The Real Cause of Stress

By Niraj Bidawatka

As long as we are in the bodily concept of life, stress will remain. The bodily conception of life means that one identifies oneself as the body; one thinks that “I am the body”. But the fact is that, “I am not this body, I am the spirit soul.” It is like identifying oneself as the car whilst seated within a car. If someone seated within a BMW says, “I am a BMW”, then one can conclude that he is a crazy man. He is in fact a living entity seated within the car and therefore different than the car. Similarly, we are spirit souls seated within bodies of different models. Someone is in an Indian body, someone in an American body, in a black body, in a white body, in a dog’s body and so on. In the bodily concept one says “I am Indian”, “I am African”, and “I am a doctor”, just as person identifying with the car says “I am a BMW”. If one thinks, “I am the car”, then will his hunger be satiated by supplying fuel to the car? No; he has supply fuel (food) to his stomach. Similarly in the bodily concept of life, we think that we can satisfy our quest for happiness by giving comfort to the body, but that does not yield results since the living entity occupying the body is not being nourished. We are different than the body and therefore when someone dies, we always say, “Oh, Mr. John has gone away”. If Mr. John was the body, then the body is still lying in the front; so why do we say that he has gone away? Mr. John was not the body but a spiritual spark who was occupying the body and has now gone away. The body is always dead, but when the living entity occupies it, it starts functioning and when he leaves it, it is called a dead body.

When we are in the bodily concept of life, we have many desires of satisfying the senses. As the level of desires increases, stress also increases. So, one school of thought advises that one should remove all desires. However, this is an impractical solution. Since we are living entities, and not inanimate matter, desires will always remain within our hearts. Inanimate matter such as stones, tables and chairs are free from desires because they have no life but since we are living beings, we can never become free from desires.

The real solution lies in redirecting or rechanneling our desires. At the present moment, our desires are directed towards to the body, its comfort, its maintenance, our social status and improving our financial status. But, when the desires are upgraded to the level of the spirit soul, which is our real identity, then all the stress will vanish. In the simple words of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “When we desire for the satisfaction of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then our desires are on the spiritual (of the spirit soul) platform.”

There are many teachers who prescribe various ways of dealing with stress. Some will advise deep breathing, others will talk of some sort of meditation; some will prescribe standing upside down and so on and so forth. But such techniques can provide only temporary benefits, if at all. However, if one aims to solve the problem permanently, he has to understand the “self” – “I am not this body, I am the spirit soul.” Once we understand this, then there is no more stress.

The chanting of the “Hare Krishna” mantra helps us in getting out of the bodily conception of life. Mantra means “one that delivers the mind.” If one chants Hare Krishna regularly, then one can easily overcome stress because it is a transcendental sound vibration and has power to make one peaceful and joyful. It is very easy to chant Hare Krishna. It is composed of sixteen words:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

You can chant it anywhere and when you chant it, you will immediately feel de-stressed and refreshed. It is simple and free. There are no rules either. You sing it aloud or murmur to yourself. You can also listen to the Hare Krishna chants on a CD while travelling in your car or at home and it will purify your subtle body by removing all stress.

“THE RADHA KRISHNA TEMPLE” ALBUM – Personal Accounts of People Getting Attracted To Krishna Consciousness Through It 

3 thoughts on “The Real Cause of Stress

  1. Niraj Ji,

    A very apt article for us masses who are suffering from the ‘trayah taapah’ of this ever fickle cruel system of Desires and Gratification. Instant Gratification for all urges is being touted as the panacea for all psychological disorders in this age of gross consumerism. We are not allowed to develop our thinking on logical lines due to constant conditioning by media supported by a covert education system where universal values are being taught to be strangled. Stress is the most coveted accessory nowadays. Anyone who is not displaying stress is just not THE achiever. As a matter of fact, even kids are wearing stress on their sleeves …. in order to underline their achievements to their friends and foes alike.

    And Yes. This Maya generated stress stealthily takes its toll. It takes its toll in the burgeoning number of Heart attacks in the young turks rushing along the adrenaline laced path of super success. It devours students during and after their exams. Stress is the silent killer of doting young mothers who suddenly snuff out their children’s lives and commit suicide.

    As you say, only the services pleasing to Krishna can deliver us en masse from this dreadful disease. Looking at the current Human mental stage and age, what is the way out for us, where we realize our duties and dependency on Krishna. What is the meaning and relevance of ‘Service to Krishna’ in today’s context. In what ways Krishna wants to be served and in what ways can we serve Him ??

    Please Enlighten.

    Hare Krishna!!!


    • Dear Swatiji,

      The first question that you have asked is about the way by which we realize our duties and dependency on Krishna in the context of the present mental stage and age. In order to realize our duties and dependency on Krishna, we have to first understand that “I am not this body, I am the spirit soul” When we understand this, we come to the spiritual platform. Unless we don’t come to the spiritual platform, there is no possibility of realizing our duties and dependency on Krishna. This is true for all ages, whether medieval, ancient or modern. When one considers himself as the body, he is on the animalistic platform. An animal is an animal, whether belonging to the modern era or a bygone era. A human being, who does not know that he is the spirit soul, is mentioned as a two-legged animal in the scriptures.

      If I do not know that I am the spirit soul, and am considering my body to be the self, then God will not fit into my life. I will be yearning for the objects that satisfy my senses. God may come temporarily into my life when there is some obstruction in getting the objects of enjoyment, when I pray to him for my bodily demands or for getting me out of some trouble. As soon as the objective is met, I will forget Him. Again I become independent with no regard to my duties to Krishna. Therefore in today’s scenario, where schools and colleges are not imparting the knowledge of the spirit soul, no one is bothered about God, what to speak of enquiring about our duties and dependency on Him. Unless one does not rise to the spiritual platform of the soul, one will not be interested in the Supersoul.

      To rise to the spiritual platform, one has to associate with the devotees who will enlighten him about the spirit soul. Therefore our revered spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada has taken so much pain to establish Hare Krishna centers all around the world, so that everyone can take advantage of the devotees living there. Since there are temples in all the major cities of the world, one can save the trouble to go to a distant holy place for associating with the devotees. They are just in and around the place where you are living. In today’s context, where people still do not have time to approach the devotees, we recommend the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra, which can be chanted in any condition. Please refer the last paragraph of the above article.

      Your next question enquires about the meaning of ‘service to Krishna.’ Service to Krishna means service to the Person named Krishna, who is the Supreme Absolute Truth. Service to Krishna does not mean service to the poor or service to the nation, family or society. These are the concoctions of the so-called karma-yogis, who say that service to the poor or to the family and society is equivalent to service of God.

      As far as the relevance of Krishna’s service in today’s context is concerned, we may very humbly state that Krishna’s service is the one and only relevant activity because it can deliver us from the pangs of material miseries. No other activity is potent enough to take us out from the mire of karmic bondage.

      Your final question: “In what ways Krishna wants to be served and in what ways can we serve Him?” Krishna is ātmārāma, which means self-satisfied. Therefore He does not require any services from anyone, including Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. But we find that she is always serving the lotus feet of Krishna. Krishna allows us to serve Him for our benefit; otherwise He does not require any service. If we serve Him, we will gain from it. “What will be our gain?” We shall become blissful by such service.

      There are many ways by which we can serve Him. We can offer Him a fruit, a flower, a leaf or even a little water. He becomes very pleased even by such insignificant offerings, if they are offered with love and adoration. Therefore Prabhupada says, “What is the difficulty in serving Krishna?”
      If you need further clarifications, I will be more than happy to elaborate. Hare Krishna.


    One of the greatest contributions of India to the world is Holy Gita which is considered to be one of the first revelations from God. The spiritual philosophy and management lessons in this holy book were brought in to light of the world by many great Indian saint SRI SRILA PRABHUPADA and Swamiji call the Bhagavad-Gita the essence of Vedic Literature and a complete guide to practical life. Through the centuries, the sublime and ennobling counsel of the Bhagavad Gita has endeared it to truth-seekers of East & west alike. I am proud to say He has changed the bad life style of may hippies and given a new and decent life in America we can surely say that he saved many younger generations. It provides “all that is needed to raise the consciousness of man to the highest possible level” and Self improvement which means self guided improvement in physical, mental, social,spiritual and emotion. Its gospel of devotion to duty, without attachment or desire of reward, has shown the way of life for all men, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, who have sought for light in the dark problems of life.


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