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Repression means, suppose you have a disease, you are suffering from typhoid fever, and the doctor says that you don't take any solid food. Now if you desire to take a paratha, you have to repress it: "No, I cannot take paratha"

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"Repression means, suppose you have a disease, you are suffering from typhoid fever, and the doctor says that you don't take any solid food. Now if you desire to take a paratha, you have to repress it"

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Philosophy Discussions

Repression means, suppose you have a disease, you are suffering from typhoid fever, and the doctor says that you don't take any solid food. Now if you desire to take a paratha, you have to repress it: "No, I cannot take paratha." Suppose there is looseness of your bile(?), and if you want to take some condensed milk, you have to repress it.
Philosophy Discussion on Sigmund Freud:

Śyāmasundara: So that is the basic cause of anxiety-desire?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Desiring something which is not permanent. That we call (indistinct). Suppose that I wish to live forever, but if I have accepted this material body, therefore there is no question of living forever. So I am always anxious when death should come. I am afraid of death, when the body will be destroyed. This is (indistinct). So therefore the conclusion is that anxiety is due to our acceptance of something which does not exist. This is the right definition of anxiety.

Śyāmasundara: He says that the ego develops strategies of defense against this anxiety which is entering from the id, and one of the strategies it develops is repression. Whenever there is some strong animalistic desire, the ego represses that desire in order to preserve itself.

Prabhupāda: Repression is always there. We make plans in so many ways, but by nature it is frustrated. That is repression.

Śyāmasundara: Is conscious repression advisable?

Prabhupāda: Conscious repression?

Śyāmasundara: Yes. Of my basic instincts, my desires. Should I consciously strive to repress these desires?

Prabhupāda: Just like if you are in a diseased condition and you desire to eat something which is forbidden by the physician. So consciously you have to repress in order to cure. That is the way.

Śyāmasundara: I heard you say once that we cannot really repress desire but we have to channel it, control it, into other objects.

Prabhupāda: Repression means, suppose you have a disease, you are suffering from typhoid fever, and the doctor says that you don't take any solid food. Now if you desire to take a paratha, you have to repress it: "No, I cannot take paratha." Suppose there is looseness of your bile(?), and if you want to take some condensed milk, you have to repress it. (indistinct) go against you, you have to repress. Repress means repressing something which is going against my welfare. So in this brahmacārī system also there is repression. He should not see young woman, he should not sit down with young woman. But he desires. The desire is that "I shall see young woman." He has to repress. So this is called tapasya, voluntary repression.

Śyāmasundara: Aren't these desires given outlet in other ways? Do we channel the desires to some other field? Instead of seeing a beautiful woman, we see the beautiful form of Kṛṣṇa, like that?

Prabhupāda: That is our process. From this (indistinct) if you have got better engagement, you give up inferior engagement. When you are captivated by seeing the beautiful form of Kṛṣṇa, naturally you have no more desire to see the beautiful form of a young woman.

Śyāmasundara: The Buddhists also say repress desires, but they mean total repression.

Prabhupāda: Yes. We don't say that. We just say that sometimes there is strong desire, we have to repress it. Just like my Guru Mahārāja used to say that while you get up from bed, you beat your mind a hundred times with your shoe, and when you go to bed, you beat your mind a hundred times with a broomstick. Then you will be able to control your mind. Sometimes, just like wild tiger, they have got him to control by repression. The circus players, they do that. Because it is wild tiger, repression is required. But when it is under control, there is no question of repression. You can play with the tiger; he becomes your friend. So repression is not always bad.