Previous     Contents     Home     Next 



  Fearlessness and Integral Vision -
Gajendra and the Crocodile



hen you have steady faith and an integral vision, and when you constantly think of the indwelling divinity, you will not become elated by joy nor shrink away from sorrow; it is only then that you will become completely fearless, or Abhaya. Bhaya means fear; Abhaya means fearlessness. There is another word, Nirbhaya, which means the absence of fear. Although they appear to be the same, there is a big difference between Abhaya and Nirbhaya. Nirbhaya is the removal of fear. An example of this would be if you happen to see a rope lying on the ground after dusk. Although it is only a rope, in the failing light you might think that it was a snake. Fearing that the snake might harm you, you would switch on your flashlight to get a better look at it and see if it is a poisonous snake. But immediately when the light shines on it, you realize that it is not a snake at all, but a piece of rope, and with this realization your fear disappears instantly. Becoming subject to fear and then becoming free from fear are both momentary experiences; they come and they go.

   Fear is only a delusion created by the mind; lack of fear is also a delusion created by the mind. Mistaking one thing for another leads to fear; recognizing the mistake and rectifying it, leads to the removal of fear. These two, Bhaya and Nirbhaya, are associated with fear and the freedom from fear. Abhaya is not associated with these two, at all. Abhaya means fearlessness; it is a permanent state where there is no question of ever experiencing any fear. A person with Abhaya is continuously aware of his own reality; for him to become subject to fear would be impossible. You should not consider this quality of Abhaya as just the absence of fear. In fearlessness one is not aware of any second entity. One gets fear only when there exists a second object; but for one who has Abhaya there is never any second, at all. Therefore, fearlessness is associated with unity consciousness; it refers to Advaita, where there can be no two, but always just the one. Only when you are in such a state of Advaita will you be truly fearless.

   When you forget your Self, when you forget the Atma, you will suffer from fear. When you remember only the world and not God, you will suffer from fear. When you are filled with desires and attachments, you will suffer from fear. When you are deluded by objects, you will suffer from fear. On the other hand, when you are immersed in the transcendental reality, you will be totally free from fear; you will never be afraid of anything. Then you will always be Abhaya, fearless. Krishna said, "Arjuna, there is only one thing you will have to develop. You need not further develop your vision of the phenomenal world; you need not further develop your mind. You need only to develop the vision of the One which is existing everywhere in everyone. If you know it, and if you remember it, then you will not be subject to this constant cycling between fear and the removal of fear, between Bhaya and Nirbhaya. So long as you have the deluded perspective that the world is real and made up of separate objects, your vision will be clouded and you will be subject to fear. But when you recognize the truth of the unity of the whole creation, you will be Abhaya, forever fearless. A person like you should become a wise man, a Stithaprajna, and never again experience fear."

   You will have to control your tendency to look outwards towards the body and its deeds, and towards the mind with its thoughts and feelings, and instead develop the inward vision of the sacred Atma. This is the good vision, the integral vision, the Sudarshana. There is a fine example of this in the Srimad Bhagavatham. It is the story of Gajendra, an elephant, who was caught by a crocodile. This elephant, Gajendra, had a strong ego and he was convinced that with his great strength he would be able to fight and free himself from the crocodile. But here two facts must be known; elephants are very powerful on land, crocodiles are very powerful in the water. When an elephant enters the water he will not have so much strength, and when a crocodile comes out on land, he will also be less mighty than in his natural habitat, the water. In this case, because the crocodile was in the water he was able to exercise all his great strength. But the elephant, Gajendra, was very arrogant; he was blown up with ego, and felt that no crocodile could ever be the equal of an elephant, who was the lord of the forest. He didn't know that a crocodile in the water would be more than a match for any elephant away from land.

   For a long time they fought relentlessly; finally the elephant got tired and lost all his physical strength as well as his mental strength. He had placed all his confidence in his physical and mental prowess, but having exhausted all that, he began praying to the Lord. As long as his vision had been directed to his body, he did not look towards God. As long as he had confidence in his own bodily and mental strength, the thought of God did not arise and the Lord's grace did not descend. When the elephant lost his physical and mental power and turned to God, immediately Lord Vishnu sent His Sudarshana wheel and freed him from the catastrophe that had overtaken him. Now, the Sudarshana spoken of here does not refer to a mere disc used by the Lord as His weapon; Sudarshana refers to the sacred vision. Once you turn your vision towards God, God turns His vision towards you. Sudarshana refers to evoking the grace and the vision of the Lord on you. When will you acquire God's vision, basking you in His grace? When you renounce all your egocentric beliefs in your own strength of body and mind, and just as this elephant Gajendra did, surrender yourself completely to God, putting yourself in His hands and turning your vision wholly towards Him.

   Only when you turn your vision towards Swami will Swami turn His vision towards you. Even if Swami's vision were to fall on you, if you had not at the same time turned towards Swami, you would not have been able to experience His beneficent gaze. Now all your vision is concentrated on the body. The effulgence of the shining sun may be all around you but its light will not have entered the room where you are staying. What is the reason for this? You have put curtains and shutters on the windows and kept the warm rays of sunlight out. Only when you break open these dark curtains and shutters will the effulgence of the sun enter your inner apartment. In the same way, you have covered your vision with shutters of doubt and ego and thick curtains of body-consciousness, and so, the rays of grace are not able to penetrate through and enter your heart. You might say, "I have not been able to get the grace of the God." But how will you be able to get it if you don't turn your gaze on Him?

   When you do not look to God then surely you will not be able to see God. If I am standing directly in front of you and you are standing directly in front of me, and we are looking at each other, what is it that we will see? Who will you see in My eyes and who will I see in your eyes? We will see each other, in each other's eyes. When we stand face-to-face, I can see My vision in you and you can see your vision in me. But if you stand behind, how can I see My vision in you, or you see your vision in Me? It would be impossible. Therefore, come and be directly in front of me and concentrate your vision on Me. When the sight of the elephant, Gajendra, was turned towards God, God's sight met with it, because then God's sight turned towards him. Once that happens, then automatically all problems are solved.

   Who is this elephant? This proud elephant is arrogance and pride. When a man is full of arrogance and pride he develops desire. Desire may be compared to thirst. When this proud man develops thirst, he goes to the waters of the world to drink; he enters Samsara. Even before he enters these waters completely, attachment catches hold of him. Attachment and possessiveness are the powerful crocodile that robs you of all your strength and makes you cry so pitifully. Before entering the waters of Samsara, before having gained so many attachments, you will have only rarely cried. For example, before marriage a young man will feel free and unencumbered. But after marriage there will be a continuous growth of attachments. Then one has to take care of wife, children, parents, in-laws, and quite a few other relatives, and soon it feels like the whole world has hold of him and is pulling him down under the waters.

   Once you develop egoism and pride, then desires follow; soon attachments come, and from attachments all these bonds develop. When bonds develop you will be so distracted you will not be able to turn towards God and see Him. Only when you look towards God will you be able to see Him. "Therefore, Arjuna", Krishna said, "Do not become a victim of this bondage. Keep your mind clear and pure, always looking towards the Atma, the universal principle, the one divinity existing in all things. Cultivate this inner vision in your mind. Do not allow the weeds and shrubs of ego and body-consciousness to develop in your heart. Instead, grow the tree of God's grace in your heart. Turn your sight towards God. Let this be your objective. Make this your goal."


I   II  IIIa  IIIb  IV  V  VI

Previous     Contents     Home     Top     Next