Understand and Control Fear – भय को समझें और दूर भगायें (August, 2017)
Majority of people across all age groups are afraid of something. While it may sound like an inconsequential mental state, when not checked, fear can have far reaching impact on one’s personality and health. In majority of the cases, seeds of fear are planted at an early stage of life. And, later, the same innocent thoughts often turn into a larger problem [of worries, anxieties, and negativity] that robs the adult person of peace, joy, liveliness, development, and confidence. Yes, the topic of this month’s assignment is Understand and Control Fear (भय को समझें और दूर भगायें).
Fear is an emotional state that may arise because of rational or irrational thoughts about a future event. It has capability to eat and defeat from within. A fearful person is incoherent, low-spirited, and pessimistic. Recognizing the criticality of this emotional state, which is no less than a terminal disease, Indian scriptures expounded on its definition and ways to get over it.
The following mantra illustrates how easy is it for fear to arise in life irrespective of who you are:
Bhoge Rogabhayam Kule Chyutibhayam vitte nripaladhabhayam.
Maane dainyabhayam bale ripuabhayam ripubhyam roope jaraa bhayam.
Shastre vadibhyam gune khala bhayam kaaye kritant bhayam.
Sarva vastu bhayanvintam bhuvi nrinaam vairagyamev bhayam.
Meaning: A person faces fear of disease arises during enjoyment; fear of plunge from higher position, fear of hostile people stealing wealth; fear of enemies when in power; fear of old age snatching one’s beauty; fear of opponent challenging one’s scholarliness; fear of assaulters when being good; and, then there is fear of death. From all such fears, knowledge alone (renunciation) can lead to fearlessness. May I attain that knowledge.
The following mantra from Atharva Veda (19.15.6) captures a prayer for fearlessness:
Abhayam mitrad-abhayam-amitrad abhyam-jnatad abhayam parokshat.
Abhayam naktam-abhayam diva nah sarva asha mama mitram bhavantu.
Meaning: O God, make me fearless of friends; make me fearless of enemies; make me fearless of known; make me fearless of unknown; make me fearless in day; make me fearless at night. May all directions be friendly to me, which I attain through righteous behavior and nature.
This month, kids will cover the following points:
- What is fear
- What causes fear (Sanskars that are built based on experience and/or thoughts implanted by others)
- Types of fears (real and imaginary: real, such as fear of getting caught while doing some mischief, and, imaginary, like thinking one would fall very sick just before an much awaited event)
- Ways to control fear (right knowledge: lack of knowledge or light is the root cause of darkness; strong belief in God’s qualities: omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence etc. that make one strong; self-confidence: developing faith and trust in one’s ability by reading/listening to the inspirational stories, avoiding horror movies/shows, meditation, identifying and resolving to address the problem.
As always, I am looking forward to illuminating views kids present on this topic.