May 2016 By T A Balasubramanian, Kill fear before fear kills you,J P Vaswani Wisdom Tree, Paperback, INR145; 116 pages Kill fear before fear kills you By J P Vaswani Wisdom Tree, Paperback INR145; 116 pages “We are afraid of the future. We are afraid of poverty, unemployment, dishonour and disgrace. We are afraid of disease and death. It seems to me that sometimes, we are afraid of life itself!” The author of this book, J P Vaswani (fondly called Dada Vaswani by his followers), makes this observation in the first chapter, “We are all victims of fear.” Vaswani is the popular 97-year-old spiritual leader and head of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. How many of us can truly claim to be fearless in any given situation? Fear is a common emotional response that grips us at critical times, and often for no reason at all. Vaswani prompts us to seek out the roots of our fears. The first eight chapters that form the first part of the book, How Fear Kills Us deal with the effects of fear on our lives. Understanding the mainly illogical causes of our fears, is, according to him, the first step needed to confront our fears. We are led to consider the meaning of fear, and to look closely at the notions of “fright”, “worry” and “guilt”. The second part (How We Can Kill Fear) explores, in seven chapters, a variety of strategies that we can use to transcend our fears. The primary way to confront our fears is, according to Vaswani, by cultivating our will power and trusting in the presence of God. “Strike fear with the weapon of the spirit – the word of God,” he advises. For example, reciting a prayer or a mantra or an inspiring poem can help us build a shield against illogical fears. Vaswani peppers the sage advice with witty or wise stories and apt quotations that make the book an enjoyable read. In a way, Vaswani has created a short self-help manual for anyone who is confronting fear of any kind. For those who are afflicted with nameless fears – real or imaginary – this is an uplifting and reassuring handbook. It helps us see things in perspective. When we read stories about the fears that others have confronted – and overcome – it helps diminish our own fears.
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