How to Improve your Mental Health in 3 simple steps
By Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj
(Mental Health is a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, and is able to contribute to life in a meaningful way. – WHO)
Your thoughts will lead to your actions. Your actions will determine what you become. Take an example. One child fails high school. Another child also fails. Like this, many children will fail. However, one child broods over it non-stop and badly affects his mind. He keeps on thinking of his failure. “I have failed. How will I show my face to the world? My parents will be upset, other children will make fun of me. I was expecting to get first division results.”
He then starts to think even more negatively, ‘It is better I die than to face this humiliation. But how will I kill myself? Maybe I should take poison or jump in a river.” He keeps thinking over and over again about this and finally ends up killing himself. This child could have just considered studying for another year. What was the point of dying? Other children failed and yet they were not that upset and were having fun. These children did not consider it as the end of the world.
Thinking creates a big impact on our lives. Millions of people in our country, and around the world, suffer from mental illness. What exactly is mental illness? It means when something goes wrong with the mind of a person and he starts to suffer from mental tension and depression. It is difficult to understand why anyone should be depressed, when they have parents, siblings, a roof over their head, food to eat, etc? What is lacking in their lives? Nothing, except that they have ruined their thoughts with faulty thinking.
Let us take another simple example. No matter how rich a person gets, he keeps thinking about the person ahead of him. “So and so is richer than me, how can I become richer than him, what shall I do, etc.?” But he is already a millionaire! He would retort, “Yes, but my brother is a billionaire and I have to beat him and become richer than him.” These constant repetitive thoughts eventually lead to mental illness.
People suffer so much because of this tension for minor things that are unimportant and insignificant. One can lose their minds due to this. People are committing suicides because of this. Our mind is very powerful and so important too. However, it is also our greatest enemy. No other enemy in the world can compete with our own mind. It is the mind that gives us this constant tension.
For example, if one person comes to you and calls you a donkey, rude or characterless person, Then we get enraged and lose our temper, just because of that one word that he uttered. We think, “Oh, he said such and such to me,” “I will settle this score with him.” and start to hyper-ventilate. Why this great anger in the first place? What had exactly happened? These were just verbal words, which could not harm you in any way. You remain who you are. You are not going to change into something else. Just words said to you mean nothing.
In fact, if we think deeply about it, we all have material faults within us; like lust, greed, anger, jealousy, etc. Everyone has all these vices. Which person who is under Maya, can claim to be free from these weaknesses, before having attained God. Yet, knowing that we all have these vices, and if someone should point them out to us, we become mad with rage. But why?
You see, if someone were to say to another, ‘You are a man”, then obviously he won’t mind it. He doesn’t get angry at the person because he didn’t call him a woman instead? He knows that he is a man, so he doesn’t mind being called a man. If you call a person by his name, he doesn’t get angry at that either. Because that is his name. Similarly, if you call an inspector by his title, he doesn’t get angry at that. He doesn’t expect you to call him by a designation of a higher post.
Since we all are full of lust, anger, greed, jealousy, etc. and if someone calls you by any of these words, then why do you feel bad? It is all in our mind. Our mind makes us want to feel bad at these words and gets us all stressed. Our mind forcefully gives us tension over small matters and wants us to sit down and cry and go berserk. Our mind is the enemy that is sitting within us. If you are able to recognise an enemy, e.g. if you observe that your neighbour comes to visit you everyday and is harbouring bad intentions, then you will be alert and stay away from that person. Next time, when your neighbour comes, you will be alert and will not allow him to make a fool of you.
Similarly, if we are aware that our mind is our enemy, we will become more careful and not listen to it. In the Bhagavatam, it is said ,“O humans, do not trust your mind.” Our mind is just like the adulterer woman who conspires with her secret lover, to murder her husband. That is in reality, our mind. Our mind, which is actually our enemy, pretends to be our friend and then destroys us. Everyday, we go through such mental turmoil day in and day out in our mind, over the smallest incidents. That is why, we should be very careful of our mind and learn to control it.
People come to me and say, “Maharaji, my mind cannot concentrate on God.” The mind being able to focus on God, is actually a great achievement. It doesn’t happen by itself. You have to constantly practise to get your mind to focus on God. When you keep practising over and over again, then it will start to get focused on God.
No one is born addicted to drinking tea, smoking or drinking alcohol. A person first starts to smoke, with a cigarette dangling on his lips, thinking that he will look like a gentleman. He coughs a lot, while smoking and yet he doesn’t stop. After smoking for a few months, he starts to get addicted to it. Now if he doesn’t smoke, he becomes stressed and restless. He has to smoke regularly now!
Similarly, a person first starts drinking alcohol in the company of his friends, who force him to try it once. Then, he too, becomes addicted. Likewise, when we were newly born, we were not attached to anything, not even to our own mother, forget about anything else. We didn’t even recognise her. We knew nothing. Similarly, this constant practice of focusing on negative thoughts, has given birth to numerous problems in our lives and ruined the state of our minds.
Everyone in the world has some kind of addiction or problem and is stressed because of that. Remember, your mind is your enemy. Be careful of it and practise, instead, to attach the mind to God and Guru, by meditating constantly on them. God and Guru are both pure personalities. By concentrating on them, our minds too will become pure. Thus, with having these pure thoughts at the time of death, we will be able to attain God’s abode and find eternal happiness. Hence, we should always focus our minds only on God and Guru so as to stay tension-free and away from mental problems.
Download Sanatan Vedic Dharm APP today to learn this philosophy more deeply!
*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*
(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharajji)
The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957 by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include - Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh, Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.