The fear of the Lord adds length to life
but the years of the wicked are cut short.
BIBLE (PROVERBS 10:27)
“The fear of the Lord adds length to life but the years of the wicked are cut short.”
BIBLE (PROVERBS 10:27)
Nimisha has quoted from the bible “The fear of the Lord adds length to life but the years of the wicked are cut short”.
Then she says:
Dear Acharya Ji Pranam, having studied in a convent school, I was exposed daily to the teachings of Lord Jesus and stories from the Bible from a very young age. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the Christ. His warm compassionate gaze and loving demeanor were so comforting. However, one thing that tainted this was the continual reminder that we are all out of sin and need to repent and fear God as well as feel guilty about Christ’s crucifixion. That we are incomplete and need him to redeem us. Something within me rejects this theory of incompleteness. Why do we need to fear the Lord? Why can’t we love him unabashedly?
Nimisha you’ve written that something within you rejects this theory of incompleteness. Look into this statement carefully. Something within you rejects this theory of incompleteness that something, as you say, is within you that something is not the whole of you as you are. That something might be your heart, might be your core, but you are not always and fully abiding as the heart, as the core. Otherwise you would have written ‘I reject this theory of incompleteness’. No, you don’t fully reject it, and that is why this incompleteness is something that we must not turn our backs to. This incompleteness is not something to be swept under the carpet. This incompleteness has to be talked about. It has to be addressed. It has to be healed. We are strongly identified with the ego, with the incompleteness. We live as that.
When you say that in the convent school there were continuous reminders that man is born out of sin and needs to repent, and fear God and feel guilty, it is very much all right. The assertion is well placed. The one who is being referred to is indeed born out of sin.
Who are we?
Limited beings with their limited desires, limited scope, limited understanding, limited vision.
The limitation itself is the sin.
And man is born limited. Would you deny that? Man is born limited, the limitation itself is the sin. Christianity asks man to repent. The word repent is quite subtle with meaning. It means to go back, to return to home. As man is born, man is born as a wanderer, as a homeless recluse.
Somebody who has a continuous thirst to return to the home. But the thirst finds expression in a million ways except the direct way. And that is why repentance is very useful as a tool because it helps man remember that he is indeed incomplete as he is.
There is no point talking of completeness as an abstraction. There is no point talking of completeness as a concept and believing in it. Look at mankind, look at the daily life of man. Do we live in a sense of fulfillment? Every sense, every feeling, every thought that we have is a thought of incompleteness. We want more, and we want to get rid of stuff that we do not want.
The more you observe, the more you will find evidence only of man’s stubborn, chronic, unrelenting limitations, and man is wedded to his limitations. Even when there is an opportunity to get rid of the angst associated with limitations. Do you really see people talking the leap? Do you really see people coming forward? Do you really see people accepting the invitation of new and free life that does not happen? So the Bible very practically looks at man. Man as he is, not man as he ought to be. Not man as one dreams him up. But man as he is in flesh and blood, in anger and angst, in regret and rage, in desire and death, and to this man the Bible says – See and accept that you are living a life of incompleteness.
A Jesus is there to help you get rid of your incompleteness.
But instead of thanking Jesus and living by his word, you choose to crucify him.
Remember the crucifixion.
Because if you forget the crucifixion, you’ll also forget your immediate reality.
The immediate reality is important.
It is not of much use to talk of the ultimate or the transcendental reality.
One must know where one is standing.
Where one ought to be, or where one must reach comes later. And man does not stand at the perfect spot.
Man does not stand at his home. Man is standing at a difficult place. Man is standing at an alien place, and man must know that he has alienated himself from himself, from Truth, from God.
The one who is lost must know that he is lost. If he starts believing that he is home, then he will remain forever lost.
The one who is lost in limitations must know and accept and continuously remember that he is lost in limitations. If he insistently and ignorantly starts taking himself as a complete one, then his limitations will become deathless.
The patient must know that he is sick. And that’s the reason why Bible continuously reminds man that he is sick. Sickness itself is a sin.
Only the healthy one has the right to say that he is healthy.
Only a Jesus has the right to say that he is the son of God.
If the drooling commons start claiming that they are sons and daughters of God, then any hope of redemption left for them will also vaporize. For the healing to begin the doctor must tell the patient two things. One, you are sick. Second, sickness is not your destiny. Health is possible. Bible is telling you both. Of the two things to be told to you, the first is that you are limited, you are guilty, you are a sinner, you are ignorant. And the second thing that is told is, follow the physician and you will healed. Follow Jesus and you’ll be taken to the father.
You are saying something within me rejects this theory of incompleteness. It’s great if the complete Aatma within you, the complete essence of yours rejects this theory of incompleteness. But then the Aatma has no need to reject anything. Acceptance and rejection are works of the ego, and there is no greater pleasure to the ego than to believe that it is not the ego but the Truth. The limited finds delight in calling itself limitless. And so when the limited would be told in the face that it is limited, it would react, It would recoil, it would protest.
Humility and repentance are cornerstones of Christianity. And it’s great that they are this way. Then you have said – Why do we need to fear the Lord? Why can’t we love him unabashedly?
If you are who you are, then being afraid for the Lord is no more a choice with you. It is going to happen. It is not as if there is volition involved, will or discretion involved. If the ego is ego, ignorant and foolish as the ego is, as the ego must be, then it is going to lose itself upon coming in contact with the Lord, the Truth. Fear is obviously going to be there. If you are coming close to danger, fear is going to be there. If fear is not there, do you know what it means? It means you are not at all coming close to danger. It means that you are fearlessly doing your own thing. It is the ego’s thing to be afraid.
Where there is ego, there is bound to be fear.
Ego and fearlessness do not go together. So when you say that you do not want to be afraid of the Lord, you are in fact saying that you are no more the ego, which is not really true as you know. The ego is afraid of a thousand things. When it comes towards the Lord, it is afraid only of the Lord. When it does not come towards the Lord, then obviously there is no need to fear Lord, but then it is afraid of a thousand other things then the ego is afraid that it might lose the position of riches, it might lose social sanction, it might lose respectability, knowledgeability.
Fifty types of fears just pop up.
Fear is going to be there, choose your type.
Which fear do you prefer?
You can either be afraid of the million things and the million winds and the million words and people and happenings of the world, or you could be afraid of the Truth. Fear is going to be there, that is not avoidable. There is however one important distinction. The ego has two parallel desires always. On the surface is the desire that is apparent, and deep within is the desire that nobody knows of. Often the ego itself does not know of its deepest desire.
The superficial desire is actually a product of the deep desire. But the irony is such that the superficial desire, though arising from the deep desire, actually works against the deep desire. You go towards a person because your deepest desire is that of fulfillment. So the superficial desire is of the person, the deeper desire is of fulfillment. But going towards the person itself may thwart the fulfillment that you deeply want.
Similarly, when the ego is faced with The Truth, two kinds of desires arise in the ego. The first is the desire to run away from the Truth, because the ego as we said is bound to live in fear. So superficially there is a desire to turn away from the Truth, superficially the ego is afraid of the truth. But deeply, the ego loves the truth. Deeply, the ego is committed to its own suicide. Deeply, the ego itself wants its own annihilation. So even when the ego is God-fearing, it is actually God loving.
The ego is always God loving at the core, and it is great when at the core the ego is God loving and on the surface the ego is God fearing.
And it is absolutely tragic when at the core the ego is God loving, as it always is, and on the surface the ego is money fearing, or society fearing, or power fearing, or ridicule fearing. You must understand this, Love of God at the core and fear of God on the surface go very nicely together, that is the right approach, the perfect attitude.
Be a lover of God in your heart, but your mind must always be afraid of God.
Love and fear with respect to the Truth, or the God, or even the Guru, must go together. At your Heart, you must be a lover, and the mind must forever live in discipline, the mind must always be a disciple. The heart must be a lover and the mind must be a disciple. Faced with the Truth, the heart must know no fear at all. When the Truth is in front, the heart should experience no fear at all, but the mind must always be alert. The mind must know that it is in the company of the ego, any mistake is anytime possible, and that mistake can take it away from God.
So there should be fear. So you see the fear that you face on coming across a Jesus, a Saint, God, Truth, or Guru, is not the fear of God, but the fear of losing God. And the mind must always have that fear. The mind must always know that that possibility is there. The mind must know that things can go wrong anytime because actually things can go wrong anytime. Because actually, the possibility of losing touch with the Truth is always there. The ego is very slippery, and man has tendencies that are very latent, and very potent in their vicious effects.
One must be afraid of himself.
Being God-fearing means being fearful of oneself, and being fearful of losing God.
The mind must never become complacent. The mind must never start thinking or feeling that God is always within reach, or that Godliness has been attained because that is not the fact of mankind, that is not how man is.
Look at the people around, what do you see? Godliness? Look at the world and look at the mess and the violence we are in. Surely man has tendencies that keep him away from Truth.
One must be very very alert to these tendencies;
One must be very very watchful.
That same alertness and watchfulness is being talked of as fear. Never trust yourself too much. Here at Bodhsthal when people pray in the morning, they say “हे राम मुझे मुझसे बचा |” O God save me from myself. That is the fear that the mind must rightfully live in. You must know that you can lose it any time. You must know that you were born not really to be emancipated or enlightened, but to lead a common mortal life, eat, drink, procreate, suffer, and die. There is nothing in man’s constitution really that favors Truth, and there is all in man’s flesh, blood, and hormones that are so very prepared and capable of taking him away from the Truth. So you better be afraid. You better be cautious. You better watch out. And as you watch out you will find that it is the love of the Lord that is helping you watch out.
You said why can’t we love God unabashedly? We surely can. But only the godliness within you can love God unabashedly. And you are not hundred percent godliness, remember. Godliness has the right to love without reservations. But the mind is not fully godly. The mind has large quarters reserved for the Satan. So it does not behoove the mind to talk of unabashed love towards the Lord. It would be hypocritical. Look at the life, the daily life that the mind is living. Is it really a life dedicated to truth and God? And if it is not a life dedicated to truth and God, why is the mind claiming that it wants to love the Lord unabashedly?
If it wanted really to love the Lord without inhibitions, then that love should have shown up in your daily life. Is your daily life really imbued in the colors of godliness? Is God what you eat? Is God what you breathe? Do you sleep and walk and talk only in godliness? It is not so. Yes, your intention is to be respected. But intention is not the fact.
Intention only means that you want to be alright, you want to be healthy, you want to be Godly, you want to be perfect. Intention does not mean that you are already healthy, already godly, already perfect. So my answer is two ways, I’m saying, let the God within you love God uninhibitedly. Let the godliness within you be unabashed in its love towards Jesus. But that which is not godly within you must look at Jesus and repent, stay rooted, and stay true to the facts.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: On Jesus Christ: Lover at heart; disciple from mind
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