The cultural traditions that originated in India motivate people to seek refuge or shelter at the Feet of the Lord by evoking a sense of fear and this fear is described as the fear of ” SAMSARA.” Samsara or Bhava describes the viewpoint about the human condition and deals with the problems of human existence. It contributes to a sense of apprehension and anxiety and the attitude it generates is one of intense fear and helplessness.
In one great leap of faith, Lord Hanuman jumps over the sea with utmost ease, whereas crossing the sea evokes only a sense of fear in my heart. I derive some hope from the legend about the land bridge (SETU) built by the army of monkeys.The Sea God promised them that the rocks and boulders used for the construction of the bridge will be held in place and stay afloat. He did that to please Lord Rama. During my perilous journey across the ocean of SAMSARA, I use the name “RAMA” to remain afloat and live with a sense of hope that I will reach the shore even if I am not sure of its direction.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” says the Holy Bible, The Book of Proverbs, Chapter1, verse 7.
For the religious traditions that originated outside of India such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the fear of the Lord could be a primary motivating factor to seek the worship of the Lord. On the contrary, the religious traditions that originated in the Land of India, do not encourage their adherents to entertain any such fear of the Lord. In the Indian traditions, the Lord or the Deity that Indians choose to worship would receive them with a sign that proclaims ” BE FEARLESS.” The Lord reassures them with a sign that is popularly described as ABHAYA HASTA or ABHAYA MUDRA. In Indian literature, countless number of images, idols, paintings and drawings, there are invariable references to a consistent message of ABHAYA and naturally Indians are less concerned with ” The Fear of the Lord.”
Samsara portrays the picture of life’s journey as a tedious,difficult and challenging swim across an unknown,uncharted and treacherous ocean.
Samsara is also depicted as a serious disease entity afflicting a person’s health and is referred to as ” BHAVA ROGA “.Others view Samsara as existence in a bottomless deep pit(“AGHADA”)or that of being trapped in a deep well from where an escape would not be easy.The fear of Samsara/Bhava,the human condition,has nothing to do with physical courage.The powerful idea of Samsara inspires a sense of fear in the hearts of even the most courageous of all people.Cultural traditions that have their roots in the other parts of this planet may not be aware of this kind of fear and hence the fear of Samsara could be viewed as a feature that defines and molds the Indian Identity.Indians chant the Lord’s name as a medicine to cure this terrible disease and they seek Lord’s protection to reach the shore and complete the journey across the ocean.There are numerous references in Indian literature and some verses could be quoted to illustrate the point.
1.SRI RAMA MANTRAM:
Samsara sagara bahaya paha viswa mantram
Saksham Mumukshu jana sevita siddhi mantram
Saranga hasta mukha hasta nivasa mantram
Kaivalya mantra manesam bhaja Rama mantram.
This verse would banish the fear generated by the ocean like Samsara.
The prayer would destroy the fear of bhava/Samsara.
3.THE PRAYER TO LORD LAKSHMI NARASIMHA SWAMY:
Samsara koopa mati ghoramaghadha mulam,
Samprapya dukha sata sarpa samaa kulasya
Deenasya Deva krupayaa saranaagatasya
Lakshmi Nrusimha mama dehi karavalambam.
The verse pleads the Lord to extend His hand and physically lift the worshiper from the horrible bottomless well of Samsara.
4.THE PRAYER TO LORD SHIVA:
Praatarnamaami girisam girijaardha deham
Sarga sthiti pralaya kaarana maadi Devam
Visweswaram vijita viswa manobhiraamam
Samsara roga hara oushadha madviteeyam.
The verse describes Lord Shiva as the root cause of creation,sustenance and eventual destruction and the Lord’s name is the matchless medicine to wipe out the disease of Samsara.
5. A PRAYER FROM BHAJA GOVINDAM:
Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam
Punarapi jananee jatare sayanam
Eha samsaare bahu dustaare
Krupaya paare pahi Murare.
This verse seeks the compassion of Vishnu to reach the shore and to get over the problem of this difficult existence which involves repeated cycles of birth, death and rebirth.
6.KALI KALMASHA NAASANA MAHA MANTRAM:
Hare Rama Hare Rama-Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna-Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
This Mantra is composed with sixteen words and hence is also known as Shodasa Nama Maha Mantram. Amongst all Vedas, there is no better device than this Mantra to seek deliverance from the trappings of Samsara.The following verse from Kali Samtaranopanishad proves the efficacy of this Mantra.
EtiShodasha Naamnam, Kali kalmasha nasanam; NaaTha parataropayaH, Sarva Vedeshu drusyatey.
Human existence is beset with countless uncertainties and difficulties which may arrive without any prior warning from different directions in an unpredictable manner. It is rational to approach life with a sense of apprehension and seek the help of the Lord who graciously held His right hand in a show of compassion and receives with a greeting of “ABHAYA” and is willing to banish the fear of Samsara.