Sunday, December 9, 2007

Accepting Pakistan as a Failed Nation-State

Accepting Pakistan as a Failed Nation-State

Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Religion and Civilization

On November 3, 2007 Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf declared a state emergency across Pakistan, imposed martial law, and suspended that nation’s Constitution. In the capital of Islamabad, soldiers forcibly entered the Supreme Court, surrounded judges' homes, put opposition leaders under house arrest, and began rounding up thousands of peaceful political activists and politicians. On Monday, November 5th, thousands of lawyers took to the streets to protest the illegal imposition of martial law in their country. Musharraf’s response was to have hundreds of these peaceful lawyers violently dragged through the streets and arrested. In the last two days alone, an estimated minimum of 3,500 people have been forcibly incarcerated as political prisoners.

For those Pakistan watchers who are familiar with the tragic history of this artificially created state, this latest crackdown on democracy and freedom by a governing Islamist elite that has imposed dictatorship on its citizens for most of its 60 years of existence, comes as no surprise.

Originally constituting the western provinces of India, Pakistan’s artificial establishment came about on August 14, 1947 as an Islamic bulwark against what the British feared would be an eventually powerful and prosperous Hindu India that could in the future possibly rival its own colonial interests. Previous to 1947, there was never an historical political entity known as “Pakistan” (indeed, the very term “Pakistan” itself was coined from an acronym of Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan). In the last 60 years, Pakistan has instigated three major wars and one minor war against its democratic neighbor of India. Pakistan is a country that has been riddled since its manufacture with a unsettling history of perennial dictatorships, martial law, political and religious repression, persecution of minorities, horrendous ethnic strife, state-sponsored terrorism, and an irreparably failed economy deceptively propped up by the infusion of multi-billions of U.S. tax-payers’ dollars.

To the tremendous bewilderment of many, the Bush administration has insisted upon making Pakistan a key ally in the war on terror despite the fact that Pakistan has always been itself one of the most insidiously unremitting state sponsors of terrorism in the world. It was the infamous ISI secret intelligence agency of Pakistan that founded and supported the Taliban in its initial take over of Afghanistan and in its ruthless reign until its final overthrow at the hands of the U.S. military. Pakistan has harbored Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda minions in its northwestern frontier territory for the last five years, and refuses to allow U.S. military personnel into the area to capture him. Pakistan has waged a proxy terrorist war against the Hindu civilian population of Kashmir for decades, making hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus refugees in their own country and devastating a region of India that at one time was one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth. By the sheer weight of the sum total of its destructive terrorist actions over the years, Pakistan has brazenly shown the world that it not only deserves to be placed squarely within the so-called Axis of Evil formulated by President Bush in 2002 – but that it belongs in the prime spot of prominence in that notorious list!

By every measure of what constitutes a successful nation-state, Pakistan has shown the world since its inception that it is incapable of meeting even the minimal standards of surviving as a viable unified political-social entity.

Pakistan is an artificial political construct in which several diverse and historically rival ethnic groups were arbitrarily forced together into what was supposed to become an Islamic melting pot. Rather, Pakistan has been faced with calls for independence by many of these various ethnic groups, which has in turn led to decades of brutal oppression by the central authorities against ethnic activists. Like Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Pakistan is destined to be rent asunder by these contrasting ethnic interests in the very near future. Pakistan’s 165 million long-suffering people would be significantly better off if this natural process of political devolution were allowed to occur.

Rather than continuing to support the notion of an impossible to salvage central state, Pakistan should be allowed to naturally devolve into the several smaller states historically comprising the territorial demarcations of its multiple ethnic divisions. Rather than a failed Pakistani state, there should be four independent states of Balochistan, Afghania (the present “North-West Frontier Province” that constitutes the traditional home of the Pashtun people), Punjab, and Sindh, with “Azad” Kashmir reverting back to India.

Nothing less than the naturally occuring disintegration of the present-day Pakistan will ensure the political stability of the region, the assurance of the human and civil rights of the people of Pakistan, and the irradication of the world’s most unstable and dangerous terrorist state. The latest crippling blow to democracy in a long history of such blows must be enough to starkly persuade us that it is time to move on from the failed “Pakistan” experiment.

I would urge all concerned readers to immediately contact their Congress and Senate representatives, or their parliamentary representatives, and demand an end to any continued support to the Pakistani dictatorship.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sama Darshana: The Nature of True Equality in Sanatana Dharma

Sama Darshana: The Nature of True Equality in Sanatana Dharma

Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D.
(Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya)

International Sanatana Dharma Society

Beginning with the so-called “Enlightenment” era in European history, the ideological doctrine of radical human egalitarianism has become the most sacrosanct dogma in the realms of both politics and culture. The fight for equality has been the foremost social-political concern globally for the past 250 years, inspiring wars, revolutions, Marxist totalitarianism, genocides, and devastating social upheaval. So central has the concept of Radical Egalitarianism been in the modern political landscape that it has often overshadowed every other political, philosophical, and social concern we can think of.

Despite three continuous centuries of forcing “Enlightenment” era notions of equality upon humanity, however, the world’s problems have only gotten infinitely worse. With more poverty, more corruption, more wars, more unethical behavior, an ever-deeper sense of meaningless in the world’s youth, and the increasingly rapid coarsening and degeneration of traditional cultures globally, many intellectuals and spiritually oriented people are today beginning to ask the inevitable question: “Has the dogma of radical egalitarianism actually outlived its usefulness?”

The answer to this question, from the perspective of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) is neither a yes nor a no, but rather leads us to the more philosophically sophisticated question of: “What is the nature of the human person?” For only in knowing this can we understand the true nature and meaning of equality. In the following, I will explain the Dharmic view of equality juxtaposed to the materialist-oriented Radical Egalitarianism that the world has fervently pursued for the last several centuries.

The metaphysical premises of Radical Egalitarianism are based upon an outlook of empiricist materialism that views the human individual as consisting of nothing more than merely the physical, the body. For the materialist, human beings do not have a soul, or an intrinsic essence, that transcends the material body, which is itself composed of nothing more than the combination of chemicals and material substances formed over myriad millennia via the process of evolution. The human individual, for the Radical Egalitarian, is a soulless and ultimately purposeless machine, an automaton whose only meaning lies in whatever material and economic contributions the individual can make to the greater social whole. Thus, one “living body” is just as good as any other.

Such a mechanistic view of the human individual has led not only to the notion of radical equality, but also to the consequent view that all human individuals are ultimately equally worthless. Thus we have seen the birth of the “end justifies the means” form of “ethics” that has arisen amongst the Marxists, and the consequent death and genocide that has resulted from every Communist regime the world has ever known. If all human bodies are of equal worth, then no one individual is of more importance than any other individual. Thus all are equally expendable.

A society that sees humans as soulless is a society that sees human beings as being of no more worth than machines. And machines are simply tools to be used for the benefit of the state. For the Radical Egalitarian, the human being is no more than a means to an end, an object for their own use, rather than a subject worthy of all the dignity, appreciation, and respect that a unique human person deserves.

The Dharmic view of equality and the human person is considerably more sophisticated, compassionate, and thus ethical, than the materialist egalitarian approach. For the conscious and sincere follower of Sanatana Dharma, the human person consists of infinitely more than the mere bodily surface appearance. The old adage that one cannot judge a book by its cover comes to mind when we examine the wisdom of the Dharmic approach.

Rather than simplistically attempting to reduce a human person to being merely the visible material body that one can immediately detect with the senses, Dharma teaches us that the typical human being is actually a multi-faceted and multi-dimensional being, with a material dimension, a causal dimension, and ultimately a spiritual dimension that is not always clearly visible to the untrained eye. The human person consists of a) deha (physical body), b) manas (mind substance, including impressionistic data, memory, etc.), c) buddhi (the rational faculties), d) ahamkara (false, individuating ego), and most importantly e) atman (the true, spiritual self).

According to the Dharma world-view, we certainly are beings who possess bodies – no sane person would deny this immediate empirical fact. Indeed, contrary to the unnatural and illogical conclusions that the Radical Egalitarian draws from this simple fact, from a purely physical perspective, there is actually an almost infinitely great degree of diversity and inequality that is clearly empirically seen. Physically speaking, no two people in the world are really the same. Some are tall, others short. One person is strong, another weak. Some need glasses, hearing aids, or other devices to “even out the playing field” (i.e., pretend that we are all physically equal!), other people are free from physical defects altogether. The diversity we find in physical bodies is endless. That is common sense. By extension, when looking at the minds and the intellectual capacities of various individuals, we clearly see that some are more intelligent than others. Some are more naturally artistic and creative, whereas some are more analytical and cerebral. Some people will have mental or emotional challenges, such as psychosis, bipolar disorder, or retardation, others have minds so healthy as to allow them to view reality with tremendous clarity.

Egoic desires, preferences and goals, too, are as diverse in content and quantity as are the numerous people we see around us. Some aspire to become great world leaders. Others desire wealth, or fame, or romantic love. Some people, by contrast, seem to have a profound yearning to know God, and serve their fellow beings with humility, simplicity, deep compassion, and quiet determination. We are all different from one another. Thus, we are all in so many ways unequal in our appearance, our abilities, our preferences, and our desires.

Rather than attempting to lie to ourselves and artificially fly in the face of clearly discernable empirical facts, Sanatana Dharma encourages all human beings to respect each other, honor our differences, and work together in compassion, dignity and harmony, despite our undeniable recognition of all our many differences. Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Natural Way), thus gives us the empowerment to live in accordance with the natural order of the universe in a manner that is beneficial to all.

For Dharma, the realm of true equality lies not on the physical, mental, intellectual, or egoic planes, but in the realm of spirit. Having God as our sole source, sustainer, and ultimate destiny, we all share in the same parent. From a spiritual perspective, then, in the deepest essence of who we are as pure spiritual beings (atman), we are all equally the children of God.

Your true, spiritual self (atman) does not have color, nor dimension, nor race, nor class, nor gender. In spirit, you are neither a capitalist, nor a communist. You are neither Indian, nor Black, nor White nor Latin. Rather, your true self is the eternal, perfect, blissful spiritual center of your everyday existence: Atman.

Transcending both the bodily dimensions of life and all limited materiality, your true self finds itself currently situated in your body due only to your own free-will desires, motivations, consciousness, and actions of the past. Karma is the causal antecedent of all the diverse material bodies that we see around us. While our bodies and minds are all radically different, however, the souls of every living being are all equally held in the compassionate glance of God’s merciful and loving gaze. To God, we are all equally His children, temporarily separated from Him, but all destined to one day again be in His loving embrace.

Equality is an exceedingly important goal toward which we should all aspire. In the political realm, Dharma calls upon each of us to always be compassionate, just, and fair to all we encounter, no matter how different they may seem to us in physical appearance. The only truly pure equality that exists, however, is that equality that exists on the spiritual realm. Thus, in the transcendental eyes of the yogi, or pure sage, all living being are seen with equal vision (sama darshina).

This concept of spiritually-inspired equal vision is beautifully explained to us by Lord Sri Krishna in His famous Bhagavad Gita (Song of God). In the 18th verse of chapter 5, Lord Krishna instructs His devotee Arjuna in the following way:

Brahmane gavi hastini
Shuni caiva shvapake cha
Panditah sama-darshinah

“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge,
sees with equal vision [sama-darshina]
the learned and gentle priest, a cow, an elephant,
a dog or an outcaste.”

Indeed, because the humble sage views the diverse beings around him, not as mere mechanistic bodies, but as all possessing a pure spirit soul (atman), he does not even see the difference between different species of life, what to speak of different kinds of human beings! To the sage, the soul of the cow, and the dog, and the elephant is just a worthy of dignity, respect, and spiritual equality as is the soul contained in the human being. Sama Darshina, or equal spiritual vision, is the highest form of equality toward which we can all aspire – for it sees the inherent equality that exists in the spiritual essence of all living beings. Seeing all beings as our spiritual brothers and sisters, we will then, by natural extension, offer all people our respect on the political, social, cultural, and economic realms.

The truly equal society, then, is the Dharmic society, a society comprised of citizens who aspire toward the finer and nobler spiritual aspirations of life, and who thus view the world from a spiritual perspective. That nation which will most justly serve the interests of its people is the Dharma Nation. Make yourself a truly worthy citizen of God’s Dharma Nation by spiritualizing your own vision and viewing your neighbors and fellow living beings as the atmans they truly are. Begin the Dharma Revolution in your own life!

For further information on Sanatana Dharma, please visit Dharma Central today:

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Embracing the Meaning of Our Human Existence

Embracing the Meaning of Our Human Existence

By Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D.
(Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya)

Who among us has never, at some contemplative point in our lives or another, asked ourselves the truly big questions, questions about the ultimate meaning of this world, and of our lives in it? Questioning the reason for our human existence is a very natural pursuit on the part of any human being. Indeed, unlike any other species of life, human beings alone have been gifted by God with the unique cognitive ability to engage in self-reflection upon our very own existence as human beings. To be human means to question what it means to be human.

It is especially when such existential questions arise in our minds that we find ourselves understandably turning to the precise fields of knowledge that deal most directly with such questions: the sister fields of religion and philosophy. In the following, I will answer this universal query from the perspective of the most ancient religio-philosophical system on earth, Sanatana Dharma.

The nature of existence has been dealt with by many philosophers, both Western and Asian, from the beginning of time. Whether we are speaking of Thomas Aquinas and his metaphysical distinction of existence and essence, Soren Kierkegaard and his attempts to come to grips with the problem of existence from a Protestant perspective, the Existentialists of the 20th Century, or the Samkhya and Vedanta schools of Sanatana Dharma, the nature of our existence has been on the minds of some of history’s greatest thinkers.

The most basic of all philosophical questions that can be asked is: Why do human beings exist? When I open my eyes in the morning, why is it that there is something rather than nothing? In order to sufficiently analyze this question, the question itself really needs to be divided into two closely related questions: a) why do we exist at all, b) why do we exist as human beings. I’ll try to answer both from the perspective of Yoga spirituality and Sanatana Dharma.

According to the ancient wisdom of Dharma, we exist to begin with because it’s our very innate nature to exist. The sacred scriptures of both Yoga and Sanatana Dharma teach us that our true, innermost nature is that we are atman, or eternal units of consciousness. We have the Absolute (Brahman, or God) as both our causative and substantial source, and as the ontological sustainer of our existential being. Having God as our underlying source, it necessarily follows that we naturally share in many of God’s essential attributive qualities. Because we participate in God’s innate attributes - and if not to a quantitatively equivalent degree, then certainly to a qualitative one - we too share in many of God’s qualities. One of those attributes that both God and we have in common is necessary existence. In other words, both God and we ourselves (atmans, or souls) are eternal by our inherent nature. God and individual atmans cannot but exist. To go out of existence is simply not within the realm of our capability.

Never was there a time when we came into being, and never will there be a time when we cease to exist. So, in a way, we exist because we cannot but exist, being purely spiritual beings in essence. Such is our nature, for it is the nature of God, the ultimate source of our being.

A deeper question than the principle of necessary existence, however, is: why is it the case that we were even gifted with necessary existence to begin with? Sanatana Dharma answers this in the following manner. Brahman (God) is One (ekam). But as a natural result of the overflowing abundance of the Infinite, God decides to become more than One. God thus becomes One-with-attributes (vishishta-advaita). Consequently, in addition to Brahman, we also have atman (individual selves) and jagat (materiality). As atman, we have our own individual existence in attributive relationship with Brahman (God) in order to know, and love, and serve Brahman.

The second part of our question on human existence – “why do we exist as human beings?” – can then be understood from understanding the first part. As beings who partake in God’s necessary existence and attributive nature, we are currently in a state of self-imposed separation from God due to our self-destructive fascination with ego and the objects of ego. It is ego, and the subsequent selfishness and self-centeredness that result from ego, that produce the various layers of illusory self that we mistakenly identify with our true, spiritual identity.

The “human person” is in actuality a complex symbiosis comprised of several distinct aggregates, including physical body (deha), mind substance, (manas), intellect (buddhi), ego (ahamkara), the vital force (prana), and ultimately atman as the source of consciousness and animating source. While the “human person” is an artificial and temporal construct comprised of these many elements, it is the atman alone that is the true self, and that is eternal, true, beautiful, indestructible, and blissful by its own inherent nature, having God (Brahman) as its source of being.

We thus find ourselves in human form (and sometimes other forms!) in an endlessly unsuccessful attempt to selfishly enjoy ourselves in the illusion that we can have a meaningful existence without the benefit of God’s love. We are identifying with the temporal instead of the eternal, with the shallow instead of the profound, with the material instead of the spiritual, with the illusory instead of the real.

The meaning of life in human form is to thus reverse this negative and self-defeating tendency to serve our ego, and to instead once again serve God. We are here, as human beings, to transcend our merely human nature, to re-embrace our true identity as eternal spiritual beings, and to partake of the Divine nature that is our birthright, that is our natural state of being, and that is our true home. We are here to know, and to love, and to serve the Divine.

In Sanatana Dharma, God is presented as the source of all goodness, acceptance, compassion, and non-judgmental love. God is embraced and loved without restrictions, without fear, without force, and without loss. This is a very different conception of the Absolute when compared to the notion we find in the Western, Abrahamic religious constructs of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Unlike in the Abrahamic religions, in Sanatana Dharma we find a concept of God as not only being a thoroughly transcendent source of reality, but also as a lovingly imminent and intimate friend who provides us all with a means for achieving immediate knowledge, and a direct and ecstatic experience of Him.

The path of Sanatana Dharma offers us such profoundly philosophical works as the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, and Vedas for the unfailing guidance and knowledge necessary to comprehend life’s meaning. It also offers us a systematic path of spiritual practice that leads directly to a personal experience of the Divine. This path includes the ancient and highly effective processes of Yoga, meditation, puja, and devotion to God.

To truly know the answer to the meaning of human life, however, it is not enough ultimately to merely engage in an intellectual understanding of Truth. Rather, we need to personally experience the sweet taste of Truth as the immediate presence of God in our hearts and in our lives. To experience the profound bliss of God’s presence in your life, and to truly know why we have the joy of existence, please explore the profound depths of spiritual realization that Sanatana Dharma has to offer you. To be human is to ask.

The Author:

Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D. (Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya) is an American who has been practicing Sanatana Dharma for over 30 years. He has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and is recognized by the global Hindu community as one of the leading Hindu Acharyas (Spiritual Preceptors) in the nation. With a large international following of both Indian and Western students, Sri Acharya Ji is especially renowned for his highly authentic approach to Dharmic spirituality, his authoritative and scholarly approach to teaching, and his clear emphasis on serious spiritual practice and direct experience of self-realization and knowledge of God. He has lectured on Sanatana Dharma at such prestigious institutions as Harvard University, Columbia, Rutgers, Cornell, Northwestern, as well as for such companies as Ford Motor Corporation and Lucent Technology. He is the Founder and President of the International Sanatana Dharma Society. To contact Sri Acharya-ji, email him at:

His primary websites are:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Be a Concious Hindu!

Be a Conscious Hindu!

By Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D.
(Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya)

The number of Hindus currently living in our world is truly impressive. According to reliable sources, there are as many as a staggering one-billion Hindus in the world today. There are as many as three-million Hindus living in the U.S. alone. Indeed, if you found yourself drawn to reading this column, you are yourself most likely one of this teeming number of self-identified Hindus. While the numbers of Hindus in the world may be impressive, however (and the numbers are indeed to be seen as a source of pride), numbers alone don’t always point to the actual strength of a religion.

The number of adherents of a religion do not, after all, always correspond to the quality of the individuals practicing the religion. And it is really the inner strength of the individual religious persons that is the source of the outer strength of any religion. This is the case for Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) as much as any other religion.

Religion is ultimately not just a numbers game. Rather it is a matter of personal conviction, depth of realization, and inner spiritual experience. Religion is ultimately a radically personal experience, and not just a group dynamic or a demographic statistic. This truth being the case, I have made a distinction between two types of “Hindus” in the world today. There are what I call “Nominal Hindus” and “Conscious Hindus”. The real question for you is: Which of these two types of Hindus are you?

A Nominal Hindu is a Hindu in name only. That is, they have no difficulty necessarily saying that they’re Hindu. That comes easy enough. But this mostly cultural identity is often as far as the typical Nominal Hindu is willing to go into exploring the depths of their spirituality. The real question, of course, is not just are you willing to call yourself Hindu…but are you consciously and sincerely practicing Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism)?

Like the Nominal Hindu, the Conscious Hindu also has no difficulty proclaiming “mein hindu hun.” “I am a Hindu.” But unlike the Nominal Hindu, the Conscious Hindu actually knows what this claim means…and he knows so as a result of his own personal experience. The Conscious Hindu not only identifies with Sanatana Dharma, the most ancient and profound spiritual system the world has ever known, but he also has immense pride in this heritage, and isn’t afraid to show it!

More, the Conscious Hindu knows that it is his duty to not only revel in the greatness of Dharmic culture, but that to be a true Hindu he must also do everything in his power to live the life of a Hindu. A Conscious Hindu joyfully embraces the Hindu lifestyle.

As a Conscious Hindu, you must be knowledgeable about the philosophy and teachings of Sanatana Dharma, reading the Bhagavad Gita daily and familiarizing yourself with the meaning of Dharma. More, you must know that it isn’t enough to merely read about Sanatana Dharma, but that you must also practice its principles (puja, meditation, arati, Yoga, etc.) and ethics (non-stealing, not lying, being noble, etc.). Finally, it also is not even enough merely to practice Dharma by rote, but you must practice with the ultimate end-goal in mind: The goal of Sanatana Dharma – Hinduism – is to know, and love, and serve Bhagavan – God. The ultimate purpose of both Hinduism, and life itself, is having deep and abiding Bhakti – devotion toward God.

It is ultimately only by living your life as a Conscious Hindu - reclaiming your spiritual heritage in Sanatana Dharma and joyously practicing this path – that you will know the true happiness, peace, fulfillment and joy that your spiritual tradition has to offer you. Become a Conscious Hindu, live the Hindu lifestyle, and begin to experience the true joy of the presence of God in your life.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Overcoming Depression with Meditation

Overcoming Depression with Meditation

by Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D.
(Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya)

Modern America is a land of many interesting, and often painfully
ironic, contradictions. On the one hand, we supposedly enjoy more
prosperity, longevity, comforts, and conveniences in the United
States than any other civilization has even dreamed of in previous
history. Supposedly.

On the other hand, however, America is currently going through one of
the biggest mental health crises that any nation in history has ever
experienced. Various forms of depression, anxiety disorders and
neuroses are affecting millions of Americans. Depressive disorders
affect approximately 18.8 million American adults, or about 9.5% of
the U.S. population age 18 and older in any given year. For those
cases of depression that are reported, many more remain unreported, and thus unknown. This current mental health crisis includes such
ailments as major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and
bipolar disorder.

What is especially disturbing is that depression is increasingly a
common occurrence among the nation's young, a demographic that should
be enjoying the fun and carefree life usually associated with
childhood. Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for
antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers -- over a
million! -- are considered clinically depressed. CNN recently
reported on a study that revealed that as many as 3 million teenagers
contemplated suicide in 2006. The rate of increase of depression
among children is an astounding 23%.

30% of women are depressed. Men's figures were previously thought to
be half that of women, but new estimates show that the actual figures
are higher than at first suspected.

Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by
2020 -- and medical studies have shown that depression is a
contributory factor to fatal coronary disease.

Depression results in more absenteeism and loss of employment than
almost any other physical disorder, and costs employers more than
US$51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not
including high medical and pharmaceutical bills.

The treatment modalities often used in the attempt to combat
depression are diverse and have varied results. Some of these
treatments include talk therapy and anti-depression medications.
Currently, several million Americans are on various anti-depressants,
including Prozac, Lexapro, and Amitriptyline. Many of these anti-
depression medications have had only mixed results.

Antidepressants work for 35% to 45% of the depressed population,
while more recent figures suggest as low as 30%. Standard
antidepressants, SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil (Aropax) and Zoloft,
have recently been revealed to have serious risks, and are linked to
suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding, and brain tumors.

Though most doctors advise a combination of therapy and
antidepressants, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has an 80%
relapse rate in the long term.

While medication and therapy can often take the edge off of the
experience of depression, they are far from successful in all
instances. The only truly effective cure lies in going to the root
of depression. That root is ultimately spiritual in nature.

Depression is itself only a direct symptomatic manifestation of the
radical secularization of human society. Previous to secular
modernity, depression was a much less prevalent phenomenon. And when
it was experienced, the reasons were more clearly environmental and
causal than they are now. In the past, depression was directly
associated with a specific event or occurrence in the person's life
that directly caused the depression. Today, however, an increasing
number of depressed persons are experiencing more generalized
depression, a type of general existential angst, the exact cause of
which it is difficult for them to pinpoint. Some of the leading
causes of depression today include a sense of meaninglessness;
consuming and generalized fear; spiritual crises, and the high
degrees of stress and anxiety that has become accepted as normal in
modern, radically secularized, everyday life.

For younger people, especially, when asked why they are experiencing
deep depression, many youth will point to a complete sense of
meaninglessness in their lives. The don't know why they are here,
what their purpose in life is, why they are bothering to learn and
work hard, and why our present-day, materialistic society is geared
in such a way as to provide them with no real answers to their quest
for meaning. While pop culture, technology, and the youth scene
serves as a temporary outlet for many teens, more often than not it
only serves to tremendously exacerbate the problem of depression.

Secular modernity presents us with a social-philosophical construct
that is artificial, anti-natural, and ultimately destructive and
unhealthy in nature. In our society, we have been deprived of the
age-tested, fundamental vehicles through which we can excel
spiritually, intellectually, and culturally. Spirituality and
Dharma, which form the basis of all meaningful human growth and
progress, has been systematically and viciously erased from modern
secular societies to such a radical extent that hundreds of millions
of persons worldwide are vividly feeling the ill effects of a life
devoid of meaning, value, nobility, goodness, heroism, and the quest
for Truth.

The search for truth has been replaced in the lives of billions with
the search for entertainment.

Rather than encouraging such spiritual values as courage, nobility,
and heroism, the modern world today encourages the coldly
unsatisfying propaganda of radical egalitarianism. Rather than
encouraging the nurturing of the inner life of the spirit, and the
natural joy, peace and fulfillment that results from a healthy
spiritually-centered life, today it is only selfish economic
advancement and the value of purchasing power that is advocated.
Rather than a lifestyle of mental, physical and spiritual health,
today lifestyles of selfish hedonism, consumerism, greed, fame, and
lust are upheld as the ideal course of behavior, and the values
toward which all should aspire.

Dharma, the principle of living one's life in accordance with Natural
Law and God's will in a manner that is healthy, fulfilling,
nurturing, and truly progressive, has now been replaced with an
artificial and life-denying lifestyle that only produces a profound
sense of meaninglessness and anxiety.

The ultimate cure for society's present crisis of depression and
meaninglessness is to re-embrace a life of meaning, a life of
Dharma. Dharma, by its very definition, denotes the sustaining
foundation of all reality. Dharma is the concept that all that we
experience in this world is based upon a higher, spiritual reality
that provides the ordering principles necessary for the proper
function of the world. To understand Dharma is to understand the
world, and the natural laws behind all things that make life a
meaningful and beautiful expression of the Divine in spacial-temporal
reality. To know Dharma is to know life's ultimate meaning. And the
way to fully know Dharma is through the process of meditation.

For millennia, a spiritually based practice of meditation has been
shown to be very effective in combating such problems as stress,
anxiety, fear, and feelings of meaninglessness. Because meditation
addresses the root causes of depression and anxiety, the time honored
techniques of meditation can be a much more effective cure for
depression than either talk-therapy or medication.

Meditation is a natural, easy and proven method that has been shown
in hundreds of clinical studies to bring about deep states of peace,
calm and mental clarity. In addition, a specifically spiritual
regimen of daily meditation can help to foster a deep sense of
meaning and spiritual comfort.

Meditation has been shown to work on two distinct levels: a) the
cognitive level, and b) the spiritual level. On the cognitive level,
meditation helps to bring about a deep equipoise and a calming relief
to one's overactive mind. Today, especially, the mind is constantly
bombarded with an unending stream of diverse information - some
valuable, most useless. As a direct result of such information
bombardment, the mind is in an almost constant state of agitation and
confusion. Meditation serves to calm the mind, allowing our
attention to shift from the storm of external stimuli to the deep
inner peace that is the natural state of the soul. As a consequence
of having a calm mind, we then find that we can think and make
important decisions with much more clarity, insight, and power. We
are now able to process information in a way that serves us, rather
than merely being the victims of myriad sensory impressions and
information overload.

On the more spiritual level, meditation has the ability to provide us
with deep levels of self-realization and God-realization that, up
till now, may have seemed to be impossible attainments to many of
us. By meditating with the expressed goal of making spiritual
progress, and knowing God and self, we then traverse beyond the
merely cognitive and mental, and begin to penetrate the inner realms
of eternal spirit. When we have self-realization, we now experience
the transcendent peace and calm that is the natural result of living
in spirit. When we have God-realization, we are now in communion
with the very source of our being, the eternal, loving Absolute who
is our very best of friends, and greatest of well-wishers. In such a
transcendent state of spiritual attainment, no anxiety, stress,
depression, or fear can ever burden our minds or hearts again. For
we have now, through the process of spiritual meditation, realized
the infinite well of spiritual peace that lies naturally within.

The root cause of most depression today, then, is the pervasive sense
of meaninglessness that naturally accompanies life in a radically
secularized, materialistic society. The cure to such existential
meaninglessness is to partake profoundly in the spiritual nature of
our true selves and the spiritual foundations underlying our everyday
concerns. The artificial construct of materialism needs to be
replaced with Dharma, and the natural lifestyle and spiritual way of
being that Dharma teaches us to embrace. The most effective way of
accessing the spiritual reality that is our true self, and thus to
over-come the unnatural state of depression, is God-centered
meditation as taught in the ancient tradition of Sanatana Dharma.

For further information about overcoming depressing and learning to
embrace happiness again through meditation, please contact the
International Sanatana Dharma Society:
(608) 280-8375

The Author:

Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D. (Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya) is an
American who has been practicing Sanatana Dharma for over 30 years.
He has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and is recognized by the global
Hindu community as one of the leading Hindu Acharyas (Spiritual
Preceptors) in the nation. With a large international following of
both Indian and Western students, Sri Acharya Ji is especially
renowned for his highly authentic approach to Dharmic spirituality,
his authoritative and scholarly approach to teaching, and his clear
emphasis on serious spiritual practice and direct experience of self-
realization and knowledge of God. He has lectured on Sanatana Dharma
at such prestigious institutions as Harvard University, Columbia,
Rutgers, Cornell, Northwestern, as well as for such companies as Ford
Motor Corporation and Lucent Technology. He is the Founder and
President of the International Sanatana Dharma Society. To contact
Sri Acharya-ji, email him at: info@....

His primary websites are:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Who is Your Very Best Friend?

Who is Your Very Best Friend?

By Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D.
(Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya)

Do you have friends? Of course you do! Who doesn’t have friends? To even pose such a question would seem silly to many of us. As human beings, most of us are social by nature, and we need to express our need for relationship in the form of our many friends and loved ones. Most of us even have one or two people who we would call our very best friends – people whom we trust completely, and who we know are always there for us in times of trouble.

While almost all of us can say that we have truly good friends, however, the truth of the matter is that most of us have no real knowledge about who our truly best of friend really is. The very best friend that we have is the same one whom we tend to ignore the easiest. Indeed, most of us spend much of our lives running away from our very best friend as fast as our little feet can take us. That very best friend in your life is Bhagavan: God. It is God who is not only your very best of friends, but who is responsible for the friends that you do have now.

Accepting the reality that God has given us the gift of friendship in our lives, I want to pose an interesting question to you.

Think of the very closest friend that you have in this world. This person cares about you and would do anything for you, right? Of course he would. Well, this is my question: Do you have any friend or loved one in the world, including even your very best friend, who you can say will never abandon you? Do you have a friend who, in fact, will look after you and follow you as you traverse lifetime after lifetime, sometimes being in male bodies and sometimes in female bodies, sometimes in the body of a slug or sometimes in the body of a king; who will be there as a silent witness seeing you in your best of times, but also seeing you when you’re at your very worst? If you answer this question honestly, you know that there is absolutely no one – however much they may truly love you – who would be willing to do this for you. No one.

Yet you do have such a friend. God as Antaryamin (the Inner Witness) patiently and lovingly accompanies us as we journey from one life to another. Bhagavan (God) doesn’t ever judge us or abandon us. Rather God chooses to reside ever-present within our hearts as the silent witness of our actions, emotions, and thoughts, observing us in our good times, and at our very cruelest and most selfish times. Yet, even more so than the most loving parent we could ever imagine, God never gives up on us. Instead, He waits patiently and lovingly, our True Friend, yearning for us to come to the realization that we are never alone. He waits for us to quiet our mind, to still our uncontrolled desire for selfish pursuits, and to turn to Him and His loving embrace.

To know this Eternal Friend, we must cultivate love and devotion (bhakti), for this is all that God asks of us: that we make Him the priority in our lives, and that we try to love our very Best Friend as He loves us. This friend has written us a letter of love called the Bhagavad Gita. Read Bhagavan’s letter to you, love Him, and live His Dharma daily. Thus you will know more joy, more peace, more fulfillment, and more bliss than any human friend can ever give you. You will directly experience the love of Bhagavan.

The Author:

Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D. (Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya) is an American who has been practicing Sanatana Dharma for over 30 years. He has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and is recognized by the global Hindu community as one of the leading Hindu Acharyas (Spiritual Preceptors) in the nation. With a large international following of both Indian and Western students, Sri Acharya Ji is especially renowned for his highly authentic approach to Dharmic spirituality, his authoritative and scholarly approach to teaching, and his clear emphasis on serious spiritual practice and direct experience of self-realization and knowledge of God. He has lectured on Sanatana Dharma at such prestigious institutions as Harvard University, Columbia, Rutgers, Cornell, Northwestern, as well as for such companies as Ford Motor Corporation and Lucent Technology. He is the Founder and President of the International Sanatana Dharma Society. To contact Sri Acharya-ji, email him at:

His primary websites are: