What is the root cause of poor Mental Health?
(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)
Every soul in this world is suffering, restless and incomplete. What is the reason for this? The afflictions of the mind, such as lust, anger, greed, jealousy, attachments, etc. are the reasons behind everyone’s suffering and sadness. People may suffer due to bodily diseases but the major suffering is mostly due to the negative state of their mind or poor mental health. In fact, 99% of the diseases of the body occur due to the diseases of the mind. Doctors sometimes say to their patients, “You have tension, depression because you feel too much, you think too much. That is why you are unwell.”
The Vedas, Ramayan and our scriptures also describe the many afflictions of the mind which are the cause of suffering for almost everyone in the world. Those who have great worldly property and wealth are also restless and stressed. These afflictions of the mind, like lust, greed, anger, jealousy, etc. are all the natural soldiers of Maya. Until we remain under Maya, all these afflictions will stay with us. We can’t get rid of them until we achieve God-realisation.
No sage, yogi, ascetic, etc. can challenge maya. These diseases of the mind will stay with everyone. The effect of these vices might be less for some and more for others. The degree of these vices may also vary from person to person. You must have seen in your family that some family members get angry more often while others rarely get angry. But everyone has the vice of anger, for sure.
What is the reason for these afflictions of the mind? If we find out the reason for these afflictions and try to eliminate that reason, then all these afflictions will go away automatically. What do the doctors do? They try to figure out the cause of the diseases (i.e. virus or bacteria) and then they try to kill that cause. As soon as the virus is gone, the illness gets cured. They just kill the germs with the medicine or some injection and eliminate the cause of the disease. Once the cause disappears, then the disease also disappears. It is natural that anything in the world ends, once the reason behind it ends.
The one critical reason behind all the afflictions of the mind is Desire. Only Desire. Three powerful afflictions of the mind are mentioned by the Vedic scriptures. In the Gita, Shri Krishna tells Arjun, “If you abandon Desire, anger and greed, then you will attain ultimate happiness.” All the other faults, like jealousy, animosity, etc. are born from these three. So are these three vices (desire, anger and greed) related to each other or they are independent? No, they are related to each other.
When a desire for anything worldly gets fulfilled, then greed manifests. When our desire is not fulfilled, then we become angry. This means anger and greed depend on desire. If your desires are reduced, then its effects on your mind will be less. Thus, the afflictions of anger and greed won’t affect you as much. If your desires are substantial, then your greed (for more) and anger (for not getting what you want) will also be significant. One of these two outcomes will surely happen. Once you have developed a desire, it will either get fulfilled or will remain unfulfilled. You are trapped once you develop a desire. If it gets fulfilled, you will become greedy and if it remains unfulfilled, you will become angry. Both ways you are doomed.
So even the greatest ascetics, who have great powers, cannot overcome maya. One can get rid of maya only by God’s grace which is attained by practising Bhakti. And only once we get rid of maya, vices like lust, anger, greed, etc. will leave. It is impossible to get rid of these vices before that. You can boast as much as you want that you never get angry, but it is an impossible thing to achieve. People say quite proudly sometimes, “I don’t have any greed for anything. ”I don’t have any attachments in the world. All these are naive things to say. The mother of these afflictions, Maya controls you. Therefore, all her children will also control you. And once maya leaves, all these vices will also exit from your mind. So the mother of anger and greed is desire.
Desire means wishing for something. What do we wish for? There are five kinds of desires. Desire to see, hear, smell, taste and touch. There are five sense organs that we have. All desires are related to these five senses. There cannot be a sixth one. If we abandon these five kinds of desires, we will automatically get rid of anger, greed, etc. We will become extremely peaceful. There must be a reason behind why these desires are developed? We understand that both anger and greed develop because of desires, but what causes desires? Once we find out the cause of our desires, then we can destroy that cause. The Gita says: We desire things related to what or whom we are attached to. Everyone has different desires because they are attached to different things and people. We can be attached to mother, father, children, spouse, wealth, fame, etc. We then develop desires according to these attachments.
From the Vedas to the Ramayana, all scriptures suggest that we should abandon our desires. The Vedas state, “If you abandon all your desires, you will become equal to God, full of bliss.” But how can we abandon desires? Prahlada said to Lord Narasimha, “O Lord! You keep forcing me to ask for a boon, but I don’t want anything since I am not a beggar. One who abandons all his desires, becomes equal to you. I don’t desire anything. The Vedas state, “Abandon all your desires and then worship God.” Do not have worldly desires. But this is impossible to do. Because our mind is attached to something or other in the world, so we will surely desire that thing.
There must be a reason why our mind gets attached to something? Yes, there is a reason. Constantly thinking that there is happiness in something leads to attachment to that thing. Thinking again and again that there is happiness there. This is causing us to get attached to that person or thing. That’s it. This is the sole reason. Constant Thinking! How does a human being become a Saint? Because of thinking. How does a human being go mad or take his own life? Because of the thoughts he has. Our mind is such a great enemy of ours that it is the reason for everything we do. Your thoughts will result in what you become.
So constantly thinking about something, led to an attachment. That attachment led to desires. Desires fulfilled led to greed. Desires unfulfilled, led to anger. The reason is that we assume that something will give us happiness. Then we revise this thought again and again, that the thing has happiness. It would not harm us too much if we simply believe that something has happiness. However, once we think about it again and again favourably, (revision) then it becomes harmful to us.
Both friendship and animosity increase when one thinks about it again and again and eventually spoils the mind. A lot of young children failed at high school recently. But one of those children committed suicide. Why did he do so? Because he kept thinking that, “It is futile to be alive now, what will people think about me? What will my parents say? I should just die. I should die.” And he finally dies. Contemplating something over and over again makes one do such things.
What was so special about saints like Tulsidas ji, Surdas ji, Meera bai, etc.? They just kept thinking that Shri Krishna alone is mine and they attained Him. There is a beautiful verse in the Bhagavatam. God says, “If you think about the world again and again, your mind will get attached to the world. And if you think about me again and again, your mind will get attached to me.” Remembrance. Why do we think over and over again about attaining happiness? What is the reason for this? The reason is that we are a part of Happiness and bliss. Happiness and God are synonyms. Because we are a part of Happiness, we will desire happiness. We have to desire happiness!
Even if we try for millions of years to desire suffering, we cannot do that. As we are a part of happiness (God), we desire happiness. It is known that a part always desires to meet its whole. That is why our love of God is natural. It is another thing that we don’t know what God is. Where to find Him? How to love him? That is a different matter. But we will desire only happiness since we are a part of God. Since we want happiness, where will we look for it? Obviously the world. Since it is right before our eyes. As we can’t see God. The world is visible to our material eyes. And God is hidden from our eyes. So our senses get naturally attracted to what is visible to our material eyes. When your eyes look around, they get attracted to something beautiful and you say, “Yes, this is beautiful.” Similarly, we hear, smell, taste, etc. because the subjects we perceive with our senses are available in front of us. That is why our mind thinks that there is happiness in the subjects we perceive with our senses. That is why we get attached to that thing and we create a desire for it and try to achieve it.
If our desires get fulfilled, it leads to greed for more and if unfulfilled, it leads to anger. This drama has been going on since eternity. Abandoning lust, anger, greed, etc. is impossible even for great Yogis. So to have desires is our nature and we will continue to develop worldly desires until we attain the ultimate Divine bliss. We cannot live without having desires. After all, our true desire is to attain complete Divine bliss, peace, happiness, etc. We want to achieve that. So how can we just abandon that true desire to attain happiness? In fact, even on the day of our birth, we started crying as though saying, “I want happiness. I don’t want the suffering I felt during my birth.”
We cannot abandon desires. If we think about abandoning desire, it will increase even more, if we think about ending our enemity with someone, it will increase all the more. How? For example, you try to think that you will forget your enemy. “I will forget my enemy. Who will I forget? Ramesh. Who is Ramesh? He is the one who caused me so much loss.” And you will get more angry since that enemy will enter your mind. Your anger will not go away by doing this.
Suppose you think, “I will forget about those who I am attached to. I will forget my mother, father, brother, wife. I will forget about my wife.. I will forget my wife.” You are actually thinking about your wife even more like this. And so you cannot get detached like this. This is not the correct medicine. The right medicine is to convince your mind that happiness does not exist in the world.
Make an effort to use your intellect to explain this to your mind. “O mind, the happiness you are searching for does not exist in the world.” Tell your mind that the soul’s happiness does not exist in the world and only lies in God alone. Make your mind understand this through logic, the scriptures, the Vedas, your own experience, etc. The more this philosophy cements in your mind, the more detachment it will have for the world. Desires for worldly matters will then reduce. Then, divert those same desires towards God.
“No happiness exists here in this world. True Happiness only exists with God.” Keep both these thoughts running in your mind constantly. Stop having worldly desires and instead start desiring God.
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*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.