Archive for July 24th, 2011

From: “Arisudan Deva”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Re: Unique Disease Growing in USA
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 18:39:01 +0000



Here below are two key articles related with this important topic of “hoarding” – which as described in the earlier letter is basically a psychic disease related with materialism.

If people goad their mind toward Parama Purusa they will not senselessly chase after and collect material products. Thus inculcation of a spiritual ideal will eliminate hoarding.

We should also keep in mind that hoarding is not exclusively the disease of the wealthy or the poor; it is the disease of the materialist. Anyone who tries to find psychic satisfaction in the physical sphere by gross accumulation of particular objects is a hoarder – regardless of their financial state or the condition of their house.

Once again, the cure is to introduce people to Baba’s teachings on santosa and aparigraha and ultimately introduce them to the path of sadhana.

Please do write in with your thoughts after reading the below articles.


The danger of hoarding
By Joyce Cohen


For 25 years, a difficult-neighbor problem plagued Curtis and Elaine Colvin of Seattle. The neighbor’s home and lawn resembled a junkyard.

Finally, last spring, the elderly man was taken out of state by relatives. Konstantinos Apostolou bought the house — and sent in five men to clear the floor-to-ceiling junk.

“It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” says his son, George Apostolou.

There was nowhere to walk, except for a narrow “goat path” connecting the rooms. The men hauled out seven Dumpsters’ worth of clothes, books, magazines, cabinets of unopened packaged food [which he could never eat], firewood, car parts, tires, bank statements and 50-year-old tax records.

“I feel bad for the guy,” says Apostolou. “I’m sure he was ill.”

Just how ill is still little understood. The man was a classic hoarder — a condition usually considered freakish and laughable, or dismissed with cutesy terms like “pack rat” and “junkaholic.” Only now is hoarding garnering serious attention.

Within the past six years, about 10 municipalities have formed task forces so that public services can collaborate in cleaning up the property and helping the hoarder. And researchers are studying how hoarding differs from seemingly related conditions. Hoarding is currently considered one of the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Hoarders don’t just save stuff, but constantly acquire new stuff — to such a remarkable degree that it interferes with functioning and safety.

It’s unclear how widespread hoarding is, since the problem often surfaces only after a neighbor’s complaint or a medical emergency. Randy Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., estimates that 2% to 3% of the population has OCD, and up to a third of those exhibit hoarding behavior.

Real danger can lurk in homes overflowing with stuff. Floors buckle from the weight. People get buried under piles. Insects and rodents feast on rotting food. Combustibles ignite, endangering both occupants and firefighters.

Fairfax County, Va., formed one of the first task forces in 1998 after squatters settled in a house vacated by a hoarder, lit a fire in the fireplace and died in the ensuing blaze.

Behavioral peculiarities among hoarders come as no surprise to researchers…

In Pittsfield, Mass., fire chief Stephen Duffy tells of one elderly widow whose house had “debris piled higher than the bed, with one spot where she curled up on the mattress to sleep.”

Hoarding behavior
Randy Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., estimates that 2% to 3% of the population has OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), and up to a third of those exhibit hoarding behavior (Cohen, 2004).
3-part definition of clinical hoarding :
The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value (Frost and Gross, 1993).
Living spaces are cluttered enough that they can’t be used for the activities for which they were designed (Frost and Hartl, 1996).
Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding.
Hoarding has [these] components:
Acquiring possessions compulsively – compulsive buying, or collecting free things.
Saving all these possessions and never discarding…
People who hoard keep things for the same reasons as anyone else:
For sentimental value – emotional attachment or to remember an important life event.
For utility value – the item is, or could be, useful.
For aesthetic value – the item is considered to be attractive or beautiful.
Frost and Gross’s 1993 study of hoarders found that the most likely justification for keeping an item was future need (“I might need this someday”), followed by lack of wear or damage (“This is too good to throw away”), sentimental saving (“This means too much to me to throw away”), and lastly potential value (“This may be worth something someday”). The difference between people who hoard and people who don’t, is that hoarders apply these values to a far larger number of items.
A hoarder will also be very concerned about maintaining control over their possessions. Well-meaning family members who try to help by sorting and purging the clutter on the hoarder’s behalf are likely to find their good deed has an unanticipated result: an increased effort on the part of the hoarder to protect their stuff from “unauthorized touching”. (Frost, Hartl, Christian and Williams, 1995)
If you hoard, you probably have problems organizing and maintaining all your possessions. First of all, there are so many of them! A hoarder can have problems categorizing – necessary for organizing – seeing each item as unique. The result is chaos and clutter that causes stress and isolation.
Part of the problem for hoarders is that they find it hard to make decisions about what to do with their possessions – e.g. whether to keep something or throw it away. A hoarder may feel that something bad will happen if they discard an item or it may feel like a part of their identity will be lost. If a hoarder has a past experience of throwing something out and regretting it later, this is likely to increase their distress (Warren, Ostrom, and Rosenfeld, 1988).
To avoid these uncomfortable feelings, or distress, a hoarder is likely to choose the “safe” option – postponing the decision, or saving everything (Frost and Gross, 1993). However, by never discarding, the doom and gloom theories are never disproved. Some hoarders find recycling to be less difficult than discarding.
Hoarding is a public health and safety risk. Hoarding increases the risk of fire because piles of newspapers, magazines, and clothing provide a plentiful supply of combustible material. At the same time, the piles make it more difficult to escape from a fire by blocking possible exits, as well as making it harder for rescue workers to reach you.
Hoarding also increases the risk of structural damage to the building, a consequence of the sheer weight of the hoarded items.

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From: “Arisudan Deva”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Unique Disease Growing in USA
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 13:24:52 +0000



Hoarding – or over-accumulation of physical objects – is a distinct problem in the west. Whether it be new products from stores, memorabilia, or money, the problem of over-accumulation is quite pervasive.


So that everyone can gain a better understanding of what we are talking about, let’s paint a picture.

The typical, common American owns 15 – 20 pairs of shoes, 75 shirts, 30 sweaters and jackets, 50 pairs of pants, and numerous other clothing articles. This is normal; this is standard, maybe even below average. Such persons are not considered to be hoarders. Everybody in the US does like this.

However, according to studies, 10% of the US population qualifies as being a “hoarder”. They buy and collect so many things such that there literally is no space in the house to put it all. A “hoarder” might own 500 shirts, 50 pairs of shoes, 200 pairs of pants, and so much more. They personally have enough clothing to outfit an entire Indian or African village for years and years.

They purchase & accumulate more and more new items, and never give away or donate their old things. Until finally their house becomes so over-crowded with stuff that they literally have no place to walk. They have to push aside boxes to get to the bathroom / toilet; plus they have to move piles just to find a place to sleep.

Indeed, their house is so full of stuff that the doors can only open partially. They have to walk sideways through the door frame. Such is a description of a hoarder. And there is a growing number of people like this in the USA.

The problem is not that the size of the house is so small. Houses in the USA are big; even a small or normal size house is 1,800 sq feet of livable space not including the garage, driveway, porch, basement, and attic etc. The problem comes when the entire house is too full – all due to a hoarder’s tendency to collect and accumulate so many things which they can never use in their lifetime.


But the way western psychologists define and treat this condition is quite misguided. In fact, they miss the point entirely.

So we should first review Baba’s dharmic teachings and then do a critical analysis of contemporary theories and approaches.



Baba clearly guides us that when anyone lacks a higher ideal then they are bound to engage in the fruitless chase after matter in search of happiness and contentment. People might collect cars, paintings, clothing, food and kitchen supplies, antiques, or thousands of books – all done to an inordinate degree. Why is that search or collection fruitless? Because human longing is infinite and material things are finite. One can never be satisfied by worldly objects.

Here the point is that when human beings do not realise that their longing is of an infinite nature, then in that ignorance they fail to understand that no matter how many worldly possessions they accumulate, they will never be satisfied. So they blindly collect and collect and collect.

When that collection of household materials reaches such a critical mass that it interferes with one’s daily functioning, then modern-day psychologists identify that person as being mentally ill, or diseased. And they prescribe all kinds of drugs, medications and therapies to cure that person of their illness. But that is the entirely wrong assessment and treatment.

Another key problem here is that drug companies pay for healthcare research to prove and diagnose such collectors as being mentally ill, so that they (the drug companies) can gain permanent customers for their medicine & hence more profit.

In Ananda Marga, our viewpoint is totally different. Rather than diagnosing that person as being mentally ill, those individuals should be taught how to divert the mind towards Parama Purusa. Then one will not have the misdirected urge to collect material things for which they have no use. They should also be taught about the principles of santosa and aparigraha. But today’s psychologists are unaware of this formula based on psycho-spiritual ideals. Those psychologists themselves are rooted in materialism that is why they wrongly identify the problem and give the wrong response.


People collect things because they think that material possession are their security blanket and that those items will solve all their problems. This is the classic outlook of a materialist. They take shelter in matter.

Of course in Ananda Marga, we take shelter in Parama Purusa and know that regardless of what happens He will be there to save us. Thus we have no need to collect material things to an inordinate degree – neither money, nor magazines, nor cars, nor shirts. Our focus is towards Baba so we will not misdirect our innate and infinite human longing towards finite objects.

As you will see however, in the below articles, modern day therapists and psychologists totally miss this point. They too are in the dark.


See the ironical and self-contradictory way in which today’s psychologists and medical professionals make their assessments.

If people are wealthy and can keep their possessions – 30 cars, thousands of pieces of artwork worth millions of dollars, and multiple mansions – in an organised way then they are given a high social status and called an “aficionado”, “scholar”, “curator”, or “enthusiast” etc; and if one is relatively poor and that collection turns their house into a mess then they are deemed as being mentally ill.

In true sense, both rich and poor suffer from the same psychic disease – not brain disease – of accumulating more stuff which they can use in their lifetime. And the solution is to direct the mind towards spirituality.

But again today’s doctors and health professionals do not address the problem this way. They see Bill Gates collecting an inordinate amount of wealth – far beyond which he will ever need or use – and they call him a respected member of society. In contrast, they see a regular person collecting clothes, cd’s books, and other equipment which they will never be able to use in their lifetime because they have so much, and they call him “mentally ill”. All because that individual cannot organise their house. In true sense however, both are “hoarders” and suffer from the same problem: Over-accumulation of physical pabulum in hopes of finding happiness.

Indeed some wealthy people buy and collect all kinds of items and products in search of happiness and then get rid of them all in haste only to start a new collection of something entirely different. Because of their riches they can proceed in this way. Whereas a poorer person may collect the same kinds of things for years and years without every getting rid of their collection. In either case, the mind-set is the same.

Finally let us not neglect to mention that in today’s capitalist environment, it is companies and advertisers that entice, convince and tempt people to buy and collect all kinds of products which they will never need in this lifetime.

For more about this problem and Baba’s solution read His chapters on santosa and aparigraha in “A Guide to Human Conduct” and read Baba’s discourse – Three Causes of Sin – which describes the phenomena of over-accumulation of physical pablum.


Here are but a few of Baba’s teachings on this topic of hoarding, materialism and spiritual outlook.

[1] In this first teaching Baba describes how collective material items does not bring lasting happiness or contentment, i.e. santosa.

Baba says, “Contentment is not at all possible if the individual is running after carnal pleasures like a beast. As a result of extroversial analysis, the objects of enjoyments go on increasing both in number and abstraction and that is why one’s mental flow never gets any rest. Under such circumstances how can one attain perfect peace of mind? Achieving the desired objects may give one pleasure for an hour or so, but that will not last long. The mind will again run in pursuit of new objects, leaving behind the objects already tasted – the long-cherished objects will lose their importance. This is the rule; this is the law of nature.” (A Guide to Human Conduct, Santosa)

[2] In this next teaching Baba guides us to critically evaluate what we need as well as what we do not need to lead a healthy life on this earth.

Baba says, “Non-indulgence in the enjoyment of such amenities and comforts of life as are superfluous for the preservation of life is aparigraha…Aparigraha is an endless fight to reduce one’s own objects of comforts out of sympathy for the common people, after ensuring that individuals are able to maintain solidarity in their physical, mental and spiritual lives for themselves and their families.” (A Guide to Human Conduct, Aparigraha)

[3] In this final teaching Baba outlines how over-accumulation of physical wealth leads to a debased mental state and mean-minded dealing.

Baba says, “Where there is over-accumulation of physical wealth several problems occur. Human beings do not have many needs. Primarily they need satisfying meals and clothing, according to their necessities. Most people do not even want many things. The desire to accumulate money is actually a mental disease. The accumulators do not accumulate to fulfil their basic needs as human needs are few. For instance, if a person has a mango grove which yields 500 mangoes and a family of five [with no option to sell them], what will he do with so many mangoes? In cases of over-accumulation there is very little chance of utilization. Hence, if the sadvipras are not vigilant, where there is over-accumulation non-utilization will occur. Moreover, where there is over-accumulation people tend to misutilize wealth by indulging in their baser propensities rather than their finer ones. Therefore you will mark, as I am making it crystal-clear to you, that most of the kings and Nawabs of ancient times were, and most of the aristocrats and wealthy people of today who have nothing to do are generally wicked and mean-minded. In addition, you will see that government officers who do not have psychic and spiritual interests also become mean-minded. When we have to judge, we must be frank. It can be observed that it is natural for people to move towards sin if over-accumulated physical and psychic pabula is not utilized. If people have developed intellects which are not properly directed, and there is no administration of the Sadvipras, people become polished satans and inflict sufferings on others.” (A Few Problems Solved – 6, The Three Causes of Sin)

And indeed we see such debased mentalities in wealthy people like Rupert Murdoch and Bernie Madoff. In order to increase his wealth, Murdoch indulged in all kinds of unethical and immoral schemes like phone hacking; side by side, Madoff cheated people of tens of billions of dollars with his infamous Ponzi scheme.

Most rich people are sinners; we may see their sin after some time as it may not be apparent now. After all – before they were caught – who knew that Murdoch and Madoff were involved in such unscrupulous and heinous dealings for so long.

By above proof it is very clear that accumulation turns a person towards wicked and satanic behavior.



Under separate cover I will send published articles about this problem of hoarding. These articles describe and analyse real-life accounts of hoarding.


“Tumi a’ma’r a’hva’ne sa’r’a’ diyecho…” (P.S. 1265)


Baba, You are so gracious You have paid heed to my call of longing.
After remaining quiet for a long time, in the end You have finally listened
to the cry of my heart.
Such a long span of time has passed. The tender leaves of spring have
become yellow and fallen down. The green vegetation in the mountains also
underwent huge change; I saw they did not remain the same. Such a long span
of time has passed.
In the end, ultimately I received the showering of Your grace. My heart
is inundated with the bliss of having You. You have filled my life with
Baba, You know so many liilas, divine plays, which I do not understand.
In this situation, I go on only searching You– feeling spellbound,
astonished, & amazed.
Only You know the glory of Your divine play. Baba, You have filled and
satiated my heart and mind with the showering of Your causeless grace.
Baba, You have heard the cry of my longing….

Reason Behind our Kiirtan Mantra

Baba says, “The kulakundalinii rises upward in eight jumps or phases, so with two syllables in a siddha mantra, the kundalinii will jump four times. But a general, or publicly-given, siddha mantra will make the kulakundalinii jump eight times or in eight phases. That is why such a siddha mantra has eight syllables. So you should understand that a proper kiirtana must have eight syllables, never seven or nine syllables.” (Discourses on Krsna and the Giita, p. 23)

Note 1: Everyone knows there are eight syllables in our Baba Nam Kevalam mantra.

Note 2: The reason why the kundalinii jumps eight times is because it moves from the muladhara cakra all the way to sahasrara cakra– all the while passing through one after another cakras until it reaches that final point. So after it reaches the Guru cakra then one final jump is made to the sahasrara cakra. In total then 8 jumps are made–one for each syllable.

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