Fear is one of the cardinal emotions that result from the play of certain forces in the human personality. Our emotional nature is not our Self. I was amused to read in a Phrenological magazine various remarks from certain learned Westerners on the nature and attributes of the Soul. The question was “What is the Soul?” One of the writers insisted upon having this theory accepted by his readers: that the soul has its seat in the organs of Philoprogenitiveness and Friendship. Another one defines these two words as (1) Parental Love and (2) Sociability and Union of Friends. To my readers the fallacy of their statements ought to be quite plain. Our emotions, Love (in the lower phases), Hate, Anger, Fear, etc., bear a direct relation to the external world. When the Intellect dwells upon a desire with a view to externalise or realise the latter, emotion results. It is thus the reaction of the Ego upon sense-impressions received from the objective universe. They have a purely physio-psychological origin and must not be confused with our Soul-processes which are due to
the Divine Urge from within, ever impelling the Spirit to express itself upon matter through more and more improved types of personality. Stop right now and understand: Your mission was to energise upon matter, to be master and not slaves. But instead of setting about your business like a master you took hold of the wrong end of the stick and became attached, nay, identified yourself with your forms. This is the supreme tragedy of Maya: Man forgot himself.
What was the result? Ignorance;—and that developed fear. Just view yourself from a physical standpoint. What are you? Are you any more than a geometrical point, a mere human atom in a sea of tremendous forces that could crush you—the form of flesh—in no time. There are monsters—seismic disturbances, cataclysms, earthquakes, famines, gravity, lightning and what not! I need hardly mention the Halley’s comet scare to illustrate my point. There is no escaping it that way. Consider yourself as a sack of blood, bone, muscle, cell-stuff and nerve force and you are eternally damned.
No, the remedy lies the other way. That remedy is a sovereign remedy. You must give up your life, if you are to live truly. Sri Krishna taught it in the Gita. He called it Vairagya: Dispassion: Non-attachment: Renunciation. Here is the antidote. Open your Gita and read, “Weapons pierce not the Real Man nor doth the fire burn him; the water affecteth him not; nor the wind drieth him, nor bloweth him away. For he is impregnable and impervious to these things of change—he is eternal, permanent, unchangeable and unalterable—and Real.”
You must understand your own nature, if you are to be Fearless. How? You will at once ask me that question. My answer is: Learn to draw inwards and upwards. The lower mind ever darts outwards. This is the sense-born brain that you read of in Western works on Psychology generally. It rests on sensation. It is enthralled by the limitations of temperament, heredity, environment, and the sheaths and clogs of organization. It can only function on the plane of Instinctivity. The way to conquer this mind was pointed out in the Gita when Arjuna complained that it was impetuous, hard to crib as the wind, ever moving outwards, ever restless. The warrior prince was famed for his prowess; had faced strong foes and vanquished them; yet even he cowered before the impetuous rush of this mind; even he broke down in despair. Why not?
Look at the so-called great men of modern times. How full of pride and approach-me-at-your-peril sort of hauteur they are! Just watch them when their “material” or “social” self stands threatened by some approaching danger. Gone is their inflated self-esteem. The whip has not yet been applied; yet they shrink before the terrors of their imagination. Let me say once more, that the worldly man, the purse-proud man, is proud and conceited because his mind is befogged with the fumes of ignorance; a moment shall come when
he shall have to face the terrors of his animal soul! then he must fight on his individual strength; he will cry for help from outside but none shall come; the world of the senses which ensnared his mind so long, shall drop away; and the Higher Self must then overcome the Lower. Many are the birth-pangs, but the end,—the goal—justifies the means.
Now turn to Shri Krishna’s reply, which alone can solve this riddle for you: Without doubt, O Mighty-armed, the mind is hard to curb and restless but it may be curbed by constant practice (Abhyasa) and dispassion (Vairagya). The student must renounce, once for ever, all that pertains to his Lower Self and thus pull up the weeds that crowd the soil of his mind. The supreme result of Renunciation is that it enables you to leap from your present position, where there are a thousand strings tugging at your heart; and prepares the way for the inrush of higher, loftier thoughts. By practice is meant constant and unremitting effort at control of the mind, which, by the way, is a science by itself and may be handled later on.
Now, brother, renounce mentally, all attachment to impermanent ends. Dedicate yourself to the Higher Life. The more completely you can do so, the greater the influx of light, the clearer your vision spiritually. You fear because you are laboring under the evil suggestions of your brain-born intellect. As you succeed in “giving up,” your soul shall expand and burst asunder ‘the clinging chains of the senses,’ which breed Fear through Ignorance. Resolve, to be perfectly “Fearless” and so shall you be according to the strength of your resolution. [Excerpts from Yoga Lessons for Developing Spiritual Consciousness, by A.P. Mukerji]
Knowing and Doing
The only way to realize the truth is to put into practice what you know. Knowing and doing are different. Reduce the gap between knowing and doing. Recent research has found that great accomplishers (achievers) or successful people in any field have roughly put about a minimum of 10000 hrs of practice to reach the level of great success in their fields. This finding was given already by Lord Krishna 5000 years ago through Gita, where he tells Arjuna to have constant practice (Abhyasa) with detachment to regulate and control the mind. We all know most of the theories of of Spirituality, Meditation and Self-Realization but we fail to put the theory into practice due to laziness or carelessness. This is the cause of our continued suffering in spite of knowing.
Instead of attaching your mind to a wrong goal or objective or to a bad cause or to a fake hero or to an unreal worldly pursuit, Attach your mind to the Supreme Lord with devotion who will transform you to permanent state of Bliss which is Lord’s innate quality.
In the Bhagavad Gita 6-34, Arjuna equates the mind to wind and says:
cancalam hi manah krsnapramathi balavad drdham tasyaham nigraham manye vayor iva su-duskaram
Meaning: The mind is very fickle indeed O Krishna, turbulent, strong and obstinate. I think it is as impossible to control the mind as the wind.
And in the next verse, Lord Krishna concurs:
asamsayam maha-baho mano durnigraham calam abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena ca grhyate
Meaning: Undoubtedly, O Mighty Armed, it is very difficult to control the ever moving (vacillating) mind. However, O son of Kunti, through sincere practice (Assiduousness) and dispassionate detachment (vairagya or imperturbability), it can be achieved.
Intelligence is supposed to direct or instruct the mind, but the mind is so strong and obstinate that it often overpowers even one’s own intelligence. Such a strong mind can be controlled only by the practice of yoga, but such practice is never practical for a worldly person attached to materialistic goals. The simile used here is appropriate; one cannot capture the blowing wind. And it is even more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. The easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by scriptures, is chanting “Holy names,” the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. One must engage one’s mind fully in God.
Therefore by constant devotional practices and with detached attachment to material world, we can keep the mind positive, regulated and controlled.
Let us constantly practice with dispassion and achieve absolute mind control and become fearless forever