Fear is due to Forgetfulness of the Lord

Prahlada was never at any time in forgetfulness of the Lord. So, he was not at all afraid of the fearsome form of Lord Narasimha.

Lord Narasimha

Lecture by Sri Stoka Krishna Dasa

yasma adad udadhir udha-bhayanga-vepo
margam sapady ari-puram haravad didhaksoh
dure suhrn-mathita-rosa-susona-drstya

The Personality of Godhead Ramachandra, being aggrieved for His distant intimate friend [Sita], glanced over the city of the enemy Ravana with red-hot eyes like those of Hara [who wanted to burn the kingdom of heaven]. The great ocean, trembling in fear, gave Him His way because its family members, the aquatics like the sharks, snakes and crocodiles, were being burnt by the heat of the angry red-hot eyes of the Lord.

– Srimad Bhagavatam – 2.7.24

This is a verse spoken by Lord Brahma to Narada while describing the pastimes of the Supreme Lord in His various incarnations. The Lord is full of transcendental qualities and even the quality of anger is present. There is qualitative and quantitative difference in this anger. Spiritual anger is beneficial for the person against whom the Lord becomes angry with and quantitatively we cannot compare the exhibition of the Lord’s anger, which simply by His glancing, the whole ocean became so hot that all the aquatics were being burnt by the angry red-hot eyes of the Supreme Lord.

The Lord, when He appears in a form which resembles the material, it is not a material form. The shastras describe this form as completely transcendental. The spiritual nature of such qualities is described in the scriptures. The mayavadis theorize that Absolute Truth is negating all material qualities. Yes, the Absolute Truth does not have any material qualities but when they try to negate the material qualities of anger or lust, etc. they come to the wrong conclusion that there cannot be any anger in the supreme and therefore they cannot reconcile with the fact that the Supreme Absolute Truth appearing as an incarnation exhibited anger.

Lord Narasimha exhibited so much anger even after killing Hiranyakashipu and his demoniac associates. When He sat on the throne of Hiranyakashipu, all the demi gods were afraid to go near the Lord to offer Him prayers. Even His consort Lakshmi Devi did not go near the Lord to pacify Him. Lord Brahma then noticed that Prahlada who was standing near the Lord was completely fearless, so he asked him to go and pacify the Lord. Prahlada was fearless, because he was always remembering the Lord, and situated in Krishna consciousness.

Jayadeva Goswami says that tava kara kamala vare nakham adbhuta srngam – Narasimha deva exhibited extraordinary beauty adbhuta srngam – the very same hands with which He killed Hiranyakashipu, He placed on the head of Prahlada Maharaj assuring him of all protection. Devotees worship Ugra Narasimha – the form of the Lord in His angry feature. He is not fearsome for the devotees; He is fearsome only for the demons. Sridhara Swami, the original commentator on the Bhagavatam says just like a lioness is very ferocious and all other animals are afraid of her, but her young ones are never afraid of her. It means that if somebody is not situated in Krishna consciousness then there is every possibility of fear from any source.

The Bhagavatam says bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad apetasya viparyayo ‘smrtih, bhaya – fear is only due to forgetfulness of the Lord. He is placed in the second energy; the Lord has got two primary energies, spiritual and material. In our normal condition we are under the protection of the spiritual potency but when one is placed in the material potency, immediately there is fear. When a person becomes a devotee, he is no longer under the influence of the external potency, he is placed under the shelter of the internal potency of the Lord where there is no fear. Similarly, when devotees exhibit anger it is not material, just like Narada muni, he became angry against Nala Kuvara and Manigriva and cursed them to become trees, but the result of that curse was these two demi gods were blessed to have darshan of the Supreme Lord as Bala Gopal in Vrindavan and they were delivered by Him. Therefore, we should conclude that Narada muni becoming angry against Nala Kuvara and Manigriva is spiritual and not material anger.


This anger exhibited by pure devotees is also transcendental, it is not material. The point Prabhupada is making here is that the spirit is not devoid of spiritual qualities, ultimately we are all persons, the Supreme Absolute Truth is the supreme person, we are all individual persons but there is a difference in quantity. We are tiny; the Supreme Lord is unlimited in wealth, knowledge, anger.

None of the demi gods can exhibit anger like Lord Ramachandra exhibited. He built a bridge across the Indian Ocean by floating some stones. The monkeys were asked to simply throw boulders into the ocean. Normally a huge boulder will sink in the ocean but Lord Rama made it float by His potency.

Whenever the Lord appears, He exhibits certain qualities which may help us understand that He is the Supreme Lord and not simply another powerful human being or demi god. Therefore, the Upanishads say nityo nityanam – the Supreme Absolute Truth is the chief eternal amongst all other eternals. cetanas cetananam He is the supreme conscious personality among all other conscious personalities but the difference is eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman He is the one Supreme Lord who is the maintainer of all other eternals.

That difference always exists between the Supreme Lord and the human beings, even though qualitatively we are equal, quantitatively we are very tiny and the Supreme Lord is unlimitedly great and eternally exists even after liberation. The mayavadis say – maybe there is some difference in the conditioned stage but after liberation we become equal. No! Even after liberation the living entity remains limited and the Lord is always unlimited.

(The above transcripts have been edited for better readability. However, they have not been verified and confirmed by the original speaker.)

Sri Stoka Krishna Dasa is a full-time missionary with ISKCON since 1989. He is presently the Governing Body Commissioner – ISKCON Bangalore Group of Temples and Treasurer & Governing Council Member, ISKCON Bangalore Society.

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