“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.40)
प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते
स्व्-अल्पम् अप्य् अस्य धर्मस्य
त्रायते महतो भयात्
pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
The hypothetical situation is an aggrieved individual trying to file an insurance claim with material nature. They enter the conversation with the belief that they are covered, that there should be indemnification of some kind.
1. The loss of my reputation
“Gone. In an instant. I did everything I could to protect it. I never made controversial statements. I was polite. I was respectful. I did not indulge in any of the common vices.
“But in the modern day, all it takes is one person to say something. They don’t have to be truthful. They simply level the accusation and people choose to believe it. I would like a reversal. I would like the entire incident to be scrubbed from history.”
2. The changing appearance of my face
“It happened almost overnight. I can’t eat anything, it seems. Whatever I do, I look old. I don’t want it to be that way. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted. I never even paid attention to my face.
“But now the signs are obvious, especially in pictures. I am sick of the comments. I would like some sort of rectification. This is not fair. Some people are ten years older than me, but they look younger.”
3. The bitter ending to the relationship
“Why did they have to leave me? I did everything for them. I made every sacrifice. I was always there. I never neglected. I gave up my own happiness in favor of their interests.
“They just got up and left. Make the situation right. Bring them back to me. I can’t live like this. I can’t tolerate the separation.”
4. My sports injury
“I was ready to win. It was my best chance. I spent years and years on tour, never with any success. This time was going to be different. I reached the final stages, only to be taken out by an injury. I would like to be champion, anyway. I should get some sort of recognition for my achievement. I want to hoist the trophy.”
5. My memory
“If I can’t remember something, did it ever happen? That is how I feel about most of my childhood. I lived those years. They shaped who I became as an adult. Those moments were important.
“The problem is I can barely remember them. Yesterday seems as though it never existed. That is not fair. Why should I forget so easily? Does this mean that every moment in life is equally meaningless? Is pleading for help today a waste of time? Do something to fix the problem.”
Unfortunately, the answer is the same to each of these pleas. The claim would have to be denied. There is nothing that can be done. The damage has taken place. There is no way to reverse the fact. Though there is insurance to protect against all sorts of disasters, money will not be enough. It may lessen the blow, so to speak, but the situation cannot change.
This is the nature of the material world. There are three primary sources of misery. From the heavens, from other living entities, and from within. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like are considered “acts of God.” A higher force does the damage, with little to no mitigation possible.
Mosquitoes bite. Dogs bark. Bears and alligators chase. People deride. Colleagues bicker. Friends and family drain the bank balance. There is so much misery from other living beings that a brief trip into a secluded place brings so much instant relief, which is due to the mere absence of harassment.
If external forces don’t get you, there is always disease from within. As the years pass, the body begins to age. Accompanying the transformation is the increased vulnerability to disease. The mind can also play havoc.
While material nature provides no assurances against total loss, genuine yoga is different. There is nothing lost in the process. The master of mystic power, Yogeshvara, gives direct assurance in Bhagavad-gita.
We can compare the assurance to having a flotation device while within the water. A person may already know how to swim, but the backup mechanism provides an added level of confidence. They can move about freely, since they know there is protection, if needed.
In the same way, simply practicing genuine yoga protects against fear. To the highest degree, whatever it is we are most concerned over, yoga can help us overcome the hurdle.
Material nature is not forgiving in the least. It cares not whether your body and family are dear to you. There is no loyalty discount, wherein years of good service and on-time payments buy you added security. Everything can be swept away in an instant.
Shri Krishna, on the other hand, provides so much protection that even if you suddenly fall into doubt, at the worst possible moment, He will lend assistance. He is the ability in man, and so that ability can be directly assisted at any time.
रसो ऽहम् अप्सु कौन्तेय
शब्दः खे पौरुषं नृषु
raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya
śabdaḥ khe pauruṣaṁ nṛṣu
“O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.8)
Moreover, that same ability might be taken away, at a later time, but the results from the period in connection do not vanish. The devotee never perishes. Even if they fail in the external sense, they are not defeated.
Under a sober assessment, the option of yoga is the clear winner. I might not be able to protect anything that I have, but every moment spent in connection with the origin of everything is worthwhile. I will never be a loser in that relationship.
With material nature filing claim,
For when colleague to defame.
Or loved one forever to leave,
Wanting youthful appearance to retrieve.
Memory not what it used to be,
Success in that endeavor should see.
Never covered even by insurance,
But from Krishna direct assurance.
Categories: the five