According to the ancient Indian scripture Patanjali' Yogasutra, people suffer from five types of mental pain -- false knowledge, egoism, attachment, contempt and fear of death. These are described below with a solution.
- False knowledge (Avidya) - Spiritually false knowledge is a belief in that which does not exist or which is untrue. Whatever one sees in the world can be divided into two - consciousness on one side and inert matter on the other. Where there is life there is consciousness. Consciousness and life are eternal and everlasting. On the other hand, our material body and the material world surrounding us, imaginary Gods and Goddesses, hell and heaven, ghosts and angels have no real existence. Matter is a form of energy and both scientifically and spiritually it has no real existence. Matter does not know that it exists; it exists in the consciousness of a living being only. A dream is an imagination of a single being; similarly the world is the imagination of all living beings. So to believe in that which does not exist is false knowledge or ignorance. It gives only pain, sorrow and depression to a believer.
- Egoism (Asmita) - False knowledge is the mother of all other subsequent pain. When people are in false knowledge they develop false pride over money power, muscle power, people's power or military power. This makes a man egotistical and even a tyrant. Whatever one sees and feels is not real and not one's own. The real thing for a man is his true self and nothing else. It is where a man resides, it is where God resides. It is the source of life, mind, bliss and true wealth and power. So it is foolish to develop egoism over wealth and power lying outside.
- Attachment (Raga) - When a man develops unnecessary fondness for worldly objects or enjoyments he suffers from the pain of attachment. Due to ignorance one develops attachment to alcohol, call-girls, gambling or drugs thinking that they are the real source of pleasure. Ultimately a person suffers and does not find lasting pleasure.
- Contempt (Dvesh) - Similarly if one develops dislike or contempt for life or for truly wise and benevolent people or for near and dear ones, one shall suffer from the pain of contempt.
- Fear of Death (Abhinivesh) - Fear of death is highly dreadful to all. Even wise and mentally strong people start shivering with this fear, because even wise people looking at the natural flow of events -- the cycle of sunrise and sunset, cycle of seasons or flow of a river into the sea -- and believe in them and remain in fear of death. However, natural laws can only govern the material world. The Sun can only rise in the east, whereas a man can rise at 6 a.m. or 8 a.m. This is because man has life and mind. He can think and decide. Natural laws cannot bind a thinking mind. So a man with his will power can bring the cycle of birth and death under his control. Death is dead and lifeless and so how can it take away life?
The true solution is meditation. According to Patanjali, the ignorance or false knowledge which is the mother of all other pain can be avoided or controlled through meditation. One should meditate upon one's true self, soul or Atman only, because it is the real and eternal thing one possesses. For meditation, one should sit down in a Lotus Posture with eyes closed. Then one should concentrate one's mind on Trikuti which is a point in between the eyebrows and above the nose. Regular practice in the morning and evening at least for half an hour takes one's mind closer to true self.