There is so much to say about the following comment I received. Really, it is far too much to address in a blog, but I will do my best to say it in a nutshell here.
You can study the Veda (in fact, all of life) from different perspectives. One would be that you already know exactly what Lord Krishna means by fearlessness, Atman, controlling the five senses, Advaita, Abhaya hastha, etc. In so doing, you interpret His words on your own terms and from you own level of evolution. Another perspective would be that you cannot possibly know what he means until you have attained the highest level of consciousness. In fact, the primary purpose of studying the Veda, meditation, etc. is the facilitation of your evolution in that direction. In so doing, you open the door to advancing your understanding. This is why I say that your growth is not so much about learning new facts as it is about attaining a deeper understanding of the facts you already know. The facts below are lovely, provided they are reflected upon to see deeper than you currently can see. If you assume you can read Lord Krishna’s words and know what he means, you freeze it and thereby you freeze your own growth and evolution. See?
Perhaps the greatest calamity of spirituality, and all religions, is that people think they understand what is being offered by the Masters. They believe they understand it when they do not. As I am fond of saying, “When the Master speaks, it immediately ceases to be what the Master said and becomes what the listener heard.” If we are to bring out the Knowledge in its purity, we must remain steadfast, unwavering on this point. As I have also said, “An intellectual understanding of spirituality is a good first step, all too often mistaken for the goal.”
As an exercise, I invite you to reflect on the terms and concepts in the comment and see if you can open the door to deeper understandings of what each term may mean. As an aid to this, you may want to reread my blog, “Fear of Death,” which I posted a few days ago. I can help you to look deeper, but only if you are willing and open to doing so.
The comment follows:
I can’t resist sharing some thoughts about fear (bhaya). It was just yesterday morning I woke up contemplating on Abhaya meaning fearlessness. And I open the blog to find this topic. Lord Krishna talked a great deal about fearlessness (Abhayam) at the beginning of His discourse Gita when Arjuna gets disheartened by the fear of fighting the Mahabharata war against his own kith and kin and for the fear of losing them. Lord Krishna described fearlessness (abhayam) as the first quality among the twenty-six good qualities one should possess. Lord Krishna asserts that to understand spiritual knowledge, one should be fearless.
The Abhaya hastha (hand) of Hindu gods and goddesses (an open palm with fingers pointing upwards) is often misinterpreted as the blessing hand. When one begins to look inward (this can be achieved only through unwavering meditation), one would realize the atman (soul) is one with God. This oneness is called Advaita (no duality). You are God and God is you as atman. When one is considered enlightened when she/he is able to apply and practice advaita principle to all the living beings around them. Until such time, we are believed to be following dvaita (duality); we are different from each other. Hence we fear danger, harm, and threat of death from others.
Since it is believed that the soul is eternal, it has this knowledge of Advaita. So, one does not fear one’s own self. However, we perceive fear of bodily harm, losing people or belongings, or death from others around us. If there is no duality where is the source or cause for fear? Devotee Prahlad demonstrated fearlessness as he visualized Narayana in every life form.
From philosophical perspective, five fingers in abhaya hastha denote, controlling of five senses to experience oneness with God as denoted by the fingers pointing upward. In nutshell, the entire philosophy of Advaita is given to mankind through Abhaya hastha.
“When fear is associated with every sensory pleasure you experience, where is the happiness? Those who surrender to God will become fearless and detached and enjoy the ultimate bliss. Those who have realized God understand atma jnana and become fearless. Fearless people are not afraid of death also. Swami Vivekananda was known to be a fearless person.” – Referenced from Sree.
I am thankful you are patient and will try different ways to convey the knowledge. Without you to lead the way, my life would be like a kite without a tail, which is a very scary thought. You are my anchor in this crazy world and the best karma I brought with me in this lifetime is when I found you those many years ago.
I can only strive to keep an open mind, let the knowledge rest within me, and keep showing up.
Jai Guru Dev
One of Brahmarshi’s most valuable teachings is about the different levels/realms of existence. I have to think that Lord Krishna was talking about the transcendental level when he taught fearlessness. As Brahmarshi said in the earlier blog, “However, on the personality level, fear is normal and natural.” I’m sure even Lord Krishna would be afraid if a stampeding elephant was coming towards him. It is only normal and healthy.
Can you be fearful on the surface level and fearless on the transcendental level? Of course.
Thanks Crystal- beautiful comment.