Vanity thought #394. Fear of God

When Lord Chaitanya asked Ramananda Raya about the ultimate goal of human life He rejected progressive answers one by one, from performing one’s duties according to varnashrama system to offering fruits of one’s labor to Krishna to cultivating devotional service as Krishna taught in Bhagavad Gita. Eventually Ramananda Raya got to pure devotional service as described in Srimad Bhagavatam and that sparked Lord Chaitanya’s interest.

He approved worshiping the Lord as His servant but wanted to hear more and the next offering was, of course, service to the Lord in the mood of a friend. It’s at this point, CC Madhya 8.74, that Srila Prabhupada mentions fear of God.

He says that in relationship between a servant and his master there’s always fear, and that when one loses this fear he progresses further up the ladder of devotional ranks.

This made me think for a moment – am I afraid of Krishna or my spiritual master? Should I be? In this world we don’t get any other relationships with the Lord, only as servants – dasadasanudasa. Should we be afraid?

Quickly checking my inventory I don’t think I have that fear, I do have fear in connection with my body but it’s not fear of Krishna and I don’t take it as a spiritual emotion, just as a material reflex to external stimuli.

Maybe it’s because I don’t know Krishna very well, I have an image of Him that I built by listening to the devotees and reading books and this image is actually of shelter and safety, fear is the last emotion I expect from seeing Krishna.

Maybe if I saw Him face to face I’d realize how fearsome He actually is. Maybe not Krishna Himself but someone like Narayana or Vishnu – same thing for conditioned souls – we can’t relate to God in any other form without achieving liberation first.

There’s a case of Gopa Kumara who went to Vaikuntha and saw how everybody was full of deep respect towards the Lord and they were very afraid of Gopa Kumara acting inappropriately.

I don’t think I have that kind of fear yet. Sure, I’m afraid of committing offenses towards Krishna but that’s not fear of what Krishna might do to me in revenge but fear of upsetting Him, and this kind of fear is not unique at all.

In fact I’m far more afraid of upsetting my wife, she’s the one who can really make my life a living hell and she has far longer memory than Krishna. The fact that I won’t get very far spiritually without her blessings is even more worrisome. She’s not my guru, of course, but she’s under my responsibility and unless she releases me from it I’m bound to serve the family. No one can approach the Lord directly, you know, have to get blessings from all the devotees first.

Same goes for relationships with Maya, too. We are not her servants but we need her help and her blessings to progress in our lives and she can scare the hell our of anybody. Krishna wouldn’t do that to His devotees Himself but Maya can. The upside is that she scares us for our own good, so these fears should be welcome.

I also think of little Prahlad who had absolutely no fear of a huge, ferocious beast of a Lord, all covered in blood, still infuriated after tearing apart the body of a demon. Little Prahlad saw no danger for himself whatsoever, I think he should be my role model when approaching the Lord.

Devotees up on Vaikuntha have their own reasons to behave like they do and I will keep that in mind but for now I’m sensing no fear of Krishna at all and I don’t see why I should feel it. Maybe, as I said, because I don’t realize how great He is – in a sense how big and powerful and how He can crash me in a split of a second. Arjuna had this moment of realization once, maybe my turn will eventually come, too.

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