Suicide in most of the religions is considered as a sin and result of an act against almighty's will. It is the extreme decision and result of an act deliberately initiated and performed by a person in the full knowledge or expectation of its fatal outcome. Suicide leaves behind a series of adverse consequences to the sufferer and their near and dear ones for life long. In many countries it comes under preview of strong social stigma and lots of social control measures have been taken to control it, thus it has been strongly discouraged in many religions. Life of all creatures especially human is wonderful gift and thus any act directed to destroy it, with full knowledge of its fatal outcome, cannot be justified on any ground. It is now a major public health problem. Taken as an average of 53 countries, for which complete data is available, the standardized suicide age rate for 1996 was 15.1 per 100, 000. The rate for males was 24.0 per 100,000 and for females 6.8 per 100,000. The rate of sucide is almost universally higher among men compared to women by an aggregate ratio of 3.5 to 1. With regard to gender, the suicide rates are seen higher among men than women.
Suicide rates are considerably lower in predominantly religious areas for example WHO reports lower rate of suicide in Muslim predominant countries. Suicide, in Muslim predominant districts of Kerala are for lower than other states .Suicide rates among catholic population have been recorded as lower than rates among Protestants and Jews. In some persons, their deel? faith in religious rituals and certain practices keep them optimistic towards life and help them to cope more effectively against any life threatening situations or adverse life events. (Neeleman, 1978). In individuals with stronger religious beliefs were associated with lower tolerance to suicide and for men exposure to a religious environment may protect against suicide by reducing its acceptability (Neeleman et. al, 1997).
Religion has deep impact upon its followers. Importance of religious belief in a country influences as an important cultural factor in the determination of suicide deaths (Bertolote and Fleischmann 2003). It has been observed that suicide rates are generally lower in religious then in secular countries however, it is not clear whether an individual an association between religious and suicidal behavior also applies at individual level. A comparison of suicide rates according to prevalent religious denominations in countries brings to light a most remarkable difference between countries of Islam and countries of any other prevailing religions. In Islamic countries (for example, Kuwait), where committing suicide is not allowed in view of strong religious guidelines which are strongly followed there.
RELIGION: A PREVENTIVE FACTOR IN SUCIDE DEATHS
Almost in every religions, suicide is been discouraged. Bhagawad Gita. One of the most renowned and holy mythology of Hindus', is against self torture and self killing. Brahmanical view was that anyone who tries to kill oneself but fails should fast for a stipulated period (a period for rectification of oneself from bad thoughts). However, Hinduism accepts some ritual suicide by a widow (sati) as a way to gain blessing of god and honour for their children; Raja Ram Mohan Rai, a great social reformer, organized agitation against social evil like sati pratha (practices) and was very much successful in his venture. Now this practice is rare in India and has received several legal protections. However there are some evidences in Hindu mythology where under certain conditions and circumstances extreme decision like suicide has been sanctioned, for example during Vedic and Upanishad times, apart from sati prata, death from drowning at the confluence of rivers to achieve punya (salivation in the next life), the self destruction for incurable diseases, ascetics undertaking great journey towards the last years of life (Mahaprasthanam). Vedic and Upanishad period penalized suicide in general but with the above exceptions. In most worshipped Hindu mythology like Ramayana and Mahabharata, there have been some mass suicides like instances mentioned like, when Lord sri Ram died there was an epidemic of suicide in Ayodhya. Hinduism's view of suicide is more complex. According to some scholars, the Hindu scriptures give complicating view about whether suicidal is permissible. Some forbid it, but others permit it for those who have attained enlightenment. Some think that the more tolerant attitude of Hinduism is because of the belief in the reincarnation and the eventual detachment of the holy soul from the body, a view shared by Buddhism. Hindus belief that essence of holy God exists in every living creatures and thus killing oneself is like killing of the God in oneself. This prevents them from self destructive behavior. Moreover the unsatisfied soul never departs from this world and trapped in between birth and death.
According to Buddhism, suicide implies insufficient detachment and indifference to life and the violence of the requirement that men should live for the time desired and cannot hope to avoid sufferings to which they had been condemned from previous lives. Same view is shared by Islam. Islam asks man and women to wait for his or her destiny, rather than snatching it from the hands of God. If he doesn't, he will be depicted as unfaithful wretch (Venkoba Rao, 1992).
Islam also believes that Allah's will determine the destiny and the time to move from the world, however tolerates suicide as a form of self sacrifice, particularly in holy wars. Islam encourages submission to God's will in suffering and sickness. As a consequences Muslim patients do not talk about sucide. It appears that Islamic literatures rarely address the theme of suicide. In clinical setting even a depressed Muslim patient rarely comes out with their depressive ideas because it is not religiously accepted so such kinds of thoughts are very intrusive for them. So if a Muslim patient talks about suicidal ideation, one should take very seriously.
In Christianity, Saint Augustine (AD 354-430) condemned suicide as an act against God by extension of the sixth commandment to Moses ('Thou shalt not kill') (Dublin, 1963). The second Roman Catholic Council of Orleans (AD 533) expressed the first official disapproval of suicide, considering it (ambiguously) as either the Devil's work or an expression of mental insanity, and Council of Barga (AD 563) forbade burial of suicides (Sullivan, 1982). the Ten Commandments to Moses do not explicitly mention suicide, but forbid 'killing'. Apparent rarity of suicide in the Old Testament and throughout Jewish history may reflect a view of life as sacred. Judaism did not permit religious burial of suicides, based on 2nd century Talmudic writings (Mishnah) paralleling contemporary Roman and Christian laws and practices. Although they did not explicitly condemn suicide, some Talmudic scholars proposed that suicide could preclude external happiness. Punishment was intended only if suicides were 'intentional' as indicated by communication of intent, a criteria that may underline the variety of suicides reported in ancient Hebrew texts. Nevertheless mass suicide occurred during the centuries of persecution of Jew (Tondo, 2000; Dublin, 1963)
Suicide is the extreme decision one takes under very impulsive conditions to get rid of present unbearable condition(s) with full knowledge of its fatal outcome. The patients who experience suicide ideations generally do not proceed to completion owining to the overwhelming opposing influence of countries economic, religious, moral, ethnic and social nature. The care their children, of their spouse, fear of stigma that would descend on the family and fear of damnation in the in the hell tend to prevent them from completing the art. In many religions suicide has been strongly opposed and condemned not only as a sin against God and the will of God, but also as an 'ideological' defect in the control of free will. It is a cowered escape from active life.
Pankaj Kumar Verma
Dept. Of Psychiatric Social Work, Rinpas, Kanke, Ranchi-834006, Jharkhand
Associate Professor And Ex Hod, Dept. Of Psychiatric Social Work, Rinpas, And Cip, Kanke, Ranchi-834006, Jharkhand
Ph D Scholar, Dept. Of Psychiatric Social Work, Rinpas, Kanke, Ranchi-834006, Jharkhand
Msw Student And Independent Research Scholor.
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