JAGAD GURU: We’re going to have a test here. I have a question for all of you in the audience. The question is: What is it that people fear most?


JAGAD GURU: People certainly fear death but in a sense people fear something else even more than death. What is it?

AUDIENCE: Being alone.

JAGAD GURU: That is certainly a great fear. It is very difficult to say which people fear most because once a person is in a condition of fear then it strikes him from different points. The fear of being alone and the fear of death, for example, is really the same fear. Let’s modify the question. Instead of people replying to what people fear the most, just give examples of things people fear.

AUDIENCE: Looking stupid.

JAGAD GURU: That's true. That's the reason we're afraid to raise our hands in school or speak up in a public discussion. We're afraid to say anything because people might think we're looking or sounding stupid. Yes, that is certainly a great fear. And with what is that connected?

AUDIENCE: Afraid of not being loved.

JAGAD GURU: Yes, it’s connected with being afraid of looking odd or stupid. Some people think, “Oh, I've got big ears and a big nose. People think I’m stupid.”

Due to this fear, people get plastic surgery. They're afraid of looking odd, afraid that someone will say something about how their body looks weird or strange. Some people, especially those in Hollywood, get plastic surgery because their self-esteem or self-value is based completely upon how their body looks. They want to be adored. They want people to think they're really beautiful and wonderful. Even rock stars like the Rolling Stones can't stop when they're past their prime. Why can't they stop? The reason is that they love being in front of all these people and having them go, "We love you." They enjoy it. They hang on even if some people are now making jokes about them being such old rock stars. It's come to the point that their bass player has his false teeth falling out while they're on stage. Yes, this situation is fearful for these people.

AUDIENCE: How about losing someone you love?

JAGAD GURU: Yes, this is a great fear.

AUDIENCE: I'm a businessman and I would say that losing possessions or money is a great fear.

JAGAD GURU: Yes, people in your field would consider that a great fear. Any other answers?

AUDIENCE: Losing control.

JAGAD GURU: (Laughing) Naturally, for a secretary such as yourself, that would be a great fear. If we had a cook in here, she'd answer, "Things burning!"

When I asked the question, I didn't know our discussion was going to go in this direction. We'll just have to see where it goes from here.