Dr Chetna Kang, Psychiatrist and Hindu Priest in the Bhakti Yoga/Vaisnava tradition

Krishna says you can’t enjoy your holidays properly without worshipping some sort of Invisible Magic Friend. Atheists can never really have proper holidays. For us believers, not flying off to some exotic location several times a year is no problem. We just do a quick bit of worshipping at home. Simples!



8 thoughts on “Dr Chetna Kang, Psychiatrist and Hindu Priest in the Bhakti Yoga/Vaisnava tradition

  1. I would agree that religious or spiritual beliefs can influence the course of mental illness but I don’t think there is any consensus that says that people with religious beliefs are less likely to suffer from mental illnesses. One would expect spiritual or religious people to be as likely to suffer from mental health issues if they are unable to express their emotions, if they have suffered some emotional trauma in life, or if they have been fed unnecessary feelings of guilt or shame throughout their religious upbringing.
    I’m sure some religious people can use their beliefs to help them maintain a stable mental health in the same way atheists like me can look to non religious emotional management techniques to do so.
    For Dr Kang, a trained psychiatrist, to quote that “One who is not connected with the supreme can have neither transcendental intelligence [whatever that might be] nor a steady mind without which there is no possibility of peace,” seems to go against psychiatric practice. Unless just quoting Vishnu lets her off that point.
    Any psychiatrists out there who want to comment?


    1. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I did work for a long time with people with Schizophrenia. I never came across anyone who (as the old view goes) thought he was Napoleon; but many people had serious problems with religion and particularly the supernatural events in the BBOMS, and I also encountered several men who believed they were Jesus or that Jesus or ‘God’ were amongst the dominant voices in their heads. These were largely white, British people at that time, all of who would have had these nonsenses drummed into them as children. The destructive effects on their psychiatric make-up were frightening; and of course reason couldn’t be applied to help them.


    2. From Dr Kang’s profile: “I am on the Executive Committee for the Royal College of Psychiatrists Spirituality and Psychiatry SIG and was a finalist for the RCPsych’s public educator of the year award for 2 consecutive years.” I assume there is a framework within which she works.


    3. You remind me, happily, of J.K. Rowling describing her character Hermione’s name as one that “two professional dentists” might choose for their child. I harbour a nagging fear of amateur dentists and psychiatrists…😉


  2. Wikipedia:
    “The term “messiah complex” is not addressed in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”(DSM), as it is not a clinical term nor diagnosable disorder. However, the symptoms as a proposed disorder closely resemble those found in individuals suffering from delusions of grandeur or that they have grandiose self-images that veer towards the delusional. An account specifically identified it as a category of religious delusion, which pertains to strong fixed beliefs that cause distress or disability. It is the type of religious delusion that is classified as “grandiose” while the other two categories are: “persecutory” and “belittlement”.
    In terms of the attitude wherein an individual sees themselves as having to save another or a group of poor people, there is the notion that the action inflates their own sense of importance and discounts the skills and abilities of the people they are helping to improve their own lives.
    The messiah complex is most often reported in patients suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. When a messiah complex is manifested within a religious individual after a visit to Jerusalem, it may be identified as a psychosis known as Jerusalem syndrome.”


  3. How dare Chetna Kang tell me that because I am not ‘connected to the supreme’ I can’t have a ‘steady mind’, or even enjoy my holidays. What patronising arrogance. I suppose it’s the Hindu equivalent of ‘atheists are not fully human’. Well, we can see where that attitude leads: to the intolerant, triumphalist Hindu theocracy that Modi and his BJP have created in India. But there is as much chance of Kang addressing that enormous elephant (or perhaps it’s Ganesh) in the room as there is of Catherine Pepinster admitting that the Pope sometimes gets things wrong.


    1. Ending up in Ipswich rather than on Mount Ararat must feel like a big come down. If it stays there for another 50 years then it might see a metre rise in sea level but definitely not another world-wide deluge.
      Linking to today’s TFTD, anyone who thinks that Noah created an ark big enough to save all the animals on earth from a flood has definitely got a delusional disorder.


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