Indian Psychology - The Fearless Self
by Swami Veda Bharati
By establishing ourselves in the real self, all fear falls away and nonviolence arises.
Fear pervades every area of life. We are afraid to approach a stranger to ask for directions for fear she would shun us. We are afraid to love for the fear of being rejected. We are afraid of the sound of approaching footsteps as we walk on a dark narrow street, little thinking that the one whose footsteps is instilling fear in us is scared by our footsteps. We buy guns and raise armies, not because we are brave but because we are cowards, cowering in dire fear of all.
Our economy is governed by fear. We fear dying in poverty. The stock market is governed by emotions, half of which are constituted of fear. Mass fear and the stocks tumble. We fear loss of position and of a prestigious chair in the office. We fear being poisoned with an arrow. We fear disease. We fear for our children and other beloved ones. We fear thunder, lightning, dark places. First and foremost, we fear death.
That generic fear takes on all these forms. It varies its forms, creating agoraphobia and the fear of flying. The collective maya has cast a dark blanket over our total minds, my mind, his mind, her mind. My enemy's mind, and the mind of myself who am my enemy's enemy.
All these "othernesses' ( dviteeya-bhaava, anya-bhaava, parakeeya-bhaava) will not cease unless and until we lift the curtain of maya that has made us lose our supreme Selfhood, the status in paramatma. Regain that status and there is no fear, no enemy, no poison arrow, word-stone, cruise missile. In looking at the present-day world picture, we forget that there are 50 nations at this time that have no armies. Please read this sentence again.
We tremble that our nation may be hit by a repeat of the 9/11 in New York. Yes, we are suffering from terrorism, no doubt. But we forget another 9/11 to which a writer, P. Sainath, has drawn our attention in the article titled, Three 9/11s - Chose Your Own, in The Hindu newspaper of 9/11, 2006, reminding us of the satyagraha started by Mahatma Gandhi on 9/11, 1906, exactly a century ago. For that, the great soul had to put aside all his fears, fear of failure, fear of rejection by the people, fear of police lathis, fear of bullets.
Bear in mind: what others have accomplished, you can too. Your therapist works on your fear of agoraphobia and your saintly spiritual guide will free you of the fear of God. Yes, replace fear of God with love of God. For God is Love and in love there can be no fear. With that love of God, the oneness principle, replace the generic 'fear' itself of which the manifesting fears are but variants.
o Know your universal Self as the Self of all. The hand fears not its fingers; how can you, the universal Self, fear your fingers, the imagined 'other'? Find, not the mere universal brotherhood, but universal Selfhood, atma-tattva. As this washes your generic 'fear principle', the individual variants thereof are uprooted, eliminated.
o As one progresses spiritually, his/her violence (such as anger) towards other beings (not merely human beings) ceases. Nonviolence in obtaining your livelihood and your food, non-violence in responding to the other's attacks, increases, and eliminates in others the fear they have of you, and then they see you no longer as an enemy. While Gandhi boycotted British cloth, the Lancashire mill workers - whose livelihood he was thus threatening - gave him a rousing welcome.
Oh Swami, your talk is but empty idealism. If my country is attacked, or my sister molested, shall I not fight? Fight, without cowardice, without fear. Gandhi said that if your sister is being molested and you do not protect her, you are not nonviolent, you are a coward. Did he not bless the armies going to Kashmir?
Oh Swami, you contradict yourself so easily. No, not at all. First of all, have you tried the above principles in your personal life? Try them and see if they do not grant you the peace of spiritual progress. Then find ways, if you are a seeker, not mere defender of common mental habits, to translate that fearless nonviolence into the collective forms of economy, and political and international relationships.