This happened several years ago. After a holy dip in the Ganges, I was meditating on its shore at Haridwar, when I noticed two kids playing in the waters. They were not alone .There were several others taking bath and the kids’ parents also would have been there. Notwithstanding, a strange fear got into my mind that the KIDS MIGHT BE WASHED AWAY by the swirling waters of the river. My meditation got disturbed and more and more I concentrated on the flowing river and the playful kids, my only prayer was that nothing should happen to them and they should  return to the shore safely.

My next place of visit was Kasi and the fear followed me there also and instead of concentrating on Baba Viswanath and allowing my mind to melt in the soul stirring sounds of the gongs, conch and bells accompanying the harti, my mind was wandering on the banks  of the Ganges at Haridwar worrying about the fate of the kids. From Varanasi, I proceed to Gaya and other places, but everywhere, the turbulent mind  was occupied exclusively by the  Haridwar kids leaving no space for other thoughts. The well planned pilgrimage, several months in advance, was thus ruined.

Now, sitting before my desk top in the study at my son’s house at Baltimore, when everyone at home is in sound sleep, my trip down memory lane  is marked with several such uncalled for agonies. As a kid, I used to pray that my father should not be bitten by snake or struck by lightning, when he returns from our agricultural land, long after dusk. But such fear never entered my mind, when I used to walk across the paddy fields, holding his hand, to watch Kathakali dance at the Kallyikulangara temple, which commences late night. I thought that my father was safe, when I accompanied him!

The Haridwar kids would have been, perhaps, good swimmers,and their parents would have been there to take care of them. Being a non-swimmer myself, I would have been of little help to them and my anxiety was therefore unwarranted.  The Ganges have been flowing for centuries and  several kids would have played in the waters and some of them, unfortunately ,would have been even washed off!. The Holy river will continue to flow for several more years( let us hope and pray that her cruel sons do not choke her to death), and I am not going to stand eternally on the banks of the river!

My pacing up and down the foyer of the maternity ward where my wife was admitted for delivery, packed with fear and worry, was absolutely unnecessary. So was my sorrowful wait in front of the gate of my son’s examination hall.In both  these cases and several such others, even the access  to the  areas was denied  or unavailable to me.  would I have have been able to deliver the baby on behalf of my wife or write the examination on behalf of my son, had I been given the permission? Impossible. Then why did I make my life miserable,  gripped  by fear and  robbed  of  my reason?

Fear in any form, is an enemy. When fear enters in the space between husband and wife, father and son, employer and employee,  it destroys the uniting thread and burns the parties too.

The most unreasonable fear is that of God and Death. God is the ocean of love and compassion and to fear Him is to go away from Him. Death is the only assured event in our life after birth and fear of the death is to invite it nearer and to kill the joy of the remaining part of our journey.

J. Krishnamurti said, ” the mind creates the problem , and then becomes the soil in which they take root; and once the problem is well  established in the mind it is very difficult to uproot it. What is essential is for the mind itself to see the problem and  NOT to give it the soil to grow.”

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