18.58 – Are we seeking counsel from our fears instead of from Krishna?
Suppose in a boxing match a boxer gets knocked down by his opponent. Disheartened by the power of the opponent, the fallen boxer starts doubting whether there is any point in continuing to fight. Suppose he seeks the counsel of his opponent: “Is there any chance that I can win?” Towering menacingly over his fallen rival, the opponent growls ferociously, “Not even the least chance. You have already lost. Just admit defeat.” This counsel will further discourage him. If he wants encouragement, he should seek counsel from his coach, not his opponent.
Seems obvious, doesn’t it?
However, it isn’t so obvious when we ourselves are the fallen boxer and the boxing match happens inside us. When we strive to live according to devotional principles, we box with many fears: ‘spiritual standards may be too high for me to follow’, ‘future conditions may be too tempting for me to resist’, ‘my conditionings may be too strong to let me practice lifelong’, for example.
When such a fear knock us down, we become disheartened and start thinking feverishly whether there is any point in continuing to fight. At such times, the fear that has knocked us down is dominating us internally, our feverish thinking usually becomes a counseling session with our fear. No wonder that we usually end up feeling even more discouraged.
If we want encouragement, we need to take counsel from the supreme coach Krishna, as the Bhagavad-gita (18.58) recommends. He manifests externally to us as guru-sadhu-shastra (the spiritual master-saintly teachers-scriptures). By their guidance, we not only learn to counter the intimidating fears but also become more conscious of Krishna’s empowering inner presence. By thus becoming Krishna conscious both externally and internally, we regain our morale for wholeheartedly persevering and eventually winning our inner fight.