Why Was Arjuna Scared in Seeing Krishna’s Cosmic Form, if the Ultimate Reality Is Blissful?

Question

The ultimate reality is described as enormous joy, so why did Arjuna get scared so much with Krishna’s cosmic form? He begged Krishna to stop that experience. Is that cosmic form different from Christ Consciousness? And, by the way, how should we understand the much advertised idea of the "fear of God"?

—Tom, Poland

Answer

Dear Tom,

The ultimate Reality is indeed pure joy, sat-chid-ananda (existence-consciousness-bliss), so the great Masters say. But to get there is quite scary. It takes a hero to leave one’s accustomed identification with a body and personality, and enter into omnipresence. Yogananda in his Autobiography of a Yogi even described it as “the liberating shock of omnipresence.”

Even not to feel your your body in meditation can be very scary. It takes getting used to. It is like a bird, Yogananda explained, which was caged for years. When you open the door it hops out, but it immediately hops back into the safe cage. Flying would be so joyful, yet it is scared. But in time the bird gets used to exiting and finally flies.

So Arjuna saw the formless form of Krishna, which is the same as the Christ Consciousness, but he got scared: “Let me see your dear form again.”

The “fear of God,” if it refers to the fear described above, is normal. If, however, it refers to the fear of a revengeful and condemning God, it is the result of a wrong and bad teaching. God loves. All His children will find freedom and salvation. We only have to be afraid of ourselves, of our bad tendencies, which alone are responsible for our future “hells” — not any rage of God which we need to fear.

All the best,
jayadev