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Vedic Approach to Identifying, Conquering and Transcending Fear: Bhayam, Abhayam & Nirbhayam

Fear is natural. But just because it is natural does not mean it is essential for living. We fear things we do not understand. What we cannot understand we must try to understand. We can never fear the known – fear is always about the unknown.

Fear is an emotion. It is born of the mind owing to various circumstances; it often leads us to miserable conditions. Nobody has ever suffered for the want of fear. If you care to disagree, or desire to suggest that “certain fears are good,” then probably you are confusing a Threat with the Fear.

 

Threat is real. There is no refuting threat. Any being refusing the existence of the threat is equally ignorant as a person claiming the “necessity” of the fear.

 

The Vedic texts, particularly the Artha Shastra clearly states that “Fear is the sign of Ignorance,” and, also, that “A leader with fear is bound to self-destruct whereas a Leader without fear is bound overcome all challenges.”

 

In the Vedic approach to Politics or Rajaneeti the fear is recommended as the tool for making people abide by the law of the land. But a ruler is asked to “transcend all fears before even desiring position of power.”

 

The power is defined as Shakti in Artha Shastra. A person deserving of power is called Shakta. According to Shukracharya in Shukra Neeti “A person with fear is Ashakta (i.e. a person undeserving of power.)”

 

Bharadwaja, one of the pioneers of Kootaneeti explains “A Shakti can be attained and retained only through Samarthya (qualities of deservingness).” Samarthya is a Vedic Sanskrit word made of two words, namely Sama or Balanced and Artha or Meaningful Wealth. The Artha is made possible primarily by two Gyana or Knowledge and Vigyana or Wisdom.

 

According to Bhartrihari it is extremely easy to spot a person without Knowledge and Wisdom. “A person without knowledge and wisdom,” he declares, “is ever fearful.” He even suggests “It is owing to fear that people generate lust, anger, greed, infatuation, ego and envy. Therefore, a person who is unable to check these Arishadvargas (or six detrimental qualities) are Ashaktas or Undeserving of Power.

 

Given these depths of wisdom on Bhayam or Fear, how are we to conquer or even transcend fear? Is it even possible?

 

Fear is natural. But just because it is natural does not mean it is essential for living. We fear things we do not understand. What we cannot understand we must try to understand. We can never fear the known – fear is always about the unknown.

 

If you think you fear a person even though you know that person, think again. You fear that person because you consider that person to possess some power to hurt you, but you do not understand as to how to get back at that person. If you know a person inside out, you will certain not fear him. The beauty of nature is such that it creates everything with set strengths and weaknesses. Knowledge helps us to understand that.

 

Our fear is not about others strength but always owing to our weaknesses. Our ignorance is our greatest weakness. Ignorance is never a bliss. Ignorance is always at the root of fear. Fear is always at the root of our ill-conceived action.

 

Let consider the ongoing global economic crisis resulting from the pandemic. A great many people are losing jobs, entrepreneurs are struggling to keep their companies afloat, politicians are scrambling to hold on to power, financial institutions are ailing to reduce their burden and billionaires are trying to hold on to their billions. Amid this chaos we are seeing only two sorts of predictable responses, namely: Fight or Flight.

 

While some companies are playing in for a publicity or propaganda stunt others are finding a quick exit route. They are either trying to repay the debt by raising more debt or they are trying to salvage the situation. Individuals too are no different, they are either trying to restructure their existing debts or are trying to sell off and try to save whatever they can. Neither responses are wise – although they may or may not have the desired effect.

 

Any person understanding economy would know that, like life, economy too is cyclic. When the economy is in the upward trend – our focus must be not just on making profits but also to save for the rainy day. So that when the economy is on downward trend, we can weather the storm.

 

Instead, to seek misinformation and disinformation as a tool for misguiding lenders and investors will seldom help in the long run. People do not like to be misguided or misinformed. When we do in the hope to find a quick solution we often leave a lasting dent.

 

Fear of losing is the silliest of all fears. If you look at it closely nothing in this life is yours for ever. And obsessing with objects and letting your emotions to overwhelm you is a sign of ignorance which make us to do more dreadful things. It is owing to this approach that we often end up worsening or adding to our existing problems while solving the problems.

 

The true knowledge and wisdom will teach us that wealth happens because of value creation. Value is created through channelized efforts and sustained when it is driven by knowledge and wisdom. Product or service is a direct result of efforts. But efforts without thoughts creates chaos. And thoughts without efforts is a delusion.

 

When we are driven by debt; we completely stop thinking about value creation and forget about existing true value. We either underrate or exaggerate the existing value. As a result, we lose focus and have misplaced priorities. We try to repay a debt by incurring more debts. It is like curing an ailment with another ailment. While the ailment goes the pain remains.

 

Whenever there is a financial debt – know for sure that you were able to raise that debt owing to some presumed value. Revisit that value and rework on it. If it has lost value, see how you can increase its value. You do not have to win a debt situation; sometimes you can simply find a way to survive it for some time before you can thrive. Living one day at a time by focusing every possible energy in your body and mind on value will yield better results than worrying about the consequence of not getting out of the situation.

 

In simple if you are fearing or giving haplessly into fear – you are simply doing the wrong thing. Stop fearing. As Parashara suggests “Relinquishing Chinta (worry) and embracing Chintan (retrospection) is the first step to Paramartha (attaining greater wealth.)”

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