Why We Fear
What is fear, and what are the reasons for it? Please tell me how to overcome it.
Via the Internet
Our reply: Fear comes from not understanding that Krishna is in control and is working through the material energy to give each of us jiva souls exactly what is best for us. We think we must control everything, but that’s impossible. We try to make things work out just the way we want them to, thinking we will then be happy, but when we see that we cannot control things, we become fearful.
Each of us has some idea of what things should look like for life to be good. We have a mental list of what God would give to us if He really had our welfare in mind. When we see things happening differently, we try to change the situation. When we can’t do that, we become afraid. It is like trying to drive on ice: It is frightening because we can feel that we have no control and anything can happen. We have some idea of where we want to go, but we have lost control.
But in reality God is arranging everything so that we have the realizations and experiences we need to make real progress in human life. He is arranging everything perfectly, and when we understand and accept that, then we become free from fear. We trust the “driver,” and we can relax and leave the driving to Him. This is why Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (18.66): “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”
If we leave the driving to Krishna, then there is no need to fear. If we think we are in control, then Krishna will let us drive, and in conjunction with the material energy we will experience again and again that we are on ice and cannot really control anything. Thus people in material consciousness, thinking they are in control of their lives, are always in anxiety – fearful because although they are trying to achieve some goal, they are not able to remove the obstacles they face or obtain the results they want. Things keep slipping and sliding out of their control.
Driving Our Thoughts
Does the soul (atma) drive our thoughts – i.e., our intelligence – and our body and its activities?
Via the Internet
Our reply: The material body is compared to a chariot. The horses are the senses, and the reigns are the mind. Sitting in the chariot are the intelligence and the atma, or jiva soul. The intelligence is supposed to hold the reigns and keep control of the mind and senses. It is also supposed to take guidance from the passenger in the body, the jiva soul. But often the intelligence is weak and the mind is left to do whatever it wants. The horses (senses) pull the mind around and take the jiva soul all over the place looking for the immediate and temporary pleasures for the body.
If the intelligence is strong, it can control the mind and senses and engage them in more useful pursuits. And if the intelligence is very strong, it will take direction from the soul and the Supersoul (Krishna in the heart). When that occurs, then the jiva happily controls the mind and senses and engages them in the service of Krishna.
In summary, who or what is driving our thoughts and actions depends on how strong the intelligence is and how able the jiva is in directing the intelligence, mind, and senses.
Conflict Between Inner and Outer World
I am losing my internal peace and crying a lot. There is a conflict between my inner and outer worlds. I want to mold myself according to this materialistic world but am unable to do so. Does Hare Krishna have a solution to this problem?
Via the Internet
Our reply: You say you want to mold yourself according to this materialistic world. Why do you want to do that? People in the materialistic conception are only seeking happiness from matter and are completely unaware that they are actually spiritual by nature. Therefore they are always unhappy, and always driven by desire, greed, and lust. Why would you aspire for such a position?
Although people in the material world look for happiness and may even appear happy, in reality they are always running after some shadow of happiness and are never satisfied. By aspiring to be like them, you are creating the very situation you are trying to avoid – endless tears and disappointments.
In reality we are all spiritual beings. Our happiness comes from spiritual activities, from our connection with Krishna. A fish needs water to be happy. If you give a fish a house, a car, and so on, but no water, the fish will not be happy. We need a spiritual connection to be happy. We require a loving relationship with Krishna to be fully satisfied, so if we pursue material things, we will run and run but never achieve our goal.
The solution to the problem you are facing is to begin chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare and to seek the company of persons looking for spiritual fulfillment. If you can go to a Hare Krishna temple and do some service for Krishna and the devotees, chant with them and learn from them, this will help you to overcome the sadness you are experiencing.
Actually, that you are unable to fit into the materialistic mold is a sign that you are intelligent and are seeking the true meaning of life. Don’t give up, but rather continue your quest. You will find great happiness when you are successful in your quest.
Why We Exist
Why did Krishna create us souls?
Via the Internet
Our reply: First of all, Krishna wants to have relationships. His relationships can only be with spiritual entities, and so He expands Himself into many. All of His associates are expansions of Himself, but not all of them become affected by the material energy. The Lord has loving relationships with all the jivas, but some are intimate in their loving exchanges with Him, and some are attracted to the idea of being the Supreme and so have to enter the material sphere. They can reconnect with Krishna after understanding their forgotten relationship with Him.
Understanding the nature of the soul is easier if you consider the example of the sun and the sunshine. The sun is the source of the sunshine, and both are made of heat and light and exist simultaneously. Similarly, Krishna is the source of the jiva souls, and they exist simultaneously. Like Krishna, we are spiritual, and our relationship with Him is eternal.
The difference is in size. The sun is large and powerful and can burn your body to ashes in no time, but the sunshine contains only a small part of the sun’s power. The relationship between God and the jiva is similar; He is all-pervasive and all-powerful, and we are tiny and subordinate to Him.
Some souls want to enjoy like Krishna, so He arranges for them to try to be the supreme controller in the material world. This attempt is uncomfortable and problematic for us, but the desire to enjoy is strong, and so in earnest we pursue that desire. Then we suffer because of identifying with whatever body we inhabit. Ultimately we realize our smallness in relation to the Supreme and reinstate ourselves in our natural position of serving Him.
So we souls exist to enjoy with Krishna in different relationships. Krishna wants to have friends, lovers, playmates, parents, and so on, and we exist to fulfill His desire. If we become fixed in that understanding, we can resume our eternal position as His blissful associates.