Psychology of Hiranyaksa

Hiranyaksa means one who has his eyes always on gold! What a name.

Many years ago when I first joined the movement I would feel a definite antipathy towards persons like Hiranyaksa. Now I feel quite different (hopefully I have not become a demon!). When I read about Hiranyaksa and his ilk I feel sorry for how they are suffering due to their great desires/needs. So what we did today in class is to analyze the needs that Hiranyaksa had that caused him to have such emotional outbursts against God. These emotional outbursts were actually unfortunate expressions of his unmet needs.

What were Hiranyaksa’s needs? He needed autonomy for example. What he did not realize was that in this material world the spirit soul can never really fulfill its need for autonomy as it is controlled at every step by the three modes of material nature. The Gita teaches us this (Gita 3.5).

The soul can never have absolute autonomy since the only autonomous person is Krishna (and even He is controlled by Radha’s love). Krishna is Svarat or independent, whereas we are dependent.

But the need for autonomy is there in all of us and is a natural need; not something that we should suppress. This need can be expressed in the proper way in the spiritual realm where we get the opportunity to serve Krishna out of love.

So in other word the need for autonomy is not bad, it is just that we should understand how to properly fulfill it. Hiranyaksa’s problem was that he did not understand how to fulfill that need.

Similarly with other needs; such as the need for love, nurturance, play, celebration, integrity, interdependence, spirituality, etc., we simply should learn how to properly satisfy these needs in Krishna consciousness, otherwise they will remain unsatisfied (burning like fire) and we will continually be experiencing unpleasant emotions such as anger, confusion, hopelessness, loneliness, envy, etc. Therefore when we have some negative feelings, we should not try to suppress or repress these feelings.

By suppression or repression the feelings either become more pronounced our come out in some other way (sublimation) that cause more pain.

We should become more aware of the negative feelings when they rise to the surface and trace out what unfulfilled need we have that is the cause of those feelings. Then we can focus that need in a Krishna conscious way, and the negative feeling will be replaced with a positive feeling of confidence, joyousness, optimism, etc. And when we hear of someone else having negative feelings we will understand how to help them understand the source of those feelings (unmet needs) and how to meet their needs properly.

Pure Krishna consciousness is a celebration at every minute. It is as Srila Prabhupada said a vacation for the soul-real play.

By presenting Krishna consciousness without any ulterior motive we can exhibit true integrity. By living in a society of advanced Vaisnavas we can rejoice in interdependence (notice I did not say dependence) as we experience appreciation, consideration, empathy, etc.

By taking shelter of Krishna all of our physical and spiritual needs will be taken care of by the Lord. By acting in harmony with the desires of Krishna we can experience real spiritual communion; of the soul. What other needs can one have?