How we can be free from fear and anxiety
While reading one day, I came across something that really concerned me. The Bhagavad Gita tells us in Chapter 16 text 6 that we as living entities, are of two classes. One is those born with divine qualities and who follow a regulated life. They accept scriptures from authorities and perform duties in this light. We can choose to cultivate our knowledge in Vedic study, live simply and, practice non-violence.
The other is those born with born with demoniac qualities. They are prideful, arrogant, angry and live in ignorance. While it did frighten me to learn of these two types of living entities, I feel that having these teachings has made it easy for me to choose to become obedient to the scriptures and work always towards Krishna. This may help me to escape hellish places and attain the Supreme. I made it my life’s mission to discover how to ensure I choose the divine path.
I learned quite early on, that understanding the modes of nature will help pull me up from ignorance and away from anxiety. The three modes are tamas or ignorance, then rajas or passion, up to sattva or goodness all the way to bhakti.
There are many ways to live within each mode. For example, food can come under the modes. Tamas food is stale, tasteless and putrid. Rajas foods are bitter, sour, salty and dry. Sattva foods give duration of life, they are juicy and pleasing to the heart. The best food is in Bhakti, this is prasadam, or foods which are offered to the Lords.
We can also look at worship in this way. To worship ghosts and spirits is in the mode of tamas. To worship demons is rajas. To worship demigods is in sattva. To worship a personal God, Krishna, is in the mode of Bhakti.
By working towards Bhakti, living and working in loving devotional service, we come closer to Krishna, who will protect us and lessen our need for fear and anxiety. Learning to do this every day may be the key to peacefulness.
A big part of the day for most of us, is our work, which can cause anxieties it's own. By following our qualities of this work, we can become perfect. We are all engaged in our occupation and the result of this work should be offered to Krishna, our Supreme Lord. By always thinking of him, we can work within karma-yoga. By working in our own occupation, even if we are not perfect, is better than to take another’s duty and perform it perfectly. By taking on our own occupation, we are never affected by sinful reactions.
Some can give up all attachments to material things and enjoyments. He has no enjoyment from work, or things, nor does he want them. He can always think of himself as part of the Lord. This is real Krishna consciousness, and he is satisfied by working only for the Lord. This jnana-yoga can lead us to Brahman realization, and a person in this realm is a real
sannyasi. He can purify himself with the knowledge that we are not this body and mind and removing himself from sense gratification. Bhakti yoga is the best for me, which is what I am working towards. By always working in pure devotional service to the Lord, with everything I do and everything I am, being offered to Krishna. There will be no desires, or lamentation from material loss. Half of our life is about obtaining things and the other is about being afraid of losing them. So, to be free from this fear is life changing!
We all struggle with understanding our place in the world, and I am no different. Some have made a system to divide us. The social division is varnasramaa dharma places us into four divisions or castes. This is not something that is planned depending on your rank of birth. The divisions are to help us to understand how our transcendental qualities can help us with our spiritual understanding and ultimately our liberation. This makes me feel that I do have a belonging and this calms me somewhat, as I know that there is a place and a path to liberate us from the material world. This works in with sanatana-dharma, or the eternal religion of rendering service to the Lord.
When a particular type of occupation is performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, all the defects in that particular occupation are purified. When the results of work are purified, when connected with devotional service, one becomes perfect in seeing the self within, and that is self-realization.
Knowing that I choose the favorable path of bhakti, understanding the modes of nature and how my place in the world steers my path has brought me to a place of surrender. In doing so, I have given up anything that is not favorable to Krishna consciousness. which is leading my pathway to surrender. To me, this means not only accepting everything favorable to the Lord and serving Him, but also letting go of unfavorable things that will get in my way of this. I have conviction in my heart that only Krishna can protect and maintain not only me, but everything. I am always conscious that I am not independent and my desires being fulfilled is reliant on Krishna. Lastly, but most importantly, I always think of myself as most fallen.
To me, this path brings me more peace than anything else. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us that although the Supersoul sanctions all actions which occur, still the living being is responsible for doing right actions. As much as we give credit to Krishna, we must still do the right thing!
Now that I think I have less anxiety around life and where my path leads. The last thing I was concerned about was the end. I learned that after I change bodies, I will forget my past deeds, but Krishna as the Supersoul will not. He knows my past, present and my future, witnessing all that I do. I will get what I deserve – good or bad and be placed in the body in relation to that karma. I will work in this and the next body according to last desires, but I will not be alone, Krishna is always with me, always here as the controller, all I need to do is surrender and this brings me more peace from fear and anxiety than anything ever could.