Why Are We Fearful?
A lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
(Reprinted from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)

Srila Prabhupada:

...uthaya, kabhu narake dubaya
dandya-jane raja yena nadite cubaya

So Lord Caitanya is explaining the position of the conditioned souls. They are completely under the grip of this material nature. And just like one is seated on the car and the driver drives him -- if the driver is not under control, he drives him anywhere, to any hell -- similarly, we are sitting on this car of this body, supplied by the material nature, and she is driving anywhere, sometimes up, sometimes down. In this way we are suffering life after life, birth after birth. This is our condition. We are not independent; completely under the stringent laws of material nature.

So dandya-jane raja yena nadite cubaya. The example is very nice, that a culprit is drowned in the water, again taken for some time to take breathing. He was suffocating. Nature... He's not meant to be killed, but he is to be given suffering in that way. So material nature is giving us suffering, miseries like that. Bhayam dvitiya.

(bhayam) dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma

Therefore Bhagavata, Srimad-Bhagavata, is giving direction, bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat. When we are forgetful of Krsna consciousness, when we think that "There is no God. This matter is everything. This material manifestation which we see, that is everything all in all, and there is no Lord, no, I mean to say, supreme controller," when we think like that, that begins, that is the point of our anxiety, beginning of anxiety. Bhayam, fearfulness. We are all fearful because, as we have got these bodily necessities, we want to eat something, we want to sleep, similarly, we have fear, and we have demand for mating. These four principles are animal life. We are always fearful. And why we are fearful? Because we have taken it that there is no God. There is no God; therefore we are fearful. Just like a forlorn child, when he thinks that "My... I am... My father and my mother, lost." You might have experienced. A child lost, he cries. He thinks himself, "I am helpless. Where is my mother? Where is my...?" Similarly, when we are helpless, we are fearful. And those who are Krsna conscious, they are not helpless. They know, "Above me, there is Krsna." And saranagati, surrender, means to have firm conviction that "Krsna will protect me. I am engaged in Krsna's service, so Krsna will give me protection." If I work in some ordinary man's service, he gives me protection. Don't you think if you work for Krsna, He'll not give you protection? Because we have no faith, therefore we are seeking protection from elsewhere. Krsna is able. He says, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami: [Bg. 18.66] "I shall give you protection from all sinful reactions."

But we have no faith. We are thinking, "Oh, it is written in the Bhagavad-gita. That's all right, but I must have my protection in a different way." So dvitiyabhinivesatah. Because he thinks there is anything superior than Krsna, therefore he is fearful. Why a conditioned soul is fearful, that is explained in the Bhagavata. Bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat. So this maya, the illusion, when we take shelter of this illusion, then we are afraid. And when we understand that "Illusion, this energy, is under the control of Krsna, because illusion, this material energy, is also Krsna's energy, inferior energy. So even if I, I am within this material energy, when I am forgetful of Krsna, this material energy is fearful for me, and when I am in Krsna consciousness fully, there is no question of fearfulness from material nature." Therefore tan-mayaya abhajet tam. Abhajet tam. And therefore it is our duty to regain our lost consciousness, Krsna consciousness. That is the duty of this human form of life. Abhajet tam bhaktyaika isam. Simply by devotional... If you want to worship the Supreme Lord, then you have to worship Him simply by service. There is no other process. You cannot worship Krsna by this controlling breathing or by mental speculation or by some pious activities or by charities. You have simply to worship Him simply by your devotional love. That is the only way. Bhaktyai, bhaktyaika, only one, bhakti. There is no other means. There is no second means to understand God without this devotional service. Rest assured. Foolish creatures, they take this, that. They do not understand. They come to the, that impersonal, void, all the nonsensical conclusions and... Because they do not take shelter of this, devotion, therefore they cannot have any conclusion. It is not possible. Therefore, more or less, they become atheists or after the voidness or impersonalism, and so many things there are. They create.

But because Krsna, or the Supreme Lord, cannot be understood by any other process... It is simply waste of time. If you want to know Krsna, if you want to know God, then you have to take this process. That is a... Bhaktyaikayesam, abhajet tam bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma: "He is the Supreme Lord, He is the Supersoul, and He is the supreme spiritual master." In this way. He's the supreme spiritual master within you. As soon as you will take to devotional service, He'll give you dictation, "You do this." What dictation? To go to hell? No. Buddhi-yogam dadami tam. In the Bhagavad-gita: "I give him intelligence." Why? What for? Yena mam upayanti te: "By which he can come back to Me." That buddhi-yogam. He'll help you. If you think something... If He takes seriously about your case, if you are fully surrendered, then He'll direct you in such a way that you cannot go elsewhere except to Him, even sometimes you may find that "He is doing something against my will." I have got my personal experience. I never tried, never accepted that I shall become a sannyasi. And I tried my best to keep myself in this material world. And He has, several times He has frustrated me and has brought me by force (to) this life. And now I am happy. I can understand that how much favor has Krsna showed me. Yes. I did not understand in the beginning.

So sometimes, if Krsna takes special care for you, He'll do in such a way that you will have no other way than to go back. He'll take charge, take charge. If we sincerely want Krsna, if He sees that "Here is a person. He wants Me. But he's a foolish. He wants Me; at the same time he wants to enjoy this material world. So crush this, crush this, his material propensities, and let him become simply devoted." Yes. Sometimes we see like that. In the, in the Srimad-Bhagavata there is a question by Sukadeva Gosvami, by Maharaja Pariksit. Maharaja Pariksit... Because he understood that his grandfathers were put to so many difficulties although Krsna was their friend, personal friend. So everyone became astonished: "How is that? These five brothers, the big brothers... Maharaja Yudhisthira. He was the most pious man. Arjuna was the greatest warrior, and Draupadi, their wife, directly the goddess of fortune. And so much nice... And above all, Krsna is their personal friend, and still, they were put into such difficulties. They lost their kingdom. They lost their wife. And they were put into so many... For thirteen years they had to undergo so many troubles." So this was astonishing. Even Bhisma, he cried that "I cannot understand why these five brothers are put into so many difficulties in spite of their, all these qualities."

So their grandson, Maharaja Pariksit, when he was being taught by Sukadeva Gosvami, he had some suspicions about devotion to Krsna. Not suspicion. Just to teach us, he inquired that "Lord Krsna, He is Visnu. He is the, I mean to say, master of the goddess of fortune. Why people who become Krsna conscious or a devotee of Visnu, they remain poorer, and others, those who worship Siva and other demigods, they become very rich? What is the reason? He is the proprietor of everything. So one who wants Him, they become poorer. Whereas Lord Siva, he hasn't got even a house of his own, he's a pauper, and one who worships him, he becomes richer." You know the history of Lord Siva. He hasn't got a house even. He lives under the tree, or in some mountain. But one who worships Siva, oh, they get material opulence very nicely. Therefore a person have become very easily... And they can smoke ganja. So all this captivates person to become a devotee of Siva. Our Ginsberg is a devotee of Siva. Perhaps you know. Anyone who wants this material prosperity, naturally they become the devotee of Siva. So this is contradictory. "Siva has no house even, not even a dwelling place, residence. He's a pauper. And worshiping him, one becomes richer. And Krsna, Krsna is... Sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam: 'Always thousands of goddess of fortune is serving Him.' He's such opulent. And so Krsna-bhaktas, devotees of Krsna, they appear to be poorer. Why?" This question was... Just the opposite.

So the answer was given by Sukadeva Gosvami that "This very question was also put to Krsna by your grandfather. So instead of answering myself, I'll put that very question and answer between your grandfather and Krsna." So what is that? "Now, a similar question was put by your grandfather Maharaja Yudhisthira to Krsna, and Krsna answered like this." What is that? Yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih: [SB 10.88.8] "If I do somebody some special favor, then My first duty is I become him crushed in all material possessions." You see? Why? "Because to make him more surrendered to Me." When he becomes helpless, he has no other way. "Krsna, please take me." When he has something, he thinks, "Oh, these things will protect me, my material possessions." Therefore he does not surrender. Now, Krsna sees that "This man, this living entity, is very much devotee, but he wants something, this nonsense. So crush him so that when he'll feel helpless, he will come to Me. No more. So I'll give him all protection." So there is a policy of Krsna. Sometimes He puts us into test, whether we are sincerely devotee of Krsna. Because we are always after sense gratification, so if Krsna is not a order-supplier, then one rejects Krsna. We want God, or Krsna, to be our order-supplier. So we must order Krsna, "Give me this. Give me that. If You cannot give me, then what are You, Krsna? I don't want You." This sort of bhakti, or devotional service, is not accepted by Krsna.

Just like Mr. Sulye(?), our Godbrother, German, he told me personally that during wartime many German women, some, they prayed into the church to get back their husband, son or brothers, because all went to war and nobody returned. And they become atheist: "Oh, there is no God. We prayed so much to God to get back my husband, to get back my brothers, but they are dead." But the brother was not returned and the husband was not returned. So result was... So if we pray, go to Krsna with that purpose, that He should be our order-supplier, then there is no question of Krsna-bhakti. We must fully surrender, fully surrender: "Let Him do." Aslisya va. That is taught by Sri Caitanya: Aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam marma-hatam karotu va adarsanat [Cc. Antya 20.47]. Aslisya va pada-rata: "Either You embrace me or You trample me down on Your feet, neglect me, and You make me broken-hearted, and not being present before me all the life..." Aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam marma-hatam karotu va. Marma-hatam means "If You make me broken-hearted... I love You so much. I want You, but You never care for me. That's all right. Still You are my worshipable, unconditionally. I don't want any return from You. Still You are my worshipable Deity(?)." This is pure devotion. Krsna takes all care. Don't think... Because He says personally, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami [Bg. 18.66]. Why should you be so anxious? But one who is in love with Krsna, he wants to see Him, he wants to love Him. But even He does not present Himself before the lover, the lover says, "Oh, still, You are my lovable object, worshipable... Whatever You can do... You are... You are free to treat me as, as You like, but You are my worshipable..." This is pure. So as soon as we come to this stage, that is perfection. That is perfection. Don't expect anything, return.

Now these Gosvamis, the Sanatana Gosvami... There is a nice story about Sanatana Gosvami, of whom we are now studying. Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami, two brothers, they went to Vrndavana for devotional service. So their all business was... Rupa Gosvami, especially, he was always engaged in writing books. And when he was hungry, he went to some householder: "Give me a piece of bread." And everyone at Vrndavana... They were leaders. All the Vrndavana inhabitants, they took... Even their household quarrels, they used to represent, "Swamiji, this is our position. Please settle up." So whatever decision he would give to the villagers, they will accept. Their court was Swamiji, Rupa Gosvami. So he was so lovable. So one day Rupa Gosvami was thinking that "If I could get some, I mean to say, commodities for cooking, then I would have invited Sanatana Gosvami to take some prasadam." He thought like that. And, and after, say, one hour, one young girl came with sufficient quantity of rice, flour, ghee, and vegetables, so many things: "Babaji..." They were called... They call in the India, especially in Vrndavana quarters, they call all these transcendentalist swamis "Babaji." "Babaji, please accept these commodities. There is some ceremony at our house. So My mother has sent you all these things." "Oh, very good." He was thinking that "If I could get some commodity and I could prepare something and invite Sanatana Gosvami." So the things were there. So Rupa Gosvami inquired, "Where do You live? Oh, You are very nice girl. Where do You live?" "Oh, I live in this village. You do not know?" "No, I have never seen You. All right. Thank You very much." Then She went away. And invited Sanatana Gosvami, "My dear brother, please come and take your prasadam here. I have got some food." "All right." So Sanatana Gosvami came during prasadam time, and Rupa Gosvami has prepared so many nice dishes. They were also expert in cooking, expert. You know, all devotees, they are expert. That is his qualification. So then Sanatana Gosvami was inquiring, "Where did you get all these things, so nice things, you have prepared in this jungle? How did you get?" So he narrated the story, "Yes, in the morning I thought that 'If somebody sends me something...' So by Krsna's grace, somebody, a nice girl, a very beautiful girl, and She brought all these things." "Who?" He began to state about the girl's beauty. Then Sanatana Gosvami said, "Oh, I have never seen such beautiful girl. How...?" "Yes, I have also never seen." "Ohhh. Then She must be Radharani. She must be Radha. You have taken service from Radharani? Ohhh. You have murdered me. We don't want to take any service from Krsna, and He has taken the opportunity, sent us... We want to simply give our service, not any exchange. Oh, you have done a great mistake. Radharani has taken this opportunity." So he began to cry that "We have taken service from Krsna. We have given Her trouble." This is pure devotee. They were very sorry that "Krsna was troubled to send me all these goods."

So this is the process. Krsna is also finding always opportunity, "How to serve My pure devotee?" And pure devotee's so clever that he won't accept any service from Krsna. Just like the Arjuna, he never said, "Krsna, You are God. Why You are putting me to war indirectly? You can give me everything." Krsna said, "No." He never said that, Arjuna. Krsna said, niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyayo hy akarmanah: "You are ksatriya. You have to fight." He never said. So we should not take God as order-supplier. That is not devotion. That is mercantile business. Krsna is not going to be a lover by mercantile mentality. You are, you must give Him service. Abhajet tam. This is the process of devotion.

Thank you very much.

(Srila Prabhupada lecture, New York, November 23, 1966)
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