Acharyasri Sachchidanand Trust

Ishtadeva Meditation

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The Ishtadeva meditation is not just an ordinary meditation but a procedure that is postulated as part of the Vedic way of life. It is an ancient Indian technique based on psychology, different from western psychiatry currently practised. Depression is a common psychiatric condition that has certain symptoms that affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviour, relationships, performance, and in extreme cases can even lead to death. It is natural to feel depressed over a bad event or situation, but if these feelings persist for a longer period of time or recur frequently and disrupt normal life and health, then as per the medical definition, it falls under the category of depression, which becomes necessary to treat. Depression can engulf anyone at any stage of life or at any time and it can affect every aspect of life. The following are the symptoms that can occur in a depressed person –
Feeling depressed and anxious all the time, pessimistic thoughts occurring in the mind, feeling of guilt and helplessness, lack of interest to participate even in the favourite tasks, lack of concentration and trouble in decision making, sleeping too much or too little, changes in eating habits, weight gain or loss, restlessness and feeling irritable, frequent suicidal thoughts, distancing oneself from social life, distance from family and friends, excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs etc.
The above mentioned conditions of thoughts and feelings indicate that the person may be suffering from acute depression. These symptoms indicate broadly but the severity and symptoms of this psychosis vary from person to person. Sometimes, not all the symptoms associated with this disease are seen in a single person. Depression can have different reasons such as malnutrition, hormonal imbalance, heredity, weather, stress, disease, intoxication, and prolonged exposure to unpleasant conditions. In modern psychology, different types of depression due to different reasons have been described as –
Major Depression: In this situation the nature of a person keeps changing and it also affects the daily activities and personal relationships of the person.
Bi-polar Disorder: Also called manic depression, irritability and anger are its main symptoms.
Cyclothymic disorder: Its symptoms are subtle, mild depression and hypomania are seen in the person.
Dysthymic Disorder: In this the patient experiences depression for two years or more. He also feels unwell and feels difficulty in performing daily tasks.
Postpartum depression: It can happen to a new mother a few days or months after the childbirth or when a woman has had a miscarriage.
Psychotic Depression: Its main symptoms are hallucinations, irrational thoughts and hearing or seeing things that are not there.
Atypical depression: Mostly found in young people, carbohydrate craving is also found in patients suffering from it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: This depression occurs seasonally. Weather-affected depression occurs at the same time every year. It usually starts in winter and ends in early summer. A rare form of weather-affected depression, also known as summer depression, begins in early summer and ends in winter.
Whether the depression is due to any reason or of any kind, by practising the Ishtadeva Meditation technique, a person can not only be brought out of the severe state of depression but also his original mental state can be attained. This meditation method helps to reduce the severity of depression by increasing the level of certain chemicals in the brain as well as maintain the sleep cycle and also control the appetite and digestion. Practising this Meditation technique greatly improves the lifestyle, which results in reduced levels of stress-enhancing hormones and inflammatory molecules in the brain and reduces the oxidative stress. According to the Yoga philosophy, depression is a state of inert mind (Moodha awastha). Inert state (Moodha awastha) refers to the state of mind (Chitta) in which Tamoguna becomes dominant. In such a state the light of Satoguna is overwhelmed by the sluggishness of Tamoguna. By regular practice of the Ishtadeva Meditation, the influence of Tamoguna in a person decreases and the radiance of Satoguna gets reinforced.

~ Acharyasri