Friday, Jun 05, 2020 14:45 [IST]
Last Update: Friday, Jun 05, 2020 09:02 [IST]
Some years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the savannahs of Africa, and enjoyed the fascinating experience of seeing animals in their natural habitat. The wild animals surprisingly appeared so relaxed and peaceful. The lions were nearby and yet the wildebeests, zebras and impalas were all grazing away, unperturbed. We saw a mother cheetah with her cubs moving purposefully for a kill. For close to half an hour, she advanced cautiously and patiently towards her prey, waiting to reach the optimum distance from whence to spring, in that legendary burst of speed cheetahs are known for. Finally, she made that dash – a sight to see the fastest animal in the world chasing an impala. But, alas, the quarry escaped. The cheetah sat down, panting, and seemingly aware of its loss. Not long thereafter, one of the cubs toddled up to the mother cheetah and started licking her face, as if to say, “It’s ok.” And soon both of them were busy caressing each other as though nothing had happened.
The cheetah displayed no disappointment, no regret, no anxiety and no worry. On the other hand, man who is the crown of creation, with an intellect and a unique capacity to know, aware of his surroundings and to some extent capable of predicting the future, develops anxiety and stress at the slightest setback. It seems as if his entire life is dissipated in unproductive worry and anxiety for the future, and as a result, the greater and higher goals forever elude him.
So, first one must know how to manage these worries and anxieties. Worry always arises out of fear. Sorrow is transient, but fear tends to be constant. That fear is reflected in the various form of instabilities and insecurities, and unless one delves into their root cause, equipoise and peace in life would be difficult to attain. The greatest fear, which creates all insecurities, is fear of death. Despite the fact that death is inevitable – as that which is born must perish – the irrational fear of death forever holds man in its tight grip causing him constant insecurity. Thus, the defensive need to preserve the body and the need and anxiety to acquire wealth and power in the false belief that these would shield him from the inevitable.
And it is for this reason that, in the Bhagavad Gita, having allayed Arjuna’s initial despair, Sri Krishna deals with this fear; reassuring the great archer that if there is right knowledge of one’s divine nature, then there is nothing to fear because everybody, having been born, must one day also die. But, in reality, nobody ever dies, because the Self in each one of us is immortal.
Weapons cleave It not, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not .
When one discovers the Immortal Self; when that knowledge comes to a person, one becomes fearless.
(An author is the Global head of Chinmaya Mission)