Life without Fear

Sri Chamunda Swami

“Once it finds its way into a person, it can do him no good, only harm. It can turn the gallant to wimps and lions to mice.”

Fear has extremely detrimental and fatal effects. Once it finds its way into a person, it can do him no good, only harm. It can turn the gallant to wimps and lions to mice. Fear should never be allowed to hover around us. If man has the courage and an irrepressible will-power to face the challenges, then he can assail even the highest mountains and find a ray of hope for himself.

However, if fear takes refuge in him, then the path to even the meekest aspiration seems to be blocked with a huge mountain of challenges, which then becomes insurmountable for him. Hence, one should stay as far away from fear as possible. Spiritual practice (Adhyatmik sadhana) is a highly effective and compelling means to nudge away fear and to remain fearless. Fear, first and foremost, affects the mind, and since spiritual practice by its very virtue addresses itself directly to the mind and soul, it thus brings about convincing, expeditious and potent results.

Children and youth especially need to be unafraid, because if they are trapped in fear at an impressionable stage, then throughout their lives it will only make them feel suffocated and constricted. I urge the youth, in particular, to keep away from fear. They have to confront the most appalling contingencies of life. In this long and twisted journey, does fear even have any place? How will they ever accomplish anything in life if they are consumed by fear at an early age? Any attempt at slogging in life is futile and worthless when the mind is overwhelmed with fear. No one gets anything out of such an existence. Only the one, who plunges deep into the ocean without any fear or hesitation, has the true potential to extract its most precious treasures.

Perhaps this is why it is essential for us to be free of fear, and embrace happiness and joy into our lives. If there is no fear, then the sweet nectar of bliss will flow freely and uninterrupted into our being. Those who feel the tidings of fear within should endeavour to thwart and drive them away as soon as possible. Look around you, there is bliss. Bound in your fear, you are bereft of this wondrous, blissful experience. Just throw this fear out, and then see how beautiful life becomes.

Parents, whose young children often come across as inhibited and scared, should take special measures to push away this demon. Parents need to understand that the development of their children will forever remain stunted if they are unable to free them from fear’s web. A frightened, anxious child always feels terrorized and insecure. This insecurity gets even more terrifying as the child grows up. The child tends to withdraw within himself and his talents begin to fade. He begins to feel apprehensive about opening up in new situations. This disposition becomes a life-long pattern. Fear prevents a person from living his life to its full potential.

Fear has two forms – worldly and otherworldly. Worldly fears can be described as those which can be physically experienced. They arise due to material reasons. Any person, object or situation can incite this kind of fear in one’s mind. Otherworldly fears, on the other hand, do not have a physical or material origin, but a person remains fearful in anticipation of the future. A person might dread being invaded by extraterrestrial or supernatural elements like spirits or ghosts, or he might fear the occurrence of any untowardly event in the future. There is no concrete reason behind one’s trepidation, and in such a case in fact, the individual might be constantly anxious expecting adverse outcomes. This fear continues to exacerbate over time, and such an anxious person closely scrutinizes every situation or object, looking for signs which might confirm his fears.

For worldly fears, their rationale is more readily discernible by the virtue of being located outside a person with often a physical grounding. Faced with a lion, even the most courageous will experience tremors of fear within, but no such rationale can be presented for otherworldly fears. Here, the mind remains on a possible lookout for anything which might confirm its fears. Some are fearful of invisible, supernatural powers, and yet others are nervous about being victims of dire events. People are petrified at the thought of appearing for examinations or interviews. As a result, what happens? In their worry, they even forget what they originally knew! Fear in all its forms is damaging. It is unnecessary. It has no justification, but the mind refuses to part with it.

“Parents, whose young children often come across as inhibited and scared, should take special measures to push away this demon.”

Fear often has foundations in childhood; and unknowingly, many times parents are active contributors in its origin and perpetuation. Parents often tell their children stories and examples which aim to curtail their mischief and threaten them about the menacing consequences of their actions using fear as a tool. This can leave a profound impact on the child’s mind, and with time it gets so intensely deep-rooted that it is difficult to get away from it, even when the child grows up to be an adult.

The demon of fear needs to be vanquished. Fear is a state of mind that feeds on cowardice. Mind needs to be strengthened to conquer it. With an iron-mind one can surmount any fear. So, toughen this inner resource. Parents of anxious children must take special measures to dispel their fears irrespective of their magnitude. Therefore, it is essential that positive thinking be inculcated.

Meditation and Mantras

Meditation (dhyana) can be a very efficient tool in strengthening the mind and getting rid of fear. Meditation is that dimension of spiritual practice which sharpens the mind and illuminates the soul of its practitioner (dhyani). Meditation can wash away all the ills of the mind. It counters the mind’s frailties and imbues it with renewed zeal and courage. Meditation has a unique place in the arena of spiritual practice and without which no endeavour is truly accomplished. It disciplines the mind, which is actually the root cause of all afflictions. Hence, anyone young or old, who is plagued with fear, must devote himself to this practice of inner reflection and contemplation. Parents should also encourage and inspire their children to imbibe this practice. The ideal way is to meditate for shorter periods at the beginning and then slowly increase the duration. One can use Om (the Universal vibration) or the mantra of one’s deity to enhance concentration.

Tantra-mantra can also be effective tools in achieving freedom from fear. Any child or youth tormented by fear can chant Hanuman Mantra, and observe a fast every Tuesday for Lord Hanuman. If performed diligently, Hanuman Mantra can get rid of fear.
Any individual, child, youth, or an elderly person, must know for certain that fear is his biggest enemy, and without annihilating it, one cannot tread the path ahead. Fear kills a man much before his actual death. Therefore, it is crucial that one relinquishes fear. The ecstatic state of bliss can only be attained once fear is renounced from one’s life.

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