Yoga and Health
Swami Adhyatmananda

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Lord Shri Krishna has said in Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta that mind is the source of happiness or unhappiness experienced by a human being. Saints corroborated this statement by a Hindi saying, which means, “If mind loses, a man loses, if mind feels it has won, man wins”. It is thus not necessary that a man facing depression in mind have not necessarily to be of a particular type or stage of a human being. Beginning with a child till one attains a tottering old age this mental depression can arise out of any event or situation whatsoever. Our wishes, desires and hopes are unlimited. Whenever our desires are not satisfied, at that time ego of our mind feels hurt and responds by a reaction. Mental pain resulting from such displeasure results in anger, this creates hypertension and if the vehemence or spars of anger is too fast or terribly quick, it can even result in brain hemorrhage.

If there is any hindrance in achieving excellence, peace and well-defined life, it is human mind only. A human body is not a solid material it is not even an apparent element, it is also a material which can be touched nor can it be sensually enjoyed. Existence of a human mind has never been directly experienced.

Human mind is subtlest element. It is also greater than the greatest. Its vastness has never been measured. It has remained unfathomable in depth. Even though it is insentient it appears sentient. It has no adjuncts of sound, touch, form, liquidity or smell, even then if anything seen here gets out of place; mind takes up a big dispute. On a trained level, where mind is intelligent it is clear aware and conscious where as a raw-mind can be confused and misleading.

The great commentator Lord Adi Shankaracharya has declared: “I am neither mind, intellect, sub-conscious mind or the ego.” If this is so how on earth does it strike that “I am not so and so?Where do the decisions and counter decisions arise? Intellect is an element where rise and falls of decisions and counter-decisions arise, ebbs and tides also form, where one either doubts or has faith, where such a mind can decide about the propriety and impropriety, where that mind can decide about the propriety and impropriety, where that mind can decide and draw conclusions. When one holds that his thinking only is correct. His decision only should be upheld. His conscious only could be correct. This type of stubborn and dogged nature indicates ego. The sub­conscious mind collects all the real and imaginary works, thoughts and events. Mind, intellect, sub-conscious mind or ego is not separate elements. These are four different forms of one and the same element operating in four different working fields.

If we keep a red or yellow flower behind a pure crystal, we feel that the crystal is either red or yellow. Similarly mind also assumes the form of a substance or an item with which it comes in contact. The contamination of the contact brings the mind to move on a swing of feelings and emotions. Emotionalism is not a virtue; it is an exhibition of weakness of mind. As a result of improper contact desires and wishes arise high. When such desires, wishes and hopes turn into strong inclinations and when these inclinations or impres­sions are not fulfilled, the ego and mine ness result in anger, which is absolutely blind. It immediately renders human mind clouded. Mental aberration is a condition of clouded mind. This hypnotized condition cannot take into account the propriety or impropriety, the goodness or badness of any action. This therefore, leads the life towards incapacity of remembering anything. This loss of memory results in destruction of intellect. This resulting loss of intelligence brings down the edifice of complete consciousness to the ground as if it were a structure made out of playing cards such an individual not only destroys his own family but also damages the connected society.

Most important aspect to be ascertained under all such circumstances is the sudden evolution of such a depression. If the human life very easily and without relation of any complication purifies the life, the feeling of depression cannot arise at all.

A young teenager girl enters prime of life. Born in a good civilized family, educated up to graduate level, full of good qualities and very beautiful is this young girl. Even before she realizes the wishes of the prime of life she comes in contact with a youth. As is usual this social lane is accustomed to have a go with raw girls unaware of the ways of life; this unwarranted behavior can create in the life of the teenager girl a flood of feelings, emotions and internal enthusiasm. The creation and destruction of reality can create a terrible disturbance in the life of a simple-minded girl. The teenager nurtures in her mind ideas about pure love and pious relation and such chain of thoughts just goes down the drain; the depression resulting out of such condition is very dangerous and difficult. Mind is not a toy created from clay. That is why it is said, “The three things mind, pearl and glass once broken cannot be rejoined or repaired”. This is a matter similar to a knot tied in a silk thread; tie a knot once and even though it is opened out the twist and the wrinkles would not be removed. The serpent leaves the place but the terrible perversion marks in the dust of the road that thus created, generate a terrible effect and develop destruc­tion, which is very painful. Entry of a youth in the happy and peaceful life of an innocent fascinated young girt ruins her. The rejuvenation of life of that depressed teenager is a very hard task. The occasions like failing in an examination gathering a setback in a love affair, ups and downs in a business, incidents of honor and disrespect; disturb the mind and cause terrible depression in the mind. A loss sustained in speculation or in brokerage of cotton and transactions of shares gives an accidental push, which creates a fall gener­ating depression initially and the mental tension that results could cause a serious paralytic attack.

Fire cannot be separated from its nature of burning. Similarly mind cannot be separated from its nature of sustaining ups and down. This process of likes and dislikes, this is good and that is bad vacillates the mind. This pendulum like movement is the cause of unrest and disquiet. If such problems do not arise the mind will feel powerless.

The entire nature is made up of three qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas (purity, activity and ignorance). The result of quality of activity is lust and anger, even a very powerful man may also fall a prey to lust and anger. Very big personalities are also caught up in the square of money, women, fame and reputation. When a person is over whelmed by happiness, depression results.

A mother-in-law of a big well-known family expects many services from the wife of the son. The simple fact that there is a big age difference between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is not easily gulped down. For most of the time the son and the newly married wife enjoy in their dream world and the mother-in-law feels panicky about something having gone astray So far the son used to sit with the mother while going for business and returning there from Mother used to sit with him for late hours at ‘night; now his love for mother has lessened. Now he has turned mad for the wife and such other reasons creates depression. The situation is very simple; but the mother’s feeling about her seniority being jeopardized is the feeling, which creates this dislike.

It is but natural that the love that binds husband and wife before the birth of a child gets divided and distributed after a new baby enters the house. Thereafter the wife is not merely a wife; she is also a mother. As against all the above facts; if a daughter-in-law assumes full responsibility of the whole family on a new entry in the house, looks after father-in-law, elder brother-in-law, younger brother-in-law and young and old alike and family members always go on praising her, the mother-in-law feels the lack of seniority created in her position and that creates depression.

We are not accustomed to accept the situation as it is. We are not satisfied with whatever we have, whatever we get, and whatever we obtain. We keenly desire to have what we have not; what we have not been able to obtain and which we cannot get. We may not be even aware of the existence or otherwise of an item yet we make unfruitful efforts to obtain the thing of our dreams!

All these mental problems are the creators of depression. Psychiatrists consider depression as a psychological inequilibrium. In such a situation a man nurtures dislike for himself, takes himself an improper person, feels that he is useless and of no avail, he is wrong, he is sorrowful, he is helpless and he is absolutely useless. A slightly clouded sky will get cleared with sunrise. But a sky, which is full of tornado and typhoon, will create terrible destruction before it gets cleared. The sudden loss of a family member creates a situation similar to an accidental cyclone that brings in tremendous distress A man surrounded by the pain of separation and who has gone deep into the eyes of mental depression also falls a prey to the various wrong habits. The man who gets caught by the demoniacal paws of mental deterioration suffers from two types of depression (1) Physi­cal (2) Mental. A person can suffer pain in the hands and feet, he may feel lazy, he will show no interest in any type of work, he will have no interest in meeting and mixing with people. The bodily pain, heaviness in the head, peevish nature, schizophrenic, not feeling hungry, sleeplessness, and one feels his life a burden and life feels fully depressed.

The present day situation of the human society reveals that 20% of the population is more or less in claws of depression, but this depression is like the winter season. With the advent of spring the trees get new foliage. Some depressions are so shallow, but 25% of the population is permanently under the claws of permanent depression. This depression can affect anyone, old or young. This type of depression can affect people of any level in the society; the blood is red whether you are poor or rich. People may be rich or poor but all are affected to a similar degree of internal feelings. A very deep examination has revealed that ladies suffer depression much more than the males. Ambitious people as well as people from the lower strata of society suffer more from depression. Blind people suffer from shortage of mental endurance power. Such blind people as well as those who have prejudice about their coming from backward class of the society also suffer from depres­sion.

Rich people keep green plants and flower vases in their verandas, sitting rooms, bathrooms and sleeping rooms but these flower vases have to be kept once every two to three days under an open sky for the whole night to give them dew bath, fresh natural air, draw from moonlight under the open sky look at the shining bright stars. Similarly every week at least for one day they are to be brought in heavy sunshine under the open sky it is thus clear that the plant, which gets hot under the sun, which gets cold under the moon, remains healthy and strong. Similarly if one closes himself within walls of a house, in the long run creates dejection and gloom, which is the cause of depression.

As long as the depression creates a life of quietness, apathy, gloom and disinterest, the same affects the man concerned and at the most the near and dear family members, but if this depression turns bipolar or mental depression, the nature of the man concerned turns destruc­tive. This type of condition is not permanent. The depression creates waves in the mind, which are very painful and troublesome. The person concerned is not mad. A ghost does not affect him but just as an accidental flood creates destruction, similarly here also individual or the society all suffer darkness and gloom in the life around.

Whenever a patient suffers a bipolar or mental depres­sion, he hardly knows what he does or he does not even know what is happening all around him. However, when the bout of depression subsides, the patient becomes very sorry and feels as if he were living a lifeless non-vital life. It is possible that he may not find interest in any food or any work. This is quite natural because for a mind, which is depressed, one cannot expect concentration. The depressed person has his thinking capacity very much reduced, he feels his strength has reduced, he feels that he is useless to the society, he is helpless, he is hopeless, not only that but his conjugal life as well as sexual life gets entirely depressed. He may only think of death or suicide. It is quite possible that such a person may resort to suicide.

In the attack of mental depression, one type is a destructive activity but a person can also be too much talkative, as an effect of a rush of fast approaching thoughts, a person may accidentally undertake many activities. Lust increases. The behavior, which is not backed by proper thought, will result in action, which has lesser efficiency and causes greater loss.

By approaching a psychiatrist, for timely advice and treatment, depression of all types can be controlled. Two types of medicines are specially employed. Tricyclic or tetracyclic and monoamine oxide inhibitors (MAOI). All the medicines have to be supported by necessary and nutritive proper food. Foods like cheese, beer, wine, chicken, chicken-liver etc have a capacity of adding of tyramine elements in the food. But all these foods also work in increasing blood pressure. To bring the depression down to nil level it is advisable to consume fresh vegetables, fresh juices of fresh fruits, sprouted grains, skimmed milk without cream and the like. One should go for a long walk in the early morning hours in clear atmosphere; one should sit for meditation early morning, at noontime, in the evening and at night for 15 to 20 minutes. Deep breathing, Shitali, Shitkari, Sukhpurvaka Pranayamas should be regularly practiced. One should practice Shavasana, Yoganidra and Suryanamaskara. A study of good books, company of people of matured thought and positive thinking, company of people who can infuse faith, inspire and leave deep impression would be of much help. The patient should go on repeating to his mind “I am quite well, I am quite healthy, I am quite composed.” He should continue thinking that all around is beautiful, all around is auspicious, and then everything will turn out beautiful, healthy, sound and happy

Depressed patient can perform all the flexibility exer­cises and all the Asanas. However, Suryanamaskara, Sravangasana, Matsyasana, Halasana, Vajrasana, Ushtrasana, Shavasana and practice of Pranayama and meditation will clear all depression and will surely enlighten the life by rejuvenation and lightening the lamp of hopeful life. 


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