Published in: The Pioneer
    Category: Hacked BY
    Dated: 10/27/2003
Depression is a medical problem that many suffer from. The term is also loosely used to refer to mood swings resulting in sadness, grief, disappointment, and loneliness that almost everybody experiences at times. But depression, in its chronic form, is a mental disorder wherein a person suffers from sadness and other negative feelings for long periods.

Several factors lead to depression. Psychiatrists have come up with several theories. They believe depression is the outcome of some personal loss. They also suspect that it is caused by disturbances in the chemistry of our brain when neuro-transmitters either become under-active or overactive. Such changes in brain chemistry may be related to our thought process and disturbances in the body's internal rhythm.

From the spiritual standpoint, depression is the end result of the mind put to wrong use. Practically all of us are guilty of day-dreaming. The mind is filled with a plethora of dreams and desires. It is our natural wish to achieve, to possess. There is nothing wrong with that per se. But what we should ask ourselves earnestly is whether we are prepared to make the necessary effort to achieve what we want. For example, some of us may wish to become the country’s prime minister. It takes no great effort to harbour such a desire. Neither it is an impossible dream because people have succeeded in making such dream come true. What we should ask ourselves is : Are we ready to work hard towards our goal, like the person who made his dream come true ? Wishing is not taboo, but not backing it up with the requisite effort leaves a sense of disquiet.

Then there are physical and other limitations which need to be kept in mind when making wishes. Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Geeta was no coward. Nor was he a shirker. Yet Lord Krishna chastised him for not striving hard enough to safeguard religious principles. He said : "O son of Partha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. lt is not a good reflection on you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy" (2.3).

Generally, we proffer many reasons to justify our desire for something. Yet, ironically, we also offer many more excuses for procrastination, which prevents us from achieving what we desire. Desire is alright as long as it is backed by suitable action. Otherwise, there is bound to be an imbalance and this might lead to depression. After all. depression in simple terms is caused by a gap between what we have and what we want to have.

There is a cause and effect syndrome both in scientific terms as well as in the spiritual sense. One gets what one deserves. There is a famous adage : "Nothing ventured, nothing gained". Even Arjuna, an ally of Krishna, was strongly advised to fight : “Therefore, get up with determination and fight" (2.37), lesson being that even Arjuna had to strive to achieve something. What would then be the role of God if everything is scientifically regulated ? What is the meaning of the saying : "God helps those who help themselves" ? The answer is that God reduces our punishment and enhances our rewards, but we still have to apply ourselves.

So how does one avoid depression or get out of it ? Austerity is the answer. Either one remains austere in one’s desires and makes do with less. Or, one has enough discipline to diligently pursue whatever one desires. lt is true that we can achieve just about anything if we apply ourselves hard enough. Excuses are for non-performers. After all. the quality of life that we aspire to, can materialize only by our own efforts.

Austerity, whether in the form of desiring less or being sufficiently focused to pursue our dreams, solely depends on the individual.
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