Being afraid is an emotion which has a lot of benefits but at the same time it has a negative side too. If there was no fear one would put his hand in the fire and get burnt. One would not hesitate to do things considered evil in society. But we also notice that on account of being afraid we do not do the right things too, being afraid of criticism. But if we ponder, there will always be two opinions for all our actions. The same act will be condemned by, while others will applaud. Then how are we to decide what is right and what is wrong? This one has to ask one's conscience alone. That is why it is said that
'Whether your mind is clear or not,
You have to ask your conscience,
And then whatever you have to do,
Do that happily and courageously.'
Most of the people are afraid of something or the other. Some are afraid of being blamed in society, some are afraid of death and disease. Others get afraid when they see people in distress and think that they may meet a similar fate. Here it has to be realized that nothings is in our hand. Every one wants to live a safe and trouble free life but is not aware as to how our lives are designed?. When an earthquake strikes or any other natural disaster takes place we notice that some have a miraculous escape, while others get perished. In such disasters millions die and we wonder how sometimes children are found alive in debris buried for several days. How did they survive for so long without food or water?
Even seeing all this we feel scared and that does a lot of harm to us. Here I would like to narrate a story. Once a man saw Yamdoot (the messenger of death) passing and the man asked him where he was going. The messenger replied, 'Yamraj (the Lord of death) has ordered me to get one hundred men from Varanasi'. However, it was seen that the number of casualties mounted to a thousand. The Yamdoot on his return, again met the man who asked him, 'You said you were asked to get one hundred lives, then how did a thousand die?' Yamdoot replied that he killed only one hundred, while the rest died of fear.
Another story I read that once in the hills some people were staying in a dharmshala (tavern). It so happened that one night there was a heavy storm It was a cyclone with high winds and lightening. Big trees were shaking like straw as if they will get uprooted and fly away. It looked that it was the end of the world. Every one was scared and all sorts of ideas were troubling their minds. They did not know whether they will be alive to see the next morn. That night appeared to be the last. Suddenly one of them noticed that they were thirteen in number. Well! Sure, thirteen is an unlucky number. One amongst them was a sinner and had to be punished for his sins. Why should all of us have to die for him?
Everyone agreed to the logic. But how to find who was the sinner? Normally each one in his mind felt that there were some black marks against him in his code of conduct. But no one thought that they were such as to entail such a serious punishment.. He had prayed for its atonement and God he heard was kind and benevolent. It must be some one else who deserved this punishment. After deliberations they decided that at a distance there was a tall tree and lightening falls on a tall tree. So each person should go to that tree and stand there for a fixed period. In this manner the person who is destined will die and others will be saved. To decide who should go first they settled on a system of lottery. Thirteen slips of paper had numbers and each one picked up one.
After having determined the sequence, they started to go one by one. Twelve of them went and safely returned. They heaved a sigh of relief that it was not their sin due to which the storm was raging. Now it was the turn of the thirteenth person and they were sure that it was he who was doomed to die. He was mortally scared and went to stand under the tree. As soon as he stood there, there was a loud roar of thunder. But wonder of wonders, that the roof of the Dharmshala collapsed and all twelve men there got buried and died. Was it that all twelve of them were sinners abd it was the thirteenth man who was saving them? All such instances convince that it is some super power that looks after us and we are just pawns in it's hand. Once we get convinced of this fact, all our worries vanish.
There is another story from Iran of the old days when Shah Sulaiman was ruling the country, one man was going on thr road when he noticed someone following him. When he turned back to see who he was, he saw the Yamdoot following him. The man lost his wits and ran fast reaching the Shah's darbar. There he pleaded to the king, 'Your Highness, today Yamdoot is after me. I pray if you could have mercy, please get me to India on your magic carpet so that my life could be saved.' The Shah in his benevolence agreed and he was dispatched to India.
In the evening when the Yamdoot visited the Shah's darbar, The Shah asked him why he was after that poor man? The Yamdoot replied,' I was only following him in wonder as Yamraj had ordered me to get his life from India and I was wondering how could I find this poor man in India. But wonder of wonders that when I went to India I found him there too.' God's ways are mysterious and beyond human understanding. That is why saint Tulsidas said,
'Tulsi whatever is your destiny, you are guided there,
Things will not come to you, but you will be taken there.'
'the losses and gains, Life and Death are all in god's hands.'
We have to find out how fear is generated in our minds and what can be done to eradicate it? According to me, some fears are carried over from our earlier reincarnations which are carried from the very beginning of life in the mother's womb. Thereafter, we get our thoughts imprinted from our mother. Then, it is our family. When the child hears from the parents and others not to do this or that on account of the dangers involved, these fears get transferred to him. Although such advice is given for the child's good, but occasionally it has it's harmful effects too.
Here I would like to narrate my own experience how courage was instilled into me by my mother. If I got injured and started crying my mother would say, 'Why do you cry? Did Rana Sanga cry when he had one hundred eighty wounds on his body?' Then she would give the story of Rana Sanga and other brave heroes of the Indian history. These stories were for ever imprinted on my mind and even today, they give me the courage to face all dangers. I feel that if all the people instead of making their children afraid, educate them about the realities of life, that they have to be cautious but not afraid as even after their being careful, accidents could happen. So they have to face all situations bravely and get rid of their fears. Once I heard a prayer, sung in Hindi, by children which went deep into my consciousness. I would give it's translation here.
I have handed over all the burdens of my life in your hands,
Victory is in your hands and the Defeat also is in your hands,
I am a human being and you are the Creator of human beings,
The only difference between you and me is that
I am in the hands of the world, and the world is in your hands,
So I have handed over all the burdens of my life in your hands.