Does taking anti-depressant drugs as medicine violate the no intoxication principle?

by Chaitanya CharanAugust 10, 2014

From Jack Hansen P

Answer Podcast

Transcribed by: Argha Maji

Question: Does taking anti-depressant drugs as medicine violate the no intoxication principle?

Answer: No, not at all. For the sake of medication, so that bodily health is maintained, whatever is required can be taken. For example, Ekadashi is a time when we fast and we avoid grains. But the Hari Bhakti Vilasa and other bhakti scriptures explain that if one has to take medicine for the sake of health at the time of Ekadashi and it is a critical medicine, then one can take it. Because the point of regulation is not deprivation or torture. The point of regulation is concentration of our energies on Krishna. Say for example, when we fast on Ekadashi, the point is not to torture or deprive the body, the point is to focus on Krishna. So when we are taking medicine and even when we are taking grains in the medicine, the point is that we are not enjoying bodily pleasure through that, we are simply taking what is absolute bodily necessity for functioning of the body and that is not against the principle of Ekadashi. So similarly with respect to medicines, whatever is needed we can take that.

And now we know that there is letter and spirit of the rule. So, the letter of the rule is no intoxication, and we are already intoxicated at the bodily misidentification and we further get intoxicated, like people drink and think,” I am the President of America.” Such intoxication is further distancing ourselves from our identity. So whatever intoxicates us further, we try to minimize and avoid it. So if the drugs are not causing intoxication, then we don’t have to worry about that. But within those drugs , if we find that there are some drugs which cause more intoxication and some which cause less, then we can always take the drugs which cause less intoxication. But in principle, if they are necessary for bodily functioning, then we should not have any worry about it. We can take those drugs and we can continue serving Krishna. So the basic principle is we concentrate our energies on Krishna and accept whatever is anukula for concentrating our energy on Krishna. No intoxication is a principle that is favourable for concentrating ourselves on Krishna and taking some drugs which in normal situations might fall under intoxication, which would normally distract us from Krishna but if they are not distracting us from Krishna, they are creating a bodily condition by which we can focus on Krishna, then they are not all a violation of the principle. They are actually anukula to the practice of bhakti and we should take them. Thank you. Hare Krishna.

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Chaitanya Charan

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