Monday, May 30, 2011


MYSTICAL BELIEFS OR DOCTRINE - Although psychotherapists long shied away from discussing spirituality, people suffering from depression and the clinicians who treat them are learning that symptoms diminish with spiritual practice.  Many mental health clinics now offer meditation classes along with cognitive behavioral training, and therapists have begun to ask clients about transcendent beliefs.  These developments promise to advance the struggle against depression, which until recently was treated in purely “mental” terms.  According to Will Meecham, MD, MA, by including the soul as a participant in our pursuit of mental wellness, we humanize psychiatric care.  Can those leery of mysticism and/or religion still enjoy the benefits of spiritual practice?

Fortunately, they can. At least in the context of mental health, spiritual pursuits have little to do with faith in eternal souls, higher realms, God, or scripture. Instead, the healing comes when life begins to feel meaningful.  Viktor Frankl has highlighted how we can recover from the psychological effects of trauma by making sense out of our experience: by finding meaning. More recently, the Positive Psychology movement has picked up a similar theme, encouraging people to embrace lives of purpose and high ethical standards.  In its most essential terms, spirituality is about reframing our history and realigning our priorities. One ready-made way of achieving this is to practice a religion, in which case the tradition both explains how hardship edifies, and encourages right behavior.

According to the writer, in order to further pursuit of spiritual growth, we seek ways to use our experience to help those who may not have progressed so far along the path of healing.   He thinks that building a more positive picture of the past helps us regret less and by assisting others we practice genuine spirituality, with no requirement for mystical beliefs or religious doctrine.  However, religion is not a single element with unanimous faith and uniform pathways. It is a cluster of different ways and directions adhering to a common nucleus which give the sense of transcendence to our life. 

Only a Religion can offer the high level identity of a person with his spiritual address. As religion is the only discipline dealing with soul, source, struggle and solution, without a proper religious direction, the soul will lose its dignity and become naked.  Organised religions begin with the scriptures, the message of God to the mankind, which was brought to the common level of understanding by a spiritual lineage in the form of messengers or masters. So, eventually, a person devoid of scriptural care is motherless and the one who does not have the compassionate guidance of the master from a tradition is fatherless and any independent tinsel is a spiritual orphan.  Without a caring mother, all the religious offsprings suffer under irresponsible, perfunctory, affectionless, cruel, and tyrant fathers in the forms of institutional anarchy, kleptocracy, plutocracy, foolocracy and tyranny.

Śrīla S.A.R. Prasanna Venkatachariar Chaturvedi Swamy :
Acarya of Ramanuja Sampradaya
“International Conference on Interfaith”
“Culture, Philosophy, Literature and Religion” 2009, Mumbai, India.

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