One of my favorite stories of faith and fear is the one of Krishna and Balram. It seems the duo were walking through the forests to reach somewhere, when the night fell. The silver moon filtered through the leaves and the wind blew with all its might. They decided it was best to rest till the crack of the dawn. While one would sleep, the other would watch over for wild beasts; and they would take turns. Balram insisted that Krishna rest and he would play guard. Balram was smiling to himself as he watched his beautiful friend sleep when he suddenly heard a sound, “Aaaaaa”.
Startled, he looked around and saw a demon about his height watching him with hungry eyes. Balram was scared and with a quiver in his voice, he asked, “Whhhooo aaarree yooou?” The demon laughed and said, “I am the size of your fear!” As he was saying this, he started growing bigger. Indeed, Balram was petrified. The more afraid he was, the more the demon kept growing. The more the demon grew, the more panicked Balram became. The demon was now towering – almost three times Balram’s size and he couldn’t take it anymore. Screaming, “Krishna!” he fainted.
Krishna woke up and saw Balram next to him. Assuming he was asleep, and it was now his time to watch out, Krishna reached out for his flute and was about to start playing it, when he saw the demon. The demon watched him with hungry eyes. Krishna watched him without much interest. Unable to take such apathy, the demon said, “Don’t you know who I am?” Krishna said, nonchalantly, “Looks like you are going to tell me, in any case!” The demon said, “I am the size of your fear!” Krishna laughed. And the demon started becoming small. The more Krishna chuckled to himself, the tinier and tinier the demon became, until it was the size of a miniature doll. Krishna picked him up and put him in the bag to show Balram.
The next morning when Balram woke up, he told Krishna, “Krishna, Krishna, thank God we are safe! You have no clue what happened to me last night while you were sleeping. A humongous demon came and told me he was the size of my fear!”
Krishna watched his friend with a smile upon his lotus lips, removed the doll from his bag and asked, “Is this the demon?”
Balram was confused and said, “Yes – it looks like him. But he was huge. How did he become so tiny!”
Krishna said, “He looked so huge because he was able to scare you. He was the size of your fear. I couldn’t help but laugh when he tried to scare me, and he kept shrinking. He would have disappeared, but I wanted to show him to you – hence I have kept him!”
Somehow this story always makes me smile. I love listening to it. Especially sitting among hills and seekers in my annual spiritual retreat, it just seems to derive a new meaning. It makes me understand that where Faith exists, fear cannot. Of course, Faith is not that easy to find and even once found, it’s not that easy to depend upon. For sometimes it looks so impossible and you wonder if this five-letter word called Faith can actually carry you.
And yet, it can.
In fact, often, it alone can.
Especially when you have done all you could from your end.
Over the years, I have realized, it is not about who we have faith on – what is important is that we have faith. Just the way the demon grew to the size of Balram’s fear, our object of faith also grows based on the size of our faith. Faith may not happen instantly for everyone – it is a growing into. Experience by experience, it keeps growing stronger and stronger till it reaches a point when with the sheer strength of faith one can move mountains. Literally.
Just the way the room can not be dark and lit at the same time, faith and fear cannot co-exist among us. Faith is tested. It will be validated. But somehow, if we can stand strong, it carries us in the palms of its hands to the destiny awaiting us.
Faith is not for the fainthearted. So beautifully the cricketer Sidhu put it, “The problem with some of us is that we have faith in our doubts and doubt in our faith.” However, things can be turned around.
Considering the situation we are all facing right now – one of the best things we can do is:
- Stop reading unnecessary information. Every time we read a word it creates a cell in our body. Awareness is a must – and this awareness can be gained from a reliable website. The unnecessary forwards, jokes, breaking news (most of which is not even verified) does nothing but create fear.
- Strengthen your immune system. Whether it is nuts, seeds, fruits or juices – build your immune system to such a level that it stands as a strong warrior protecting you.
- Keep the mind relaxed. Dance, music, meditation are all wonderful ways to keep the mind in a state of peace and Silence.
- Think good, feel good, speak good and share only good. It will create a reservoir of positive cells in you.
- Deepen your faith. Believe that you, and everyone around you, deserve only the best of health, deepest of bliss of love and spiritual alignment. Expect good for yourself and others – and that is what we ill collectively attract.
The way fear spreads like a forest fire, so does faith.
It just depends on which of the two you choose to light in your heart.