Fear – its genesis and remedy
Fear is the state of mind caused by ignorance and untruth. It is also the mental state resulting from disharmony and conflict.
A toddler child is afraid to move out of the lap of his mother to the lap of an unknown person. He fears insecurity. Because, he is ignorant whether the other person who sweetly entreats him is his friend or foe.
You are afraid to trudge through a thick jungle in darkness because you do not know there may be wild animals lurking around.
A young boy who has just learnt driving is afraid to take his car into busy roadside for fear of losing control in the thick traffic.
A schoolboy who has quarrelled with his playmates one day is afraid to meet them on the next day for fear of reprisal.
A traffic law violator is afraid of the traffic policeman. An income tax offender is afraid of the income tax sleuths. An inefficient employee is afraid to face his superior at work.
In the jungle, the weak fears the strong; so is the case in a regime bereft of law.
Every living being fears death.
In all the above examples, the element of fear is present. Fear is a feeling of impeding danger or warning from a potential threat. It is a mental state in a situation of perceived risk. The danger may be physical. The risk may be risk to life, to the purse, to property or to health and well being. In modern business world, new entrepreneurs have all the necessary information about potential risk in launching any new venture. Even while taking calculated risks, they have a lurking fear in their minds–fear of failure. Fear of failure is rampant in the complex human life of the twenty first century.
Closely analyzed and summarized, fear is the result of ignorance of reality leading to uncertain situations or apprehension of reprisal or retaliation by enemy or dread of failure in task being undertaken because of many uncertainties and imponderables.
The primeval scripture Atharvaveda in its stanza # 19.15.6 prays to the Almighty thus: “May we be completely free from fear; let the space and the celestial worlds make us fearless; let us be free from fear of the enemy; let there be no fear from the friends too; may we be free from the fear of known and of the unknown; may we be fearless during day and fearless during the night.”
The situation as desired in the above stanza can be realized only if we are knowledgeable and not in illusion or delusion; if we are truthful and conscientious; if we are fair and just in outlook; if we strike harmony with others; if we follow the path of righteousness.
Hence achievement of freedom from fear is no mean achievement. A person who has overcome fear has reached a stage of elevated existence from where no obstacle is insurmountable and no challenge is too difficult to meet. A fearless person boldly steers his life boat forward. He is victorious in all his ventures because the very absence of fear means that he is fully prepared, fully groomed, makes best efforts and has full faith in the justice of the Almighty. Further explained, the path to fearlessness enjoins upon a person to work with patience, honesty, true knowledge. It calls for perseverance with truthfulness and an approach which is in harmony with the surroundings.
It follows from above that fear is antithetical to progress and to life itself. No person can progress in life without taking due calculated risks, for, the charm of life lies in action, not in material rewards of those actions. Happiness, which every human mortal seeks, is a journey, not a destination. And this journey can be pleasing, charming and rewarding only when undertaken without fear. Hence fear is an essential ingredient of right action i.e. action which leads to happiness and fulfilment.
Fear runs down a person’s energy level and thereby undermines the stamina for physical and mental work. It disturbs his inner harmony and subverts his intellectual faculty. Fear doesn’t exist in the enlightened human being because he understands the truths of the situation confronting him and also because he has transcended gain and loss; he has risen above pleasure and pain and he is ready to embrace these material consequences as the will of the ever benevolent creator.
Victory lies in the zone of fearlessness. Success comes unmistakably after fear is overcome. Vanquishing fear is essential to progress and spiritual transcendence of man.