The secret of fearlessness

by January 27, 2012
Have you seen how peacefully a child sleeps in the lap of his pa­rent, even in a noisy, crowded local train? The hustle­bustle disturbs everyone, but not the child – due to his implicit faith in the protection of his parent. All of us strive diligently to overcome our many fears – financial, familial, social, academic and physical. However the necessary security measures like insurances, helmets, buzzer alarms, health checkups fail to free us from a disconcerting sense of insecurity within us. Why? The Vedic texts explain that all fear originates in an unbalanced, unrealistic material conception of life. The material aspect of our life has its importance; we need to feed, clothe, house and provide for ourselves and our loved ones. However, Krishna explains in the Bhagavad­gita (16.10) that when we seek our sense of identity, self­worth, security and pleasure exclusively from our material positions and possessions, we open ourselves to fear. Why? Because the material realm is characterized by constant, unpredictable changes, which often threaten to destroy or harm whatever is dear to us. We prepare ourselves to face some of the small, predictable and controllable changes, but still we consciously or subconsciously dread the huge, unpredictable and uncontrollable changes. Is there any way to overcome this deep­rooted fear?

The more things change, the more we need to embrace the things that don’t change. The Bhagavad­gita (2.14) describes, “Of the material, there is no endurance and of the spiritual there is no cessation.” Beyond the stage of material activity that preoccupies our mind lies a vast, unexplored realm of spiritual tranquility. We are spiritual beings, souls, originally from the spiritual world, the kingdom of God, who is our eternal loving father. Currently we are occu­pying material bodies and inhabiting this material world. The more we harmonize with our spiritual nature, the more we become fearless. Understanding that we are, at our core, spiritual and, hence indestructible, fills us with an unshakeable self­security; we recognize that worldly upheavals that affect our material assets have no power whatsoever to hurt us. Moreover, understanding that a benev0olent God is ultimately orchestrating all material happenings helps us to see order amidst change, plan amidst chaos.

The most practical and potent technology to equip ourselves with steady vision of this spiritual reality is divine sound. By chanting the bona fide holy names of God like the Hare Krishna mantra, we progressively experience both our own spiritual identity and God’s protective presence and guidance in our life. The more we enrich our faith by chanting, the more our devotion for Krishna increases. And when we make our life’s work a devotional offering for His service, we focus more on the object of our service – God – than on its fruit – the immediate material result. This shift of focus releases large reserves of mental energy, which are choked by our worry about the future. Chanting gives us the calmness to see that most fears are imaginary, not real. The more we become free from fear of the future, the more we can fully absorb ourselves in our present duties. Thus spiritual principles and practices empower us materially too; we can utilize our material talents better and thus execute our material duties better. Ultimately, spirituality is the only way to conquer the greatest of all fears – death. For a mature devotee, death is not a fearful termination of existence, but a joyful reunion with God in His everlasting abode.

Therefore just as the child stays peaceful amidst chaos, let us become tranquil amidst ups and downs by empowering ourselves with spiritual devotion.

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