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Unknowingly Making Cowards




Fear is an extremely debilitating ailment. Yet we see this fear vrtti imposed on the minds of our youths through various festivals like Halloween as well as through the mega-pseudo culture industry of Hollywood movies, Disney's Ghost House, scary stories, television programs, video games, and haunted houses etc. These points were discussed in a prior letter - see link below.

Here we must understand however that it is not just the entertainment business and common social festivals that are at fault. That is not the only way that fear is imposed on the impressionable minds of our children. The imposition of fear also comes directly from family members - and this can haunt a child their entire life.



Here is Baba's teaching - the transcription of Baba's actual voice - where He warns how even family members impose a fear complex on young ones. This is from His 01 January 1986 discourse in Kolkata, "Existential Flow & Its Culminating Point".

Ghrna', shaunka', bhaya, aet'a' holo pa'pa, jab tumi jakhan chotto chile, tumi ka'uke ghrna' korte na'. Oi pare toma'r prativeshiira' bandhura' ba'r'iir lokera', toma'ke shikhiye chilo ki, "Aeta korte na'in, aeta ghrnya jinish." To, toma’ke bhaya shikhiye che, lajja' shikhiye che, a'r seit'a shes'a paryanta toma'r rauna [lege] geche. Choto chele du'dha kha'cche na'. Ba'r'iir lokera' bolle, "Oi juju a'che, ta'la ga'che juju a'che, dhare nebe." Tumi jujur bhaye khiye nile du'dha. Ta'r pare, sei tumi jakhane du vatsa'rer na'iny, tumi hoye gele ba'isa vatsa'rer, takhano sei maner jujuta' roye gelo. Kakhano-kakhano svapnetei juju ke dekhbe. Ekla' hote giye jujur bhaya buka kenpe ut'abe. Era holo ki? Na, ca'inpiye deoya ba'ndha'na. Ai, this type of bondage or these bondages are known as pa'shas.

"Hatred, doubt, fear are sin. When you were small, you did not hate anybody. After that your neighbors, friends and family members taught you, "This is what hate is, don't do such a thing." They taught you fear, they taught you shyness, and in the end those interactions stained your mind in that color. The small babe did not want to drink the milk. So in order to get the baby to drink the milk, the family members said, "Look a ghost is on the palm tree - it will come and get you if you do not drink your milk." So you drank the milk out of fear of being caught by the ghost. After many years, when you were no longer two, but became twenty-two years of age, that mental ghost still existed in your mind. From time to time in your dreams you will still see that ghost. In consequence, while remaining in a lonely place your heart will become startled and frozen due to fear of that ghost. What is this? Imposed bondage. This type of bondage or these bondages are known as pa'shas." (Existential Flow & Its Culminating Point)


And verily throughout His discourses, Baba discusses and points out examples where families and caretakers use a fear complex as a means to control or discipline children. Here are some similar examples:

[A] If the kids are playing and making too much noise when it is their bed time, then a parent or caretaker may say, "If you do not go to sleep this instant, then monsters will come and attack you."

[B] Or they may say, "Naughty children are bound to get eaten by goblins."

[C] Some even exclaim, "If you do not behave, Satan will punish you forever."

[D] Various adult family members may tell children that, "Ghosts will come and strangle you if you do not sit still."

[E] Plus, if a child is not eating its meal, then the grandmother may try to instill fear in that child's mind. The grandma terrorizes the child by saying, "If you do not eat your meal, then a ghost will come and swallow you. So sit down and eat and do not run around."

Tragically, this type of talk by a grandma, parent, or caretaker terrifies the child - to the very bone. The child's mind becomes weak, fragile, and filled with the notion of their impending doom. The child thinks that at any moment they will be attacked by a goblin.


For adults, such statements are not scary; but for the child, they are absolutely frightening. Because the child does not have experience in the world. What they are told by their parents, care-takers, and guardians, they take to be real. In that case, the child becomes truly terrified when told that they will be eaten by ghosts, or that when the lights get turned off then monsters will attack them etc. 

Even worse, the fear does not begin and end there - it lingers and festers in the child's mind for years and years. Even when that child grows to 22 years of age or even 78 years of age, they still have nightmares about a goblin coming and sitting on his chest. Baba explains this clearly in His discourse.


To some or more degree, such imposed fear complexes are used in countless families around the world. It is a misguided parenting technique that is commonly employed, unfortunately. Think back to your own childhoods and see if you remember being told such events.

Why is this tactic used so pervasively from one land to the next? Because the parent or caregiver naively thinks that the problem is solved - that they got an easy fix. They think that the child has started to behave properly or that the child stopped making noise. So the parent thinks that the fear technique is a veritable method for disciplining a child and restoring order.

However, this is a very harmful approach. Both the short & long-term effects are disastrous. There is a breach of trust and even more than that the child's mind is immediately and permanently scarred by that fear. It cannot be removed easily. That fear literlly paralyzes them in that very moment. But it does not stop at that point. Rather, that very fear hauntingly sits in the child's mind for ages, and may even carry over into their next life. That is the depth to which the imposed fear invades their psyche.

So such unfounded fears that get imposed on a child's mind ruin the child's peace of mind in the present and become psychic baggage for the long haul.

Indeed, the consequences of terrifying the child in this way are ghastly. This is the wrong way to discipline a child. Yet certain parents and guardians repeat such threat again and again, thereby cementing the fear in the mind of the child and ultimately crippling them.


Bhaya, or fear, is one of the four basic propensities - along with sleep (nidra), food (ahara), and procreation (maethuna) - of each and every human being. This sense of fear is actually a survival instinct. Animals have it; humans have it. So we already have a sense of fear built into our human personality.

But that innate sense of fear is based on reality - i.e. physical fear. Animals are fearful of their predators so they run away for safety. The fear is real and that fear preserves their existence.

Here the point is that the fundamental fear vrtti is already part of our constitution - it is a base instinct, not something noble or divine. But, at least, it is based on reality, i.e. physically dangerous situations. That helps prevent people from getting hurt etc.

In contrast, fears imposed on the human psyche are just a burden, i.e. imposed samskaras. Those multiply as people harbour those fears. As children, so many false or imaginary fears are imposed in the psychic realm. As those fears mount they severely shackle and even cripple the person.

As aspirants, we are to ultimately overcome all such fears, and aim all our psychic momentum unto Him. So these fear can be eliminated through deep, devotional sadhana.


Here below Baba further explains the nature of this phenomenon.

"You are the witnessing entity, you are the seer of the ghost, and a certain compartment of your mind went outside as an external projection and took the form of the ghost, that is, the very structure of the ghost is ectoplasmic in nature and that ectoplasm came from your source. You are the creator of that ghost. Actually there is no ghost. But you will see many a respectable man who will say, “Yes, I have seen it! Yes, I have seen it!” He is not incorrect in saying this. He saw it, but the ghost was of his creation. It was an outer or external objective reflection, or external objective projection, or external positive hallucination." (Ananda Vacanamrtam-12)

"Suppose in daytime you are in a lonely place. It may or may not be a lonely place. Suppose in daytime you are alone in a big house, and some people told you that there is a ghost – “Ghost, ghost, ghost.” You heard it. The acoustic wave touched your mind, touched the subconscious portion of your mind, and after that you are told, “You know, Mr. X, there is a ghost in this house.” And you are Mr. X. “There is a ghost in this house.” All the nerve fibres fail to function. What will happen then? Just touch the conscious level of your mind, and as an extro-objective creation, as an external reflection of your very ectoplasmic stuff, you will see a ghost. And what sort of ghost will you see? The description of a ghost that you read in your books or you heard from your granny, “A ghost is like this.” In broad daylight you will see the ghost." (Ananda Vacanamrtam-12)

So the human mind is very fragile and subject to all kinds of fears - even false ones that we hear in the form of ghost stories, etc.

No one should take this point lightly and think that scaring children is just one momentary incident. Any and all fear has a huge impact on their psyche. They will be terrified in that very moment and compromised even crippled for life. We should all pay heed. That is Baba's warning.


What people may not realise is that when they impose a fear complex on a child, then they are multiplying the fear vrtti itself.

"The human propensities that operate in the mundane sphere are five in number: áhár [food], nidrá [sleep], bhaya [fear], maethuna [begetting progeny] and dharma sádhaná [spiritual practice]. Of these five, only the first four play a part in the lives of animals. The peculiar nature of these five propensities is this: if they are given indulgence, they increase. And they easily come under control with a slight effort; only in the initial stage, one must struggle a little to control them." (Namah Shivaya Shantaya, Shiva's Teachings – 2 (continued) (Discourse 16))

Thus, by encouraging fear in the young child, then that very fear vrtti gets stimulated and can consume a child's entire existence. It will crop up in all kinds of ways, in countless situations. Because already on a regular basis the child is disciplined via the imposition of a fear complex. As that complex gets reinforced again and again, it takes up permanent residence in the mind of the child - and grows. It erodes the child's existence in all aspect of life.

The child fearfully thinks, "I can't do that", "If I turn my back I will be attacked, "Ghosts will get me", "I will be swallowed up in the darkness", "Making a class presentation is too scary", "I cannot go to that job interview", etc etc. The child will literally be stricken with fear in all kinds of situations - from the fear of the dark to the fear of the unknown.

It is just like if a banyan tree is allowed to grow inside the courtyard of a mansion, then one day that tree will become so huge it will destroy the mansion itself. Same is the case with harmful vrttis like fear. If encouraged and given scope to grow, they will devour the entire human personality.

The end result is that instead of raising a fearless child that is ready to stand up to all kinds of difficulties, one raises a coward that is scared - nay terrified - in every aspect and encounter of life.



Baba has graciously given us - at minimum - two pathways for creating and cultivating a fearless mind-set.

1) We must not pollute the minds of children by imposing fear sentiments.

"It is important that these lullabys should convey the inspiration for the development of heroism and knowledge, but there should be no frightening ideas in them." (Prout in a Nutshell-10)

Thus our stories, films, festivals, disciplinary tactics, tales, holidays should be completely devoid of scary thoughts and images. Children should feel safe, secure, and loved - never burdened by any imposed or false fear.

That is the first method for raising a healthy child.

2) The second method is to read Baba's short stories wherein He has graciously written various ghost stories where those ghosts are friendly and helpful. Sometimes the ghost sweetly drapes a mosquito net over a sleeping person so that they will be more comfortable. Or the ghost will bring a glass of water or offer shelter to a needy person. Basically, in so many of His stories, ghosts and other creatures are quite friendly and philanthropic. This helps create a positive mind-set wherein one will not fall prey to dogmatic fears about ghosts. Today's filmmakers and story writers should also follow this path.

This is a second method for raising children free of fear complexes.


We should be 100% wary of introducing false fears into the mind-set of our children. Thus we must re-evaluate occasions like Halloween and other fear-based festivals, and we must be vigilant not to let our children be adversely affected by the entertainment industry which makes billions of dollars by scaring children etc. Also of critical importance is that we must ensure that our children are never exposed to fear tactics as a form of discipline. With the gift of a safe and happy childhood, that young one will grow up and live a courageous and dharmic life.

"One must move along the path of satya and one must have the satya as one’s only desideratum. And this is the only path, this is the path of fearlessness; that is, there is no fear in it, nothing to be afraid of." (Ananda Vacanamrtam - 2)



The fear that grips animals is physical fear, not psychic fear. They do no suffer from nightmares or hallucinations, nor are they fearful about what will happen tomorrow etc. They are fearful for their life when confronted by predators etc. That is their fear.

Humans also harbour fears as survival instincts. "I am too scared to jump off of this bridge"; "I am scared and do not want to grab the snake; "I am too scared to walk into the fire." These types of fears are ones we are born with as the are related with our very existence. Such as if an elephant is running towards you then you will run away to save your life.

In contrast, unlike animals, humans suffer from a multitude of psychic fears that are imposed. These fears do not protect one's existence but rather hinder one's growth. That is why imposed fears are a bondage as they shackle the psyche. Such fears include the fear of ghosts, goblins, fear of the future, fear of losing friends, fear of failure etc. People suffer from so many psychic fears that are imposed. And that is what this entire letter is about.


Prabhat Samgiita

"Tumi bhul pathe cale esecho..." (P.S. 2007)


O' Parama Purusa, by mistake, anyhow You have lost the path and come to my home. I do not believe in fate or fortune. And this I also know: That I do not have any wealth or virtue. Your auspicious arrival is simply due to Your grace. You graced me by coming to my home - Your arrival has nothing to do with my quality.

O' Parama Purusa, You have come here to change the burning desert into greenery. You have come to revitalise dried-up, half-dead plants and transform them into blossoming flowers and luscious fruits. O' my Lord, with Your arrival, everyone has gotten new life. Those who were depressed and hopeless, You graciously brought a smile to their face and placed a song in their throat. By this way, You decorated them with a garland of jewels.

Baba, now I understand that only You are mine; I do not have anyone else. Except You, there is none that I can say is mine. What I have and what belongs to me, everything is Your causeless grace. I think You thought all these things and You deliberately made a mistake in order to come here to my little hut. You made this mistake knowingly and with full awareness.

Baba, You have come to my place; You have graced me. It is due to nothing else than Your causeless grace that You have come...

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