Do people in affluent countries get reaction to sinful activities in the form of mental disease?
December 9th, 2009

And how do devotees deal with such people at a temple? From Bn Anna in Sweden.


47 Responses to “Do people in affluent countries get reaction to sinful activities in the form of mental disease?”

  1. Anna says:

    Hare Krsna Please accept my humble obeisances, All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
    Thank You so much Guru Maharaja for answering my question.
    Your aspiring servant/

  2. Uplander says:

    Retardation is not a mental illness.

    Also… someone who suffers temporarily from the results of a natural disaster cannot be compared to a schizophrenic person, for example, who suffers for the duration of his/her life. many people who have major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. are suffering from a CHEMICAL imbalance in their brains, for which there is no cure. you can’t compare major, debilitating diseases such as psychosis with “stress” or even “panic attacks.” It’s irresponsible. Please take time to learn about all mental illnesses, their treatmens and their ramifications and not just what you perceive them to be. Because you are a spiritual leader, you have an even greater responsibility to present your answers based on scientific fact (when it is available.)

  3. Rahul says:

    Yes i agree , the speaker cleary shows us , he has little or no knowledge of mental illness , and little compassion for those who suffer from mental illness .Worrying as he is a spiritual leader represting a worldwide charity. This answer supports discrimination against the mentally ill and disabled. I am a devotee , who suffers from bipolar disorder , and i am disgusted with this kind of response. One idea he gives is that a devotee suffering from mental illness should just stay at home , not come to the temple , rather than come to the temple and disturb iskcon , the supposed “house for the whole world”. Turning away one devotee , means turing away his whole family and friends and anyone he knows , closing them to iskcon. What if the family is wealthy – they certainly won’t donate towards a society which discrimnates the menatally ill. I would say that the ideas give here do no represent prabhupad or many iskcon swamis regarding mental health.

    Hare krishna

  4. Braja Sevaki dd says:

    Rahul: I am quite convinced that the speaker has more knowledge of these issues than you give him credit for, or than you have yourself. Why? Because Srila Prabhupada has explained these things thoroughly in both Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, both of which I’m convinced Maharaja is more familiar with than you or Uplander are.
    In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna explains how the lower modes affect the mind and result in madness. Srila Prabhupada elaborates in his purports. These are not speculations or criticisms. There are different procedures and actions required of those affected by mental diseases than there are for those who are not: certainly the spiritual activities remain the same—such as chanting and reading—but one who is afflicted by mental diseases needs to address those and not assume that they’re the same as everyone else, nor that their behavior doesn’t effect anyone. You quote that ISKCON is “a house in which the whole world can live,” but that doesn’t mean anyone has the right to enter and cause disturbance and that we are required to tolerate, does it?
    Spiritual life *is* open to all, but it’s not a democracy: everyone is not equal, and everyone is not able to be treated the same. That is a dream-like conclusion, and not very helpful to anyone…

  5. Matolcsi Gábor says:

    Dear Uplander,
    Technically, you may be right in bringing up this point of how to define mental illness scientifically, but please, also consider that this does not have much to do with the significance and relevance of Maharaja’s message who used the term in its generally accepted meaning. No matter how we define or classify mental illness(es), we suffer from them and knowing why we do so and what we should do to overcome them (in a spiritual way) is more urgent than start looking for the right labels to put on them.

    Dear Rahul,
    Please, listen more attentively to this podcast before jumping to hasty conclusions. Maharaja didn’t say mentally ill and disabled people as such shouldn’t visit ISKCON’s temples. Rather, he said everybody is welcome. Only those people are not welcome who in some way disturb the course of programs going on in there. But this is not “mental status” specific (and this is why it is not discriminating)- it is a general principle of etiquette for ANYONE, in an institution that provides spiritual education to people interested.

  6. Bryce Little says:

    At 3.03 minutes into the podcast, Maharaja places retardation within the group “other, more serious problems”, which quoted in context is exactly what it is. He does not claim it to be an illness but is listing it with other illnesses or conditions and does so appropriately.

    Guru Maharaja rightfully list these illnesses/conditions together under the umbrella of “mental illness”, appropriately attributing equal value or concern to each individual listing. Uplander is naive at best if he imagines for one minute that those who suffer panic attacks or stress would find there experiences any less debilitating than someone who suffers schizophrenia or bipolar. The effects of mental health upon each individual are impossible to calculate as a whole, and any mental health authority would endorse the commonly accepted remit that all forms of mental health are as serious as another. Indeed, suicides and murders result from stress just as much other conditions, and depression equal to bipolar can be felt by those suffering stress. There is definitely redundancy in your argument when based on mundane and pedantic illness classifications.
    Of greater concern is uplanders assertation that as a spiritual leader, GuruMaharaja must presents “facts” based on science. This confuses me as i come to GuruMaharaja for facts presented by the vedas, and subsequently vedic science, together with Maharajas transcendental knowledge. He is a spiritual leader, able to provide information from beyond our mundane and material perception. If uplander wishes presentations based on science, then another forum might be beneficial.

    Rahul. ISKCON is indeed a house in which the whole world can live. Guru Maharaja is simply providing us with rules and etiquette that those within this family must follow. Srila Prabhupada for example addressed the issue of children crying in temples as it affected those trying to listen to class, and the Nectar of Devotion gives us very clear guidelines on temple etiquette, including the temporary omission of certain people. Guru Maharaja clearly states that everyone is welcome unless they cause disturbance to the greater good, in which case an alternative may be beneficial. This is actually common sense and used in a variety of ways. For example hospitals often isolate one patient with a particular illness but this does not indicate in anyway that that person receives less care. Similarly, within any family, ISKCON included, we may sometimes pay a particular care or program to another without any reduction in the quality.

    Guru Maharaja is extremely compassionate, and has shown me understanding as I battle with my own illness (paranoid schizophrenia and Major depressive Disorder). The antagonisms in your response I feel is in fact pre existing as you appear wanting to discredit Guru Maharaja from the very beginning of your response by depersonalizing Him to the status of “the speaker”. Had you listened with some humility you may have heard the same compassionate and helpful information encouraging all people to be a part of ISKCON and how to do so effectively.

    I personally applaud HH Sivarama Swami for embracing all souls who come to Him for shelter regardless of their karmic/material designations. His spiritual children are as diverse as any family, and his home is definitely one in which I would like to live.

  7. Saci Mata dd says:

    Thank you very much. What a wonderfully clear, concise, exquisite answer to the devotees’ question.

  8. Gaura Nitai dasa says:

    If it is possible (with the blessings of devotees) I would liket to refer to the rule about small devotee children. Definitelly they are not excluded from ISKCON family, but if they are disturbing a class or kirtan, the parents should move them out, and take care of them in an other room (if in the temple has, there, if not, somewhere else). I think the same rule could we apply to the people mentioned in this question. If they are not healthy, they sould have someone to take care and bear the responsibility, as the parents do with their children. Then I think everybody will be satisfied. ys Gaura Nitai dasa

  9. Vigi says:

    Please accept my humble obeisances. There is not equality in the democracy punctually. The largest differences are there. The humanity cannot live together in peace, does not can in emergency? Others are in dire need of his help then. The touch, the help come well in emergency. The touch is disturbing in a normal situation. Burden. Huge sadness! Namaste!