Skip to main content

Full text of "Mental Health And Hindu Psychology"

See other formats

CO > CO ^ 

OU1 64737 >m 


CalkNu. 131. 3/i'fl 1 jy Accession Pfc* 

Author Akhilananda, Swami 

'I'Hie Mental health and Hindu psychology 

This book shoui . be relumed on or before the dale last marked belo' 



Copyright in the U.S.A. g 


77/13 book is copyright under the Berne Convention, Apart from any fair 
dealing for the purposes of private study , research, criticism or review, as 
permitted under the Copyright Act /9//, wo portion may be reproduced by any 
process without written {permission. Inquiry should be made to the publisher. 







I Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 1 

II How to Overcome Anxiety 25 

III Conquest of Fear 37 

IV Conquest of Frustration 46 
V Forgiveness or Aggression 54 

VI Competition or Cooperation 67 

VII How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 80 

VIII Social Adjustment 101 

IX Escape through Alcoholism 109 

X Power of Mind 118 

XI Power of Love 129 

XII Love, Marriage, and Religion 143 

XIII Religion and Integration 160 

XIV Technique of Integration of Personality 169 
XV Is Religion Escapism? 185 

XVI Power through Religious Practices 805 


INDEX 227 


Research Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois 

THE thesis of this book is at once new and very old. In prehis- 
toric and even early historic times, problems both of the body 
and of the soul, or psyche, were ministered to by the same per- 
sons: priests, shamans, medicine men. Medicine, in the modern 
sense of the term, is often dated from developments in fifth 
century (B.C.) Greece which were associated with the name of 
Hippocrates but which dipped back into the earlier civilizations 
of Egypt, Babylonia, India, and China. By the end of the second 
century, A.D., the spotlight in medicine had shifted to > Rome, 
where its brightest star was Galen. During the Dark Ages in 
Europe, interest in research and medical inquiry was kept alive 
in Alexandria and a few other spots east and south of the Medi- 
terranean. But at no time was medicine a serious rival of estab- 
lished religion, for its rationale was feeble and its practical results 

However, with the Renaissance, such men as Vesalius, Harvey, 
Lister and Leeuwenhoek appeared and then, in the middle of the 
nineteenth century came Pasteur and the germ theory of disease 
and the development of anesthesia and surgery. Since that time 
progress in medicine has been little short of miraculous. In 1850 
the average life span in New England was 40 years. By 1900 it 
had risen to 47 years for the United States as a whole, and at the 
present time it is 67 years. What more eloquent tribute to medi- 
cal progressl 

It is not surprising, then, that within the past century or two 
we have turned increasingly to medicine for treatment in the 
realm of physical disease; and it is understandable that we should 
also have looked hopefully to it for aid in dealing with "mental 
disease." Here, however, the results have been disappointing. 

x Introduction 

Nothing comparable to the miracles of physical medicine haj 
happened in psychological medicine, as is attested by the mental 
hospital population of this country (about 800,000) and the higt 
incidence of ambulatory psychotic and severely neurotic persons 

To date, we can justly say that the medical approach to "men 
tal disease" has failed. This approach was at first explicitly or 
ganic, as such terms as "neurosis" (an "osis" of the nerves) 
"neurasthenia" (nerve weakness), and "nervous-ness" imply. The 
causes of all such disorders were sought in terms of constitutional 
taint, degeneration, atrophy, tumors, germs, toxins, and so forth, 
In some types of disturbances, e.g. general paresis and pellagra 
psychosis, this approach succeeded brilliantly, but it left un 
touched the source of difficulty in the overwhelming majority ol 

At this stage, in the last decade of the nineteenth century, 
Sigmund Freud put forward a somewhat different theory that 
aroused new hope. He, too, had been trained as a physician, but 
he transcended his training to the extent of positing that most 
personaMty disturbances are in no way connected with organic 
factors. However much he thus departed from established medi- 
cal tradition, Freud did not entirely escape the influence of his 
professional background; for the new theory of mental disorder 
which he advanced likewise had a strong biological bias. It as- 
sumed, as is now well known, that personality problems arise 
when and only when the "natural expression" of such impulses 
as lust and hostility is blocked, inhibited, frustrated. This impair- 
ment of biologically normal functioning comes about most typi- 
cally when the efforts of parents and other socializers of the 
young succeed, Freud believed, only too well in their purposes 
and thereby produce adults who are psychologically stunted, 
crippled in respect to their capacity to satisfy these inherent 
needs and thus be healthy and happy. 

This type of thinking has enjoyed and still enjoys an enormous 
vogue. However, it has not given us either an efficient method 
for treating personality disorders or a new philosophy of life 01 
theory of education which enables us to prevent them. What it 
has given us is a powerful research tool which continues to pro 
vide new information and understanding. Use of the psycho 
analytic method in treatment has abundantly demonstrated the 

Introduction xi 

soundness of Freud's position with respect to the futility of 
symptom therapy. Symptoms, Freud held and many others have 
now confirmed, are but the habits which neurotically anxious 
persons develop as means of dealing with their otherwise in- 
tractable suffering. Freud rightly insisted that attention be turned 
from the symptom to the sufferer, to the person as such.* 
) Freud's next assumption, with which today there is also general 
agreement, was that neurotic suffering always involves a mystery; 
there is, he maintained, always something unintelligible, un- 
known, something unconscious about it. Neurotic anxiety, he 
said, comes about because something has been put "out of mind" 
(dissociated, repressed), and it is the periodic attempt of this 
something to return to consciousness that produces the mystify- 
ing, terrifying experience of neuibtic anxiety./ 

But what is this something? Freud, as we know, maintained 
that it was either sexuality or aggression. Here, it seems, Freud 
was in error. He did not see what now is unmistakable, namely, 
that the something which falls under repression in the neurotic 
is his conscience, his moral and ethical strivings, rather than his 
biologically given needs of sex and aggression. Neurosis, it now 
appears, is not the result of biological frustration but of moral 
frustration. Freud correctly saw that the prelude to neurosis is 
a conflict between biologically given impulses (immaturities) and 
social pressures which are internalized in the form of conscience; 
but because of his training as a physician, we conjecture, Freud 
mistakenly assumed that the pathogenic resolution of this conflict 
involved renunciation of impulse rather than of conscience. The 
correction of this error bids fair to bring a long overdue revitali- 
zation of psychotherapy and of the theory underlying it. 

But this development does something else. With it history 
comes full circle, and we see again the legitimacy of the concern 
of religious leaders in such matters. Traditionally, they, more 
than any other group, have been concerned with the problem of 
man's relation to others and to himself, with man's goodness and 
his happiness. They, especially, have been interested in questions 
of conscience, guilt, temptation, conflict, and anxiety. But for 
complex historical reasons, most religious leaders had, until re- 
cently, abandoned their position as psychic physicians and retired 
to the remoter realms of theology and metaphysics. Today, how- 

arii Introduction 

ever, a vigorous new movement looms on the horizon. Recent 
books by Fosdick, Hiltner, May, Liebman, Sheen, and others tell 
the story of this re-awakening and point to momentous potential 

Let us be more concrete. Imagine a small American town with 
a population of 2000 or 3000. Typically such a town will have 
five or six physicians and about the same number of churches. 
The physicians are likely to be busy, harassed men who are over- 
worked and whose waiting rooms are overcrowded because of 
patients whose problems are primarily psychological but who 
know nowhere else to go. By contrast the churches in that town 
are likely to be empty six days of the week and only half filled 
on Sundayl Surelv the moral is obvious. Here lies a golden oppor- 
tunity for the churches to revitalize themselves and, at the same 
time, to render a significant social service. 

At the present time the relatively new and still small profes- 
sions of psychiatry, social work, and clinical psychology are 
attempting to meet the needs of persons with emotional and 
personality problems. But thus far their services are mainly 
limited to larger cities, and even here there is a great discrepancy 
between services available and the need for them. Thousands of 
churches the country over, by contrast, offer potential facilities 
of great scope. Churches, unlike schools, are legitimately con- 
cerned not just with children but with the "whole family." Every- 
one, regardless of age, may "go to church." Moreover, the church, 
at least in principle, is prepared to operate at both the broadly 
educational and the more specifically therapeutic levels, to deal, 
that is, with both groups and individuals. Given a new type of 
leadership which now seems, in fact, to be emerging and a some- 
what altered conception of the place of religion in the life of 
modern men and women, the churches are in a position to do 
more than any other agency or institution within our entire 
society to influence our common culture along lines of mental 
hygiene and social reconstruction. 

But the realization of this objective will not be easy. The mod- 
ern mind is in no mood for metaphysical makeshift; its problems 
must be met scientifically, rationally, honestly. And it will take time 
before religious leadership can make the internal accommoda- 

Introduction xiii 

tions and reorientation which are necessary if present opportuni- 
ties are to be seized and effectively utilized. 

The present volume by Swami Akhilananda presents what will 
be for most Americans new and certainly important facts and 
perceptions in this field of endeavor. To Swami Akhilananda the 
separation of religion and clinical psychology in this country 
ipust, in the beginning of his long sojourn here, have been an 
arresting spectacle; for in Hinduism, psychology and religion are 
one and inseparable. Certainly this old and great system of 
thought has valuable insights and suggestions to contribute to 
the resolution of our particular problems in a creative and con- 
structive way. 

More than this, the author is an accomplished scholar, not 
only in the field of classical religion (see his Hindu View of 
Christ), but also in respect to the theories and theoretical di- 
lemmas of contemporary psychiatry, psychology, and sociology 
(cf. Hindu Psychology). He knows the meaning of anxiety in 
both its normal and neurotic sense, and he sees clearly the para- 
doxes and inadequacies of Freudian psychoanalysis. But, nfost of 
all, Swami Akhilananda is a refined, sensitive, tolerant human 
being whose wisdom and kindliness have already touched the 
lives of innumerable persons and will, in the present volume, 
bring new understanding and a surer perspective to many more. 


IN A casual way one day, our good friend Dr. Gordon W. All- 
port noted the subjects of our lectures in Boston and said: 
"Swami, these should form a book." Until that day, we had no 
notion of writing a book on mental health and integration of 
personality. So it was he who was really responsible for stimulat- 
ing the idea of getting together a number of lectures and putting 
them into book form. Again, we hold him responsible because 
of his interest in the progress of this humble contribution to the 
field of mental health. 

Pioneering work in .mental health was started towards the end 
of the eighteenth century by a great French physician, Dr. Pinel, 
whose departure from the old inhuman treatment of mental 
patients was inspired by his sympathy for them. A number of 
English, French, and German physicians followed the lead of 
Pinel in dealing with the insane. More systematic study of psycho- 
therapy was started gradually in the West by such thinkers as 
Charcot, Janet, Kraepelin, Bleuler, and Freud during the eighties 
of the last century. Many outstanding individuals in the West 
have become interested in mental health. Since the first World 
War, serious consideration has been given to methods of psycho- 
therapy. It seems that the mental health of a majority of the 
people is seriously affected; consequently, they are developing 
what are known as psychosomatic diseases and neurotic and 
psychotic behavior. It has been established by general physicians, 
psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists that a majority of physical 
disturbances are psychogenic. So not only medical specialists but 
also philosophers, scientists, and rationalistic thinkers of all types 
are deeply interested in methods for stabilizing the mind. 

The Hindus started their psychological research on the basis 
of their spiritual experiences. Certain methods are necessary for 

am Preface 

the attainment of what they call samadhi (superconsciousness). 
We have already discussed the various aspects of the psychology 
of the Hindus in another book, Hindu Psychology. Even though 
their primary interest is in religious development, they fully 
realize that until and unless the mind is wholly unified and in- 
tegrated there is no possibility of spiritual realization or mystical 
experiences. Herein lies the utility of the contributions of the 
Hindus to the field of mental health. The technique of their 
spiritual realization is based on what they term paramartha or 
the supreme goal of life, which is the fundamental principle in 
stabilizing the mind. Mental health is the prerequisite of spir- 
itual discipline. So long as the mind is disturbed and agitated 
by conflicting emotions and consequent tension, there is no peace 
of mind; and when there is no peace of mind there is no joy in 
life. Neither can a restless mind have the possibility for realizing 
the ultimate truth. pThe mind is the instrument of perception. 
So long as it is unsteady and unstable, we cannot correctly per- 
ceive a thing. When we think of the ultimate truth which is 
beyond the pale of ordinary experiences, we require mental de- 
velopment which is stronger than ordinary mental health. So it 
is worth while for modern Western scholars of psychotherapy to 
consider the contribution of Hindu psychology in the field of 
mental health at this critical juncture of Western civilization. 

Western psychotherapists of various schools have, of course, 
been trying to solve the mental problems of the people. Yet in 
spite of their attempts and noble contributions they lack some- 
thing which can be given by the religious psychology of India 
for the understanding of the total personality and the goal of 
life. So we feel that understanding between Western psycho- 
therapy of various types and the Indian system of mental train- 
ing can become a great strength for the solution of mental prob- 
lems and psychosomatic diseases. 

Hindu psychology includes Buddhistic and Jaina systems of 
thought. These two schools are offshoots of Hindu thought. As 
they have functioned in India along with Hindu ideas, the three 
schools have commingled to such an extent that it is now difficult 
to separate their contributions. For the sake of convenience we 
are here calling the three systems of thought by the term Hindu 


Hindu religion, philosophy, and psychology are inseparably 
connected. Consequently, when we discuss the religious outlook 
and religious values we necessarily mean the philosophical back- 
ground of religion and also mental training. By religion we mean 
neither sectarianism nor a dogmatic conception of any type of 
religious thought or method. We want to make it clear that the 
religious goal can be achieved by different persons of different 
mental aptitudes in different ways, without any particularization 
and overemphasis on one method or one doctrine. Nevertheless, 
we emphasize that religious values cannot be achieved without 
mental integration. 

The technique of mental training suggested by Hindu thinkers 
is of vital importance for the integration of the mind and for 
proper mental health^So we humbly offer to the Western psycho- 
therapists and the general public the contributions of Hindu 
psychologists to consider and absorb into their own systems of 

We beg to differ with those psychiatrists who have certain 
definite ideas of the predominant urge in man. Hindu psycholo- 
gists take a broad viewpoint of the human mental states. Al- 
though they feel that the master urge or sentiment is the desire 
for abiding joy, they do not condemn or negate the biological 
urges of man. Rather, they try to subordinate them to this master 
urge. It will be worth while for Western psychiatrists and Eastern 
psychiatrists who are trained in the Western system to consider 
the contribution of Hindu psychologists in the field of technical 
training of the mind and in the development of the philosophy 
of life. With this view we present this little book. 

Because these were originally extemporaneous lectures deliv- 
ered and recorded in Boston and Providence they may have a 
tendency toward repetition. Again, we have had to make this 
book comparatively free from many technicalities knowing that 
it will also be read by the general public. For this reason it may 
seem like preaching in some places. We hope that the readers 
will forgive these defects. As we feel it is worth while for the 
psychiatrists and religious counselors to see if they can be mutu- 
ally benefited by the system of Hindu psychology, we are pre- 
senting this book in this form. They can further study the 
original systems of Hindu thought. This is only meant for the 

ami* Preface 

stimulation of their research in the therapeutic contribution of 
Hindu psychology. 

What little we have learned to be of service to disturbed per- 
sons and to our own students and devotees is entirely to the 
credit of our beloved Master, Swami Brahmananda. We often 
noticed him and other disciples of Sri Ramakrishna showing 
sympathy and love to their disciples, devotees, and others, re- 
gardless of religious or racial affiliations. Their unbounded love 
has lifted many persons from their distressed and disturbed 
states. From our boyhood, we noticed the tremendous spiritual 
power of our beloved Master in lifting different persons to a 
higher plane of consciousness. It is he who really inspired us to 
devote our life to the service of the seekers of truth. The influ- 
ence of Swami Premananda, anbther disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, 
in our life has contributed immensely to our understanding of 
the human mind. The teachings of Swami Vivekananda are in- 
deed the guiding force in our thinking of mental and spiritual 
problems of modern man. So if any credit is given to anyone 
for this humble contribution, it goes to these three great per- 
sonalities and to other disciples of Sri Ramakrishna who unceas- 
ingly loved and blessed us. 

We are grateful to Professor O. Hobart Mowrer of the Uni- 
versity of Illinois for writing the Introduction. He and Professor 
Gordon W. Allport and Professor Edgar S. Brightman have 
stimulated us in psychological and spiritual discussions for sev- 
eral years. 

Our thanks go to some of the Swamis of the Ramakrishna 
Order of India who kindly read the manuscript. Our affectionate 
gratitude goes especially to Professor Edgar S. Brightman of Bos- 
ton University; Professor Gordon W. Allport of Harvard Uni- 
versity; Dr. Dana L. Farnsworth of the Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology; Dean Walter G. Muelder, Professor Paul E. 
Johnson, Professor Peter A. Bertocci, Mr. John D. Copp, and 
Dr. Robert P. Benedict of Boston University; Dr. David Wright, 
Superintendent of Butler Hospital; and Dr. Allen E. Claxton of 
New York City; for their reading of the manuscript and for their 
valuable suggestions. Dr. Ordway Tead, Chairman of the Board 
of Higher Education in New York City, and Editor of Social and 
Economic Books of Harper & Brothers, personally read the 

Preface six 

manuscript and gave valuable suggestions. We are greatly in- 
debted to him for his genuine contributions to this book. We are 
indeed indebted to some of our students and friends who re- 
corded our lectures, typed the manuscript, and helped in various 
ways. We also thankfully acknowledge the authors and publishers 
who very kindly permitted us to quote from their books. 
The result of this humble offering goes to the all-loving Being. 

Ramakrishna Vedanta Society 
Boston, Massachusetts 
August 1 



Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 

THE modern world is deeply interested in psychosomatic dis- 
eases and their treatment. Many pi the best medical authorities 
consider that there are numerous physical ailments which cannot 
be treated without an understanding of their psychological back- 
ground. In fact, they feel that the majority of diseases are psycho- 
genie, namely, originating in mental disturbance and tension, 
and hence they have a practical interest in psychosomatic diseases 
and their treatment. The word "psychosomatic" is a combination 
of "psyche" (mind) and "soma" (body), from the Greek. The 
physicians who are interested in psychosomatic medicine realize 
that physical diseases cannot be treated properly unless their 
causes, which are rooted in the mind, are removed or straight- 
ened out. 

According to certain statistical accounts, in America eighty per 
cent of the medical cases are psychogenic. According to other 
accounts, the percentage is about sixty-six. The recently retired 
Surgeon General of the United States declared that more than 
one half of the cases treated by physicians were of this type, and 
admitted that the number might actually be much higher than 
fifty per cent. Most of the American medical authorities, as well 
as psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists, are deeply 
concerned about the situation. Various other types of psychiatric 
disturbances are also attracting a great deal of attention from 
practitioners concerned with physical and mental ailments, and 
from religious leaders as well. It is almost certain that in the near 
future people in the Eastern countries will also be giving their 
attention to these problems, for their ways of life are changing 


Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

considerably. It is natural that people will be deeply interested 
in knowing how Indian psychology can contribute to the field 
of psychosomatic medicine at the present stage of civilization. 

In order to understand the contributions of Indian psychology 
to this field, it is essential that one first understand the nature 
of mental and psychosomatic problems. Broadly speaking, physi- 
cal ailments can be classified into two groups. First, there are the 
physiogenic diseases which stem from the physical condition. 
Some of these ailments are congenital; they are either inherited 
or they are in the very makeup of the human constitution. Others 
are caused by bacteria of various types, such as tuberculosis and 
typhoid bacilli, and by non-filterable viruses. Sometimes physical 
ailments can arse from malnutrition (lack of the essential in- 
gredients of the body) or from the deterioration of the physical 
constitution due to old age and other changes in the body. 
Climatic conditions create certain ailments. All of these diseases 
are organic. 

In the second group are the psychogenic ailments created by 
mental conditions which affect the nervous system. These are 
generally called "functional" by physicians. They include peptic 
ulcers, mucous colitis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cer- 
tain kinds of heart symptoms, asthma, and certain other disorders 
commonly referred to as psychosomatic in nature. 1 

Those who use psychosomatic treatment declare that psycho- 
logical diseases or functional ailments cannot be cured by medi- 
cal methods alone, although in acute conditions medical help 
is necessary. Neurosurgery has proved to be beneficial in many 
extreme cases of acute functional trouble, such as hypertension 
and consequent heart ailment. However, no permanent cure is 
possible without restoring the mental health of the patient, even 
though medical care is helpful. So proper psychological under- 
standing of the causes of functional disease is of vital importance 
in attempts to eliminate it. 

1 A clinical study of nearly three hundred cases made in the Boston Dis- 
pensary under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Pratt and his colleague Dr. 
Golden, revealed that many of the so-called organic diseases were purely 
psychogenic. They were cured and helped through suggestion and thought 

See also Wolf and Wolfe, Human Gastric Function (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1943). 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 3 

Psychiatric disturbances are classified into two groups neu- 
roses and psychoses. Functional diseases are included under the 
neuroses. There are also cases which can be included under 
psychoneuroses. People who suffer from psychoneuroses are not 
insane but they have emotional disorders, affecting the nerve 
functions, which stem from maladjustment, insecurity, inordinate 
ambition, anxiety, fear, frustration, and other tensions. Some 
persons have distinct behavior difficulties and show considerable 
disturbance in their personal and interpersonal relationships. 
Their behavior patterns are affected by their mental conditions; 
and, although they have regular activities and duties in human 
society, they are regarded as abnormal personalities because they 
act in an irregular and unusual manner and often in a way that 
is considered irrational. It is difficult to help neurotic personali- 
ties because of their tendency to cling to and repeat their be- 
havior which serves a particular purpose for them. Not until 
functional troubles become disturbing do people seek and use 
psychotherapy. Religious psychology properly used at a suffi- 
ciently early stage could prevent the development of the symp- 
toms. Hence, the contributions of Hindu psychology should be 
properly evaluated. 

Psychotic persons are disorganized in their mental life and 
human relationships. They may be classified as suffering from 
dementia praecox or schizophrenia, paranoia, manic-depressive 
psychosis, involutional melancholia, and so forth. Sometimes, 
symptoms identical with those which are evident in these diseases 
may be due to organic disease of the brain and nervous system, 
such as infection, tumor, or congenital defects. However, the vast 
majority of these cases arise from mental disturbances caused by 
maladjustments or tensions. 

There are behavior disorders which do not come under any 
definite category, such as exaggerated aggression, obsession, and 
compulsion. They are generally regarded as psychoneurotic be- 
cause they are not wholly psychotic, yet they have distinct neurotic 
characteristics. Persons with such disorders become unpopular 
in society because of their activities, speech, and behavior, which 
are affected by their aggression and attitudes of superiority. The 
obsessive type of person cannot change his pattern of repetitive 
thinking, even though the ideas that come to his mind are insig- 

4 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

nificant. He makes much of petty matters; consequently, his be- 
havior, mental condition, and nervous system, as well as his 
social adjustment are gradually affected. People with compulsive 
behavior patterns repeat their actions without any justification, 
as if they were possessed by them. Anxiety neuroses can* be in- 
cluded in this group of ailments, as they are expressed in neurotic 
phobias which are based on fear, panic, and the like. 

Psychoneurotic disturbances are often accompanied by definite 
physical symptoms like heart palpitation, perspiration, exhaus- 
tion, or fainting spells. There have been many instances of pain 
or other disturbances which were generally regarded as physical 
ailments when they were actually psychogenic disturbances. This 
does not mean that stomach ulcers, aches and pains in the teeth, 
head, shoulder, chest, stomach, legs, or other parts of the body 
are imaginary, but rather that they are often created by mental 
Conditions with consequent nerve disorders which lead to pain. 
They are mostly to be cured or helped by mental suggestion, 
training, and adjustment. 

Certain mental conditions and attitudes bring about neurotic 
and psychotic disturbances. It is well established that the early in- 
security of childhood creates aggressiveness with inferiority and 
superiority complexes. In our experience with individual situa- 
tions, we have observed a number of persons whose mental condi- 
tions were upset and whose behavior patterns were unusual 
because of early insecurity. A young man of our acquaintance lost 
his father when he was a small child. He was brought up in the 
house of relatives. He got everything that he wanted from them 
through his own demands rather than through their spontaneous 
emotional expression toward him. As a result, his behavior be- 
came more and more aggressive, overbearing, and full of superior- 
ity. He developed these qualities to compensate for his sense 
of inferiority and natural craving for emotional satisfaction. 
Not only was his behavior as an adult colored by his mental 
disturbance, but he had serious functional troubles all his life. 
Medical care has brought him no permanent help. Many such 
instances could be enumerated. 

Anxiety, also, arises from the sense of insecurity, which 
ultimately leads to numerous neurotic symptoms and psychotic 
conditions. In one case, the parents of a young boy were divorced 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 6 

and the mother married another man with whom the boy had to 
live. Since he experienced a good deal of resentment and insecur- 
ity because of the change in conditions, he developed most dis- 
agreeable neurotic symptoms and functional ailments. He had 
considerable medication, yet he did not seem to be helped until 
he had religious psychotherapy to strengthen his emotional life. 

There have been innumerable persons who have developed 
both neurotic and psychotic symptoms from a sense of guilt. 
Consciousness of sinful activities and overemphasis on the effect 
of such activities partly or completely disorganize many person- 
alities. A middle-aged professional man developed a sense of 
guilt because of his illegal practices. In order to escape from it 
he developed an extreme form of alcoholism. The persistent feel- 
ing of guilt haunted him so much that he had no alternative but 
to forget everything under the influence of alcohol. The Western 
types of psychoanalysis and other such therapeutic methods were 
tried for years and years but could not help him to eliminate 
either the cause of his mental disturbances or the alcoholism. 

Many persons develop acute alcoholism because of mental ten- 
sion and frustration. There are millions of people who are known 
as alcoholics, because without alcohol they cannot go on in life. 
They enter a vicious circle, depending on alcohol for the release 
from tension and frustration, while this very habit of drinking 
makes them more and more emotionally disturbed. When their 
everyday lives and interpersonal relationships are seriously im- 
peded, they again intensify their drinking to forget their prob- 
lems. Of course, we do not include the so-called social drinkers 
in the category of alcoholics, but we are apprehensive that many 
of these social drinkers can and do become real alcoholics. In 
many religious groups alcoholism is regarded as sinful; however, 
most authorities understand it as a psychological ailment which 
ought to be treated as such. 

There has been a change in attitude toward this problem 
in the same way that the general attitude toward mental illness 
has been modified. In the Middle Ages in Europe, mentally 
disturbed persons were regarded as possessed by the devil or 
evil spirits, and they were humiliated by the treatment given 
them. Today, it is understood by psychotherapists and others that 
they are suffering from maladjustment, frustration, and tension. 

6 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Consequently, sincere persons have made numerous attempts to 
combat the problem of alcoholism, seeing it as an escape mech- 
anism for the avoidance of disturbances and unhappiness. Legis- 
lation and other controls have been established; however, Accord- 
ing to the Hindu psychologists, they cannot solve the problem 
until mental and emotional satisfaction is created and will power 
is developed. We have seen persons who controlled this habit 
by integration of the will. Without a strong will it is almost 
impossible to overcome the habit of drinking because it is 
basically a psychological problem. As is well known, Alcoholics 
Anonymous appeals to religious motivation for strengthening of 
the will. 

^Ambition and the urges of self-expression, knowledge and 
sex, and also the gregarious urge can create frustration and an 
extreme form of tension, with consequent neurotic symptoms 
and behavior patterns. A great scientist of our acquaintance had 
many marital difficulties. In spite of his scientific achievements, 
his emotional reactions seemed to be immature so that he was 
alwayw frustrated in the intimate marital relationship. Conse- 
quently, he had many symptoms of functional ailments in his 
intimate life. This individual was considerably helped by a 
thoughtful, patient, and persevering wife. We also know a 
number of persons who developed serious neurotic behavior and 
functional disorders because of the fear of failure in their ambi- 
tious attempts to have a successful life. Western psychoanalysis 
has been successful in such situations, as Dr. Franz Alexander, 
Dr. T. M. French, and other psychoanalysts report. 2 A number 
of psychiatrists have been helping many such mentally disturbed 
persons. Religious counselors are also doing good work in this 
field of psychotherapy. 

Mental tension, which causes neurosis and psychosis, is due to 
ineffective, unfulfilled ambitions and conflict in the mind. Ac- 
cording to the majority of the psychoanalysts of the West 

* Franz Alexander, Fundamentals of Psychoanalysis (London: George Allen 
& Unwin Ltd., 1950). See also Franz Alexander and Thomas Morton French, 
Studies in Psychosomatic Medicine (New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1948). 
Robert W. White, The Abnormal Personality (New York: The Ronald Press Co., 
1948), chap. IX, "Psychotherapy: Basic Methods." Elihu S. Wing, "Diversion, 
Relaxation and Sleep." The Rhode Island Medical Journal, XXII (May, 1939). 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 7 

namely, the Freudians conflict and tension are generally created 
by repression of the sex urge due to the activity of the superego 
namely, certain aspects of religious, ethical, and social ideals. 
They also say that tension is caused by conflict between the so- 
called pleasure principle (the modified sex urge) and the death 
wish. They seem to think that there is harm in this conflict but 
they do not prescribe a thoroughgoing method of overcoming it. 
In addition, their psychoanalysis does not remove the tension 
created by the pleasure principle itself, so long as pleasure re- 
mains the supreme objective of life. In the psychoanalytical 
process, it is true, methods of "free association," interpretation of 
dreams, and transference have been ameliorating in certain 
cases. Indian psychologists do not deny the existence of the 
desire for the pursuit of pleasure through sex expression or 
other means, but they consider it of secondary importance. It 
is proper to note here that there are some psychologists such as 
Professor Gordon Allport of Harvard University and Professor O. 
Hobart Mowrer of the University of Illinois; psychiatrists such 
as Dr. William Brown of England, Dr. Carl G. Jung of S\/itzer- 
land, and a few Americans; and medical men such as Dr. Joseph 
Pratt of Boston and Dr. Harry Bone of New York, who do not 
take this narrow view of the cause of mental disorder. Freudian 
emphasis on the sex urge has created more tension and dis- 
turbance than it has cured. Conflict and tension often go together, 
unless there is inner harmony established by higher understand- 
ing in the form of religious development. 

Adlerian psychologists declare that the urge of self-expression 
should be given a proper outlet. As Professor Albert J. Levine 

This feeling of superiority constitutes a sense of Adlerian individu- 
ality. It is an all-inclusive and absolute superiority into which rationality 
and irrationality enter as conflicting elements; reason tempers the as- 
pirations of the irrational self in its phases of godlike phantasying; 
while the irrational self feeds the springs of self-esteem and self-glorifi- 
cation. 8 

In the study of individuals it is found that when a man has a 
hedonistic attitude toward life there is no end to his self-ex- 

8 Albert J. Levine, Current Psychologies (Cambridge: Sci-Art Publishers, 
1940), p. 207. 

8 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

pression. He gradually becomes more and more egocentric and 
selfish; consequently, when this urge is accentuated in him and in 
others, as it is in modern men and women there is extreme 
conflict and tension. 

Dr. Cafl Jung, on the other hand, firmly believes in a broader 
view of life. According to his view, religion is not harmful; on 
the contrary, it is of great help. He does not seem to have a nar- 
row attitude regarding complexes. His interpretation of the libido 
as the vital force is much broader than the Freudian. It is 
interesting to note what Dr. Gregory Zilboorg has to say about 
the place of religion in psychic disturbances. He states that "there 
should really be no quarrel with religion on the basis of our con- 
cepts of guilt." 4 Clinical psychologists, such as Professor (X 
Hobart Mowrer, do not feeF that religion necessarily creates 
mental conflict. He says: 

If I can read the signs of our time aright, one of the great tasks 
which confronts us in our quest for peace of mind and more meaning- 
ful existence is the rediscovery of ethics' For historical reasons which 
we ha^e already examined, morality and personal responsibility have 
become unfashionable. 9 

He further says that "religion is right in its contention that the 
problem of personal happiness and normality is inextricably 
bound up with the moral nature of man." 6 

A number of American psychiatrists are taking a broad view 
of the cause and treatment of psychic disturbance. It is refresh- 
ing to note that this trend of thought is constructive and healthy. 
The report of the Committee on Psychiatric Social Work of the 
Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry is an outstanding ex- 
ample of this breadth of view. It requires deep consideration. 
To quote from the report: ". . . all the disorders of personality, 
regardless of the age of the patient, are compounds of disturbed 
interrelationships in which biological, psychological, and socio- 
logical processes are always present and interwoven." 7 It is also 

4 Gregory Zilboorg, "The Sense of Guilt and Reality," Digest of Neurology 
and Psychiatry, XVIII (April, 1950), 2*6. 

5 O. Hobart Mowrer, "Biological vs. Moral 'Frustration' in Personality Dis- 
turbances," Progressive Education, XXVI, (January, 1949), p. 67. 

/6id., p. 68. 

T "Psychiatric Social Work in the Psychiatric Clinic," (Group for the Ad- 
vancement of Psychiatry, Committee on Psychiatric Social Work, June i*. 
95). P- i. (Typewritten.) 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 9 

of interest to observe what Professor Allport has to say in his 
latest book, The Individual and His Religion. He writes: 

It is not psychiatry, but the sciences of government, of sociology, of 
human relations that have overslept. If the psychiatrist is at fault at 
all, it is because he does not see clearly enough that mental health and 
disease are to a considerable extent dependent upon the social setting. 
Working in isolation he can never solve problems that require con- 
certed effort. Widespread improvement in mental health awaits the time 
when he can work effectively with statesmen, sociologists, the clergy, 
educators, anthropologists, economists, social workers, administrators, 
psychologists, and medical practitioners. 8 

The definite psychotic disturbances, such as dementia praecox, 
paranoia, manic depressive psychosis, and the various types of 
obsessive and compulsive psychoses can often be traced to one or 
more of the conflicts and tensions described above, although in 
some individuals there may be certain congenital defects in 
either the nervous system or the emotional structure. However, 
proper psychotherapy car alleviate and often eliminate the 
symptoms of psychosis. The modern methods of electric and 
insulin shock treatment and lobotomy have been helpful in the 
relief of many cases; but psychiatric and medical authorities 
realize that psychotherapy is essential after the treatments for the 
establishment of mental harmony and the elimination of further 
tension and frustration. Clinical studies show that many patients 
become fairly normal after such drastic physical methods, al- 
though some of the highest authorities in medicine prefer that 
such treatment should be given with considerable caution and 
only when it is necessary. But in any event, post-shock psycho- 
therapy is regarded as essential for permanent cure. The severe 
psychotic illnesses require, at first, proper medical treatment 
along with psychotherapy. The milder forms of psychosis and the 
neurotic and so-called psychoneurotic disturbances should also 
be treated by psychotherapy. 

In the West, psychotherapy has gone through various phases 
during the last century. Even in the early part of the nineteenth 
century, mental disorders were regarded in the West as physio- 
genie or diseases of the brain by psychiatrists such as Griesinger 

8 Gordon W. Allport, The Individual and His Religion (New York: The 
Macmillan Co., 1950), p. 76. 

10 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

of Germany and French psychiatrists such as Morel and Magnan, 
in line with the Greek and other such traditions. Even the great 
psychiatrist Kraepelin of Germany, who made the greatest 
contribution in diagnostic technique, was influenced ,by this 
thought. It was Mesmer of Austria who, just before the French 
Revolution, introduced a new method of treating not only mental 
disturbances but also many physical disorders through psycho- 
genie diagnosis and therapy. In the latter part of the nineteenth 
century, Charcot, Janet, Kraepelin, and Bleuler contributed 
wonderfully to diagnostic methods. Charcot was the first man 
who went further than Mesmer in recognizing psychogenic causa- 
tion of physical states as well as mental disturbances. Mesmer 
obscured his method of hypnotic control of other minds through 
mysterious processes. Both Charcot and his follower Janet studied 
many interesting cases of leg paralysis where individuals who 
could not move during the hours when they were awake walked 
at night in a sleeping state. 9 Joseph Breuer and Sigmund Freud 
of Vienna followed in the footsteps of these great French psy- 
chiatrists and introduced a revolutionary change both in diag- 
nosis (following the classifications of Kraepelin) and in therapy. 

The Adlerian method of treatment is a departure from the 
Freudian method. Adler suggests that the psychotherapist should 
first understand the reason for the sense of superiority through 
the presence of the fear of inferiority. His understanding of 
mental disturbances is based purely on his original thesis of the 
causation of mental problems, namely, the problem of self-ex- 
pression. His cure is to explain to the client the nature of and 
reasons for the symptoms and thereby establish proper adjust- 
ment through the process of rethinking and rewilling. 

Jung firmly believes in proper mental training after discover- 
ing the unconscious causation of mental disturbances. He is also 
a believer that during and after analysis the patient must be re- 
educated so that the individual's philosophy of life will be 
changed. His emphasis on the training process is extremely con- 
structive, as we observe in his Modern Man in Search of a Soul. 

P. Janet, Major Symptoms of Hysteria (2nd ed.; New York: The Macmillan 
Co., 1920), pp. 28 and 198. 

10 C. G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul (London: Routledge & Kegan 
Paul Ltd., 1934), chaps. II, III, V, and especially XI, "Psychotherapy and the 
Clergy." See also Psychology and Religion (London: Oxford University Press, 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 11 

Karen Homey departs from the orthodox Freudian method 
of psychoanalysis and calls her method self-analysis, although she 
recognizes that self-analysis is a difficult process for the patient. 
But she tries to remove his doubts and to establish the view that 
a man can observe himself and analyze his own unconscious 
motivations. She says: 

On theoretical grounds, then, I see no stringent reason why self- 
analysis should not be feasible. Granted that many people are too 
deeply entangled in their own problems to be able to analyze them- 
selves; granted that self-analysis can never approximate the speed and 
accuracy of analytical treatment by an expert; granted that there are 
certain resistances that can be surmounted only with outside help- 
still, all of this is no proof that in principle the job cannot be done. 11 

She does not seem willing to keep the patient dependent on the 
analyst. Moreover, she emphasizes the development of inner 
strength and self-confidence. 

Rogers' method of insight is similar to William Brown's autog- 
nosis. A counselor, as he te^ms the psychotherapist, helps the pa- 
tient or client to gain insight into the repressed impulses within 
himself. Like Karen Horney, he emphasizes that the individual 
must play a great part in discovering his own problems. The 
counselor, through his non-directive counseling, helps the person 
to discover himself. Through this process of discovery the patient 
takes "self-initiated actions which move toward achieving the 
new goals/' 12 To continue in Rogers' own words: 

These steps are of the most significant sort for growth, though they 
may relate only to minor issues. They create new confidence and in- 
dependence in the client, and thus reinforce the new orientation which 
has come about through increased insight. 13 

Indian psychology can contribute to the field of psychotherapy. 
It is a development of the aspirations and hopes of the Hindus, 
Buddhists, and Jains, based on age-long experience transmitted 
in their cultural traditions. It is true that Indian psychology lays 
great emphasis on the study of religious experiences and the de- 
velopment of methods by which to attain them. Yet it also pro- 
vides understanding of the different states of consciousness and 

11 Karen Horney, Self-Analysis (London: Routledge Kegan Paul Ltd., 1942), 
p. 27. 

11 Carl R. Rogers, Counseling and Psychotherapy (Boston: Houghton Miffiin 
Co., 1942), p. 216. 


1$ Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

therefore is able to make a definite therapeutic contribution in 
psychological problems. As stated previously, most ailments are 
functional, i.e. psychogenic. Since psychogenic illnesses originate 
in the mind, and the same is true of neurotic and psychotic cases, 
one should consider what therapeutic contributions Indian psy- 
chology can make to the field of psychogenic diseases, as well as 
to the integration of the emotions and personality. For the de- 
velopment of personality is of vital importance to a successful 
and happy life. 

Indian psychology has grown out of religious concepts. That 
is the reason that it basically clarifies the philosophy of life. How- 
ever, it does not neglect the different states of mind conscious, 
unconscious, and superconscious. The objective of psychological 
pursuit in India is to reach the superconscious state through in- 
tegration of the conscious and unconscious. Indian psychologists 
also give great emphasis to the purification and harmonization of 
the unconscious. According to Indian psychologists, the uncon- 
scious is not necessarily the storehouse of the dark side of life, 
nor o f the conflict of the id and superego, nor again of the pleas- 
ure principle and death wish. It contains all the accumulated 
tendencies from individual past thoughts and actions, cultural 
background, and hereditary impressions and environmental con- 
ditions. Herein lies its therapeutic value and utility. 

Every civilization has a dominant ideal or goal .toward which 
it strives. The same is true of every individual. Indian psychol- 
ogists, along with most of the Indian philosophers, say that the 
primary objective of life is the ultimate realization of the divin- 
ity of man, or the manifestation of the divinity that is already in 
him, as Swami Vivekananda puts it. This expression can be 
variously elaborated. It goes without saying that the whole em- 
phasis of Indian psychology (Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain) is on 
the attainment of paramartha (supreme value), namely, the real- 
ization of God, Atman, or Brahman, or Atmajnana (self-knowl- 
edge), or the attainment of Nirvana of the Buddhists. According 
to the Indian psychologists and philosophers, the pursuit of hap- 
piness on the sense plane, the practical training for it, and even 
ethical culture or the use of practical methods are all secondary 
objectives of life. These are means for the attainment of the 
primary objective. 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology IS 

Hedonism or the pursuit of sense pleasure is not negated; it 
is rather subordinated to the supreme goal of life. It is a mistake 
to think that all Indian psychologists would advocate the nega- 
tion of pleasure in the world. On the contrary, they all show us 
how to train ourselves so that we can have legitimate pleasure 
and harmonious living on the sense plane and at the same time 
move toward the supreme goal. As it is said in the Katha Upan- 

One thing is the good and (quite) different indeed is the pleasant; 
being of different requisitions, they both bind the Purusha. Good be- 
falls him who follows the good, but he loses the goal, who chooses the 

Both the good and the pleasant approach man; the wise one dis- 
criminates between the two having examined them (well). Yea, the wise 
man prefers the good to the pleasant, but the fool chooses the pleasant 
through avarice and attachment. 14 

The senses of one who is always of unrestrained mind and devoid of 
right understanding, become uncontrollable like the wicked horses of 
a charioteer. 

The senses of him who is always of restrained mind and has right 
understanding, are controllable like the good horses of a charioteer. 

And he who is devoid of proper understanding, thoughtless and al- 
ways impure, never attains that goal, and gets into the round of births 
and deaths. 

But he who is intelligent, ever pure and with the mind controlled, 
reaches that goal whence none is born again. 15 

In the Dhammapada (a Buddhistic treatise) it is declared: 

He who gives himself to vanity, and does not give himself to medita- 
tion, forgetting the real aim (of life) and grasping at pleasure, will in 
time envy him who has exerted himself in meditation. 16 

It is said in Uttaradhyayana (of the Jaina tradition): 

By renouncing pleasure he attains freedom from false longing, 
whereby he becomes compassionate, humble, free from sorrow, and 
destroys karma produced by delusion regarding conduct. 17 

Indian psychologists give psychological training so that the causes 
of mental disturbances may be eliminated. In the Bhagavad-Gita 

14 Katha Upanishad II: i-*. 

16 /6iU, III: 5-8. 

16 Dhammapada, trans. Max Muller, Vol. X, Sacred Books of the East (Lon- 
don: Oxford University Press, 1924), chap. XIV: 209. 

17 Uttaradhyayana, discourse XXIV. 

24 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Sri Krishna says that when the mental conditions are disturbed 
there is no peace; and without peace there is no happiness. 

But the self-controlled man, moving among objects with senses under 
restraint, and free from attraction and aversion, attains to tranquillity. 

In tranquillity, all sorrow is destroyed. For the intellect of him who 
is tranquil-minded, is soon established in firmness. 

No knowledge (of the Self) has the unsteady. Nor has he meditation. 
To the unmeditative there is no peace. And how can one without peace 
have happiness? 18 

"""It might seem that these philosophical and religious ideals will 
create more and more tension, as Freud and many of his fol- 
lowers think, by creating a strong superego which represses the 
natural and normal tendencies of man. Indian psychologists, 
however, do not advocate the repression of human tendencies. 
Rather, they emphasize the control and transformation of emo- 
tional urges that create tension, conflict, frustration, and unhap- 
piness. In Raja Yoga Patanjali says: 

The fine Samskaras [subtle impressions] are to be conquered by resolv- 
ing them into their causal state. By meditation, their (gross) modifica- 
tions are to be rejected. 19 

The first two steps of Raja Yoga are clear indications of the 
emphasis of Indian psychology. Yama (ethical observation and 
mental control) and niyama (physical cleansing and dietetic re- 
strictions and some forms of mental training) are purificatory 
processes for higher mental development. Rather than repression, 
these are methods for changing the course of the emotions. 
Krishna, in the Bhagavad-Gita, Buddhists, in the Dhammapada, 
and Jainas, in the Uttaradhyayana, and other Indian teachers of 
different traditions made clear that they did not mean repression 
but rather transformation and redirection of the emotions. Sri 
Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda also in recent times show 
how to change the course of emotions and direct tnem to God. 
Sri Ramakrishna says: 

... So long as these passions [lust, anger, etc.] are directed toward 
the world and its objects, they behave as enemies; but \Vhen they are 

18 Sri mad-Bhagavad-Gita, trans. Swami Swarupananda (5th ed.; Mayavati, 
Almora, Himalayas: Advaita Ashrama, 1933)* chap. II: 64-66. 
10 Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali II: 10-11. 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 16 

directed toward God, they become the best friends of man, for then 
they lead him unto God. 20 

And according to Swami Vivekananda: 

; . . The central secret is, therefore, to know that the various passions 
and feelings, md emotions in the human heart are not wrong in them- 
selves; only they have to be carefully controlled and given a higher and 
higher direction, until they attain the very highest condition of ex- 
cellence. The highest direction is that which takes us to God. . . . n 

Indian psychologists thus take the primary and secondary emo- 
tions of man as given facts and try to use them for higher de- 

They realize that as long as man accepts hedonism and pur- 
sues pleasure as the primary objective of life, frustration and 
tension are inevitable. As it is observed, the objects of sense en- 
joyment change; and man, himself the subject of enjoyment, also 
changes. When he is a child, he enjoys dolls and toys to the ut- 
most. In adolescence, he enjoys living, moving companions. 
Again in maturity he finds pleasure in other functions gf life. 
His interests change, and the world that he experiences also 
changes. His friends and relatives are different; social and eco- 
nomic conditions are in a state of flux. If he thinks that in this 
finite world he can have continuous sense pleasure as he likes, 
he is bound to be frustrated and full of tension. 

In his book, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud takes a 
fatalistic attitude. He says: "I cannot believe in the existence of 

mtHttitf&*&* ' 

such [an impulse toward perfection] and I see no way of preserv- 
ing the pleasing illusion." 22 Again he says: "Substitution or 
reaction formations and sublimations avail nothing toward re- 
laxing the continual tension." 23 It seems that Freud and his 
followers, such as Karl Menninger and others, lead the people 
into a blind alley with their theory that the pleasure and suicide 
urges are basic in man. If that be the case, there is no hope for 

*> Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna ($rd ed.; Mylapore, Madras: The Rama- 
krishna Math, 1925), chap. X: 30*. 

21 The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (Mayavati, Almora, Hima- 
layas: Advaita Ashrama, 1932), III, 78. (This reference shall hereafter be 
known as Works.) 

22 Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle (London: International 
Psychoanalytic Press, igaa), p. 52. 
p. 53. 

16 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

success in the removal of tension and frustration by methods 
prescribed in the Western systems of psychotherapy advocated by 
Freud, Menninger, 24 and others. 

t . Indian psychologists declare that hedonism is not the primary 
objective of life. Moreover, hedonism and inordinate desire for 
satisfaction in sense pleasure will keep up tension in the mind 
and will lead to frustration; this is set forth in the teachings of 
Sri Krishna, Patanjali, Sri Ramakrishna, and others.VThe great 
Christian mystics and religious leaders take the same point of 
view/Instead of creating conflict and tension, Indian psychology 
removes the causes of these mental disorders by furnishing the 
religious ideal as the supreme goal of lifei In clinical and coun- 
seling experiences, it becomes clear that without changing the 
outlook on life from hedonism 1 and the pleasure principle to the 
religious ideal one cannot make any durable therapeutic con- 
tribution to cases of neurosis and psychosis. 

Overemphasis on sense pleasure as the supreme goal of life in 
the modern world is creating more and more mental disturbances, 
to the extent of actually frightening people. Therefore there is a 
real need for understanding religious psychology both Indian 
and Western. It is interesting to note what Professor O. Hobart 
Mowrer, University of Illinois, has to say after studying an enor- 
mous number of cases both at Harvard University and the Uni- 
versity of Illinois. He writes: 

In therapy it is therefore true that there is a kind of unlearning that 
must occur unlearning of the "skills" and strategies by which condi- 
tioning, whether by society or by conscience, has been warded off. These 
strategies must be activated in the therapy, but they *aust then be shown 
to be ineffective and, indeed, unnecessary. The way is then opened for 
the more basic kind of emotional learning against which past problem- 
solving behavior has served as a protection. Religious leaders are fond 
of saying that a sinner can be saved only if he "opens his heart to God." 
Perhaps we can appropriately paraphrase this statement by saying that 
a neurotic can be cured only if he "opens his heart" to the great moral 
teachings and emotional values of his society. 25 

Dr. Fritz Kunkel gives a pertinent statement: "Both psycho- 
analysis and individual psychology fall short. Religious psychol- 

14 Karl A. Menninger, Man against Himself (New York: Harcourt, Brace & 
Co., Inc., 1938). See also Love against Hate (London: George Allen & Unwin 
Ltd., 1942). 

**O. Hobart Mowrer, "Learning Theory and the Neurotic Paradox," The 
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, XVIII, No. 4 (October 1948), 605. 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 17 

ogy is necessary." 26 Professor Allport has an interesting reflection 
to make in this connection: 

'"-' The single fact that weighs against this wholly secular solution is the 
ever insistent truth that what a man believes to a large extent deter- 
mines his mental and physical health. What he believes about his 
business, his associates, his wife, his immediate future, is important; 
even more so, what he believes about life in general, its purpose and 
design. Religious belief, simply because it deals with fundamentals, 
often turns out to be the most important belief of all. 27 

v , An egocentric, selfish attitude in life necessarily creates certain 
tendencies in a person which become strong barriers to har- 
monious interpersonal relationships. Egocentric people do not 
know how to adjust themselves even in their intimate relation- 
ship with others, either with othe r egocentrics or with altruists; 
nor do they have any real understanding of how to adapt them- 
selves to the varying conditions of life. Consequently, at difficult 
stages and conditions of life, they become absolutely helpless. It 
is noticed that in adolescence and middle age people find it hard 
to adapt themselves to their own physical changes and to chang- 
ing environmental conditions. They develop a considerable num- 
ber of mental and nerve ailments. By furnishing a sound philos- 
ophy of life, with the attainment of divinity and knowledge of 
God or Self-knowledge as the supreme objective, Indian psychol- 
ogy removes the causes of maladjustment, as it gives a background 
against which a man can minimize the importance of the varying 
conditions of life. It also teaches him that he should have har- 
monious interpersonal relationships, since various people are the 
manifestations of God or the Self, and consequently their inter- 
ests are not basically different. In fact, this attitude strikes at the 
root of egocentricity which is the chief cause of maladjustment 
in life. So this is one of the most important contributions of 
Indian psychology to the psychology of adjustment as it is dis- 
cussed in Western countries by social psychologists and psy- 

Human beings have such primary urges as self-preservation, 
self-expression, sex-expression, knowledge, gregarious expression, 
and so forth. They also have secondary emotions such as fear, 
anger, envy, jealousy, and so forth. Indian* psychologists do not 

2e Fritz Kunkel, In Search of Maturity (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 

194S). P- 34- 
27 Allport, The Individual and His Religion, p. 79. 

18 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

claim that any one of these is the solitary urge of the human 
mind. Like McDougall they accept the existence of divergent 
urges and emotions operating in the human mind and they 
firmly believe that there is a supreme urge under which all 
urges are subordinated. McDougall declares that there is a "mas- 
ter sentiment" which controls all other sentiments like the "com- 
mander-in-chief of the army." 28 In his Social Psychology, he 
seems to differ radically from the Indian idea of the supreme 
goal in his interpretation of the master urge. However, he agrees 
that a man "has not strong will and character in the full sense, 
but rather what would be called specialized character/' 29 Un- 
fortunately, McDougall could not understand or find the supreme 
goal or master .sentiment to which the primary urges are related, 
in spite of his breadth of Viewpoint and sincere efforts. His 
hormic or purposive theory should be appreciated, however. 

On the other hand, William Brown of London, in his Science 
and Personality, seems to be one with the Indian psychologists in 
his thinking. According to him: 


This supreme sentiment, named by McDougall the "master-senti- 
ment," will be a system of instinctive emotional dispositions centred 
about one supreme object Such an object will be as general as possible 
and as all-inclusive as possible. What should the object be? Clearly it 
should be the universe as a perfected system, as the full realization of 
the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. 80 

v 'The viewpoint of Gestalt also cannot solve the problem of 
mental disturbances, in spite of its value in stressing wholes in 
the mental life. It is not specific enough. On the other hand, 
Indian psychologists declare that the "master sentiment" is the 
desire for an abiding happiness which transcends the sense plane. 
Man seeks it, thinking erroneously that through the primary 
urges he will have it. So it is said in one of the Upanishads: 
"There is joy in the infinite; there is no joy in the finite." 81 Bud- 
dhism gives us the same idea: "The gift of the law exceeds all 

"William McDougall, Outline of Abnormal Psychology (London: Methuen 
& Co., Ltd., 1926), p. 546. 

"William McDougall, Social Psychology (London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 
1918), pp. 266-267. 

\*^*Wiltiam Brown, Science and Personality (London: Oxford University Press, 
1929), P. 79- 

"Chhandogya Upanishad, chap. VII, sec. 23. 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology 19 

gifts; the sweetness of the law exceeds all sweetness; the delight 
in the law exceeds all delight; the extinction of thirst overcomes 
all pain."* 

o This indeed is a special contribution of Indian psychology and 
of both Eastern and Western mysticism. This viewpoint has tre- 
mendous therapeutic value. Unless a man accepts it as the ideal 
of life there is no possibility for the permanent removal of his 
mental tension and frustration. So long as his mind remains at- 
tracted to the sense plane as the supreme goal of life, there will 
be inevitable mental conflict, tension, and frustration. 
\ Some of the Indian thinkers suggest that one should cultivate 
die spirit of repulsion, but not repression, toward the objects of 
the senses. This is regarded by many Western scholars, no doubt, 
as a negative attitude toward life and world. Nevertheless, in 
Buddhistic; Jaina, and some of the Hindu traditions this method 
has been used to remove extreme forms of selfish desire for sense 
enjoyment. 38 It is accepted by all Indian religious and philo- 
sophical thinkers, as well as by great Western mystics, that at- 
tachment for objects of the senses distracts the mind and makes 
it tense, creating inevitable frustration and consequent functional 
diseases and mental disturbances. 

. There are other Indian thinkers who suggest the positive 
method, namely, subordination of the desire for the pursuit of 
happiness on the sense plane in order to attain the supreme goal 
of realization of the Infinite. Their idea is to see the Ultimate 
Reality in all. It is said in Isha Upanishad: 

"Whatever there is changeable in this ephemeral world; all this must 
be enveloped by the Lord. . . . Only performing ordained works should 
one desire to live one hundred years. Thus and in no other way can 
one be free from the taint of evil deeds as long as you are fond of your 
human life. 8 * 

; According to many of the Indian teachers, one should cultivate 
a positive thought of the divine in all objects and feel the pres- 
ence of God or the Self in all; the disturbing mental reactions 
and the tensions are then overcome. Following the lead of the 

82 Dhammapada, trans. Max Miiller, XXIV: 354. 

M Henry Clarke Warren, Buddhism in Translation ("Harvard Oriental 
Series," III [Cambridge: Harvard University, 1896]), chap. I, "Visuddhi 
Magga"; chap. XII, "Digha-Nikaya," and "Visuddhi Magga." 

**lsha Upanishad, verses i-. 

W Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Isha Upanishad, the Gita, in clarifying the idea of performing 
work in the spirit of duty, emphasizes the efficacy of this so-called 
positive method without negating life and the world. In fact, 
the Karma Yoga of the Gita shows how lower human propensities 
can be transformed into higher qualities. 

< Indian psychology is not merely conceptual or theoretical. Its 
therapeutic value is in its teaching of various methods for mental 
integration. It prescribes systems of physical and mental dis- 
cipline which gradually stabilize the mind and integrate the 
emotions. After the preparatory ethical steps of yama and niyama 
of Patanjali, certain physical processes are introduced. In yama 
and niyama, Hindu psychologists not only give us ethical train- 
ing and redirection of the emotions; they also show us how some 
of the disturbed emotions can be transformed by cultivating op- 
posite tendencies. Patanjali declares that positive, constructive 
thoughts and emotions should be cultivated in order to obstruct 
and remove the disturbing mental states. He says: "Friendship, 
mercy, gladness and indifference being thought of in regard to 
subjects happy, unhappy, good, and evil respectively, pacify the 
mind." 35 In his commentary on this Aphorism, Swami Vivek- 
ananda states: 

We must have friendship for all. We must be merciful toward those 
who are in misery. When the people are happy we must be happy and 
to the wicked we must be indifferent. ... If the subject is a good one 
we shall feel friendly to it; if the subject of thought is one that is 
miserable we must be merciful toward the subject If it is good we must 
be glad; if it is evil we must be indifferent. 36 

Then he says: "These attitudes of mind to different subjects 
that come before it will make the mind peaceful." 87 

In these two steps, yama and niyama, there are certain dietary 
regulations and methods for purifying the elementary physical 
functions, so that the nervous system can be strengthened and 
quieted for the still higher steps of Raja Yoga. The third and 
fourth steps of Raja Yoga the practice of comfortable posture 
(asana) and breathing exercises (pranayama) are meant for the 
relaxation of the neuro-muscular system and for quelling the 

35 Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali I: 33. 
* Works, I, ***. 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology SI 

restlessness of the mind. Recently, in America, a few psycho- 
therapists have started giving thought training and relaxation 
exercises, as they realize that most people do not know how to 
relax the neuro-muscular system. But these practices are not deep 
enough to do effective work. Indian psychologists anticipated all 
these frailties centuries ago and instituted sound methods for 
relaxation so that the mind could function properly in the prac- 
tice of deep concentration. This is another unique contribution 
of Indian psychology to psychotherapy. Patanjali and the Tan- 
trika schools were fully aware of the necessity of psychophysical 
practices for physical health and religious growth. Psychotherapy 
is ancient. Buddhist and Jaina teachers and Alwars and Nayanars 
and other such leaders belonging to different religious groups in 
India are one in the emphasis on mental discipline and exercises. 

Indian psychologists also prescribe definite methods for the 
practice of concentration (dharand) and meditation (dhyana) 
which are essential for the development of will power. The 
various methods prescribed by the Western schools of thought 
lack considerably in the technique of developing dynamic func- 
tioning of the will, in spite of their ameliorating effect. Psycho- 
analysis, self-analysis of various types, autognosis, and insight no 
doubt help in the understanding of the causes of mental prob- 
lems, and may often help in removing a certain amount of ten- 
sion. Yet they do not seem to unify the will. Permanent cure can 
only be attained in the majority of the cases by the integration 
of the will and the manifestation of its power of concentration 
on the divine, or by the methods prescribed by other teachers of 
India. In Uttaradhyayana, of the Jaina tradition, it is declared: 
"By consciousness of thought he attains stability of mind." 88 
Buddha's fourth truth, namely, "The Way of Cessation of Sor- 
rows," emphasizes the necessity for stabilizing the mind through 
right comprehension, right effort, and other steps leading to the 
practice of meditation (dhyana). 

The practice of concentration and meditation as prescribed 
by the Svetasvatara Upanishad, Sri Krishna, Patanjali, and mod- 
ern teachers like Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Swami 
Brahmananda, and others is essential. Many of the Tantrika 
schools, such as Shatchakranirupana, also advocate definite prac- 

88 Uttaradhyayana, discourse XXIX. 

W Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

ices. (Methods prescribed by the great Christians, such as St. 
[gnatius Loyola, should also be mentioned, even though they 
ire not used by the Western psychotherapists.) The primary ob- 
jective of these practices is the knowledge of God or the realiza- 
ion of the Ultimate Reality or the Buddhistic nirvana. Yet these 
Dractices integrate the mind and unify the will, bringing out its 
lidden, unmanifested powers. [Indian psychology excels in pre- 
icribing methods for the integration of the will, emotions, and 
iiought through concentration and meditation. It is observed in 
:ase studies that disorganized and disturbed mental conditions 
ire gradually stabilized, harmonized, and unified by systematic 
practice. Apart from the knowledge of God, the therapeutic value 
>f these exercises is immense. 89 \ 

It stands to reason that wheh there is a psychosomatic relation- 
ship or psychophysical parallelism the stabilization of the mind 
vill in turn stabilize the physical functions of the person. Mind 
br the time being functions through the nervous system. Con- 
iequently, when there is a change in the mind there is a change 
in the nervous system and vice versa. So the Indian psychologists 
suggest that one should have certain regulations for food and 
Irink in order to keep the body especially the nervous system 
itrong and healthy. Nerve strength is needed for the strength of 
.he mind. On the other hand, certain types of mental training 
ire essential for physical health. Hindu and other schools of 
[ndian psychology recognize these facts and accordingly prescribe 
.he methods of harmonizing the mental and physical functions 
>f man. 

When a person practices concentration for a little while, his 
lidden unconscious tendencies (or samskaras) become clear to 
lim. The Indian method of strengthening the mind enables a 
nan to have insight into the cause of his mental tension. Apart 
:rom that, his unconscious urges are gradually and spontaneously 
eliminated in and through the practice of concentration. 

The processes prescribed by Indian psychology for strengthen- 
ing the will and illumining the mind are also unique contribu- 

M Swami Brahmananda, a great disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, time and 
igain declared that when the mind is stabilized through concentration and 
meditation and other such practices, even the body and nervous system 
3ecome healthy. 

Therapeutic Value of Indian Psychology US 

tions to the field of psychology and psychotherapy. The West can 
be greatly benefited by the knowledge of these methods. 

Disrupted personalities of men and women with tension and 
conflict cannot easily practice concentration, for they are unable 
to concentrate the mind on anything even for a minute. Accord- 
ing to Indian psychology, they are given a divine symbol or statue 
or picture for their object of concentration. They are also given 
a method for recapitulating the incidents of the lives of divine 
personalities, as the Vaishnava teachers of India prescribe. The 
repetition of the name of God, as suggested by Tantrikas, Vaish- 
navas, and Saivas, is helpful in the beginning of the practice of 
concentration. It will be proper to mention here that the Roman 
Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church also advocate 
the repetition of the name of God. These and other such exer- 
cises gradually remove the mental disturbances and unify the 

'"'Along with the therapeutic value of Indian psychology, there 
is a dynamic effect on the development of personality. Indian 
psychologists believe that the personality is integrated only*when 
the total mind is unified and harmonized. An integrated per- 
sonality can alone help others in their emotional disturbances. 
An Indian guru, or any spiritual teacher, should not only be an 
instructor of philosophy, theology, and conceptual religion; he 
should also be an integrated personality. He must not have dis- 
turbing emotional conflicts and tension. The qualifications of a 
spiritual teacher include emotional stability, without which he 
cannot impart spiritual knowledge to his disciple, or shisya. If 
anyone wants effectively to help a disturbed person, he himself 
must be free from mental disturbances. The Buddhistic teach- 
ing in Saddharma Pundarika declares: i 

Let the sage first, for some time, coerce his thoughts, exercise medita- 
tion with complete absorption, and correctly perform all that is re- 
quired for attaining spiritual insight, and then, after rising (from his 
pious meditation), preach with unquailing mind. 40 

Psychotherapists must be emotionally stable persons. It is often 
noticed that a man of tension and frustration attempts to advise 
others. Indian psychology recognizes that such persons cannot 
give durable help in therapeutic work. On the other hand, it is 

40 Saddharma Pundarika, chap. XIII. 

$4 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

often observed that if any mentally disorganized person even re- 
mains in the company of a spiritually stable person, he tends to 
become stabilized and his tension vanishes. 

Hindu and other schools of Indian psychology can make a tre- 
mendous contribution to the development of personality through 
the integration of the emotions and development of will, both of 
which are essential for harmonious and peaceful living as well 
as for spiritual realization. Indian teachers of Raja Yoga or the 
psychological method discovered the technique of mental devel- 
opment in its totality emotion, volition, and cognition as they 
realized that mere conceptual knowledge does not integrate the 
total personality. 


How to Overcome Anxiety 

ANXIETY is one of the greatest problems disturbing most 
human beings. Psychologically spenking there is a difference be- 
tween the secondary emotion of fear, as a reaction from any of 
the primitive urges, and the emotion of anxiety. Fear is based 
on actual knowledge of a thing or incident that may threaten a 
person's existence, self-expiession, pursuit of knowledge, or any 
other such primary urge or instinct; while anxiety generally 
arises as a result of apprehension of something unknown which 
seems to create conflict, tension, and disturbance in the primitive 
urges. The cause of anxiety may remain in the unconscious 
mind, so that a person may not always be fully aware of the 
cause. The human mind is distressed by certain conditions of 
life which create mental tension. There should not be two opin- 
ions among the psychologists and psychiatrists regarding the fact 
that anxiety and apprehension constitute one of the most dis- 
turbing problems that they face, creating all sorts of disorders 
such as insomnia and such functional diseases as heart trouble, 
circulatory disturbances, and glandular difficulties. 

Many symptoms of neuroses can be traced to anxiety. Neurotic 
people, in turn, show more and more anxiety, which creates a 
vicious circle. Such symptoms have become a social issue as they 
affect interpersonal relationships. Some of the social problems 
like aggression can also be traced to the same source. Because 
anxiety is a social problem, modern psychologists and psychia- 
trists are trying to find a method for overcoming it. They feel 
that if they are successful in this they can remove one of the 
greatest causes of human suffering and agony. 


$6 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Generally speaking, anxiety neuroses are common in the mid- 
dle class and wealthy class. Mostly, the poorer people cannot af- 
ford them; they have to work hard and they have little leisure 
time. But many poor are nonetheless neurotic. Those who are 
financially comfortable should have no anxiety regarding their 
creature comforts; besides their wealth they have everything 
beautiful homes, servants, power, position. Yet somehow or other 
they still have anxiety because they have not found the purpose 
of their lives. 

Anxiety is present also in many young scholars in the univer- 
sities. This is not due to any lack in avenues of self-expression. 
It is because they feel that they must be like Professor Dewey, 
Professor Hocking, or President Conant and Dr. Compton; they 
have formed unrealistic ideafis. In the competitive world some 
are afraid to try to attain their goal; others try and fail to achieve 
what they desire. In either instance, they become disturbed. 
Many serious scholars develop anxiety because their positions 
become jeopardized or because they cannot get what they desire. 

If* we recall the early part of our lives and analyze our ex- 
periences we find that when any of the primary biological urges 
were threatened we began to develop anxiety, for certain bio- 
logical reasons. When a child realizes that he is in an unknown 
situation he becomes apprehensive and anxious. Recently, we 
heard an interesting story in this connection. A mother was put- 
ting her young son to bed. She kissed him, bade him good night, 
and put out the light. The boy began to cry, so the mother re- 
turned and asked him why he was crying. "I don't like to be 
alone in the dark," was his reply. The mother said to him: "Oh, 
now, why should you be alone? God is here with you." The little 
boy said: "Then I want to see His face." He was not satisfied with 
an invisible, unknown God. He wanted to see the visible familiar 
face of his mother so that he would be free from anxiety and 
apprehension in the dark. He could not depend on something 

Babies cry the moment they are hungry. They are impelled to 
cry because there is a sense of insecurity in their hunger. The 
growth of the child presupposes to some extent this kind of 
anxiety for his physical existence. Biologists, especially of the 
Darwinian school, tell us that the struggle for existence is in- 

How to Overcome Anxiety 7 

herent in the living cell, the living being. Consequently, it may 
be admitted that a certain type of anxiety is also essential for 
the development of an individual, but only as a means to life, 
not as a frustration. 

Anxiety and apprehension can also be traced to certain re- 
ligious attitudes. Many religious leaders and some psychologists 
of religion declare that religion begins with a kind of guilt con- 
sciousness. But often this consciousness of sin and guilt creates 
neurotic behavior patterns. When it is overemphasized, the dis- 
proportionately cultivated sense of sin positively harms the per- 
sonality. An example is seen in the case of a young woman of 
thirty who developed an anxiety neurosis of such an extent that 
she was unable to carry out the ordinary duties of married life. 
When she was six or seven years old, she was told by her mother 
and religious instructors that some of her childhood habits were 
sinful. She was also told that when a little girl indulged in lying, 
coveting, and quarreling with other children, or committing 
some of the naughty acts of childhood, she would be punished 
by God. This made a deep impression on her mind anc? she 
would often remain awake and almost paralyzed in bed at night 
in fear of damnation. When she grew up and was married, she 
lived a normal life with her husband until the time of the de- 
pression. Her husband had considerable financial difficulty which 
brought to her mind her old childhood anxiety. She had a few 
treatments from a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, she was not able 
to overcome her anxiety and she became disintegrated. It was 
difficult for her to go anywhere alone. In fact, she was brought to 
us by a young friend who had to escort her around. After a num- 
ber of visits, we disclosed the cause of her terrible mental depres- 
sion and her anxiety neurosis. She was advised to change her out- 
look on life and its values. She was also told that God is not a 
ruthless, tyrannical Being, who punishes us for our little trans- 
gressions, but God is a loving Being. We explained that while 
man suffers from the consequences of his own wrongdoings, he 
also has the possibility of changing his thoughts and actions. It 
was emphasized that this young woman was inseparably con- 
nected with the all-loving God who is ever ready to render His 
help and love when anyone wants to make a change in his or 
her life. She realized that she had not to be afraid of the wrath 

$8 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

of God because of her childhood habits. She was also helped to 
realize that financial security is not the main concern of life; it 
is only a means to the goal of love and knowledge of God. She 
was given systematic practices of relaxation and meditation which 
gradually strengthened her will power. The change of her out- 
look on life and her new attitude toward God, coupled with the 
strengthening of will power through the practice of concentra- 
tion, gave her new hope and aspiration, and her anxiety was 
gradually removed. When this young woman reoriented her re- 
ligious attitude, and understood the place of wrongdoing in life, 
she gained normality. This and many such cases indicate that 
anxiety can be caused by wrong understanding and wrong em- 
phasis of the religious attitude and sense of guilt even though its 
cause may not operate in the conscious mind. 

Failure in some phases of life can create depression and anx- 
iety. An internationally known scholar failed in his marriage 
after having a few children. The dissolution of the marriage af- 
fected him very much. It caused a deep apprehension about mar- 
riage. When he married a second time, he developed an extreme 
form of anxiety neurosis which almost paralyzed him in his 
marital relationship. This marriage would have been a colossal 
failure but for the wisdom of his second wife. She understood 
the reason for this man's nervousness and other symptoms. With 
deep understanding, patience, and love she actually reassured 
the man of his success in marriage. Gradually, all of the symp- 
toms of the neurosis vanished. A child was born to them and 
they remained happily married. This case shows that just as the 
negative attitude toward life and the negative emotional reac- 
tions of husbands, wives, friends, or relatives can create psycho- 
logical and physical disturbances in others, similarly, positive 
and encouraging emotional expressions can build up a healthy 

A young scholar was inspired by the achievements of con- 
temporary thinkers. Being anxious to attain a great position in 
his early youth, he disturbed his mental equilibrium in such a 
way that he developed neurotic symptoms. He also developed 
some of the behavior patterns typical of neurotic persons. By 
mental training and discipline along with an understanding of 
the proper values of life and the meaning of real achievement, 

How to Overcome Anxiety 99 

he was helped to get rid of the cause, and consequently of the 
symptoms, of neurosis. 

Naturally, social scientists, religious leaders, and psychother- 
apists are seeking the remedy for anxiety. Sociologists are trying 
to give us a better understanding of society, while some social 
and natural scientists are anxious to remove the physical limita- 
tions of man by using the forces of nature for his comfort. They 
also want to eliminate some of the evils of industrial civilization. 
Professor Mayo and others have contributed immensely to the 
betterment of the industrial situation by working to remove the 
anxiety and apprehension of labor and management. 1 

It has been found by research groups in this country, who are 
studying the evils of industrial civilization, that the industries, 
which were set up to remove the ca\ises of anxiety and apprehen- 
sion by producing the necessities of life with the output of con- 
sumers goods, are creating instead various social problems. Sui- 
cide, delinquency, alcoholism, and other moral and social evils 
have become prevalent. 2 Even a casual perusal of the reports will 
convince us that the method of mere industrialization fc not 

Many people take to alcoholism and drugs because of anxiety. 
We have already discussed the professional man who developed 
a sense of guilt due to malpractice in his work and took to ex- 
cessive drinking. Instead of alleviating the neurotic condition, 
alcohol disorganized his personality. Many similar instances are 

Merely fulfilling physical requirements does not solve the prob- 
lem of anxiety. If it did, America would not have so many cases 
of "anxiety neurosis," since this country is the last word in post- 
Renaissance Western civilization and has practically all that mod- 
ern science can provide for the pursuit of happiness on the 
physical plane of existence. The people desire more and more 
commodities instead of being satisfied with what they have. This 
gradually creates a peculiar sense of anxiety in the mind and 
makes man increasingly selfish. 

1 Elton Mayo, The Social Problems of an Industrial Civilization (Boston: 
Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard 
University, 1945). 

2 Elton Mayo, The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization (New 
York: The Macmillan Co., 1933). 

SO Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Although the psychiatrists and psychologists are trying to re- 
move anxiety, it must be admitted that, in spite of their noble 
attempts, they are failing to attain their objective. Sociologists 
and psychiatrists of different schools of thought are to be admired 
for their intentions yet they do not touch the basic problem. 
They give symptomatic treatment without going to the root of 
the difficulty. 

The rate of increase in functional ailments is alarming. What 
is happening to our human society? People now have almost 
anything they want higher wages and all the comforts that 
science can give. Yet the problem of apprehension and anxiety 
has not been eliminated. There is something wrong with the 
very basis, structure, and outlook of this type of civilization, if 
this problem still persists. 

If you had gone to Europe and Asia before the war, you would 
have seen the difference between the standards of living in Amer- 
ica and those places. Even in England, which until recently was 
the greatest imperialistic country in the world, you could see the 
difference between the comforts of American and of British life. 
If anxiety could be removed by applied science, the American 
people would have no such suffering. However, just the opposite 
is true; mental disturbances are increasing by leaps and bounds. 
They are major topics of discussion in any medical meeting. A 
president of the American Psychiatric Association reported to us 
during World War II that the cost for the care of mental cases 
resulting from the war could not be met by the taxpayers. It is a 
threatening situation. 

There is an inherent defect in this anxious outlook on life. It 
creates a desire for more and more possessions. There is dissatis- 
faction in the mind before a person achieves what he desires. 
He wants a good living; he makes a good living; but he wants 
more than that. He may become a millionaire but he is not satis- 
fied; he wants to become a multi-millionaire. If he becomes a 
multi-millionaire, he wants to control others. He wants to estab- 
lish a monopoly, then a cartel. Still he is not satisfied but wishes 
to control the industries of other countries. And so it goes. The 
last two wars were fought because of selfish desires for more and 
more power, position, money, and economic opportunity. The 
late Senator Borah said after World War I that one group of 

How to Overcome Anxiety SI 

thieves stole the world and tried to keep what they took; another 
group of thieves were going to get it just before America joined 
World War II. 

History proves to us that whenever people subscribe to this 
grasping outlook on life, they gradually destroy themselves. This 
inherent defect is known to have been prevalent in previous 
civilizations which disintegrated. Rome is an outstanding exam- 
ple. We have no reason to believe that we can escape the same 
fate under similar conditions, even though our sociologists, psy- 
chologists, and others are trying to remove the evils of modern 
living. Twenty years ago there was an extensive humanistic move- 
ment in the United States and Europe, but it failed to touch the 
life of the people. Even today humanists are trying to remedy 
the ills of society but they cannot do it. And why should a man 
serve his neighbor and refrain from taking everything for him- 
self as long as the greatest amount of pleasure is the objective 
of life? 

Sociologists say that people cannot be happy or keep their 
money unless they share with others. Professor Mayo and his 
contemporaries state that there must be better understanding be- 
tween labor and management; otherwise, business and industry 
will be seriously affected by disputes and strikes, and the Amer- 
ican people will not be able to compete with the totalitarian 
countries. To avoid disputes and strikes some of the sociologists 
and progressive economists advocate higher wages, social secur- 
ity, and other such measures for the comfort and welfare of the 
labor group. People should also give to others some share of their 
income or investments, if possible. But why should a man share 
for the sake of expediency? He may do so at times, as during a 
war, but this will increase and not decrease his anxiety and ten- 
sion. World history reveals that unless the very basis of selfishness 
is removed, man does not and cannot work for others without 
having mental dissatisfaction. It is a peculiar situation. Unless 
the ideals and aspirations of the human mind are changed, there 
is no possible solution for the struggle between labor and man- 
agement, between the feudal chief and the working man, between 
the haves and have-nots. 

We admit that anxiety neuroses can be traced to unregulated 
primitive biological urges and unadjusted social conditions; but 

88 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

the remedy is not to be found in uncontrolled satisfaction of 
primary urges or in egocentric, selfish social behavior. Our sug- 
gestion is that primary biological urges as well as problems aris- 
ing from social conditions can be regulated and adjusted to 
eliminate the cause of anxiety from the human personality. This 
can be accomplished by shifting our outlook from satisfaction on 
the physical plane to satisfaction on the ethical and spiritual 
plane. Civilizations which were based on the religious ideal 
eliminated the cause of anxiety because they did not have sen- 
sate culture. As Professor Sorokin emphasizes, sensate culture is 
bound to create certain problems which cause anxiety and dis- 
satisfaction. Swami Vivekananda also says: 

In the West, they are trying to solve the problem how much a man 
can possess, and we are trying here [in India] to solve the problem on 
how little a man can live. This struggle and difference will go on for 
some centuries. But if history has any truth in it, and if prognostica- 
tions ever prove true, it must be that those who train themselves to live 
on the least and control themselves well, will in the end gain the battle, 
and that those who run after enjoyment and luxury, however vigorous 
they seem for the moment, will have to die and become annihilated. 
There are times in the history of a man's life, nay, in the history of the 
lives of nations, when a sort of world-weariness becomes painfully pre- 
dominant. It seems that such a tide of world-weariness has come upon 
the Western world. . . . many, nay most of the cultured men and women 
there, are already weary of this competition, this struggle, this brutality 
of their commercial civilisation, and they are looking forward towards 
something better. . . . They have found out that no amount of political 
or social manipulation of human conditions can cure the evils of life. 
It is a change of the soul itself for the better, that alone will cure the 
evils of life. 8 

The religious civilizations of Christian, Hindu, and Buddhistic 
types emphasized the unfoldment of the inner possibilities of man 
instead of the outer satisfaction of the biological urges. It might 
be construed that they advocated otherworldliness and used re- 
ligion as an opiate or escape. A deeper analysis will prove that 
any such charge is not true. The religious outlook does not 
necessarily advocate giving up the pursuit of pleasure on the 
sense plane; it only gives a proper place to the different urges. 
The problem of anxiety arises when any of the urges are out of 
balance with the others and become disproportionate by making 

8 Works, m. 181-181. 

How to Overcome Anxiety S3 

man feel inadequate, insecure, and futile. Religious philosophy 
furnishes the background against which the various urges can 
be balanced. It is encouraging to note what Professor O. Hobart 
Mowrer, a clinical psychologist, has to say about the cause and 
remedy of anxiety: 

Many sources of present evidence indicate that most perhaps all 
neurotic human beings suffer, not because they are unduly inhibited as 
regards their biological drives, but because they have disavowed and 
repudiated their own moral strivings. Anxiety, I believe, comes, not 
from repressed sexuality or pent-up hatred, but from a denial and de- 
fiance of the forces of conscience. 4 

We knew an elderly gentleman in India who had a struggle 
in his early life because of family bereavements. He was a self- 
made man, having established himself in a high rank in the legal 
profession. But he never neglected his religious duties and spirit- 
ual practices. When his grandchildren were born and his older 
son became his successor in his legal work, he entrusted the 
duties of his family to the son. This, elderly gentleman retired 
from his worldly activities and devoted himself to spiritual *prac- 
tices. It was amazing then and it is still amazing to remember 
how much he grew in spirituality. This was so because he placed 
worldly achievements and enjoyments in a position subordinate 
to the religious ideal. He had real satisfaction in life and his 
noble example inspired many young persons and children. We 
never noticed any kind of anxiety in this gentleman under any 
circumstances. The secret of his peaceful state of mind lay in his 
proper evaluation of life and consequent intense spiritual prac- 
tices in the form of meditation, worship, and other such exercises. 
His life shows also that one does not have to give up or negate 
the pursuit of pleasure in order to be free from anxiety and 
apprehension; rather one has to set them in proper relation to 
the pursuit of the religious ideal. 

If a man will change his outlook on life and can be convinced 
that he has latent possibilities for happiness in social adjust- 
ment and higher spiritual unfoldment, he can eliminate anxiety 
neuroses caused by frustration, insecurity and a sense of guilt. 
Mentally disturbed persons with anxiety neuroses should be helped 

4 O. Hobart Mowrer, "Biological vs. Moral Frustration in Personality Dis- 
turbances," Progressive Education, XXVI, (January, 1949), p. 67. 

84 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

to understand that they are more than just straws in the mighty 
current of life. They should be taught the latent dynamic pos- 
sibilities of the human soul. As Swami Vivekananda declares: 
"Each soul is potentially divine." We have seen in many cases 
that this conviction constitutes the starting point of change in 
the lives of the individuals. 

Mere intellectual conceptions and convictions do not solve the 
problem of anxiety neurosis. Clients should simultaneously be 
trained in the practice of relaxation, concentration, and medita- 
tion, as the new conviction of the divinity of man is developed. 
Those who are not willing to accept this point of view can think 
that they are children of God and, as such, inseparably con- 
nected with Him. The practice of concentration on God brings 
out the latent power of mind in the form of will power. 5 As the 
will is developed by these practices all symptoms of anxiety 
neuroses vanish. The individuals become transformed. 

If we want an idealistic civilization, we must focus the mind 
on the permament Reality within us. Some may call it God; 
otheis may call it Soul. It does not matter what name is given. 
The point is that unless we give attention to that supreme goal 
of life, to the understanding of the higher self of man, there is 
no possibility of- conquering the lower desires.JThere are some 
thinkers, the humanists, who hold that ethical development is 
possible without the thought of God. However, we find that it is 
not normally possible. It is true that humanism of the Buddhistic 
type produced great integrated personalities .However, their em- 
phasis was on the eightfold path: (i) right belief, (2) right 
aspiration, (3) right speech, (4) right conduct, (5) right mode of 
livelihood, (6) right effort, (7) right meditation, (8) right realiza- 
tion. Consequently, right living was essential on the basis of the 
higher values of life. 

Even the Buddhists of an earlier period realized that ethical 
idealism was not practical for the vast majority of the people; 
they put Buddha in the place of God or the all-loving Being out 
of psychological necessity. So we are compelled to think that 
lower passions cannot be changed unless the mind is directed to 
higher planes of existence. As Buddha says: "The gods even 

8 Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology (New York: Harper & Brothers, 
1946), chap. V. 

How to Overcome Anxiety 85 

envy him whose senses, like horses well broken in by the driver, 
have been subdued, who is free from pride, and free from ap- 
petites." 8 In the Bhagavad-Gita Sri Krishna says that as long as 
attention is intensely given to sense pleasures, there is no pos- 
sibility of peace of mind. He gives the warning: "The turbulent 
senses, O son of Kunti, do violently snatch away the mind of 
even a wise man, striving after perfection"; and, "His wisdom 
is steady, whose senses are under control." 7 Jesus Christ, in the 
Sermon on the Mount, declares: "Blessed are the pure in heart, 
for they shall see God." 8 The word purity has deep meaning. 
As long as the mind is scattered and full of waves due to in- 
ordinate desires and longing, there is no peace. Sri Ramakrishna 
says that the reflection of one's face cannot be seen in the lake if 
the lake is dirty or full of ripples. 6 Neither is there any reflection 
from the mirror which is covered with dust. Similarly, we can- 
not see the reflection of our soul or the real or higher self unless 
the mind is transparent. When the mind is full of passions and 
desires, there is no possibility for the reflection of God in it. That 
is the reason that inordinate tendencies have to be controlled, 
in order that a person may achieve the knowledge of the Reality. 
Challenging questions arise. Is the religious attitude toward 
the senses otherworldly? Does religion mean negation of life and 
the world? One of the great European thinkers, Dr. Albert 
Schweitzer, writes, in his Indian Thought and Its Development, 
that Oriental religions, particularly Hinduism, follow a method 
of rejection of life and the world. 10 He also does not spare Jesus 
in this respect. Our answer to such critics is that Buddha, 
Krishna, and Christ did not advocate negation of life and the 
world. What they wanted us to do was to take the world ^s it 
really is, not as we would like to have it. Vedantic teachers tell 
us that the world exists, but existence is relative. It is true that 
every man has to live, take care of his body, and have some com- 
forts in life. But it is important that these be not overemphasized* 
If the comforts of the world are considered as paramount, then 

6 Dhammapada, trans. Max Mullet, VII: 94. 

7 Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita II: 60-61. 
*Matt. 5: 8. 

Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna XXXV: 689. 

"Albert Schweitzer, Indian Thought and Its Development (London: Holder 
& Stoughton Ltd., 1936). 

86 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

there will be desire or more and more comfort and pleasure. 
The result will be apprehension and anxiety. However, if worldly 
activities, comforts, enjoyments, and achievements are subordi- 
nated to the supreme goal of life or knowledge of the inner Self 
or God, then it is possible to live in the world free from anxiety. 
Those who work will become aware of the value of the enjoy- 
ments and achievements in life. The value lies in the spirit of 
service of God in man. The same inner Self or God that is in one 
man is also present in others. Swami Vivekananda tells us to 
apply the Vedantic principle of the oneness of existence in prac- 
tical living and see God in all, in the husband, wife, children, 
colleagues, and co-workers. Then one can strike at the root of 

The conscious change of attitude toward life when carried out 
in daily activities gradually removes the cause of anxiety, no 
matter how it may be operating in the unconscious mind. Even 
though the change of attitude may be on an intellectual level for 
the time being, by degrees it penetrates the total mind through 
daily living and spiritual exercises, as we noted in the life of the 
elderly gentleman earlier in this chapter. The unconscious func- 
tioning of anxiety can be removed only when the contents of the 
unconscious are changed through the manifestation of construc- 
tive, harmonious, and dynamic new contents. No matter how 
dark and discouraging the unconscious contents may seem at the 
moment, they can be transformed by the new conscious and 
creative activity of the mind. 11 (This will be elaborated in Chap- 
ter XVI.) When the cause of anxiety is detected, a person should 
deliberately cultivate the opposite tendencies to counteract the 
anxiety, whether its cause is biological or emotional. The daily 
practice of meditation is essential in order to strengthen the con- 
viction that man is basically divine. 

11 Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, chap. VII, "Effect of Meditation." 


Conquest of Fear 

FEAR is one of the troublesome problems of mankind. It is 
based on the apprehension of danger of every type; and it has 
considerable influence in determining the personality of a man. 
Certain forms of fear are reactions from the primitive instincts 
self-preservation, self-expression, sex, and so forth and at a 
certain stage they can be used for constructive and evolutionary 
purposes. Basically, however, fear is a destructive, dissipating, 
and discomforting tendency. 

Primitive man does not seem to feel that he can cope with the 
different causes of fear, so he tries to escape from it by means of 
propitiatory processes, such as approaching personified nature 
and other beings to save him from destruction. When a child is 
born and feels the diversity of experience, he cannot easily find 
himself in homogeneous and harmonious surroundings. He con- 
stantly struggles for existence. The moment his urge of self- 
preservation is threatened and the moment he feels the possibil- 
ity of disturbance, he becomes afraid and seeks help. Some think- 
ers feel that fear is associated only with self-preservation. The 
illustrations given in the previous chapter on anxiety indicate 
that any of the primary urges which are not properly handled 
will produce fear. 

When a person finds himself inadequate in coping with the 
problems of life, he develops what is generally known as an in- 
feriority complex or fear complex. The sense of inadequacy can 
often be traced to infancy. If the parents do not give love and 
attention to the growing child, he develops a feeling of in- 
feriority and has to struggle for life. The child who is brought 


38 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

up in unhappy or disrupted families where the parents are not 
stabilized will be fearful. He will manifest unusual behavior pat- 
terns. He cannot behave normally in situations causing suspense 
and worry about the protection of his own life. Again, when the 
behavior of one or both parents is unpredictable, a child shows 
considerable inferiority and becomes timid in facing the world. 
He does not develop any certainty in his life, behavior, and ex- 
pressions in a social situation. When he grows up, he wants to 
assert himself; but he cannot find his legitimate place in the 
struggle for existence because of his own defect, which was 
created either by wrong training in the family or by a hostile 

Hostility is, of ten felt and expressed in a competitive society 
where the members have to fight for their position and success, 
and their suspicion is aroused lest someone else defeat them. 
The wrong attitude of such a child creates abnormality in his 
behavior. When he faces society, he has a kind of predisposition 
of fear toward it because of the insecurity of earlier days. Either 
the child has not received proper love, care, or attention from 
the mother or there have been disturbances in the lives of the 
parents. Consequently he faces constant apprehension, and when 
the time comes for him to meet the greater world society he 
has a tendency to be afraid and nervous. He feels inferior in his 
struggle for assimiliation into society. Because of that sense of 
insecurity, he behaves in an anti-social manner. He does not find 
his place in the community. He cannot express himself properly. 
He cannot find a normal life with other human beings. With 
his predisposition toward inferiority, he antagonizes others, but 
he does not think that he is to be blamed. He feels that society is 
unkind and is denying him his rightful place. 

As an illustration, consider the case of a person who was 
brought up in a family where the father's behavior was unpre- 
dictable. He was a normal child with a fairly well developed in- 
tellect. Because of his father's roughness and unpredictable con- 
duct, conditions in the family were always uncertain. The father 
would often play with the child, and in the course of the play 
his own emotional instability would upset him. The games in- 
variably ended in a state of serious tension. The little child could 
not be sure how the games and other recreational activities with 

Conquest of Fear 89 

his father would culminate. When he became an adolescent and 
was faced with the association of teen-age children he could not 
behave in a normal manner. He remained shy, developing a 
feeling of inferiority, and he always sought the company of per- 
sons inferior to him in order to haye the satisfaction of express- 
ing his personality. As a result, he never developed into a ma- 
ture person who could associate with people of mentalities equal 
or superior to his own. He gradually restricted his circle of 
friends so that he became almost an egocentric introvert. His 
social qualities remained undeveloped and neurotic tendencies 
made their appearance. To overcome some of his anti-social at- 
titudes and consequent frustration he turned to drinking. The 
patience and endurance of the mother greatly encouraged the 
young person. Medical help also contributed to his improve- 
ment. Deep sympathy and love, shown in the attitude of the 
religious- teacher, helped him immensely, too. Counseling was de- 
liberately non-aggressive and non-directive, lest the young person 
imagine that he was being guided by anyone and thus become 
defensive. Religious help enabled this pepon to become lairly 
normal with the expectation of further change and improve- 
ment. If this type of religious therapy can be continued, he will 
be even more stabilized. 

The instance of a certain young man indicates similar causa- 
tion. Brought up in a disharmonious family where the parents 
had nothing in common, he withdrew from the normal activities 
of a child in social situations. He developed an inferiority com- 
plex due to the fears of early childhood which were brought 
on by the unsatisfactory parent-child relationship in an unhappy 
home. This sense of inferiority remained with him even when he 
became an adult and had a fairly good position in life, thus af- 
fecting his interpersonal relationships. He is gradually becom- 
ing sociable and is overcoming his inferiority complex through 
his association with a patient religious teacher. The teacher does 
not allow this young man to feel that he is being instructed in 
any way. He is rather influencing the young man through a 
process of non-interference coupled with affection. 

Another young man was forced by his father to take up en- 
gineering which was the father's profession. He did not feel 
capable of following in the footsteps of his father who was a 

40 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

successful engineer. This created a fear of failure which gave 
him an inferiority complex. When he later changed his type of 
work, his neurotic tendencies vanished and he became a normal 
and happy person. He could not have success in life until he 
adopted the kind of work that suited his inherent ability and 
nature and gave him satisfaction. 

It is natural for the adolescent to revolt against the ideas and 
teachings of his parents and society in the majority of cultural 
patterns. He does not understand that he has to adapt himself to 
this new and larger environment. If he has a sense of inferiority, 
he will express himself in a manner which will antagonize others. 
He does not realize that his life will be stable and he can have 
normal outlets of expression if he can only understand his place 
in the greater scheme of life. Therefore, he is fearful. There is an 
amazingly high percentage of adolescents in the West, especially 
in America, who show the effect of fear or inferiority. When the 
fearful young person tries to establish himself in the world he 
becomes unpopular; and the more unpopular he is the more his 
sense-' of inferiority becomes a factor in his behavior pattern. 
He is in a vicious circle. When he antagonizes others with his 
aggression, they react in an antagonistic manner. Then he be- 
comes more aggressive and they in turn become more aggressive. 
In this way the individual, as well as friends, relatives, and 
society become unhappy. 

There are various types of fear. One is based on the desire for 
physical stability, perpetuation of life, or health. Physical fear 
arises from a sense of insecurity and inadequacy. It can be re- 
moved by meeting physical requirements and through proper 
vocational training. A person should understand that he is not 
inferior or superior because of his vocation or the profession 
he adopts. Every man has his own place in the scheme of society. 
It is a mistake to think that those who occupy some positions 
are superior beings. A well organized society enables the differ- 
ent members to perform their respective duties and work accord- 
ing to their inherent tendencies. A society which emphasizes the 
superiority of some functions will create a great number of 
persons with feelings of inferiority. It is the duty of teachers and 
religious leaders to convince the average man and woman that 
their ways of living are not inferior. Every citizen should 

Conquest of Fear 41 

strengthen his own conviction in this respect in order to become 
a happy member of society. People may be different from one 
another; yet each can contribute his own quota to the well being 
of the community at large. Fear caused by physical and vocational 
differences can, in many instances, be removed successfully by the 
attitude that each is great in his own place. 1 There is no such 
thing as a superior race. The superiority we see in a given group 
exists because of the opportunities available for its cultivation. 

A similar attitude should be taken by the people who have 
intellectual and emotional fear and a sense of inferiority, as 
human beings also differ from each other intellectually and emo- 
tionally. Parents, teachers, and religious leaders should never use 
disparaging, discouraging terms such as: "You can't do that," 
"You are slow," "You are awkward." Swami Vivekananda used 
to condemn the use of the expression "don't." It degrades a per- 
son and gives him a feeling of fear and inferiority. There are 
many cases of emotional fear which are based on physical strain 
and injury; in fact, repulsion in emotional expression is gener- 
ally due to early physical pain. Emotional fear can be eliminated 
by sympathetic understanding, patience, and loving attention. 

The third form of fear is spiritual. In Chapter II, the case of 
the little girl illustrated how the sense of sin can paralyze a 
person. Man has weaknesses and sinful tendencies, but it is a 
mistake to overemphasize these. 

True understanding of religion does not create fear. On the 
contrary, it removes the basis for fear as we begin to understand 
that we are "children of God" and that "the Kingdom of God" 
is within us. Swami Vivekananda says: 

Strength is goodness, weakness is sin. . . . And the only religion that 
ought to be taught, is the religion of fearlessness. Either in this world 
or in the world of religion, it is true that fear is the sure cause of degra- 
dation and sin. . . . And what causes fear? Ignorance of our own nature. 
Each of us is heir-apparent to the Emperor of Emperors; we are of the 
substance of God Himself. 2 

The best method for overcoming fear is emphasis on the posi- 
tive side of religion and conviction that we are inseparably con- 
nected with God as a mine of strength. In doing this, we not 

1 "Karma Yoga," Works, I. 

2 Works, III, 160. 

1$ Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

only can refute the statements of the critics of religion but we 
also can stabilize our own and others' lives. In many cases we 
have seen that when persons begin to cultivate this spirit of 
religion their lives are changed; fear and neuroses vanish; be- 
havior becomes normal; and gradually these persons become 
sources of strength and inspiration to others. 

The three types of fear can be overcome by cultivating our 
higher spiritual consciousness. Swami Vivekananda tells us to 
live, preach, and teach the gospel of strength. First it must be 
lived before it can be taught. It is not a physical science which is 
demonstrated in the laboratory. It is purely subjective or mental, 
yet it has tangible results. The subjective or mental change can 
take place only when it is initiated by a man who has integrated 
himself. The man who lives tile life of strength can alone demon- 
strate its value to others. But the inner source of strength cannot 
be measured or known from its physical results. 

Let us clarify what we mean by strength. The majority of the 
people think that when they express physical force they are 
strong. To be sure, they are physically strong; but they make a 
great blunder when they want to establish their position in life 
through physical force. This mistaken idea has been perpetuated 
for centuries, and the result has been disastrous. We know from 
the study of history that people have been destroying themselves 
and each other because they have misconceived strength as 
physical force. Physical force will always create conflict because 
it is limiting. There is no possibility of unity on the physical 

The same is true of the intellectual and emotional planes of 
existence. There is a vast difference in the intellectual concep- 
tions and emotional reactions of people. No two persons will 
react in the same way to the same experience. The presence of a 
particular man will inspire some people to give everything for 
the good of humanity while the appearance of that man will 
antagonize others. We know from historical accounts how the 
great spiritual personalities were loved by some and hated by 
others. It has happened in the lives of all outstanding spiritual 

Unity is possible only on the spiritual plane. When a man 
realizes his true nature, his divine Self, his soul, then he finds 

Conquest of Fear j& 

unity of existence. To illustrate this we can refer to some of the 
mystical experiences of Sri Ramakrishna. He realized the Oneness 
of existence in such a way that He could feel the presence of the 
Divine Being in every living thing. He felt on His own body 
the pressure of men's feet on blades of grass. He felt the beating 
given to a bullock and the marks appeared on His back. He felt 
the pain of these things because of His realization of the one 
divine Reality. Similar experiences have been known by other 
great personalities. Buddha identified Himself with the whole 
universe and that is the reason He offered His life to save one 
lamb. Jesus identified Himself with others, not just with the 
Jews. In his words and activities, St. Francis of Assisi indicated 
that he realized the oneness of existence. He used to address him- 
self to Brother Wolf and Sister Moon. He keenly felt intimacy 
with the universe. When a man realizes that state of union with 
the spiritual plane of existence, he completely removes the cause 
of fear. 

Fear is paralyzing our social system. It is destroying the stabil- 
ity of human minds today. In the struggle between labor >and 
management, between the Anglo-Americans and Russians, it is a 
serious factor, acute and dangerous. The Russians are afraid of 
Anglo-Americans and the Anglo-Americans are afraid of the Rus- 
sians. Labor is afraid of management and management is afraid 
of labor. The colored Americans are afraid of the white Ameri- 
cans and the white Americans are afraid of the colored. Jews 
are afraid of Christians and Christians are afraid of Jews. 
The Hindus are afraid of the Mohammedans and the Mo- 
hammedans are afraid of the Hindus. The British fear the rise 
of the Hindu civilization and the Hindus fear the British lest 
they again try to create a situation to perpetuate their domination 
in India. There is some justification for these international and 
inter-racial fears, but they are chiefly caused by ignorance of 
the real nature of man on the part of all. Americans are afraid 
of Russians because they are ignorant of the true nature of the 
Russians. Jews are ignorant of the true nature of the Christians, 
and so it goes. On this relative plane the differences will persist. 

The realization of the divinity of man in the oneness of 
existence becomes the true solution of the problem of fear. Fear 
cannot be overcome on the physical plane. The body will deteri- 


44 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

orate and die. No matter how much a person loves his body, 
it will eventually have to go. The body cannot be perpetuated 
indefinitely. So why cling to it and anything concerning it only 
to create more disturbance for ourselves and others? The great 
teachers of the world tell us that realization, understanding, or 
even a glimpse of the divine Oneness will banish all forms of fear. 
The conquest of fear can only be attained by applying the principle 
of unity in life. Mere intellectual conception of this principle 
will not solve the problem. There are many philosophers who 
will tell us that there is one existence. Yet they betray their 
ignorance of the true meaning of unity in their personal behavior. 
The behavior pattern must be changed with the awareness of that 
oneness. The moment that state of awareness is experienced, 
that very moment all the Different forms of fear will vanish 
from consciousness. 

While it is true that at first one must have intellectual under- 
standing of oneness, in spite of the outward physical, mental, 
and spiritual differences, this alone does not solve the problem 
of (ear. One has to work it out in interpersonal relationships 
and to bring out one's mental power through constant cultiva- 
tion of this thought. As a man thinks, so he becomes. Practical 
experience leads to the conclusion that the cause of fear should 
be squarely faced and overcome. An example is seen in the 
young boy who was afraid of departed souls. When he was about 
fifteen years old, some of his friends found out about his appre- 
hensions and advised him to visit a spot reputed to be frequented 
by such beings. He followed their advice and gradually over- 
came his fear of ghosts. In many cases of fear, individuals are 
encouraged to do the very things that create nervousness and 
other forms of mental disturbance. As they succeed in their 
attempts, they gradually gain confidence in themselves. 

There was a young man who was constantly told by friends 
and relatives that he was good for nothing; he would not be 
able to achieve anything in life. For some reason, in the back 
of his mind he had a feeling that he would be able to accom- 
plish something. His spiritual teacher always trusted and believed 
in him to the extent of telling him that he would attain the 
highest spiritual realization within a short time. These inspiring 
words actually brought out the best in the young man and he 

Conquest of Fear 46 

has been doing many noble things in his life and in his inter- 
personal relationships. 

In another instance, a young man was told by many of his 
friends that he had no manliness or courage. Even though he 
was intelligent, he was always discouraged by men of higher 
position. The result was disastrous. However, through the spirit- 
ual outlook on life and the inspiration of his spiritual teacher, 
as well as encouragement from some of his friends, he gradually 
developed self-confidence. As he practiced certain exercises like 
concentration and meditation he acquired new conviction. His 
fear vanished and he began to do creative and constructive work. 

So, emphasis on spiritual strength, cultivation of conviction, 
facing the issues of life, and performance of spiritual practices 
can bring out the divine fire in man; and, thereby, he can over- 
come all forms of fear mental, physical, and spiritual. Hence, 
the basic ideas of religion, instead of creating fear, develop the 
dynamic power of the mind and remove it. 


Conquest of Frustration 

EVERYONE ip trying to attain something, whether it is money, 
power, position, a home, or a femily. But the vast majority do not 
have a definite plan or a real objective in life. They live a life 
of impulses. As the impulses arise they try to satisfy them. So they 
are not in a position to think about the methods for attaining an 
objective. They are drifting, so to sfceak, in the river of life. 
They go here and there as their impulses impel them. Conse- 
quently, they experience constant disappointment, conflict, and 
frustration. Toward the evening of life they realize that they did 
not gain what they wanted happiness. 

Everyone in this world is eager to be happy. Their activities 
indicate that this is their desire. Whether a person is black, white, 
yellow, or brown, whether he is cultured or uncultured, Hindu 
or Christian, short or tall, man or woman, he wants happiness. 
It is the basic urge of man. Those who are thoughtful try to 
find out the nature of happiness, the objective of life, and the 
method of attaining it. In primitive society man seeks to be 
happy by fulfilling physical requirements and by getting satisfac- 
tion through expressions of his physical nature. In a higher state 
of evolution man is not satisfied with physical existence. His 
intellect is developed and he tries to find satisfaction on the in- 
tellectual plane. He follows creative, intellectual, and aesthetic 
pursuits, even though he still has physical gratification. At this 
stage he realizes that physical requirements are not the whole of 
existence. When he reaches a still higher plane of development, 
he feels that he must satisfy his spiritual nature. He knows that 
this cannot be done until and unless his physical nature is sub- 


Conquest of Frustration 47 

ordinated to that ideal. On whatever plane an individual may be 
functioning he wants to have satisfaction and avoid the pain of 
frustration and disappointment. Whenever he thinks that he is 
likely to be disappointed he becomes apprehensive and fearful. 
Like fear, frustration creates a great deal of disturbance both 
in the mind and body of man. It also creates neurotic and 
psychotic behavior. 

Frustration is associated with the failure of any of the primary 
urges. Man dislikes it in any form as it is a negation of happiness 
which he is seeking constantly in one of the three realms of 
existence physical, mental, or spiritual. 

There have been many cases of frustration even in children. A 
young woman reported to us that when she was a. little girl, her 
mother poured out her affection tt> an older brother. The little 
girl was considerably neglected and she became frustrated. This 
colored her behavior pattern later on in her married life. Unfor- 
tunately, the marriage was disrupted because of the behavior of 
her husband and she manifested many neurotic symptoms. 

There is the case of the scholar who was under the influence of 
his mother. When he became an adult he had an important job 
in an educational institution. He felt strongly that he wanted 
to express himself but his sense of duty at his mature age did 
not allow him to do what he really wished. When the second 
World War came along he became anxious to get away and join 
the Navy so that he would be independent of his mother and his 
childhood associations. His early frustration affected him in such 
a way that he lost his mental balance and finally had to be 
admitted to a mental hospital. 

We also know of a young man who lived with a much older 
sister after the death of his parents. Several times he wanted to 
get married to girls with whom he fell in love, but each time 
that his sister knew about it she threatened to commit suicide 
if he left her. This went on for years. Finally, in order to avoid 
further frustration and dissatisfaction in life he took to drinking. 

Various attempts have been made to overcome the causes of 
frustration. The hedonists believe in the greatest amount of plea- 
sure on the sense plane for the attainment of happiness. They 
try to prove that sense pleasure is the primary objective because 
man is constantly seeking it. If you do not give the greatest 

48 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

amount of pleasure to man, they say, he will be invariably in 
trouble. And if he cannot attain it himself he will be disap- 
pointed and frustrated and suffer from all kinds of functional ail- 
ments. Many of the Grecian thinkers came to the conclusion that 
the greatest amount of pleasure was man's objective. Intellectual 
pursuit, philosophy, science, and other intellectual disciplines, 
even religion, must be subordinated to pleasure. Poetry, litera- 
ture, art, and painting were to be used for pleasure. After the 
fall of Constantinople and the post-Renaissance period, the civil- 
ization of the West tenaciously accepted the views of the hedonists 
of old Greece. Bacon, Hobbes, Mill, Bentham, and all such 
thinkers emphasized the greatest amount of pleasure as the 
primary objective of life. As they were deep thinkers, they seemed 
to realize that this pursuit f pleasure should not be limited 
to the individual; the greatest amount of pleasure should be 
given to the greatest number of people. But they forgot one 
thing; they did not take the whole of human nature into con- 

Why should a man want to give the greatest amount of pleasure 
to the greatest number? When the elements of pleasure are an- 
alyzed, we find that the most satisfaction, however temporary it 
may be, is derived through the senses. It is the most intense and 
satisfying when concentrated on one's self. When it is diffused it 
is much less keenly satisfying. On the basis of these facts we do 
not see why a person should not increase his own pleasure at the 
cost of others, if the attainment of pleasure on the sense plane 
remains the primary objective of life. The Indian Charvakas and 
some Greeks were logical in their conclusions eat, drink, and 
be merry, for tomorrow we die because pleasure was their 

The majority of the people today, in the Eastern and Western 
hemispheres, are consciously or unconsciously trying to get the 
greatest amount of sense pleasure. If we analyze the time and 
energy that are given to the activities of life, we find that they are 
motivated by the search for pleasure. It does not matter whether 
a person is a scientist, philosopher, or literary man, he is im- 
pelled by this desire. Even religion is subordinated to pleasure* 
There are religious groups who promise health, bodily comfort, 
and so forth. Humanism tries to remove some of the evil that is 

Conquest of Frustration 49 

produced by greed, selfishness, and love of power, so that the 
greatest number of people can get the greatest amount of plea- 
sure. Humanists have introduced many good things like social 
justice, social security, progressive legislation, and "liberalism" 
in politics, commerce, and trade. They have tried to make those 
social gains so that man can have pleasure and happiness on the 
sense plane for a longer time, even when he is incapable of earn- 
ing. But is this solving the problem of frustration? 

All these progressive laws, humanistic ideas of scientists and 
philosophers are bound to fail while there is still the desire for 
more and more pleasure. It is inevitable that as long as the 
greatest amount of pleasure is the goal of life, frustration or ap^ 
prehension will remain in the mind. . 

While the mind has the desire for more and more, the body is 
not always fit to satisfy the desire; consequently, the mind is up- 
set and frustrated. The body has its limitations; it wears out and 
becomes old. This is its nature. When a person gets beyond 
middle age the body begins to decline. At this stage frustration is 
likely to arise if a person wants to prolong satisfaction merely 
on the sensory plane. People often commit suicide because their 
lives are empty in later years. The mind also deteriorates to some 
extent unless a person is established in the higher principles oi 
life. It becomes weaker as the body declines and the nerves be- 
come debilitated. The body and mind have a close connection 
in those who are not integrated on the basis of higher spiritual 
development. In those who are thus integrated, the mind sup- 
ports and guides the body. 

Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that sense pleasure is 
achieved when there is harmonious contact between the senses 
and the object of the senses. Let us suppose that a man's objec 
tive is to occupy a great social position. When his senses arc 
working in harmony so that he can reach that goal, then he has 
the greatest amount of pleasure in it. The same is true in famil) 
life when the intimate marital relationship is properly adjusted 
If anyone wants to be an outstanding philosopher and his mind 
and senses permit him to work for it, then he attains the greatest 
amount of pleasure. If someone wishes to be a great sciential 
and works hard to reach his objective, he, too, gets the maximum 
of pleasure. 

60 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

When several persons are trying to get the same material thing, 
the spirit of competition enters the picture. That is what happens 
in a society where pleasure is the goal. Individuals and groups 
not only compete with each other but nations also do the same. 
Wars are conflicts between the haves and have-nots. Some nations 
establish empires; others do not but wish to establish them. The 
old thieves, as Senator Borah said, fight with the new thieves. 

Many psychotherapists believe in the sublimation and substitu- 
tion of the primitive urges of sex and self-expression by directing 
the emotions into creative and intellectual fields. They have had 
considerable success in certain types of cases. However, even 
intellectual and aesthetic ideals can be swept away by the primi- 
tive urges if th latter are regarded as the sole aim of human life. 
So these remedies seem to be f ameliorative rather than curative, 
while the goal of life remains hedonistic. A person does not find 
permanent satisfaction on the physical plane because of the 
changeable quality of the objects of enjoyment and the instru- 
ments of enjoyment. 

In* India a person is urged to cultivate the faculty of discrim- 
ination and analyze the nature of frustration and its causes. Some 
thinkers seem to feel that the more an individual cultivates the 
quality of discrimination and self-analysis, the more the mental 
state of frustration is resolved, as advocated by the psychoan- 
alysts. Freud and many of his followers believe that in the very 
process of psychoanalysis the mind is stabilized. However, we 
have seen many cases where the people involved underwent 
psychoanalysis for long periods of time yet could not overcome 
the effect of frustration. 

A professional man was analyzed by a prominent psycho- 
analyst in one of the larger cities of New England. He went to 
the analyst once a week for a number of years. Unfortuately, this 
man could not overcome his dissatisfaction in spite of analysis 
and an understanding of the cause of his problems. Religious 
counseling based on higher values of life and mental training as 
well as frequent association with a spiritual teacher immensely 
helped this man. Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, this 
association had to be broken and the man suffered a set-back. 
As a result nf ohservinc p this man and a number of other indi- 

Conquest of Frustration 51 

victuals we are convinced that a long period of encouragement 
and advice are important for a permanent change, along with 
individual spiritual exercises which will be discussed in Chapters 
XIV and XVI. 

The human mind is peculiar. It will not give up anything 
unless it has something else to take its place. Suppose that a 
person likes and eats a great deal of candy. The doctor advises 
him against it because he has an acid condition which the candy 
aggravates. But the person often cannot give it up as long as 
the doctor does not prescribe anything to take its place. In the 
same way, if the mind is to give up sense pleasure as the whole of 
life, then something higher than that must be given to it for 
mental satisfaction. A vacuum does not give satisfaction. Dis- 
crimination or analysis are of no avail unless the mind can have 
some satisfaction. If the mind does not find satisfaction in one 
way, it will seek another. By this we do not mean what many 
Western psychiatrists consider as substitution on the same plane 
of existence. What we advocate is a thorough change in the out- 
look on life. Rules, regulations, laws, or advice will not change 
a person. Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that a man works 
because of his inner urges or nature. Unless the inner nature is 
changed, true satisfaction will not be found. 

The present outlook on life which created the sensate civiliza- 
tion of the West, as Professor Sorokin tells us, will not solve the 
problem. He writes: 

If a person has no strong convictions as to what is right and what is 
wrong, if he does not believe in any God or absolute moral values, if 
he no longer respects contractual obligations, and, finally, if his hunger 
for pleasures and sensory values is paramount, what can guide and 
control his conduct toward other men? Nothing but his desires and 
lusts. Under these conditions he loses all rational and moral control, 
even plain common sense. What can deter him from violating the 
rights, interests, and well-being of other men? Nothing but physical 
force. How far will he go in his insatiable quest for sensory happiness? 
He will go as far as brute force, opposed by that of others, permits. 1 

He also refers to the "hollowness of sensate culture, the hope- 
lessness of further allegiance to sensate values, and the impossibil- 

iPitirim A. Sorokin, The Crisis of Our Age (New York: E. P. Dutton & 
Co., Inc., 1944), p. 205. 

68 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

ity of attempting to preserve an orderly way of life on so rotten 
a foundation." 2 

A high percentage of people in this country are suffering from 
mental ailments. The United States is the wealthiest country in 
the world with the highest standard of living. Why should there 
be frustration here? Because people are constantly seeking more 
and more pleasure, just as children can be heard to say: "Morel 

As we read in the Upanishads, our ideal is to seek bliss not 
pleasure. There is a world of difference between bliss and plea- 
sure. Pleasure is limited to the sense plane and bliss is above 
and beyond it. Bliss can be attained only when we become aware 
of our true pature. The attempts of humanists, psychiatrists, 
social scientists and other social philosophers are bound to fail 
if they cannot change man's ideal. So long as hedonism remains 
the ideal or primary objective of life, there will be frustration. 
The only way to overcome frustration is to remember that the 
true ideal of life is the realization 'and understanding of the 
higker self or God. 

People can be persuaded to change their philosophy of life, not 
by dogmatic theology, but by a broadened interpretation of re- 
ligion. One day we were talking to an intellectual. He said: "I 
am an ardent naturalist." We asked him: "Are you willing to 
accept that your individuality is a part of the whole?" He re- 
plied: "Oh, yes." That is what starts to solve the problem. The 
whole can be called anything that a person wishes. It need not 
necessarily be called God; it can be referred to as "force" or any 
such name. The point is that a person should for the time being 
conceive that he is a part of, or product of, that whole. From 
this beginning he can grow on the spiritual plane. If he is a 
devotee, he thinks that he is a child of God, as St. Paul says. 
When we critically try to understand the nature of the whole, 
we are compelled to come to the conclusion that the whole is 
permanent and abiding. Professor Schrodinger concludes: 

The only possible alternative is simply to keep to the immediate ex- 
perience that consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown; 
that there is only one thing and that, what seems to be a plurality, is 

* Ibid., p. 5*3. 

Conquest of Frustration 58 

merely a series of different aspects of this one thing, produced by a 
deception (the Indian MAYA) . . . 8 

Buddha emphasizes understanding of the truth as the primary 
objective of life. Sri Krishna emphasizes knowledge of the Atman 
or soul, Reality or God. In the Upanishads we find that the 
primary objective is the search for bliss or joy which cannot be 
limited to the sense plane. "Having attained this joy, (man) 
becomes blessed." 4 When anyone proceeds in a search for bliss, 
he becomes satisfied. He attains a state of mind which dissolves 
frustration. When anyone takes an interest in spiritual prac- 
tices, peace and satisfaction arise in his mind. Persons are satisfied 
when they go through spiritual discipline. When one intensifies 
spiritual practices, knowing the objective of life, one's mind not 
only becomes peaceful and quiet but it goes through a tre- 
mendous change, a transformation. When the mind becomes 
quiet the nerves become strong. The people seek help from out- 
side sources but they do nothing about their difficulties them- 
selves. They created their own difficulties. They can remove them. 

A person should first change his outlook with spiritual under- 
standing and then try to reach the goal by regulating his daily 
activities under the ideal. By this process he will become happy 
and peaceful. Often people argue that this will make them other- 
worldly, but that is not necessarily so. Have the pleasures of life 
but do not make them the primary objective. One should sub- 
ordinate them to the abiding bliss which is in the spiritual plane. 
New revelations, new experiences, new joy, come to a man in 
this realization. Then he is full of bliss all the time. Nothing 
can stop that flow of bliss once it has been started. Age, physical 
conditions, political and economic conditions, do not disturb 
a person who is established in that bliss. He has a treasure that 
no thief can steal, no dictator can usurp, that he cannot help 
but give and give and give. There is always more, not less, to 
give when he does so. It is with him all of the time. There is no 
disappointment, frustration, unhappiness. He who has conquered 
frustration can give happiness to others. 

Erwin Schrfdinger, What is Life? (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1947), 
p. 90. 
"Brahmananda Valli," Taittirya Upanishad, chap. VII. 


Forgiveness or Aggression 

ONE of the important factors in the study of human behavior is 
aggression. This mental stateis generally associated with frustra- 
tion, fear, and a sense of inferiority. In fact, many psychologists 
and psychiatrists have observed that aggression is not only closely 
related to these tendencies but it is generally preceded and suc- 
ceeded by them. They often cause an extreme form of aggression 
in tfee human behavior pattern. The germ of aggression is already 
in man in the form of natural self-expression and self-assertion. 
One does not have to go to a psychiatrist to discover that it is 
present in all human beings, implicitly or explicitly. When we 
observe the behavior of a child in infancy, we can trace this 
biological urge in him. 

There is no denying that aggression exists among others than 
children. It is even in plants and creepers which raise themselves 
up and break the ground. It exists in the animal kingdom. There 
is a struggle for life and expression in everyone. If a person fol- 
lows this natural tendency, he becomes aggressive. In handling 
social problems, friends, relatives, associates, people become ag- 
gressive. It is natural. Now the question is: Are people to be 
aggressive in a way that is natural, or should they follow in the 
footsteps of Jesus or other great spiritual leaders? This is a serious 
issue. Although the Western world is supposed to be nurtured by 
the Christian ideal, are the majority of the people following 
the path which Jesus laid out for them individually and collec- 

In social problems or interpersonal relationships we find that 
few persons are really trying to follow in the footsteps of Jesus 

Forgiveness or Aggression 65 

or to live according to His saying: "Blessed are the meek: for 
they shall inherit the earth/' We do not know anyone who has no 
problems in life. Every single soul is different from every other 
soul in human society. Naturally, each person wants to express 
himself. Consequently, there is a clash and conflict even with 
those who are intimately related. Children think that parents 
want to dominate their lives. They say to themselves: "Why 
should we not live our own lives? Our parents lived the way they 
wanted to, and why should they impose their ideas on us?" But 
when the children grow older they try to impose their ideas on 
their parents. They think the parents should do as they wish 
them to do. It is peculiar how children almost unconsciously 
take revenge on their parents by controlling the^n, when the 
parents are past fifty. There are innumerable situations of this 
type. We know a family of moderate means. They have an only 
child who is now grown and working in industry. She invari- 
ably tries to manage everything in the life of her parents, with 
whom she lives. The aggressive spirit has become so strong that 
she treats her parents almost as if they were children and tries 
to impose her ideas on them even in their intimate life. Her 
aggressive spirit and frustration make this young woman ex- 
tremely neurotic and she indulges in narcotics and alcohol to 
relieve her mental and nervous tension. Unfortunately, few 
people can observe objectively their own aggression because they 
are so mixed up in it themselves. 

The relationship between husband and wife is delicate and 
noble. Yet we find that there is serious conflict between them. 
Many people, when they observe this, are afraid to enter matri- 
mony because they are not sure how they will get along. Many 
young men and women have a friendly relationship with their 
beloved. They often prolong their courtship for years in the 
expectation, on the part of one or the other, of ultimate marriage. 
They do not have the actual ceremony of marriage because of 
the fear of incompatibility due to egocentric aggression. The re- 
sult is invariably disaster. Sometimes one party and often both 
become the victims of neurosis and psychosis. This fear of an 
unsuccessful marriage is disturbing the social structure of this 
country and making many persons unhappy. In certain cases 
there are elements of economic insecurity and interference from 

66 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

parents and others; but the majority of cases of this type are 
affected by egocentric aggression. It is a serious situation which 
only religion can effectively overcome. 

When we consider aggression in social, economic, or racial 
problems, we find that it plays a great part in disturbing group 
minds. The last two wars were fought because of such conflicts 
of interest. The conflict still exists so there is no possibility of 
early peace, unless something miraculous happens, which is not 
likely in this world of relativity. We have every reason to believe 
that national or international activities will not be straightened 
out for some time. Some people are frightened by the situation 
in the United States and Europe. We were told by a French 
friend that passports are being withheld from the citizens of 
France. It seems that weakhy people and those of moderate 
means are trying to get out of France because they are afraid 
lest they lose everything through Communism. So the govern- 
ment has become particular about allowing the people to leave 
the country. 

Everywhere there is instability and uncertainty. No one knows 
what may be awaiting him. There is a lack of understanding 
of human nature and of spiritual ideals everywhere. We cannot 
say that the Western world alone is responsible; all other parts 
of the world are involved. The wave of aggression has touched 
even the shores of India. A report from India indicates that the 
same spirit of aggression is present among the educated boys and 
girls, who feel that the religious ideal is keeping them under sub- 
jugation. The same idea is being expressed by young Chinese 
people. While many Western people cannot settle their own prob- 
lems, they nevertheless tell the Asiatics that if they took up the 
ideal of non-aggression, they would attain the Kingdom of God. 
This is true not only of missionaries but also of political leaders 
like the Earl of Ronaldshay, Marquis of Zetland, who expressed 
his views in The Heart of Aryavarta. 1 He was a strong advocate 
of the religious method for India, while England took care of her 
political affairs. The motive was probably not so altruistic as it 

When we consider the racial problems of the world, we cannot 

1 arl of Ronaldshay, The Heart of Aryavarta (London: Constable & Co., 
Ltd., 19*5) . 

Forgiveness or Aggression 57 

help thinking that aggression produces more and more aggres- 
sion. The aggressive spirit of the West has dominated the Asiatic 
countries and has caused discrimination against Asiatic people. 
Reports from Oriental countries indicate not only that they are 
tired of the aggressive expressions of the West, but also that 
they themselves are developing strong repulsion and aggres- 
sion of mind, if not always of action. A number of years ago, 
we noticed this in the pre-war Japanese, in their dealing with 
"white" races. Everywhere from Aden to Shanghai, Asiatic people 
could not leave the boat until the white people had had the 
opportunity to do so. Japan was the only country in which the 
Asiatics were not the victims of such discrimination. In the other 
Oriental countries there was discrimination against even the 
inhabitants, as in India during the days of imperial Britain's 
reign. Similar discrimination against Germans on the part of the 
occupying forces has been observed by many Americans. 

The racial problems of the white and dark Americans and 
the so-called Aryans and Semites are also due in part to aggression 
on the part of one or the other of these groups. When anyone 
of these races is persistently discriminated against, the group 
which is the victim generally develops a counter-aggression in 
the course of time. Unfortunately, the aggressive spirit of the 
victims is generally condemned by the original aggressors, who 
do not realize that they have caused the expression of anti-social, 
egocentric behavior patterns. 

This is the situation. What can be done about it? On one side 
we see that this aggression is destroying the structure of human 
society in collective as well as individual life. If the higher ideal 
of life is not developed, the disturbance cannot be stopped. We 
find that aggression or self-assertion creates anxiety, worry, ap- 
prehension with the consequence that the mind is disintegrated 
and the body is affected. 

A lady with a dental problem came to one of our lectures in a 
large city recently. She had been to a number of dentists and none 
of them found anything wrong. The toothache, however, was 
painful and would not stop. From her appearance and the man- 
ner in which she told us that the dentists could not do anything 
for her, the cause was evident. Her difficulty was mental not 
physical. The toothache was a functional ailment and the dentists 

68 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

could not help her because the remedy suitable for this situation 
was integration of mind. Eventually, she went to a religious 
teacher for mental training. Under his guidance she went 
through spiritual exercises and gained mental poise. As a conse- 
quence, her functional troubles were arrested, and she continued 
with this method of training. 

A few years ago, the Boston Dispensary conducted an experi- 
ment on three hundred cases of individuals suffering with func- 
tional disorders, such as toothache and headache. They did not 
give any medicine; an empty syringe was used; but many of the 
physical irritations and disturbances were stopped, some of them 
permanently, by this treatment. Others were ameliorated for 
the time beiijg over a period of weeks and months, according 
to the mental condition of the individuals. Such methods, how- 
ever, deal with symptoms and not with inner spiritual causes. 

In order to handle the deeper elements of aggression in the 
human mind, we have to study it as it develops during infancy. 
When children are brought up in disharmonious and conflicting 
family life, they always remain insecure, as we stated in the pre- 
vious chapter. They try to compensate for the sense of insecurity 
in the form of self-assertion. Then again, disturbed parents in 
their own insecurity try to dominate the children. They often 
carelessly or thoughtlessly use the expression "do not" for almost 
everything the children express. Any child brought up in such 
an environment is constantly frustrated and discouraged in its 
normal expression of creative activities and harmless play. He 
gradually develops a strong spirit of aggression. Over-pampered 
children also show aggression in their behavior pattern. There 
is a world of difference between leading a child to constructive 
and creative functioning and dictating to him to do or not to 
do something. Dictation or compulsion generally create repulsion 
and aggression in the victim. We have seen how children who are 
victims of parental disturbances develop an extreme form of 
aggression. It may be directed to one or both parents, to school- 
mates, or playmates. These aggressive children gradually develop 
thoughtlessness, inconsiderateness, selfishness, and egocentricity. 
These patterns of behavior make them unpopular and anti-social. 
Gradually they try to compensate for their unpopularity by be- 
coming more and more aggressive, which leads them ultimately 

Forgiveness or Aggression 59 

to neurosis or psychosis. Sometimes they also develop severe 
depression and dejection, which results in a serious psychosis. 

It has been observed that parental jealousy impels one of the 
parents to cater to the child and give indulgence to its childhood 
impulses. The child instinctively realizes the conflict between the 
parents and the reason for the indulgences. He begins to develop 
symptoms of aggression and an egocentric personality. This 
tendency grows as the child enters adolescence. He becomes un- 
popular with his friends and he cannot adjust himself in the 
larger sphere of life society. The parents often do not realize 
how much they are responsible for the disintegrating tendencies 
in their own children. They are offended by them and they 
grieve when the children develop neuroses or psychoses. We know 
of a father who indulged his two young daughters as a means 
of working against their mother. The older girl, about ten or 
twelve years of age, showed that she was considerably influenced 
by this when her parents were divorced. She gave testimony 
in court which permitted her to remain with her father. Later 
on, the young girl realized the injustice she had done to Jier 
mother. This thought and her subsequent behavior created a 
serious breakdown which led to hospitalization. 

The aggression which we observe is really based on egocentricity 
and selfishness. Jesus gave us a living example in His words: 
"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do/' 2 Buddha 
was a living example of His words: "For hatred does not cease 
by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule." 8 
In the Isha Upanishad we read: "The wise man who perceives 
all beings as not distinct from his own Self at all, and his own Self 
as the Self of every being, he does not, by virtue of that percep- 
tion, hate anyone." 4 Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified; yet 
He prayed for those who did it. This was an example of forgive- 
ness. Even though people may be destructive and harmful, we 
must forgive them. 

A glorious incident took place in the life of Chaitanya many 
centuries ago. He is regarded as an incarnate spirit in India. 
When He was training His disciples in spirituality, two neigh- 

2 Luke 23: 34. 

* Dhammapada, trans. Max Mttller, I: 5. 

4 Isha Upanishad, verse 6. 

60 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

bors Jagai and Madhai became extremely incensed. It was as 
if they could not stand the spiritual atmosphere of this holy man 
and His disciples. They were drunkards and addicted to all sorts 
of vices. One day, it so happened that. Chaitanya and His inti- 
mate followers went out of their place singing hymns spiritually 
to inspire the people of that vicinity. Jagai and Madhai became 
infuriated and ran after them throwing stones and abusing them 
to the extent that Chaitanya and His disciples were injured. 
Chaitanya was in an exalted mood at the time and in spite of the 
bleeding of his wounds He went forward to embrace these two 
men saying: "Bravol Bravo! Well done, but take the name of 
God." As He embraced them and forgave their misdeeds with 
intense divine love, a peculiar change took place in the mentality 
of Jagai and Madhai. Like St. Paul, they went through a sud- 
den transformation or what the Christians call conversion. The 
forgiveness and divine love had an immediate effect. 

It is difficult for weaklings to practice forgiveness. Swami Vive- 
kananda pointed out that any weakling can lose his temper; no 
strength is needed for that. It requires strength to control one's 
self. It requires tremendous power to control one's emotions or 
natural propensities, what they call "normal self-expression." 
Natural or "normal" self-expression means that when one man 
criticizes another, the second flares up. The moment someone 
slaps a person, the victim naturally tries to slap in return. You 
do not have to go to human beings to see such a reaction. Dogs 
and cats fight like that. The moment they are alarmed, they 
jump. When a rat is frightened, he leaps at the person who fright- 
ened him. Human beings should express nobler qualities. Matur- 
ity in emotional life means self-control and consequent removal 
of conflict. In fact, to our way of thinking, a mature person is 
he who can use his ideal in his interpersonal relationships, how- 
ever provocative the circumstances may be. 

When we have seen what has been happening in this world, 
even from a pragmatic point of view, we should learn that a slap 
for a slap does not solve the problems of life or of the world. 
What we recognize as maturity of the emotional structure in the 
individual is also true in collective life. The group follows a pat- 
tern of emotional reaction expressed by its leaders. As it is stated 
in the Bhagavad-Gita: "Whatsoever the superior person does, 

Forgiveness or Aggression 61 

that is followed by others. What he demonstrates by action, that, 
people follow/' 6 If a strong individual or a number of individuals 
are immature in their emotional life their followers will express 
destructive emotional qualities. On the other hand, if the leaders 
integrate their emotions and express spiritual qualities their fol- 
lowers will be affected accordingly. The group expresses emotions 
and forms of behavior pattern according to the ideal it chooses 
and the ideal that is the motivating power of the leaders. What 
we have discussed here regarding individual emotional matur- 
ity is also applicable to the group. Europe has shown us with 
more than five hundred wars since the advent of Jesus that the 
problem of war has not been conquered. According to Professor 
Howard Mumford Jones, Professor Pitirim Sorokin estimates that 
about twenty-four million war casualties have taken place dur- 
ing the last fifty years. In his Education and World Tragedy, 
Professor Jones goes on to say: 

From the eleventh to the twentieth centuries war casualties totaled 
about 18 million. In the first three decades of the present centurv we 
have therefore killed 33^ per cent more human beings than were Killed 
in the previous 800 years. But these figures do not include five other 
continents, and they take us only to the rise of Hitler. There were, it is 
thought, ten million dead in World War I. Influenza, typhus, starva- 
tion, and other destroying agencies killed some ten million more. But 
these figures are principally for Europe; the best guess for the whole 
world is that 40 million died, directly or indirectly in World War I. 6 

We have seen in individual personal relationships that aggressive 
expressions in the form of selfishness have not solved anything. 
On the contrary, the problems have been intensified to the point 
of making people miserable. Even from the pragmatic point of 
view alone it is wrong. 

Many persons have their doubts about the religious ideal of 
forgiveness. They feel that others will take advantage of them if 
they practice this ideal. Right now in Europe, Russia is taking 
its advantages. If the United Nations yields, the Americans will 
say that Russia is taking more than she deserves and she is trying 
our patience, so we should be firm. We are told by some that 
Russia should have been finished off long ago and, at least, she 

8 Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita III: *i. 

6 Howard Mumford Jones, Education and World Tragedy (Cambridge: 
Harvard University Press, 1946), p. 7. 

6$ Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

should be conquered now. Suppose that we take it for granted 
that she should have been finished off. Does anyone suppose that 
this would have solved the problem? To be sure, Russia might 
have been destroyed. But Germany was destroyed and the prob- 
lem still remains. Suppose that this country alone remained a 
powerful nation; or suppose that Russia should become power- 
ful and destroy the Anglo-American alliance. What would hap- 
pen? We can see clearly that internal troubles would arise in such 
a way that victory would destroy the victors. The question may 
well be asked: How do you know? History gives the evidence 
and the answer. 

In India, about 1500 B.C., there was just such a situation. 
One group (Eandavas and Yadavas) destroyed another group 
(Kauravas) and established supremacy all over India. In time, 
these victors were destroyed by their own internal quarrels. 
There is a saying: give a man enough rope and he will hang him- 
self. Give rope enough to the Anglo-American alliance or to 
Russian communism and they will destroy themselves. It has 
happened before and it will happen again. Hitler became power- 
ful and tried to conquer the world. Instead, his country was 
destroyed and he has disappeared from the world. In Greek and 
Roman eras dictatorships arose and vanished. There is an in- 
herent defect in the thing itself which ultimately destroys it. 

Historical evidence also proves that nobility, forgiveness, or 
soul force ultimately wins. Take, for instance, the Indian situa- 
tion. Few people in Europe and America understand what India 
went through for two centuries, ethically, spiritually, economi- 
cally, politically. In every way Indians were demoralized. Slavery 
has serious consequences. Does anyone think that a foreign gov- 
ernment could keep India under such subjugation if the people 
there had not helped and become tools in the hands of foreign- 
ers? Certainly not. One young man who came here from India 
was telling us recently that during the last war father could not 
trust son and brother could not trust brother. They did not 
know who was in the employ of the British, who spent an enor- 
mous amount of money for bribery. For the sake of this money, 
one testified against another in court and gave all sorts of infor- 
mation. An American lady who has just returned from Germany 

Forgiveness or Aggression 63 

said that Germany is being demoralized in the same way. It was 
already thus demoralized under Hitler. 

About 1897 or 1898, a number of Indian thinkers went to 
Swami Vivekananda, the father of Indian nationalism, to ask 
him: "Swamiji, how can we remove this slavery?" He told them 
that India would be free in spite of the slavery and its various 
demoralizing effects on the ruler and the ruled. He said that in- 
dependence would come with no fighting against the British. 
Conspiracy of circumstances has made India independent. An 
example has been given to the world that collective problems 
can be solved by the method of forgiveness. Mahatma Gandhi's 
national movement and the work of his colleagues indicate 
definitely that the larger problems of society handled by 
the non-aggressive, non-violent method. The power of soul force 
and non-cooperation with the aggressor and enemy can ulti- 
mately solve these problems with the spirit of forgiveness. The 
same is true of individual problems. 

The only way that we can solve the problem of aggression once 
and for all is in the way that Jesus advocated: "Father, foi^ive 
them, for they know not what they do." 7 Again, it was said by 
Buddha: "If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thou- 
sand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of 
conquerors." 8 As we have already said, this requires strength; it 
also requires spiritual development. People must spiritualize 
themselves in order to cultivate this spirit of forgiveness. What 
does "spiritualize" mean? It means conquest of the lower nature 
and manifestation of the higher nature. It does not matter 
whether people ar Jews, Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, 
Buddhists, or any other religionist. Nor does it make any differ- 
ence what nationality they may be. The solution is the same for 
all. One cannot reach that state of spiritual consciousness over- 
night where one is ready to forgive his enemies and destroyers. 
It requires time. 

Recently, some Hindus in New York asked us: "What should 
we do now (in India)? Should we not take up the method that 
some are using and beat up the Mohammedans who are doing 
such barbarous things?" We told them, no, they would not solve 

* Luke 23: 34. 

*Dhammapada, trans. Max Mailer, VIII: 103. 

64 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

the problem by that method. Temporarily the Mohammedans 
might be subdued or even destroyed. But any violent acts would 
yitiate the nature of the doers; it would bring out the worst in 
them. They do not know where they would end afterwards. 
Hitler is an example of what happens to the aggressor. He first 
began to hate the people who opposed him, then the Jews, next 
the individual countries, and finally the world. No one knows 
where it will stop. At first someone may hate one individual, 
then two individuals, and so on. Gradually, this is intensified; it 
consumes the person. It is vicious. Suppose the Hindus adopt 
the method of destruction used by the Western world, what will 
be the result? India will be just one more European nation, and 
that would n\ean the destruction of Indian society. Swami Vive- 
kananda repeatedly warned 'India not to follow the Western 
method or she would lose her ideal. 

Now is the time to intensify our spiritual life. Now is the time 
to manifest love and sympathy even for the persons who are 
destructive. We admit that they are wrong, but the only way to 
conquer the evil doer is by dynamic spiritual force. In the mani- 
festation of soul force a person does not use the aggressive, de- 
structive method in handling personal and social problems. JHe 
expresses sympathy, love, and forgiveness to those who are ag- 
gressive and destructive. In the long run he will find that he will 
conquer them with his love. In our own experience, we have 
found that the wrongdoer is completely overcome by patience, 
endurance, and forgiveness. As St. Thomas Kempis says: "En- 
deavor to be patient in supporting the defects and infirmities of 
others . . ." ". . . we must support one another, comfort one 
another . . ." 

If, in performing a little kindness, we expect something in 
return the next moment, we shall be disappointed. Even if a 
man is noble, he has to give the other person time to change his 
thought patterns, habits, and tendencies. When he has had suffi- 
cient time to understand the effect of noble qualities, he cannot i 
help changing. After all, human beings are potentially divine; 
however hateful they may appear to be now, sometime or other 
the divinity will manifest itself. It may be under cover for the 

Thomas a Kempis, The Following of Christ (New York: GathoUc Pub- 
lishing Co.) chap. XVI: * and 5. 

Forgiveness or Aggression 65 

time being, but if a person is patient, he will find that the nobil- 
ity of others will shine forth. When anyone sincerely and hon- 
estly expresses spiritual qualities, even the lower animals will be 

Swami Vivekananda tells a story about a holy man in India. 
This man, Pavhari Baba, actually transformed a thief by love 
and forgiveness. The thief went to his cave and made a bundle 
of the few cooking utensils in which the holy man prepared food 
for the poor. Just as the thief was leaving the cave, Pavhari Babat 
returned. The man dropped the bundle and began to run away. 
Pavhari Baba took the bundle on his shoulder and ran after 
him. "Here," he called, "take this bundle; it belongs to you! 
Your need must be greater than mine, otherwise .you would not 
have come." He caught up with the thief who burst into tears 
and begged: "Forgive me, forgive me, save me!" This incident 
marked the beginning of a change in the thief. He gave up his 
bad habits, renounced the world, and became a saintly man. It 
is true that the practice of forgiveness is not easy under vexing 
circumstances nor when it is unsought. Nevertheless, a spiritual 
man must cultivate it. 

A question may arise as to how a group can express forgiveness 
and not become aggressive under provocative circumstances, such 
as those we have discussed. The necessary conclusion to be drawn 
from our previous statements is that just as an individual prac- 
tices non-violence and manifests "soul-force," so a group should 
also cultivate that spirit in order to reach the highest goal of 
life, individually and collectively. Historical evidences suggest 
that those who take up the aggressive, destructive method are 
invariably destroyed by those methods. The only technique for 
the group is to develop dynamic spiritual individuals who can 
follow the higher spiritual ideal of forgiveness and love in their 
interpersonal relationships. Their influence will permeate the 
behavior of the whole group, which will then express the same 
ideal of the conquest of evil by love. 

The conquest of aggression and cultivation of forgiveness in 
interpersonal relationships not only often changes the other per- 
son but also creates a peaceful state of mind. Conflicting and 
agitating tendencies which generally create ultimate frustration 

66 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

and dissatisfaction are also removed. If anyone wants to do even 
a little good to the world, he must be thoroughly established in 
higher spiritual qualities through the conquest of natural tend- 
encies and manifestation of the divine qualites of patience, love, 
and forgiveness. 


Competition or Cooperation 

SOCIETY cannot function unless man knows how to behave 
himself in the company of others. He associates with his fellow 
beings for biological or psychological reasons, being impelled by 
the urge of sex and reproduction and preservation of the species, 
or the desire for love and affection. In his associations, should he 
cultivate the spirit of competition or the spirit of cooperation? 
There are conflicting theories among rationalistic thinkers. Some 
think that the spirit of competition based on selfishness is the 
basis of progress. Others feel that unless a person has this spirit, 
he cannot function in personal or in social life. Many people 
seem to think that modern industrial civilization would not have 
developed but for the spirit of competition. Of course, it is true 
that the present industrial civilization of the West is based on 
the selfish profit motive and it has built up an unique techno- 
logical structure. But is this system healthy for the highest human 
progress, collective growth, and individual happiness? Evidences 
in the contemporary world reveal that in spite of industrial and 
technological progress the world is facing tremendous problems. 
In this competitive society, man is tense with anxiety and appre- 
hension; he invariably faces frustration and dissatisfaction. Sta- 
tistical reports show that these psychological evils are frightening 
socially minded leaders. Professor Pitirim A. Sorokin, in The 
Crisis of Our Age and The Reconstruction of Humanity, de- 
scribes the disorganization of sensate society 

. . . the present crisis of our culture and society consists exactly in the 
disintegration of the dominant sensate system of modern Euro-American 
culture. Having been dominant for several centuries, the sensate form 

68 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

has impressed itself on all the main compartments of Western culture 
and society and made them also predominantly sensate. As the sensate 
form disintegrates, so all these compartments of our society and culture 
likewise disintegrate. For this reason the crisis is not a maladjustment 
of this or that single compartment, but rather the disintegration of the 
overwhelmingly greater part of these sectors, integrated in and around 
the sensate form. ... it is marked by an extraordinary explosion of 
wars, revolutions, anarchy, and bloodshed; by social, moral, economic, 
political, and intellectual chaos; by a resurgence of revolting cruelty 
and animality, and a temporary destruction of the great and small 
values of mankind; by misery and suffering on the part of millions a 
convulsion far in excess of the chaos and disorganization of the ordinary 
crisis. 1 

Professor Sorokin also gives constructive ideas for the reorganiza- 
tion of society. He says: 

Our remedy demands a complete change of the contemporary men- 
tality, a fundamental transformation of our system of values, and the 
profoundest modification of our conduct toward other men, cultural 
values, and the world at large. 2 

Professor Elton Mayo, in The Social Problems of an Industrial 
Civilization, gives a frightening factual evaluation of the indus- 
trial civilization of this competitive society: 

We have undertaken to transform an economy of scarcity into an 
economy of abundance, and the technicians are showing us the way. 
We are committed to the development of a high human adaptability 
that has not characterized any known human society in the past, and it 
is our present failure in this respect that finds reflection in the social 
chaos which is destroying civilized society. 8 

Later he adds: 

Technical progress and technical organization have enabled the de- 
mocracies the "plutodemooracies" of Mussolini and Hitler to de- 
velop, for the most part, beyond an ignorant and peasant type of living, 
to improve at least to some extent the general material standards of 
society. But we have failed to develop at an equal step the strategy of 
cooperation; we have allowed ourselves the easier path, the strategy of 
hate, that leads inevitably to the City of Destruction. Political leaders, 
group leaders of all types, have gained followers and momentary support 
by braying out fear and blame and hate to an extent that remains un- 
recognized in the popular literature of our time. ... To blame a per- 

1 Sorokin, The Crisis of Our Age, pp. ti-t*. 

* Ibid., p. si. 

Mayo, The Social Problems of an Industrial Civilization, pp. 13-14. 

Competition or Cooperation 69 

son or persons is far easier then to study carefully, and in full detail, 
a situation. Yet it is only the latter study that can avail to lead us out 
of the chaos of misery and malice that has overtaken our once proud 
civilization. 4 

As we have seen in previous chapters, the psychological evils 
created by the cultivation of the spirit of self-assertion and ag- 
gression or competition are almost threatening the life of the 
individual. So we are compelled to accept the prophetic inter- 
pretation of the people who hold that the spirit of competition 
is destructive and disorganizing. Instead of giving man happi- 
ness, competition is making him more and more dissatisfied and 
unhappy, in spite of industrial and technological development. 
So we cannot subscribe to the idea that competition is the basis 
of progress. > 

On the other hand, we find that all the great cultural move- 
ments of the world were started by people of extreme unselfish- 
ness. Everyone is acquainted with the life of Jesus, and there 
will be no two opinions that He was one of the most unselfish 
persons the world has even seen. The same is true of Buddha, 
Krishna, or Ramakrishna. The lesser spiritual personalities, saints 
of East and West, who contributed something worth while to the 
preservation of civilization were also unselfish. 

There are many who question this estimate of unselfishness. 
They think that the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, and other such 
personalities are obsolete in this world today. They cannot be 
applied to this industrial civilization. This was not only the 
opinion of Colonel R. G. Ingersoll; it is also the opinion of many 
modern rationalistic, scientific thinkers, although many of them 
do not have the courage of Colonel Ingersoll to speak out; per- 
haps they wish to avoid antagonizing others. Like other rational- 
ists of his century, Colonel Ingersoll set forth ethical ideals when 
he tried to destroy the convictions of the people regarding the 
existing churches of Christendom. He gave what he called the 
five gospels: "I respectfully invite your attention. They are Good 
Living, Cheerfulness, Intelligence, Justice and Liberty," 5 We 
do not agree with these people because the humanistic concep- 
t/did., p. 123. 

* Complete Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll (Chicago: J. Regan & Co.), 
p. 405. 

70 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

tions they propose for the integration and stabilization of our 
society came directly from the above-mentioned great spiritual 
personalities who were the most unselfish human beings. They 
sacrificed every bit of their energy for the good &nd happiness 
of man. 

There is an interesting story near the end of one of the greatest 
epics of India, the Mahabharata. It is given in an allegorical sense 
and should not be taken literally. Yudisthira was proceeding to 
heaven and on the way he met a dog. When they reached the 
gate of heaven, the dog was not allowed to enter. Yudisthira 
said: "If this dog is not allowed in heaven, then I have no desire 
to go there." And he refused to enter. At that moment, the dog 
changed his form. It seemed that he was the embodiment of 
spirituality in the form of a dog, testing the integrity and un- 
selfishness of Yudisthira to find out if he was genuinely sincere 
in what he claimed to believe. This man passed the test because he 
was a spiritual person, unselfish and integrated, who actually 
lived the ideal. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Sri Krishna says that a 
mam of wisdom is thoroughly established in the unity of existence 
and he does not find any difference among all beings. To use 
Sri Krishna's own words: "The knowers of the Self look with an 
equal eye on a Brahmana endowed with learning and humility, 
a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a pariah." 6 

We are convinced that real civilizations and real progress for 
mankind have been made by unselfish personalities. They showed 
the world how cooperative society could be established. In fact, 
their example proved that society based on cooperation and co- 
ordination could make people happy and peaceful. They fur- 
nished the raison d'etre of cooperation and proved that psycho- 
logical evils could be eliminated by going to the spiritual root 
of cooperation. 

Most of the leaders of the political and social sciences have, 
no doubt, been trying to remove the evils of society, but they are 
only making things worse. Instead of removing the problems 
from human personality, they are creating more and more prob- 
lems to the point that we are now in a state where the whole 
world is threatened by destruction, either by atomic and bio- 
logical forces or by psychological tensions and conflicts. 

Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita V: 8. 

Competition or Cooperation 71 

The majority of people in post-Renaissance Western civiliza- 
tion adopt the method of competition for their personal and 
public life. It may seem to superficial thinkers that competition 
and rivalry are inherent qualities of man. Ordinary people try 
to gain their points by removing the obstacles. Yet there are a 
few who fortunately do not believe in that method, who believe 
in the spirit of cooperation and actually practice the ideal in 
their everyday life. 7 

Let us analyze the psychological effect of the spirit of competi- 
tion, based on the sense of right and privilege, on the individual 
and society. Little children live a physical existence and show 
the competitive spirit most of the time. They seem to feel that 
unless they grab things they cannot get anything out of the 
world. They become conscious of their rights and fight for them. 
The result is often ruinous. An eye specialist told us about an 
interesting case. A married couple among his patients had a baby 
when their little boy was three years old. Of course, the mother 
had to give considerable attention to the new baby which made 
the little boy jealous. When the father came home fro._i wCfrk 
he, too, was naturally attentive to the baby. The little boy felt 
that he had to compete with his baby brother. At first he used to 
cry and do all sorts of things to get attention. Then he learned a 
new trick. He began to look at his mother or father with his 
eyes crossed. The trick was successful in attracting the attention 
of his parents, so he practiced it to the extent that it affected his 
eye muscles. He was taken to the eye specialist who found noth- 
ing defective in the visual system, but detected the cause of the 
trouble and advised the parents to make a great deal of the boy 
and give him some special attention. The parents followed this 
advice and the boy's habit vanished. If parents are not thought- 
ful when a new child appears in the family, the older child feels 
insecure and inferior in this competitive existence and often 
develops tendencies which some modern psychologists call com- 
plexes. If these tendencies are allowed to develop, they show up 
in neurotic behavior when the youngster becomes an adolescent. 

Another young boy was brought up in the family of maternal 
relatives where there were other children. He felt that in order 
to get anything he had to compete with them. The result was 

7 Ashley Montagu, On Being Human (New York: Henry Schuman, 1950). 

7 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

that he developed neurotic tendencies when he became an ado* 
lescent and these were carried over into his maturity. He could 
not stand the success or praise of any of his colleagues. The early 
spirit of competition became in later days a serious impediment 
to his social integration. He developed severe functional dis- 
orders, one of which was ulcers, and his life was thoroughly un- 
happy. So we see that the competitive spirit can affect even our 
physical well being. When people become adults and have* to 
meet society on a larger scale, they do not always realize the 
extent of their own feelings of competition. 

The existence of higher ethical or spiritual ideals creates a con- 
flict in many. Spiritual ideals emphasize sacrifice for the good 
and happiness of others, according to religious scriptures and 
the teachings of the great Spiritual leaders of the world. They 
say that when a person becomes unselfish he not only becomes 
happy but he brings happiness to others. Naturally, there is a 
conflict between these and lower ideals, or between what Freud- 
ians call superego and id. If the conflict is allowed to continue, 
functional ailments or mental ailments develop, and the whole 
personality becomes disintegrated. Nowadays, we frequently no- 
tice young and grown-up people manifesting these tend- 
encies which destroy their lives. If the roots of these disturbances 
in adolescence or maturity are examined, they will reveal that 
conscious or unconscious ideals and emotions were not unified 
or integrated. The tendencies have been allowed to function in- 
dependently and in a conflicting manner; consequently, the per- 
sonality has never been integrated. 

Scholarship alone will not integrate the personality. Intel- 
lectual or aesthetic development does not necessarily presuppose 
unification of the emotions. Karl Barth, one of the great thinkers 
of Europe, wrote a small book during the last war called This 
Christian Cause* In this book he advocated the destruction of 
Germany. He considered the conflict as "our war," "the Christian 
war"; in other words, it was a Christian crusade against evil 
forces. The present trend of events is proving to us that it was 
not so "Christian" as he wanted his readers to believe. The 
venom in the book seems to us to be contradictory to the teach- 
ings of Jesus whom he is supposed to admire and worship. In- 

9 Karl Barth, This Christian Cause (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1941). 

Competition or Cooperation 73 

tellectually he is a great admirer of Jesus but his destructive 
expressions are in distinct opposition to the words of that great 
Teacher. This in itself shows that intellectual conceptions do not 
always lead to integration of the emotions or the personality. 

Let us consider the case of a religious leader who was greatly 
influenced by the spirit of competition in the field of his re- 
ligious ministry. He was so much affected by this that he wanted 
to make a big show of his activities in competition with his col- 
leagues and other persons in religious work. The spirit of ambi- 
tion and rivalry so disturbed his peace of mind that he broke 
down and had to be hospitalized. We know a few cases of this 
type. Basically, religious work is not in harmony with the spirit 
of competition. It is really based on the motive of service and the 
spirit of cooperation. However, in*spite of intellectual develop- 
ment, a person can remain emotionally disintegrated if his total 
personality is not changed by spiritual culture. There is a con- 
stant conflict in everyone, and it is removed only when the ideal 
is actualized in life. If the ideal remains separate and apart, 
there is no possibility of integrating it with the emotions or*of 
removing mental tension, as we shall discuss in Chapter VII. 

Everyone with whom a person has a contact relatives, friends, 
acquaintances, business associates, and so forth has his own 
tendencies. Each one has certain requirements of emotional life 
and is trying to express his emotions in the name of self-expres- 
sion. Consequently, there is a very serious possibility of conflict. 
If two people are competing with each other, one of them is 
bound to be disappointed. Perhaps one got a position which the 
other wanted. Even so, he is not satisfied. He will still be anxious 
lest somebody threaten his new position. Such a spirit creates 
envy and jealousy, even in friendships. Husbands and wives are 
not satisfied with the attention they get from each other; they 
are afraid that someone else will take away that attention. This 
apprehension will remain in the minds of individuals as long as 
they want everything without thinking of giving something in 
return. People want social position and friends and admirers; 
but in order to have all of these, they will have to give some- 
thing, or else there will be no friends and admirers and their 
purpose will be defeated. When there is competition for an ob- 
jective the greatest amount of pleasure or self-satisfaction 

74 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

there is not only frustration in the mind of one person but there 
;is apprehension in all quarters. That is the reason Sri Rama- 
krishna says: "Oh my, what a storm there is in the mind!" 
And the storm will be there while the struggle for selfish pleasure 

The same spirit of competition is carried by individuals into 
modern industrial activity. Dr. Franz Alexander writes that our 
industrial system stimulates a desire for more and more produc- 
tion with more and more success. 9 There is a conflict between 
American and Russian methods of production. In this country 
there is the system of individual or private enterprise which 
functions under what is called the democratic method. There 
are disturbances between labor and management. Management 
cannot dictate to labor, which has organized unions for its pro- 
tection and also for more and more comforts of life. Manage- 
ment must give higher wages, shorter working hours, and other 
privileges, otherwise there will be trouble. On the other hand, 
everything in Russia is regimented. The government dictates the 
ternis and if they are not followed you either go to Siberia or 
you lose your head. There will be competition on an interna- 
tional level. If it is not with Russia, it will be with some other 
country Germany, England, China, Japan, or even India. 

When we think of the great problems of the world, we find 
that selfish, egocentric competition is leading us to destruction. 
As we mentioned in the previous chapter, the last two world 
wars were fought because of conflicts of interests, because of 
political and economic competition of various types. Two groups 
are lined up against each other. One group thinks that it under- 
stands what is good for the world; the other group has the same 
idea. Behind that is the desire for supremacy. Otherwise, nobility 
would have been shown in giving freedom to everyone, according 
to promises made by the leaders at the time that war was de- 
clared. But there is no spirit of sharing today, no spirit of those 
"four freedoms." So we are compelled to believe that there is a 
suspicious element in all the groups to a greater or lesser degree. 
If this spirit of competition is allowed to develop further, there 
will be an inevitable clash just as soon as they are sufficiently 

9 Franz Alexander, Conflicts of Power in Modern Culture (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1947), p. 876. 

Competition or Cooperation 75 

powerful or confident of victory. We all know that the result 
will be destruction of the whole of civilization. No one country 
will be saved, whether Eastern or Western, as all are inevitably 
connected and implicated. So we can see that the spirit of com- 
petition does not solve individual problems, as we found in the 
psychological study of human behavior, complexes, and func- 
tional ailments; nor does it offer a solution for social, national, 
or international problems as we see in the world at large. 

There is another method, and that is the spirit of cooperation. 
People will say that such an idea is Utopian; it may be noble but 
it is not practical just now. How long can an individual or the 
masses practice cooperation? Our answer is that it can be prac- 
ticed, provided we see the living example. It has been practiced 
before and it will be in the future. When the people become 
tired of the spirit of ruthless competition, when they learn the 
lessons from their bitter sufferings, they will seek something con- 
structive and an harmonious method of living. We find in in- 
dividual cases that people become weary of the worldly selfishness 
and seek religious ideals. In The Individual and His Religi<mr, 
Professor Gordon W. Allport gives an interesting idea of what 
he calls "mature religion." In this a man seeks religion with 
higher understanding and higher values. 10 When we become ma- 
ture, whether because of world-weariness, intelligence, or higher 
aspirations, we can practice the spirit of cooperation and service. 

Let us go back to the individual life. If a person does not have 
harmonious tendencies, he will always be disturbed. This har- 
mony can be established when the divergent tendencies are har- 
nessed and controlled and when the person has a strong, high 
ideal in life. Take, for instance, the symphony orchestra. If the 
conductor is withdrawn the different players will lose the rhythm. 
They are likely to play the notes according to their own inter- 
pretation, and if this happens the whole symphony is ruined. 
On the other hand, when the conductor is present, the different 
members of the orchestra get their directions and inspiration 
from him and harmony is established, even though they have a 
different background and tradition. Under the leadership of the 
conductor they coordinate and cooperate with one another. Simi- 
larly, physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual urges can 

10 Allport, The Indiindual and His Religion, pp. 58-74. 

76 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

be harmonized when the supreme goal is the ideal of life. By 
supreme goal we mean the awareness of God or the higher Self 
in us. When a person has that as the goal and tries to use all his 
resources for its fulfillment, there is complete harmony. 

Sri Ramakrishna used to sing a beautiful song describing the 
waves of the mind. The song likens the mind to a lake in which 
there are innumerable waves, the many tendencies and urges. 
On the lake is a boat with six oarsmen, the senses, who are trying 
to go in different directions. If there is no guiding spirit, the 
boat will not reach its destination. When we observe the Harvard 
and Boston University boys practicing rowing on the Charles 
River, we notice that they are guided by a unifying force, a 
coxswain. If they did not have a coxswain to guide them they 
would not succeed even in their competition with other shells. 
Similarly, every person needs a guiding force in his life. Then if 
he regulates his activities under that ideal he can unify his own 

When he emerges from his intimate family circle to the family 
*f the world, he must cultivate the idea that the interest of the 
different members of society is identical. They are veritable mani- 
festations of that divine Being or God. They are all seeking the 
same happiness or peace. If a person realizes the fact that the 
happiness of relatives, friends, acquaintances, or busines asso- 
ciates depends entirely on cooperation with one another, then 
alone can individual likes and dislikes be submerged. In this 
competitive world everyone is tempted to struggle for himself 
and the result is bound to be destructive and disastrous. If he 
thinks he has the right to self-expression and can make demands 
so that others will submit, even noble persons will get tired of 
such selfishness. Because of their nobility they may not say any- 
thing but they will be disgusted. So if anyone wants happiness 
and success in the highest sense, he must first learn how to co- 
operate with different members of his family. Then he must carry 
this into the greater world, society. 

In the United States many people think democracy is the 
noblest ideal for political or economic organization. This democ- 
racy depends on the spirit of cooperation, yet there are many 
who feel that the spirit of competition should be advocated for 
the development of private enterprise. Competition might have 

Competition or Cooperation 77 

been to some extent successful and useful in the earlier days of 
growth in this country. But now people are living such a com- 
plex life that this very spirit will be destructive if it is allowed 
to go too far. Fortunately, social forces are working to control 
the selfish attitude of one group or another. If this country wants 
to keep up its democratic system of political and economic or- 
ganization the people must learn how to cooperate with one 
another. Industrial strikes cannot be solved unless both manage- 
ment and labor realize that strikes will not finally solve the prob- 
lems. Only understanding of higher values will give the solution. 
History shows us that even persons who are leading members of 
labor organizations can become selfish and self-sufficient. They 
can also become dictators. It has happened in the past and can 
happen at any time. When power* is concentrated in one indi- 
vidual it demoralizes him. 

Internationally, nations must learn to cooperate with each 
other. No nation is strong enough or great enough or noble 
enough to dictate to another nation. In this universe of diversity 
there will always remain variety. Why do people want unifcawp 
ity? They cannot have it. Many times imperialists have tried to 
establish political and economic uniformity with a selfish motive 
and failed. The different members of all the nations must realize 
that if they are to survive they must learn to cooperate and not 
to compete. This is possible if they realize that their interests are 
identical. The interest of communistic Russia and democratic 
America is the same happiness of the people, peace of the world. 
Ultimately, we shall find that every one of these people of any 
country or any vocation wants peace and happiness. 

People often argue that the different members of society should 
protect their own rights and at the same time consider the rights 
of others. The top ranking and well-meaning leaders are fully 
conscious of this point of view and they feel that it is essential 
for stabilizing society. However, Sri Krishna stresses individual 
duty rather than rights. "Devoted each to his own duty," He 
says, "man attains the highest perfection." 11 Swami Vivekananda 
in his "Practical Vedanta" and "Karma Yoga" 12 also emphasizes 
the spirit of duty. When individuals cultivate this spirit they try 

u Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita XVIII: 45. 
Works, 1 and II. 

78 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

to do things for others as their duty and they find the true basis 
for cooperation. This sense of duty should be intensified by 
emphasis on worship. Knowing that the different individuals are 
the various manifestations or children of God, we should try to 
see the divine spark in the members of the family and society. 
The real basis for the sense of duty comes from this philosophy 
of life, and the understanding of the divinity of man. Conse- 
quently, people do things for one another in the spirit of service 
and worship rather than thinking of individual rights. The per- 
formance of action in the spirit of duty and service naturally 
enables the doer to protect the rights of others. This high motive 
strikes at the root of selfish competition. 

It is painful to note that in modern social service work in 
America, the leading persoralities of that branch of activity 
sometimes do not seem to realize that the spirit of duty and 
service should be emphasized not only in the relationship with 
the clients but also with the co-workers. It is amazing how they 
talk of individual rights and act as if they feel the clients are 
^^ r e objects of charity. It would be worth while for them to 
understand that it was the religious ideal that really introduced 
social work to the Western countries through the teachings of 
Jesus, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," 18 and the words 
of St. Paul, ". . . we are the children of God . . . and joint heirs 
with Christ." 14 

On the other hand, many social workers seem to treat their 
clients merely as "cases," remaining aloof from them. It is equally 
painful to note that persons receiving help are made to feel that 
they are inferior beings. Those who render assistance through 
the different organizations are likely to demoralize themselves 
by giving themselves credit for conducting charitable work for 
the clients. It would be worth their while to realize that this 
spirit intensifies egocentricity on the part of the social workers 
instead of making them humble integrated personalities. We 
deeply appreciate their service to society, but they do not seem 
to grow in their personal attitude toward life. On the contrary, 
they seem to be losing the spirit of service which will integrate 
their total personality. However, if they would carry out the 

18 Matt. $2: 39; Mark 13: 31; and Luke 10: 27. 
14 Rom. 8: 16-17. 

Competition or Cooperation 79 

Judaeo-Christian tradition, in fact the religious tradition, this 
very act of so-called charity would in itself make them more and 
more unselfish; it would help them not only in their work but 
also in their other activities and associations. 

It is noticeable that the relationship between social workers 
and clients, leaders and subordinate colleagues, is considerably 
influenced by the competitive spirit. This is also true among the 
social agencies themselves, especially in competition for funds. 
It is to be expected that such tendencies will be manifested even 
in these organizations, when the main viewpoint of life in society 
is egocentric and competitive. Unless the whole structure and 
outlook of society is changed, the disintegration of personality 
will persist. That is the reason that the spirit of duty is em- 
phasized here. 

The spirit of devotion to duty emphasized by Sri Krishna 
and Swami Vivekananda in the Indian tradition, and by Jesus, 
St. Francis, and others in the Christian tradition should be in- 
culcated into the group of social workers. This spirit, especially 
when manifested by social welfare and church workers, will b6"T 
living example for the community and will play a great part in 
establishing and stabilizing a really cooperative society in family, 
national, and international life. 

The mistake that the ordinary man makes, no matter how im- 
portant his position may be, is not to realize that his competitive 
method is robbing the people of what he really proposes to 
offer peace and happiness. Unless he changes his outlook and 
philosophy of life, he cannot give peace and happiness. He must 
change from consciousness of right to consciousness of duty. As 
long as he inspires people with the spirit of competition and 
right, he will gradually destroy those whom he loves. Do we not 
know what has happened to the unfortunate people of Europe? 
The leaders who emphasized the abnormal idea of supremacy 
also meant well for their people, yet the wrong philosophy de- 
stroyed them. We feel that if the leading personalities will 
change their outlook on life and apply the higher philosophy, 
principle, or ideal in their own individual lives, they can, by the 
spirit of cooperation based on the sense of duty, save the world 
from destruction and degradation. 


How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 

AMERICA is the last word in Western civilization. Yet, in this 
country there is serious memal tension; and with modern com- 
petition it is increasing. In a recent conversation with some 
Western scholars who were raised and educated in continental 
Europe and the British Isles, we learned that mental tension 
among the people of Europe, even since World War II, is much 
icoa than that which they observed in the United States. In spite 
of the problems and privations in Europe, according to them, 
the people there seem to stand up under their difficulties much 
better than most Americans. In this connection, it is worth while 
to note what Dr. Lothar B. Kalinowsky has to say in his paper, 
"Problem of War Neurosis in the Light of Experiments Made in 
America and Other Countries," which was delivered at the an- 
nual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in May, 


Naturally, people are anxious about the problem of mental 
tension. Scholars in general, psychologists, and psychotherapists 
are disturbed over the situation. In fact, the theme of the 1948 
Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion, dealt with this 
problem and its solution through the help of scholarship. Psy- 
chologists and psychiatrists in other recent conventions and con- 
ferences have been trying to determine the cause of tension and 
conflict and the remedy for it. 

We first, find tension in the individual. The individual mind is 
full of conflict, tension, and confusion and consequent struggle. 
Then again, tension is observed in our interpersonal and inter- 
social relationships. It extends throughout society where it exists 


How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 81 

between two minds or among many minds. Naturally, if we want 
to remove it we want to understand what creates it. Unless we 
have a clear understanding of the cause of tension we cannot 
remove it. 

According to Hindu psychologists, like Patanjali, there are five 
states of mind: (i) kshipta (extreme restless state when the mind 
has tension and many emotional conflicts and longings); (2) mura 
(inert stage in which the mind has lower conscious and uncon- 
scious passions, such as anger, lust, and so forth); (3) vikshipta 
(state in which the mind is partly concentrated at times); (4) 
ekagra (concentrated state); (5) niruddha (superconscious state). 
Swami Vivekananda explains them: 

The Chitta [mind] manifests itself in the following forms scatter- 
ing, darkening, gathering, one-pointed ^ind concentrated. The scattering 
form is activity. Its tendency is to manifest in the form of pleasure or 
of pain. The "darkening" form is dullness which tends to injury. . . . 
The "gathering" form is when it struggles to centre itself. The "one- 
pointed" form is when it tries to concentrate and the "concentrated" 
form is what brings us to Samadhi. 1 

These states of mind are made up of various emotions con- 
scious and unconscious. The mind naturally has different tend- 
encies. These may be called sentiments, urges, instincts, or emo- 
tions. Apart from the primitive urges, man also has reactions to 
the conditions of life and his environment. The restless and 
partly controlled mental states exist, according to Patanjali, be- 
cause of the wavering and indecisiveness of the mind in relation 
to the different emotions and conflicting urges. Generally speak- 
ing, tension is created by the presence of various urges and the 
conflicts among them. Tension is also created by the presence in 
man of higher attitudes or religious ideals together with the 
primary urges. 

But there are various theories in the West about the cause of 
mental tension. The most important theories have been offered 
by the virtual pioneer of psychotherapy in the West, Sigmund 
Freud. His predecessors, Charcot and Janet, worked seriously on 
the problem, but they did not develop as clear a philosophy as 
Freud as to the cause of tension. A number of his followers also 
offered various theories, particularly Adler and Jung. 

* Works, I, to$. 

8% Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

According to Freud, it is a biological urge which creates a con- 
flict in the mind. Although he formerly called it the sex urge, he 
later on changed it to the pleasure principle. This, he said, is 
the urge in man to get the greatest amount of pleasure in life. 
Then, as he was analyzing his cases further, he developed another 
theory that tension is caused by the conflict of the pleasure prin- 
ciple and death principle. 2 The mind naturally seeks the greatest 
amount of pleasure, and if this urge does not have expression 
and is not satisfied due to repression there is serious tension. In 
his writings he discusses the stages of life from childhood to old 
age, but he classifies all of them as the various phases of the 
sex or pleasure urge. Some of his followers have reached the 
same conclusion, although they use slightly different terminol- 
ogy. 8 * 

Orthodox Freudians say that there is another element in man, 
the superego, which creates a censorship in the mind and pre- 
vents the expression of his pleasure urge. Nevertheless, although 
the urge is repressed it remains in the id, the depth of the un- 
cuiiscious. As Freud understands the superego, (which is known 
to some of us as the conscience) it is created by various factors in 
human society, the most dominant one being religion. This be- 
comes the censorship which causes the mental conflict. Man can- 
not satisfy his desire for pleasure because he is haunted by that 
intangible something in the background of his personality. His 
conscience pricks him and then conflict is established. Religious 
and ethical ideals, which are part of the superego, prevent him 
from doing as he wishes, because he is afraid of the disapproba- 
tion of the people around him. They have certain ideas and 
ideals and their presence seems to create a disturbance in his 
mind. So he represses his urge for pleasure. McDougall has some- 
thing interesting to say about this: 

Conflict is always a conflict of incompatible motives, that is to say, 
motives that impel us to incompatible goals. In saying this, I use the word 
"motive" in the widest sense, to cover every form of impulsion, from the 
crudest, simplest impulse springing directly from some instinct and 
driving us on to thought, action, or word, without our becoming clearly 
conscious of the goal towards which we strive, to desires springing from 

2 Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle. 

* Menninger, Man Against Himself. See also Love Against Hate. 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 89 

well-organised, enduring sentiments, and to true volitions and resolve, 
i.e., desires approved and confirmed by self-conscious reflection. 4 

We admit that certain types of religion can create serious mal- 
adjustment and tension in the mind, as Dr. Terhune points out. 
He says: 

We believe that religion may be at fault on three scores: 

First, religious instruction quite properly starts in childhood. Chil- 
dren are taught a simple and sometimes too rigid concept of religion. 
When they grow up it seems to them that religion is unrealistic just 
another Santa Glaus legend; therefore, many reject all religious teach- 
ings. . . . But we could wish that, as people develop and are able to 
comprehend deeper truths, religion would keep in step with the indi- 
vidual's psychological and social growth. . . . 

Second, many religious teachings are not compatible with the known 
facts of human psychology. They represent a repressive psychology 
rather than a directive one; and are for that reason rejected by the 
individual as not being practical or helpful to him. 

Third, we psychiatrists believe that the Church makes a mistake in 
assuming the authoritarian approach, and we reatize that concerning 
this there might be much argument. Suffice it to say the history of re- 
ligion indicates that whenever the Church assumes authority and povr^.' 
which men are unwilling to give it, then such authority perishes. In- 
deed, we believe that once again Christ's teachings bear this out. He 
used not punishment, but forgiveness; he stressed the value of person- 
ality, love and understanding, and service to others. 

I should like to suggest that the churches establish a fact-finding com- 
mission, to ascertain what people believe in and live by. ... The people 
need religion, want it, but often the Church gives them little help in 
attaining it merely because people and Church are both ignorant of 
what is really needed. 5 

It is not merely Dr. Terhune who comes to this conclusion; 
many other thinkers revolt against an authoritarian concept of 
religion which is immature. The erroneous understanding of 
religion can create mental disturbances, as we shall see in later 
chapters. Freudians and other dynamic psychologists can find 
some justification for their criticisms of certain phases and inter- 
pretations of religion. However, if they would try to understand 
the proper values and ideals of religion, then they would not 
have real reason to condemn it in toto as a repressive element 

*McDougall, Outline of Abnormal Psychology, p. 815. 

5 William B. Terhune, M.D., Religion and Psychiatry , Publication Number 
6 (New Canaan: Silver Hill Foundation for the Treatment of the Psycho- 
neuroses, 1948), pp. 15-17. 

84 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

and a cause of mental tension. In this connection, it is worth 
while to mention the ideas of Dr. Carl G. Jung which he ex- 
pressed in his Modern Man in Search of a Soul. 9 Along with 
Dr. Terhune, he feels that psychology and religion should work 

Religion does not advocate repression. On the contrary, its 
precepts teach us how to control our animal nature and bio- 
logical tendencies and transform them into higher qualities. Re- 
ligion accepts man as more than a mere biological being. Some 
psychiatrists, in emphasizing the basic importance of biological 
urges, seem to reduce human beings to the status of animals. We 
admit that there are common biological tendencies in human 
beings and in animals; but man has the possibility of overcom- 
ing his animal nature by rising to the human plane and gradually 
to the divine plane of existence. Instead of creating tension, re- 
ligion, rightly understood, dissolves it. On the other hand, the 
views of some psychiatrists can only accentuate animal qualities 
and thereby create more tension. 

The mind has a tendency to repress anything that is painful, 
disagreeable, or unpleasant. The repressed tendencies do not 
leave the mind; according to Freudians they remain in the depth 
of the unconscious to create further conflicts and tension. These 
repressed tendencies, whether they are the sex complex of Freud 
or other primitive urges, remain sufficiently powerful to disturb 
the balance of the mind, robbing man of his equanimity and 
peace. The repressed tendencies come to the surface of the mind 
at times and make themselves known. They sometimes remain 
in the depths of the unconscious to create mental disturbances 
and functional troubles in the form of stomach ulcers, palpita- 
tion of the heart, or circulatory and glandular diseases. 

Neurotic conditions are often created by these repressed con- 
flicts, which cause mental tension. Neurotic behavior of various 
types can be traced to the repressed urges in the id, the depth of 
the unconscious. Hindu psychologists, such as Patanjali and 
Swami Vivekananda, say that samskaras (unconscious impres- 
sions), gathered in previous experiences and absorbed through 
the influence of others, are also determining factors of human 

6 Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, chap. X, "The Spiritual Problem 
of Modern Man." 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 85 

behavior patterns. The unconscious tendencies are not, however, 
necessarily the dark chambers of the human mind. They need not 
necessarily be the repressed conditions of the pleasure principle 
or sex, or the conflict between the life and death wishes. As 
Patanjali explains them: "The root being there, the fruition 
comes (in the form of) species, life, and experience of pleasure 
and pain." 7 Swami Vivekananda says in his commentary on this 

The roots, the causes, the Samskaras being there, they manifest and 
form the effects. The cause dying down becomes the effect; the effect 
getting subtler becomes the cause of the next effect. A tree bears a seed, 
which becomes the cause of another tree, and so on. All our works now 
are the effects of past Samskaras; again, these works becoming Samskaras 
will be the causes of future actions, and thus we go on. 8 

Hindu psychologists recognize that, although the present condi- 
tion of mind is created by past thoughts and actions, the present 
changed mode of living and thinking effectively transforms the 
mind. Therefore, Hindu psychologists are by no means fatalistic 
or deterministic. They are dynamic, progressive, and self-defr- 

Mental tension is difficult to overcome, even from the Freudian 
point of view, unless there is a solution for the conflict between 
the unconscious urge for pleasure and the imposition of re- 
straint by the superego, or the religious and ethical ideals of 
society, although there is also conceived to be an ego which in- 
tegrates and directs the drives in constructive and cooperative 
ways. In recent years, Freud and his followers have discovered 
that even if all impositions of censorship or the superego are re- 
moved mental tension still remains. They have concluded that 
this is due to the conflict between the pleasure principle and the 
death instinct. Man wants the greatest amount of pleasure in 
life and simultaneously in a mysterious way he wants to commit 
suicide. According to Freud: 

. . . They [the sexual instincts] are the actual life-instincts; the fact 
that they run counter to the trend of the other instincts which lead 
towards death indicates a contradiction between them and the rest, one 
which the theory of neuroses has recognized as full of significance. 9 

7 Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali ch. II: 13. 

"Raja Yoga," Works, I, *45- 

Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle f p. 50. 

86 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

He further says: 

. . . Our speculation then supposes that this Eros is at work from the 
beginnings of life, manifesting itself as the "life-instinct" in contradis- 
tinction to the "death-instinct" which developed through the animation 
of the inorganic. It endeavours to solve the riddle of life by the hypoth- 
esis of these two instincts striving with each other from the beginning. 10 

We wonder how many persons there are in the world who are 
anxious to destroy themselves, unless they are pathological. There 
may be occasions when a person has a destructive attitude be- 
cause of the pressure of misfortune, unhappiness, or frustration. 
He may want to get out of this existence, but the moment he 
regains his mental balance, that very moment he feels ashamed 
of himself. He realizes that the idea of suicide or destruction is 
beneath his dignity or agaiflst the very principle of life. The 
post-mortem reports of many suicide cases indicate that after 
these people attempt to destroy themselves they often struggle 
to preserve their lives. This fact suggests that the will to suicide 
cannot be regarded as a powerful inherent biological urge. There 
aTfe, no doubt, individuals, who sometimes experience conflict 
between the pleasure urge and the death wish, but it is the 
height of folly to say that this is a natural conflict in every man 
or being. Even a child is frightened the moment his security or 
safety is threatened, and he runs to the mother for protection. 
This in itself shows that the child does not want to commit sui- 
cide. In the animal kingdom we find that animals are extremely 
anxious to preserve themselves. Plants break open the ground to 
raise themselves and to exist. As we study plant life, animal life, 
and human life we are compelled to accept the fact that the 
suicide or death urge is not a normal constituent of life. 

The Adlerian theory of conflict and tension is expressed in the 
following passage: 

I shall consequently speak of a general goal of man. A thorough- 
going study has taught us that we can best understand the manifold and 
diverse movements of the psyche as soon as our most general pre- 
supposition, that the psyche has as its objective the goal of superiority, 
is recognized. . . . Whether a person desires to be an artist, the first in 
his profession, or a tyrant in his home, to hold converse with God or 
humiliate other people; ... at every part of his way he is guided and 

p. 79. 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 87 

spurred on by his longing for superiority, the thought of his godlike- 
ness, the belief in his special magical power. 11 

Again he says: ". . . every bodily or mental attitude indicates 
clearly its origin in a striving for power and carries within itself 
the ideal of a kind of perfection and infallibility." 12 Then he 
adds: "Every neurosis can be understood as an attempt to free 
oneself from a feeling of inferiority in order to gain a feeling of 
superiority." 13 

McDougall and a few others in the Western world have recog- 
nized the relative importance of the various urges. To quote 

. . . But this opposition of primary biological functions is not the 
only source of conflict in the individual, as the Freudian psychology 
would have us believe. Each of the insthictive tendencies of human na- 
ture seems to struggle for its own maximal development, and to be 
capable, under favouring circumstances, of becoming hypertrophied 
until it dominates the whole organism, becoming the main channel for 
all its vital energy. And it is only by perpetual rivalry and reciprocal 
checking that obtains between the several tendencies that each is kept 
in due subordination to the whole system. When any one tendency, 
whether because it is natively of too great strength or because it is too 
much stimulated and favoured by the circumstances of the individual, 
becomes so strong that it is not easily kept within due bounds, the 
process of reciprocal checking is exaggerated in intensity and becomes 
what we call inner conflict. 14 

Professor William Brown also takes a broad viewpoint of mental 

From moment to moment the mind is active and you can classify the 
activities under the headings of self-assertion, self-preservation, sex, 
curiosity, gregariousness, acquisitiveness, etc. Then you may ask: "How 
through reaction with an environment, do these various tendencies to 
activity fall into a system?" The individual in order to survive must 
react systematically to the changes of his external environment, and so 
there are different systems of tendencies that spring up. These are what 
we call the instincts, and although we must admit that the doctrine of 
the instincts is a form of faculty psychology, such criticism is not a 
destructive criticism. The doctrine is a part of our general system of 

11 Alfred Adler, The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology, trans. 
P. Radin, PhD. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1932), p. 7. 
Ibid., p. 8. 
*lbid., p. 23. 
14 McDougall, Outline of Abnormal Psychology, p. 50. 

88 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

knowledge, as an hypothesis indispensable at the moment, like the 
physical hypotheses of the atom and its subsidiary parts, the electrons 
and protons, which we infer although we do not directly observe them. 15 

These authorities and some of their contemporaries do not give 
first place either to sex or to self-expression. There are other 
equally important urges, such as self-preservation, the urge for 
knowledge, and the urge for companionship. Man wants com- 
pany; he seeks love and expresses love; he is hungry for love. 
We do not have to go far to find that out. If we analyze our own 
minds, we find that the majority of us feel lonely if we do not 
have companionship. In his Personality, A Psychological Inter- 
pretation, Professor Allport takes a broad point of view, as did 
McDougall, and his view of functional autonomy is a great con- 
tribution in the study of dymamics of the human mind. Professor 
Allport writes: 

To understand the dynamics of the normal mature personality a 
new and somewhat radical principle of growth must be introduced to 
supplement the more traditional genetic concepts thus far considered. 
for convenience of discussion this new principle may be christened the 
functional autonomy of motives. 1 * 

He further says: "The dynamic psychology proposed here regards 
adult motives as infinitely varied, and as self-sustaining, con- 
temporary systems, growing out of antecedent systems, but func- 
tionally independent of them/' 17 It is interesting to note that 
Dr. C. Charles Burlingame of Hartford, Connecticut, recently 
declared that psychiatrists must have a housecleaning regarding 
the idea of sex. Otherwise, they will fail to solve the problem of 
mental disturbances. He said: 

In the meantime, in psychiatry more than in any other specialty, 
.there is a demand for a housecleaning and a hardheaded differentiation 
between hypotheses and scientific facts. 

On this basis, I decry certain present-day trends, not the least of 
which is the close identification between psychiatry and sex. ... I dis- 
agree most heartily with those who would interpret sex as the whole of 
life and expand the definition accordingly. 

A part, but only a part, of man is his creative urge, and in turn, only 

"William Brown, Science and Personality, p. 69. 

* Gordon W. Allport, Personality, A Psychological Interpretation (New 
York: Henry Holt & Co., 1937), p. 191. 
p. 194. 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 89 

a part of his creative urge is his procreative urge. Expanding the defini- 
tion of sex to a meaning distinctly different from that cannot possibly 
aid the exchange of knowledge between scientific disciplines, nor can 
it contribute to patient enlightenment 

In this connection, I also take exception to any dogmatic statement 
to the effect that sex, in accordance with its conventional definition, is 
always the strongest of all human emotions. 13 

Karen Homey states her views: 

According to Freud, the basic conflict is universal and in principle 
cannot be resolved: all that can be done is to arrive at better com- 
promises or at better control. According to my view, the basic neurotic 
conflict does not necessarily have to arise in the first place and is pos- 
sible of resolution if it does arise provided the sufferer is willing to 
undergo the considerable effort and hardship involved. This difference 
is not a matter of optimism or pessimism but inevitably results from the 
difference in our premises. 19 

Again she writes: "My contention is that the conflict born of 
incompatible attitudes constitutes the core of neurosis and there- 
fore deserves to be called basic" 20 These words show that Dr. 
Horney does not agree with Freud and Adler and their followers 
that tension and conflict are created by a particular urge. We 
find that the various urges cannot be wholly separated from one 
another. The emotions and intellect often function simultane- 
ously. Dr. O. Hobart Mowrer also has something significant 
to say: 

... we are suggesting the need for a radically changed attitude, 
generally, toward social authority, and indeed toward the validity and 
vitality of the whole human enterprise. Freud often asserted that psy- 
choanalysis had nothing to do with philosophy, that it was science, pure 
and simple. It now appears that Freudian psychoanalysis not only in- 
volved philosophy but, in some respects, very bad philosophy; and it 
was the failure to recognize where his science ended and his philosophy 
really began that led Freud and his followers to some of their most 
grievous and fundamental errors. 21 

C. Charles Burlingame, "What the Physician can expect from Psychiatry." 
(Paper read at the igth Scientific Assembly of the Medical Society of the 
District of Columbia, Washington, September s8, 1948). 

19 Karen Horney, Our Inner Conflicts (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 
1945), P- 38. 

"Ibid., p. 47. 

S1 O. Hobart Mowrer, "The Problem of Anxiety Some Conceptual Diffi- 
culties." (Mimeographed.) 

90 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

It is our view that mental tension is created not merely because 
of the presence of a specific urge or of several urges or because 
of extreme desire for their satisfaction. Tension is also created 
by wrong understanding of life in general. It is true that frustra- 
tion of any urges will cause tension. We have studied a number 
of individual situations and have found persons who can be 
diagnosed by the Freudian or Adlerian methods, while others 
are found to be disturbed because of improper functioning of 
the urge for knowledge, beauty, companionship, love, or self- 
preservation. If any of these urges becomes extremely strong and 
they lose their proper balance, neurotic and psychotic conditions 
can result. 

A few years ago we knew a woman of about twenty- 
five years of age who had r. strong impulse for sex expression. 
We do not believe that her tendencies were unusual. However, 
in her earlier life certain persons had impressed upon her that her 
appearance indicated saintly qualities. She was impressed so much 
that instead of having a normal outlet for her expressions she 
indulged in hidden satisfaction. This urge gradually became 
strong and she began to imagine that every person was sexually 
interested in her. Due to some unfortunate disappointments, her 
whole energy seemed to be directed to the gratification of that 
tendency. She gradually developed physchotic tendencies and was 
hospitalized. This woman could have been helped if it were not 
for the outside influence in the early part of her life which so 
impressed her that she did not have normal expression. She 
could neither live a normal life nor could she devote herself 
to intense spiritual practices, because of the erroneous under- 
standing of her interpersonal relationships. We are sure that if 
this person could have had spiritual understanding of life early 
enough she would not have experienced this unfortunate condi- 
tion; we are convinced that she can be helped even now if 
steady spiritual training can be given to her. 

Another young man, a scholar, had a most unfortunate rela- 
tionship with his parents because of the disturbance between 
his mother and father which resulted in a divorce and the re- 
marriage of both. This young man developed an unusual desire 
for establishing himself and for being first in every effort he 
made in school, college, and the university. We observed that 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 91 

his neurotic condition was manifested because of two strong 
desires, one to become great in academic life and the other to 
become a great intellectual in competition with his colleagues 
and superiors. He may have had the desire to excel both of his 
parents. As we have been watching this individual for some time, 
we have become convinced that he is changing his outlook on 
life and realizing that an unconquerable desire for intellectual 
status in competitive society is extremely harmful to healthy 
living. He is systematically practicing different forms of spiritual 
exercise to manifest his will power, so that he can cany out 
in his regular activities and scholastic career the ideal he has now 
chosen. He has been helped immensely by higher understanding 
of life. He is becoming normal through understanding the cause 
of his neurotic behavior and he is gradually overcoming both 
neurotic tendencies and functional troubles. 

A young woman of thirty years of age had enjoyed a fairly 
happy married life until the depression of the early thirties. At 
that time her husband's financial security was threatened. Then 
her very successful father-in-law died. This woman was apprehen- 
sive lest her widowed mother-in-law should request help from the 
husband. The mother-in-law appeared in the picture which 
created serious tension in the young wife. She had a nervous 
breakdown and all the symptoms of serious mental disorder. 
She was stabilized by attaining a higher philosophy of life. She 
realized that the mother-in-law would not be a burden to her, 
even if worse came to worst. She was also convinced that the life 
of consecration can alone remove her egocentric, selfish attitude. 
It took several months for her to establish herself in this new 
way of thinking. In the meantime, she systematically went through 
spiritual exercises of concentration, meditation, and so forth, 
and gradually developed will power. 

Time and again we have seen that people who have a strong 
urge for self-expression develop peculiar behavior patterns. They 
will almost always try to show off. Many persons have observed 
that children beyond two years of age begin to show the tendency 
towards self-expression. They do not like to be limited. The 
moment a child finds that his father is opposing him, if he is 
bright he will say "Daddy, go away!" The very presence of 
"Mommy" imposes a limitation. As children become older, the 

9% Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

urge for self-expression becomes stronger. We have known many 
adolescents who rebelled against the ideas and ideals to which 
their parents gave weight. According to Professor Allport's study, 
the majority of young students either give up their church affilia- 
tion or institutional religion, or criticize it because it was given 
to them by their parents and others in authority. 22 It isn't that 
they do not like those in ecclesiastical authority but that such 
persons are symbolic of the fdeas and ideals, habits and ways, of 
their parents, against which they revolt. Amusingly enough, these 
same students often return to institutional religion when they are 
thirty or thirty-five years old, or even earlier. 23 At a certain stage 
of life, young people revolt against anything that is given to them 
by anyone. They want to have self-expression, and if they go 
back to the established institutions, it is not because the parents 
want them to do so but because they themselves so desire. They 
want to feel important; they are individuals and can do as they 

Parents should try to understand the psychological require- 
ments of their children, even though it is difficult for them to 
overcome their natural apprehension for the welfare of the chil- 
dren. If the children feel that they are always thwarted and 
frustrated by their parents' expressions of "do" and "don't," then 
they rebel against everything that the parents want them to do. 
We admit that parents are not trained psychologically, so they 
make mistakes and drive their children away from the things that 
they love or adore, because the parents are tactless and do not 
properly express their love. If they were tactful they would not 
have to go through agony of heart. The children would do what 
the parents wished, if the parents would make the children feel 
as if they chose everything for themselves. However, there is a 
strong urge for self-expression in human beings. If this urge 
does not get a certain amount of satisfaction it will create abnor- 
malities in the mind. 

Ambition has become one of the important elements of the 
human mind today. It is one of the great emotional urges which 
create tension. When a person has strong ambition for power, 

22 Young people of the free thinking groups, Jewish and Christian, are more 
likely to revolt against established religious institutions than those of the 
very orthodox groups. 

Gordon W. Allport, The Individual and His Religion. 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 98 

position, or intellectual achievement and he finds that somebody 
else is trying to occupy or already occupies a coveted position in 
his field, he becomes apprehensive. If a professor feels that he 
has to keep up his position in the university and finds that some 
other persons are competing with him, his ambition creates 
anxiety. Often young scholars become mentally sick and dis- 
turbed and develop many functional ailments, as well as neurotic 
and psychotic behavior, because of ambition. Ambition for 
scholarship and for the maintenance of intellectual position be- 
comes a disease with them. Older scholars also develop anxiety 
neuroses because they want to go farther and farther, beat their 
competitors in the university, and write more and more books 
so that they will be appreciated. In other words, Ambition for 
position, recognition, or appreciation becomes a source of tension. 

We find also that intellectualisrn can create tension in some 
instances. Suppose that I have a strong urge to be a great scholar, 
but, unfortunately, I am not adequately endowed with native 
equipment. I may be fit to become a fine mechanic but because 
I saw that my father or grandfather was a scholar, I try to imitate 
him. I feel that I can and should become a scholar. We have 
seen such cases where people developed great tension. We know 
of a scholar's son who tried to imitate his father, but he felt that 
he would never attain individual recognition because his father 
was such a great scholar. This caused the son serious anxiety; 
he even suffered physical disability because he felt he would not 
be recognized in the field of scholarship. The moment he had 
the courage to give up his intellectual pursuits, he changed com- 
pletely. He may never be an outstanding man but he will have 
a satisfactory and happy life. If he had imitated his father, his 
mind would have been haunted by the thought: "I will not have 
any recognition in this world. My father has attained far greater 
heights than I can ever reach." 

When a person is overworked, either through a sense of re- 
sponsibility, ambition, or any other motive, he shows considerable 
tension. This may be due to purely physical reasons, but even 
here psychological factors often enter in. 

The question arises: How are people to remove their tension? 
If it is not removed they cannot have a satisfactory life. Every- 
one wants satisfaction. We want to be happy, but happiness is 

94 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

not present in the mind which is not satisfied or relaxed. Psy- 
chiatrists and psychologists, particularly clinical psychologists, 
are trying to remove tension. Twenty-five per cent of the cases 
treated are cured by the methods of psychiatrists or clinical 
psychologists. Forty per cent are helped; the rest are not helped 
at all. The clinical psychologist who reported these facts to us 
told us also that the twenty-five per cent who are cured would 
perhaps have recovered anyway without psychiatric treatment. So 
from his point of view only about forty per cent of the cases are 
really helped by psychological treatment. It is an unfortunate 
situation. We are compelled to find out if there is any other solu- 
tion. Dr. Robert W. White says in this connection: 

... at least i person out of 20 may be expected to become a patient 
in a mental hospital at some time during his life. The last is indeed 
so gloomy that it should not stand without a reminder that patients 
leave mental hospitals as well as enter them. Census figures for 1938 
show that slightly more than half of the patients admitted were later 
discharged either fully recovered or at least in a considerably improved 
condition. 24 

Freudian, Adlerian, and other such psychologists can, no doubt, 
ameliorate suffering or mental tension; they can help to control 
tension; we do not deny it. According to the above report by 
the clinical psychologist, forty per cent of the people are helped. 
However, they remain greatly dependent on the analyst. Yet in 
order to have a satisfactory life and normal behavior, inde- 
pendence is necessary. Whether a person goes to a psychiatrist, 
clinical psychologist, or a religious teacher, he must be inde- 
pendent. Independence is one of the strongest urges in the human 
mind. If it is necessary to depend on psychiatrists or psychologists 
all our lives, then life is not worth living. So independence must 
be achieved. 

At a recent meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in 
New York, statistics were given which showed that fifteen per 
cent of all university students in this country are suffering from 
mental disturbances. At this meeting it was advised that all 
institutions, universities, and colleges should have trained psy- 

* White, The Abnormal Personality, p. 564. See also D. B. Klein, Mental 
Hygiene (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1944), pp. 98-99. C. Landis and J. D. 
Page, Modern Society and Mental Disease (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 
P- *4- 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 95 

chiatrists and clinical psychologists rather than untrained coun- 
selors to help the students. Dr. Dana L. Farnsworth, of the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also had something inter- 
esting to say in the report he made to the Group for the Advance- 
ment of Psychiatry regarding the use of psychiatry in higher 
educational institutions. 25 As a result of his experience with emo- 
tional disturbances among students and faculty members, he is 
of the strong opinion that a broader interpretation of modern 
psychotherapy is necessary to equip the future leaders of society 
in the universities with emotional stability and integration. 

Intellectual comprehension of tension will not remove it. Some 
of those who are going to psychiatrists are aware of their own 
mental disturbances and the causes. They are convinced that 
their trouble stems from ambition, over-emphasis on self-preser- 
vation, or the inordinate desire for the greatest amount of plea- 
sure or sex satisfaction. But can they solve the problems of their 
tension or remove it? We know of some persons who have been 
going to psychiatrists continually for twenty years without losing 
their tension and conflict. 

A good scholar was teaching in a university. During the last 
war he met a number of people in the course of his work who 
were great personalities in their own professions in different 
fields. They went to the university for special courses and attended 
his classes. He became frightened because he felt that he could 
not cope with them intellectually. That sense of inferiority 
created tension in him and he sought help in psychoanalysis. It 
was the interpretation given to him by the psychiatrists that 
ruined this man. He became frightened when he was led to think 
that he was still clinging to childhood or boyhood habits and 
ways of life. He had to give up his successful teaching. His is an 
instructive case but at the same time discouraging, in the light 
of what was done to him, for it shows how wrong theories can 
generate conflict and tension. 

His wife brought him to us when he had actually become in- 
capable of doing anything worth while. We repeatedly explained 
to him that a man is potentially divine even though he may seem 
to be weak. He was encouraged to understand that he not only 

25 Dana L. Farnsworth, "The Role of Psychiatry in Colleges and Universi- 
ties." (Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry.) [Report to be published.] 

96 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

had the capacity to teach students of college level but also that 
he could be happy in his interpersonal relationships. He was 
helped to see that he had no justification to be afraid of anyone 
as he was inseparably connected with the Divine Being. He was 
also given practices of concentration and meditation to suit his 
intellectual requirements, and he was loyal in carrying them out. 
Fortunately, he used to visit with us at least twice a week and 
discuss his problems freely. He was free in relating his past emo- 
tional life and experiences, however disagreeable they might 
have appeared. In the course of two to three months he showed 
definite signs of improvement. With proper understanding of 
the ideal of life and certain mental training for the development 
of will power, he gradually re-integrated his personality and 
resumed his teaching work. 2 ? 

The psychotherapist who is trying to help these people must, 
like the Indian guru, be a person of integration. If he himself 
is not emotionally integrated, he may not be fully capable of 
helping anyone who is suffering with tension. Even though he 
may know the technique, this in itself does not alone enable 
him to know the true source of tension and conflict. He may 
understand that a person has tension without knowing the cause. 
If someone goes to a Freudian or Adlerian or Jungian psycho- 
therapist, all his difficulties will be interpreted by the Freudian, 
Adlerian, or Jungian theory. In his Outline of Abnormal Psy- 
chology, McDougall gives clear insight into the various interpre- 
tations of the same dream given by men like Freud, Jung, and 
others. It is indeed difficult for anyone to understand the inner 
motives of a person and the cause of dreams by interpretive 
methods unless he has insight into the nature of the mind. This 
cannot take place unless a therapist is an integrated person free 
from all prejudices and preconceived notions. 27 A person may 
be lonely and seeking companionship or he may be ambitious 
for power or position, but his tension will be attributed to the 
frustration of the urge for pleasure or self-expression if the psy- 
chotherapist views him through a narrow theory of conflict and 

Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology. See chap. V, "Will and Per- 
sonality/' for details on mental training. 
"McDougall, Outline of Abnormal Psychology, chaps. VII-IX. 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 97 

As previously mentioned, some of the psychotherapists consider 
religion as the cause of tension. Our answer to them is that when 
religion is properly understood it cannot create tension. On the 
contrary, it dissolves and removes all tension from the mind. It is 
declared by mysHcs and demonstrated by them that religion 
strikes at the root of all tension when it is systematically prac- 
ticed in everyday life. Proper emphasis is given to the objectives 
of life, and relative values are subordinated to the supreme ob- 
jective the manifestation of divinity already in man, as Swami 
Vivekananda has said. Other religious leaders speak of the same 
thing in different terminology such as love of God, experience 
of God, union with God, or understanding the inner light 
and with different ideological backgrounds. Religion teaches man 
that the pursuit of pleasure sense plane is of secondary 
value. The moment pleasure is made the primary objective of 
life, tension is created. The mind is stimulated by desire for 
more and more; and the spirit of competition, selfishness, ego- 
centricity, and consequent disturbing mental and physical activi- 
ties become evident. 

There aje some unwise religious teachers who erroneously 
emphasize the sense of sin and guilt and they are likely to create 
mental disturbances in some people. Dr. Fritz Kunkel makes an 
appropriate comment: 

Why has nobody thus far provided a real and practical system of 
Christian psychology? Probably the deepest reason for this is to be 
found in a general mistake on the part of Christendom itself: Namely, 
in its approach to the problem of sin. Vices, character difficulties, and 
nervous symptoms are said to be related to sin, and sin is only to be 
shunned, never to be discussed or investigated. Sin is bad, and the good 
man turns away in horror. This emotional attitude is one of the gross 
fallacies of theology, whether it takes itself out in indignation or pity. 
We psychologists know that this attitude betrays the deficiencies of the 
Christian workers themselves. The individual worker has not yet solved 
his own problems; therefore he cannot solve the problems of his 
clients. 28 

On the other hand, some of the writers on the psychology of 
religion, such as Edwin Diller Starbuck and William James, go 
so far as to conclude that the sense of guilt is a necessary quali- 
fication for religious conversion. 

28 Kunkel, In Search of Maturity, pp. 34-35. 

98 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Great founders of religion do not always emphasize the need 
for a sense of guilt and sin for religious development. They show 
us the positive side of religion. As Jesus tells His disciples: "Abide 
in me, and I in you. ... I am the vine, ye are the branches." 2 * 
It is true that Jesus mentions sin for the benefit of the common 
people; but at the same time He shows how the sinful state 
of mind can be overcome by repentance and redemption, through 
spiritual living, as described in the Sermon on the Mount. St. 
Paul expressed this idea when he said: "Be not overcome of evil, 
but overcome evil by good." 80 Again, Sri Ramakrishna said to 
Vijoy, one of His followers: 

Will you tell me one thing? Why do you harp so much on sin? By 
repeating a hundred times, "I am a sinner," one verily becomes a sin- 
ner. One should have such faith as to be able to say, "What? I have 
taken the name of God; how can I be a sinner?" 81 

Swami Vivekananda also said: 

Do not talk of the wickedness of the world and all its sins. . . . The 
world is made weaker and weaker every day by such teachings. Men are 
taught from childhood that they are weak and sinners. Teach them that 
they are all glorious children of immortality, even those who are the 
weakest in manifestations. Let positive, strong, helpful thoughts enter 
into their brains from very childhood. Lay yourselves open to these 
thoughts, and not to weakening and paralysing ones. 82 

The words of St. Paul convey the same meaning: 

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are 
honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, what- 
soever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there 
be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 88 

The highest religion neither creates tension nor does it em- 
phasize sinfulness. No doubt it gives a sense of inadequacy at 
times but it also gives in great measure inspiration, hope, and 
encouragement for the attainment of a harmonious life accord- 
ing to the supreme goal of life. The primary emphasis is not on 
sin, but on love of God. 

John 15: 4-5. 
30 Rom. 12: 21. 

81 The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, trans. Swami Nikhilananda (New York: 
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942), p. 159. 
2 Works, II, 87. 
Phil. 4: 8. 

How to Overcome Conflict and Tension 99 

Now let us consider how tension and conflict can be removed. 
Freudian psychoanalysis, as we mentioned in the previous chap- 
ter, is advocated by the vast majority of the psychotherapists in 
the West. Some of them accept the Adlerian method and the 
Jungian training process. Jung's influence is felt, in one way or 
another, by many of the American psychologists who believe that 
religion is not the cause of conflict and tension. Jung under- 
stands that tension is created by the double nature of man 
masculine and feminine, extrovert and introvert but he feels 
that harmonization and training of neurotic persons is essential 
for the removal of tension. Karen Homey seems to go still fur- 
ther in th$, right direction, from our point of view, when she 
emphasizes and gives encouragement that man is not in a hope- 
less position with his tension and conflict. Rogers' nondirective 
counseling and consequent insight also seem to be helpful. Some 
of the American psychiatrists follow Jung's and Horney's meth- 
ods, while most of the religious counselors and social workers 
follow Rogers' method. 84 

All of these methods are helpful but we have to go even deeper 
in order to remove tension and conflict. Mere knowledge at- 
tended by any of these methods heterognosis or autognosis 
does not seem to solve the problem. We must have a sound 
philosophy of life. Unless we know what is our primary objective 
in life, we cannot remove tension. The true primary objective, 
as we constantly emphasize, is religious culture the knowledge 
of God, the manifestation of the divinity that is implicit in man. 
We must shift our emphasis from achievement on this sense 
plane of existence to the realization of our true nature, Self or 
God. This life, this finite existence, cannot satisfy the infinite 
nature of man. Basically the infinite is within us. "Lo, I am with 
you always." 35 Consequently, there will be dissatisfaction with 
anything short of that divine presence. The wealthiest man is 
dissatisfied with his wealth. We have seen time and again that 
people of wealth, power, and position are disturbed because 
their inner nature is not satisfied. This will always be the case 

"Alexander, Fundamentals of Psychoanalysis. See also Gregory Zilboorg, 
A History of Medical Psychology (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1941), 
chap. 1 1 . lung, Psychology and Religion, and Modern Man in Search of a Soul. 
Horney, Our Inner Conflicts. 

"Matt. 28: ao. 

100 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

until and unless they experience something of the Reality or 

This brings us to the question: Are religious people satisfied? 
We suggest that they are satisfied if they are really religious. 
When they have a little taste of that inner life, when they have 
a little glimpse of that Reality behind this phenomenal world, 
they become satisfied. They shift their emphasis from the search 
for sense gratification to higher spiritual achievement. It is inter- 
esting to note that even if a person does not have that glimpse 
of the supersensuous he can still attain a considerable degree of 
satisfaction by going through certain spiritual practices and dis- 
ciplinary processes. Swami Brahmananda used to tell his disciples 
again and again that next to the realization of God is the joy of 
spiritual practices. 

... If you can continue this struggle for two or three years, you will 
find in you a joy unspeakable; your mind will be calm and docile. In 
the beginning meditation proves very difficult and dry. But if you 'per* 
sist, as in the taking of a medicine, you will find in it a perennial source 
of joy, pure and unalloyed. 86 

Pursue the religious ideal for some time intensely and you will 
find that there is satisfaction in your mind. Restlessness and 
tension will vanish gradually. Intensify your spiritual practices, 
dosing your eyes to success or failure. You will find, as the great 
Swami tells us, that in two or three years your mind will become 
peaceful. With spiritual experiences there will be unlimited, 
unalloyed, and pure satisfaction and joy. Such spiritual joy does 
not depend on sense objects; it does not rely upon any individ- 
ual; it is not conditioned by the possession of money, power, or 
position. These experiences change the mind and it becomes 
illumined. The conflicting urges become balanced and tension 
is automatically dissolved. Inordinate desires for any expression 
on the biological plane will gradually be harmonized with 
human tendencies. There will be a perfect balance in the mind. 

36 Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda (smd ed.; Mylapore, 
Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1933), p. 100. 


Social Adjustment 

MAN is a social being. His social relations are essential to his 
existence. Some of the biologists think that the "social instinct" 
is cultivated in man because of his inability to cope with nature 
single-handed; therefore, the biological instinct of self-preserva- 
tion is the basis of his social instinct. We cannot help but dis- 
agree with the biologists in our study of the psychological aspects 
of human effort and activity. We do not deny that part of the 
social urge is connected with self-preservation, yet it is incorrect 
to say that this is entirely so. The urge to love is present in man. 
This urge, apart from its sexual implications, seeks an outlet in 
his various thought patterns and activities. Man does not seem 
to be happy until or unless he can express love and have it from 
others. He cannot satisfy the urge of love without being socially 

Even animals give evidence of having social instincts beyond 
the point of self-preservation. When a dog is in danger, other 
dogs begin to bark and show considerable feeling toward him. 
Through observation and experiment it has been found that 
this is true of birds. Observers of ants and bees tell us that these 
insects show considerable cooperation and coordination beyond 
the point of individual security. 

There are psychological reasons for the social tendencies in 
man. He wants to express his emotions of love and sympathy 
and he wishes the same from others. Men and women are miser- 
able if they do not have the love and sympathy of others. They 
can bear all sorts of struggles, pain, and agony if they are assured 
of sympathetic consideration and a little expression of love from 


10% Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

those around them. The mental life of an individual does not 
develop and does not have satisfaction without the opportunity 
for the expression of love and sympathy. 

During the Victorian age in England and then in America, it 
was not considered proper for a lady to express her emotions. 
It was even considered wrong to cry when there was a death in 
the family. This kind of restraint is disastrous. Psychologists 
have traced certain conditions in modern society to the lack of 
emotional outlet. When people do not have any outlet for their 
emotions their lives become empty, even though they may be 
busy with duties and responsibilities. The moment they have 
certain emotional outlets, they feel a sense of satisfaction; life 
seems to them worth living. In cases of extreme emotional dis- 
satisfaction, people have committed suicide. A medical man 
reported an amazing situation to us. A wealthy man in one of 
the eastern cities was devoted to his mother, even though he was 
married and had his own friends. When his mother died, he felt 
so lonesome that he attempted to commit suicide. When this 
was discovered, his wife called in the doctor along with some 
prominent psychiatrists. They stayed with him the whole night, 
talking with him and trying to dissuade him from killing him- 
self. They succeeded in quieting the man. However, he later 
made another attempt, and again they talked with him and 
seemed to succeed in their persuasion. The third time he com- 
pleted the job. It may seem strange that a married man with 
friends would want to commit suicide; but the emotional attach- 
ment to his mother was so strong that her disappearance made 
his life empty. When the object of love is withdrawn, a person 
feels lost. 

Such things are done by people because of their lack of ad- 
justment due to the abnormal concentration of love on one 
human being. Human beings are thrown together and have to 
learn how to adjust themselves under changing conditions. Those 
who cannot do this are miserable. Adjustment in social life is 
important for a person's well being and satisfaction in life. 
Without it, success is impossible. A baby has to begin immedi- 
ately to adapt himself to the new conditions of life. When he 
becomes aware of the existence of others, he begins to notice 
whether or not they are sympathetic. Babies and small children 

Social Adjustment 10S 

are ijgtuitiye in knowing the mental conditions even of strangers. 
The child that cannot adjust himself to changing conditions 
becomes maladjusted and develops neurotic symptoms. Child 
psychologists tell us that symptoms of neurosis are sometimes 
observed at the age of five or six and sometimes earlier. Then at 
the age of maturity a child must go through a period of adjust- 
ment. He goes out to the school, the playground, and meets new 
people in different surroundings, people who have tendencies 
opposed to his own, many of whom are selfish. Again when he 
goes from school and college into the greater sphere of life, he 
has to adjust to a wider world. At this time in life there is a 
great deal of difficulty for those who were maladjusted during 
their childhood or adolescence. 

A few years ago, a young lady came to see us, introduced by 
one of our students. She said that her husband was jealous by 
nature, so much so that he was not willing for her to have any 
children lest he be deprived of her love. The young woman was 
craving a child. This created a pathetic conflict between them 
which was unbearable for the woman. She was a nervous wreck. 
Although the husband was a successful business man and earned 
plenty of money, he had hypertension (high blood pressure). His 
heart was becoming affected. Medical and psychiatric authorities 
agreed that the only thing they could suggest to save his life was 
for him to undergo neuro-surgery by means of a spinal operation. 
If he had learned to adjust himself emotionally to married life, 
his life could have been readily saved with no operation and he 
would not have had such serious physical ailments. This is not 
a rare instance. 

Many people are maladjusted when they reach middle age. 
They do not want to accept the change of life and they seem to 
think that they can have a good time without stopping. By 
"good time" is meant parties until two or three o'clock in the 
morning and other activities of young people. This pursuit of 
pleasure has been the objective of their lives and they do not 
want to give it up when they are older. They try to keep up the 
pace but the body and nerves will not permit it with the result 
that they are miserable and wreck themselves worrying over their 
lost youth. 

People who do not know how to live happily in their maturity 

104 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

and old age and accept the conditions of declining years are 
miserable. Many of them want to imitate the younger people, 
as Professor Carl Jung says: 

For the most part our old people try to compete with the young. In 
the United States it is almost an ideal for the father to be the brother 
of his sons, and for the mother if possible to be the younger sister of 
her daughter. 1 

We have deep sympathy for such persons. When they think that 
physical vigor is the supreme objective of life, we understand 
why they want to cling to youth. However, this desire brings 
with it maladjustment and abnormal behavior, not to speak of 
unhappiness and dissatisfaction. We have seen elderly and gra- 
cious people who were actually radiant at that time of life because 
they were well adjusted. WL had a friend eighty-two years of age 
who was a business man. Often we would go to see him just to 
talk. He was friendly and would treat us like his own son. He 
lived a quiet life, and his face reflected his serene mental condi- 
tion and satisfaction. On the other hand, his wife was far from 
peace. She wanted to go on and on with her activities. She was 
restless, unhappy, and disturbed, in spite of her economic se- 
curity and family, including her grandchildren. 

Many persons are intellectually maladjusted. They may be 
temperamentally of one type but they admire temperaments of 
another type and try to imitate them. The desire to become like 
another person is abnormal and creates dissatisfaction and frus- 
tration. We know of a person who is intellectually and emotion- 
ally maladjusted because he wants to be admired all the time. 
He wants to be praised as the only man of his group who accom- 
plishes anything. This desire for praise and admiration is so 
abnormal that his social relationships are disagreeable. There is 
no possibility of his having any satisfactory social life unless he 
is assured of getting ahead of others in some way. 

Today we face the problem of modern industrializa- 
tion. We used to think that the Oriental countries were free 
from these problems. But now China and India are industrializ- 
ing. If they are not careful, they will face the same situation as 
that of Europe and America. As industry expands, men and 
women are taken from their old ways of life and they find them- 

ijung, Modern Man in Search of a Sou/, p. 126. 

Social Adjustment *105 

selves in a new environment. They break away from the old 
moorings and familiar conditions. The new conditions create 
social and individual problems. Many modern sociologists and 
other social scientists have been studying this problem seriously 
in Europe and America. 

Some advanced French thinkers studied the industrial situation 
toward the end of the last century. They said that the industrial 
civilization at that time was creating an "anemic" condition in 
society. In the human body anemia is serious, whether it is perni- 
cious or secondary. The first is fatal and the second is weakening. 
There is no energy, strength, or vitality. The same thing is true 
in society. Social scientists in Harvard University and the Uni- 
versity of Chicago have been studying this problem for the last 
twenty-five years. Elton Mayo's study and research in industrial 
problems have uncovered some amazing facts concerning the 
prevalence of suicide and juvenile delinquency in industrialized 
areas. No doubt, the last war has a bearing on these problems, 
but even so an appalling number of cases were known to exist 
prior to the war. The period which preceded the war can be 
considered as the "anemic" period. At that time the people 
lacked vitality and the power of adjustment, nor did they care 
to adjust. The inclination of families to move here and there 
is regarded by social scientists as dangerous. The family has no 
roots anywhere. There is no psychological stamina in the chil- 
dren. They do not have the capacity to adjust to changing con- 

Life in the same community creates a sense of social conscious 
ness of other members of the neighborhood and a feeling o! 
responsibility for them at times of hardship and misfortune. The 
different families in a given area learn how to serve and helf 
each other. They expand with loving thought and considera 
tion for their neighbors and they have satisfaction in their socia 
relationships and behavior. When they do not have such oppor- 
tunities by being a part of community life, they cannot stand 
the difficulties of life. When families frequently move about, 
the children lose the stabilizing influence of social contacts and 
gradually become self-centered and selfish. They do not learn 
to adjust themselves in new areas of existence. In turn, their 

106 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

behavior becomes neurotic and shows the social evils that are 
observed by the Harvard and Chicago social scientists. 

A professor of the psychology of education at Harvard has 
been studying the Indian social system with reference to the 
social conditions in America. In India (as in China), we have 
what is called a joint family system. The sons take their wives 
into the home to live with the parents, so that parents, children, 
and children's children all live together. Unfortunately, in recent 
years the system has radically changed because of the struggle 
for existence under adverse economic conditions. Families have 
had to split up when some of the members went away to try 
and get a living elsewhere. However, they still cling to the old 
system to the extent of getting together at least for a month 
every year during the vacation time. The joint family has a tre- 
mendous influence. An individual has to adjust himself to his 
brothers, sisters, sisters-inJaw, their children, and the other family 
members. He also learns to love and serve them and he receives 
love and service in return. In families we knew, where the father 
earned more than any of the other working members, he never 
gave his wife or children more than what the other working men 
of the household could give to his sisters-in-law and their chil- 
dren. Everyone received equally their ordinary living, clothes, 
ornaments, educational opportunities, and so on. When we have 
described the joint family system to some of the progressive 
social scientists in this country, they have all admired it but 
have said that it would not be workable in this competitive 
society of the West. 

There are two sides of this system to consider. We do not say 
that it is all good. There is a danger of too much dependence on 
the members of the family who earn the most money, which can 
lead to loss of initiative. On the other hand, there is a great 
contribution made by joint family life; it enables the members 
to become adjusted personalities and to be less selfish and ego- 
centric. Those who are maladjusted are not appreciated in 
society. The members of the family learn self-sacrifice, which is 
a blessing to themselves and others. 

Modern society, industrial society, generally does not consider 
self-restraint. Although we admire the attempts being made by 
the groups at Harvard and Chicago, they have not touched the 

Social Adjustment 107 

root of industrial problems nor have they found the solution. 
For some reason or other they think and they say that Christian- 
ity has failed, and that we have to find some other ways of social 
adjustment. We agree with these groups about the social prob- 
lems that exist but we differ widely in the means for their solu- 
tion. The teachings of Christ have not failed; but men do not 
want to apply them in their everyday life. It is not the fault of 
Christianity. The sense of security in society cannot be intro- 
duced or established by mere social security measures of insur- 
ance, assistance, and other such benefits. Real security comes 
from the sense of adjustment based on higher spiritual values. 

There will be changed conditions in both Eastern and Western 
society. The East will be thoroughly changed when industry is 
introduced as vigorously as it was introduced in Europe and 
America. Industrial centers will attract people from the villages. 
Then the people of the East will have to know how to adjust 
themselves. It would be a mistake to say that the industries 
should be decentralized and the people sent back home to the 
villages. It cannot be done either in the East or West. Swami 
Vivekananda foresaw what was coming. He said that this de- 
velopment would be seen in India, China, and all of the Eastern 
countries. He said it would be difficult to change the economic 
or mechanical trend; the people would not want it changed. 
His constructive idea was that the people must try to apply what 
he called "Practical Vedanta" in the economic as well as other 
departments of life. The great Swami meant that everyone must 
try to see the divinity in men and work for the good and happi- 
ness of all because of the common basis of existence. 

We do not admit that religion has failed. What has failed is 
the proper understanding of religion. People have forgotten the 
religious values of life; so they blame everything on religion. 
Religion has not been applied to everyday life; it has been 
forced back from life; it has been kept in the churches, temples, 
and synagogues. Religion is not mere observance of ceremonies 
and rituals. It is a way of life, both inner and outer, both indi- 
vidual and social. If it does not change our outlook on life, then 
it is no religion. So we propose that in social adjustment the 
spiritual values of life must be introduced. Again, we say that 
by spiritual values we mean the understanding and realization 

108 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

of God, the understanding of our soul, or, as Swami Vivekananda 
says, the manifestation of the divinity that is already in man, 
rather than sense pleasure or enjoyment or the accumulation of 
power. We are not bundles of material forces or mechanical 
machines, as modern naturalists or the old materialists tell us. 
We are basically spiritual beings. People need to be inspired 
with the idea that everyone is fundamentally spiritual whether 
Hindu, Christian, Jew, or Mohammedan. When people remem- 
ber this and try to regulate their lives accordingly, then alone do 
they have a solution to social problems. 

People have their intellectual ideas, but if the emotions are 
not satisfied then the intellectual ideas are thrown aside. That 
is the case when the professors say that Christianity has failed. 
Religion has been divorced from life; the higher values have 
been separated from transitory or relative values. However, the 
relative values cannot be stabilizing elements. Children enjoy 
toys and dolls but mature people cannot do so. They have to 
change and move on to higher values. As individuals develop, 
they realize that the values they once used were all relative and 
temporary. The more they fortify themselves with the highest 
values of life the understanding and knowledge of God and 
the application of this knowledge in life the more they place 
relative values where they belong. The secret of adjustment lies 
in relegating relative values to their proper place and keeping 
the attention fixed on the supreme value of life. This requires 
self-restraint. The basis of social adjustment is self-restraint, not 
self-expression in the erroneous sense. Many people think that 
unrestrained self-expression is desirable. Some of our young 
friends take offense when we talk of self-restraint saying that it 
has a baneful effect, as some of the psychiatrists and psychologists 
think. Religious leaders all over the world will tell us that it is 
self-restraint that makes one happy and makes adjustment pos- 
sible. Uncontrolled steam will never run a locomotive. 


Escape Through Alcoholism 

MANY persons in modern society are disturbed about the extent 
of alcoholism. As a result of excessive and compulsive drinking, 
individuals are disorganized, families are disrupted, broader in- 
terpersonal relationships are upset. Medical men, clinical psy- 
chologists, psychiatrists, religious leaders, social workers, and 
other interested people are perplexed by this problem, as it affects 
the whole of society in various ways. It is encouraging that seri- 
ous thinkers are trying to find the cause of and remedy for alco- 
holism and, thereby, to discover a solution for personal problems 
and interpersonal relationships, with a restoration of life's highest 

According to certain statistical reports, the total number of 
occasional, social, and heavy drinkers is calculated to be 64,000,- 
ooo in the United States. Of these, about 9,000,000 are alcoholics. 
However, Marty Mann estimates the number of alcoholics as 
4,000,000, according to the statistics of the Section on Alcohol 
Studies, Laboratory of Applied Physiology, Yale University. 1 
H. W. Haggard and E. M. Jellinek have revealed the magnitude 
of the problem by their various statistics in Alcohol Explored? 
Along with social scientists, psychotherapists, and many religious 
leaders, we are deeply concerned about this problem in its human 
aspects. The situation is indeed frightening. 

The very word alcoholism creates mixed feelings in different 

1 Marty Mann, Primer on Alcoholism (New York: Rinehart & Co., Inc., 

*95) P- vii - 

*H. W. Haggard & E. M. Jellinek, Alcohol Explored (New York: Double- 
day Doran & Co., Inc., 1942) . 


110 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

persons. Many religious leaders condemn it as a sinful act. In 
orthodox religious groups many laymen and clergymen create 
serious antipathy toward alcoholic addicts by their condemna- 
tion, in spite of the admonition of Jesus that sinners are to be 
loved and forgiven. Excessive drinking has indeed been the cause 
of destructive and painful experiences in modern society. But 
the condemnation of it has not solved the problem. On the con- 
trary, unsympathetic handling of the situation by relatives, 
friends, religious leaders, social workers, and others has com- 
monly driven the drinkers to further drinking. The old idea of 
sinfulness in the mind of an alcoholic or other disorganized per- 
son will never help in the solution of this problem, though moral 
responsibility is indicated. Many alcoholics are excluded from 
religious organizations becaure of this lack of understanding on 
the part of the leaders; with the unfortunate result that the 
alcoholic sufferers will develop hostility toward the religion 
itself. But if religion is worth anything it ought to be able to 
solve the problem, integrate the individuals, and stabilize their 
lives, by cultivating moral values and responsibility and develop- 
ing will power provided however, the person is willing to be 
helped or can be made willing by sympathetic understanding 
and handling by relatives, religious leaders, therapists, and social 
workers. Those who condemn drinking and adopt the attitude 
that it is sinful can hardly find the cause of "must" drinking or 
alcoholism, as they cannot approach the problem scientifically 
or rationally. 

Why does a man become alcoholic? Is the cause psychogenic 
or physiogenic? There have been different answers to these ques- 
tions. Dr. Thomas Trotter, in 1788, was perhaps the first man to 
declare that alcoholism is a disease. His paper, "Essay, Medical, 
Philosophical, and Chemical, on Drunkenness," created a stir 
in those days among medical practitioners in Great Britain. There 
are evidences that in the Roman period thinkers like Seneca had 
come to a similar conclusion. Of course, deliberate and systematic 
studies on the cause of alcoholism and remedy for it have been 
made for the last fifty years. But the most effective efforts have 
been made during the last quarter century. 

Some are of the opinion that alcoholism is created by physio- 
logical defects. Dr. James J. Smith, who is of this school, says: 

Escape Through Alcoholism 111 

"Our laboratory and clinical studies of alcoholism during the 
past several years have convinced us that alcoholism is a meta- 
bolic disease. . . ." 8 Some medical authorities feel that physiologi- 
cal changes in the endocrine glands create the craving for alcohol. 
According to them, certain deficiencies in the chemicals of the 
body create the appetite. 

Others are of the opinion that alcoholism is psychological or 
psychogenic. Dr. James H. Wall writes that "compulsive drinking 
is a symptom and a result of personality disorder." 4 Others again 
think that the conditions of life family situations and environ- 
mental factors-^-create the desire for alcohol, although the meta- 
bolic condition brings about a predisposition for the addiction. 
Some conclude that heredity is the cause. 

All these factors are contributing causes in this unfortunate 
disease, although we feel that the psychological element is the 
most important, both as cause and as cure. However, physical 
and environmental conditions must be taken fully into account 
in handling individuals suffering from chronic alcoholism. 

Not all those who drink alcoholic beverages are habitual 
drinkers. They may be classified in different groups such as social 
drinkers, occasional drinkers, heavy drinkers, and chronic alco- 
holics. It is known, however, that many of the social drinkers 
can become alcoholics, even though they start with the idea of 
enjoying fun, entertainment, and sociability. Many young people 
begin drinking in order to avoid being called sissies. We have 
seen and known many persons who have become real alcoholics 
though they started in fun. 

The individual suffers physically after he or she becomes a 
confirmed alcoholic. The nervous system is seriously damaged, 
producing all sorts of functional ailments or nerve diseases. Many 
of the deficiency diseases are created by heavy drinking. Cirrhosis 
of the liver is one of the characteristic diseases. Some are of the 
opinion that cancer may be caused by irritation from alcohol; 5 

8 James J. Smith, "A Medical Approach to Problem Drinking. Preliminary 
Report," Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol (September, 1949). Dr. 
Smith is Director of Research on Alcoholism in New York University, Belle- 
vue Hospital Medical Center. 

4 James H. Wall, "Psychotherapy of Alcohol Addiction in a Private Mental 
Hospital/' Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol (March, 1945). 

5 Haggard & Jellinek, Alcohol Explored, p. 193. 

US Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

although this has not been sufficiently supported by scientific 
investigation. All authorities agree, however, that heavy drinking 
has a serious effect on the physical system. 

Our own study of this disease is based on observation of psy- 
chological and religious causation and remedies. In spite of the 
physical elements that are involved, mere physical treatment in 
the form of medication and creation of repulsion, and building 
up of nerve and other deficiencies, does not stabilize an alcoholic 
and thereby stop his heavy and "must" drinking. So we offer 
suggestions for both therapists and patients. 

We observed in Chapters I and III that there are persons who 
take to drinking as a result of mental disturbances. The con- 
sciousness of guilt with the abnormal thought of sinfulness may 
cause an individual to drinL in order to forget or "escape" his 
sense of guilt and sin. Some drinkers develop the habit because 
of inadequacy in life, frustration and tension created by conflict- 
ing emotions. Dissatisfaction with the environment, the family 
situation, or occupation can also create a mental state which 
stimulates the desire for alcohol and narcotics as a release from 
tension and frustration. Sometimes, disturbances between hus- 
band and wife create tension which in turn becomes a cause of 
alcoholism. Many persons take to drinking in order to punish 
themselves or the other person concerned. We know a couple who 
have marital conflict because of differences in ideals, attitudes, and 
habits of life. The husband drinks not only because of frustration 
but also to punish himself. In another situation, a wife took up 
drinking in .order to embarrass her husbaitd; It can also be con- 
strued that she wanted to relieve the tension caused by the con- 
flict between herself and her husband. As in the case of the 
professional man, described in Chapter I, there are similar in- 
stances of people turning to alcohol in order to forget the mem- 
ory of unpleasant experiences. Maladjustment in the intimate 
marital relationship can also drive a man or woman to alcohol. 
From the study of many situations we are compelled to conclude 
that the psychological element is of vital importance in consider- 
ing the solution of the disease. 

Hindu psychology not merely gives conceptual knowledge of 
the different states of mind and their functioning but it also 
teaches us how the emotions can be unified, redirected, and in- 

Escape Through Alcoholism US 

tegrated. Its great emphasis is on the development of will. 6 Stress 
is given to the potential power of the individual and methods for 
bringing out his inner strength, so that he himself can overcome 
his moral and psychological difficulties, including the habit of 
drinking. The conditions which produce the different types of 
alcoholism cannot be changed unless the total mind thinking, 
feeling, and will is harmoniously developed and integrated. We 
have seen time and again that individuals realize their moral 
inadequacy in their emotional reactions as well as in the forma- 
tion of the drinking habit. They do not have sufficient will power 
to stop drinking, even though they realize the baneful effect on 
themselves and on those around them. Until a person develops 
will power along with the cultivation of moral responsibility, 
from the psychological and religious point of view, he is not able 
to overcome the drinking habit. 

Swami Vivekananda gives the message of strength. Again and 
again he insists that man must recognize and unfold his inner 
potentialities. He says: "Strength is life; weakness is death. 
Strength is felicity, life eternal, immortal; weakness is constant 
strain and misery . . ." 7 Then: "Strength is the medicine for the 
world's disease." 8 And again: 

Men are taught from childhood that they are weak and sinners. 
Teach them that they are all glorious children of immortality, even 
those who are the weakest in manifestation. Let positive, strong, helpful 
thought enter into their brains from very childhood. Lay yourselves 
open to these thoughts, and not to weakening and paralysing ones. . . . 
the infinite strength of the world is yours. Drive out the superstition 
that has covered your minds. Let us be brave. Know the Truth and 
practice the Truth. The goal may be distant, but awake, arise, and 
stop not till the goal is reached. 9 

There is a psychophysical parallelism (or interaction) as Pro- 
fessor Munsterberg and many other psychologists have concluded. 
The physical effects of alcoholism surely have bearing on mental 
states. It is our conviction that the psychological element is the 
starting point of the drinking habit, even though recent experi- 
ments suggest that there is considerable physical involvement. 
Once a person starts drinking alcohol his body begins to require 
it. This requirement disorganizes the mental condition which 

6 Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, chap. V, "Will and Personality." 

7 Works. II, 3. /Wd., soi. 9 lbid., 87. 

114 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

again stimulates more desire to drink. In this way the individual 
enters a vicious circle. The mind functions considerably through 
the nervous system, and when mental disturbances arise, the 
nervous system is affected, the glands react, and vice versa. How- 
ever, beyond the purely physical aspects of this sickness, attention 
should be given to strengthening and stabilizing the mind. Dr. 
Richard R. Peabody has this to say in his helpful book, Common 
Sense of Drinking: 

As the body and mind are indivisible parts of the same organism; 
the mind is naturally much more efficient in the vigorous execution of 
new ideas if it is functioning in a sound body. . . . 10 

Many psychotherapists use what they call causative treatment. 
They try to remove the patient's emotional conflict and his in- 
ability to adjust himself to the different conditions of life through 
various methods of psychotherapy seeking out the cause. Others 
suggest a substitutive treatment by giving new channels of emo- 
tional satisfaction. 11 

Alcoholics Anonymous is also doing splendid work in the form 
of group therapy. This organization gives both psychological and 
religious satisfaction, and under the leadership and guidance 
of Boston specialists like Dr. Flemming, Yale specialists, and 
other such medical authorities, is accomplishing a great deal. 
Many religious leaders are also helping the heavy drinkers of 
different categories. 

From the point of view of Hindu psychology, we can offer some 
constructive ideas for remedial purposes. Hindu psychologists 
recognize that the first requirement for the sick person is the cul- 
tivation of the desire for recovery from the illness. Herein lies 
the utility of the presence of the psychotherapist, counselor, or 
religious leader. The person who is suffering from this disease 
generally cannot get a desire for recovery without outside help. 
In many instances, the members of the family, being victims of 
the alcohol problem, lose patience and take disparaging and dis- 
couraging attitudes toward the drinker. A religious teacher or 
therapist can be helpful if he is extremely patient, affectionate, 

10 Richard R. Peabody, The Common Sense of Drinking (Boston: Little, 
Brown, & Co., 1931), p. 188. 

11 The chapter on Inebriety in Haggard and Jcllinek, Alcoholism Explored, 
deals extensively with these two methods. 

Escape Through Alcoholism 115 

and sympathetic to the suffering person. Alcoholics are not merely 
sinful persons, as it is frequently construed, even though their 
condition is often due to moral defects. They are suffering from 
mental and physical deficiencies; and as such they need considera- 
tion and affection, not criticism and condescending treatment. 
Even if they are "sinners," they merit equal love. The psycho- 
therapists and religious leaders must communicate a sense of 
deep interest in clients or students and in their recovery. Sympa- 
thetic treatment inspires patients to cultivate the desire for re- 

A veteran came to his religious leader, attracted by his teach- 
ings. He was a regular alcoholic. With encouragement, sympathy, 
and affection from his teacher, he became a thoroughgoing fol- 
lower of his teachings. He not only gave up his old habit but he 
changed his ways of life thoroughly. It is also found that when 
affection and sympathy are not shown, one cannot do anything 
for the alcoholics. We know another veteran intimately who is 
not yet changing the course of his life because he is not getting 
what is a basic requirement for such a sick person, namely, 
healthy occupation, kind atmosphere, affectionate surroundings. 
Above all he needs much encouragement. We are convinced that 
if this young man could be persuaded to believe that he has the 
capacity to get out of his illness, if he could be given a healthy 
occupation in a harmonious, friendly atmosphere, and he could 
remain in contact with an affectionate and sympathetic religious 
leader for some time, he could recover. The time element is im- 
portant, as we have seen in the case of the professional man, be- 
cause it takes time to form new habits of emotional satisfaction 
and cultivation of dynamic conviction within his own capacity. 
Swami Vivekananda's message of Strength is important in the 
process of reintegration. 

In the second place, proper medication under the supervision 
of a good physician is of vital importance in extreme cases. Some 
physicians make use of antabuse, but it has been known to have 
no durable effect. Aversion treatment or conditioned reflex treat- 
ment may be effective in some situations provided that psycho- 
therapy is used along with it. Use of vitamins and the temporary 
use of sedatives and drugs have often helped immensely. In the 
early stages of drinking, nonalcoholic hot beverages can remove 

116 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

the desire for alcohol. Such hot drinks may, for example, be 
helpful if given regularly to the potential alcoholic on his return 
home from work. This simple treatment has been very beneficial 
in many cases where the drinking habit is not far advanced. 

As a third requirement, the patient should have a certain type 
of occupation to keep his mind engaged, provided that he is kept 
in a harmonious atmosphere where he will not be looked down 
upon because of his illness. It should be kept constantly in mind 
that these patients have definite problems of maladjustment and 
a deep sense of insecurity and such other mental and emotional 
disturbances. They are often very sensitive. Knowing this, the 
members of the family, co-workers, and therapists should always 
encourage alcoholics and eliminate the idea that they are ineffec- 
tual in their interpersonal relationships and adjustments in life. 
As we have stressed in other chapters in regard to mental and 
emotional integration, they should be taught gradually the ways 
of adaptability. It is indeed a process of re-education, as some of 
the clinical psychologists would say. 

The next point to be remembered is to create confidence in 
the patients in the performance of their respective duties and in 
their own capacity for harmonious and normal interpersonal 

The practice of concentration and meditation, discussed in 
Chapter XVI, is extremely important. 12 It is true that it takes 
time to develop will power. But we have seen time and again that 
as a man begins his practice of meditation and other devotional 
exercises and follows the requirements mentioned above, he forms 
new habits of adjustment and satisfaction in social contacts and 
successful execution of his duties and responsibilities r He learns 
to face the realities of life, instead of avoiding them. With this 
method, alcoholics and drug-addicts can develop sufficient will 
power to cast off the baneful habit of drinking and taking of 
narcotics. The problems of alcoholism can be overcome if the 
patients are under the guidance of an integrated therapist or 
religious leader who has sympathy for the patients and if the 
patients have confidence in him. 

The most important requirement advanced by Hindu psychol- 
ogy, is to strengthen their conviction that they are inseparably 

"Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, chap. V, "Will and Personality." 

Escape Through Alcoholism 117 

connected with God. They are potentially divine. As Sankara says: 
"The human soul is divine." And as Swami Vivekananda says: 

Each soul is potentially divine. 

The goal is to manifest this divine within, by controlling nature, 
external and internal. 

Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy, 
by one, or more, or all of these and be free. 

This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or 
books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details. 18 

The patients should constantly be guided to believe that they 
are not useless and worthless persons. The mine of strength is 
within them. Therapists and religious leaders should definitely 
inculcate this idea in them time and again. It creates convic- 
tion in the drinkers and in their potentialities. They can also be 
helped to remember that their neignbors and colleagues are not 
essentially superior to them. Just because drinkers cannot do 
exactly what their friends and acquaintances do, they need not 
feel that they are inferior and incapacitated. They, too, can suc- 
ceed in something in which they can be effective. It should be 
noted here that with this understanding of the divinity of man 
and his real nature, or their inseparable connection with God, 
they can succeed in everything. This will take away the paralyz- 
ing and hypnotic suggestions of their inadequacy and insuffi- 
ciency. This spirit of divinity of man should be inculcated in the 
patients. They themselves should remember this. It is the duty of 
the therapist and religious leader to strengthen this conviction 
in their patients in every possible way. The reading of encourag- 
ing and elevating religious books and discussion with persons 
who can inspire them individually and in groups, are very 

The question may arise as to whether a person not interested 
in religion can be helped. Our answer is that if the therapist can 
inspire the patient by his own integrity and personality, and 
above all by his sympathy and patience, he can help and cure an 
alcoholic by his life if not by his beliefs. Of course, we believe 
that if a person can be consciously influenced by religious ideals, 
the result will be more effective for the development of the total 
personality. But religion is a power greater than any creed. Re- 
ligious practices develop will power to avoid alcoholism. 

18 Works, I, 118. 


Power of Mind 

THERE is tremendous power inherent in the mind. Unfortu- 
nately, few people realize that they possess this power and they 
behave as if they were weak and have nothing to contribute to 
this world and their own happiness. If they would study their 
own mind they would find the strength in it and they would be 
able to use it to their own advantage and for the benefit of 

All of the achievements of human society are the direct result 
of the power of mind. Scientific discoveries are made because of 
intellectual power. The scientist concentrates his mental forces 
on his work; he gets sudden flashes of knowledge. He applies his 
findings in experiments and contributes something to the world 
for the control of nature. Primitive man was frightened and 
mystified by th'e forces of nature. He identified them with divine 
power and worshipped them. Today, with his intellectual 
achievements modern man challenges the forces of nature with- 
out fear. He controls and uses them for both constructive and 
destructive purposes."! 

All the joys that people have in life aesthetic, artistic, poetic, 
literary are direct contributions of the human mind. Primitive 
man did not know how to use his mind; consequently, he was 
completely oblivious of his mental powers and he could not share 
his ideas. Me might have felt inspiration from the beauties of 
nature but he was unable to express it. In a cultured society the 
sense of beauty can be communicated. The poetry of Browning, 
Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, and of Shakespeare above all, the 
works of Hindu poets and dramatists like Kalidas and Girish 
Ghosh, or German writers like Goethe and Schelling, and French 


Power of Mind 119 

writers like Moltere and Racine, give an intense aesthetic intel- 
lectual satisfaction. The masterpieces of some of the great com- 
posers of Europe are tremendously inspiring. The religious music 
of the Hindu composers Tansen, Surdas, Mirabai, and Tagore 
is wonderful and transports one to a higher plane of con- 

Although an individual has the greatest joy in life when he 
uses fully his powers of mind, many people are not aware of this. 
Most people are still frightened by nature; consciously or uncon- 
sciously, the primitive tendency lingers because of ignorance of 
the physical constitution. Many persons are frightened by dis- 
ease. It is true that influenza, colds, virus infections, and such 
diseases are prevalent all over the world. Cancer, malaria, tuber- 
culosis, and bubonic plague are djstructive ailments. People 
have reason to be afraid of them. Fear of them disturbs the mind, 
creating many functional diseases. Little do they understand 
that the mind has the power at least to overcome psychosomatic 
diseases, as we explained in the first chapter. So even from a 
medical point of view it is worth while to remember that the 
mind is inherently powerful. If people do not manifest that 
mental power, they succumb to all kinds of little disturbances 
and cannot even keep their bodies healthy. 

The question will arise: If it is an accepted fact that everyone 
possesses a powerful mind, then why don't they use it? The 
answer is that most people are not aware that they possess it. 
Suppose that a man leaves his friend a legacy of a million dollars 
in the bank. If the friend does not know that he possesses this 
money he will not use it. He will not be benefited by it even 
though it may be in his name. Only when he knows about it can 
he do anything with it. The same is true of mental power. Then 
also a man must know how to use what is in his possession and 
not dissipate it. The parable of the prodigal son is an illustration 
of this point. 

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and 
took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with 
riotous living. 

And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; 
and he began to be in want. 1 

x Luke 15: 13-14. 

HO Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

A man may possess wealth but he can dissipate everything by 
not knowing how to make the best use of it. Similarly, even if a 
person knows that he has power of mind and can use it, he can 
still direct it for destructive purposes, as we find in the case of 
many scholars and scientists who misused that power by discov- 
ering implements for the destruction of humanity during the 
last World War. It is true that theoretical scientists like Einstein 
and others gave the basic ideas of atomic energy, yet other men 
with great mental powers used them for destructive purposes 
and thereby helped to demoralize humanity. Other scholars have 
become disintegrated themselves and have had to be hospitalized 
as the result of inordinate ambition and emotional tension, due 
to improper use of their minds. Dr. Carl Binger 2 and others, 
discussing the principles uf psychosomatic medicine, indicate 
what a devastating effect the misuse of the mind has on the 
human personality. 

In a mysterious way human beings remain oblivious of what 
they possess. The Hindus call this ignorance Maya or nescience, a 
cosmic ignorance which covers man's true nature and gives rise 
to something else. They give a pertinent illustration. On a dark 
night when a person sees the trunk of a tree, he takes it to be a 
ghost, thief, friend, policeman, and so forth, according to his pre- 
conceived notion. When people have preconceived notions about 
certain things they interpret them as they like. Suppose some- 
one has an idea that certain types of persons are no good. The 
moment he sees a man of that type he jumps to the conclusion 
that the man is no good. He does not have the objectivity to 

Recently the editor ot a religious journal requested us to write 
an article showing the relationship between the Hindus and 
the Christians. An eminently devout person wrote a letter criticiz- 
ing the article, not from an objective or an intellectual point of 
view, but by attacking the personality of the writer. He did not 
know the writer at all, but he had formed an idea that certain 
persons are undesirable; therefore, he thought that a Hindu must 
be a bad person. He had no real knowledge of the writer's actual 

Carl Binger, The Doctor's Job (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 

Power of Mind 1S1 

character. What can be done with such preconceived notions? 
Certainly, you cannot find the truth with them. 

When people are hypnotized by themselves and by others, they 
cannot know what they are. If they have been constantly told 
that they are weaklings; that they are helpless; that they have 
nothing to contribute to themselves and to the world; how can 
they know what they possess? From our infancy our well-meaning 
parents, with their preconceived notions about the ways and be- 
havior of children, impose certain ideas on us. Often we hear 
the remark: "Oh, this child does not know anything. He doesn't 
understand what is happening." How do they know how much 
the child understands? It is amazing to observe the intuitive or 
instinctive power of a child. 

When one of our brother SwamL was very young, his older 
sister died during a cholera epidemic in India, leaving a little 
baby. Many other members of the family also died, leaving only 
an old grandmother and grandfather. That this little child felt 
what had happened to her life was indicated by the manner in 
which she behaved. She was actually afraid to meet anyone. It 
was interesting to observe how a little child, a few months old, 
could sense her loss. She could not be told that her mother and 
other relatives had died, as she was so young. Yet that baby knew 
what was missing in her life. People do not realize how much a 
child senses and feels, yet they say: "This child does not under- 
stand anything/' They inculcate certain habits in the children 
because of their own actions. 

Take lying, for instance. Parents may often lie, not thinking 
that the child will learn to do the same thing. When a telephone 
call comes, the mother tells Johnnie: "Say that Mother is out." 
He is taught to lie without thinking about it. Then when he lies 
in some other way the mother scolds and disciplines him. In an 
unintentional way negative ideas are given to the children. Par- 
ents often almost hypnotize them with wrong impressions and 
ideas. Later on the children show them in their behavior pattern 
and their reactions to the world. They gradually lose the power 
to control, guide, or develop their own mind. 

On the other hand, we know of parents or guardians who have 
encouraged their children tremendously. The hypnotic spell of 
"good for nothing" was broken. These children developed a 

US Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

great deal of power in their lives as adults. In an Indian story 
there was a princess who was well-versed in Vedantic doctrines 
of life, immortality of soul, and divine power of man. When she 
was bringing up her little child, she would always sing the great 
words of Vedanta, "Thou art That, thou art divine." This little 
boy used to hear his mother humming over and over, "Thou art 
divine; thou art divine." As a result, when he grew up he mani- 
fested tremendous power of mind. 

Just as negative ideas hynotize an individual, the positive, con- 
structive, creative ideas dehypnotize him. He can bring out his 
latent power and show what he really is. Everyone needs to re- 
mind himself of the power that he possesses. If some modern 
scientists can control physical nature, we do not see why an in- 
dividual cannot control his own physical nature. Whatever is in 
the macrocosm is in the microcosm also. If the forces of atomic 
energy can be controlled with the help of intelligence, surely a 
man can control the particles of his own body. Of course, even 
the scientists who have been using this atomic energy are now 
frightened by it themselves. Some thinkers in this country are 
frightened because the Russians are vigorously using the German 
scientists and accomplishing what this country has accomplished, 
and perhaps even more. They are afraid because they are not 
sure what the other fellow is doing; and they are oblivious of 
their own power. 

Everyone should have the full knowledge of the power that he 
possesses as well as a proper understanding of its use. Most people 
are not able to express their power of mind even when they know 
they have it, because their will power is weak and their emo- 
tions disintegrated. Unfortunately, mere intellectual knowledge 
of mental power is not sufficient. Otherwise, the world would not 
be what it is today. At a recent conference, a philosopher said 
that the Sermon on the Mount has been taught to us for the last 
two thousand years; yet see what we have been doing. People 
may have intellectual knowledge of the Sermon on the Mount; 
they may have intellectual knowledge of the Gospel of Buddha 
or other such teachings; yet if their emotions are not integrated, 
their inner power cannot be manifested. 

That is the reason that people have to go through certain types 
of psycho-physical exercise in order to maintain and develop 

Power of Mind 188 

their mental powers. There may be a question that the term 
"psycho-physical," implies a parallelism between the mental and 
physical processes, as Professor Hugo Miinsterberg and others in 
the West have thought. We wish to make our position clear that 
there is no dualism between mind and body; these two are not 
independent entities. They are interrelated and are the function- 
ing of the same force in grosser and subtler forms. For the sake/ 
of understanding, we can safely say that for the time being the 
mind is dependent upon the body. When the body is disturbed 
or agitated, the mind is also disturbed. On occasions when the 
nerves are disturbed, the mind is also jumpy; and when the mind 
is in this state the nerves become shattered. When the mind is 
serene the nerves behave properly; it works both ways. 

Can the mind act independently o f the nervous system? 8 First, 
let us think of the things that we observe through the nervous 
system with our sense organs and instruments. A person sees a 
flower and smells the fragrance. This experience stimulates the 
nervous system and consequently the mental process. The in- 
dividual thinks; he has an emotional or intellectual reaction, 
good or bad; and when the reaction is strong, he acts. These 
three functions: thinking, feeling, and willing, go together. They 
are interrelated and are constantly stimulated by certain sense 
perceptions. The mind functions in this way now, but there 
comes a time in the life of an individual when the mind can act 
independently of the nervous system. It does not then depend 
on direct sense perceptions. In this connection, we think of what 
some Western psychologists call extrasensory perception. 4 The 
mind possesses the power to see things, not through the medium 
of sense contact yet just as directly and immediately as things 
are ordinarily perceived through the senses. The mind possesses 
the power to perceive what is going on in distant places and also 
on a subtle plane beyond the range of ordinary perception. 
These subtle powers are popularly known as psychic and occult 
powers. There are many fraudulent claims, yet many cases are 

Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, pp. 30-32. According to Hindu 
psychologists, the internal sense or implement for perception is the indriya. 
Although it operates through the outer sense organs and the nervous 
system it is independent of them. 

*lbid. chaps. IX and X. 

Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

authentic and have been verified. 5 These experiences may be 
misconstrued by many objective scientists as illusory and imag- 
inary; but the investigations of psychical research societies and 
psychologists, such as Professor Joseph B. Rhine, Professor Gard- 
ner Murphy, and their colleagues, suggest to us that these ex- 
periences are within the range of the human mind. Indian psy- 
chologists, like Patanjali and others, not only believe in the pos- 
sibility of such experiences but also give methods for developing 
these subtle mental powers through the practice of concentra- 
tion. 6 

Indian psychologists are emphatic in their declaration of the 
existence of these subtle powers and of the possibility of develop- 
ing them through exact scientific methods of subjective experi- 
mentation. When a man develops subtle powers of mind, he can 
perceive things directly and immediately without the medium 
of the sense organs and nervous system. That is the time the 
mind perceives things as they really are and not through inter- 
pretation. Even the great scientists, who are supposed to be ob- 
jective, perceive things through interpretation of the mind. That 
is the reason that Professor A. S. Eddington, in his Philosophy 
of Physical Science, comes to the conclusion that even scientific 
objective knowledge is relative. 7 For the same reason philosopher 
Kant tells us that the thing-in-itself is unknown and unknowable. 
What we know of the world or of the thing is nothing but the 
interpretation of the way the thing-in-itself affects our conscious- 
ness. 8 Professor Eddington comes to his conclusion from scientific 
observation while philosopher Kant gets his knowledge, under- 
standing, or flash through the flight of intellectualism or reason- 
ing. Both of them, practically, come to the same conclusion as 
some of the Hindu philosophers do, namely, that Brahman or 
Reality cannot be perceived by the mind. The Hindu philoso- 
phers go a little further and say that there comes a stage in the 

6 Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, chap. III. See also "Raja Yoga," Works, I. 

7 A. S. Eddington, Philosophy of Physical Science (New York: The Macmil- 
lan Co., 1939). 

8 Immanuel Kant, Critik der Reinen Bernunft (Riga: verlegts Johann 
Friederich Hartknoch, 1781). See also Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, trans. 
F. Max Muller (London: Macmillan & Co., 1881), Vol. II; and Immanuel 
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (New York: 
The Humanities Press, 1950); and other translations. 

Power of Mmd 185 

course of the mind's development when the transformed mind 
perceives the Reality. In its "present state, the mind functions as 
the body dictates or as the nerves react. Today there is a little 
change in the climate or there is a little physical irritation and 
the person becomes sick. Tomorrow there may be some other 
disorder of the body and the person becomes irritable. We see 
how the experience of physical change colors his perception. He 
may think he is independent, but he is a slave to the body for the 
time being. That is the reason the great Hindu teachers tell us 
that we have to go through psycho-physical exercises for the time 
being, so that the body may remain fairly healthy. We say fairly 
healthy rather than perfect. Perfection of the body is a misnomer/ 
for the body constantly changes. When the body is fairly normal, 
then it does not disturb a person's irind with too many ailments. 
This is the time to dehypnotize the mind and manifest its power. 

When a person does certain spiritual exercises or practices con- 
centration or meditation, he finds that the latent power of the 
mind emerges. As he goes through these practices his emotions 
become organized and unified. People may find it difficult to un- 
derstand and control the emotions. We do not ask anyone to 
repress his emotions; rather we ask him to transform or change 
the course of these emotions and direct them to higher channels 
to the divine. When he gradually succeeds in doing this, then the 
mental forces and emotions will be purified. Along with this re- 
direction of the emotions, comes the practice of concentration. 
This practice unifies all the mental forces. When the mind is 
focused on anything, it has to remain quiet. A man who is per- 
forming experiments in the scientific laboratory is absorbed there 
because all other thoughts or emotional reactions are eliminated. 
When a mother is giving attention to the child all other thoughts 
are eliminated from her mind. When an artist is painting a pic- 
ture, all other ideas or emotions are temporarily put aside. When 
a man concentrates his mind on God, all other ideas, associations, 
and emotions are forgotten. Of course, it is difficult to attain to 
that state or remain in it. Yet through practice and detachment 
one can attain it. Sri Krishna tells us: "Without doubt . . . the 
mind is restless, and difficult to control; but through practice 
and renunciation ... it may be governed." 9 Again He says: 

Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita VI: 18. 

126 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

"When the completely controlled mind rests serenely in the Self 
alone, free from longing after all desires, then is one called stead- 
fast, (in the Self)." 10 Similarly, Patanjali, the father of Hindu 
psychology, says that by these two methods of detachment and 
constant practice, the ''uncontrollable" mind can be subdued. 

All latent powers of the mind are manifested when integration 
takes place. We then know the real dynamics of the mind. At 
that time functional diseases vanish. When a man has no emo- 
tional conflict, frustration, sense of insecurity, he has no anxiety 
or worry and his mind is peaceful. He may have organic trouble 
because of his age; or his body may deteriorate; or he may get 
some other disease; but he will not have functional trouble pro- 
duced by the disturbed condition of the emotions. His nerves 
will remain strong and he can accomplish what he wishes, fully 
controlling his physical reaction. Some people have seen cancer 
patients. The excruciating pain a patient suffers cannot be de- 
scribed. Sri Ramakrishna had cancer of the throat. When the 
doctors would go to treat it, He would say to them: "Wait a 
minute." After a short time He would add: "Now you can go 
on." He had withdrawn His mind completely from the body. 
Then the doctors could do anything, for He could not feel it. 
We never saw Sri Ramakrishna; we saw His disciples. Swami 
Turiyananda, one of the disciples, had to undergo a serious oper- 
ation. His heart was weak because of age and long suffering. The 
doctors were hesitant about giving him an anesthetic. They re- 
ported this to Swami Brahmananda, our Master, who was then 
President of the Ramakrishna Mission. Swami Brahmananda 
went to the bedroom of the sick Swami and said: "You will ju&t 
have to endure!" The Swami replied: "Yes, Maharaj, certainly." 
And all the preparations were made for this major operation in 
his room. He began to talk about Brahman to some of the young 
Swamis who were present while the operation was going on. The 
surgeon was amazed. After finishing everything he asked: "Swami, 
can you sing a song?" And Swami Turiyananda sang a devotional 
song. His mind was completely withdrawn from the body. There 
was not the slightest distortion of the facial muscles during the 

Sri Ramakrishna used to say that when Jesus was crucified, 

*>lbid, VI: 35. 

Power of Mind 187 

He withdrew His mind completely from His body; He was in 
another state altogether, a state of samadhi or superconscious- 
ness. The nails pierced through His body but the mind was un- 
affected. Sri Ramakrishna gave an illustration of how this could 
happen. When the coconut is not yet ripe, the fibers, kernel, and 
shell are inseparable. But when the coconut is ripe, the kernel 
becomes separate. You can shake it and feel the kernel jump 
around inside. When a person is thoroughly established in higher 
spiritual practices, his mind and body become separated. His soul 
is separate, too. 

The objective of everyone should be to bring out his own men- 
tal power. Many of us may say that we are not like Christ, Sri 
Ramakrishna, or Swami Turiyananda. We are ordinary people. 
It is true that we are ordinary in the usual sense; but we still 
have that divine spark; we still possess that mine of power in us. 
The difference is that we have hypnotized ourselves and we are 
continuing to do so. However, we can be dehypnotized by con- 
stant, positive thoughts, like the child of the Indian princess. We 
should remind ourselves that we are divine. We should remind 
ourselves that there is a reservoir of strength within us. We 
should tell ourselves that the petty changes in the world should 
not affect our mind. How disturbed we become if a man looks 
this way or talks that way! How the little things disturb and 
agitate us and make our minds go to pieces 1 The more we give 
our attention to higher phases of life the less we shall be af- 
fected by adverse circumstances. We do not know if anyone can 
be found who is not subject to them. Even Jesus and Sri Rama- 
krishna had their sad experiences. Jesus; an incarnation of God, 
was crucified. Can anyone think that there will not be any change 
of condition in this life? It is unthinkable to look at things in 
this light. We have to face conditions as they are. We have to be 
unaffected by them and manifest our hidden, latent power of 
mind. We have no reason for frustration and conflict. We can 
overcome anxiety and apprehension. We possess the power to 
face the problems of life and internal and external changes; and 
we have the power to overcome all mental weaknesses. Then we 
can dehypnotize ourselves and gradually manifest our will power, 
so that we can carry out the ideas that we have in life for our 
own betterment and for the good of society. 

128 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

In giving attention to the Abiding Spirit we will find that 
mental power will be manifest. It is nothing unusual. The dif- 
ference that we see between one man and another and their 
achievements is due to the degree of manifestation of mental 
power. Some cultivate and express it, in different spheres of life, 
while others dissipate it and become disintegrated. It is of pri- 
mary importance for everyone to consider how to use the best 
we have in us to full advantage. Then alone can we contribute 
something worth while to our life and to the lives of others. No 
great contribution can be made to life by a disturbed mind. Dis- 
turbances of the mind can be fully controlled as we manifest the 
real power in us and become free. Then we can say: "Mind can 
bind one; mind can liberate one." "~ 


Power of Love 

THE vast majority of those who seek a higher life find it most 
attractive to follow the path of love because it is a natural ex- 
pression of the human mind. Swami Vivekananda says that 
through the expression of love individuals can establish emo- 
tional relationships with the Supreme Being, with Bliss Itself. 
However, many will ask: "How can you say that the path of 
love is so enjoyable? We show our love to others and then we 
suffer." That is true; but it is envy, jealousy, and such tendencies 
that rob the people of joy or bliss of love. Unfortunately, many 
suffer from these tendencies. So we should clarify the meaning of 
love. Although there is much talk about it among different reli- 
gious groups, few understand its true nature. Consequently, they 
get into difficulties. 

In life we observe three types of love. The first form of love 
is immature and childish. Children have their minds focused on 
themselves. This is generally regarded as narcissism or self-love, 
according to the mythical story of Narcissus. A child begins his 
life with this attitude but he must outgrow it and expand him- 
self if he wants to live the fullness of life. When individuals re- 
main self-centered they invariably become anti-social, unhappy, 
and consequently neurotic. Professor O. Hobart Mowrer, in his 
experience with clinical psychology, gives clear insight into the 
problems of immature love relationships. 1 Immature love is based 
on selfish expectations. This should hardly be called love. Many 

1 O. Hobart Mowrer, Neurosis and Its Treatment (Chicago: The Del- 
phinian Society, 1949), p. 757. (Reprinted from Patterns for Modern Living, 
Division I, "Psychological Patterns"). 


130 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

people direct their sentiment to the object of affection but they 
expect everything in return. Therefore, they are often disap- 
pointed. They continually demand and expect attention in ma- 
terial things or emotional demonstration. The average person 
asks before he gives; he figures how much he will get out of giv- 
ing. Often the sacred matrimonial relationship is established on 
this basis. We can cite a number of cases illustrating this fact. 

A man began to give a great deal of attention to the young 
daughter of a friend of ours, who was to inherit a great fortune. 
She was flattered by the unusual attention of this man and she 
lost herself in his emotional expressions to the point that she 
was persuaded to marry him secretly. It soon became evident 
that he married her only for the fortune of her wealthy parents. 
After a few years, this fact was proven by his ill treatment of her 
when her parents would not become reconciled with either of 
them and it became evident that he had no hope of sharing in 
the fortune. As a result of her frustration and disappointment, 
this girl lost her mental control, for she really believed in his 
love for her. The mother had to go all the way to California 
from the Eastern part of the country to rescue her from an insti- 
tution where her husband had placed her. Even though she was 
rescued from her designing husband, this experience created such 
a disturbance in her mind that she ultimately committed sui- 
cide a victim of selfish and insincere love. 

There have been many such marriages and love affairs which 
were motivated by material gain and emotional expectation. In- 
variably, these situations satisfy neither the lover nor the be- 
loved. People cannot have satisfaction when they do not give 
love. This kind of emotion is not love; it is fascination based on 
gain. Consequently, there is no joy in it, since the persons who 
are always demanding are bound to be frustrated. Besides, the 
object of the supposed love will sooner or later realize the base 
motive of the other individual. Then there will be no warmth 
of affection and no understanding, even though they may have 
been present in the beginning due to a certain kind of attraction. 

This situation is not only present in worldly associations; 
amazingly enough it exists even in religious expressions. The 
majority of people approach God to get something out of Him. 
There are some persons who are associated with religion in order 

Power of Love 131 

to attain health, wealth, prosperity, name, fame, and so on. 
Sometimes they join certain religious organizations thinking 
that it will be profitable for their social or economic position. 
Many of them associate with religious organizations because they 
will gain prestige, in the same way that a college degree is often 
taken to get prestige. 

We know of interesting cases of this kind, where the individuals 
were interested in worldly achievements. About ten years ago 
a young lady came to us because she was disturbed about cer- 
tain problems in her life. During her association with us, her 
mother-in-law insisted that her husband join a particular church 
so that both his social position and his job might be secure. The 
lady finally joined that church with her husband. Some time ago, 
another man joined a religious gronp because he was a "social 
climber" and he knew that there were a number of people with 
wealth and social position in that group. He had not the slightest 
intention of any kind of religious development. Later on, when 
he had established his prestige he left the group, showing that 
his expectation had been satisfied without love of God. 

So there are many who think in terms of: "Oh God, give me 
this; give me that." Once the great Mohammedan Emperor of 
India, Akbar, met a holy man. He wanted to offer something to 
this holy person so he begged of him: "Come to my palace so 
that I may present you with a gift." The offer was accepted and 
they arrived at the palace just at the time of prayer. The Em- 
peror knelt and began to pray aloud. When the holy man heard 
the Emperor's words "Oh God, give me . . ." he got up and 
started to walk away. Akbar finished his prayer and saw him 
leaving. He ran after him and asked: "Sir, why are you going 
away without accepting my gift?" The holy man replied: "Well, 
I do not want anything from a beggar. You are seeking this and 
that from God. What can you give to me?" 

It is interesting that not only many ordinary people seek 
money, health, prosperity, children, home, success, power, posi- 
tion, and everything else from God but also many so-called 
religious persons, who use their relationship with God or man 
to get something. They love God with the hope of getting their 
own way. 

The second form of love includes a sense of mutuality, I give 

13% Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

and you give. I worship God and He gives me something. I love 
my children and they return that love. It may be love, considera- 
tion, or security that is involved; but whatever it may be, it is 
mutual. No doubt this form of love is better than the spirit of 
demanding. Where there is all expectation there is sure to be 
envy or jealousy. In this second form, too, envy and jealousy are 
often observed. When a person gives love, affection, thought, and 
consideration with expectation of return, he becomes jealous if 
anyone seems to come between him and the object of his affec- 
tion. Parents become jealous of their children or the children of 
their parents. A father becomes jealous of his child lest it usurp 
the affection of his wife. A mother becomes jealous of her 
grown-up daughter or son lest he or she take away part of her 
husband's love. It is a pathological condition but it is present in 
the competitive societies of the modern world. 

We have known cases where our services were required for 
young married couples because one or the other was jealous of 
the mother-in-law for fear that she would continue her attention 
to her son or daughter, as the case might be. These situations 
are not as rare as we may want to think. So even though this 
second form of love is nobler than the first, it is still full of 
anxiety, apprehension, worry, and other disturbing elements. 
Consequently, even this does not satisfy the inner nature of man 
and does not give the real joy of love. There have been many 
persons who transcended the sense of expectation and selfish- 
ness even in this form of mutual love and they have become ex- 
tremely unselfish, devoting themselves to the good and happi- 
ness of the beloved. This cooperative love has the possibility of 
gradual evolution through unselfishness. 

In the field of religion, also, we find many persons who give up 
their interest when they find they cannot get something out of 
God in return for their devotion. We remember a man who lost 
his religious incentive because a tidal wave in New- England 
destroyed so many lives and so much property in 1938. Some 
people lose their religious intensity when they face misfortune 
or changes in life, thinking that God has not given them what 
they deserved in return for their devotion and prayers to Him. 
f The third form of love has no such elements because the lover 
gives and gives and demands nothing and expects nothing ma- 

Power of Love 138 

terial in return, even though he receives from his beloved what 
is required. There is no sense of demanding in this form of love. 
If love comes, well and good. If it does not, well and good. "I 
do not care for anything in return for my love." Love is unmer- 
cenary. There are few persons in the world, even those associated 
with friends and relatives, who have the sentiment of giving with 
no thought of return. There are a few, a blessed few, who offer 
themselves wholly to God, who express love for Him without car- 
ing for any reward from Him.; The moment a person expects 
anything in return for his love, that moment the joy of love goes 
and it deteriorates to the level of the shopkeeper.) This is de- 
scribed by Swami Vivekananda in one of his poems: 

Aye, born heir to the Infinite thou art, 
Within the heart is the ocean of L'ove, 
"Give," "give away," whoever asks return, 
His ocean dwindles down to a mere drop. 2 

Girish Ghosh, the great Indian dramatist, composed a hymn 
describing the highest state of love. "Oh, why does a lover want 
love! The moment you give and take and exchange your love, 
that very moment the whole of love vanishes. The joy of love 
disappears." How true this is! Few persons can understand the 
depth of this idea. A real lover does not even expect kindness 
from the beloved. Even though he may be kicked, he still pours 
out his love. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." This 
does not mean that he is a masochist in finding satisfaction 
through punishment and humiliation; it means only forgiveness 
and endurance under all conditions because of the intense love 
for the beloved. 

There may be a misunderstanding that this third form of love 
means a sense of superiority or condescension. In the act of so- 
called charity one has a sense of superiority, feeling that he 
possesses something more than another which he is giving to ful- 
fill the requirements of the other. But in the third form of love 
there is no such consciousness in the lover. He does not even 
remain self-conscious in the act of love. In fact, he loses himself 
in it. As a poet has said: "I lost myself in Him." When a man 
directs this kind of love to God he does not demand anything 
from Him nor does he expect anything in return. He pours out 

* Works, IV, 429. 

134 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

his love to God without being conscious of this act. Nevertheless, 
he receives intense love from God as well as everything that is 
required for his well-being. This attitude does not contradict the 
idea of loving cooperation between God and man, as advocated 
by the personalistic philosophers of America. Their attitude is 
that of the devotee who gives to God with no expectation of re- 
ward. This is cooperation in the higher sense of the term and 
not as the average man understands it in human relationships. 8 
Sri Ramakrishna describes this love: 

The stage of devotion called Bhava is like an unripe mango; Prema 
is like the ripe fruit. 

Prema is like a string in the hands of the Bhakta [lover of God], bind- 
ing him to that Sachchidananda [Existence-Knowledge-Bliss] which is 
God. The devotee holds the Lord, so to speak, under his control. God 
comes to him whenever he calls. 4 

It is so satisfying that the lover's whole being becomes full of 
joy, so much so that he has all the different spiritual realizations 
because of his love for God. Many devotees consider that spiritual 
realizations come in the form of revelation from God and the 
devotees or lovers have little part to play in them. However, we 
understand from the lives of the mystics and devotees of the dif- 
ferent religions that the devotees have love from God and revela- 
tions Oi spiritual experiences of various types because they pour 
out their own love to Him. In fact, the devotees with intense 
love are sure to have all the experiences of God. 

There is a story told in India about a lover by the name of 
Vilwamangal. He was in love with a prostitute who lived across 
the river from his house. Being the son of a wealthy man he gave 
everything to her to make her comfortable. He spent a lot of 
time with her, disregarding his own personal duties and respon- 
sibilities which were left with the servants. His love for her was 
so strong that even on the day of the funeral ceremony of his 
father he wanted to go to her. In the evening, after the ceremony, 
he left the rest of the details to his servants and started out. Just 
at that time a bad storm arose with thunder, wind, and torrential 
rain. His boat was washed away from the bank of the river, so 

8 Edgar Sheffield Brightman, A Philosophy of Religion (New York: Pren- 
tice-Hall, Inc., 1940), pp. 455-456. Also Nature and Values (New York: 
Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1945), p. 165. 

4 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna XXV: 587-528. 

Power of Love 135 

he jumped into the water and started to swim, so anxious was he 
to reach his beloved. He was becoming exhausted by the waves 
when he touched something in the dark that was floating near 
him. He caught hold of it and went the rest of the way across the 
river with its help. He was so intent on reaching the woman that 
he did not know that he was hanging on to a dead body. When 
he reached her place the gate was locked so he scaled the wall. 
When he was admitted to the house, the woman was frightened 
at his appearance; he was in such a pathetic condition. He was 
wet and covered with mud and blood and stood there looking at 
her. When she knew who he was she was amazed. "Well, are you 
mad that you come at this time of the night in the storm when 
everything is so bad?" she exclaimed. Then she added: "I under- 
stand that if a man loves God in thif way he can realize God." 
At the moment Vilwamangal was unconscious of her words. He 
was only looking at her. But the words penetrated his mind. 
They meant the beginning of a change in him. His intense love 
for this woman was later turned to God and he became a saint. 
She, too, became a transformed person, when she realized what 
a change had taken place in her lover. His love for her and his 
spiritual power affected her immensely and transformed her. 
This happened because the man was a true lover. 

We have seen people with a similar type of relationship who 
went to Swami Brahmananda, our beloved teacher. Because one 
of them was transformed by the divine love of Swami Brah- 
mananda, the other also went through a real transformation, as 
we find in the story of Vilwamangal. Similar instances can be 
cited from the lives of Sri Ramakrishna and other great spiritual 

There are some persons in this world who love each other 
without caring to get anything from the beloved. They love for 
the sake of love, as Swami Vivekananda tells us. Again, there are 
devotees who love God for the sake of love and for His own sake, 
without asking for something petty in return, even though there 
are some who ask for God's love and His revelation. Those who 
have a little glimpse of this love are full of joy which knows 
no bounds. 

The vast majority of the people do not have the highest form 
of love in the beginning of their lives; however, they can culti- 

136 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

vate it in the same way that they cultivate friendship and love 
on the human plane of existence. In human relationships people 
cultivate friendship by exchanging things or feelings. However, 
in most cases, if they do not give to their beloved, this very senti- 
ment and joyous state of mind gradually vanish. So, in society, 
people have the custom of doing something for their friends. 
Take, for instance, the exchange of gifts that occurs during the 
Christmas or Easter seasons. Through this custom, individuals re- 
member one another and express their love and sentiment for 
one another. People also seek the companionship of their friends 
and relatives for this reason. These expressions are necessary to 
foster and preserve the ties of affection. 

Although it is true that many persons start to express their 
sentiment in its lowest fo^m, a higher type of love can be de- 
veloped gradually. Friendship has to be nurtured by unselfish- 
ness and the spirit of giving. The emotion of love will deteriorate 
when a person is not established in the highest form of love or 
does not cultivate it. We know many cases where selfishness has 
stood between persons and ruined not only their love but also 
their lives. It is worth while for everyone to detect the element of 
selfishness in his emotional life. Nothing ruins emotional joy 
more certainly than selfishness. 

The person who bases his activities and expressions on ego- 
centricity can never integrate his emotions. His only considera- 
tion will be for himself and how he reacts to another individual. 
He evaluates everything from that point of view. In a competi- 
tive society, which exists in the modern world, people have this 
egocentric, selfish attitude. The result is emotional starvation 
and deterioration of friendship and matrimonial relationship. 
Even the parent-child relationship becomes disappointing be- 
cause of the egocentric attitude on the part of parents and chil- 

Family life, which should be based on love, is ruined in a 
competive society because of the invasion of selfishness. We know 
of one woman of high social status and economic security who 
came to us for advice. Her husband happened to be selfish in 
his reactions to any problems. Because of his egocentric attitude 
he wanted to get rid of his wife, in spite of twenty-five or more 
years of association. As he grew older, his egocentricity became 

Power of Love 187 

more and more evident. It affected his relationship with his 
grown-up children, which resulted in an all-round disturbance 
in the whole family. He was trying to find the reason for his 
difficulties in the little traits of his wife rather than in his ego- 
centric attitude toward life. Our advice to the lady was to cul- 
tivate a great deal of patience and endurance and to rectify some 
of her traits which apparently had become causes of disturbance 
in the husband. She was also asked to go through regular spir- 
itual exercises to integrate herself. Her husband was requested 
to understand the proper value of married life on the basis of 
cooperation and coordination. As time has passed, they have been 
considerably reconciled. 

Another situation which has come to our attention is that of 
a young couple very much disturbed because of the selfishness of 
the husband in the intimate marital relationship. This is about 
to destroy their marriage. We have advised the husband to con- 
sider the requirements, aspirations, and desires of his wife. Per- 
sonal interviews and instructions to both the man and the woman 
have helped in removing this barrier to their happiness and emo- 
tional satisfaction. 

Selfishness is manifested in other forms in family life. Some 
time ago, a mature man in one of the large cities of the East be- 
came very interested in religion. His wife missed his attention 
and consequently became disturbed. Our advice to both of them 
was to give consideration to each other's welfare. It was not the 
religious attitude that disturbed the relationship but it was 
rather egocentricity and selfishness which caused the trouble. If 
husband and wife respect each other as spiritual beings their 
worldly relationships will take care of themselves. 

On the other hand, a few years ago we met a lady who was 
deeply interested in religion. At first her husband showed sym- 
pathy and interest in her religious activities. However, when 
their intimate relationship was affected and his selfish expressions 
were curbed, his appreciation of religion wholly vanished. Our 
advice to both was to cultivate a real spirit of unselfish love. 

In another situation a problem in relationship arose between 
a mother and daughter. The daughter became deeply interested 
in religious life and practices, which changed her total person- 
ality and way of life. Observing this radical change, the mother 

188 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

also began to show interest in religion. Previous to this time her 
religious life had been practically nil. As the daughter pro- 
gressed more and more, devoting considerable time to her 
spiritual exercises, studies, and consecrated work, and as she 
improved in her own personal work and duties, the mother 
gradually became disturbed. She did not like to see the radical 
transformation in her daughter. She probably felt inferior. The 
element of jealousy became extremely operative and seriously dis- 
turbed the relationship between them. Our advice was to both of 
them, just as it was to the husband and wife, that they should 
cultivate the spirit of unselfish love. The daughter should be 
allowed to develop in religious life in her own way; and the 
mother should also grow spiritually in her own way. 

It is evident that when the emotions of love and affection are 
stirred without proper cultivation and expression, human nature 
deteriorates. Love is the integral part of the human mind; in 
fact, it is the most powerful drive in human nature. If indi- 
viduals let it starve, they invariably pay bitterly. 

Swami Vivekananda used to say: "Expansion is life; contrac- 
tion is death/' The smaller a person makes his circle of loving 
friends, the more interested he becomes in himself and the 
smaller he becomes. He gradually becomes emotionally emaciated 
which results in neurosis and often psychosis. When a person 
withdraws himself from social contact, which furnishes the back- 
ground for the cultivation of the emotions, he becomes increas- 
ingly egocentric and selfish. He always considers his own little 
problems as the most important factors of life; and his mind 
may actually become pathological, even though he may hold a 
good position in business or in a profession. The power of love 
in its expression lifts man to a joyous state. On the other hand, 
its withdrawal makes one miserable and abnormal. So a person 
should always try to expand himself in the cultivation of love 
for normal life and behavior. He should deliberately cultivate 
higher emotions for friends and relatives through the exchange 
of loving expressions, based on the experience of divine love. 

Cynicism is an unhealthy state of mind and a great barrier to 
proper emotional expression. It is often argued that people 
should have a critical attitude in life and objectivity in under- 
standing human nature. When they continue to be critical in 

Power of Love 139 

the name of objectivity they become cynical and pessimistic. 
These attitudes are great obstacles to the manifestation of the 
power of love. A man who has these unfortunate traits of mind 
invariably loses his friends. 

On the other hand, the man who has the opposite qualities 
attracts people to him as the magnet attracts iron. The great 
spiritual teachers who revolutionized society, civilization, and 
culture could do so because of their unselfish love for humanity. 
St. Francis of Assisi even made friends with animals because of 
his unselfish love. The same was true of Swami Vivekananda; his 
heart knew no bounds. Consequently, animals were attracted to 
him, not to speak of human beings. This type of love need not 
necessarily be limited to such personalities. We find this power 
of emotional expression in ordinary human beings. We know of 
a young man who, from his boyhood, was optimistic, sweet, and 
friendly to everyone. His genial temperament attracted men and 
women to him in great numbers. He expanded his life immensely, 
and his circle of friends increased so much that it is difficult for 
him to find time to satisfy the emotional cravings of his friends 
who are constantly seeking his loving expressions. 

If anyone wants to have the joy of love, he has to cultivate 
it deliberately. Would to God we all had that intense, all- 
consuming love! Unfortunately, most people do hot have it at 
present. Some young friends in Providence were surprised when 
we said in a lecture that most persons do not have love for God. 
When we discussed it together later they realized that actually 
they did not love Him. People have a kind of feeling or a kind 
of admiration for God or a fear of Him which may be mistaken 
for love. However, love can be cultivated if people think of Him 
and serve Him as if they loved Him. 

In ordinary life, one person first sees another and then loves 
him. There is an exchange of feeling which intensifies the de- 
votion. The intense love of a mother appears the moment she 
sees her baby. Similarly, in all other human relationships love 
occurs between persons who see each other. However, divine love 
has to be cultivated without seeing God for the time being. We 
seldom meet a person who can say: "Yes, I see God." We seldom 
find a person who can truthfully say that he experiences God. 
The question arises: What can an individual do to love God? 

Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

In the beginning, he assumes that he loves Him. This is what 
Swami Vivekananda calls the preparatory stage. 5 At first he feels 
only an attraction for God and then he cultivates love by doing 
something for Him. Herein lies the utility of devotional exercises, 
known also as spiritual practices or worship. These practices 
include concentration and meditation, repeating the name of 
God, and other such means of reminding one's self of Him. 
Worship in any form is nothing but a method of cultivating 
divine love. Through it the devotee thinks of Him and the 
thought brings out his emotions for Him. Divine love is in every- 
one; the Blissful One, that Rasa, that Supreme Being, is present 
in all. Consequently, our true nature is love, is bliss. There is 
no one in this world who has no possibility of love. Yet, in a 
mysterious, inexplicable way people cover their true nature, 
their love, and then they become selfish and egocentric. 

As a person proceeds in the preparatory stage of devotion, he 
begins to feel joy. As we have mentioned, Swami Brahmananda 
used to tell us that next to the joy of the realization of God is the 
joy that one has in spiritual practices. 6 When the mind becomes 
free from the struggle of discipline, then the individual begins 
to enjoy his spiritual exercises. 

A religious leader and his followers used to visit Sri Rama- 
krishna at Dakshineswar. Sri Ramakrishna also visited their 
group. In some of their prayers they expressed the idea: "With 
our devotion we make God enjoyable." Sri Ramakrishna said: 
"What are you talking about! You make God enjoyable I You 
give Him that! Your devotion does not make God blissful or 
joyous. He is Joy and Bliss Itself. Through your devotion and 
love you make yourselves fit to know how joyous He is. You do 
not give the quality of love to Him; He is Love Itself." The per- 
son who has a little glimpse of that Reality knows what He 
really is. He discovers God. 

The vast majority of the people are afraid of God. In certain 
traditions, the followers are told that they must fear Him. It is 
true that beginners have fear, wonder, and admiration, as Sri 
Ramakrishna used to say. A child is afraid of an unknown person, 
but this does not mean that the unknown person is someone 

"Bhakti Yoga," Works, III, 70-80. 

e Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda, p. 100. 

Power of Love HI 

to be feared. Sometimes, when a person is not known by others, 
they have misconceived ideas about him. Similarly, when a per- 
son does not know God, the human weaknesses of fear, wonder, 
reverence, and admiration are attributed to Him. Admiration 
and reverence are noble in certain respects, but they do not 
indicate the highest form of divine love in the personal relation- 
ship with God. The highest form of all-consuming divine love 
goes beyond these characteristics of reverence, wonder, and admira- 
tion. In human relationships one person cannot love another if 
he is afraid of Him. Neither can an individual love another if 
he admires his glory, success, or greatness. This attitude creates 
separation, distance between them. Religion may begin with 
admiration of God, with an appreciation of His vast, infinite na- 
ture and glory; but spiritual life goej beyond this. Fear, wonder, 
and admiration all vanish from the heart of a lover. We do not 
thereby mean that the lover does not admire, revere, and ap- 
preciate the love of the beloved; he only remains oblivious of 
these feelings because of his own love for his beloved. Love is 
sweet. There must be sweetness in the relationship; and this 
cannot be enjoyed as long as there is separation. As a person ap 
proaches God, the distance vanishes and He becomes the nearest 
and dearest and the sweetest of all. That is the reason that there 
is enjoyment in divine love. There is no pain in it. At a certain 
stage of spiritual life there may be a feeling of pain in the separa- 
tion from God, but that pain is more than compensated by the 
realization of the Beloved. 

As a person proceeds in his enjoyment of love, there is a feel- 
ing of intimacy with God, a sense that "I am my Lord's and He 
is mine." One of our great Swamis used to say that the moment 
a spiritual aspirant or devotee feels that God belongs to him 
and he belongs to God, at that moment spiritual practices are no 
longer needed. Although he continues with them for their en- 
joyment, he has reached what he wanted an intimacy of union. 
This intimacy comes as one grows through devotional exercises 
or as this inherent love begins to manifest itself. Does not a 
mother feel intimacy with her child? Does not a lover feel in- 
timacy with his beloved? This feeling of belonging, of union, 
is the culmination of love. At that time we find that Beloved 
and lover lose all sense of separation. The joy of love becomes 

11$ Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

so intoxicating that a lover can hardly remain separated from the 
Beloved. Ultimately, they are united. As the devotees of Brinda- 
ban, in the Hindu tradition of India, used to say: "I am He; 
I am He!"* 

Different periods in the life of Sri Chaitanya and Sri Rama- 
krishna explicitly justify this statement of the devotees of Brinda- 
ban. We have seen that the great disciples of Sri Ramakrishna 
indicated that they realized this unity even though some of them 
started with the path of love, keeping themselves separate from 
the Beloved. Swami Shivananda, a great disciple of Sri Rama- 
krishna and a mystic of the highest type, was primarily a devotee 
and lover of God of the third type, even though he often ex- 
pressed the idea that he was one with God. In one of his inspir- 
ing letters to an American devotee he wrote: "I and the spirit are 
one. I know it and you will also be able to know it." The person 
who has a little glimpse of that joy of love is blessed and he 
makes others blessed by his very presence. He becomes a center 
of love and radiates that joy everywhere. 

7 Bhagavatam, chap. XI. 


Love* Marriage, and Religion 

THE nature of the human mind and its inherent urges, tend- 
encies, and emotions has already been discussed in previous 
chapters. The emotion of love is inherent in man; nay, it is the 
nature of the human soul. There is no one in the world who does 
not have the urge of love, no matter how imperfect he may seem 
to be. It is love that causes one person to sacrifice everything, 
even his life, for the good and happiness of his beloved. It is 
love that motivates man to reconstruct himself, establish a family, 
raise a culture, and build up a civilization. Again, it is ill-directed 
love that destroys human beings, society, and their culture, as 
we observe in contemporary history. This noble emotion of 
man can disintegrate a personality and interpersonal relationships 
when the emotions are uncontrolled, frustrated, and conflicting, 
as previous chapters have indicated. It is not the fault of love 
itself, but its misuse and abuse that creates so much trouble and 
disturbance. Love can be used for good or bad purposes when it 
is well-directed or ill-directed. However, the true nature of love 
is indeed constructive, harmonious, and unifying. It is the basic 
quality of the human soul; it is the urge which unifies one person 
with others. It is the connecting link between the lover and be- 
loved. It culminates in the union of the two. 

Therefore, it is worth while for us to consider the nature of 
love and its use. As we stated in Chapter XI, there are three forms 
of love manifest in human life, namely, demanding love, barter- 
ing love, and giving, unmercenary love. The first two forms do 
not fulfill the nature of real love; consequently, they are unsatis- 
factory and create disturbance, frustration, and disappointment. 


144 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Often they destroy the noble relationships of many human beings. 
On the other hand, the third form of love is a blessing in human 
life. If an individual is a real lover of the third type, it does not 
occur to him that he is sacrificing anything for the beloved; 
there is no calculation involved. This kind of love is as natural 
as breathing. It satisfies the inner nature of man, because his 
soul is what the Hindus call ananda, bliss. Since the human soul 
is inseparably related to God, its very nature is bliss. There is 
a statement in one of the Upanishads: "He is the bliss itself." 
Any kind of emotion that limits or binds the true nature of 
the soul makes it unhappy and restless. In our everyday experi- 
ences we find that man is constantly restless because he is seeking 
the fulfillment of bliss within him. He is trying to find his real 
nature and to culminate h. the glory of love by expanding his 
inner self. The moment there is tension, conflict, or frustration 
or lack of a healthy manifestation of this noble emotion, that 
very moment serious difficulty is created in the mind. Emotional 
disturbances also create serious functional ailments. When love, 
the basic quality of the human soul, does not have proper ex- 
pression and does not fulfill its purpose union with others it 
creates a baneful effect in the emotional nature of man. Misbe- 
havior and delinquency of children and youth, for instance, can 
be traced to lack of love on the part of the parents, other relatives, 
and society. Innumerable cases of behavior disturbances stem 
from this source. 

Love makes one expand. Anything that contracts our inner 
nature and makes us withdraw from the process of spontaneous 
emotional evolution creates serious disturbances in life. We often 
observe that any man who does not have this process of expansion 
gradually withdraws to himself and becomes more and more 
selfish and self-centered. In course of time he is bound to be dis- 
satisfied and unhappy. This progressive contraction of love cre- 
ates difficulties in interpersonal relationships. Then man goes 
through a vicious circle. As he withdraws to himself and thinks of 
his own personal interests and thereby intensifies his egocen- 
tricity, he becomes unpopular, anti-social, and then he withdraws 
more and more. Indeed, this goes against the very basic nature 
of man. This is what the great Swami calls death. Jesus also 

Love, Marriage, and Religion 146 

gave the same idea when He said: "He that saveth his life shall 
lose it."* 

From our infancy we express and receive love. From our birth 
we would not exist if the mother did not love us. We would die 
but for the love and care of the mother. All of us remember our 
younger days when our mother nourished us with her love and 
protection. She did not calculate that her child would or would 
not give her anything. She gave spontaneously and never thought 
that she was sacrificing anything. It was her life to give. As we 
grow up the emotion of love expands to include brothers and 
sisters. Later, we express love to neighbors, playmates, friends, 
and others. Then we have an urge to fulfill this love and we 
gradually try to intensify it and focus it. We seek an intimate 
companion with whom we can sha.e our ideas and ideals and 
with whom we can work for common happiness and common 
good. We think that by loving an individual intensely and com- 
pletely and having him as the partner of our journey through 
human life we shall have happiness and satisfaction. This is 
what is commonly known as falling in love. It is needless to say 
that most people do not really understand the full implication 
of falling in love; but it is indeed a great event in the life of a 
young person. He thinks that when two people are united in 
love there is great joy and satisfaction in life. Herein lies the 
value of marriage. 

The question arises here: Can a person have the satisfaction 
of love without marrying? Is marriage essential for the culmina- 
tion of love? Some thinkers maintain that it is essential. They 
feel that people cannot have intense love without it. We are not 
referring to physical extra-marital relationships but we are con- 
cerned about the life of monks and nuns and others who are 
devoted to the love of God. A book by our friend, Professor 
Peter A. Bertocci, expresses the idea that without marriage one 
cannot have the fulfillment of love. 2 We are sure he did not 
consider the lives of spiritual persons, such as the monks and 
nuns and some of the great creative artists and thinkers, but 
thought only in terms of the extra-marital physical relationships 

*Matt. 10: 39. 

2 Peter A. Bertocci, The Human Adventure in Sex, Love, and Marriage 
(New York: Association Press, 1949). 

146 Menial Health and Hindu Psychology 

between man and woman. We agree with him that extra-marital 
physical relationship is a barrier for the culmination of real 
love. However, it is worth while for us to give attention to the 
fact that a man can reach the culmination of love without mar- 
riage, if he directs this greatest urge of the human mind to God, 
directly and immediately, without any physical expression. A 
monk or nun deliberately and consciously directs his or her love 
to God and finds fulfillment in union with Him. The devotee 
forgets himself and merges himself in God. As Girish Ghosh, the 
great dramatist of India, writes: "I lost myself in Him." So the 
monk or nun loses himself or herself in the love of God and finds 
intense emotional satisfaction in it. This form of love cannot be 
compared to anything on the human plane. It is all-consuming, 
universal, illimitable. It exp ands a person in such a way that he 
feels kinship not only with God but also with other beings. That 
is the reason a St. Francis and a Swami Vivekananda could love 
all beings intensely. They found that all beings were united 
and inseparably connected with their Beloved. Indeed, this is 
the culmination of the third form of love. It is the greatest 
satisfaction that any human being can have. It is the goal of 
householders as well as of those in monasteries and convents. 

Marriage is essential for most people, as it is in itself a train- 
ing process in human emotions. Marriage is important for the 
cultivation of human love and for the harmonious development 
of other emotions, but it is a mistake to say that a man cannot 
love God without going through marriage. Monks and nuns, 
however, are few in this world; they form a microscopic minority. 
So the vast majority of the people must experience love through 
the medium of marriage. 

Marriage is a sacrament, to use Christian terminology, which 
enables two persons to discipline their emotions together and 
to harmonize the differences in their emotions, understanding, 
aspirations, and achievements in life. It enables them not only 
to have emotional satisfaction but also to sacrifice their likes 
and dislikes for the common good and for the good of their 
children. The experience of marriage is an important process in 
the expansion of the emotions as well as of love and of social 
consciousness. It has been found that a civilization deteriorates 
when it loses the sanctity of married life. Professor J. D. Unwin, 

Love, Marriage, and Religion 147 

of Oxford and Cambridge, comes to the conclusion in Sex and 
Culture that when the people of a civilization indulge in sexual 
promiscuity, disregarding the sanctity of marriage, invariably 
there is deterioration. 5 Our own observations convince us of the 
validity of Professor Unwin's statements. Marriage is a disci- 
plinary process which is necessary for the stability of emotions in 
the vast majority of the people. There are a few persons who can 
find satisfaction in human love without marriage and without 
extra-marital physical relationships. Their love is also intense 
and at the same time platonic. But every form of human love 
must be related to love of God if it is to be truly satisfactory. 

When the ideal of marriage is considered, we find that it is an 
important factor in human life, not only for social reasons but 
also for emotional satisfaction. Whe.. two persons are intensely 
in love with one another, they want to be wholly united 
physically, intellectually, emotionally, and above all spiritually 
because the urge of love is essentially a spiritual quality. If we 
withdraw the spiritual element from marriage, it is not going 
to be successful from the standpoint of the ideal which is the 
basis of marriage. As the goal of human life is the attainment of 
divinity that is already in man, or the attainment of God- 
consciousness, marriage helps the vast majority of people to work 
toward that goal through the fulfillment of the duties and func- 
tions of married life. This sacred institution leads one gradually 
from the human to the divine plane. But if any institution, 
method, or way of life deprives us of the primary objective of 
life, then our progress will be hindered. If the institution is 
withdrawn from society, as it has happened in different cultures, 
then society is bound to disintegrate. 

Many young persons do not actually realize the seriousness of 
this sacred institution. The result of this has been disastrous. 
If anyone considers that marriage is a purely physical relation- 
ship and disregards the ideal behind it, then he is bound to 
fail in the attainment of the real goal of marriage. A minister 
reported to us some time ago how lightly many young people take 
this institution. He said that a young man went to him with a 
girl he wanted to marry. The expression that the young man 
used was extremely shocking. "I want to be hitched to this skirt." 

*J. D. Unwin, Sex and Culture (London: Humphrey Milford, 1954). 

148 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

A prominent Episcopal minister recently told his congregation, 
at the thirtieth anniversary of his ministry, that at the time he 
was ordained almost every thirtieth marriage was unsuccessful. 
Now, after thirty years, every third marriage is a failure. We can 
cite instances from our own experience. A young man recently 
discussed his marriage problem with us. After he had been mar- 
ried about a month he and his wife were divorced. After a few 
months they got together again and remarried. After living to- 
gether for a few more months they separated. When the young 
man asked for advice we told him that this experiment in mar- 
riage was hasty. Two grownups from different backgrounds can- 
not know each other sufficiently in one month to determine if 
they can adjust to each other. In fact, it was our conviction that 
they did not have a sound understanding of the marriage vow. 
The marriage was based on physical fascination. Our advice was 
that in the first place they should understand the significance of 
marriage and give themselves sufficient time to find out if they 
were compatible or not. 

It is worth while to consider the Hindu conception of mar- 
riage. The implication in the term used to denote a Hindu wife 
is self-evident. She is called sahadharmini, the partner in spiritual 
culture. Marriage is considered as a union of two persons for 
mutual understanding, emotional satisfaction, and fulfillment of 
the common ideal of life. The Judaeo-Christian tradition has a 
similar conception of the sacredness of marriage. The man and 
wife are co-workers in the unfoldment of spiritual life. The goal 
of life, whether for man or woman, as we have expressed many 
times, is the unfoldment of the spirit within us, either through 
the marriage of two individuals who love one another and dedi- 
cate themselves to their mutual happiness, understanding, and 
spiritual development, or through monasticism. The goal of life 
is the ultimate manifestation of the divinity that is already in 
man, as we have quoted from Swami Vivekananda. We are con- 
sciously or unconsciously, deliberately or unintentionally, di- 
rectly or indirectly, approaching the goal, because our inner urge 
is compelling us to reach that final aim the realization of God. 

In married life two persons who love each other intensely are 
fulfilling some purpose. Man functions on the physical, intel- 
lectual, moral, and spiritual planes. The majority of people can- 

Love, Marriage, and Religion 

not function on the spiritual plane all at once. They have to go 
through the different phases of life and harmonize them. It is 
a mistake to say that marriage is meant for physical satisfaction 
alone. There are many persons who understand marriage primar- 
ily in terms of physical gratification. A number of books have 
been written to justify this conception. The Kinsey report 4 is 
one of the outstanding presentations of this conception of the 
human functions. It is true that a group of investigators has cer- 
tain facts, but the implicit generalizations are not justifiable. 

We grant that the physical element exists in married life, but 
even this is not satisfactory unless there is intense love between 
man and wife. Many persons do not realize the cause of marital 
disturbances. One of the important causes is the lack of under- 
standing of two distinct natures masculine and feminine. It is 
true that man craves love, yet the feminine nature is more in- 
herently emotional. It will not be out of place to say that much 
of the intellectual understanding of women is based on their 
emotional reactions and interpretation. It is commonly under- 
stood that women have "hunches," or an intuitive sense of certain 
things. This method of knowledge is of the emotional type in 
the majority of women. Most men do not actually understand 
feminine requirements so they create certain physical situations 
which become the basis for feminine tension, disturbance, and 
dissatisfaction on the physical plane, as their physical satisfaction 
is closely tied up with their emotional life. It is needless to say 
that many marital disturbances can be eliminated if both parties 
understand the mutual requirements. However, both are often 
selfish and thoughtless and do not consider each other's emo- 
tional needs. 

We can cite many instances of failure in this sacred union 
due to the carelessness and thoughtlessness of the husband. A 
lady married a great intellectual who already had a previous fail- 
ure in marriage. Even in his first marriage he did rjot fully 
realize the feminine requirements, so he was not at all thoughtful 
of the emotional element in the physical satisfaction of his sec- 
ond wife. In various ways he would hurt the emotions of this 
partner. Gradually this carelessness, thoughtlessness, and selfish- 

* Alfred C. Kinsey, Mardell B. Pomeroy, and Clyde E. Martin, Sexual 
Behavior in the Human Male (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Co., 1948). 

150 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

ness on his part completely alienated the affection of his wife. 
They both gradually developed a mental attitude which neces- 
sitated a divorce. Fortunately, the lady understood the higher 
values of life and directed her mind considerably to the ultimate 
goal of life, even though she went through this agonizing ex- 
perience. On the other hand, we know another couple who had 
a similar type of problem and, after about twenty years, that 
marriage, also, ended in divorce. Unfortunately, the lady would 
not absorb the higher spiritual values, so she is living a life of 
complete isolation and frustration. 

Married couples should keep in mind that their success in life 
will depend on mutual understanding, love, and cooperation, 
even on the physical plane. Many persons do not realize the value 
of cooperation and harmony in their intimate life. It is worth 
while for both the partners to keep this idea of cooperation 
bright in their minds through the medium of their marriage, 
if they want to reach the goal. 

An important element in marriage is procreation. Marriage 
is not generally satisfactory if it is not blessed with children. 
Often, people do not realize this particular feminine require- 
ment. After all, woman is the mother, as Swami Vivekananda 
points out in his "Women of India." Women consciously or 
unconsciously are seeking motherhood. The mother sentiment is 
present even in four- or five-year old girls, not to speak of adults. 
We find that if a woman is not married or if she is without a 
child after marriage she spontaneously expresses the mother in- 
stinct and wants to fulfill it in other ways. 

Motherhood is also the spiritual quality of womanhood. Some 
may question this and say that it is a mere biological urge to 
preserve the race. However, we find that it also has a spiritual 
and cultural value. Culture is transmitted from parents to chil- 
dren, from teachers to students and disciples. It will not be out 
of place to say that this relationship between parents and chil- 
dren can be equated with that of the spiritual teachers and 
disciples in India. The parents consciously and unconsciously 
connect themselves with previous and successive generations and 
become the links through which the culture is passed on to their 
children. So the parents play an essential part in the structure of 
society. An important emotional element in the propagation of 

Love, Marriage, and Religion 161 

children is the satisfaction of seeing them grow into manhood 
and womanhood and become links themselves through which 
the cultural heritage is passed on. Apart from this value, there is 
also the deeper spiritual element to be considered, for through 
this process the married couple is gradually approaching the 
supreme goal of life. 

In the Hindu social system there are four stages of life called 
ashramas. (i) A young man or woman enters life as a student. 
He not only learns from books and gains an intellectual con- 
ception of philosophy, history, and other such subjects, but he 
is also trained emotionally and practically in interpersonal rela- 
tionships. He must understand the duties that are prescribed 
for the life of a householder. First is his duty to God. It is the 
primary duty of every person to love or know God. The second 
duty is to follow the teachings of the great religious leaders, the 
spiritual teachers, who build up cultures and civilizations. What 
would have been the condition of Europe but for the influence 
of Jesus and His followers? What would have happened in India 
but for the influence of great spiritual personalities like Krishna, 
Buddha, and others? What would have become of the Jews if 
they had not had the great prophets? What would have become 
of China but for the influence of Lao-tse, Confucius, and others? 
A person must be grateful to these spiritual personalities for his 
cultural heritage. He fulfills his duty to them by living according 
to their principles and by transmitting the ideals received from 
them to his children and others, thereby preserving the highest 
values of a culture. 

The third duty is to the parents and grandparents. But for 
them an individual would not exist nor would he have intel- 
lectual, emotional, and spiritual achievements. This responsi- 
bility is fulfilled in the performance of the first duty. The fourth 
duty of a man is to his fellow beings. His life and welfare de- 
pend on them. Heat, light, food, shelter, and other comforts and 
necessities are produced by the labor of innumerable persons. 
Therefore, if a person does nothing in return and only takes 
everything from them, he is neglecting his social duty. Indeed, 
every man must have social consciousness. The fifth and final 
duty is to inferior beings such as animals, birds, and so forth, for 
they also are potentially divine. By virtue of his birth, a person 

15$ Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

is obligated to fulfill these duties during all the stages of his 

(2) When this training period is over, the individual enters 
married life. Then the married couple observes the five duties 
and serves society. The man and wife take care of the parents, 
each other, their children, relatives, and other members of 
society. (3) When they are older and have brought up their 
families, they enter the third stage of life which is predominantly 
contemplative. This is a period of preparation for a still higher 
stage. The husband and wife remain together but they retire 
from the family life and give their time to intense spiritual 
practices, acting in the capacity of advisors and friends to their 
children and grandchildren. (4) In the last stage of life the 
individuals give their entLe time to the service of God and man 
through intense spiritual practices. This is generally associated 
with a life of renunciation. 

A proper understanding of these stages is important in mar- 
riage. How much middle-aged men and women suffer from the 
wrong understanding of their function in married life! They 
seem to think that they must continue to function on the physical 
plane throughout life. The result is inevitable frustration, tension, 
and conflict. The body and mind change with age. If anyone 
wants to continue to function on the physical plane even in 
later years he is bound to have serious difficulties, for cruel 
nature plays havoc with him. Man exists not only for biological 
satisfaction but for something higher. He can have satisfaction 
throughout life if he also functions on the intellectual, aesthetic, 
moral, and spiritual planes. Marriage is bound to fail if couples 
do not realize the real values of life and marriage. Herein lies 
the utility of the higher aspect of religion. 

Although we have discussed religion in previous chapters, we 
are going to elaborate its meaning for married life. If a person 
keeps the supreme goal bright in life and subordinates all the 
other functions to that ideal, then there is definite justification 
and reason to be happy in marriage. On the other hand, if he 
discards the religious value in marriage and takes it merely as 
the fulfillment of physical satisfaction, there will be inevitable 
frustration. For example, there was an important professional 
man with a great deal of inherited wealth who was married for 

Love, Marriage, and Religion 15S 

more than twenty-five years. He and his wife had normal chil- 
dren. As he approached the age of sixty, he began to realize that 
his physical appetite was not being satisfied and he started to 
seek new channels of satisfaction. He tried to justify himself by 
criticizing his wife, but the criticism was on weak grounds. The 
real basis of the matrimonial trouble was a lack of higher aspira- 
tions and the practice of higher values. The life of the couple 
became unbearable. The wife sought spiritual assistance and 
helped herself considerably. The husband continued to be dis- 
turbed for some time, but due to the nobility of his wife he began 
gradually to submit to the inevitable conditions of life. However, 
the agony of the man cannot be fully described. He would have 
eliminated this disturbance entirely and led a sweet life with his 
wife if he could have persuaded himself to devote time to intel- 
lectual and spiritual values. Many persons, both men and women, 
are dissatisfied with life and act violently because of frustration} 
and the inner tension caused by wrong and immature insight 
into values. Even though they are grownup they function like 
children, clinging to the old objects of enjoyment. If they could 
have mature insight that their physical nature is bound to change 
and, therefore, give emphasis to higher values, they would have 
a peaceful and happy middle age and old age. 

Even intellectual and aesthetic pursuits cannot satisfy a per- 
son fully all through life. They are, no doubt, better than mere 
physical functioning, but we know some people of middle age 
who give their time to intellectual and aesthetic culture which 
does not sustain them. There is no emotional satisfaction unless 
a person has God in his life. There is no need to be ashamed 
of the word God. He may be called God, Allah, Jehovah, Abso- 
lute, or whatever a person prefers; but whatever He may be 
called, a person must have that Reality in his life. The reason 
is that two persons coming from different backgrounds, traditions, 
and families will find it difficult to harmonize and integrate 
themselves into the marital union unless they understand that 
there is a higher reality in both of them. They should gradually 
reach the third point, God, who is the central figure of both. 
If two persons realize that they are inseparably connected with 
each other because of their relationship to God, this becomes 
the common basis for their union. Expediency does not help 

154 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

for any length of time. They may think that they must work 
together because otherwise their married life will not be happy, 
but they need a still higher value to have deeper understanding, 
sympathy, and acceptance of one another's tendencies, possi- 
bilities, achievements, and emotional and intellectual require- 
ments. As we think of married life, we cannot help but conclude 
that the basis of all the requirements of marriage lies in the 
understanding of the partner's higher nature. The question may 
arise: Why should not an individual seek personal gratification, 
even at the cost of the partner? But when the man and wife 
understand that they are interrelated with God, just as the rays 
of the sun are related to one another and to the sun, they will 
harmonize and give up their angularities for the common good, 
for mutual happiness, and Tor God-realization. They can thereby 
reach the third form of love. 

Another factor should be remembered in order to make mar- 
riage successful. Although men and women are inseparably 
connected with God, on the physical plane they function differ- 
ently as individuals. Men have certain types of expressions and 
functions and women another. By no means is one sex inferior to 
the other. On the contrary, they are complementary. The mascu- 
line and feminine functions in life complete the totality of 
human experience. If one or the other feels self-sufficiency and 
disregards or subordinates the importance of the other, then 
there will be incomplete functioning of human life creating 
serious consequences. Many major problems arise in married life 
when either party fails to realize the significance of the respective 
duties and functions of the other. Due to the lack of understand- 
ing of proper values and each other's complementary nature, 
certain mental disturbances can be created in the form of superi- 
ority or inferiority complexes, apart from the disharmony caused 
in total married life. 

Clinical psychologists often face this problem. A particular case 
comes to mind in this connection. A man lost his father early in 
life and was brought up by his mother without any masculine 
influence. He naturally began to imitate the feminine nature. 
When he was married to a young woman, his feminine tendencies 
created a serious conflict both in him and in his wife which 
ultimately destroyed this sacred relationship. We also know many 
instances where the woman has become extremely aggressive and 

Love, Marriage, and Religion 165 

masculine in her marital affairs. This trait may have developed 
because of her admiration of her father or because of childhood 
negligence and insecurity resulting in a feeling of inferiority. 
When a woman adopts the masculine way of life, she invariably 
neglects her proper functioning and duty in marriage. This imi- 
tation of the masculine quality by a feminine nature is disastrous 
and creates conflicts in both partners. 

We know many women in the present social structure who like 
to imitate men in their personal behavior and relationships. 
They do not seem to realize that their role in family life is as 
important as that of the men. We cannot blame women for that, 
as in a patriarchal society man plays an important part. The 
importance of the woman's place is ignored, so much so that she 
is made to feel inferior. On the other hand, in a matriarchal 
society, woman plays the most important part, keeping the man 
in a subordinate state. In both these distinct types of society, 
one or the other suffers from a sense of inferiority, thus creating 
serious disturbances in both partners, directly or indirectly. How- 
ever, in a stable society, they are both equally important, even 
though there is a difference in their respective functions and 

A man should realize that his wife is basically divine, just as 
the wife should realize that her husband is also basically divine. 
In one of the Upanishads there is a celebrated story which is 
told in the conversation between two spiritual personalities, a 
man and wife renouncing the world. The wife wanted to share 
the treasure for which her husband was giving up the world. In 
the inspired conversation the husband, Yajnavalkya, tells the 

"Oh, Maitreyi, the husband is not dear to the wife because of the 
husband but because of the love for the Atma (Self) in the husband. 
Similarly, the wife is not dear to the husband because of herself but 
because of the husband's love for the Atma in her. ... So, Maitreyi, 
realize the Atma who is the dearest of all." 5 

When a person realizes the fact of the spiritual nature of man, 
he becomes convinced that the masculine and feminine functions 
are equally important; neither is inferior or superior to the 

That is the reason that in ancient India there was harmony 

Vrihadaranyakopanishad II: 4. 

156 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

in the family. The society was neither totally patriarchal nor 
totally matriarchal. It was based on mutual understanding and 
appreciation of the two aspects of human nature. In order to 
make marriage successful, a person must understand that these 
two functions are necessary for the common good and for the 
realization of the ultimate goal of life. 

Another problem to consider is the implication of marriage in 
a society or a culture. From the Hindu point of view, marriage is 
not a mere personal affair; it is a social affair as well. Hindu 
marriage is greatly communistic, not in the Russian sense but 
in a spiritual sense. Two persons marry, live together, and func- 
tion together on the physical, moral, intellectual, and spiritual 
planes for their own happiness and for the good of society at 
large. That is the reason tLat in India a marriage is approved by 
society; the newly-weds are accepted as integral parts of the group. 
Naturally, society should have some voice in the marital union 
to determine that it is not only good for the pleasure of the 
young people but also for the whole social structure. Nowadays, 
young people all over the world are often individualistic and 
disregard their social responsibility. This individualistic and 
selfish attitude toward marriage, with disregard of its social 
implications, often seriously affects the union. It gradually makes 
the partners more and more egocentric and selfish. On the other 
hand, if the newly wed couples realize their social responsibility 
they will contribute to society, because they understand that 
society contributes a great deal to their welfare. Naturally, soci- 
ety should give its sanction and blessings to the young married 
couple. That can only happen when the religious ideal is kept 
bright. When such marriages take place, it can be taken for 
granted that they will be a blessing to the family, to society, 
to the community, and to the world, for true religion cultivates 
mutual thoughtfulness. 

In order to remedy tension and frustration in marriage, the 
couple should have a thorough understanding of the required 
ethical discipline; otherwise, the marriage will be an inevitable 
failure, even though there may not be divorce. Apart from mutual 
physical satisfaction, there must be other satisfactions if the 
marriage is to contribute healthy and normal children to society 
and fulfill its social values. In our own experience and that of 

Love, Marriage, and Religion 157 

many clinical psychologists, social welfare workers, and ministers 
of religion, it has been found that insecurity in children produces 
abnormalities and thereby creates a chaotic condition in society. 
In order to stabilize and harmonize the sacred union, both parties 
have to realize that they must impose discipline on themselves. 
This is not imposed on them by outsiders but is self-imposed 
self-control for the good and happiness of the man and wife as 
well as the children. 

It is sometimes suggested that external ethical super-imposition 
creates serious disturbances and maladjustment in the union. Out- 
side influences often create difficulties. But if the couple use self- 
control instead of self-expression in case of conflict, bringing 
in their own religious values, their marriage will grow in mutual 
happiness and harmony and the gradual spiritual evolution of 
both husband and wife. 

It is, no doubt, easy to understand the utility of ethical living 
but it is difficult to carry out, for any two individuals have 
distinct tendencies and emotional reactions. They also have indi- 
vidual likes and dislikes, and consequently, there are a great 
many chances for irritations and conflicts. Herein lies the real 
value of spiritual practices which bring out the inner power to 
carry out the ethical principles of endurance, forgiveness, toler- 
ance, acceptance, and sympathy in the couple's personal problems 
and in their social situations. Besides, the ethical living enables 
them to evolve spiritually and to set noble examples to their 
children by harmonizing their own relationship. 

Counselors, advisors, social workers, and psychotherapists who 
are interested in helping people to establish stability and happi- 
ness in marriage by the removal of mental conflict, tension, and 
frustration must clearly recognize that their work will be mean- 
ingless, even though they give temporary help, unless they thor- 
oughly emphasize the ethical basis of marriage and make clear 
that it means self-imposed self-control rather than repression. 
When a mother gives up luxuries for the good of the children, 
she does it willingly and lovingly without being conscious of 
sacrifice. Similarly, a married couple should often be willing to 
give up their selfish desires and expressions and personal satis- 
factions for the good of each other and the children and for 
their own spiritual growth. 

158 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

The married couple should not only work together in their 
household duties and personal functions but should also devote 
time to their spiritual practices together. It is an important fac- 
tor for their mutual growth. When one or the other neglects 
spiritual practices while the other partner goes on evolving spir- 
itually there is conflict and tension. The one who neglects the 
spiritual duties becomes dissatisfied. Often he or she becomes 
jealous of the other. 

In one case a man became deeply interested in spiritual life. 
While his wife appreciated spiritual values, she neglected spir- 
itual practices. She gradually began to feel lonely and dissatisfied, 
as she was not taking part in the total experience of her husband, 
even though they were working together in other aspects of fam- 
ily life. This dissatisfaction of the wife created serious conflict 
in the marital relationship. The result was about to be disastrous 
when a spiritual teacher came to know about the situation and 
tried to straighten it out by persuading the wife to go through 
similar religious discipline. As a consequence, he was able to 
establish considerable harmony in the life of these two persons. 

In another case, the wife was becoming deeply interested in 
spiritual life and began to do her spiritual practices seriously, 
which produced a radical change in her life. Her husband was 
intellectually appreciative of his wife in the early part of this 
changed situation. However, as she began to make progress while 
he neglected his spiritual practices, he became considerably dis- 
satisfied and jealous of his wife. Unfortunately, his mind went 
farther and farther away from religious life, in spite of his earlier 
intellectual appreciation and enthusiasm. The situation ended 
in marital disaster and divorce. A spiritual teacher tried in vain 
to persuade the husband to take up religious life. We are con- 
vinced that if the husband could have taken up spiritual prac- 
tices along with the wife this unfortunate situation would not 
have arisen. Moreover, they would have been very happy in all 
the phases of life. 

In many cases when two persons deeply appreciate religious 
values and practice spiritual exercises together they establish real 
harmony in their union. This togetherness should be practiced 
in the physical, intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual phases of 
life. It is important to note that the spirit of cooperation is 

Love, Marriage, and Religion 169 

valuable in the lives of the children as well. The children are 
intuitive and intelligent in their evaluation of the life of the 
parents. Whenever they notice or sense lack of cooperation in 
the parents in any way they feel insecure. Children who are 
brought up in a family with no togetherness or cooperation 
develop many of the juvenile difficulties and even delinquency. 
It is important that parents discharge their duty to their chil- 
dren by developing the spirit of cooperation in all phases of 
their lives, for the sake of the children, for society at large, and 
above all for their own happiness and the ultimate realization of 
the common spiritual goal. 


Religion and Integration 

A MAN can be called a real man so long as he is struggling to 
overcome nature. Many pe pie think of nature as that which is 
governed by physical laws; but nature is internal as well as ex- 
ternal. Not only is it comprised of the laws that govern the par- 
ticles of matter in the external world and in the human body but 
it also consists of the more subtle motive powers which control 
the internal world. It is wonderful to conquer external nature 
but it is still more wonderful to conquer internal nature. It is 
admirable to know the laws that govern the stars and planets; 
it is infinitely more admirable to know the laws that govern the 
passions, feelings, and will of mankind. This conquest of the 
inner man, the understanding of the subtle mechanisms within 
the human mind, and the knowledge of its remarkable secrets 
belong strictly and entirely to religion, or to the branch of psy- 
chology which deals with the total function of the human mind. 
In every society there is a group of people whose pleasure is 
not in the senses but beyond them, who now and then catch 
glimpses of something higher than gross matter, and who strug- 
gle to reach it. 1 The rise of a nation comes with an increase in 
the number of such men, and the fall begins when this pursuit 
of the Infinite has ceased. The mainstream of every race lies in 
its spirituality. The death of that race begins when spirituality 
wavers and materialism and hedonism gain the ascendancy. 

1 William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York: Long- 
mans, Green & Co., 1911). See also James Bissett Pratt, The Religious 
Consciousness (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1945). Allport, The Indi- 
vidual and His Religion. Brightman, Nature and Values. 


Religion and Integration 161 

L Everyone is concerned nowadays with the problems of man. 
Every individual is frightened about the future of civilization, 
the future of mankind. Fifty years ago, Swami Vivekananda said 
in his Indian lectures: "The whole of the Western world is on 
a volcano which may burst tomorrow, go to pieces tomorrow. 
They have searched every corner of the world and have found 
no respite." 2 Serious and thoughtful men are trying to find a 
solution for these threatening problems of the modern world. 
It is to be expected that they are frightened by thfe destructive 
use of scientific knowledge at present. They do not know how 
or when the other nations will begin to use the products of this 
knowledge. Scientists, philosophers, and religious leaders are 
making alarming statements about current conditions. Professor 
Northrop, in his interesting and inspiring book, The Meeting of 
East and West, is seeking a solution for the vexing problems of 
international life. 8 He also stresses how the East and West can 
get together and function for mutual good. Of late in his speeches 
he has been emphasizing means of establishing peace between 
the Anglo-Americans and the Russians. It is not necessary to 
elaborate the importance of these problems in international re- 
lations. However, we cannot have understanding between Anglo- 
Americans and Russians or between East and West without con- 
sidering the deeper issues. .' 

It is absurd to think that politicians and military leaders can 
handle the situation alone. In the first place, they do not under- 
stand the basic issues at all. They may say that they do, but their 
understanding is superficial. As Swami Vivekananda says, they are 
interested in the conquest of external nature. When they try to 
conquer it and use it for the pleasure of man they will create 
various types of problems and tension everywhere until they 
destroy themselves. Serious men feel that destruction may be very 
near. Are we, then, to be pessimistic and to think that it is all 
over? Our answer is no. Of course, we have justification to be 
alarmed, but there is also a solution for this frightening prob- 
lem, if man wants to solve it. 

2 "Lectures from Columbo to Almora," Works, III, $77. Sec also Sorokin, 
The Crisis of Our Age and The Reconstruction of Humanity (Boston: 
Beacon Press, 1948). 

*F. S. C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West (New York: The 
Macmillan Co., 1946). 

168 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Apart from national and international problems, there is con- 
siderable personal trouble in the world. * Man's mind is not in- 
tegrated at present and there is serious mental conflict. Man finds 
it difficult to control and regulate his emotional and other mental 
urges. Just as he is facing difficulty in national and international 
situations, so he is finding even more vexing problems in his 
personal life. When we stop to think, we find that both external 
and internal conflicts have the same cause the attempt to 
conquer external nature. Man has forgotten that he has to over- 
come his own internal nature. Consequently, he has created these 
vexing problems which threaten to destroy all the values of life. 
Emotional disruptions are frightening the people just as much 
as political, economic, or racial issues. 

Let us consider how we dan handle these problems. There are 
many persons advocating the integration of society. The Con- 
ference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion and other such 
groups <are discussing this issue. Can scholarship help us to in- 
tegrate society? Outstanding thinkers and scholars recommend 
education as a solution; they feel that strengthening of the in- 
tellect is needed. Many of them also feel strongly that the social 
sciences should be developed. Philosophers like Professor John 
Dewey think that scientific method can alone solve modern prob- 
lems. According to him: 

It [the present state of philosophy] holds that not grasp of eternal 
and universal Reality but use of the methods and conclusions of our 
best knowledge, that called scientific, provides the means for conduct- 
ing this search. It holds that limitations which now exist in this use are 
to be removed by means of extension of the ways of tested knowing 
that define science from physical and physiological matters to social 
and distinctly human affairs. The movement is called, in its various as- 
pects, by the names of pragmatism, experimentalism, instrumentalism. 4 

The Professor also advises the philosophers to give up the pur- 
suit of the Absolute and direct their attention to the develop- 
ment of the various phases of science. He seems to feel that 
science is still in its infancy; when it is thoroughly developed it 
will solve the problems of man. He writes: 

The accusation brought against it [philosophic inquiry] of childlike 
trust in science omits the fact that it holds that science itself is still in 

4 John Dewcy, Problems of Men (New York: Philosophical Library, 
1946), p. 11. 

Religion and Integration 163 

its babyhood. ... It holds that it will achieve manhood only when its 
use is extended to cover all aspects of all matters of human concern. 

Little does he realize that the objective of various scientists is the 
conquest of the different aspects of external nature. Even the 
social sciences like sociology, social psychology, and anthropology 
do not go deep enough for man to learn how to conquer his 
inner nature. We cannot help thinking that the learned phi- 
losopher, along with other such thinkers, misses the mark. His 
prescriptions seem superficial in the light of the facts of con- 
temporary history. As long as the social sciences remain as they 
are in their outlook and philosophy, personal and interpersonal 
problems will remain unsolved. 

In the conquest of external nature a kind of sociology may be 
developed from the utilitarian point of view. Man is realizing 
that he cannot live without establishing some sort of integration 
in society. The question arises, then, how can the ideology of the 
Americans freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of 
expression, freedom of thought, freedom of private enterprise 
(based on the ideal of democracy) be integrated? 

Again, there is Russia in the process of becoming the greatest 
or second greatest power. In Russia they think that an ordinary 
man cannot understand what is good for him and has to be 
trained and guided by the leaders who know what is best for 
his welfare. This totalitarian attitude is the present ideal of 
Russian society. It is a mistake to think that totalitarianism ap- 
peared only recently in the world. According to Professor North- 
rop and a few others, it existed years ago in Europe, although 
it is not classified as such by many people. It was a paternalistic 
system where certain leaders told the people what to do so that 
they would have the greatest good in life. The idea was: "You 
are like children; you are not developed. We are responsible for 
your welfare; we shall see what is good for you. You obey us and 
that is enough/' Russian totalitarianism is the same but with a 
different philosophy. Its philosophy is based on dialectical ma- 
terialism, while the other system in Europe was based on reli- 
gious ideals. There is a world of difference between these two 
types of totalitarianism. However, if the true religious ideal does 


164 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

not remain strong, then the religious system deteriorates into the 
same type of totalitarianism as exists in Russia today. 

Totalitarianism as such is not to be blamed; it is the ideal 
which is at fault. Plato's Republic was to be guided by philoso- 
phers; but the Platonic philosophers were not like most of the 
philosophers today. They lived their philosophy, and as Plato- 
nists they believed that philosophy and life should not be isolated. 
In other words, the Platonic philosopher was he who had direct 
knowledge of the Reality, Truth, or Good. Unless he had the 
knowledge of the Reality, Truth, or Good, he was not a true 
philosopher. So he had to be a man of inner knowledge and 
conquest, established in truth. For Plato, to know is to act. Con- 
sequently, the behavior of the Platonic philosopher had to be 
changed and his personality wholly integrated. 

Fortunately, there are outstanding philosophers who agree with 
Plato's point of view and do not agree with John Dewey's inter- 
pretat ; on. They also understand and practice the philosophy 
they teach. Professor Edgar S. Brightman, for example, writes of 
the need for a sound philosophy of life: 

It is true that the present age is an age in which philosophy is in 
considerable disrepute. Nevertheless philosophy is indispensable for 
life. There are many who ridicule theory and passionately praise prac- 
tice. One would like to see a person of that sort try to build a subway 
or a ship, or try to fly an airplane by practice without theory. We do, 
alas, see him daily living his life without any principles, and we see 
the triumph of practice over theory in loose living, loose drinking, and 
loose thinking. Me? n while those who have a theory, be it good or bad, 
develop gigantic power. The power of Russia has rested on the phi- 
losophy of dialectical materialism; the power of Nazi Germany, on "the 
National Socialist world view"; that of the Roman Catholic Church, 
on the philosophy of St. Thomas and the principles of revelation as in- 
terpreted by Church Councils; and that of America and all democratic 
nations, on a democratic philosophy of life. Never was philosophy of 
life more powerful, and never have philosophies been more in need of 
rational criticism, than today. A philosophy of life is indispensable for 
great living, individual or social; and a truth-seeking philosophy is in- 
dispensable for true living. 6 

Ideas similar to Plato's were prescribed by ancient Hindu 
teachers. They also advocated a kind of republic which was to 
be inspired and governed by religious persons. This did not 

6 Brightman, Nature and Values, p. 141. 

Religion and Integration 165 

necessarily mean those who followed rituals and ceremonies or 
who were placed in exalted positions, but rather those who were 
completely integrated, who were thoroughly established in the 
knowledge of the Reality through conquest of their inner nature. 
Then and then alone were they fit to guide others. 

Only when individuals have inner knowledge and integration 
can they become unselfish and look after the welfare of others. 
Otherwise their emotions are not integrated and their personali- 
ties are not yet unified. They can grow to the level ui a true phi- 
losopher or a religious man, provided they try to conquer their 
inner nature. Unfortunately, we find in any given society that 
there are few persons who are interested in the conquest of inner 
nature and the integration of personality. So there will always 
remain only a handful of persons whif will be able to act without 
any selfish motive or any desire for power or usurpation. 

Those who are not established in the conquest of their inner 
nature will always move according to the dictates of th*?ir pas- 
sions. They may talk of philosophy, religious ideals, equality, 
and brotherhood, but their behavior will reveal selfish motives. 
Thus not merely must the ideology be considered, but the ideal 
must be unified and established in the personality. If individuals 
cannot develop their personality and translate the ideal into 
action, then there cannot be a peaceful or harmonious society, 
regardless of whether the ideal is intellectual, philosophical, re- 
ligious, or materialistic. This was shown during the Dark Ages 
and other periods of history in Europe and other parts of the 
world, and it is being shown again today all over the world. 

Although we are now becoming more aware that we are living 
in one world, there is still considerable prejudice between dif- 
ferent races and groups. Take, for instance, the United States. 
Christians and Jews have a moderate amount of knowledge of 
each other in this country. Does this knowledge remove prejudice 
and preconceived notions between the two groups? Unfortu- 
nately, it does not. The same ancient prejudice lingers in the 
minds of many Christians and Jews, and is seen in their behavior 
toward one another. They do not act with such open hostility 
here, however, as in some other countries. A friend of ours told 
us that in the large cities of Poland, not long ago, a Jew would 
spit where a Christian had passed him, as if something unclean 

166 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

had gone by. The Christians would do the same. Even though 
the expressions are modified in America, the feelings and tension 
are present; and whenever an unfortunate situation arises there 
is strong prejudice. 

Similarly, unfortunate and deplorable activities have been con- 
ducted in India by men who were intellectually great. They split 
the country and caused untold suffering for millions of people, 
not because they lacked the intellectual conception of higher 
ideals but because they were emotionally uncontrolled. Even 
when outstanding thinkers were trying to establish a world gov- 
ernment and peace they aroused the masses to deplorable activi- 
ties. Intellectualism does not necessarily go with integration of 

When the emotions or passions are aroused, man descends to 
the level of animals; he becomes worse than the animals. What 
was not done in Germany a few years ago and what has not been 
done in Japan and India? Recently, Paul Hutchinson, Managing 
Editor of the Christian Century, spoke frankly about conditions 
in Japan. Every American who knows about it must be ashamed 
of some of his fellow countrymen. Last year, two of our Amer- 
ican friends related to us their experiences in India. They said: 
"We hated to admit that we were Americans over there. We were 
ashamed of the way the Americans behaved and the way they 
lowered themselves in Oriental countries." Should we conclude 
that those Americans were intellectually weak? Many of them 
were college boys or high school boys. They did not lack intelli- 
gence but they lacked emotional control. So they lowered the 
ideal of the Americans in the eyes of the Oriental countries. 
Wendell Willkie reported that American prestige is practically 
dead in he Orient. This is not due to a lack of intellectualism 
but rather to lack of emotional integration. 

Although some might think that intellectualism would solve 
the conflict, unfortunately, intellectualists often cannot stand up 
under temptation. When their philosophy of life remains the 
attainment of the greatest amount of pleasure on the sense plane, 
they deteriorate, as the contemporary history of the West proves. 
Their intellectualism is used for destructive purposes in the 
name of national security. Scientists are devoting themselves to 
the service of the government. They have sacrificed everything 

Religion and Integration 167 

for the cause of the government. Nevertheless, there is a group 
of scientists in this country who oppose the use of scientific knowl- 
edge by political and military leaders and who refuse to divulge 
their scientific knowledge to those leaders, knowing that intel- 
lectualism should remain free from all influences. They are mak- 
ing a noble attempt; but, unfortunately, the attempt will remain 
limited to a small number. The rest will go with the crowd be- 
cause of their misguided philosophy of life. They cannot be 
blamed, because they think that power in international growth, 
in sense enjoyment, is the supreme goal of life. 

It is interesting to note what a great psychologist in America 
has to say about what he calls the master-sentiment and what we 
call the supreme goal of life. Professor Allport writes: 

Religion and therapy are alike in their insistence upon the need for 
greater unification and order in personality. Both recognize that the 
healthy mind requires an hierarchical organization of sentiments, or- 
dinarily with one master-sentiment holding the dominant position. Psy- 
chotherapy does not insist that the strong central interest should be 
religious in character, although this possibility, as I have just said, is 
ordinarily recognized and respected. But from the point of view of 
psychotherapy sentiments dealing with family, art, sports, business, 
would be equally good if they succeeded in marshaling energy and 
bestowing order in life. Religion is bound to disagree at this point, 
asking whether such sentiments are adequate to sustain personality. 7 

It is religion that can save us today. The religious ideal can 
help us in personal and national integration and in the integra- 
tion of society, because religion emphasizes theconquest of man's 
inner nature. Religion can be considered as such so long as it 
stresses control of the lower nature and manifestation of the 
higher nature of man. It is not religion if it does not hold to the 
supreme ideal of life. From time to time, even many so-called 
religious leaders have forgotten the religious ideal of life and 
have become degraded. Though they have called themselves 
religious, they have deteriorated into materialistic totalitarian* 
for all practical purposes. How aptly Professor Allport says: 

Religion, we conclude, is superior to psychotherapy in the allowance 
it makes for the affiliative need in human nature. But when it comes to 
a question of implementing this insight we are confronted by the age- 

7 Allport, The Individual and His Religion, p. 79. 

168 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

long failure of religion to turn doctrine into practice. More and more 
people seem impatient with the shortcomings of unacted religious pro- 
fession. A host of accusations arise. 8 

The religious ideal, then, must be kept ablaze constantly if 
we want integration of ourselves and society and removal of the 
tension which has been created in the modern world; and the 
religious ideal can be kept ablaze only by the integration of per- 
sonality. Although a whole nation or society is not at once lifted 
to a higher r plane through inner conquest, it can be done on an 
individual basis and those individuals can influence others to do 
the same. That is the reason Swami Vivekananda says that the 
more the individuals can conquer their inner nature and mani- 
fest their higher or divine nature, the greater and more stable 
society will be. ^ 

When there are many integrated personalites in human society, 
civilization rises. Their influence is felt by the masses. Sri Krishna 
tells us in the Bhagavad-Gita that whatever a great man does 
will be done by the masses. If the greatness of a man is under- 
stood from a religious point of view that he can conquer him- 
self, love others, and serve the world then we are bound to 
follow his ideal. It is high time for every thinking man to fortify 
himself by the ideal of self-conquest, if he wants to remove ten- 
sion, individually and collectively. When the emotions and pas- 
sions are conquered and directed by individuals to the highest 
realization of life, then those persons become centers of spiritual 
power which they can disseminate. Through this method alone 
can a harmonious society be established. 

This conquest must be accomplished by practical means. In- 
tellectually it may be understood, but a person cannot hold to it 
unless it is applied in everyday life. He becomes religious when 
he regulates his everyday life, when he does everything with the 
spirit of service and consecration, when he conquers his passions, 
integrates his personality, and manifests his divine nature. Then 
alone can he become a powerful personality and lift people to 
the higher plane. Then alone can the problem of tension be 

. 82. 

7* Religion Escapism? 187 

study of these cases that all religious persons are seeking a ficti- 
tious or imaginative God. Clarification is needed as to why and 
how man seeks God and finds Him, actually and truly. 

No doubt some persons who are disturbed by the problems 
of the world or who have a sense of inadequacy therefore seek 
help and redemption from God. But there are many others who 
have a right understanding of life, who have the spirit of inquiry, 
and who want to regulate their emotions so that they can have 
the greatest amount of peace in life. They analyze, philosophize, 
and make efforts to attain the knowledge of God. There are still 
others who want to know God immediately and directly. Sri 
Krishna classifies those who seek religion or God into four groups: 
"Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna, the dis- 
tressed, the seeker of knowledge, the* seeker of enjoyment, and 
the wise, . . ." 3 It is true that one group of people seeks the 
help of God to get rid of troubles and disturbances physical 
and mental. Perhaps Watson has this group in mind. People find 
it very difficult to cope with the problems of life. Naturally they 
seek a supernatural, extra-cosmic Being or personified nature to 
help them to get rid of pain and suffering. Some also approach 
God to overcome the onslaughts of nature. 

Those who seek enjoyment approach God to get something 
positive from Him either in the form of things or qualities, know- 
ing that they, by themselves, cannot get them. Some seek wealth, 
health, name, fame, power, or position through God when they 
feel a sense of their own inadequacy. Perhaps Freud had this 
group in mind and concluded, as did Watson, that all men seek 
God either through a sense of fear or guilt. There is a tendency 
among some of the psychologists of religion in the West to 
conclude that the desire for spiritual life arises from a sense of 
guilt. This is clearly expressed by Dr. Edwin Diller Starbuck: 

. . . The result of an analysis of these different shades of experience 
coincides with the common designation of this preconversion state in 
making the central fact in it all the sense of sin, while the other condi- 
tions are various manifestations of this, as determined, first, by differ- 
ences in temperament, and, second, by whether the ideal life or the 
sinful life is vivid in consciousness. 4 

8 Srimad-Bhagavad'Gita VII: 16. 

4 Edwin Diller Starbuck, The Psychology of Religion (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1899), p. 58. 

188 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Dr. Starbuck further states that: "Conversion is a process of 
struggling away from sin, rather than of striving toward con- 
sciousness/' 6 And again he says: "The sense of sin and depression 
of feeling are fundamental factors in conversion if not in re- 
ligious experience in general." 6 Professor James also writes: 

... To begin with, there are two things in the mind of the candidate 
for conversion: first, the present incompleteness or wrongness, the "sin" 
which he is eager to escape from and second, the positive ideal which 
he longs to>compass. Now with most of us the sense of our present 
wrongness is a far more distinct piece of our consciousness than is the 
imagination of any positive ideal we can aim at. In a majority of 
cases, indeed, the "sin" almost exclusively engrosses the attention . . . 7 

In the next group are those who have the spirit of inquiry and 
really want to know and understand God. They want to get 
something positive in the form of love, purity, truthfulness, and 
so forth. They do not necessarily seek God because of fear; 
their motivation is far greater than consciousness of sin or guilt; 
in fact, the search for knowledge of God seems to be the most 
effective dynamic force behind religion. This group of people 
want to know the real nature of God and their relationship to 
Him. They are the real seekers of God. There are two distinct 
types belonging to this group. One type is predominantly emo- 
tional; the individuals want to express love for God, feeling that 
their love for Him will fully satisfy their emotional require- 
ments. They think of Him as mother, father, friend, companion, 
master, child, or beloved, and express their love to Him through 
one of these relacionships. Many of them also want love from 

The second type is motivated purely by the pursuit of truth. 
The individuals approach God entirely from an intellectual point 
of view. The whole ambition and aim of this group is attain- 
ment of the knowledge of God or the Self, or the Reality. In 
the words of Socrates: "Man, know thyself." They do not accept 
the existence of God because they hear or read about Him, nor 
are they satisfied with conceptual or philosophical knowledge of 
Him. Their whole motive is to experience Him. Their knowledge 
is of the higher empirical type, or what the Hindus call samadhi 

* Ibid., p. 64. 
7Wd., p. 67. 
7 William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 209. 

Is Religion Etcapismf 189 

(superconsciousness). 8 This is what is known as mysticism, which 
is nothing but the direct and immediate experience of God. 
The great devotees and mystics belonging to the established 
religions are generally found in this group. According to Pro- 
fessor Brightman: 

Of the traits of that experience, the most important for the knowl- 
edge of God is the one called by William James its noetic quality. The 
mystic believes that he knows God in an immediate and absolutely 
certain experience. The knowledge may be ineffable; in* fact, all im- 
mediate experience is ineffable. No definition can tell what the quality 
of purple color is, or the color of a rose; one who tries to tell of such 
matters can only hope that his words will be addressed to one who has 
had a similar experience. Otherwise the words are meaningless. So is it 
with experience of God. 9 

Some of those who want to get rid of pain and agony or 
who want to get something out of God have sometimes been 
observed to develop gradually into real seekers of God. Whether 
they are emotional or intellectual, all seekers of God start with 
a sense of sin or inadequacy and move toward knowledge and 
experience of God at their own pace. 

The fourth group of people who worship God are those who are 
already well established in religious experiences. They seek to 
remain in communion with God because they already know 
Him. They have experienced Him and are satisfied and peaceful. 
There is no disturbance in their minds regarding the attainments 
of the world in the form of enjoyment, power, position, name, 
or fame. They have already reached the suprqne goal. Whether 
they are of the emotional or intellectual type, they have a con- 
tinuous sense of the Reality. Even in their ordinary behavior 
and interpersonal relationships they show the effect of their 
direct experience of God in the form of love, compassion, under- 
standing, and other such qualities. In fact, they are the most 
integrated personalities that the world knows. They go beyond 
the ritualistic type of religion to the actual, first-hand religion, 
namely direct realization of God. 

In the light of the facts of religious living and mystical ex- 

*Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, chap. X, "The Superconscious 
State." Works, I, 181. Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmanda, pp. 126 and 

Brightman, A Philosophy of Religion, p. 168. 

190 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

periences, Watsonians and Freudians are mistaken in their con- 
clusions that religion is based on the medieval medicine man or 
father complex. Most of these modern psychologists are not at 
all scientific in their observations and generalizations. Unfor- 
tunately, they completely miss the mark of scientific pursuit in 
the field of religion. They do not realize that the pathological 
states of mind cannot really attain the final goal of religion the 
experience of the Ultimate Reality that, on the contrary, the 
prerequisite;, of religious life is integration of the emotions and 

In this connection Karl A. Menninger writes about "Ascetism 
and Martyrdom/' in his book Man Against Himself: "Ascetism, 
for example, with its varied and ingenious devices for pro- 
longing existence for the p irpose of enduring more deprivation, 
is the very refinement of slow death/' 10 He also groups the 
motives of ascetics, neurotics, and alcoholics in the category of 
chronic suicide. He continues: 

Then there are other forms of chronic suicide which are more dra- 
matic, such as martyrdom and so-called "chronic bad luck/' in which 
the individual, perhaps by provocative means, instigates his own de- 
struction and bears it nobly. Here the subtlety consists in the deftness 
with which the victim manipulates his situation to his own ends, and 
then capitalizes upon it, all unconsciously of course. 11 

It seems that Karl Menninger is a thoroughgoing Freudian in his 
understanding of the death wish as a basic urge. So he interprets 
every kind of sacrifice and unselfish living in terms of the suicide 
tendency. One carfhot help wondering how any psychologist could 
come to such a drastic conclusion in the name of science after 
studying about the incidents in the lives of the so-called ascetics 
whom we designate as great religious leaders, such as St. Francis 
of Assisi and St. Teresa of Avila in the Christian tradition and 
Swami Vivekananda and others in the Indian tradition. It is 
needless to mention the name of Buddha. Do not thinkers like 
Menninger realize that religious persons who express unselfish 
love for the good of mankind are inspired, not by a desire to 
commit suicide but rather by the noble sentiment of love? Of 
course, every man has a right to interpret even the noblest senti- 

10 Menninger, Man Against Himself, p. 87. 

Is Religion Escapism? 191 

ments in any way he likes. Yet some interpretations are mere 

At least nine books have been written by psychiatrists and 
others within the last hundred years in an attempt to prove that 
Jesus was a paranoiac with other mental disturbances. 12 These 
charges have been discussed and refuted in Hindu View of 
Christ. 13 If one is to be scientific, he must take into account all 
available facts and then come to his conclusions. We admit that 
there are some morbid personalities who have the tendencies that 
Menninger enumerates in his book. But it is unscientific on the 
part of a scientist to generalize from the study of morbid cases 
and conclude that all ascetism is based on the desire for suicide. 
Of course, he may have his own degnition of ascetism, but the 
definition of this word in the dictionaries does not at all justify 
his interpretation. Religious individuals who impose on them- 
selves a certain form of discipline and self-control are not going 
through a gradual process of suicide but they are rather 'finding 
satisfaction in the higher aspects of life. They are the people who 
are fully satisfied and joyous. 

Some psychologists have adopted Menninger's method of con- 
demning religious attitudes, experiences, and values. One of these, 
Professor James H. Leuba, in his books The Psychology of Re- 
ligious Mysticism and God or Man?, discounts religious experi- 
ences and values with a great deal of apparent rationalism. He 
does not hesitate to call the mystics neurotics and often pre- 
dominantly sexual. Like Menninger, he inferprets the mystic 
experiences with a great deal of ingenuity and sees in them some 
of his preconceived notions and theories of human urges or senti- 
ments. He says: 

12 David Friedrich Strauss, The Life of Jesus Revised for the German 
People (1865). H - J- Holtzmann, The Messianic Consciousness of Jesus (1907). 
Herman Werner, "The Historical Jesus of Liberal Theology, A Psychotic," 
The New Ecclesiastical Journal, XXII (1911), pp. 347'39<>- Oskar Holtzmann, 
Was Jesus an Ecstatic? (1903). Julius Baumann, The Character of Jesus 
(1908). George de Loosten (Dr. George Lomer), Jesus Christ from the Stand- 
point of Psychiatry (Bamberg, 1905). William Hirsch, Conclusions of a Psy- 
chiatrist (New York, 1918), pp. 87-164. Charles Binet-Sangle*, The Insanity of 
Jesus t 3rd ed., Vols. I, II; ist ed., Vols. Ill, IV (Paris, 1911-1915). Emil Ras- 
mussen, Jesus, A Comparative Study in Psychopathology (Leipzig, 1905). 

"Swami Akhilananda, Hindu View of Christ, pp. i8-so. 

19% Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

If the World would not feed his ambition and appease his aspiring 
heart, the Church and God frould. He soon came to be of the opinion 
that the holy life had provided him with grander triumphs and greater 
love than the World could have offered him. 

Similarly with Ignatius Loyola; when, in consequence of the loss of 
a leg, a glorious career in the armies, of his earthly sovereign had be- 
come impossible, he sought and found compensation in the service 
of God and the Church. 1 * 

He also interprets many of the utterances of St. Teresa of 
Avila in terms of the sex urge, following the lead of Havelock 
Ellis and Sigmund Freud. To quote again: 

This mixture of exquisite pain with incomparable delight is usual 
in mystical love-ecstasy. The pain, as much as the pleasure, indicates 
most probably, as we shall see, the participation of sex organs tormented 
by an insufficient stimulation. 15 

He gives the same interpretation of the ecstasies of St. Catherine 
of Genoa and St. Margaret Marie. 

We wonder why he did not discover that there is a psycho- 
somatic relationship in the human structure. When a man in- 
tensely feels the Crucifixion of Christ, for instance, and such other 
incidents, could there not be also a physical reaction and ex- 
pression of similar intensity? Does he not know that St. Francis 
of Assisi had stigmata, and that others have also shown such 
symptoms due to their intense love for Christ? In short, the 
spiritual may be the true cause of the physical symptoms. Per- 
haps psychologists like Leuba have not reckoned with the present 
trend toward a psychosomatic interpretation of human existence. 
We wonder if a man should not hesitate before interpreting 
religious states which are foreign to his own experiences. Would 
Leuba accept the statements of a theologian who judged the 
discoveries of nuclear scientists without himself having been in 
the laboratory? Similarly, the psychologists of religion first ought 
to go through the required training in order to be able to evalu- 
ate expertly the experiences and values of religion. Of course, 
every man has a right to express what he thinks, be it reasonable 
or unreasonable, but let it not be regarded as scientific interpre- 
tation when it is not based on adequate experimentation. 

14 James H. Leuba, The Psychology of Religious Mysticism (London: Routledge 
& Kegan Paul Ltd., 1925), p. 121. 
p. 144. 

Is Religion Escapism? 193 

Orthodox Freudian analysts and psychologists like Leuba and 
others who follow the lead of Freud, in a peculiar way identify 
human energy with their interpretation of libido, namely, the 
sex urge. But the power in man cannot be equated to the func- 
tion of sex. Does a man operate only on that plane? It seems that 
they are reducing human beings to a level worse than that of 
animals in their interpretation of human energy. Psychiatrists like 
Jung differ with them in their interpretation of the libido; Jung 
calls it a vital force. 16 Philosophers like Henri Bergson also 
take a broad viewpoint on vital energy (Man vital). Any rational 
thinker who has a broader view of human nature cannot help 
but regard as unscientific and non-rational the interpretation of 
the libido given by the Freudian type of thinkers. The pity is 
that Leuba and others take certain facts and interpret them 
according to their own ideas. To our way of thinking, man has 
power. It can be expressed in various ways through sex, knowl- 
edge, and also spirituality. The mystics or religious leaderr direct 
their vital force call it libido or anything you like to the 
spiritual reality instead of directing it through the channels of 
sex, self-expression, or other such urges. 

It is amazing to note how a keen intellectual can interpret 
things to suit his own purpose and thereby do great damage to 
human society. Little do such psychologists and psychiatrists 
think that their interpretation of an experience may be incorrect. 
The experience of laughter can be produced by various reasons. 
There is a common expression that a fool laughs at a joke three 
times: once because other people laugh, the second time because 
he understands the joke, and the third time because he realizes 
what a fool he was not to understand it at first. McDougall's 
experience with different interpretations of the same dream by 
various psychoanalysts illustrates how interpretation can become 
faulty because of the preconceived notions of psychologists and 
psychiatrists. 17 

In God or Man?, Professor Leuba seemed to hope that religion 
will die out. He writes: 

In the moral realm also, the religious method is rapidly being dis- 
placed. In the hands of specialists in character formation and reforma- 

18 Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul. 
"McDougall, Outline of Abnormal Psychology. 

194 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

tion, scientific methods prove their superiority and crowd the religions 
out of a sphere of activity which they have long regarded as pre- 
eminently their own. Thus, the jreligious method seems destined to 
suffer the fate of magic, because, like magic, it cannot stand comparison 
with the scientific methods of maintaining and enhancing life. 18 

Professor Leuba seems to be ruthless in his condemnation of yoga 
practices in India. In fact, his evaluation of yoga practices and 
their goals is unscientific and dogmatic. Evidently, he never 
cared to study them systematically and understand what they 
really are. So he concludes that experiences in yoga are induced by 
drugs and narcotics and intoxicating liquor. We admit that there 
have been some such addicts who want to associate themselves 
with some forms of Hindu and Buddhistic religious practices. 
These forms originated r'uring the disintegrating period of 
Buddhistic culture and continued in some Tantrika and Buddhis- 
tic practices. But they are not regarded as the true spirit of 
yoga; nor does any sensible man in India regard narcotic states 
as yoga experiences. Leuba should understand that yoga prac- 
tices enable a man to integrate his emotions, unify his person- 
ality, and finally attain the actual experience of the ultimate 
Reality. The test of those experiences is fully discussed in this 
book and in Hindu Psychology. 

The criticism Leuba makes can be directed only to abuses of 
religious practices in all religious groups. But no religious man 
belonging to any group will take those abuses to mean religious 
realization. Leuba and others, as scientists, should remain objec- 
tive and thorough in their evaluation. Otherwise, they will mis- 
lead the people, the effect being noticed in modern society. These 
psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as social philosophers, can 
be made responsible for erroneous interpretation of religious 
ideals, religious practices, and religious achievements. We refer 
these people to Swami Vivekananda's four books on Yoga, Sir 
John Woodruff's Serpent Power (a translation of a Tantrika 
book called Sarchakranirupana), Dhammapada (Sayings of 
Buddha), and other such Buddhistic writings. 

Something may be said in explanation of Leuba and others. 
If they cannot understand the mystic practices and experiences in 

1 James H. Leuba, God or Man? (London: C. A. Watts & Co., 1933), P 99- 

Is Religion Escapism? 195 

the Christian tradition, how can they understand yoga techniques 
and realizations, even though many of the yoga practices are 
similar to those of the great Christian mystics? Swami Brah- 
mananda used to tell his disciples that until the mind is purified 
one cannot comprehend higher spiritual realizations. In fact, 
these thoughts do not arise in unprepared minds. 19 Sankara in 
the first part of his works dealing with the requirements for the 
study of the inner spirit of Vedanta and Patanjali, the father 
of Hindu psychology in his first aphorism declare that unless 
the mind is trained it cannot really go through higher spiritual 
practices nor can one understand the higher truth. 

It is a joy to note that there are thinkers who are equally 
scientific and at the same time who, as true scientists, do not 
have preconceived notions. We pre&nt Dr. Allport's point of 

Some critics argue that religion at best is hamby-pamby suggestion 
therapy, providing blinders for some, patches and crutches for others. 
Suggestion therapy, they argue, does little excepting anaesthetize the 
individual to the starkly realistic problems confronting him. They add, 
correctly enough, that unless a person can face the deeply pessimistic 
elements in his situation he is not likely to solve his problems either 
with psychotherapy or religion. In support of their argument these 
critics point to the shoppers who wander from one religious cult to 
another, learning here, that their problems are illusory; there, that 
they should listen for the "vibrations"; and elsewhere, that in the world 
to come there will be fish fries and dancing. Yet the critics fail to per- 
ceive that it is only religious immaturity that seeks suggestive therapy 
of this sort. A mature religious sentiment is neither escapist nor 
evasive. 20 

Williams James and James Bissett Pratt, who preceded Professor 
Allport and other such broad psychologists, showed a truly 
scientific attitude. It is also important to note what a great 
American philosopher, Dr. Douglas V. Steere, has to say about 
ascetism. He is not an ascetic himself but he is deeply interested 
in spiritual life. He understands the values of religious experi- 
ences, not merely from what he calls "bookish" interests but from 
actual participation in the practices. He writes: 

In all asceticism the principle of abstaining from things that are 
precious and good (from food, from speech, from physical comforts, 
Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda, p. 146. 
20 Allport, The Individual and His Religion, p. 8*. 

196 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

from marriage) for the sake of accentuating something more good in 
itself is a sound principle and is sound practice, so long as it is done 
voluntarily and joyously and not grimly, and so long as it can be re- 
garded as a matter of private vocation and is not universally pressed 
on others. 21 

There are others who, although they do not attack religion 
itself as escapism, consider as such certain phases of religious 
life. During our university life in Calcutta, an English missionary 
taught us the constitutional history of Europe. He was regarded 
as an authority on the three R's Reformation, Renaissance, 
and Revolution. He was very enthusiastic in his condemnation 
of monastic life. In reply, we quoted to him the monastic vow that 
is taken by both Hindus and Buddhists: "For the good of many, 
for the happiness of many, c or the realization of God, and to help 
others do the same." The monastic vow of the Christians is 

This gentleman and many others have criticized this one phase 
of religious life. They claim that ascetics or monks are parasites. 
In the Orient and in the West it is often said that the monastic 
orders are fostering parasites because they receive the goods of 
the world and do not contribute to the world. They are enjoy- 
ing the modern conveniences of life and many people have 
worked that they may enjoy the comforts and sit comfortably 
thinking of God. Would they have thought of God if they did not 
have these comforts? In the North, they would be destroyed by 
snowstorms and blizzards without shelter. So they depend upon 
others to give theia these things. What are they giving in return? 
These are legitimate questions and questions that are especially 
urged by Communists. 

Our answer is that when a monk or a nun or anyone else finds 
God in himself, he finds the Infinite in others. The result is 
that he becomes a proper person to love his neighbor as him- 
self. Many persons forget that they are to love their neighbors as 
the veritable manifestations of their real Self or God or the 
Absolute. St. Francis of Assisi was inspired by love for God and 
love for man and he established the Franciscan Order so that 
the monks would not only live an intense life of God-conscious- 

21 Douglas V. Steere, On Beginning from Within (New York: Harper fc 
Brothers, 1943), pp. 66-67. 

Is Religion Escapism? 197 

ness but would also be the servants of mankind. He certainly 
introduced a great reformation of the whole Christian tradition 
of that period. The spirit of self-sacrifice and dedicated service 
of man is the keynote of the Franciscan Order. We know what 
would be the condition of the Christian Church today were it 
not for the advent of this great man, St. Francis of Assisi, and 
others of that period. Similar orders were also established by 
other great Christian leaders. One of the latest in the Christian 
tradition, the Society of Friends or the Quakers, also teaches 
that a man of "inner light" should be the servant of mankind. 

Another Christian leader used to say that monks were like 
dry leaves drifting here and there. They had no standing or 
stamina. He also said that he often noticed that certain members 
of religious groups become extremely egocentric after they entered 
middle age. After forty they thought only of themselves and be- 
come anxious about their power and position. We admit that 
people can become egocentric, but it is not because th^y are 
monks or nuns, or householders single or married. It is rather 
because they do not have an absorbing interest in the real spirit 
of religion. Time and again, we have seen many persons in the 
world who were supposed to be living for the good of many but 
who had become egocentric and fascinated by themselves, be- 
cause they did not have an absorbing interest in the higher spirit 
of religious life. There have, of course, been abuses of monastic 
life; but it would be a blunder to consider the abuses as a result 
of the monastic ideal of life. 

Critics criticize the abuses of religion as if they were religion 
itself. About four years ago, Swami Vishwananda and I were 
having dinner in a Chinese restaurant. Some of the waiters were 
Chinese college students. Seeing that we were Orientals, they 
approached us and after a little conversation said: "The white 
people are exploiting your country and our country because we 
are too religious." They felt that religion was the cause of the 
downfall and exploitation of India and China, and that the only 
remedy for this was to discard religion. We replied: "We are 
not quite sure that your diagnosis is correct. We wonder if it is 
not that your people and our people in India and China have a 
misconception of religion or are not practicing religion properly." 
This is not only the complaint of the Chinese. In India some 

198 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

of the young people feel that religion is the opiate of the 
ignorant. The Russians were told by their leaders that religion 
kept the Russian people under the subjugation of the Czarist 
Government or bourgeois capitalists; the Church was the cause 
of the poverty, degradation, and ignorance of the people. So 
they overthrew both the Czarist Government and the Church. 
This idea is invading both the East and the West. Some of the 
Easterners, Hindus and Chinese, and some of the Westerners, 
feel that religion is escapism or an opiate for the weaklings. 

There is another group known as "humanists" which is rather 
critical of religion. These people are associated with religion and 
they consider themselves religious people; but their interpreta- 
tion of religion is quite different from that of Jesus, Hindu 
teachers, or other great founders of religion. They do not talk 
of God but rather strongly emphasize the second commandment 
of Jesus: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor." According to them, 
religion is to be focused on man; service to man is all that is 
needed. A person can be religious without thinking or talking of 
God. Religion is needed, but it is meant for ethical living; society 
cannot stand without proper ethical principles. We are social 
beings and should know how to work and live together; society 
will not hold together without the spirit of cooperation and co- 
ordination. In order to have a cooperative society, there must 
be a certain number of ethical principles. People must be truth- 
ful and kind and must help their neighbors. There have been 
humanists in the East since the time of Buddha, but Buddhistic 
humanists are quite different from those in the West. While 
Babbitt and others in America have stressed that the purpose of 
religion is fulfilled when man does good to man and establishes a 
healthy, cooperative society, the Buddhists have based their 
humanism on the search for the state in which there is cessation 
of pain. Buddhism is founded on the four truths, namely: (i) 
there is pain in life; (2) pain has a cause; (3) pain will cease to 
exist; (4) there is a way to overcome pain. 22 The fourth truth has 
eight steps, right thinking, right living, right meditation, and 
so forth. In this we find the true basis of Buddhistic humani- 
tarianism in consecrated living. The primary emphasis of 
Buddhistic humanism is on the realization of truth, the cessation 

** Dhammapada, trans. Max Mflller, XIV: 191. 

Is Religion Escapism? 199 

of pain, and the expansion of consciousness rather than on 
merely doing good to others. In Buddhism, humanism or doing 
good to others is, in a way, the method for reaching the ultimate 
goal, nirvana, which is the cessation of the empirical self and the 
culmination of consciousness. 

Modern humanism is not the main purpose of real religion; it 
is rather a secondary issue, a by-product. Real religion is knowl- 
edge and awareness of the Reality. Some people say that love of 
God will solve our problems. However, few people express love 
of God when they face the problems of life. Many of those who 
talk and write about it are the ones who reveal little love of 
God or neighbor in dealing with their problems. Is this the fault 
of any particular individual? No, it is the fault of the human 
mind. The love that is talked aboui: or written about is not 
manifested until a person has had some experience of God. There- 
fore, in order to reach a real state of religion a person must have 
direct and immediate knowledge of God. 

Our answer to the humanists is that they can do good to the 
world only when they find God in themselves and the world. 
Our answer to some of the psychologists and psychiatrists is that 
the idea of God did not come from the medieval medicine man 
or from the father complex; the idea of God came from the 
search for the Reality, from the search for bliss. With this 
understanding, complexes and conflicts can be dissolved. Spiritual 
practices integrate the emotions and stabilize the personality. 
A person is thoroughly integrated when he is established in 
God. Mental disturbances have no place in ti ae religion. When 
a man in pursuit of abiding happiness stabilizes his personality 
and is established in bliss, he transmits his achievements to 
society. He becomes a thoroughgoing altruist expressing love to 
all, as we see in the lives of the great mystics of all religions. 

Now let us consider whether religion itself is escapism; then 
we can consider whether monastic life is escapism. What does 
religion give us and what is its value? Is it a refuge from the 
realities of life? Jesus did not take His disciples away from the 
world to ignore it or escape from it; He wanted them to be free 
from the evils of the world, to be in it but not of it. 

I pray not that them shouldest take them out of the world, but that 
thou shouldest keep them from evil. 

00 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them 
into the world. 28 

These statements of Jesus require considerable clarification, for 
many people misunderstand them. He was not the only religious 
leader who wanted to save His followers and through them suc- 
cessive generations from misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and 
misuse of the world. Swami Vivekananda describes religion as the 
manifestation of the divinity that is already in man. Can anyone 
construe this sentence as defeatism and escapism from the reali- 
ties of life? Is man running away from the world in religious 
life? We find an answer in Dr. Allport's statement: "A religious 
sentiment is neither escapist nor evasive." 24 Man finds the greatest 
expression of his real self in religion. Leuba regards mystical 
experiences as worse than escapism. According to what he writes 
in two of his books, he seems to feel that such experiences could 
be produced by autosuggestion and by drugs. He says: "Thus, the 
mystical ecstasy is in part the outcome of the mystic's expecta- 
tions, and, therefore, may be regarded as a product of autosug- 
gestion." 26 Then he writes: 

These drugs not only bring about relaxation and somnolence, but 
the mental activity that persists seems alien to the subject's own will. 
Under the influence of these drugs he becomes passive and yet he 
dreams, sees visions, and enjoys an impression of delightful freedom 
and unlimited power. 26 

Perhaps Leuba does not realize that autosuggestion cannot give 
anything more than a man possesses. Hypnotism or autosugges- 
tion generally disintegrate the personality. Similarly, drugs do 
not produce any actual knowledge of the Reality nor do they 
integrate the personality. On the contrary, the drug addict gradu- 
ally becomes less than what is called normal. On the other hand, 
religion brings out the finest qualities in man; it brings out his 
divine nature; it makes him aware of what he really is, Swami 
Vivekananda clarifies this in his statement: 

28 John 17: 15-16, 18. 

^Allport, The Individual and His Religion, p. 82. 

25 Leuba, The Psychology of Religious Mysticism, p. 157. 

Is Religion Escapism? HOI 

What makes the difference? From one state a man comes out the 
very same man that he went in, and from another state the man comes 
out enlightened, a sage, a prophet, a saint, his whole character changed, 
his life changed, illumined. These are the two effects. Now the effects 
being different, the causes must be different. As this illumination with 
which a man comes back from Samadhi is much higher than can be 
got from unconsciousness, or much higher than can be got by reason- 
ing in a conscious state, it must therefore be super-consciousness, and 
Samadhi is called the super-conscious state. 27 

A man is not selfish when he seeks to find his real Self in a 
monastery or any other place. When he finds his own Self or 
soul, he finds the souls of others, because there is only one Soul. 
If a person touches the Atlantic Ocean near Boston, he has 
touched the whole Atlantic Ocean. He does not have to go to 
New York or Atlantic City. When a person touches the Reality 
in himself, he is touching the Reality of his friends and others. 
Experience proves that when a man has realized God, he sees the 
presence of God in others and in the whole world. He fe*ls the 
presence of that luminous substance everywhere. He knows that 
the Absolute cannot be limited by geographical, racial, or de- 
nominational consciousness. When a Jewish man experiences 
God, he finds Him in the Christian, too; when a Hindu experi- 
ences God, he finds Him in the Mohammedan. God cannot be 
limited to a Hindu, Christian, or Jew, although many ignorant 
persons think that it is only possible to experience Him through 
a particular denomination, creed, or racial affiliation. This shows 
ignorance of the real nature of God. St. Francis of Assisi could 
say "Brother Wolf" and "Sister Moon" because he felt the divine 
presence everywhere, even in animals and plants. The effect of his 
personality on others was wonderful; through his influence, the 
wolf of Gubbio was transformed. 

So religion is not for running away from the world but for 
finding the divine in the world. Religion teaches us to see God 
in ourselves and then in the world. A person cannot see God 
in the world until he finds God in himself. In one of the Upani- 
shads it is said: "In the Infinite alone there is bliss and not in 
the finite." 28 The trouble that arises in the world is based on the 
misunderstanding that the finite is the real. We see an individual 

n Works, I, 181. 

28 Chhandogya Upanishad, chap. VII, sec. 23. 

20S Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

and identify him as Mr. Smith. A few years later, perhaps a few 
months later, there will not be any visible trace of this man. 
He did not exist as Mr. Smith a few years ago. However, behind 
this man, this manifested form, is the real. Religion teaches us 
to find the real in the manifested. When we find this, the soul 
of man, then alone we find what we are all seeking bliss and 
joy. In another Upanishad it is described: "That one who is 
the self-made is verily the joy/' 29 In other words, the Infinite is 
bliss, joy. God is joy. 

Everyone is anxious to find happiness. Sojne persons think 
that they will be happy when they have power and position; 
others are seeking the same thing in the accumulation of wealth; 
some look for it in forms of self-expression; still others try to find 
it in the security of a home and family life. The vast majority of 
the people seek happiness through the finite quality of the senses, 
and the result is extreme unhappiness. There is no satisfaction 
in the finite life. Instead of finding peace, a person wants more 
and more. Children are often heard to ask for more and more. 
Adults are ashamed to say so, but their activities reveal that their 
desires are multiplying. No one can be condemned for that be- 
cause man will never be satisfied until he finds the Infinite. His 
nature is infinite and the Infinite cannot be satisfied by the finite. 
A man may get degree after degree in the universities or millions 
and millions of dollars but he will remain unsatisfied. Does 
anyone know of a wealthy man who is satisfied? Was there ever a 
satisfied imperialist? He may have a big empire to rule but he 
will want a still larger one, because he has the wrong attitude 
toward life. If anyone else were in the same position as the 
imperialist, he would manifest the same qualities, provided he 
had the same attitude toward life. It isn't the world that drags 
a man down; it is the attitude of the man toward the world that 
drags him down. So if a man wants satisfaction and happiness, he 
must try to find the Infinite in the finite. Religion teaches the 
method of finding the Infinite. 

When a man sees God in himself, he sees Him in the world; 
and the world can never affect him. Sri Ramakrishna used to 
say that it is the mind rather than the world that binds a person. 
It is the mind that thinks of a person as a sinner or a thief. Again, 

"Brahmananda Valli," Taittiriya Upanishad, chap. VII. 

Is Religion Escapism? 808 

it is the mind that thinks of a man as the veritable manifesta- 
tion of God. A person's relationship with another will be differ- 
ent when the presence of God is seen in him. When the presence 
of God is seen in the world, a person will serve the world. The 
servants of the world are those who are thoroughly established 
in the knowledge of God. Can you find better servants of the 
world than St. Francis of Assisi and Swami Vivekananda? We 
would like to See anyone who could serve the world as thoroughly 
as Swami Vivekananda. The secret of his service was the highest 
realization of God. He felt the identity of the divine all over the 
world. He did not make any differentiation between Hindu or 
Mohammedan, Jew or Christian, American or Indian, because 
he saw God in all. So if a person wants to do good in the 
world, he must find the source of joy and bliss first. That is the 
very reason that Jesus gave as the first part of His commandment: 
"Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God . . ." 

The dynamic of religion is expressed in the form of personal 
awareness of God and feeling His presence in all. Because of this 
experience, a truly religious man becomes a source of inspiration 
to the world, as we find in Buddha, Jesus, and Sri Ramakrishna. 
His living example inspires others. Consequently, a new spirit 
is instilled into civilization. 

The power of religion is felt not only in individual life but 
also in collective life. As the different members of society live 
in the consciousness of the presence of God, they establish the 
true spirit of cooperation and coordination. In fact, a harmonious 
society can be established only when the ideal of society is to 
feel the presence of God in the different members. To illustrate 
this, we can consider the various periods of Hindu, Buddhistic, 
and Christian culture. In fact, a high type of civilization arises 
only when the religious ideal feeling the presence of God and 
loving one's neighbor becomes the predominant factor of 
society. We have seen and we know mystics and monks who 
seemingly live away from society; yet their love for human beings 
is intense. They are altruistic. In no way are they inferior to the 
mystics and religious persons who are living and working in the 
service of man. Of course, there are some selfish individuals in 
all stages of life; but it is the height of folly to conclude that a 
person who is dedicated to the knowledge and love of God is an 


$04 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

escapist. On the contrary, as he experiences the universal Being 
his inner nature expands and he can embrace the whole world. 
The utterances and activities of Swami Vivekananda and St. 
Francis of Assisi prove that genuine mystics are thoroughgoing 
altruists. They are the persons who teach others to become 

Real religion is not escapism or running away from the realities 
of life. It is the everyday application of the love of God and the 
love of neignbor and the manifestation of divinity that is already 
in man. All personal and interpersonal conflicts vanish. This 
spirit can alone establish harmony in the individual himself and 
in society. 


Power Through Religious Practices 

LIFE can become dreary and disagreeable the moment we turn 
our minds from God to things of the world. This does not mean 
that it is necessary to give up the world as such, but it does mean 
that the primary emphasis should be given to God and the under- 
standing of Him rather than to the attainment of things of the 
world. If we do not give our attention to God, even worldly at- 
tainments become eventually meaningless and purposeless. As 
explained in previous chapters, those who do not give proper 
attention to the inward life cannot enjoy worldly achievements. 
They may have everything wealth, home, family, power, posi- 
tion, and so forth but because of anxiety, apprehension, and 
restlessness, enjoyment is impossible. Little do people under- 
stand that prayer, meditation, contemplation, and other such 
practices are necessary for life in the world, apart from their 
intrinsic value. Of course, these practices are not specifically for 
the achievement of worldly goods, but the meditative person has 
the required inward qualities to enjoy the world. Those who for- 
get God actually become victims of their own mental condition. 
Many also become mental patients. Being disturbed and agitated 
and not finding peace of mind, they go to pieces physically and 
mentally. So from a practical point of view, it is necessary to cul- 
tivate the inward life, the meditative life. We do not imply that 
everyone who claims to be a religious person is really religious. 
We only say that a man who practices true religion is mentally 

There is often a dispute between the practical man and the 
spiritual man. The so-called practical man seems to think tL:* 


806 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

unless something is useful it is meaningless. He has a sneering at- 
titude toward the spiritual man and considers him a dreamer, 
while he looks upon the ideals as impractical and useless. There- 
fore, he thinks that the teachings of great religious leaders are 
obsolete in this scientific age. However, we know that the meth- 
ods that are being adopted by these so-called practical personali- 
ties are leading them to individual and collective destruction. 
When they become practical, as they claim, they make themselves 
so restless ar*d unhappy by accentuating their own desires and 
by intensifying the causes of their frustration that they ruin them- 
selves. The so-called practical men and women are collectively 
leading us to a catastrophe. The idealists or religious persons are 
not, after all, so impractical when they advocate the cultivation of 
the inward life which brings peace of mind. 

What do we mean by an inward life, a prayerful life? We mean 
the life that is regulated by the thought of God, that is directed 
and governed by the spiritual ideal, by the realization and under- 
standing of God. If that spirit is withdrawn, then the purpose of 
life is lost. Some may say that their purpose is to enjoy the world, 
whether God or anyone else created it. Others may argue: "God 
created this beautiful world for our enjoyment; otherwise, He 
could not have made it so attractive or given us the capacity for 
enjoying it." Although we do not oppose this idea ot enjoyment, 
we want to make it clear that even if a person wants it he must 
have a peaceful state of mind. Unless God is the objective of life, 
an individual's desires will be intensified and he will be running 
constantly after the objects of his desires, thereby creating a state 
of increasing tension. If everyone becomes practically insane 
over the attainment of physical comforts, there will be an in- 
evitable clash of personalities. This desire for objective enjoy- 
ment brings out the spirit of competition which leads to quarrel 
and strife in individual life, as well as in family, group, national, 
and international life. So, we suggest that people install God in 
their lives. This can be done effectively only with the practice of 
prayer and meditation. Otherwise, God will not remain the ideal, 
even with intellectual understanding or philosophical interpreta- 
tion, because people will install themselves in His place. Time 
again well-meaning individuals have started religious life, 

Power Through Religious Practices 07 

but without the cultivation of that Jife through prayer, contem- 
plation, and meditation they have lost their purpose. 
V,Whether a person has a sense of guilt or sin, whether he feels 
himself inadequate to cope with the problems of life, whether 
he is frustrated and disappointed, or whether he is seeking God 
for His own sake, he must have something to keep up the 
sustaining power in his life. Many who start a religious life 
get mixed up with the problems of the world. Herein lies the 
utility of prayer, meditation, and other such practices. Through 
spiritual practices a man can achieve what he wishes; that is the 
reason we say that a man attains power through prayer. 

This raises the question as to what a man expects of spiritual 
exercises. People will ask: "Where do you find a man who gets 
everything through prayer?" In the first place, it is not com- 
monly understood that this is possible; beyond that it is neces- 
sary to know how to pray and to whom to pray. People fail to 
get what they want and then they complain: "Oh, we do not get 
anything through prayer." Little do they blame themselves. When 
they do not achieve what they want, they hold others responsible, 
even God. Do they stop to think that maybe they have not given 
any attention to God or have not approached Him for the solu- 
tion of their problems? If they would think seriously, they would 
find that their failure is due to the lack of understanding of the 
technique of religious exercises. 

A man must pray to God and to no one else. God is all-loving 
and omnipotent; He is the One who can give what is needed. 
There are some persons who pray to other beings. For instance, 
the spiritualists pray to departed souls and try to get what they 
want through them or from them. What can a departed soul 
give? The moment an ordinary person drops his body, he cannot 
have more than he already possesses. He is still ignorant of God, 
even if he was a great scientist or philosopher. All achievements 
are meaningless if one has not realized God. Ordinary departed 
souls at the utmost can give only what they themselves possess. 
Then how can they give peace if they did not have peace in life? 

Some people try to approach or pray to other subtle-bodied 
beings, such as Sri Krishna describes. 1 Those beings are also 
limited, whether they are in the Himalayas, the Alps, or the 

* Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita IX: 23-25. 

W& Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Rockies. Limited beings cannot give anything unlimited, such 
as peace and joy. The Infinite alone can give that abiding joy. 
That is the reason Sri Krishna says that a man can reach God 
through prayer to Him alone. If he prays to departed souls or 
other subtle-bodied beings he will go to their planes; but if he 
prays to God he will find Him. 

The next question concerns the method of spiritual practices. 
People often ask: "How should one pray?" Prayers fail and be- 
come meaningless when there is no contact with God. Sqme 
people pray in a mechanical sort of way, whether they are Hindus, 
Mohammedans, Jews, or Christians. They go through certain 
forms, utter the words, read from the books, but their minds are 
anywhere but in the thought of God. Consequently, there is no 
contact with Him. That is the reason Jesus said that vain repeti- 
tions practiced by unbelievers are meaningless. 2 That which is 
mechanically repeated does not become effective. Therefore, the 
prayerc are not answered and the people neither get what they 
wanted nor do they reach God. Prayer becomes effective from 
both the subjective and objective points of view namely, brings 
peace of mind and attainment of the object of prayer when the 
mind is concentrated on God. Prayer is a failure from these two 
points of view when a person does not have that concentration. 
So it is necessary to cultivate the spirit of communion with Him. 
When there is continual thought of God in prayer, the prayers 
will be answered. 

There are, it is true, persons who pray for evil results. This is 
known as "black magic" in all the religious traditions. There are 
cases where a person of deep concentration can produce an evil 
effect in others and transfer his thoughts to others as well as con- 
trol their minds. We knew a man who learned some of these prac- 
tices through an expert teacher in India so that he could control 
the mind of his girl friend who was then living in England. 
Through this method he succeeded in winning the heart of the 
girl and they were married. Fortunately, both of these persons 
became interested in proper religious life. Unfortunately, most 
of those who give attention to "black magic," thought tranfer- 
ence, or control of the minds of others, deteriorate and grad- 
ually lose their power of concentration and prayer. A note of 

^Matt. 6: 7. 

Power Through Religious Practices 09 

warning is needed that no one should indulge in prayer for 
evil purposes. In fact, prayer or other religious exercises should 
be used only for the knowledge and love of God and for the good 
and happiness of humanity the "neighbor." 

The third question concerns the object of prayer. For what 
should one pray? What is the nature of prayer? In this connec- 
tion, we would like to clarify the four types of spiritual practices. 

The first type is used by the vast majority of the people in 
order to get what they want in the form of money, homes, fam- 
ilies, children, health, power, position, name, fame, and even vic- 
tory in war. This is regarded as the lowest form of prayer by 
spiritually developed personalities. Of course, these things can 
be attained provided the people have communion with God and 
intense thought of Him as well as emotional absorption in Him. 
There are many interesting stories in the religious history of the 
world concerning those who have received health, money, power, 
and so forth, because they gave their attention to God. Yet even 
if a man gets the material things he wants, they will create prob- 
lems in life because they belong to the relative world and will 
not last long. Again, he will not really know God, and the finite 
things will not satisfy the Infinite within him. 

The second form of prayer or spiritual exercise is practiced 
for the attainment of higher qualities and the consequent integra- 
tion of the total personality. For example, the devotees pray for 
purity, truthfulness, patience, endurance, and love; they do not 
give attention to power, position, and such. They say: "Oh God, 
give me devotion and strength so that I can think of You. Give 
me truthfulness, patience, and endurance so that I can live har- 
moniously and lovingly in the world. I realize that there are con- 
flicting personalities, that there are disturbing conditions of life. 
Let me have strength, courage, tenacity, so that I can live under 
these conditions and realize the Truth." If we study the lives of 
the great spiritual personalities we find that all of them prayed 
in this way and all of them attained these good qualities. They 
had patience, forgiveness, love, and all the other glorious quali- 
ties that a man can achieve. 

The third kind of practice is deep concentration and medita- 
tion. In this practice a man does not pray for anything. His joy 
is in the thought of God. One may ask: "What does he gJ^ 

810 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

thereby?" A man of that concentration and meditation gains 
everything that is to be gained in life. He who constantly com- 
munes with God and asks for nothing has knowledge of God. 
Even from the practical point of view we find that a man of such 
devotion, love, and communion, generally does not suffer from 
physical want. It is amazing that he does not pray for his physical 
requirements, yet he gets them somehow. That is the reason 
Jesus says: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his right- 
eousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." 8 Sri 
Ramakrishna also says: "Give up everything to Him, resign 
yourself to Him and there will be no more trouble for you." 4 
"God is this wish-yielding tree; whoever says in His presence . . . 
Oh Lord! Thou hast given me everything he gets everything." 5 
Again, Swami Brahmananda gives the advice: "Believe me, the 
Lord is always with you. If you practice a little, He will extend 
His helping hand to you." 6 "Remain under the shelter of His 
lotus feet. He will do all that is needful; you have only to keep 
your mind fixed ever on Him." 7 How true it is that when we 
study the lives of the devotees and saints, we find that they have 
had everything they required. Some of them have also had a 
very comfortable life, even though they did not ask for it. God 
gave them what they needed; He knows the requirements of His 
devotees. He expresses His love to them as they give attention, 
love, and devotion to Him. People do not realize that He 
takes care of them. They think that they have to take care of 
themselves; then they make blunder after blunder and lose what 
they want to gain, because their vision, their understanding is 
confused. In their attempt to gain something, they forget that if 
they have patience and depend upon God, thinking about Him 
and meditating on Him constantly, they will find that He sup 
plies everything of His own accord. 

This brings to mind an interesting story. There was a beggar 
who had traveled far and he was so tired that he could hardly 
walk. So he prayed: "Oh Rama, give me a horse." While he was 
thus praying wholeheartedly in an agonized state of mind, an 

Matt. 7: 34. 

* Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna XIV: 3*1. 

* Ibid., II: 77. 

6 Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda, p. 9. 

* I bid., p. 124. 

Power Through Religions Practices ill 

English "Tommy" came along on horseback leading some other 
horses, among which was a young colt. The "Tommy" caught 
hold of the poor beggar and asked him to carry the little colt. 
Then the beggar cried out: "Oh, Rama, you misunderstood mel 
Instead of getting a horse to carry me, I have to carry this colt!" 
This happens in life. People ask for things which become a bur- 
den to them. They want power and position, and the power and 
position destroy their peace and become a serious burden to 
them. He who is in constant communion with God thVough medi- 
tation on Him with love and devotion is the wisest of all. 

Through deep concentration and meditation a person gains 
tremendous power of mind. Most people do not actually under- 
stand what is meant by the practice of concentration and medita- 
tion and intense thought of God. This requires considerable 
clarification, as they are not in the habit of thinking of God, 
even though they may have noble thoughts or poetic and phil- 
osophical flights of imagination. In the actual practice af con- 
centration and meditation, a person is to sit in a comfortable 
but erect posture so that his neuromuscular system may be re- 
laxed. 8 That is the reason many aspirants perform certain types 
of breathing exercises, described in Chapter I. It has been found 
tLat postures which relax the neuromuscular system are conducive 
to mental relaxation. One should sit erect in a comfortable posi- 
tion and try to drop the tension of the muscles caused by rigidity 
of the nervous system. If one sits erect and gently takes long 
breaths and exhales gently, keeping the rhythm of inhalation and 
exhalation at the same tempo, the body relaxes. We warn people 
in this connection that they must not take what the Hindus call 
rigorous pranayama exercises without proper guidance from a 
teacher who knows the system of the exercises as well as the re- 
quirements of the individual student. This simple exercise along 
with artificial yawning a few times immensely helps to relax the 
neuromuscular system for the time being. After relaxing, the 
mind should be focused on an aspect of God that is suitable to 
the particular individual. In other words, he must try to focus 
his mind on a personal aspect of God that he loves and adores. 
In order to have deep concentration on God, there must be an 
emotional relationship. When one person loves another, his mind 

8 "Raja Yoga," Works, I. See also Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. 

Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

naturally goes to him. Similarly, when there is appreciation and 
adoration of God, a person has a certain amount of love for Him. 
It is true that the type of love which we have discussed cannot 
be attained immediately. So the spiritual aspirant has to take an 
aspect of God which appeals to him. 9 Then he must try to focus 
his mind on the luminous and blissful form of that divine per- 
sonality without thinking of anything else. It is not necessary to 
think of attributes and qualities simultaneously. What happens 
is that when the aspirant tries to visualize that blissful form of 
his beloved Lord, he spontaneously manifests those qualities. 

In the life of St. Francis of Assisi in the Christian tradition, 
and of other spiritual personalities in Hindu, Jewish, and Mo- 
hammedan traditions, we find that even the physical nature of the 
person who meditates is changed because of the intense thought 
of the Beloved. During the life of Sri Ramakrishna in mod- 
ern India his physical constitution would go through a radical 
change as he performed different types of spiritual practices. The 
stigmata and such other evidences in the physical constitution of 
mystics or devotees convince us that the human physical struc- 
ture can undergo a change according to the intensity of thought. 
In his everyday life a person can observe that when he experiences 
anger or any other violent emotion there is a change in the whole 
neuromuscular system. Similarly, when he has loving thoughts 
for his parents, children, or beloved, his body becomes relaxed. 
This common experience also justifies our conclusion that when 
a person thinks intensely of the Beloved, God, his neuromuscular 
system becomes quiet and his bodily functions become rhyth- 
mical. When great spiritual personalities had the highest type 
of spiritual realization, such as samadhi (superconsciousness), 
they were radically changed at that time and the effect remained 
with them. 

In case a person does not find it convenient to think of any 
personality of of God with name and form, such as Jesus, Bud- 
dha, Krishna, and others, he can take a symbol of God signifying 
universal divine qualities, such as light, and focus the mind on 
that. It has been found that rationalistic scientific thinkers can 
hardly think of a traditional aspect of God. The so-called pan- 
theistic philosophers also find it difficult to use a personality as 

*Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, chap. VI, "Meditation." 

Power Through Religious Practices $13 

an object of concentration. However, they can meditate on any 
symbol that represents Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. 10 

There are some auxiliary methods that can be used in the 
practice of concentration. It is true that the mind is extremely 
flighty and changeable. The majority can hardly focus the mind 
on one object for more than a few seconds, as they are in the 
habit of thinking successive thoughts and going through suc- 
cessive experiences and consciousnesses. So it is but natural that 
they find it difficult to concentrate on one thing intensely for a 
little while. That is the reason scriptural study, worship, sing- 
ing of hymns, and the repetition of the name of God are ex- 
tremely helpful for the preparation of deep concentration and 
ultimately of meditation. 11 

In Hindu-Buddhistic tradition and in certain Christian and 
Mohammedan traditions the devotees are advised to repeat a 
particular name of God. A technical name of God (a mantra) 
representing a particular divine aspect, is used extensively for 
higher spiritual evolution. When a man repeats a mantra, his 
mind is attracted to that form of God which the name represents. 
He is also advised by his teacher that when he repeats it he 
should try to visualize that particular form and gradually have 
meditation on that aspect of God. During His lifetime, Sri Rama- 
krishna often discussed this practice with His disciples. "By 
Japam," He said "by repeating His name with a concentrated 
mind, you can have His vision, you can realize Him." 12 Swami 

Brahmananda, one of His foremost disciples, also used to say: 

The practice of Japam [repetition of the name of God] is specially 
suited to our present iron age (Kali Yoga). There is no other spiritual 
practice easier than this. But meditation must accompany the repetition 
of the Mantra. 13 

It ought to be noted here that as the mind is so restless it will 
take time for any aspirant to develop the power of concentration. 
So one should not be discouraged when he finds it difficult to 
practice. As Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita, through con- 

10 Sankaracharya, Vivekachudamani. See also "Jnana Yoga," Works, II. 

11 "Bhakti Yoga," Works, III. 

12 Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (and ed.; Mylapore, Madras: Sri Ramakrishna 
Math), II, 349-350. 

18 Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda, p. 18. 

14 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

stant practice one can overcome the fickleness of mind. 14 An 
aspirant should remember that even though he may not seem to 
be making progress in the practice of concentration the very 
struggle will gradually straighten the mind. 

The next point to be considered is the regularity in practice. 
A person should sit for concentration every day regularly in the 
morning and evening at a particular period of time. The begin- 
ners may start with ten minute periods and gradually increase 
the duration. In the practice of this form of prayer one must not 
be impatient. If he steadily practices for a few months regard* 
less of the degree of progress he is bound to grow. 

Concentration is regarded as the first stage of meditation. 
When the mind is wholly absorbed without any wavering, it is 
regarded as meditation. Some Christian mystics, however, use 
the word "contemplation." There is no basic difference between 
these words. It is a question only of quality. Most people do not 
realize the extent of the power latent in the human mind. All 
the cherished material objects can be manipulated by the mind. 
In Patanjali's Raja Yoga, it is explained that there are persons 
who can concentrate their minds on subtle particles of matter. 
When their minds remain absorbed in those subtle particles, they 
understand the laws of nature directly and immediately and 
they can control nature. Grosser expressions like heat, cold, rain, 
and so forth, can also be controlled by their mental power. There 
have been many authentic incidents of suspension of animation, 
and control of the burning power of fire. 15 Patanjali enumerates 
the actual methods of attaining control over the laws of physical 
nature. The Raja Yogis and Hatha Yogis in India demonstrate 
this power, without the least shade of doubt. 

However, our interest is to have the knowledge of God through 
concentration and meditation. When the mind becomes quiet, 
when the waves of the mind subside through this practice, then 
the Truth reveals Itself. Hindu psychologists compare the mind 
to the surface of a lake. When the wind blows, the water is full 
of waves and ripples. In the same way, when the passions and 
desires of man are active, the mind is agitated. When the mind 

l * Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita VI: 35. 

Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, chap. IX, "Extrasensory Ex- 

Power Through Religious Practices $15 

becomes quiet through spiritual practices, then alone does a man 
know the Truth that is inherent in his own nature, just as we 
can see the reflection of our face in the quiet lake when the waves 
subside. According to Patanjali: "At that time (the time of con- 
centration) the seer (Purusha) rests in his own (unmodified) 
state." 16 Swami Vivekananda explains this in his commentary: 
"As soon as the waves have stopped, and the lake has become 
quiet, we see its bottom. So with the mind; when it is calm, we 
see what our own nature is; we do not mix ourselves 'but remain 
our own selves." 17 

Another glorious effect of this third kind of prayer is that 
through steady practice of meditation, a person can become in* 
separably connected with Him. Intense love is developed for 
Him and His love goes to the devotee. Sri Ramakrishna used to 
say that intense love for God binds Him to the devotee. 18 This 
means that whenever a devotee wants God to reveal Himself 
with intense love, God through infinite love and grace grants 
that desire of a devotee. This is hard for an ordinary person to 
comprehend, but the real devotees like St. Teresa of Avila, St. 
Anthony of Padua, or St. Catherine of Siena could see God when- 
ever they wished. Do we not read in the biography of Sri Rama- 
krishna, who lived in India during the nineteenth century, that 
He could see God at any time He wished. We had the privilege 
of sitting at the feet of most of His disciples and hearing this 
from them. We do not doubt it, because their lives also proved 
to us that they were men and women with experience of God. 
They also used to tell us that the problems of life would be 
solved by the practice of concentration and meditation, that God 
could be bound to the devotee provided he had intense love for 
Him. One of the saints of India, Mirabai, who composed many 
hymns said: "You can do everything else but unless you have that 
intense love for God you cannot have Him." So we see that prayer 
or contemplation or meditation has tremendous power; we can 
reach God through these practices. Could we want anything 

A question may arise here about the place of the grace of God 

19 Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali I: 3. 

""Raja Yoga," Works, I, 803. 

18 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna XXV: 5*8. 

16 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

in spiritual realization. Does the devotee have to do everything 
himself to attain his answer to prayer for things and divine 
revelation or experiences, or is the grace of God active too? Our 
answer is that grace has an important place in spiritual experi- 
ences of various types. As the personalistic philosophers like Pro- 
fessor Edgar S. Brightman would say, there is cooperation be- 
tween God and man. Our idea is that the grace of God can be 
attained only when the devotee remains in a receptive mood by 
purifying his mind through the practice of prayer, concentra- 
tion, and meditation and by making his mind one-pointed in 
directing it to God. Then alone he feels the grace of God and His 
presence. As Sri Ramakrishna used to say: 

The wind of God's grace i: incessantly blowing. Lazy sailors on this 
sea of life do not take advantage of it. But the active and the strong 
always keep their minds unfurled to catch the friendly breeze, and thus 
reach their destination very soon. 19 

The fourth type of prayer is the highest, as Swami Brahman- 
anda says. 20 It can be practiced by few people in this world. 
This type of communion with God is samadhi, superconscious 
experience. In this state a man is face to face with God. This is 
also prayer, because in that state there is constant thought of, 
or absorption in, God. Perhaps some would not call that prayer; 
they would rather consider it the fulfillment of prayer. We find 
that the person who is established in the highest communion 
likes to continue with it. So it is regarded by some of the greatest 
mystics such as Swami Brahmananda and Swami Vivekananda, 
as the supreme type of prayer or worship. 

When a man has achieved that state there is nothing more to 
be achieved, nothing more to be known. That is the reason we 
say that the greatest power that a man can have is gained through 
prayer. Although the fourth type of prayer cannot be practiced 
by many persons at once, the third type can be practiced more or 
less by everyone. Even if one is functioning on the physical plane 
and wants physical comforts or power and position, he can start 
with the elementary or first type of prayer. We have seen men 
and women change radically, using prayers to get something from 
God. St. Paul's life is a dramatic illustration. This may seem 

" /We*., xxvi: 558- 

* Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda, p. ia. 

Power Through Religious Practices 

anomalous because he felt hateful towards Christ and His fol- 
lowers. However, although he hated Christ he thought of Him 
constantly because of his intense feeling. Whether a person 
touches fire deliberately or accidentally he is burned. The life of 
St. Paul was affected by his constant thought of Christ, even 
though he felt hatred rather than love and admiration. Similarly, 
St. Augustine was transformed through prayer from an ignoble 
person to a great pillar of Christianity. 

There was a little boy in India who was banished with his 
mother from the kingdom of his father. Even though he was 
only eight or nine years old, he began to pray for the restoration 
of the kingdom. He prayed so intensely that eventually God re- 
vealed Himself to the boy. Then he jno longer wanted the king- 
dom; his only desire was for the love of God. In religious history 
there have been many persons who started their spiritual life 
desiring things of the world; yet even though they wanted money, 
power, position, and so forth, they thought of God and were 
changed. It is the intense thought of God which is important. 
This changes a man's inner nature and he gradually evolves from 
the lower to the higher types of prayer. The more one thinks of 
Him with deep concentration, the more his inner nature changes. 

Some of the modern psychologists are interested to know the 
method of removing mental and physical fatigue. Many physi- 
cians practicing psychosomatic medicine are anxious to remove 
mental and physical tension. Many of the therapists, like Dr. 
Joseph Pratt of Boston and others, are giving exercises to their 
patients so that the neuromuscular system may be relaxed and 
functional disorders such as stomach trouble, certain forms of 
heart ailments, hypertension, and others may be eliminated. 
Many clinical psychologists and other therapists wonder how 
the practice of concentration and meditation the third form of 
prayer can be helpful in conserving mental and physical energy 
and removing mental fatigue and tension. 

Our answer to them is that when an individual is to pray or 
meditate he is generally asked to go through some preliminary 
processes which are absolutely necessary for the proper practice 
of prayer. These processes lead to the relaxation of the neuro- 
muscular system. Patanjali, Swami Vivekananda, and others state 
that unless the body is in fairly good condition the mind 

$18 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

function properly. The nerve centers should be free for their 
functioning and the whole nervous system must be relaxed. 
Therefore, they prescribe certain postures and breathing exer- 
cises. 21 The idea is that, generally speaking, the ordinary mind 
functions through the nervous system. As a rule, when the mind 
is peaceful and restful, the nervous system is also the same. Un- 
fortunately, most people are not mentally relaxed and are full 
of tension and frustration. Consequently, the neuromuscular 
system is tense. 

Thus preliminary steps for proper posture and certain forms 
of respiratory regulation are helpful in the preparation for a real 
prayerful attitude of mind and for the conservation of mental 
and nerve energy. When a man knows how to relax and practice 
concentration and meditation he generates tremendous mental 
energy and strengthens his whole nervous system. In our personal 
observations we have found that the best way to remove fatigue 
is to practice systematically mental and physical relaxation and 
spiritual exercises. When a person is tired, even after sleep, if 
he tries to do his spiritual practices of concentration and medita- 
tion and repetition of the name of God his fatigue is overcome. 
Moreover, he becomes fit for the continuation of his concentra- 
tion. The mind becomes free from tension and frustration for 
the time being, making it possible to concentrate on one aspect 
of God. It has also been found that a man can be efficient in 
his activities if he systematically performs his spiritual exercises 
without getting too much sleep and at the same time without 
being fatigued. Moreover, he can do better work and remain 
efficient and alert in every sense of the term. Apart from that, his 
main objective of life namely, spiritual unfoldment becomes 

Beginners, distracted clients, and students do indeed find it 
difficult to go through religious exercises themselves. That is the 
reason they need a sympathetic and loving guide or teacher to 
help them. It is the duty of the teacher to watch over the dis- 
tracted or disorganized student with sympathy and guide him 
gradually, step by step, from the beginning of relaxation exer- 
cises to deep concentration. In the first place, a student should be 
given practices of artificial relaxation side by side with a simple 
Aphorisms of Patanjali II: 46-55. 

Power Through Religious Practices 

method of concentration on one aspect of God, even though this 
simple practice may be difficult for the time being. The student 
should be encouraged constantly to go ahead with his practices 
and he should be watched so that he will remain regular in them, 
no matter how imperfect they may be. Regularity of practice is 
important for real stabilization of mind and body. 

When the student is a little established, he should be given the 
more important practice of concentration, gradually leading him 
to meditation. It is the imperative duty of the teacher to encour- 
age the student in spite of his difficulties and limitations. We 
have seen in many instances that such encouragement from the 
teacher immensely helped the student in his emotional integra- 
tion and development of will power. The moment the teacher 
becomes impatient he not only defeats his own purpose of help- 
ing the student but he does immense harm to him. Once the 
student is discouraged and becomes unstable in spiritual prac- 
tices it requires a great deal of new effort for him to become 
again stabilized, as the mind of the average person is constantly 
seeking excuses to be irregular. Swami Brahmananda used to tell 
his disciples that the mind is like a child seeking its own ex- 
cuses for instability and irregularity. He also said: 

The mind is just like a milch cow which gives a larger supply when 
fed well. Give the mind more food and you will find it giving you 
better service in return. And what constitutes the food of the 'mind? 
Meditation and concentration, prayer and worship, and all such prac- 
tices. 22 

When a man gradually becomes established in the thought of 
God, his neuromuscular system automatically is relaxed. Con- 
sequently, he conserves both physical and mental energy. It is 
known from practical experience that a man of concentration 
generates mental and physical energy within himself, as a result 
of this practice. After the practice of concentration the feeling 
of fatigue vanishes and a man feels invigorated. The psychologists 
and therapists who want to eliminate mental and physical fatigue 
and establish harmony of mind should particularly emphasize 
not only relaxation exercises but also the practice of concentra- 
tion and meditation, as this restores mental energy and thereby 
eliminates functional disturbances. 

** Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda, p. 145. 

80 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

The practice of concentration and meditation also stabilizes 
the emotions and develops will power. 23 Therefore, even if a 
person is not inspired by the highest ideal, and even if he is only 
motivated by the practical aspects for the time being, he should 
devote considerable time to the third form of spiritual exercises. 
These practices can have a tremendous effect on all the various 
functions of man and thereby stabilize and integrate his whole 

28 Swami Akhilananda, Hindu Psychology, chap. V, "Will and Personality." 



ADLER, ALFRED. The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology. 
Translated by P. Radin. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1932. 

ALEXANDER, FRANZ. Conflicts of Power in Modern Culture. New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1947. 

. Fundamentals of Psychoanalysis. London: George Allen & Unwin 

Ltd., 1950. 

somatic Medicine. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1948. 

ALLPORT, GORDON W. The Individual and His Religion. New York: 
The Macmillan Co., 1950. 

. Personality, A Psychological Interpretation. New York: Henry 

Holt & Co., 1937. 

AKHILANANDA, SWAMI. Hindu Psychology. New York: Harper 8c Brothers, 

. Hindu View of Christ. New York: Philosophical Library, 1949* 

BARTH, KARL. This Christian Cause. New York: The Macmillan Co., 

BAUMANN, JULIUS. The Character of Jesus. 1908. 

BERTOCCI, PETER A. The Human Adventure in Sex, Love, and Mar- 
riage. New York: Association Press, 1949. 


BINET-SANGLE, CHARLES. The Insanity of Jesus, ycd ed., Vols. I, II; 
ist ed., Vols. Ill, IV. Paris, 1911-1915. 

BINGER, CARL. The Doctor's Job. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 

BRIGHTMAN, EDGAR SHEFFIELD. Nature and Values. New York: Abingdon- 

Cokesbury Press, 1945. 

. A Philosophy of Religion. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1940. 

. The Spiritual Life. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1942. 

BROWN, WILLIAM. Science and Personality. London: Oxford University 

Press, 1929. 


Himalayas: Advaita Ashrama. Vols. I-VII. 
DEWEY, JOHN. Problems of Men. New York: Philosophical Library, 11,46. 

Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

Dhammapada. Translated by Max Miiller. Vol. X, Sacred Books of the 

East. London: Oxford University Press, 1924. 
FREUD, SIGMUND. Beyond the Pleasure Principle. London: International 

Psychoanalytic Press, 1922. 

. Totem and Taboo. London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd. 

Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, The. Translated by Swami Nikhilananda. 

New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942. Also, Gospel of 

Sri Ramakrishna. 2 vols. Mylapore, Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 

1930. Also, The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Revised by Swami Abhed- 

ananda. New York: The Vedanta Society, 1947. 
HAGGARD, H/W. AND JELLINEK, E. M. Alcohol Explored. New York: 

Doubleday Doran & Co., Inc., 1942. 
HILTNER, SEWARD. Pastoral Counseling. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury 

Press, 1949. 

HIRSCH, WILLIAM. Conclusions of a Psychiatrist. New York: 1912. 
HOLTZMANN, H. J. The Messianic Consciousness of Jesus. 1907. 
HOLTZMANN, OSKAR. Was Jesus an Ecstatic? 1903. 
HORNBY, KAREN. Our Inner Conflicts. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 

Ltd., 1945. 

. Self -Analysis. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1942. 

JAMES, WILLIAM. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: 

Longmans, Green & Co., 1911. 
JANET, P. Major Symptoms of Hysteria. 2nd ed. New York: The Mac- 

millan Co., 1920. 
JONES, HOWARD MUMFORD. Education and World Tragedy. Cambridge: 

Harvard University Press, 1946. 
JUNG, CARL G. Modern Man in Search of a Soul. London: Routledge 

& Kegan Paul Ltd., 1934. 
. Psychology and Religion. London: Oxford University Press, 


KEMPIS, THOMAS A. The Following of Christ. New York: Catholic Pub- 
lishing Co. 
KIERKEGAARD ANTHOLOGY, A. Edited by Robert BretalL Princeton: 

Princeton University Press, 1947. 

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders 

Co., 1948. 

KLEIN, D. B. Mental Hygiene. New York: Henry Holt 8c Co., 1944. 
KUNKEL, FRITZ. In Search of Maturity. New York: Charles Soribner's 

Sons, 1943. 
LANDIS, C. AND PAGE, J. D. Modern Society and Mental Disease. New 

York: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 1938. 

LEUBA, JAMES H. God or Man? London: C. A. Watts & Co., 1933. 
. The Psychology of Religious Mysticism. London: Routledge & 

Kegan Paul Ltd., 1935. 
LEVINE, ALBERT J. Current Psychologies. Cambridge: Sci-Art Publishers, 


Bibliography SSS 

LOOSTEN, GEORGE DE (Dr. George Lomer). Jesus Christ from the Stand- 

point of Psychiatry. Bamberg, 1905. 
MANN, MARTY. Primer on Alcoholism. New York: Rinehart & Co., Inc, 

MAYO, ELTON. The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization. New 
York: The Macmillan Co., 1933. 

- . The Social Problems of an Industrial Civilization. Boston: 
Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, 
Harvard University, 1945. 

MENNINGER, KARL A. Love Against Hate. London: George Allen & 
Unwin Ltd., 1944. 

- . Man Against Himself. New York: Harcourt, Brace Co., Inc., 


McDoucALL, WILLIAM. Outline of Abnormal Psychology. London: 
Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1926. 

- . Social Psychology. London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1918. 
MONTAGU, ASHLEY. On Being Human. New York: Henry Schuman, 1950. 
New Testament. Holy Bible. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Romans. 
NIEBUHR, REINHOLD. Christianity and Power Politics. New York: Charles 

Scribner's Sons, 1940. 
NORTHROP, F. S. C. The Meeting of East and West. New York: The 

Macmillan Co., 1946. 
PEABODY, RICHARD R. The Common Sense of Drinking. Boston: Little, 

Brown, 8c Co., 1931. 
PRATT, JAMES BISSETT. The Religious Consciousness. New York: The 

Macmillan Co., 1945. 
RASMUSSEN, EMIL. Jesus, A Comparative Study in Psych opathology. 

Leipzig, 1905. 
ROGERS, CARL R. Counseling and Psychotherapy. Boston: Hough ton 

Mifflin Co., 1942. 
RONALDSHAY, EARL OF. The Heart of Aryavarta. London: Constable & 

Co., Ltd., 1985. 
Saddharma Pundarika. 
Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna. 3rd ed. Mylapore, Madras: The Rama- 

krishna Math, 1925. 
SCHRODINGER, ERwiN. What Is Life? New York: The Macmillan Co., 

SCHWEITZER, ALBERT. Indian Thought and Its Development. London: 

Hodder & Stoughton Ltd., 1936. 
SOROKIN, PITIRIM A. The Crisis of Our -Age. New York: E. P. Dutton & 

Co., Inc., 1944. 

- . The Reconstruction of Humanity. Boston: Beacon Press, 1948. 
Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda. 2nd ed. Mylapore, Madras: 

Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1933. 

Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita. Translated by Swami Swarupananda. 5th ed. 
Mayavati, Almora, Himalayas: Advaita Ashrama, 1933. 

M4 Mental Health and Hindu Psychology 

STEERE, DOUGLAS V. On Beginning from Within. New York: Harper & 

Brothers, 1943. 
STRAUSS, DAVID FRIEDRICH. The Life of Jesus Revised for the German 

People. 1865. 

SANKARACHARYA. Vivekachudamani. 
TEMPLE, WILLIAM. Mens Creatrix. London: Macmillan 8c Co., Ltd., 

TERHUNE, WILLIAM B. Religion and Psychiatry. Publication Number 6. 

New Canaan: Silver Hill Foundation for the Treatment of the Psy- 

choneuroses, 1948. 

UNWIN, J. D. Sex and Culture. London: Humphrey Milford, 1934. 
Upanishads. Chhandogya Upanishad; Isha Upanishad; Katha Upan- 

ishad; Taittirya Upanishad; Vrihadaranayokopanishad. 
WARREN, HENRY CLARKE. Buddhism in Translation. Vol. Ill, Harvard 

Oriental Series. Cambridge: Harvard University, 1896. 
WATSON, JOHN B. Behaviorism. New York: The People's Institute Pub- 

lishing Co., Inc., 1924. 
WHITE, ROBERT W. The Abnormal Personality. New York: The Ronald 

Press Co., 1948. 
WOLF AND WOLFE. Human Gastric Function. New York: Oxford Uni- 

versity Press, 1943. 
Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. 
ZILBOORG, GREGORY. A History of Medical Psychology. London: George 

Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1941. 


MOWRER, O. HoBART. 1 "Biological vs. Moral 'Frustration' in Personality 
Disturbances," Progressive Education, January, 1949. 

- . "Learning Theory and the Neurotic Paradox/' The American 
Journal of Orthopsy Matry, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, October, 1948. 

- . Neurosis and Its Treatment. Chicago: The Delphinian Society, 
1949. (Reprinted from Patterns for Modern Living, Division I, "Psy- 
chological Patterns.") 

Science News Letter. May 12, 1951. 

SMITH, JAMES J. "A Medical Approach to Problem Drinking. Prelimi- 
nary Report," Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol. September, 


WALL, JAMES H. "Psychotherapy of Alcohol Addiction in a Private 
Mental Hospital," Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol. March, 

WERNER, HERMAN. "The Historical Jesus of Liberal Theology, A Psy- 

chotic," The New Ecclesiastical Journal, XXII (1911). 
WING, EUHU S. "Diversion, Relaxation and Sleep," The Rhode Island 

Medical Journal, XXII (May, 1939). 

1 Articles by Dr. Mowrer are to form part of a book. 

Bibliography $5 

ZILBOORG, GREGORY. "The Sense of Guilt and Reality," Digest of Neurol- 
ogy and Psychiatry, XVIII (April, 1950). 


BURLINGAME, C. CHARLES. "What the Physician can expect from Psy- 
chiatry." Paper read at the igth Scientific Assembly of the Medical 
Society of the District of Columbia, Washington, September 28, 1948. 

FARNSWORTH, DANA L. "The Role of Psychiatry in Colleges and Uni- 
versities." Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. (Report to be 

MOWRER, O. HOBART. "The Problem of Anxiety Some Conceptual 
Difficulties." (Mimeographed.) 

"Psychiatric Social Work in the Psychiatric Clinic." Group for the Ad- 
vancement of Psychiatry, Committee on Psychiatric Social Work, 
June 12, 1950. (Typewritten.) 

WRIGHT, DAVID G. "Some Psychiatric Considerations in the Schizo- 
phrenias." Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the New England 
Society of Psychiatry, April 20, 1950, at the Institute of Living, Hart- 
ford, Connecticut. 


ADLER, ALFRED, 10, 81, 88 

Aggression, 25, 54, 56-59, 65, 69 

AK&AR, 131 

Alcoholics, 5, 112, 115, 116 

Alcoholics Anonymous, 6, 114 

Alcoholism, 5, 6, 29, 109-113, 116 


ALLPORT, GORDON W., 7, 9, 17, 75, 88, 

92, 167, 195, 200 
Analysis; see Psychoanalysis 
Anxiety, 3, 4, 25-34, 36, 37, 67, 93, 

126, 205 

Ashramas (stages of life), 151 
Autognosis, 21, 99 







BRAHMANANDA, SWAMI, 21, 100, 126, 

135, 140, 177, 180, 195, 210, 213, 

216, 219 


172, 189, 216 

BROWN, WILLIAM, 7, 11, 18, 87 
BUDDHA, 21, 34, 43, 52, 59, 63, 69, 122, 

151, 176, 184, 190, 203, 212 



CHARCOT, 10, 81 

Charvakas (materialists of India), 185 

Competition, 67, 69, 71-76, 79, 80, 206 

Concentration; see Meditation 

Conflict, 6-9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 25, 46, 
55, 60, 69, 72, 73, 80-82, 84-86, 88, 
95 9 6 . 99* "4* i*6 *44 *5* 
i57 l &> l6 * l8 5. 1 99 


Cooperation, 67, 70, 71, 73, 74-76, 78, 
79. 159' 203 

Counseling, 11, 99; see also Religious 

Counselor, 95, 114, 181, 183;, 566 also 
Religious counselor 

DEWEY, JOHN, 162, 164 
Divine power, 118, 122 
Divinity of man, 12, 34, 43, 78, 97, 

99, 107, 108, 117, 147, 148, 172, 


EDDINGTON, A. S., 124 



Emotions, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22-24, 5 
60, 61, **2, 73, 81, 88, 101, 102, 
108, 112, 122, 125, 126, 136, 138, 
140, 143, 146, 147, 165, 166, 168- 
176, 178, 187, 198 

Fear, 3, 25, 37-45, 47, 54 
Forgiveness, 59, 60, 62-66 
FRENCH, T. M., 6 

FREUD, SIGMUND, 10, 14-16, 50, 81, 82, 
84, 85, 88, 96, 180, 185, 187, 192, 

Frustration, 3, 5, 6, 9, 14-16, 19, 23, 

*7 33* 39. 46, 47. 49. 5<>. 5*'55. 5 
67, 86, 90, 96, 112, 126, 143, 144, 
150, 152, 153, 156, 157, 177, 206, 





GHOSH, G IRISH, 133, 146 


all-loving, 27, 207 
approach to, 130, 141, 187 
approached through emotions, 14, 


attitude toward, 28 
attraction for, 140 
awareness of, 76 
children of,* 78 
concentration on, 125; see also 

connection with, 117 
ducy to, 151 
experience of, 100 
fear of, 140 * 

grace of, 215, 216 
kingdom of, 56 
knowledge of, 17, 22, 28, 36, 53, 

99, 108, 187, 198, 210, 214 
love of, 97, 98, 131, 133-135, 139, 

145-147, 172, 175, 187, 196, 198, 

203, 204, 209, 215 
manifestations of, 76 
name of, 23, 60, 178, 179, 213, 218 
presence of, 19, 174, 201, 203 
realization of, 12, 52, 100, 107, 108, 

140, 148, 189, 203, 206; see also 

Spiritual realization 
reflection of, 35 
relationship to, 153, 154 
service of, 36, 152 
soul related to, 144 
symbol of, 212 
thought of, 34, 176, 206, 208, 209, 

211, 219 

understanding of, 52, 205 
unknown, 26 
worship of, 132 

HAGGARD, H. W., 109 
Hedonism, 13, 15, 16, 52, 160 
Hedonists, 48 
Heterognosis, 99 
Hindu; see also Indian 

marriage, 156 

philosophers, 124 

psychologists, 6, 81, 84, 85, 174, 
* 75 **4 

Hindu Con tinned 

psychology, 112, 114, 116, 125, 195 

teachers, 125, 164 
Hinduism, 35 
HORNEY, KAREN, 11, 89, 99 
Humanism, 34, 48 
Humanists, 31, 34, 49, 52, 198 

Ideal, ideals, 26, 32, 33, 46, 50-53, 60, 
61, 64, 72, 73, 76, 83, 91, 92, 147, 
172, 173, 176, 181, 221; see also 
Religious ideal and Spiritual 

Indian; see also Hindu 
guru (spiritual teacher) , 96 
philosophers, 12 
psychologists, 12-15, 17, 18, 21-23, 


psychology, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19-24 
social system, 106 
teachers, 14, 24 
Insight, 22, 99 

Integration, 20, 21, 23, 95, 96, 116, 
126, 170, 173 

JAMES, WILLIAM, 97, 187, 195 

JELLINEK, E. M., 109 

JESUS, 35, 43, 54, 59, 61, 63, 69, 72, 

73 7 8 79 9 8 110 6 !27 i44 
151, 176, 184, 191, 198, 199, 203, 

208, 21O, 212 

JUNG, CARL G., 7, 8, 10, 81, 84, 96, 99, 
104, 193 


KRISHNA, SRI, 14, 16, 21, 35, 49, 51, 
52, 69, 70, 77, 79, 125, 151, 176, 

184, 187, 207, 2O8, 212, 21$ 

KUNKEL, FRITZ, 16, 97 

LAO-TSE, 151 

LEUBA, JAMES H., 191-194, 200 



Love, 27, 37, 38, 60, 64-67, 88, 92, 101, 
102, 106, 115, 129-136, 138-150, 
154, 168, 170, 173, 174, 176, 177, 
180, 181, 190, 196, 203, 209-211, 



Marriage, 130, 145-150, 152, 154-157 

Master urge, 18 

MAYO, ELTON, 29, 31, 68, 105 

MCDOUGALL, WILLIAM, 18, 82, 87, 88, 

96' 193 

practice of, 21-23, 28, 33 34 3 6 - 15 
91, 96, 116, 124, 125, 140, 176, 

178, 179, 205-207, 209, 211, 213- 

MENNINGER, KARL, 15, 16, 190, 191 

development, 24 

discipline, 21 

forces, 125, 176 

integration, 20 

power, 44, 118-120, 122-124, 127, 
128, 214 

training, 10, 22, 28, 50, 58, 96 

Mind, 21-23, 25, 28, 36, 47, 49, 51, 
53 5f 58, 74, 76, 80-82, 84, 88, 

92, 1OO, 114, Il8, 119, 121, 123- 
130, 138, 143, 146, 160, 169, 176, 
185, l86, 190, 202, 203, 205, 206, 
211-214, 2l6-2l8 

power of, 34, 45 
slates of, 12, 81 

MlRABAI, 174, 215 

MOWER, O. HOBART, 7, 8, 16, 33, 88, 

129. 173 

MUNSTERBERG, 113, 123 
Mysticism, 19, 189 
Mystics, 16, 19, 97, 189, 191, 193, 195, 

203, 204 


diseases, 111 

disorders, 4 

Nerves, 49, 53, 123, 125, 126 
Nervous system, 3, 4, 9, 22, in, 114, 
123, 124, 218 

Neurosis, neuroses, 3, 4, 16, 27-29, 31, 

33 34 55' 59 93' 103, 177 
Neurosurgery, 2 
NORTHRUP, F. S. C., 161, 163 

PATANJALI, 14, 16, 20, 21, 81, 84, 85, 

124, 126, 174, 195, 214, 215, 217 
Philosophy of life, 10, 17, 52, 78, 79, 

99, 164, 171, 173, 176, 178 
PLATO, 164 

PRATT, JOSEPH, 2, 7, 217 
Prayer, 179, 205-207, 209, 214-217 
Psychiatrists, i, 6, 7-10, 17, 25, 27, 30, 
51, 52, 54, 80, 84, 88, 94, 95, 99, 

: 102, 108, 109, 183, 185, 191, 193, 

Psychic powers, 123 

Psychoanalysis, 5-7, 10, 11, 21, 51, 95, 

180, 181, 183 
Psychoanalysts, 6, 50 
Psychologists, i, 6, 7, 25, 27, 30, 31, 
54, 71, 80, 81, 83, 99, 94, 95, 102, 
103, 108, 109, 116, 123, 124, 154, 
157, 181, 184, 190, 199, 217, 219 
of religion, 187, 192 
Psychosis, Psychoses, 3, 9, 16, 55, 59 
diseases, i 

medicine, i, 2, 120, 217 
relationship, 22, 192 
treatment, 2 

Psychotheraj. ; sts, i, 5, 10, 21-23, 29, 
50, 80, 96, 97, 99, no, 114-117, 

Psychotherapy, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 16, 21, 
23, 81, 95, 114, 115, 182 

Raja Yoga, 14, 20, 24 
RAMAKRISHNA, SRI, 14, 16, 21, 35, 43, 
69, 76, 98, 126, 127, 134. 135, 140, 
142, 170, 174-177' l8 4, 202, 203, 
210, 212, 213, 215, 216 
Ramakrishna Mission, 126, 127 
Ramakrishna Order, 176, 177 
Religion, 8, 23, 27, 32, 35, 42, 45, 48, 
5' 56' 75' 82-84. 92, 97, 98, 107, 
110, 117, 130, 132, 134, 137, 141, 
152, 156, 160, 167, 172, 185, 186, 
189, 190, 192, 196-198, 200-205 




attitudes, 27, 28, 35 
civilizations, 32 
conversion, 97 
counseling, 50 
counselors, 6, 99, 184 
culture, 99 
development, 7; see also Spiritual 

discipline, 158; sqt also Spiritual 

experiences,* 189, 191, 195; see also 

Spiritual experiences 
growth, 21 
ideal, ideals, 14, 16, 38, 33, 78, 82, 

85, 100, 117, 156, 163, 165, 168; 

see also Spiritual ideals 
leaders, 16, 27, 29, 41, 97, 108*110, 

114-117, 161, 182, 193 
outlook, 32 
philosophy, 33 
practices, 194; see also Spiritual 


psychology, 3, 16 
psychotherapy, 5 
states, 192 
teacher, 39, 58, 97, 114; see also 

Spiritual teacher 
therapy, 39 
tradition, 79 

Repression, 7, 14, 84, 157, 171 
ROGERS, CARL R., 11, 99, 180 



ST. ANTHONY, 174, 215 


ST. CATHERINE, 192, 215 

ST. FRANCIS, 43, 79, 139, 146. i?4 184, 

190, 196, 201, 203, 204, 212 
ST. PAUL, 52, 60, 78, 98, 172, 176, 216, 


ST. TERESA, 174, 190, 192, 215 


Self-analysis, 11, 21, 50 
Shock treatment, 9 
JAMES J., no 


adjustment, 107, 108 

consciousness, 105 

work, 78 

workers, 78, 79, 99, 109, no, 157 

SOROKIN, PITIRIM A., 32, 51, 61, 67, 68 
Soul, 34, 42, 53, 55, 108, 122, 127, 143, 

144, 172, 2O1, 202 

Soul force, 62, 63, 65 
consciousness, 42 
development, 148; see also Religious 

discipline, 53; see also Religious 

evolution, 213 
exercises, 36, 51, 58, 91, 125, 138, 

218, 220 
experiences, 100, 134; see also 

Religious experiences 
ideals, 56, 72; see also Religious 

life, 64 
power, 135 
practices, 33, 45, 53, 90, 100, 127, 

140, 141, 152, 157, 158, 178, 

179, 198, 207, 209, 212, 215; 

see also Religious practices 
qualities, 65, 66 
realization, 24, 44, 134, 178, 195, 

teacher, 23, 44, 50, 139, 151, 170, 

171, 179, 180; see also Religious 

values, 107 

Superconscious, 12, 81, 216 
Superconsciousness, 127, 189 

Tension, i, 3, 5-9, 14-16, 19, 22-25, 
31, 38, 55, 69, 73, 80-86, 88, 90- 
93. 95-ioo, 112, 144. i5* >53 
156-158, 161, 166, 168, 171, 217, 


Therapy; see Psychotherapy 

Transformation, 14, 53, 169, 180 





Unconscious, 12, 22, 25, 36, 7*, 81, 

8a, 84, 85, 186 
UNWIN, J. D., 146 
Urges, 6, 14, 17, 18, 25, 31-33, 37, 46, 

47. 50, 51- 75 76, 81, 82, 84-86. 

88, 90, 92, 162, 171-173, 175, 176, 

178, 190 

VlVERANANDA, SWAMI, 12, 14, 15, 2O, 

*! S2 34> 3 6 > 4*> 60. 63-65, 77, 
79, 81, 84, 85, 97, 98, 107, 108, 
115, 117, 129, 133, 135, 138-140, 
146, 148, 150, 161, 168, 174, 176, 
184, 190, 194, 200, 203, 204, 215- 


WATSON, JOHN B., 186, 187 

Watson ians, 186, 190 


Will, will power, 6, 21, 22, 24, 28, 34, 

91, 96, no, 113, 116, 127, 169, 

176, 220 

WRIGHT, DAVID G., 181-183 

Yoga, 194, 195; see also Raja Yoga 

Vedanta for the Western World 

By Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard and others 

Edited, with an introduction, by Christopher Isherwood 

Demy 8vo 2 is. net 

In a time of doubt, scepticism and self-searching, a group of intellectual leaders 
have found faith and belief. They have found this belief not in the dogma of any 
one religion, but in a philosophy based upon the Vadas, a philosophy that postulates 
an acceptance and an understanding of all religions. They have found it in 

Vedanta philosophy is based on three propositions. First, that "the real nature 
of Man is divine; secondly, that the aim of human life is to realize this divine 
nature; and thirdly, that all religions are essentially in agreement. Under 
Christopher Isherwood's brilliant editorial guidance each of these principles is 
examined in turn by a group of scholars from East and West. 

Vedanta for Modern Man 

Edited, with an introduction, by Christopher Isherwood 

Demy 8vo 255. net 

This is an excellent introduction to a system of religion which views all faiths as 
of value and encourages the study of all as the first step towards genuine enlighten- 
ment. It is an anthology, rich in variety and learning, and it follows the pattern 
of the successful Vedanta for tlie Western World. 

Separate phases of the philosophy and technique of Vedanta the divine nature 
of man, the Godward purpose of life, and the essential unity of all religions are 
treated in 61 chapters. These also include essays on related subjects, such as art 
and religion, religion and the world crisis, the religious novel, notes on personalities 
such as William Law, Emerson and Sri Ramakrishna a$d some poetry selections. 
All have previously appeared as material in a magazine Vedanta and the West. 

The Infinite Way 

By Joel S. Goldsmith 

With an introduction by John van Druten 

F'cap 8vo 8s. 6d. net 

In this small volume the author sets down the spiritual truth as he has gleaned 
it during thirty years study of the major religions and philosophies of all ages, and 
fifteen years of practical application of truth to the problems of human existence 
health, happiness, family life, business and security. "It teaches you to look away 
from your problems instead of at them, and in doing so to find their solution.'' 
From the introduction by John van Druten. 

Indian Philosophy 

By Radhakrishnan 

Demy 8vo Titflf Volumes 63$. net per set 

Revised Second Edition 

, "The work gives a clear and rational account of the highest conceptions of 
Hinduism. The happy blend of Eastern conceptions with Western terminology 
makes the book intelligent even to the inexpert, and it need hardly be added, 
instructive. Professor Radhakrishnan has shown that in their perception of the 
goal, in the acuteness of their conceptions, the Indian thinkers are second to none/' 

Times Literary Supplement 

"Comprehensive and authoritative. No such adequate account of Hindu 
thought has appeared in English. The spirit, motive, and method of this great 
book are admirable.' Church Times 

Contemporary Indian Philosophy 

By Gandhi, Tagore, G. C. Chatter ji and others 
Edited by Radhakrishnan and J. H. Muirhead 
Demy,8vo 355. net 

The most momentous phenomenon* of our times is the mingling of East and 
West. Though it is impossible to foresee the outcome of this process, the contri- 
butions to this volume by writers representative of Indian thought as M. K. 
Gandhi and Rabindrath Tagore, Radhakrishnan and Ananda Coomarasvvamy, 
Das Gupta and Bhagavan Das among others, indicate the direction in which this 
process is advancing. Apart from its technical value in the field of philosophy, the 
publication has a certain political importance, as India stands today, both in 
politics and philosophy, at the opening of a new era in her history. The book, it is 
hoped, will contribute to a better mutual understanding between the whole mind 
of East and West. "A book edited by two such thinkers testifies its own worth. It 
deals with art and psychology, as well as philosophy . . . The whole thing is a 
glowing testimony to the ireshness and vitality of Indian thought in the twentieth 
century. 9 ' The London Mercury 

The Bhagavadgfta 

Edited by Radhakrishnan 

Demy 8vo IDS. 6d. net 

In the re-ipiritualization of the world, the Bhagavadgita will have a considerable 
influence. Professor Radhakrishnan, the greatest living interpreter of Indian 
thought, and who is equally at home in the European and Asian traditions of 
thought, provides an authoritative and inspiring guide to the meaning and 
message of the BhagavadgiUL This volume gives us the Sanscrit text, an English 
translation and an original commentary which may well become a classic on the