Why is there fear, anxiety, depression? These are negative emotions we cultivate to deal with the things, people and circumstances of this world. When our ability to control and enjoy is under threat, when the things we love, the people we love, the circumstances we control, when all of it get out of control or actually uncontrollable, we react with fear, anxiety, depression, anger, self pity etc. This is because fundamentally we are taught, trained and brain washed by our parents, the educational system, the media from early childhood that we have full control and ability to manipulate things to achieve success in our area of interest. We are trained to be the ultimate masters and controllers of our life. Therefore when things go out of control beyond our calculations we do not know how to deal with such a change. The Bhagavad Gita, however, teaches the opposite. We are never in control but instead merely cooperators. Please allow me to belabor a little more.
In India especially, I have seen people think they can foresee future and prevent bad things from happening. They will go to astrologers (spend lot of money by the way) and somehow find faults in my astrological chart. Then they will diligently go to the temple (appropriate demigods) to perform necessary rituals to ward off evil. They think if somehow I can spend some more money and satisfy that particular deity, then my son, family and ultimately myself will be in peace and harmony. This strategy is employed right from when the child is born, the child goes to school, then after college for job, then for marriage, then for a grandchild, then for house, then for health...like this the list never ends. The attitude that we can solve our problems by ritualistic atonement and that we can indirectly control our lives is a big big illusion.
In the West people do not necessarily go to demigods but they also do the same by obsessing over science and technology. Fifty years back a child can sit in a car without child car seats and now science suggests that children are at risk of danger without child car seats. It is illegal to drive without it. Science can predict future problems and thus find myriads of solutions if anything would go wrong. The mentality, however, is the same both in the East and West. Somehow by using astrology or modern science I can control my assets, family, and friends and live happily ever after. This mentality, unfortunately, is being bred from the day the child is born.
God or Krishna is teaching us totally the opposite. He says this material world is full of miseries (no reprieve). This material world is so miserable and that everything is simply fleeting with time that it is not possible to be happy in this world. He says that the fundamental nature of misery and temporariness cannot be overcome by any material method or strategy. The only way one can be happy, He says, is if we simply surrender to Him (Krishna). Another glaring truth from the Bhagavad Gita is that Krishna says "I am the Supreme controller" and "Supreme enjoyer" and that everything belongs to "Me (Krishna)". So our ideology that we can control and create our own life is an illusion. Then apparently how is it that we feel we do control and create? After all I cannot become a doctor or engineer or anything if I do not desire, work and spend time on it. How many times have we seen people waste their lives because they are high school dropouts...so surely I am the controller of my own destiny?
Krishna says that the individual living being is strictly controlled by higher powers. He is controlled by his own actions (karma) of the past. He is controlled by time, and ultimately he is controlled directly by the Supersoul Krishna. So merely one's desire and free will on its own does not ensure material fruits, it has to be in harmony with Krishna's plan. In that sense the individual living entity is simply a "cooperator" and not the "ultimate" doer of an action. Therefore it is in our best interest to cooperate and surrender to the will of the Lord and not imagine that the individual has unlimited free will. If that is the case every cricketer should have become like Sachin Tendulkar or every physicist should have attained fame such as Einstein or every politician should have become a Prime minister or President. Why is everyone not destined to reach the highest in their field despite the desire, effort and energy? That is because the individual living being is not the full controller but merely a cooperator. He has very small independence to perform action. He is very much bound within the laws of nature. Everything is purely controlled and ordained by the Supremely Independent will of God.
When we actively cooperate with the will of the Lord and even if something goes wrong we will not react with negative emotions as explained in the beginning but rather we will seek peace in Krishna’s plan. Ultimately when our time on this planet comes to an end we will leave in peace humbly awaiting our next destination.