Fear in the spiritual life1Dear sisters and brothers, here we are all seekers, seekers of the infinite Truth and Light. We are all seated in God’s Dream-Boat. At God’s choice Hour, we shall reach the Golden Shore of the Beyond. I wish to give a short talk on fear, fear of the inner life and fear of the outer life.
What is fear? Fear is an experience of the finite life. Fear is an experience of the earth-bound consciousness. Where is fear? Fear is inside the heart of the life that does not proceed. Man is afraid of the animal life because he feels that the animal life will destroy him. Man is afraid of the human life because he feels that the human life will fail him in the long run. Man is afraid of the divine life because he feels that the divine life will expose his teeming weaknesses.
Man is right when he feels that the animal life will destroy him. He is perfectly right when he feels that the human life will eventually fail him. But he is totally wrong when he feels that the divine life will expose him.
The divine life is the life of God the Divine Mother. Let us think of a human mother and a human child. When a human mother notices the shortcomings, imperfections and weaknesses of her son, what does she do? She hides them carefully and secretly. She will never even think of exposing her own child to the world. So the Divine Mother, who is infinitely more loving and compassionate than the human mother, can never expose Her son. Like the human mother, She hides the teeming imperfections of Her son from others; then She makes Her son aware of his shortcomings because She does not want Her son to repeat the same mistake. If he repeats the same mistake again and again, God-realisation will always remain a far cry for him. When She makes him aware of his mistakes, of his ignorance, She does it with the best intentions in order that he may know the difference between an ignorant life and a life of wisdom. The Mother Divine does not delay. She carries the child one step forward. She transforms the child’s ignorance into wisdom-light. She transforms his weakness into strength. She transforms his life of night into a life of light.
There can be no fear when we are aware of our universal oneness. We know a human child is very small, limited, weak and ignorant. But the human father is tall, strong and full of knowledge. The father may be commander-in-chief of a vast army: thousands of soldiers are afraid of him and even the nation is afraid of him. But look at his child! The child runs to his father and does anything he wants to. He does it precisely because he has established an inner oneness with his father. Where there is inner oneness, there can be no fear. A tiny drop is afraid of the mighty ocean as long as it retains its individuality and personality. But when the same drop feels its oneness with the vast ocean, it just enters into the mighty ocean and feels not only that the entire ocean belongs to it, but also that it has actually become the entire ocean. When we have a sense of separativity, we are bound to suffer from fear. But when we establish unity or oneness, there can be no fear.
Thousands of years ago the Vedic seers of the hoary past offered us a significant message: “The soul cannot be won by the weakling.” A weak person is he who is always afraid of something. He is even afraid of his own life. Yesterday he was afraid of today. He thought that today would try to fool him or deceive him. He had a dream yesterday and thought that today would not allow him to fulfil his dream. Today he is afraid of tomorrow. He is afraid of tomorrow because he feels that tomorrow is a stranger. He cannot have faith in a stranger; he cannot trust a stranger, for a stranger may cause tremendous trouble for him.
Now we are seekers; but there was a time when we were not seekers. Once we lived a desiring life, but now we are living the life of aspiration. When we led a desiring life we were afraid of the aspiring life. We thought that the aspiring life, which is God-life, would not make us happy. We thought it would inspire us to enter into the Himalayan caves to spend the rest of our lives in seclusion. Unfortunately, we cherished a wrong belief. Now we can easily see that although we have accepted the spiritual life we don’t have to go into the Himalayan caves. We can practise the life of aspiration here in the everyday world.
We are afraid that God-realisation is not meant for us; we feel that it is only for the selected few, so at times we are afraid of what we are doing. But if we are sincere, then we know that there have been people on earth who have realised God. And if we have the same inner cry, then we shall also realise God one day.
In the Western world, unfortunately, there is a peculiar kind of seeker who feels that if he accepts the spiritual life which is advocated by Indian Masters, he will have to give up his Christian religion. That is a deplorable mistake. One does not have to give up his religion in order to practise the spirituality that is taught by Indian Masters. The heart of spirituality is Yoga. Yoga means conscious oneness with God. Yoga is the path that leads to God. Religion is a house. You have to live in your house as a Christian, I have to live in my house as a Hindu, and somebody else has to live in his house as a Buddhist. Each one has to live in his own house, but everyone has the right to walk along the same road, which leads to his school where he gets his knowledge. The road belongs to everyone. But the houses do not belong to everyone. If it is your house, it belongs to you. If it is my house, it belongs to me. But the road belongs to all. In the inner life we can walk along the same road, no matter in which house we live; for the ultimate destination is always the same.
Again, we do not have to walk along the same road. There can be many roads which will lead us to the same destination. But we have to be wise. One road may be short and sunlit, another road may be very long and a little bit obscure. If we follow the road of the heart, then we are walking along the short and sunlit road. But if we walk along the path of the mind, then we are walking along the long, dark road.
We have to give due value and importance to time. If we can arrive sooner at our destination, then we can continue on to our next destination. When we reach our destination, we realise God; but this is not the end of our achievement. Once we realise God, we have to reveal God. After we have revealed God, we have to manifest God here on earth. God-realisation is our first goal, God-revelation is our second goal and God-manifestation is our third goal. The sooner we can reach our first destination, the better for us. I have come from New York to Europe. I came by plane, but I could have come by boat. Just because I came by plane, it took me only a few hours to make the journey. This is the short cut. If I had come by boat, it would have taken me a few days or a week to arrive. My first goal was to come to Europe and I came the fastest, shortest way. Because I took the fastest route, I am now in a position to reach my second goal. My second goal is to give talks and to offer my dedicated service to the aspiring people here. My third goal will be to go back to New York, my source, where I have to do a great many things.
Fear causes worry. We always worry about our physical body. We worry because our physical is sleeping or because it suffers from ailments. We worry about our vital. We feel that our vital will destroy us or others. We are afraid of our mind and we worry about our mind. We feel that our mind may become full of doubt; then we shall not be able to believe anybody. Or we feel that our mind may not have enough doubt, and people will call us a fool. We are afraid of our own heart and we worry about our heart. We feel that if our heart does not feel its oneness with everyone, then we shall suffer much. We are worried that if our heart does not accept the light of the soul, then we will remain always in darkness,
Finally, we are afraid of death and we worry about death. We are afraid of death because death is unknown to us. Anything that is unknown to us creates terrible fear in us. But we do not know that death is also afraid of us. Death is afraid of us when we become seekers of the transcendental Truth. Death is afraid of us when we become one with the Love of God. When we become one with God’s transcendental and universal Love, at that time we grow into an eternal Life. This eternal Life is always unknowable to death. Before we grow into eternal Life, we are afraid of death. After we have become eternal Life, death is afraid of us.
MRP 41. Biblioteca Comunale, Piazzale Accursio, Milan, Italy, 3 July 1974.41. Biblioteca Comunale, Piazzale Accursio, Milan, Italy, 3 July 1974.↩