Fearlessness in spiritual path | Swami Paramananda
NOTHING can drive you from the path if you stand fearlessly, with determination and purity of purpose. Why should we give up our ideal life only because some people say that it is bad or rise in opposition? No! We must not do that. Let the whole world go against us, still we must remain unmoved, true to our own Ideal. For this we need strength and determination. Anyone can be a hero when everything goes on smoothly. But he is a true hero who can stand firmly on his own feet even when the whole world acts against him. That is the test of life.
In order to mould a perfect character we need many things. We must go through both good and bad, happiness and misery, pleasure and pain. And when we are unshaken by either happiness or misery, then we have reached perfection. Then we can have no more fear from the outside world.
What is there in the world? We know there is no real happiness. How can there be when it is so transitory? Never mind; even if we cannot realize God in this life, still we should never think of going back to the wretched world which we have renounced as poison. Always remember this; it will give you great strength. He who has renounced the world, or in other words, has vomited the world out of his sys-tem, if he wants to taste that filthy stuff again, how foolish, how unwise, how wretched, how shameless should he be regarded! There is some real happiness in living a pure and true life. In no other way can it be found.
Take courage and have infinite patience. Patience will conquer everything. Have wonderful determination and say boldly, “I must live a true life!” Show your strength and say fearlessly to the world, “Get thee off, proud world! I do not want thee. I do not need thy help.” Bring out all your strength and repeat again and again, “I am strong! I am pure! I am true!” You will see how quickly the clouds of ignorance will vanish and how soon your pure heart will be filled with Divine love and light.
Fear? Whom to fear? What is there for us to fear? Shall we show our back to the enemy? No, never! Let us die on the battlefield like heroes rather than live a life of slavery. He can fight boldly who has a sword of wisdom and a shield of purity.
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The spiritual life, the life of renunciation, is very hard for those who have a tendency to fulfil selfish desires; otherwise it brings great happiness and peace. There is some real joy in renunciation. Give up, give up and be free. As long as we have something to depend on, so long we are not free. Freedom comes when we no longer depend on any external help, when we get everything within ourselves and remain satisfied with our own self. What good is there in sense enjoyments? They bring only misery and darkness. One moment’s sense enjoyment will perhaps bring misery for the whole life. What is the use of having such momentary happiness to create only suffering in the end? It is better never to run after such pleasure even if we do not get a single glimpse of spirituality by our life-long struggle.
Self-control, at least, will make us more independent. Never mind whether we realize God or not in this life, but there is no reason why we should live like slaves or live in the world and create more and more bondage around us by blindly following our selfish desires. The more we try to satisfy them, the stronger they become; just as the flame rises higher when we pour oil on the fire. We know the world is full of misery, why should we be tempted again by that? No, by no means should we think of going back to it. That kind of determination we must have. Renunciation means giving up never to take back.
Strength is necessary, firmness is necessary. Before strength everything is subdued. Even Devas are afraid of him who has a pure unselfish character. The strength of character is very great.
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Be bold! Move on and fear none. Learn to say that you are true and pure and strong; then you will be free from all fear. Fear comes from selfishness. So become thoroughly unselfish. Take courage! Take courage! Take courage! Truth can never be attained by the weak. Take the essence of all that you have heard and studied and seen and try to realize that in your life. Let the whole world turn against you, still never fail to serve your Ideal.
It is better to die in the battle instead of living a life of defeat. We must fight boldly with our enemies as long as we live. There is no enemy outside. Our passions and desires are the real enemies. So conquer them and you shall be free. Strength and patience, have them both. What is the use of that life which cannot stand for Truth! Be bold, be fearless and see everything through purity. Life is a constant struggle; here we must not expect to get any rest. Move on. Yield to no depression or weakness. Suffering is good; it is a great teacher.
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Remember always what the Lord says in the Gītā: “That which is like poison in the beginning and nectar in the end, that happiness is declared to have the quality of goodness, being born of the pure knowledge of the spirit. But the pleasure that comes from the connection of senses and sense objects, which is pleasant in the beginning but like poison in the end, is declared to come from passion.” We must use the power of discrimination and distinguish right from wrong. It is very easy to be carried away by our desires; but he is a true hero who can overcome them by exercising the power of discrimination.
Weakness is death. My own experience tells me that strength only is religion, strength is truth. Anything that makes us weak is sinful. With all our power we must avoid that. We make mistakes to learn. But after learning once, we must work with determination and never allow any weakness. This is the greatest of all works. This is the best of all Yogas. How can we expect to get rest till we have conquered all our weak desires and have become masters of ourselves? Shall we obey our senses? No; we must not. Let children follow them to get some experience of the world. But never shall we obey them. We must command them at our will. When we have become masters of ourselves we shall have no more bondage, no more fear, but peace and bliss. Now no more talking, no more reading, no more theorizing; the time has come for “being and becoming.” On! On! Let the world remain busy with its own concerns, but let us walk steadily onward without looking at it even.
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We have no right to trouble our minds about anything. Things will take care of themselves. “To work we have the right and not to the fruits.” Work means building up our own character. Let us try to do that and not spend our energies in vain talking. Great teachers taught not by mere words but by force of character. If we can build up such characters, then only we shall have the right to do good to others. Know that a beggar cannot help another beggar. Have something to give first, then you will be able to help others.
Be free from all fears, all anxieties, and work steadily. The Lord is taking care of His children. “Ours is to do and die.” Do what is right, do what is strengthening, do what is purifying, do what is uplifting, and die quietly. No use of talking big things. The world may not recognize you; the world may not give you credit. That matters not. Your character will make you happy and blissful.
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The Master only knows what He has in His mind. If we trust in Him, He will give us strength enough to stand all conditions. Good, evil, happiness, misery, praise and blame will have no influence on us. Whether He puts us in heaven or hell will make no difference to us. He who is free, he who is master of himself will remain the same even in hell. Therefore we must not give way to anxiety if trouble comes, but only pray, pray with great earnestness. So much we have the right to do. We can only live an unselfish, pure life and take the Name of the Lord. To the results we have no right.
The world is one thing and God is another thing. So we should not judge the path of the Lord from the worldly standpoint. We know very well that great men, Saviours, never got justice from the world. Only a few appreciated them, and they were those who had given up the world and were cursed by it. World and God cannot go hand in hand. It is impossible. If we want to worship the Lord, then we must run away from worldly comforts, praise, name and fame. Know that these are like poison for a soul who is striving for spiritual realization. “Child, if you want to be free from bondage, then give up all worldly thoughts. As one shudders at the sight of a cup of poison and is delighted to drink nectar, so do you regard all the objects of the senses as poison and run away from them; but know the path of Divinity to be forgiveness, simplicity, contentment, kindness and truthfulness and take them as nectar.”
The Sannyāsin’s life is a very, very strict life. Even the sight of a worldly man is injurious for one who is practising renunciation. We may think we are strong enough to stand worldly vibrations; but gradually in the course of time the world enters into our system even without our knowledge and spoils the whole life. Our senses are like thieves, ever trying to find our weak moments. So always remain awake on the spiritual plane; then you will have no fear from the thieves. They cannot steal while you are awake.
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So long as life remains in the body, our whole life must be a struggle to serve our Ideal with pure and unselfish love. Never mind what others say.
Infinite strength is behind us. We are the children of the Divine Mother and there lies our strength. We must live boldly, work boldly, and die boldly. Fear is weakness, fear is sin. We must have nothing to do with that.
Shake off all impurities from the system and say, “I am pure, I am free! No sin, no death and no fear for me. Shivoham! Shivoham! I am a child of God, I am immortal. There is no difference between an immortal father and an immortal child. Both are one and the same.” Strength, strength, strength is necessary. No weak person can attain freedom. So be strong and shake off all weakness. Say day and night, think day and night, “I am pure, I am blissful, I am free.”
May He who is the eternal Lord of the universe, may He who comes in different forms for the good of humanity, make us strong, steady, pure and fearless, so that we may live in Him and Him alone!