Depression is very common today. Many are not able to overcome this negative state of mind. They seek medical and psychiatric treatment, and in extreme cases even resort to suicide, thinking that such a step will solve their problems.
Hindu scriptures like the Dharma-Sastras and Manu-Smiriti condemn the act of suicide. Vedic texts state that anyone who commits suicide is an "Atmaham" (killer of the soul). Saints and sages also have vehemently condemned the act of suicide. They declare emphatically that absolutely nothing is solved or gained by getting rid of the physical body. On the other hand, the results of suicide are disastrous in the extreme.
Scientists and psychologists today, researching in psychic phenomena, have corroborated some of the teachings of the sages.
The sages state that at the time when the soul is to depart from the body, the dying person sees, as on a cinema screen, all the actions done by him during the present lifetime, from childhood up to the moment of death. And from all these varied scenes, the most prominent one arrests and engages the soul's attention, and the soul leaves the physical body in that state.
If there is intense attachment to someone, then the soul will depart with that person's image in mind. Intense hatred means that the hated person's image will remain in the mind as the predominant thought at the time of death.
A person who had been strongly addicted to liquor and drugs will leave the body with thoughts of liquor and drugs. One with intense attachment to money will have thoughts of his wealth at the time of death.
A person who had led a pious and virtuous life, with thoughts of God, will depart from the body with thoughts of God.
The last thoughts determine the condition and nature of the next birth. This is what the sages have said about the phenomenon of death.
This argument seems reasonable, because the last dominant thought in our mind at the time when we just drop off to sleep, is the thought that dominates our mind the next day. It is for this reason that we are advised to sing the Divine Name or hymns at the time of death in order to focus the attention of the dying person on holy, noble thoughts.
It is needless to add that if the soul departs from the body with thoughts of anger, hatred, jealousy, worry and fear, or in a state of great mental turmoil, then such thoughts and turmoil will be carried over and immediately experienced on the other plane also. That is why sages say that suicide does not solve anything whatsoever. On the contrary, it makes the condition of the soul very much worse.
They give an analogy to explain this truth. When we experience a nightmare during sleep, we wake up abruptly with a shock. But we feel a sense of great relief at the same time, because the consciousness has rushed back to the safe refuge of the physical body. In suicide the soul does not have a physical body to return to as in the case of the nightmare. Hence, it undergoes great misery and suffering, perhaps more than during its sojourn in the physical body. Furthermore, it is said that such a soul has to roam about as a ghost for a long time.
Sri Aurobindo, one of our great contemporary sages, says about suicide: "Suicide is an absurd solution. If one throws away the body wilfully, one suffers much in other worlds and, when one is born again, it is in worse, not in better conditions."
As the body is a precious instrument given to us by God for realising Him, voluntarily discarding it will bring in its train very adverse reactions. The repercussions may last for a long time and the soul may encounter adverse conditions for many births. Hence, under no circumstance should one resort to this most thoughtless and rash action of suicide.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, has written how the demoniacal forces are playing their part in this Kali Yuga by opposing the divine forces. Sri Aurobindo, the great sage of India, said that today the Asuras (demons), have taken human form. Mother Mirra of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, who was one of the greatest occultists of this age said that these Asuras cause many accidents, suicides, calamities and domestic and other conflicts.
The Asuras possess a person when the nervous system becomes weak, due mainly to wastage of the vital force, or if the person is filled with fear, depression and other negative qualities.