Overcoming various problems in life including depression through chanting
Ian (now 31) was going through a lot of unexplained distress since childhood. This continued unabated until he met a seeker from the Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) who explained to him about how such problems in life could be overcome with spiritual practice. The following is an account of Ian’s trauma in his own words and how spiritual practice is helping him overcome it.
Ian is not his real name and has been used to protect his privacy.
Table of contents
Since my early childhood (4 years of age), I experienced a lot of mental distress in various forms. I used to see things that others could not see. One evening, I saw two men entering one of the rooms in our apartment. I told my parents about it but as they could not see anybody, they dismissed it as my imagination. Such incidents would cause me a lot of anguish.
I also had a problem with sleeping at night and often had a feeling that someone was standing behind me. When I would turn to see who it was, no one would be there. I knew that someone was there because I could hear a sound just like when the air moves very quickly. In the morning, I would wake up with pain in wrists and muscles, hating life and everything around me. I had problems getting up in the morning and many times had breakfast with my sunglasses on because I could not withstand light.
When I began my schooling, I found it very difficult to remain attentive in the class. I used to do weird dance like movements with my legs under the table while the class was in progress. Soon, this became my habit. Later I was to realise that this was symptomatic of a manifestation of possession.
Refer to the article on SSRF’s definition of possession by an entity or ghost.
The first time I remember experiencing happiness was when I was twelve or thirteen years old. Throughout my teenage years, I would be plagued with bouts of severe depression. I could not figure out what was wrong with me. I tried to find the causes for my unhappiness, but could not find any apparent reason for it.
After my graduation, I had a problem finding a job. Whenever I did get a job, I somehow could just not keep it. I got addicted to smoking cigarettes and marijuana and drinking alcohol.
Many a time, while walking on the street or while travelling by public transport, I would get destructive thoughts such as feeling like kicking or hitting strangers. I hated everyone around me. At this point of time, I became aware that I did not have any control over my life, however I did not know what to do to overcome it.
Through all these years, I was aware that nobody knew about my other side. I could not explain what was going on with me even to my parents and friends. Every time I tried to mention my problems, it resulted in severe depression and unhappiness. I tried to hide myself, waiting for this life to end. Many times I had suicidal thoughts, but somewhere deep in my heart I knew that God has given me this life and I did not have the right to take it.
In 1999, when I was 24, I met a team member of SSRF, Ana, through a friend of mine. Ana was the first person who did not judge my behaviour. She instead offered help to find a solution. She told me about the research of His Holiness Dr. Athavale, and how He is helping mankind by publishing a wealth of information on how the spiritual dimension affects our life. She also told me about the spiritual practice of chanting the Name of God. I distinctly remember the day when she told me about spiritual practice. It was raining the whole day and when we met in the afternoon, the rain stopped and a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky. I felt as if God was telling me ‘Now your sufferings are over’.
Ana told me to chant the Name of God as per my religion of birth. In addition I was advised two specific prescription chants as a spiritual healing remedy:
'Sree Ganeshaaya Namahaa' corresponding to the specific principle of God to increase my vital energy level.
In the beginning, it was really difficult for me to chant. I would constantly yawn, fall asleep, feel like someone is walking all over my body, etc. Sometimes, I would be unable to even move my hands or legs. I also felt a lot of anger within me preventing me from chanting, Ana explained that the distress that I was experiencing after chanting, was actually the distress felt by the subtle bodies of ancestors affecting me. However, I was determined to continue the chanting because I did not want to live any more like the distressed way I used to live before. Hence from the onset, I meticulously chanted 9 malas (which equates to 972 times) each of Sree Ganeshaya Namahaa and Sree Gurudev Datta on a daily basis.
After starting to chant, in just a few days I began feeling much better. I had more energy, the morning pain stopped, and for the first time in my life, I started to look forward to enjoying life. I really felt better. After a month or two of chanting, I stopped my habit of smoking marijuana and consuming alcohol. Before, I would get drunk 1-2 times per week and frequently smoked marijuana.
I continued all the above chants for about a year. In early 2002, one night, I had a dream in which I was talking with 5 to 10 people in a ski centre. Strangely, even though I did not know them in this life, they all looked familiar. All of a sudden, they all jumped on me. I was struggling to free myself from their clutches. I realised that they were trying to kill me and take me with them. I could not breathe. At this moment, I woke up gasping for air and just when I managed to breathe, a black cloud struck my face and put me back in the bed. Now I knew for sure that it was very real and not just my imagination. At that moment, my chanting of Sree Gurudev Datta began automatically. In a few seconds the pressure on my chest reduced and I could breathe normally. I started to pray for help to be able to continue to chant to protect myself from the attack. After a minute or so I regained full control over my body.
The instant help that the 'Sree Gurudev Datta' chant gave me made me realise that the dreams were due to my departed ancestors.
I felt the subtle bodies of ancestors who attacked me left the room and went on to the terrace, furious with me because they could not enter my room due to the chanting of Lord Datta. During this entire incidence I felt no fear and when it was all over, I knew that only God had given me the courage to bear it.
They came in my dreams once or twice a year, but they were unable to attack me due to the protective sheath of Sree Gurudev Datta around me. They were only threatening me. In each subsequent dream, their number reduced. The last time I had such a dream was over a year ago, in late 2005.
In 2005, a sporadic incident brought to light another spiritual cause of problems in my personality. I was traveling by bus with a fellow seeker from SSRF, Vlada, who is also my housemate. I was telling him about how everything in this life is pointless, that my life had no meaning at all and how everything is negative and impossible to bear. At that time, I was deeply identifying from within with what I was saying and could not see anything positive. He was listening to what I was saying very intently, but he did not respond then.
Later, when we reached home, he told me very carefully that whatever I was saying in the bus did not sound like the real me. He said that even my face looked different. He felt that some entity was using me to satisfy its desires. Just to confirm, we sought advice about this incident from the seekers of SSRF who have an active sixth sense (ESP) . They diagnosed it as a case of possession by a subtle sorcerer (maantrik) a variety of ghost (demon, devil, negative energy etc.) who is still causing problems in my life. This revelation was the turning point because I realised that some of my behaviour is actually due to the sorcerer. This understanding also gave me the strength to fight with faith that God will show me the way out from darkness.
I have been doing spiritual practice for the last five years now. I still do experience slight depression from time to time. In those moments, it seems like there is no way out of the misery. The difference is that now these periods are not lasting longer than a few days. My life has changed completely after taking up spiritual practice as recommended by SSRF. I am now married and am the proud father of a 5 month old baby boy.
This is truly amazing, because now my life has gained the quality, which I was thinking was reserved only for others. I am now able to bear everything that life is putting in front of me.
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