The Crusader of Mental Health

Counseling through Letters

Before the use of mobile and email became widespread, CRC would receive 200 letters a month from people seeking advice, mainly from all over Karnataka, and sometimes from other states and countries . From 1980 to 2000, at an average of 10 letters a day, he has replied to 40,000 letters from the public. These people would have read his books or articles or heard that he would reply to letters. They were from all age groups and walks of life. Some letters would generally start like this –
“You may be surprised to receive my letter, seeing that you do not know me. But I know you well from your writings. Please read my letter and solve my problem…”

Some letters would dispense with niceties. They would address him as doctor, uncle, sir, guru or father and straightway state their problem. Until he had reached 40, he would feel embarrassed at being addressed thus, especially when someone would ask him to consider him as his own son (or daughter).

Some people write humbly, and beg him to help them. Some insist that he reply within a week and threaten to commit suicide otherwise. Some seek a prescription for their problem, while what others seek is impossible to fulfill. Earlier, people apparently believed in the myth about hypnosis; they thought it was a panacea for mind-related issues : that a person’s capacity or talent could be improved, behavior changed, bad habits stopped, depression cured and so forth.

“I am depressed. I have been prescribed tablets, but I do not want any medicine. Please cure me through hypnosis or any other method.”

“My husband does not love me. He does not treat me with affection. Please hypnotize him and find out if he loves any other woman. If so, make him love me.”

“Our 17-year old son has become a riddle to us. He does not confide in us anymore. He neglects his studies and is not bothered about his future. I will bring him to you somehow or other. Please hypnotize him and find out what is in his mind.”

About 25% of the letters are about sexual problems and myths. Sexual abuse by a family member leading to homosexual behavior; fear of losing potency, memory or strength due to the habit of masturbation; fear of having gotten pregnant due to a kiss; guilt over sexual fantasies about a sister-in-law, and more.

His article (‘Nivu Vaidyaru Mattu Chikitse’), ‘You, Your Physician and Treatment’, was included in a textbook, which was prescribed in SSLC syllabus for ten years. A major group of people who write letters comprises students who have read his article. They write to him about how to overcome examination fear, how to prepare for exams and improve memory, how to overcome inferiority complex, or ask what course they should choose in college.

He replies patiently to almost all the letters, except those which make impossible demands, like getting the person a job. Many people reply that they were moved when they received his letter, much sooner that they expected of a busy doctor and by his compassion. They say they that were benefited by his advice and express gratitude. Some write months later or meet him during his talks. They say that they followed his advice and their illness had been cured or that their lives were changed for the better because of his letters.