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I often have anxiety attacks, which I'm under medication for. Do I have to learn to live with fear, even if I worship Krishna?

By Laxmimoni dasi

You should be careful to take your medication on time and regularly. Also, see your doctor regularly to make sure the dosage is correct and doesn't need to be adjusted. If you chant your japa (private mantra meditation) regularly before leaving for work - trying, with great concentration to pray to Krishna for guidance and protection - this may stabilize you even more so that you're stronger when you go to work. Also, reading or listening to lectures before work or on your way to work might also help. The earlier in the day you can hear and chant and the more you can hear and chant before entering the fray of material life, the more likely it will be that you'll be able to overcome anxiety.

Ultimately you have to know that Krishna is in control. The more you accept that, and see both pain and pleasure of this material body as His arrangement for your learning, anxiety will go away more and more. Just as the child feels very safe holding the hand of a strong father, so the jiva (self) feels safe under the protection of Krishna. I would also suggest you learn some Nrsimha mantras (prayers to Lord Nrsimhadeva, Krishna's form as half-man, half-lion)* and chant them regularly as they offer great protection.

Worship is good but surrender is required. Where the mind and heart are fixed that is where the soul goes. If they are fixed on Krishna then you will take shelter there in Him and feel peaceful knowing that Krishna is Bhakta Vatsala, the friend of His devotees. You can worship but your mind and heart may be distracted. The idea of yoga is to control the wandering mind and bring it under the control of the Lord. This is Krishna's instruction and He says that one who surrenders He frees from fear. However, if you worship but your mind and heart are elsewhere, then there may be still some anxiety and fear.

*Some mantras to Lord Nrsimhadeva may be found in the Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila 8.5-6, and in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, 5.18.8