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Archive for April 9th, 2013

Baba

== WHY SPORTS FAN BECAME DEPRESSED ==

Namaskar,
Recently there was a report about a sports fan who became so distraught after his favourite team lost that he could not go to work or interact in normal social situations. He became so depressed by “his team’s” loss that he could not even sleep, eat, or drink. His mind became fused and frozen; he was utterly sunk in woe and suffered from deep, deep melancholia. Such was his unfortunate fate and horrible condition.

TWO POINTS OF CLARIFICATION

Before going on further, two points should be clarified:

1) This depressed person was not actually on that defeated team. Nor was he present in the arena or stadium when the team lost. Nor were any of his personal friends or family members on the team that lost. Actually, he did not know anyone personally on that team. Not only that, the athletes themselves on that losing team did not become depressed because they lost. Yet this man, who was merely watching the game on TV far, far from the actual venue, suffered from a deep, dark depression because of the team’s loss.

2) This is not an isolated incident. Many avid sports fans suffer from depression when their team loses. This has garnered much attention lately amongst psychologists and doctors. Why do fans become so attached with their team that they become ill and diseased when their team loses.

PART OF A GREATER SOCIAL PROBLEM

Not just sports fans, but throughout materialistic societies and communities, there are countless people who fall prey to depression.

For instance, there was a father who had a 5-year-old daughter whom he loved very much. And the time had come for his daughter to go off for her schooling; she was to stay with her maternal grandmother. After living there and studying for years and years, at the age of 18 she returned back to visit her father. Seeing his daughter all grown-up, the father was quite disappointed and upset. He had remembered her as an innocent and sweet 5-year-old girl and now she was quite different.

Likewise, people become depressed because their own personal appearance has changed; they were so much attached with their youthful beauty and now that is gone so they are mentally disturbed.

Or they become depressed because they loved their house so much and now their house has fallen into decay or they themselves could no longer live in that house, for whatever reason. People do not own their house forever. One day it may be burned to ashes or the owner of the house may die. At some point there will be separation. In the same way, no one keeps their own physical body forever, and when that day nears they are in psychic turmoil.

Or people become depressed due to a loss in their financial standing or social status. They thought their money and prestige would last forever, and now that has dissipated; so they are in terrible angst over the loss.

Indeed, people become mentally imbalanced due to so many vacillations in the material sphere. Primarily because they were not prepared for their impending loss. So just as before any natural catastrophe or big storm, the authorities issue warnings so people can be prepared and best handle the situation, similarly Ananda Marga philosophy serves notice that this world is transient and one should set their priorities with this truth in mind: Nothing in this world lasts forever. Knowing this, one can plan accordingly and refrain from getting emotionally attached to ephemeral things and one can care for their body to make it last as long as possible.

Those looking for worldly causes will think that all the aforementioned cases are different. However, from the perspective of the spiritual philosophy of Ananda Marga, all these cases are the same. The root cause is one.

WHAT IS THE OPERATIVE FACTOR?

The question becomes: What is the operative factor? What is the real explanation behind such depression, and what is the solution.

In His vast body of teachings of Ananda Marga ideology, Baba has pin-pointedly identified the problem and given the solution.

Specifically, people become enamoured with various shapes and forms in this mundane world and want to hold onto them forever – they want to keep that expression permanently as is. Alas, it undergoes change, and when it does they become upset, sad, or even extremely distraught and depressed.

A man becomes deeply attached with his cherished house, yet he is not going to live in that house forever. Either his house will come under different ownership or one day he will leave that house. The house may be destroyed by an earthquake or tornado, or he may become sick and have to leave, or he may die. Inevitably, for one reason or another, he will have to part with that house. When the time of separation comes, he becomes depressed.

It is the same as in the above case examples:
(a) the father became disturbed by seeing the drastic change in his grown daughter; and,
(b) the sports fan became depressed by watching his favourite team lose.

The key theme in all these circumstances is that this relative world is constantly undergoing change. People become attracted or enamoured with the way a person or thing is at a particular point in time. They want it to remain like that forever. They view that as their shelter for all-time. So when it inevitably changes, they become sad and depressed; and, sometimes they are so shocked they become senseless.

One day a sports team is the champion and on top of the world, and the next moment they are miserable, bankrupt, sunk in scandal, or mocked by people all over. That is the nature of this transient world; everything is always undergoing change. But this is not properly understood in materialistic societies. Superficially they may say, “I know it will not be like this forever.” But practically speaking, they plan their life on the idea that things will never change. They become depressed because they want to hold onto or keep their cherished object in a particular moment in time – forever.

This is not just limited to physical objects, but the psychic world as well. Philosophies change; ideas evolve; and people’s conceptions change.

BABA’S DRAMATIC PERSONAL ACCOUNT

Here below Baba speaks to this entire phenomena of how this relative world constantly undergoes change and that what one likes one day will be gone tomorrow.

“Once, in my childhood, I stayed in a village in Bhagalpur district which I grew to love immensely. Forty years after I returned to the village. I looked for my favourite river and ponds but was unable to trace them. Nor could I find the playground or the houses I remembered. And the house we lived in looked so different I hardly recognized it. The river where we bathed and played was unseen for it had changed its course and was flowing about two miles from the village. Naturally I did not feel the same for the village as I had before. Actually I felt bored and left the place soon after. Why did this happen? Because my life and the life of the village were not moving at the same speed. There was a gap between myself and the village. The “good old days” were dead and gone.” (Ananda Marga Philosophy – 6, Ekendriya – 4)

Through His own experience and story, Baba recounts how his cherished childhood memories became crushed by the spell of time. The things He enjoyed as a child were no more. The course of the river was changed and the playground eliminated etc.

Such is the plight of everything in this relative world. It changes over time, and, ultimately, one day it is gone entirely from this earth.

HOW WE SHOULD LOOK UPON THIS WORLD

Next Baba guides us how we should live in this world and what should be our outlook.

“In the material world human beings must carry out their duties without being bound by the binding fetters. The mind should not get helplessly attached to anything undesirable, otherwise it will have to undergo severe afflictions. The wise person carries out his or her duties in the world without getting attached to anything. One must always remember,”

Thákbo ná bhái thákbo ná keu, thábená bhái kichu,
Ei ánande yáore chale káler pichu pichu.

[In this world no one is immortal
Nothing is permanent.
Knowing this Supreme Truth, march on,
Happily following the footprints of time.]

Áj tomáder yeman jánchi temni jánte jánte,
Tvaráy yena sakal jáná yáy jiivaner pránte;
Ei ye neshá láglo cokhe ei t́ukui ye chot́e,
Amni yena samay ámár váki ná ray mot́e;
Jiṋáner cakśu! Svarge giye yáy yadi yák khuli,
Martte yena ná bheuṋge yáy mithye Máyáguli.

Always remember that you have to discharge your duties while remaining fully aware of your Supreme goal. As I already mentioned the philosophy which is accepted as infallible today will be rejected through logical argumentation tomorrow. The vast structure based on that irrational philosophy will crumble like a house of cards. No intellectual notion should be accepted as the Supreme goal of life.” (Ananda Marga Philosophy – 6, Ekendriya – 4)

MUST FIX ONE’S VISION ON THE SUPREME

Baba guides us that we must accept the Divine Entity as the only Goal of life. Everything else crumbles with the passage of time. People age and die; material objects break and get smashed to dust; even intellectual ideas and theories undergo grave distortions. There is veritably nothing in the physical and psychic worlds that can withstand the cruel passage of time.

One can only escape this cycle of temporary gain and loss, of infatuation followed by depression, by taking the Supreme One as their object of ideation. If one lives their life thinking that, “Parama Purusa in the ultimate home and eternal shelter – Only He will always be along with me”, then one can escape the anguish that comes with the vicissitudes of life.

BABA’S WARNING:

DO NOT MISTAKE THE EPHEMERAL FOR THE PERMANENT

In His next teaching, Baba that whenever the mind becomes associated or attached with relative expression they are bound to suffer from the pangs of gain and ultimately loss.

Mana eva manuśyáńám káránaḿ bandhamokśayoh,
Bandhasya viśayásaungimuktonirviśayaḿ tathá.

“The mind is the cause of bondage or liberation of human beings. A person under bondage is attached to a mental or physical object, whereas the liberated one is free from all objects.” If the mind is confined to something physical or psychic it is bound to be assailed by either pleasure or pain – it is inevitable. However hard you may try you can not avoid it, because you are so inseparably bound to your objects.” (Ananda Marga Philosophy – 6, Ekendriya – 4)

Then He clearly guides us that by ideating on the Supreme one will find eternal peace, whereas if one limits the mind to changing physical or psychic pabulum they are bound to be met with disappointment and depression.

And in His below teaching Baba uses the term speed with regards to relative beings. We can think of it this way. Two people traveling on separate motor-bikes can ride side by side for a short while and communicate back and forth. So long as their speed remains the same or very similar, their communication can continue. But it will not last long. Soon one biker will move ahead and the other biker will fall behind. When that happens they will be physically distant. In that same way, every human being has their own psychic momentum. So long as that momentum is similar to someone else, they can remain close to one another. The moment there is a widening gap in their psychic momentum, their closeness will dissipate. And that invariably happens in this material realm. That is what Baba is warning us about in the below guideline.

Ananda Marga philosophy states, “It is also true that you will not remain associated with your object forever because the speed of movement of both cannot be equal forever. The person with whom you live with all the warmth of your life will ultimately desert you – it is a cruel game. Confronted with this grim reality one should be very cautious about selecting one’s goal. One thing is clear – the Supreme Entity alone should be accepted as one’s goal. The question of difference in speed does not arise in the case of Parama Puruśa for He is beyond speed. This is extremely important. When there is the question of speed one either advances or falls behind. Speed differs between those entities which come within the domain of time, space and person. But Parama Puruśa is beyond the relative factors for He is the relative factors (they are embedded in Him) and thus the question of speed does not arise.” (Ananda Marga Philosophy – 6, Ekendriya – 4)

So between two relative beings, the speed always vacillates. That is why it is extremely difficult – nay impossible – for two unit beings to remain close for long. With Parama Purusa, the situation is completely different. He is the Divine One and stands unassailed by all relative factors. So He always remains along with you.

BABA’S RELATED TEACHINGS

[A] People commonly take shelter in mundane things. For instance, a person may be attracted with another’s physical beauty and on that basis they take that person as their spouse. Over time, that beauty wanes, and they get disturbed because what they took as their shelter is now gone. People may deny this in theory, but that is what practically happens. People use relative things like money, prestige, and beauty as their haven on this earth. They latch onto that for their happiness. Yet in time those things erode or vanish entirely, leaving a person mentally ravaged. It happens – people take shelter in mundane, transient things. That is why Baba has given the following warning.

“Nothing in this world can be your permanent shelter. If you want permanent shelter, you will have to go beyond the jurisdiction of this expressed world of three fundamental relative factors, and such a transcendent factor is Parama Puruśa. Hence Parama Puruśa is your only shelter. There cannot be any second shelter.” (Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12, Permanent Shelter)

[B] Here again, Baba points out this same predicament. People grab onto the ephemeral, like money, thinking that will keep them afloat, safe, and joyous, yet that invariably escapes their grasp – sooner or later.

“Every entity runs more towards that which is more lasting and secure and which will provide it with greater and longer safety. People run after money because they believe that they can maintain their lives under the shelter of money, that money alone can save them. They do not know that money can provide neither a permanent stability nor securely founded shelter. During the span of one’s life money will come and go several times. At times its glamour will dazzle our eyes and at other times the lack of money will make one cry from hunger. Not only money, but all finite objects have this characteristic. One uses finite objects with the intention of enjoying only one of their portions, then sooner or later the residue will be reached. That which is finite cannot permanently remain the object of your enjoyment or your permanent resort. The existence of all these things is dependent on other things – bounded by the limits of time, place and person.” (Subhasita Samgraha – 1, Bhaktitattva)

[C] In any materialistic outlook, east or west, people base their happiness and safety on the transient: Name, fame, prestige, worldly wealth and beauty etc. And that ultimately leads to a lot of heartache, disappointment and depression. Only by seeing through the sheen of the material and seeking out the Supreme can one find lasting happiness and peace.

“The minds of some people remain absorbed in the thought of money for a long time. They surrender the fragrance of their lives at the altar of money. Others treat the achievement of fame or having a child as the principal object of their lives. They do not hesitate to lay down their life to have a son or to achieve fame. When the mind cannot enjoy a particular object for a long period, or enjoys it hurriedly, then such an experience is called a painful experience or pain. For example you cannot look at a decomposed corpse for a long time. Similarly, after a brief talk you will dispose as quickly as possible of a person who causes you pain.”
“Therefore, whether an object is pleasant or painful, its finiteness cannot be your permanent object. You and that object are bound to separate. The mind is needed for one’s preservation and for its own preservation the mind needs a safe shelter, as can hold it throughout eternity. Human beings always crave for a safe shelter. Is it not so? Will you build your house on quicksand? No, you will construct your house on the firm foundation of solid earth…”
“This Cosmic Entity alone is the basic shelter of the human beings. It is a strong foundation which shall not, at any time forsake them leaving him forlorn. In this very Cosmic shelter you can establish yourself fearlessly for all time to come.” (Subhasita Samgraha – 1, The Base of Life)

[D] Here below Baba colourfully describes the temporary nature of this expressed universe, and how things come and got from this earth. Thus, when everything is temporary and constantly undergoing change, one must not take shelter in these ephemeral expressions.

“This quinquelemental universe is a relative truth, a changing reality, a passing phenomenon – a passing flow of constantly changing events. It rests on the three pillars of the relative factors – time, space and person. Space is always changing. It is composed of countless atoms and molecules. With the change in the movement of atoms and molecules, space also changes. That is why numerous rich and beautiful cities of the past are now buried under the earth. Many splendid palaces and mansions, many churches, temples, mosques and synagogues, and many pyramids have been reduced to rubble. With the constant change in the flow of time, how many major changes have occurred in the universe? Similarly, with the change in time and space, people also change. A small two-year old child becomes a smart and active twenty-five year old youth. And the same energetic youth becomes an infirm, inactive, old person in due course. Thus, nothing in this universe is permanent. Many gigantic animals in the past have become totally extinct from the surface of the earth. Royal pomp and opulence, the pride of power, the vast knowledge of mighty scholars have become things of the past, thrown into the dustbin of history. Many objects emerged in the past, remained on earth for a short time, and then disappeared according to the inexorable law of nature.” (Ananda Marga Philosophy – 4, Prápta Vákya and Ápta Vákya)

[E] In culmination, Sadguru Baba guides us to spend all their energies and potentiality in linking with the Eternal Divine Entity – Parama Purusa

“The only eternal truth is Parama Puruśa. He is anadi, beginningless, endless, all-pervasive; an entity beyond the scope of time, place and person. He is the only eternal, undecaying, imperishable, immutable entity. He is the Supreme Source from which the inanimate, plant and animal worlds have emerged. He is the starting-point and the culminating point of everything. Hence, wise people should utilize their physical, psychic and spiritual power to realize that Supreme Omni-Telepathic Entity to become one with Him.” (Ananda Marga Philosophy – 4, Prápta Vákya and Ápta Vákya)

SUMMARY

The phenomenon of an avid sports fan becoming hopelessly depressed by watching his team undergo defeat is not a mystery according to the teachings of Ananda Marga spiritual philosophy. If a person is very attached to anything of this relative world then they are bound to undergo the pain of its loss. Because nothing lasts forever; everything undergoes change and nothing can remain with you across time and space – except Parama Purusa.

Thus if one is attached with a sports team, house, spouse, or anything of this mundane world, then they will be met with sorrow. That person wants to hold and keep that object or idea – as is. They want it to remain permanently fixed. That is the slippery slope that they travel.

Such materialist puts “all their sweets in one basket”, and when that basket itself is subject to decay and destruction, then everything is lost. And that is the cause of their mental angst, sadness, and depression.

Only by taking the Supreme as their eternal shelter of life can one escape this cycle or pain and pleasure and experience the boundless bliss of remaining eternally with Him.

Namaskar,
At His lotus feet,
Vrajnandan

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