just express yourself. Whatever be the desire just express yourself. And then they said, whatever be the emotion in your heart, in America at that time there were lot of anti-____. This means hatred between blacks and whites. This is a well conducted official experiment. Let blacks and whites come together in a room. And whatever hatred they have originally, just speak it out. Let the blacks speak out all the hatred and let the whites speak out all the hatred. And their idea was when all the emotions that are there when they are expressed out then inside there is actually the pure self. They did nothad the idea of soul, but they have ideas that is something good is there. So much bad is there, vomit out the bad and the good will remain. But actually when they did that many of these meetings they started as conversations then they became as shouting matches, then they became fist fights and then they ended as riots. That’s how that was abandoned as an experiment. Then they said that but where did our theory go wrong. They only thought that. Actually they thought when bad is there you just express it out then the good will come. Then the subsequent generation of psychiatrists, actually the real solution is to understand that actually beyond the bad what is at the core is not good. Actually what is at the core is nothing. So when you come to that nothing, you will experience complete freedom. So then the whole psychiatrictheory became, just remove all the conceptions that you got from the culture. And then when there are no thoughts in your mind then you will experience peace. Then you will experience happiness. Now actually speaking if you tell someone don’t think of anything.How can you not think of anything?. Because the thought of not thinking of anything is also a thought. So it’s impossible. But then this idea people tried and these are socially, culturally, psychologically extremely expensive and disastrous experiments that were done with human beings as guinea pigs. So certainly some people were mentally _____ treated by psychiatrist and psychologist. But at the mass level it doesn’t work. So today when people in the West, in India also, people go to psychiatrist primarily just to vent themselves up. They want somebody to hear what they are saying. That’s all. But actually speaking that is important if have lot of things burning my heart and I need somebody to hear what I am saying. But actually I also need proper knowledge about how to deal with the problems of the mind. Therefore, at a material level the problem is staggeringly grave and the material level the solutions are distressinglyillusive. Theyare not there really.
So now when we come to the spiritually understanding, Srila Prabhupada explains in the fourteenth chapter of the Bhagvad Gita, in the purports of the verses 15, 16, 17, he explains that in the past when people would live in the mode of goodness that was considered elevated. That was consider progressive. But today life in the mode of passion is considered to be progressive. That means that the people think I do lot of things. People think that actually if I am not under pressure to do a lot of work there is something wrong with me. I should be having a lot of things to do. Certainly we should be engaged. But there is a difference between the engaged and being stressed. So when we are in the mode of passion, the mode of passion is characterized by excessive materialism. Materialism means the idea that matter is all that exist. Or matter is all that matters. Normally thing cannot matter at all. This materialism makes people think that nothing all material is important. So God, soul and eventhe mind, people consider unimportant. But today in the name of progress, all that is happened is that the fear that people had in the past at the physical level, in the past you will say that people are going out and hunting in the forest. Then they had fear, ok that somebody will kill us. So all that is happened is by our progress the fear at the material level has been transferred to anxiety at the material level. So we have not really removed the problem, we are only change the form of the problem. So that’s because of materialism.Because when we are in the materialistic conception of life, we think that actually there is nothing beyond matter. So then when do I get my security?All of us need some sense of security, some sense of shelter.But if everything around us is shaky, then when doI get my security. So actually we need something unchanging, something stable, that will give some sense of security. That will enable us to cope with the change around us. And that anchor, that stability is what spirituality provides us. So when we chant the holy names for example what are we doing. Now for uninformed people it might just feel that uttering some sound vibration, why you do that? Oh! because you are religious sentimentalist. That’s all what tradition has taught. That’s what you are doing. That is the very superficial _____. There may be people who doing the chanting of the holy names just because it’s a religious tradition. But that doesn’t mean that there is no purpose of philosophy _____. The purpose is actually to connect us with the unchanged. If I am in a boat and the boat is constantly been shaking by the waves, then I can never have stability as long as I am in the ocean. But if I connect the boat with the anchor, heavyobject, then the boat becomes calm. The boat becomes calm. Similarly the anchor is permanently unchanging. Forever stable that is God. So meditation is the mean by which we connect ourselves with God. And we connect ourselves with Him then our mind becomes stable. So there is ignorance, there is passion, there is goodness. The modes are basically subtle forces that are there in nature which act at a psychological level. And they act at the psychological level and condition us to think and act in particular ways. So when we are in the mode of passion we are generally hyper reactive. Hyper reactor in spite of light _____. But when we come to the mode of goodness we become proactive, thoughtful, intelligent. And we choose our responses maturely. So there is ignorance, there is passion, there is goodness and above that there is transcendental. So Krishna exists at the transcendental level. So when we do devotional practices, what are we doing?We may be in the mode of passion right now, culture around is the mode of passion, now mind will be always agitated about material things, but when we practice chanting we are connecting ourselveswith the transcendental level. That will stabilize our mind. That will steady us. And that will do, so I am go back to the fight problems which we discussed. And I have discussed how this process of meditation deals with those problems.
I started by discussing about say phobias. Phobias they may have some biological causes, some cause in the physiology. But often these physiological causes are not irreversible. They can be changed. The psychologist are found or not psychologist, neurologist are found, neurologist are those who study the brain, they have found that depending on the way we behave we choose to act when a brain structure changes. So actually for example in a micro phobia, fear of spiders, so what at the material level people try to find out, ok, in the brain the cells are connected in a particular way that may be person fearful when ever that person see a spider. So what should we do? We should do a surgery to change the connections all the way. Through that so complicated. Because the brain is itself like a universe. But they have found that by consistently changing one’s behavior by conscious choice. Actually the brain connection themselves change. That means that if a person repeatedly response to a particular stimuli for example everytime I act. If every time when ever somebody sees a spider he becomes fearful. Then that circuitry in the brain becomes stronger and stronger. And that becomes a default response. No, I will not do this. Calm down. So whenever irrational fear comes up _____, calms down. Then gradually over a period of time the brain circuits are changed. It’s award winning book written, called the “Brain that changes itself”.Actually by conscious behavior even the brain structures can change. So what scientists think are actually physical problems. They can be solved at mental level. So actually that irrational fear is removed that way. Similarly most psychosomatic problems. There be many studies in this consent. So there be many studies done. There is a marathon study done on, it is published in a book called “Handbook of religion and health”. So this handbook of religion and health, they compiled three thousands studies done in different parts of the world on physical and mental health stimuli. For example strokes, heart attacks.They compare people who believe in God and people who don’t believe in God. Who has better health? Who has less heart attack? Who has less strokes and they also compare psychological health syndromes like stress, hyper tension, suicide, addictions. And they found that consistently over these three thousand studies people who have faith in God, not just faith in abstracts that I believe in God but faith along with some active pursuit of spiritual practices, they faired better in all the physical as well as mental health.
And as far as addiction is concerned one of the most time tested and successful programs for countering addictions involves spiritual therapy. There is this program for alcohol phenomena and found that they have drug anonymous and drugholics anonymous and they have everything . They all focus on the power ofGod. So these problems can be solved by connecting with God and there is a lot of _____ evidence for that. Now scientist, materialistic scientist they don’t know how to explain this. Why are these people _____ physical? Why are these people ______ mental? Actually it’s because they are connecting with higher reality that has a healing effect on us even physically and mentally. Some people may say, ok it will be good but I can’t _______. And it’s too difficult. Sit down at one place and think about one thing. It’s notpossible for me. But actually speaking, is there any person in this world who can say that I can’t worry? Can anybody say that? It’s impossible for me to worry. Actually for most people it’s impossible to stop worrying. Isn’t it? So why is that? Because worries can default things that happens in us. And actually if we can worry, we can all meditate. We discuss thisearlier, why? Because the essential principle of worrying is what, I am sitting at one place but I let my thoughts go elsewhere. And meditation is the same thing. I sit at one placebut I let my thoughts go elsewhere. The difference between worry and meditation is, in worry I am not in control and I let my thoughts go where ever they want to go. Whereas in meditation _____ and by, that is the meditation practicing overall life style which brings us to the mode of goodness will find the psychological problems will decreased tremendously.
And what to speak of the next life even in this life. We will be able to live more satisfied and more productive lives. More satisfied because we will be more calm and productive because when we are calm we can do more work. We can get more things done. And that’s why as devotees when we are chanting Hare Krishna we shouldn’t think we just doing some sectarian religious practice for our whole spiritual advancement. First of all its universal spiritual practice. And by our calm down, by our chanting we are calming down, we are becoming mentally healthier. We are becoming stableand people will see this around us. And that will contribute to a gradual respiritualization of the culture. So every day when we sit and chant, we are not just trying to be _____ we contributing to the solutions of the wide spread problems of the world. And understanding this not only inspires us to chant more intensely and dedicatedly but it also inspires us to share this chanting with others. So there are many examples and experiences of this of how, where there are, where in hospitals or other places where patients are exposed to spiritual stimuli there recovery is always much better. And recovery is one thing, prevention is even better. So if people are spiritually connected,then the whole gamut of psychological problems becomes much lesser.
I conclude with one point now. Sometime as devotees we may feel that actually my minds problems are increased after I became a devotee. Why? Because I have so many desires to control. I should not do this, I should not do this, I should not do this. And I say my mind is troubling me. So may be before we starting practicing we may never say my mind is troubling me. But now we say my mind is troubling me. So isn’t that our problems have increased, No. Actually the mind troubles everyone. If we are trying to be moral and spiritual lives we have so many desires to tolerate, to regulate, to control. But if we are living unregulated, unprincipled lives then we have so many desires to fulfill. And that also troubles the mind. That also troubles us. So this is just a different genre of trouble. So the mind is like a disease. The minds condition is like a diseased conditioned. So when we are diseased we have to some extent suffer whether we are taking the treatment or not taking the treatment. A person is sick, suffering is inevitable. But if the treatment is being taken, what is happening? Suffering is decreasing, decreasing, decreasing. And eventually it will ______. So similarly we are practicing _______ even it seems that mind is creating problems, in the past we did not feel that mind was creating problems, if we didn’t feel like that is simply because we just trying to act according to the mind. How long we keep acting according to the mind? I have so many desires which cannot be fulfilled. So eventually people become frustrated. So depression, rejection, frustration all these are basically _____ of the mind. So as devotees we will find that we become calmer, stabler and happier as we keep practicing devotional service steadily.
So I summarize, started by discussing about the wide variety of mental problems that lay between what can we removed just by pep talks and that require hospitalization in a mental hospital or something like that. So we discussed addiction, psycho phobia, psycho somatic diseases, stress. Then we discussed about how the material solutions are quite illusive. Then we don’t have any solutions with material level for these mental problems. Then we discussedat the cultural life style level. But actually when we come to the mode of goodness, when we are in the mode of passion the minds problems multiply. But when we connect ourselves with the God through meditation and through devotional life style then we bring the mind problems under control. And gradually we cure those problems. Thank you very much.
Q. How can we keep ourselves in the mode of goodness when the number of hours we spend in passion which is throughout the day is much more than the number of hours that we spend in the morning program?
Ans. Actually it’s not necessary matter of the quantity of time that we spend in specific activities. It is overall matter of the disposition of the mind. We can be doing lot of activities and we can be doing them fast without being passionate also. It’s just that whether we are doing them in a regulated thoughtful way or within we are doing that in agitated uncontrolled way. So planning is important. Planning what all we need to do and how we are going to do it. Many times we try to make plansandmost of times our plans don’t work. So we think there is no need to make plans. Doesn’t work only. But actually when we don’t make plans and the mind is making plans for us. Lot of plans. So plans may not work but planning works. What is the difference between the two? Plans are specific. I do this at this time, I do this at this time, I do this at this time. That is most likely not going to work, because there are so many factors that influence our day to day activities. So basically when we try to, when we try to plan, become attach to specific plans, try to execute specific plans then basically we are trying to be God. And unfortunately we are not God. Unfortunately we are not God or fortunately we are not God or whatever. But we are not God anyway. So we can’t do that. But planning is indicativeof mode of goodness. So attachment to specific plans is indicating of mode of passion. But planning itself, ok these are the things I have to do and these are more important things and these are less important things, that gives us sense of direction. And then we don’t get carried away by things. So plans basically act like a compass for us. This is the direction I have to go. In general, when a plane is flying in the sky, see if the plane leaves from Mumbai towards Kolkatta,it’s amazing that ninety percent of the time the plane is off track. Why? Because although there is straight pathway for the plane, but the clouds, the atmosphere, the wind, and due to allthese things the plane cannot go into literal straight track. Ninety percent of the time of the flight the plane is off-course, then how can it reach it’s destination. It’s because the pilot is constantly bringing the plane back on-course. So similarly in our own lives the situation that come theywill throw us off-course. They throw us off-course. But if we are clear, these are things that are important, these are the things I have to do, keep bringing back on-course. So that’s why if we don’t have that clear priority these are the things I have to do then whenever things throws off-course we get carried away. And then we just go too much off-track, I have to come back on-track again, we become dejected first of all, we wasted so much time and then we become stressed because the time is lost so we burden ourselves. That’s why planning is extremely important. Infact when Krishna is telling in 6.18 in Bhagvad Gita yuktahara viharasya, so that is actually regulation. Be regulated, regulated in eating, regulated in sleeping, regulated in doing various activities of life that is basically an indicativepointer towards plan. So we have to plan our lives. So first thing is planning which can keep us in the mode of goodness even when we are doing a lot of activities even if we are doing them in an environment which is in the mode of passion. Because we will see there are many people who are non spiritualists. They also, they have some level of planning and some level of goodness, they manage to stay calm and they do their work effectively. Although their goals are materialistic, although their goals are in the mode of passion,their functioning may be in the mode of goodness. So it’s possible even in the mode of goodness environment to function in the mode of goodness if we want to do. And the second thing with respect to keeping ourselves in the mode of goodness in a passionate environment is to take periodic breaks. We may not be able to take long break but just after hour or two hours, just take a short break, take a few deep breaths, chant a few mantras, just get ourselves back on track. Infact it is a way to the same point only. But if we calm ourselves down, what I am doing, why I am doing, what is the purpose which I want to achieve? Stimulating our thoughts helps us to stay focused. The difference between goodness and passion is, in passion, acting comes before thinking; in goodness, thinking comes before acting. This is the simple difference between the two. So when we take breaks and force ourselves to think that itself checks the mode of passion. So as devotees we are not against the mode of passion first. We can use the mode of passion to serve Krishna. Passion basically means doing action. That is required to the service of Krishna. But we want to use passion, we don’t want to be used by passion. We don’t want to control the passion.And by planning and by taking periodic introspective breaks we can live in goodness even in the passionate culture.
Q. How are stress and sexualviolence interrelated?
Ans. Actually speaking the scriptures tell us that lust and anger are brothers. Krodha is called as kamanuja. Anuja is the brother, younger brother. They are brothers. So normally speaking in asense that when we have lot of desires, if our desires are not fulfilled then we become angry. And when the anger comes up we do something with the anger. So either we vent it out or we bury it in. When we bury the anger in that leads to depression. I have so many desires I am not able to fulfill it so I become depressed and then the depression becomes further I get into inferiority complex. Depression is oh! I can’t do it. Inferiority complex is I am not good enough to ever do it. And then inferiority complex will lead to suicide. Why should I live? So it’s a slippery slope which starts offwith that frustration of unfulfilled desires. But on the other hand when that is expressed outwards, that can lead to verbal and physical violence. Most sexual assaults are because of lust. But several of them are also because of anger. Because one of the aspects of lust isto control others. Anger is also violent expression to control.Specially when there is ethnic cleansing, ethnic cleansing means that one group of people attack on another group of people and they said just destroy them. That time rape and sexual assault is used as a weapon of war. Systematically humiliate and torture and then rape people. So in that sense when people are mentally disturbedthey may act into a sexual violence because these two emotions as stress which basically is very closely connected with anger. Anger indicates lust. Lustindicates anger. Anger expresses itself as not just lust but sexual violence. There are various kinds of violence. One of them is sexual violence.
Q. Do practicing devotees may have recreation in their lives?
Ans. The word recreation if we look at it etymologically, etymologically means in terms of word origins, it has very different meaning from what is acquired today. Today recreation simply means watching some movies or TV. But recreation,literally speaking recreation,to recreate again. That basically means that when we connect with our inner essence and recreate mental stability, calmness,order within ourselves, that is original idea of recreation. So it’s not a matter of choice.All of us need to rejuvenate ourselves even in our devotional lives. There are certain activities which will stress ourselves, certain activities which will exhaust us.For example, we may have to deal with some lot of service burden or some stressful problem, or some complex management issue or some counselling issue or whatever.In devotional activities, all devotional activities are purifying at a spiritual level,but not all devotional activities will be strengthening at a mental level. Some devotional activities will strengthen us at our mental level. That means we like to do that activities. And when we do those activities we feel calm, we feel stable, we feel re-strengthened. So doing those activities is important. And as devotees we don’tnecessarily have to be doing non devotional activities to get recreation. But within the devotional gamut of activities, we can find out which activity recreates us, which relaxes and rejuvenates us. It may be kirtans, we find out it is not all kirtans which rejuvate us. Some people may find out, ok some soothing calming, general people may relax. Some people may find that just exuberant kirtans relax us. Or some other people may find that hearing the pastimes of Krishna, some people many find that chanting makes us relax, whatever. So we have to find out each of us has to take inventory and we find out which devotional activities strengthen our mental level. And we do them periodically. We have our prescribed devotional activities to do. We have our sadhana, we have our seva, we should do that. But these all not necessarily take all twenty four hours. But we all have some spare time in which we can chose and these activities enable to do ten, fifteen minutes. We’ll find out they will give us the strength. So what that will be, will vary from devotee to devoteewhich hasto be found out and make time to do that on a regular basis.
Q. Can there be rape within marriage?
Ans. Legally speaking marital rape hasbeen recognized in most parts of the world. So the idea is that when the husband and wife consent, at that time when sex takes place that’s legal as per current understanding. But beyond that when either of the partners not consenting it consider to be rape. So from the legal point of view certainly it is possible. When one of the partners want and the other person doesn’t want, first partner forces. Now from the spiritual culture, in general both the man and the woman they try to see each other spiritually. If both the husband and the wife are practicing devotees, then the husband and wife don’t see each other as objects for getting some bodily enjoyment. Now over a period of time they start see that this person is a devotee, I am also a devotee. Both of them practice together. So in general this problem comes up when the two people in the marriage they have what we call as varying sex drives. Some people wants sex at a higher frequency. One party want sex very frequently, other person don’t want sex so frequently. So the people have varying sexual drives then this problem comes up. And in general, if devotees are practicing then devotees are try to help each other, rise on the spiritual platform. So in that sense this problem will not come up when people are practicing spiritual life. But legally speaking it’s possible. In general it’s assumed that when a man and woman get married that’s an arrangement by which they can satisfy themselves sexually. But then every person has an individual will. And then that will is violated and that violation often generally because people are having extremely unregulated sex drive. So rather than trying to legalize things, the whole thing becomes, the marital rape is a extremely complicated issue. Because how we prove it? It just become his word vs. her word. Man vs. women, it’s impossible to prove that thing. So from the legal point of view although it’s punishable,it’s extremely difficult to prove. So all such problems basically come up because the people start seeing each other just as bodies for sense enjoyment. When they come to spiritual level then these problems start getting eliminated eventually. Thankyou very much. Srila Prabhupada ki jai. Hare Krishna.