Recently the TV channels were busy telecasting news about the death of an Engineering PG student at NIT, Warangal. We are yet to know if the unfortunate incident is an accident or suicide or murder. While the truth is yet to see the limelight, heated discussions in some news channels are blaming spirituality. The boy, it appears, was a regular reader of spiritual literature in his hostel room.
Be that as it may, I would never agree for this proposition. Some learned debaters (are they?) argued in the TV that the desire to experience life after death prompted the boy to taste death voluntarily. Others argued that he was merely trying to verify if rebirth is a truth. It seemed to me,they concluded spirituality as the sole reason behind the boy's depression and consequent suicide (?).
As for me, I would never believe in such a jargon. The ancient soul of India is still alive, despite the plummeting values in our modern society. As long as it is alive, I would never consent to the argument that spirituality promotes depression among the youth. The soul of India is spirituality and wisdom. It is Dharma.
Spirituality encourages neither pessimism nor suicide. I would be the last to believe that one lands in depression by reading spiritual literature. On the contrary, a good spiritual book pulls you out from depression and instils hope. I know many persons who, after reading the soul stirring speeches of Swami Vivekananda, saw light in their life's darkness, rose to their feet and achieved success.
Our scriptures declare with one voice " Suicide is a heinous sin". It is a sin because, life is a gift of God. It is not our achievement by dint of our effort. We never deserved it, nor gained it willfully. It is a pure gift from Above. So we have no right to end our life, whatever might be the reason we put forth for ending it. We can achieve anything only when we live, but never otherwise. There are any number of exhortations in our spiritual literature that discourage suicide.
The Vedas prohibit suicide explicitly. The Isavasya Upanishad which is part of Yajur Veda says "असूर्या नामते लोका अन्धेना तमसावृता ताम्स्ते प्रेत्यभि गच्चानतेके चात्महने जनाः" It means, "Those who commit suicide will fall into nether worlds which are dark, lethargic, and devoid of Sunlight". How true it is !!! The mental state of a person about to commit suicide would certainly be dark and devoid of light. He sees no hope anywhere and resorts to ending his life. His state after death will be a continuation of his state before death, if not worse. Instead of having deliverance from his sorrows, he, as a disembodied spirit, will have to endure more suffering in the nether worlds. So our Dharma never allows a person to commit suicide.
Neither the Law of Karma supports suicide. We suffer because of our past bad karma. So by doing good karma now, we can counteract the past bad karma. Law of Karma teaches optimism. It never allows a man to sink. It exhorts man to conquer Karma with Karma. It teaches never to lose hope and never to succumb to depression.
असतोमा सद्गमय, तमसोमा ज्योतिर्गमय, मृत्योर्मा अम्रुतम्गामय -- is the prayer of the Vedas. The Vedic Rishi prayed thus -- "Lead us from untruth to Truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality". How could we, who accept the Vedas as supreme revelations of God, ever support suicide?
The youth is never led astray by spirituality. It is led astray by drugs, by bad habits, by bad friends, by movies and by imitating the dark shades of western culture blindly. Never a man is spoiled by spirituality, if he cares to understand it in right sense.
It is never through suicide that a man learns anything about life after death or about reincarnation. There are ways and means to learn about these subtle truths. A sure way is to practice Yoga and Meditation under the supervision of a real Master. Then the practitioner knows from personal experience if a Soul exists or not, if life exists after death or not. All the great sages and siddhas of past, experienced these truths, through personal experience alone.
Spirituality enriches a man's life with wisdom and open the gates to a better life. It makes a man a good citizen of his land. In fact, there is a strong need for all the students to learn more and more about spirituality and the ancient wisdom of the seers. Mere learning is not enough, the knowledge is to be translated into action. Then we not only become good citizens but also would reach the goal of life i.e God-realization.