Radhanath Swami on Overcoming fears

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Published on Apr 25, 2020 by Radhanath Swami

At one time I was living near Boudhanath in Nepal. In that vast Himalayan valley, I meditated in a grove of flowering trees. Suddenly, stomping footsteps shook me out of my dreamy state and drew my attention to an enormous European tourist marching through the field carrying a large bag of groceries. Well over six feet tall, blonde with huge muscles bulging from beneath his t-shirt he had the physique of a champion bodybuilder. Then jumping out from the forest a gang of little brown monkeys surrounded him. Although each monkey was only a fraction of his size, they knew how to find his weakest point and attack. They snarled and bared their teeth threatening him with intimidating gestures. While holding the groceries in one of his massive arms, he hoisted a large rock in the other and whooping like a warrior he threatened to pulverize the little bandits. But the monkeys were unfazed and only snarled louder. They took small leaps toward their target, succeeding in attacking his mind. At that point I could not believe what I saw. Paralyzed with fright, the man trembled like a scared little child. Finally, one of the little monkeys stalked right up to him and seized the grocery bag from his hands. He did not even resist. While the monkeys clustered around the bag to devour the groceries, they paid him no heed. Reduced to them a bundle of nerves he quietly slipped away. Seconds later a skinny little Nepalese boy of about 8 years old appeared on the scene. The gang of monkeys had just begun feasting on their booty, but stirred with apprehension upon seeing the tiny boy. The child skipped toward them with a small stone in his hand. The monkey screeched: terror in their eyes. Suddenly they abandoned the food and fled in all directions. The little boy collected up the groceries and sat down to dine. Meanwhile the monkeys anxiously watched from a distance. I was amazed. What had just happened? here that playful boy was hardly the weight of one bicep of that herculean European. The monkeys were unfazed by the threats of the giant because they sensed fear in his mind. But they feared the child because he had no fear of them. We are vulnerable to defeat when our minds succumb to fear. The foreigner was unfamiliar with monkeys, but the Nepalese child had lived around monkeys all his life. So we fear what we do not know. To conquer fear we need to purify our minds through realized knowledge.

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